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Advent Joy is Coming: God For Us

Advent 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We tend to walk in and out of Joy, but Joy is as fixed as our relationship with Christ. It's our experience that needs to be rooted in Jesus not what's temporary.

Notes & Transcripts
ME
Several years ago, we went to Rehobeth to do our Xmas shopping. We went with a list of everything we were going to buy. When we went in a store, we committed to checking something off the list. IF we went in the Nike store, we were getting someone a gift. every store we went in we got nearer to finishing…we would go out to the car, drop off a bag, and back to a new store.
Advent season could be considered SHOPPING SEASON. In and out…over and over…it’s like that in the mall.
I haven’t been this year, but the last Christmas I went, people were just roaming around. few of them even had bags, they just seemed to be walking in and out of the stores. My sister calls that shopping, I call it exercise, just walking in and out of stores without buying anything.
This season, for many of us, we find ourselves going in and out of something else ...JOY.
WE
Its as though our joy for the season is easily distracted or overwhelmed by our circumstance.
Stress of the right gift
Stress of the number of gifts left to buy
stress of the money to buy the gifts
stress of the one getting the gift
this is just one area that leads to us going in and out of joy.
then there is the parties, the pictures, the kids, the grand-kids, the hunting to be done, the taxes to get ready for, the employees to care for, the relatives needing something
During the Christmas season, as our lists get long, and time gets short, we don’t feel that joyful.
But it’s not limited to Christmas is it? For most of us we could probably say our lives aren’t marked by Joy. We get bored with the mundane; we tire of carrying burdens; we stumble again. All through the year we face difficulties that cause us to “lose our joy”.
Today I want us to re-frame joy. Because what we have been talking about is actually happiness…not joy.
Today I want us to re-frame joy. I’d ask us to rethink our concept of Joy. Because what we have been talking about is actually happiness…not joy. One writer described the difference this way.
My goal for you today is to know JOY, that a
Joy and happiness are wonderful feelings to experience, but are very different. Joy is more consistent and is cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are, whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events.

A JOYFUL life comes from being JOY-FILLED.

For Christ followers, our Joy isn’t something we can bring out of ourselves…it is Christ. This is the hope we spoke of a couple weeks ago, that Immanuel Hope, God with us.
For Christ followers, our Joy isn’t something we can bring out of ourselves…it is Christ. This is the hope we spoke of a couple weeks ago, that Immanuel Hope, God with us.
Jesus is our Joy and we are reminded every we time we God shows up that God is FOR US
When
1 Peter 1:3–6 TEV
3 Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, 4 and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. 5 They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God’s power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time. 6 Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer.
Allow my joy to be ruled by happiness rather than rooted in who I am, why I am, and how I am.
Accepting this reality can be very powerful for our lives.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
But many of us feel that God with us isn’t always a great thing though. That’s because we fall short. It’s hard to imagine God with us, when we think of how we fail to represent him so often. It’s hard to be joyful about that, because we want to hide that from God.
This is one of those times I would tell my kids…it doesn’t matter what you think. OR It does’t matter how you feel....
It’s true....it’s an exaggeration, but it’s true when it comes to JOY. God isn’t just WITH us, but he is FOR US.
That's what God has always done.
this sort of “Joy” is fleeting because we allow it be based on circumstances…we trade joy for happiness.
Out of the nothingness he created for his glory and our pleasure
Out of the nothingness of creation he created for his glory and our pleasure
Out of bondage, he rescued his people.
Out of the wilderness he delivered the promised land.
In the midst of rebellion, he provided Jesus.
1 Peter 1:3–6 NIV84
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
Jesus is our hope, and he is the key to the Christ Follower’s understanding of Joy.
1 peter 1:
Jesus is our hope, and he is the key to the Christ Follower’s understanding of Joy.

Advent Joy is coming - God for us.

Advent is a proclamation that Jesus is coming; and in that way, JOY is coming because God is for us and a reminder that JOY is here because God is for us.
GOD
That’s what the prophet Isaiah was pointing toward. One of the familiar messianic Prophecies. Those are prophecies that over time have been understood as looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
Remember, Isaiah lived when Israel was in decline. They were in the shadow of war with Assyria. The people were deaf and blind to the truth of God. They refused to hear Isaiah’s warning of the coming judgement of God because of their sin.
Sound familiar?
In the midst of it all, he declared the faithfulness of God, the deliverance that would come at the hand of God for those who were faithful. The nation had once been full of people who loved the Lord, but was now ruled by those who knew nothing about God.
Sound Familiar?
Here the word of promise God gave Isaiah to share with His people.
Isaiah 35:1–10 NIV84
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
In Tommy Newberry’s book the 4:8 principle, he talks about the way this past, present, and future work together and how our understanding of joy gets stuck in them.
It’s bad, things are really bad, but an unconquerable joy is on the way into the midst of the Israelites right in Zion. That joy is what Advent is all about.
The Joy of God that isn’t dependent on our circumstances. The Joy of God can’t be quenched. The Joy of God doesn't wax and wane depending on our circumstances.
Dietrich Bonehoffer:
But in fact, Dietrich Bonehoffer, found that the Joy of God comes right through difficulty. Look at this:
“The joy of God goes through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross, that is why it is invincible, irrefutable. It does not deny the anguish, when it is there, but finds God in the midst of it, in fact precisely there; it does not deny grave sin but finds forgiveness precisely in this way; it looks death straight in the eye, but it finds life precisely within it.”
That joy is what arrived on the first Christmas morning in the midst of poverty and is available to us today when we feel forgotten, overwhelmed, stressed because our Joy doesn't come in our circumstances, it comes through our circumstances; it comes in CHRIST.
That joy is what arrived on the first Christmas morning in the midst of poverty and is available to us today when we feel forgotten, overwhelmed, stressed because our Joy doesn't come in our circumstances, it comes in CHRIST.

