Faithlife Sermons

Joy comes with trusting the Mighty One. (Luke 1:46-49)

Opening Image: [Illustration: Finding True JOY in Christ by Tim Keller
Pastor Tim Keller used the following example to show how to find ultimate joy and satisfaction in Christ:
Do you remember when your mother used to say, "Don't eat candy before meals?" Why did she say that? Because she knew it would ruin your next meal. The trouble with eating candy is that it gives you a sugar buzz, and then you don't feel hungry. Candy masks the fact that your body needs proteins and vitamins. The sugar buzz from candy masks your hunger for the real nutrients that you don't have.
Things like sex, power, money, and success—as well as favorable circumstances—act like spiritual sugar. Christians who have these spiritual candies may say, "Sure, I believe in God and I know I'm going to heaven," but they're actually basing their day-to-day joy on favorable circumstances. When the circumstances change, it drives us to God, because when the sugar disappears, when the candy gets taken away, we're forced to pursue the feast that our souls really crave. We'll hunger for the spiritual nutrients we really need.
In much the same way at Christmas, we feed on the joyful moments of the season, but our souls crave more, the Christmas Joy fades.
Need: Joy in life can be elusive, fading, like grabbing a big handful of sand only to have it slowly fall from our grasp.
Subject: Joy
Text: Luke 1:46-49; Luke 10:17-21 and John 15:1-11.
Preview: How can we make our Christmas joy last?
[Big Idea: The only way for Christmas joy to last is to find it in Jesus.]

Joy comes with trusting the Mighty One. (Luke 1:46-49)

Story: Luke 1:26-45
Classic boy meets girl story.
Boy (Joseph) meets girl (Mary) get married.
Girl meets Angel (Gabriel)
Gabriel tells her she will be the mother of the Son of God.
He will be the fulfillment of the promise God made to King David about 1,000 years before.
His name will be Jesus.
He will be conceived by the Holy Spirit, not by her husband Joseph.
Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth.
And now she bursts into song, Mary’s Song, called the Magnificat.
Mary rejoices . . . .
[READ Luke 1:46-47]
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
Why does Mary rejoice? The reason for Mary’s rejoicing is found in vv. 48-49.
[READ Luke 1:48]
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
This is the first reason Mary rejoices.
The reason Mary rejoices is because God has been “mindful” of her.–
‘to show concern for’ ‘to take notice of’ [NLT], ‘ ‘to look with favor on’ [NTC; HCSB, NRSV, REB], ‘to remember’ [TEV]. This verb is similar to ἐπεῖδον ‘to look with favor’ in 1:25 and here it means ‘to look with concern, tenderness’ , or loving care’ . It was with loving care with which God selected Mary to bear the child. ‘To look upon’ implies that God intended to do something about Mary’s humble state and will change Mary’s humble situation.
As a result, all generations will call her blessed.
She rejoices because she trusts in “the Mighty One” whom she serves.
The title Mighty One often refers to the warrior God who fights on behalf of his people and delivers them. It refers to his power to accomplish the impossible and makes good on His promises.
Verses 51-55 Mary goes into how God has demonstrated His power in the past.
Performs great deeds with his mighty arm
Scatters the proud, lifts up the humble
Brings down kings from their thrones
Filled the hungry, sent the rich away empty
Fulfills His promises.
But it was in her present and very near future she would experience His power personally.
Let’s recall what she is facing:
Teenager, will be with child, the Son of God, Savior of the world. This child will not come from her husband, but by “Holy Spirit”. People would think she’s trying to cover up something or crazy. She faces shame from family and community, needs to explain this to Joseph, faces possible divorce, let alone explain the whole angel encounter.
How does God reassure her by His message through his messenger, the angel Gabriel?
Do not be afraid
The Lord is with you!
Repeatedly telling her she is favored (recipient of God’s grace)
Fulfillment of promise to David: Her son will sit on the throne forever and his name . . . Jesus.
Nothing is impossible with God. Even Elizabeth giving birth at her old age. How important do you think it was that Elizabeth was experiencing a supernatural birth and reaffirming her?
And how does she respond?
How would you respond? Would you freak out? Money? Shame? How am I going to provide for baby? Abandoned? How would you respond? You might say, “Well, if an angel appeared to me, there wouldn’t be much doubt.” Zechariah, who asks for a sign (v. 18), Mary asks, already believing, how will this happen (v. 34). Zechariah’s question was one of doubt, hers was one of faith.
How about this response?
“I am the Lord’s servant . . . May your word to me be fulfilled.” (v. 38)
And her faith is revealed through her cousins pronouncement in v. 45, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Joy comes with Mary’s trust in God and His power to do great things for her. He looked upon her in her humble state, and brought blessing. And that blessing would be the birth of Jesus into the world as it’s Savior. The cause for eternal joy.
Joy comes with trusting the Mighty One, and the plan of His promised Son, Jesus.

