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Good News of Great Joy

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Great fear is overcome y greater JOY at Christmas!

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Christmas Promises

4 weeks series
come each week in December
Last week hope, next week Peace and then Love
Christmas Eve 4:30 & 6:30
Carols, Responsive Readings, a Message focussed on the Christmas story
Today our service is focused on Joy

Definition of Joy

“Closely related to gladness and happiness, although joy is more a sate of being then an emotion; a result of choice.” - The Lexham Bible Dictionary.
Imagine with me that you have a cell phone in your jacket pocket.
It buzzes, because you are on church on put it on silent mode.
You get the news that you have one a contest, a brand new car.
You correctly answer the skill testing question, realize that its not a scam, and now you are sitting there, trying to be calm and listen to a sermon, but knowing that you have won a brand new car!
you are not just happy, and you are not just glad, there is a joy that comes spontaneously because of this good news that you have received.
That’s Joy,

“Joy”

2015 - Disney/Pixar - Inside Out
Riley & her emotions following a move from the midwest to San Fransisco.
Animated portrayal of 5 emotions, Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust & Joy
PLOT - Riley finds herself under an unbearable weight to appear joyful, even as she goes through a roller coaster of emotions.
SUMMARY - Let people experience their true emotions, and the weight of expectations and appearances is removed.

What if there is more to joy than just being yourself?

The Bible teaches that true Joy is found in the hearts and lives of those who are forgiven of their sins.
Its more than just being happy and glad. It’s a sense of being right with God that is good and satisfying. It’s a knowing that you are pure and clean and right in his sight. Joy in its purest form is the gladness and happiness that comes from being loved, forgiven accepted and made new by God.
Good News of Great Joy - Luke 2, takes place directly after the birth of Christ. In this passage we see the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the Shepherds.
Luke 2:8–18 HCSB
In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Whom the message was given
What the message was.
How they responded to the message.

Shepherds

Bottom rung on the social ladder.
part of being shepherd meant that there was little or no time to be a part of the Temple life. Cut off culturally.
Don’t trust the shepherds. their testimony was not valid in court.

Bethlehem Shepherds

Different from Travelling Shepherds
they were stationed around Bethlehem
had permission with local farmers
eat the stubble of the wheat between harvest and planting seasons. (win-win)
Jewish law (Mishnah) stipulated that Temple sheep were to be kept at Bethlehem.
all other flocks were kept in the wildernesss
Good potential that these shepherds were in charge of future passover lambs.
Jesus would ultimately take the place of the passover lamb.
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
These shepherds did not know that God had sent his son to their world.
Instead, they were the outcasts of society, doing the job that no one else wanted to do.
I wonder what joy looked like for these shepherds. What were they hoping for? What would give them a sense of gladness and happiness.
Would they settle for just being thought of as an equal.
Would they want freedom from the authority of the Roman Government that they were living under.
These shepherds are about to have the night of their lives.
in the fields, keeping watch for thieves and wolves, checking out the stars in the sky, maybe enjoying the moonlight, maybe just about to nod off, when suddenly

An Angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

They didn’t see that coming. We read that they were terrified, have you ever thought about why they were terrified?
it wasn’t just the sudden shock of the appearance of the Angel.
it was also the glory that accompanied the angel.