Joy doesn't come IN our circumstances, Joy comes THROUGH our circumstances

IF you are feeling joyless…you are very close to Joy
That’s the scriptural way to understand the promise of JOY this advent.
Our Joy is coming, in fact has already come…That's why the NT writers told the church over and over this reality.
I’ll continue from the passage earlier
1 Peter 1:6–8 NIV84
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
Sometimes things are hard, Sometimes it seems that everything is against you, but all the time, you have something the stresses of this world know nothing about…and that is your JOY - Jesus!
and while God’s people began to experience Joy, we still wait for it to be fulfilled when Jesus returns.
You see
“If you persist in identifying with current or prior performance by constantly thinking and talking about it, then where you have been, where you are, and where you are going will all be one and the same”
The scriptural way of understanding Joy is that it comes IN CHRIST.
This statement says a lot, but one thing it definitely reminds us of is that if we focus on our circumstances, past and present, those things that make us HAPPY, we will be get stuck never experiencing JOY.
YOU
Pursuit of happiness becomes a rut for us. Joy though isn’t found though…Joy finds us.
The key for us to experience this joy is simple…Jesus told us exactly how.
Many of us feel that God with us isn’t always a great thing though. That’s because we have fallen short. It’s hard to imagine God with us, when we think of how we fail to represent him so often. It’s hard to be joyful about that, because we want to hide that from God.
This is one of those times I would tell my kids…it doesn’t matter what you think. OR It does’t matter how you feel....
It’s true....it’s an exaggeration, but it’s true when it comes to this. God isn’t just with us, but he is FOR US. He’s working FOR US.
That's what God has always done.
Creation
Out of the nothingness of creation he created for his glory and our pleasure
Out of bondage, he delivered his people.
Out of the wilderness he delivered the promised land.
In the midst of rebellion, he delivered Jesus.
In the midst of rebellion, he delivered Jesus.
IF you are feeling joyless…you are very close to Joy

and a reminder that JOY is here because God is for us.
Advent is a proclamation that JOY is coming because God is for us and a reminder that JOY is here because God is for us.
GOD
That’s what the prophet Isaiah was pointing toward. One of the familiar messianic Prophecies. Those are prophecies that over time have been understood as looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
Remember, Isaiah lived when Israel was in decline. They were in the shadow of Assyria and the people were deaf and blind to the truth of God. They refused to hear the truth of God and the coming judgement of God because of their sin.
Sound familiar?
In the midst of it all, he declared the faithfulness of God, the deliverance that would come at the hand of God for those who were faithful. The land that had once been full of people who loved the Lord was now ruled by those who knew nothing about God.
Sound Familiar?
Here the word of promise God gave Isaiah to share with His people.
Look what he looked toward.
Isaiah 35:1–10 NIV84
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
It’s bad, it’s really bad, but an unconquerable joy is on the way. That joy is what Advent is all about.
A Joy that isn’t dependent on our circumstances. A joy that can’t be quenched. A joy that doesn't wax and wane.
That joy is what arrived on the first Christmas morning and while God’s people began to experience Joy, we still wait for it to be fulfilled when Jesus returns.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus said this:
You see
YOU
1 Peter 1:6–8 NIV84
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
John 15:9–11 NIV84
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
(NIV84)
John 15:7–12 NIV84
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
What’s the key? Remain in his love and your joy will be complete.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Simply, remain in his love.

