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The Real Joy of Advent

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The Real Joy of Advent

I have always found it fascinating that when God chose to announce the birth of the Messiah to the world, he didn’t inform the rich and powerful leaders of the day? Instead he chose to announce it to shepherds who were tending their flocks near by. I all probability, the sheep they were tending would be the sacrifices that were used in the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem.
The Shepherds in Palestine culture were considered to be the lowest class of people. The nature of their calling prohibited them from frequent participation in the religious rituals of their day, and there were discriminating practices against them, they were not even permitted to give testimony. They were considered to be so unscrupulous and untrustworthy that their testimony was of little value. Even though the rest of society seemed to shun them and hated them, it seems they held a special place in the heart of God.
When God called Moses to bring forth the Exodus of the Israelite people, Moses was an exile in the midianite desert tending sheep.When Israel became a nation, there came a time when a shepherd boy by the name of David, was annointed king. The age of the prophets we find Amos, not a man of great stature, but a shepherd whom God called into service for Himself.


NOTE: the personal nature of the angels message was: ‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. The announcement was then followed by directions and a play, by play, description of what the scene would look like.
1) Good News
2) Great Joy

Good News: Good news would later become the identifying characteristic of the Gospel message; it had been used in the deliverance of God’s people.

Great Joy: The news of a Savior would mean much to people in every land, but it came in the first instance to God’s ancient people. The Savior of Jesus here only in the Synoptic Gospel, is called Christ the Lord.

The message ended with a sudden appearance of a multitude of other angels praising God. They were call a host, i.e. ‘army”, paradoxically an army that announces peace. The angels are saying that God will bring peace ‘for men on whom his favor rests’. There is an emphasis on God, not man. It is those whom God chooses, rather than those who choose God, of whom the angels speak.
The Good News of Great Joy Is:
There is an old idea floating around out there that Christianity must be expressed in a gloomy and “piosity”, that Christians must go about with “long faces.”


What is the difference between happiness and Joy?
When trying to define the difference between joy and happiness, it was J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, that once wrote: “The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.”
In an article from Psychology Today, “The transitory things of life are happiness-based.” and then later, “Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are, why you are...”
Brown, Sandra L., Joy vs. Happiness, Psychology Today, Dec. 18, 2012
happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events


From the very beginning Satan has been trying to distort the Joy of God.

1.Christian Joy is an inward change that expresses itself in an outward way.

1 Peter 1:8
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”

The world is seeking happiness that depends on outward circumstances.

 Hymn Writer Loses Joy Of Salvation
Robert Robinson, author of the hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” lost the happy communion with the Savior he had once enjoyed, and in his declining years he wandered into the by-ways of sin. As a result, he became deeply troubled in spirit. Hoping to relieve his mind, he decided to travel.
In the course of his journeys, he became acquainted with a young woman on spiritual matters, and so she asked him what he thought of a hymn she had just been reading. To his astonishment he found it to be none other than his own composition. He tried to evade her question, but she continued to press him for a response.
Suddenly he began to weep. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he said, “I am the man who wrote that hymn many years ago. I’d give anything to experience again the joy I knew then.” Although greatly surprised, she reassured him that the “streams of mercy” mentioned in his song still flowed. Mr. Robinson was deeply touched. Turning his “wandering heart” to the Lord, he was restored to full fellowship.
—H. G. Bosch1
Happiness - like prosperity - always seems to be just out of our reach. Even if worldly joy is realized, it can only be temporary at best.

Christian Joy is Different for worldly happiness.

It is inward

it does not depend on outward circumstances.

It is real and present

it is real and present; it does not depend upon the future; it is within our grasp.

*We choose joy in trusting when we want to doubt.

*We choose joy in receiving when we want to reject

*We choose joy in celebrating when we want to fear.

“The apostles rejoice that they were worthy to suffer for the name of Christ.
Paul and Silas rejoiced in prison by singing hymns.

It is eternal

We are assured of a joyful future.
 Recipients of Great Joy
Many of us will be watching the college bowl games and play-offs this year leading to a national championship in football game. Team members and fans alike rejoiced in the achievement. However, the greatest joy came to those who had suffered the bumps, bruises, and hurts in actually playing the game.
Likewise at the Lord’s return the greatest joy will be for those who have striven and suffered for Christ in the interim prior to His return.
JOY. The experience of deliverance and the anticipation of salvation provide the most significant occasions for rejoicing among the people of God in the OT. The coming of the Messiah, who delivers his people and brings salvation becomes the basis for rejoicing in the NT.
The response of joy, gladness, or happiness is not only a deep inward feeling, but is expressed in celebration when God’s people gather together.
The apostles rejoiced that they were worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. ()
Paul and Silas rejoiced in prison by singing hymns to God, even though their backs were bleeding from fresh beatings. ()

2.Christian Joy is found in obedience not apathy.

If you obey Jesus your Joy will be greater.

The Ethiopian Eunuch rejoiced after he had been obedient.
Saul was strengthened only after he became obedient to God.
The Philippian jailer rejoiced only after he had been obedient to the gospel.
Faith produces misery of a tender conscience.
Only the divine assurance of forgiveness brings true joy.

 God of Joy

God rejoices in the well-being and faithfulness of his people, and in the repentance and conversion of sinners. He brings joy to his people, who rejoice in his presence and faithfulness.

God is the source of our daily Joy.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice.”
psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
“I have spoken these things to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

God rejoices in the restoration of his people.

he rejoices as does a bridegroom; . He rejoices as does a father.