The Glory of the Lord

This isn’t the only time in the Bible that The Glory of the Lord shines.
We can see what happens the other times that God’s glory is mentioned to understand what these shepherds were going through.
Ezekiel and John
God is holy, which means pure and completely set apart from sin. He is surrounded by glory, and the times that his glory is visible are very precious. But to be in the presence of such purity and perfection also heightens our awareness of our own shortcomings, sin and pride.
Ezekiel was a prophet who lived 600 years before Jesus was born. He had an amazing encounter with God. Here he describes what God’s glory looked like.
Ezekiel 1:28 HCSB
The appearance of the brilliant light all around was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the form of the Lord’s glory. When I saw it, I fell facedown and heard a voice speaking.
God’s glory the appearance of a brilliant light. And the light isn’t just white, its like the light of a rainbow. It’s beautiful.
That gives us a glimpse into what these Shepherds were seeing surround that angel, but what were they feeling?
Display this slide, but don’t read the verse
Revelation 1:17 HCSB
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last,
John, who was one of Jesus disciples records in the book of revelation what it is like to be in the presence of God. He sees Jesus himself in this vision and in Revelation 1:17 John says that he “fell at his feet like a dead man”.
That’s what a terrified person would do. It’s an immediate loss of strength, it’s an instant realization that you are in the presence of God.
We are kidding ourselves if we think that we could see God’s glory without being terrified ourselves.
It’s not that it is scary or terrible. It’s that God’s glory is so good and holy and pure because it emanates from a God who is Good, and Holy and Pure and loving.
We are sinful, we fall so short of his goodness and his love. And in God’s unfiltered glory it is so obvious that we have no hope on our own strength to ever be near to God.
In that moment, we would immediately recognize that we are sinners in the presence of a holy God.

But the Angels said to them, “Don’t be afraid...”

Why shouldn’t they be afraid? Why should any sinner have any sort of comfort when we know that we are justly deserving of the consequences of our sin.
But it seems as if God didn’t send his angel to declare his judgment against sin. The message is entirely different.
Luke 2:10 HCSB
But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:
A Great Fear was to be overtaken by a Greater Joy.
We are going to see here how the Joy affects the Shepherds.
What was this message that the Angel was giving them?
How would it affect these shepherds?
What would they do with the information?
What was the Good News that would make Great Joy for all the People?
Luke 2:11 HCSB
Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.
There are three parts to that sentence, and all three would be meaningful for the Shepherds and also for us.

1. Saviour 2. Messiah the Lord 3.Born in the City of David.

Saviour = Deliverer
Saviour, what kind of Saving did these Shepherds need? What did they need saving from?
The popular thought of their day was that they needed saving from the oppression of the Roman Army.
saving King, line of David
knew what it was like to live in captivity, wanted their own national freedom.
But it was a different kind of Saving that God had in mind.
Luke 19:10 HCSB
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
God’s plan for saving starts with his seeking. He cares for the lost, people who are living in darkness.
Not necessarily people who are involved in the occult, or dark practices, or what society and culture would deem to be unethical.
Instead that Bible teaches us that we can be lost in darkness in the sense that God is light, and if he is not at the centre of my life, then I don’t have light.
The Shepherds were cut off from the Sacrificial System of their day, because they were so often ritually unclean, that they couldn’t get near the place where the sacrifices happened.

A Seeking Saviour

Jesus came so that he could give himself as a sacrifice for the Shepherds sins. They were unable to come to God for help, but he was seeking for them, in the middle of the darkness of the night, he came with his glory and his message that there was good news to be had.
When we think of a search that happens for criminals, we usually think of it being done so that they can be brought to justice.
our sin makes us enemies of God, it puts us at irreconcilable odds with him.
you would think that he would come looking for us, to punish us. But that is not the Good News that Angels came with.
A Seeking Saviour had been born.
People who are lost in the darkness are being sought be a saviour who will sacrifice himself so that they can be saved.
God had been promising the Israelites for Centuries that he would send them a Savior. Now the Shepherds are about to find out that this Saviour is also Messiah the Lord.

Messiah the Lord

Messiah means “anointed one”.
Christ also means anointed one.
Messiah is Hebrew, Christ is Greek.
Because the Shepherds were Jewish, we are using the term Messiah.
Lord designates the position of a ruler
Put those two words together and we see that the angels are announcing The Anointed One of God who is the Ruler.
Put all three titles together, and that this baby that the Angels were talking about was being announced as
The Saviour that they had been waiting for.
The Anointed One to do God’s work
Their Ruler, one who could have full authority.