Joy comes with humility before the Sovereign One. (Luke 10:17-21) (the72)

It is in Luke 10:17-21 that we find the repeated thread of humility.

Brief Setup of Chapter 10: In the beginning of chapter 10 we find Jesus sending out 72 disciples to tell the towns and villages that the kingdom of God has come near, performing signs and miracles to confirm this message.

And now, full of joy, the 72 give their report about how they were even able to cast out demons. And this is where we start hearing this theme of humility:

The pride of Satan as fallen from heaven in Isaiah 14. Lack of humility.

The power/authority they have comes from Jesus, not their own. They could be in danger of taking pride in the power they possessed, even drunk with power.

Do not rejoice you have the power to cast out demons. Let that not be your cause for rejoicing. Don’t take pride in your accomplishments.

Casting out was a product of their faith in Jesus name.

[Read Luke 10:17-20, NIV]
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus then gives his reason for rejoicing.

The reason for rejoicing is because their names have been written in heaven. (perfect as event happened in the past with results existing in the present time). It was a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ should be the cause of their joy. The salvation assured through faith in Jesus Christ. The imagery of their names written in heaven is a picture of a roll of names of all those who are citizens or members of heaven.

Just like the 72 were so excited about what they were able to do, maybe we get caught up in the doing, doing, doing and place our pride and our value in our own accomplishments. Instead, maybe we need humble ourselves, slow down, to hear what God wants us to do.
If Satan can use snakes and scorpions to work against us, He sure can use busy-ness!
Do you need to slow down?
Rejoice that your name is written on the rolls of heaven. But maybe some of you are not sure . . . . and it’s robbing you of that joy.

Then in verse 21, Jesus, full of joy, give thanks to the sovereign and all-powerful God, that the gospel of the kingdom of God was hidden from the wise, but revealed to those who were of a humble state.

[Read Luke 10:21, NIV]
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

Who were the little children? It’s used figuratively here for those who were the humble who accepted this message of the kingdom of God through His Son Jesus Christ, as opposed to the proud in their arrogance would reject Jesus.

This description is aimed especially at the leaders of the scribes and Pharisees (Exegetical Summary). Those who took pride in their own intellect, education, position, and wisdom. It was they who rejected Jesus, and instead chose to put their faith in their own good works and self-righteousness.

Charles Spurgeon railed against these prideful religious leaders, and praised God’s use of the humble.
Not you, ye scribes, who have counted every letter of the Old Testament, does he elect to be filled with the Spirit. Not you, ye Pharisees, who so abound in outward religion, does he choose to spread the inward life and light. Not you, ye Sadducees, who are versed in sceptical philosophy, and boast your cleverness, does he call to preach his gospel to the poor. He hath taken to be the heralds of his glory men from the sea of Galilee whom ye despise: men, simple-hearted, ready to learn, and then as ready to tell out again, the message of salvation.-Charles Spurgeon
Mark Black does well in summarizing this passage, and tying it in with the humility found in Mary’s song.
Jesus is praising God for his plan which uses humble people who have servant hearts in order to make known the coming kingdom in which these very characteristics will be most highly valued. The reversal of fortune between the proud and the humble, prophesied by Mary in 1:51–53, has begun. -Mark Black
[READ Luke 1:51-53, NIV]
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
Joy comes with humility before the Sovereign One.


Joy comes with abiding in the Promised One. (John 15:1-11)

Jesus tells his disciples in verse 11, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” This sounds great! I want complete joy. How do I get this? Well, we’ve got to go back to what He just told them beginning in chapter 15. He uses the metaphor of vine and branches. He is the Vine, and we are the branches. and the only way for the branches to bear fruit, is by abiding in the vine, or remaining in the vine. Just as the branches can only find life by being connected to the vine, the branches can only bear fruit by being connected to the vine.

What does remain/abide mean?

To be in a willing relationship with Jesus. To stay, continue, keep going in that relationship. To remain united with him, to dwell with him as he dwells in them. It is an intimately close relationship. It is unlike a relationship with a distant cousin you see maybe once a year. It is continual, like that of your closest friend, a confidant, that you can share anything with. Sharing your thoughts, emotions, deepest struggles, and your need for his help.