God brings brings the fullness of joy to our lives.

We know that we have the fullness of joy when it outweighs all other competing emotions and desires in our lives.

Where does joy come from?

It comes from the Holy Spirit, not our own effort. ( Fruit of the Spirit)

It comes from belonging to the kingdom of God.

It comes from seeing and knowing Jesus as Lord.

It comes from fellow believers.

It comes from our ongoing sanctification.

Who Rejoices?
The Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and angels in heaven rejoice when one soul is saved. () The church rejoices. The loved ones of the new converts rejoice. The person who is saved rejoices.

3.Christian Joy is a natural response to a supernatural experience.

Joy is experienced naturally in may circumstances of life and in human relationships. It is especially important in the life of God’s people, who experience joy in response to all that God has done for them.

How does Salvation brings us our Joy?

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
Joy is not something that you earn or can manufacture.

1) The joy of reconciliation

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than than, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, though whom we have now received reconciliation.”

2) The Joy of Possession.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

3) The Joy of anticipation

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
Joy can be lost when we choose to indulge in sin.

1) If your soul is satisfied in Christ, you will rejoice in Christ.

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. . . . These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” ()
“And we are writing these things that your joy may be full.”
If your soul is satisfied in Christ, you will rejoice in Christ. Take your eyes off Christ, and you’ll lose your joy. Christian joy is a barometer of your spiritual life.

2) Nobody can sin and retain their peace of mind

2) Nobody can sin and retain their Joy.

This happens when sin becomes more pleasurable than righteousness.
Joy connects our daily spiritual life with Him. (we find our greatest satisfaction in pleasing him alone)Joy keeps you safe as you serve Him.Joy keeps you safe from temptation.

It’s hard for Satan to tempt a believer who is filled with the Joy of Christ.

Coal miners know that dangerous gases can gather silently and secretly in the tunnels. Carbon monoxide will asphyxiate them. Methane explodes.
A methane explosion took the lives of 12 men in the 2006 Sago mine disaster in West Virginia. In 1906, almost 1,100 miners were killed in France in one massive chain of explosions.
But in the early days of coal mining, they found an effective, low-tech solution: They brought canaries into the mines. A canary’s metabolism is very sensitive to air quality. As long as the bright yellow birds chirp and sing, miners know the air is safe. If gas levels rise, the canaries stop singing, wobble on their perch, and eventually fall to the floor of the cage.
Christian joy is like that singing, yellow bird. One of the first effects of sin or doctrinal error is that we lose our joy in Christ. When your heart stops singing, that is a warning to watch your life and doctrine closely.

3) The departure of joy leaves a vacancy in your life.

 Joy is a fruit that will not grow
In nature’s barren soil;
All we can boast, till Christ we know,
Is vanity and toil.
But where the Lord hath planted grace,
And made His glories known,
These fruits of heavenly joy and peace
Are found, and there alone.
—John Newton
When I get up from the Thanksgiving table, the last thing I want is more food. You cant’ tempt me to eat another bite.
In the same way, it’s hard for Satan to tempt a joyful believer with the empty pleasures of this world.
A joyful believer is already more than satisfied in Christ — what more could he possibly want? Make it a point to be satisfied in Christ so that you rejoice in the Lord, and you will find safety and strength in your fight against sin.
Coal miners know that if the canary is not singing, there is trouble on the way.
So rejoice in the Lord! To write the same things is safe for you.

Joy is restored with true repentance

What is true repentance? Not simply fear of punishment; but true Godly grief at having broken God’s law, and grieving the spirit of god; combined with a desire to live a better, purer life. Forgiveness cannot be obtained while sin remains.

“Let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” ()
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” ()
It can seem strange that repentance can produce both grief and joy — that David’s bones can be “crushed” and yet “rejoice.”

How do we know true repentance has taken place?

1) We fully acknowledge the weight of our sin.

2) We boldly claim the promises of Grace.

The gospel also enables us to lay hold of God’s promises for forgiveness and change while we are repenting. David’s prayer, “let me hear joy and gladness” in  is of one piece with his prayer, “wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” in .

3)We involve other people in the healing process.( say’s that when we repent before others it brings healing)

4) We meditate on Christ’s intercession for us. -Christ’s intercession is an incredible help to finding joy in repentance. We all know what it is like to wallow in the guilt and shame of our sin, wondering if God has run out of patience.  seems to envision this kind of post-sin wallowing, and how Christ’s intercession functions as its answer: “when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me.”


This is what Jesus did over 2,000 years ago when he brought Good News of Great Joy that will be for all people, for unto us is born this day in the City of David a Savior, Christ the Lord.
One of the clearest statements in scripture of this great joy is
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
We have a spectacular message of a spectacular rescue Story.
While waiting in a Nazi prison cell in 1943 a few weeks before Advent, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a friend, "A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent."
Shortly after penning those words, the Nazis executed Bonhoeffer. But he was right: the door of freedom for him and for us today is still opened from the outside by the coming and second coming of Jesus Christ.
Encourage: reach out to someone who is experiencing fear and worry, show them the great joy we have in the Messiah.
Evaluate: Make a list of the things about your relationship with Christ that bring your great joy.
Express: Create margin in your busy Christmas schedule to thank God for the Good News of Great Joy that he freely gives you everyday.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury,pardon.                                                                                                        Where there discord, union.                                                                                                        Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
— Prayer for Peace of St. Francis of Assisi
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