Don’t walk in and out of your fascination with Jesus and you won’t walk in and out of Joy.
Don’t walk in and out of your awe for Jesus and you won’t walk in and out of Joy.
Simple, remain in his love.
But HOW do we do this? It’s simple, but not easy.
It’s a matter of fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, the JOY OF ADVENT.
He is our JOY OF ADVENT.
For us to live joyful lives, we need to have joy filled lives.
Often we Christians approach it this way. I am a Christian. I sin. I’m unhappy, lost my joy, etc. I need to stop sinning
But that produces in us a legalism…a self denial that doesn't produce joy at all,but becomes a burden.
Jesus came to set us free though.
Joy is found in that freedom.
In our freedom, we start by filling our lives with those things that increase our devotion, that foster fascination for Jesus, things that magnify our awe for Jesus. We fill our lives with the praise, and before we know it, we just don’t have time for the things that distract us from loving Jesus.
This takes repentance…turning from our way of legalism and rule following that produces burdens…toward the freedom of Christ that produces JOY.
Prayer for repentence:
Prayer for repentence
WE
I haven’t been this year, but the last Christmas I went, people were just roaming around. few of them even had bags, they just seemed to be walking in and out of the stores. My sister calls that shopping, I call it exercise, just walking in and out of stores without buying anything.
I haven’t been this year, but the last Christmas I went, people were just roaming around. few of them even had bags, they just seemed to be walking in and out of the stores. My sister calls that shopping, i call it exercise, just walking in and out of stores without buying anything.
This season, for many of us, we find ourselves going in and out of something else ...JOY.
This season, for many of us, we find ourselves going in and out of something else ...JOY.
WE are going to praise today…joyful praise. I grew up in a church where you didn’t clap your hands or show emotion…and there wasn’t a happy person in that whole church i don’t think. Today, express yourself as we praise him…REJOICE! again I say REJOICE
Its as though our joy for the season is easily distracted or overwhelmed by our circumstance.
Stress of the right gift
FIRST TIME DECISION:
Stress of the number of gifts left to buy
Want this life...
stress of the money to buy the gifts
stress of the one getting the gift
this is just one area that leads to us going in and out of joy.
then there is the parties, the pictures, the kids, the grand-kids, the hunting to be done, the taxes to get ready for, the employees to care for, the relatives needing something
During the Christmas season, our lists get long and often our joy gets short.
Today I want us to re-frame joy. I’d ask us to rethink our concept of Joy. Because what we have been talking about is actually happiness…not joy. One writer described the difference this way.
The scriptural way of understanding Joy is that it comes by knowing who we are, why we are, and how we are IN CHRIST.
The way I understand it, happiness is an emotional connection found in our circumstances, past or present.
Joy is that state of mind that crosses over the past and the present into the future.
In Tommy Newberry’s book the 4:8 principle, he talks about the way this past, present, and future work together and how our understanding of joy gets stuck in them.
“If you persist in identifying with current or prior performance by constantly thinking and talking about it, then where you have been, where you are, and where you are going will all be one and the same”
This statement says a lot, but one thing it definitely reminds us of is that if we focus on our circumstances, past and present, those things that make us HAPPY, we will be get stuck never experiencing JOY.
Pursuit of happiness becomes a rut for us. Joy though isn’t found though…Joy finds us.
a couple weeks ago, we talked about Immanuel; God with us; and how powerful that could be in our lives.
Many of us feel that God with us isn’t always a great thing though. That’s because we have fallen short. It’s hard to imagine God with us, when we think of how we fail to represent him so often. It’s hard to be joyful about that, because we want to hide that from God.
This is one of those times I would tell my kids…it doesn’t matter what you think.
It’s true....it’s an exageration, but it’s true when it comes to this. God isn’t just with us, but he is FOR US. He’s working FOR US.
That's what God has always done.
Creation
Out of the nothingness of creation he created for his glory and our pleasure
Out of bondage, he delivered his people.
Out of the wilderness he delivered the promised land.
Out of exile, he defended a remnant
In the midst of rebellion, he delivered Jesus.
“The joy of God goes through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross, that is why it is invincible, irrefutable. It does not deny the anguish, when it is there, but finds God in the midst of it, in fact precisely there; it does not deny grave sin but finds forgiveness precisely in this way; it looks death straight in the eye, but it finds life precisely within it.”
“The joy of God goes through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross, that is why it is invincible, irrefutable. It does not deny the anguish, when it is there, but finds God in the midst of it, in fact precisely there; it does not deny grave sin but finds forgiveness precisely in this way; it looks death straight in the eye, but it finds life precisely within it.”
IF you are feeling joyless…you are very close to Joy
Rebuilding
Exile
Remnant
Jesus
Paul
Hebrews 12:2 NIV84
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Romans 12:2 NIV84
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Our response is to repent.
Our response is to repent.
Even Jesus found his Joy in the midst of unimaginable difficulty.
What was his joy?
Isaiah 35:1–10 ESV
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; 2 it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Our response is to repent.
Jesus could approach the cross because he knew who he was, why he was, and how he was. He knew he was the son of God, who was sent here to be the way of salvation for the people of God, and he even knew that his destiny was sacrifice.
It’s the same for us, we can know Joy by knowing our identity, our purpose and our destiny
This is the Joy of Advent.
Jesus came to be our purpose
Jesus came to be our destiny
1 John 5:1–5 NIV84
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus came to be our identity
Jesus came to be our purpose
Jesus came to be our destiny
Knowing Christ allows us to know who we are, why we are, and how we are
Our response is to repent.
That’s what the season of advent is all about.
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