How do I do that?

Continue in that loving relationship with Jesus. Stay joined to Him.

By allowing His words to remain in you. Through His teachings, words, and commands, and communication (prayer).

Allowing His teachings to permeate you, allowing it to change you, so that you may be transformed, and whole in Him. It means bringing your brokenness to Jesus, to be changed by Jesus, and made whole by Jesus. Just as a branch depends on the vine to sustain it’s life, so does the one who follows Jesus look to His Word and teachings to sustain them, and bear fruit. This is a sign of one who follows in the footsteps of Jesus.
Spending time in His word, remembering, meditating, and committing themselves to live it out.
God the Holy Spirit works with God’s Holy Word, to reproduce the life of God’s Holy Son in us. [repeat twice] To be more like Jesus in our character, our attitudes and actions. As such, it produces fruit in our lives. Our will and our wishes become aligned with His, so that whatever we ask will be done, to the glory of God, and bearing much fruit. Much like we depend on food and water to live, we depend on Jesus and teachings to bring us life with each new day.
Jesus once said, “Many shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”(Matt 4:4)
When you hunger for something more to bring you joy, do you feed on junk food by scrolling through social media, or do you open the ancient scroll, the Bible, where you can actually find Him, the bread of life.
Do you hunger or thirst for His Word in this way, as if your life depended on it? If not, pray for it!
By keeping his commands we remain in His love. (vv. 9-10)
[READ John 15:9-10, NIV]
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
It teaches that his disciples should obey him out of a sense of love not out of obligation or fear. It is possible to keep his commands, and yet have no love for Him. The religious leaders of the day did that. It is out of our love for Him, that we keep His commands. And in keeping his commands, our love is on display. Or how D.A. Carson puts it,
our love for Jesus is the wellspring of our obedience to him, as our obedience is the demonstration of the reality of that love. -D. A. Carson

What is the result of abiding in Jesus? Fruit . . . much, much fruit.

Fruit could mean, ‘good motives, desires, attitudes, language, and ‘deeds’. Fruit-bearing most likely refers to bringing others to Christ as well as producing Christian character. ‘Fruit’ probably refers to qualities of Christian character as seen in Galatians 5:22–23 ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self control’. This is the fruit of the Spirit. Not a list of the things we do, but the product of the Holy Spirit working in our lives as we become more and more like Jesus. Did you catch the 2nd fruit of the Spirit? JOY! Abiding in Jesus produces joy in us that flows out into the lives of our co-workers, our neighbors, our families and our family of faith.
This lead us back to our question:

How is our joy made complete?

The joy Jesus experiences comes from carrying out the commands of the Father, from His relationship with the Father, and the love of the Father. And Jesus wants us to share in the same joy He has.
Just as it brings me joy when my kids follow my commands. I experience the joy of an obedient children, they experience joy in pleasing their father. They are secure and assured by my love and my unbroken relationship with them. The Pillar New Testament Commentary captures this idea of obedience, love and joy.
Jesus insists that his own obedience to the Father is the ground of his joy; and he promises that those who obey him will share the same joy—indeed, that his very purpose in laying down such demands is that their joy may be complete (cf. 1 Jn. 1:4). What is presupposed is that human joy in a fallen world will at best be ephemeral, shallow, incomplete, until human existence is overtaken by an experience of the love of God in Christ Jesus, the love for which we were created, a mutual love that issues in obedience without reserve. -D.A. Carson, Pillar New Testament Commentary.
We were created to be in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That relationship began before the Fall, before sin entered into the world, separating us from God. Ever since, we’ve had the longing for our Creator. We fill that longing with other things of this world to bring us joy, and that joy is ever elusive. These things were never meant to bring us everlasting joy. Holiday dinners, presents, lights, candy canes, Christmas movies, Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and Christmas cookies with the red and green M&Ms inside. These things are good, but they were never meant to last. The sweetest joy that lasts can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He truly is the reason for this season.
You too can have a joy that is complete.

It begins with accepting the invitation to begin a relationship with Him. To believe in the good news about Jesus.

[Hebrews 12:2, NIV]
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Joy comes with trust, humility and abiding in Jesus. As we do, we bear much fruit in this world, sharing the joy that comes with knowing Jesus. But, it begins with Jesus.
Big Idea: The only way for Christmas joy to last is to find it in Jesus.
Invitation . . .
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