Born in the City of David

David is the King who had a received a special promise from God.
2 Samuel 7:16 HCSB
Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.’ ”
This was an important part of the Good News for the Shepherds to hear.
Iit was the final piece to the puzzle. This was exactly who they had been waiting for, who their people had been waiting for.
This was the promised Savior. Messiah The Lord. And the fulfillment of the promise to David.
Salvation had arrived in the person of a baby, who was born on that day in Bethlehem, the City of David.
The Angel didn’t just give the information that the baby was born, the angel also said that they could go and see the baby with their own eyes.
Luke 2:12 HCSB
This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
There is nothing out of the ordinary about a Baby being wrapped snugly in a cloth, but lying in a feeding trough, that’s different.
It goes to show that God knows what he is doing. I’m sure that Mary and Joseph weren’t entirely impressed with their lodging
might have had something else in mind, (not a manger)
but God used those humble surroundings as a sign to the shepherds.

Faith is knowing what God says is true and then demonstrating that you believe Him by your actions.

What would the Shepherds do with the information? Would they believe the Angel?
obviously, it’s an angel speaking to them.
but think about this yourself, what does it take for you to be convinced that something is true?
How many times do you have to read a verse in your Bible to act on that truth?
How obvious does God need to be in your life?

Honoured to be the Witness to Good News of Great Joy

The Shepherds were not high in their society.
God choose the lowest of the low to send his angel to, to give an announcement that all of heaven was waiting for.
God put value on those shepherds
maybe it’s better to say, God recognized the value that was already in those shepherds.
It’s easy to judge people, do determine what kind of value you think that they might have.

God doesn’t value people based on their achievements

Doesn’t value people based on their appearances, or their popularity.
God values people based on the fact that he created and loves people. And he is on a mission to seek and to save the lost,
God values lost people, and God values found people.
Everyone counted the Shepherds out, but God valued them.
Everyone might count you out, but nothing matters more in life than what God thinks of you.

Good News of Great Joy

A Saviour, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you.
Luke 2:13–14 HCSB
Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!
The Angels weren’t singing for the sake of the Shepherds. Instead, they were giving glory to God.
Marvelling at his brilliant and perfect plan to save people.
Giving him the glory that he deserves, for his goodness.
The angels were proclaim the wonders of the goodness of God, that he would bring peace on earth to people He favours.
Then the Angels left those shepherds and returned to heaven. The brilliant light was gone, but the joy remained. What would they do with the message.
Luke 2:15–20 HCSB
When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.
What can we do with Good News of Great Joy?
The shepherds searched until they found the baby Jesus.
They repeated the message that they were told, and everyone who heard it was amazed.
They praised God for all that they had seen and heard.
That’s the proper response to the Good News or the Gospel of Jesus.
We can do the same.
Search for Jesus
Repeat the Message
Praise God.
We can search for Jesus too, reading our Bibles, coming to church, praying to God, asking Christians to help us understand.
Part of the Good News is that Jesus is a Seeking Saviour. If you are looking for him, you will find him, because he is the one that is seeking you. God can give you the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, he can help you to understand, he can help you to believe. Ask him for that help.
We can repeat the message to others.
Good News is worth sharing.
If you had won the car that I talked about at the start, you might tell a few people.
How much better to have God, your creator, save you from your sin and make peace with you, giving you the gift or real life for now and for eternity.
This is the greatest news, and a lot more important than winning a car. Tell people, they need that great news to, they need to have peace with God and forgiveness of sin.
We can praise God
God deserves our highest praise, he is worthy of every bit of thanksgiving and worship that we can give. Praise God.
Sometimes this good news becomes old news. We get used to it. We forget about how our lives could be if God hadn’t found us when we were living in darkness.
Fight the staleness through thanksgiving. Thank God for your salvation. Thank God that he found you.
Thank God that he cares for you, and loves you, and that a baby was born for you who is Saviour, Messiah the Lord.
Joy in its purest form is the gladness and happiness that comes from being loved, forgiven accepted and made new by God.
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