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The Spiritual Discipline of Celebration

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The Spiritual Discipline of Celebration

Dr. Tony Campolo tells the story of having to speak in Hawaii. He couldn’t sleep so he got up and went to the local Diner at 3:00 in the morning.  As he was there a whole group of prostitutes came in.  He overheard the one girl telling another that her birthday was tomorrow.  The other girl put her down, what do want us to do throw you a party.  At that Campolo says he got the idea of having a birthday party for this working girl.  He talked the owner of the Diner who was in agreement.  They decorated the whole place, baked a cake and waited for her to come in the middle of the night.   When she walked in she couldn’t believe it.  When they brought out the cake and begin to sing to her she began to weep.  She said she had never had a birthday party in her whole life.  Blow out the candles,  cut the cake,  no don’t cut the cake.  “If it is alright with you I’d like to keep it a little longer.”   The owner said,  take it home if you want to.  “Really” “Can I?”  She carried the cake home.   When she had left – Campolo spoke up and says,  why do we pray.  And so he lead the little diner full of prostitutes in prayer.  He prayed for the girl whose birthday it was.  The owner of the Diner leaned over and said,  Hey I didn’t know you were a preacher.  What kind of church do you belong to?  

A church that throws parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning. 

No you don’t -  If there was a church like that I would join it. 

Look how Jesus describes the kingdom of Heaven.

Mat 22:2  "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.

Mat 22:3  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

Mat 22:4  "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'

He describes it as a party – a celebration.

The Jewish wedding of that day were huge.  They would feast for a week to celebrate the marriage and the family.

Isn’t it great that Jesus describes heaven as a great big celebration? 

Jesus didn’t distance himself from celebrations.

            Wedding in Cana – He is the New Wine

            Passover Feast – Lamb of God

            Feast of Tabernacles – John 7 -  Water of Life - 

The Jews had a ceremony of carrying water from the Pool of Siloam and pouring it into a silver basin by the altar of burnt offering each day for the first seven days of the Feast of Booths. On the eighth day this was not done, making Christ's offer of the water of eternal life from Himself even more startling.

He participated in the Celebration -  and Declared himself to the be the Water of Life.

John 7:37  On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.

John 7:38  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

John 7:39  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Luke 7:34  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."'

Celebration is a part of being a Christian

  • Celebration in heaven when are saved
    • Luke 15:10  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

  • Celebration as we live for him
    • Luke 10:20  However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
    • Phil 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

The Jews celebrated feasts throughout the year. They were instituted by God as a reminder to what he had done for them.


Tabernacles -  reminder that God provided shelter for them.

                        2 parts – Light - God was the source of light – I am the Light of the World

   Water – pouring out water was confession of sin – I am the Water of Life


Passover – Celebration of the deliverance in Egypt – blood was sprinkled over the door posts – the angel of death passed over – Jesus became that Passover Lamb -  He shed his blood once and for all

Feast of Weeks -  Celebrated 7 weeks after Passover

                             Harvest – celebrated the harvest of the later grains –

Pentecost -  when God poured out his Spirit.   The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit – they were sent out to the Harvest of souls

How much more do we have to celebrate because we are living in the fulfillment of these Festivals?  

Celebration is a part of being a Christian.      

  • The first thing we do in heaven is have a party.

Rev 19:1  After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

Rev 19:2  for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants."

Rev 19:3  And again they shouted: "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever."

Rev 19:4  The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: "Amen, Hallelujah!"

Rev 19:5  Then a voice came from the throne, saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!"

Rev 19:6  Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Rev 19:7  Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Rev 19:8  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Rev 19:9  Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'"

Tonight we are having another celebration in the form of a picnic. 

We are celebrating our salvation.

We are celebrating living for him.

We are celebrating that God has been good to us as individuals.

We are celebrating that God has been good to us as a church. 

It is a spiritual as anything we do.

I am not a Christian only when I am in church.

I am a Christian everywhere I am.

At church.  At home.  At the mall.  At the ball field.  At a picnic.

My encouragement to you today is:   Have Fun!!  REJOICE!!  CELEBRATE!!! 


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