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The PROMISE is a GOSPEL of Great JOY

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We are in the middle of a sermon series called The Promise.
We have been discovering The Promise of God that is fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ.
This Christmas season is when we celebrate all that is available to us through Jesus.
Specifically, we have been looking at the 4 themes of Advent: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
These are the themes of Advent, which are hope, peace, joy, and love.
We saw how Jesus meets our deepest longings and is the hope for our present and our future.
Last week we looked at how God often “Disrupts” our lives.
However, maybe we should see it more as an INTERVENTION rather than an INTERRUPTION!
Today we are taking a look at the third theme of Advent: joy.
Story: They say Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s one of my favorite times.....I just love it.
I love the reminder it gives me of my LORD!
I love the Christmas lights and festivities.
I love the gift exchange as well!
However, I really struggle with this part too!
And I wish my reason had some kind of weight to it....but really....Its just that i can be pretty impatient!
My mom learned to not put the gifts out until Christmas Eve!
Because I was a good negotiator....
I’d figure out a way to get them babies opened early!
And if not, I may have unwrapped a few and wrapped them back up!
And as I have gotten older....I have struggled on the other end of this!
I will figure out the best gift, but it takes all I have to not spill the beans!
Jaclyn turns 30 in February and if you know Jaclyn....she loves birthdays!....Birth weeks!
And this one…is a decade birthday so its like a big deal!
And so I think I got something figured out....
But my impatient self....has to say…hey i got something working up over here for your birthday!
Do you really want to be surprised!!??
I’m terrible!!
I just get so joyful over those kinds of things and just about can’t handle it!…And that’s the point I’m going for!
When someone finds joy in something, it is hard to hide it.
The things that bring you joy are the things that you want to share with the world.
It is just in our nature to want others to share it with others.
So, It is no wonder that in Scripture, God is eager to share the joy of His Son’s birth, even before it was time for Him to arrive.
The incarnation, which is Jesus’s birth or God coming to the earth as a human, is the greatest gift that has ever been given.
And through His word, You can almost sense God’s excitement for the hope, love, joy, and peace that would come through His arrival.

1. The Birth of Christ is a Great Joy TO ALL PEOPLE. (Luke 2:10)

There were some lowly shepherds who recieved this message nearly 2,000 years ago!
“The angle of the Lord said, Do not be afraid , for behold, I bring you GOOD TIDINGS of Great JOY which will be TO ALL PEOPLE. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!
Here we have the greatest birth announcement of all time!
The angel literally said, I bring you the GOSPEL of GREAT JOY!
Y’all realize this is the same Gospel we receive today!
This is the same Gospel that has the power unto salvation!
The same Gospel that can reached into your world and pull you out of your muck of sin!
The same Gospel that can breath resurrection Life into your very dead soul!
The Angels brought the GOSPEL.....Good Tidings!
And it is not just any kind of Good News....but is Good News of a GREAT JOY!
And this Great Joy will be TO ALL PEOPLE!
Well, what is this Gospel…this Good News?
It’s that a Savior has been Born, Who is Christ the Lord!
And not only born....but Born to US!
This was the PROMISE.......Isaiah 9:6
Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Let that sink in for a moment.....
Jesus was BORN UNTO YOU.....
Born unto you who are weak or sick
Born unto you who are tired and weary
Born unto you who are lonely or afraid
Unto you who are are angry and bitter
Unto you who are broken and lost
Therefore…this is the Gospel of GREAT JOY, which is to all people!
Joy to the world! The Lord is come Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room And heaven and nature sing And heaven and nature sing And heaven, and heaven and nature sing
May we prepare and make room for Jesus....for this Gospel of GREAT JOY

2. There is Joy in the PREPARATION for the Gospel. (Luke 1:11-17,43-45)

I love the thought of gave God great Joy to make preparation for His Son!
The book of Isaiah reminds us that the preparation of this Gospel was something God took serious!
There is even a prophetic word given about someone who would come to prepare the world for the arrival of Jesus.
This passage was written hundreds of years before its fulfillment, and it is one of God’s joyful promises about the future.
READ Isaiah 40:3–5.
Isaiah 40:3–5 NKJV
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
God promises that there will be a time of preparation before Christ’s birth.
There will be a straightening and a leveling that will take place, ensuring that the glory of God in Jesus would be made available to all people.
It is in the New Testament where we come across this voice in the Wilderness...
In fact, the story picks up with the father of this one who will come to prepare the way of the Lord.
His name is Zechariah and he is a priest who serves in the temple of God.
We find him in the temple burning incense in worship while people are praying outside.
READ Luke 1:11–17.
Luke 1:11–17 NKJV
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Apparently, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, had been praying for a child, and their prayers are being answered.
They will give birth to a son, and they are to name him John.
The angel says, “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth.”
This boy was special, and God had plans to use him to as God was literally bringing JOY to the World.
Remember....God takes Joy in the preparation of His work.........However, His preparation may not be what we expected.
His preparation was to.....
Have a crazy man who ate locust and honey and live in the woods to proclaim the coming of the Lord!
Make sure that a betrothed virgin would be the one to give birth!
Make sure there was no room in the inn!
Make sure that it was shepherds who welcomed him into the World!
Often times, God’s ways of preparation may not be the way we go about preparing for something!
But isn’t this true....think back to the way he prepared you for the Gospel!
You realize that happened don't you!
It wasn't by chance that you heard the Gospel!
God prepared you to hear it....He prepared the one who spoke it to speak it!
Your time of response to the Gospel is something God has been preparing for all of eternity!
The Holy Spirit has been designating Divine Appointments throughout your entire life!
God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Before he was born, he had plans for Jeremiah!
And God ultimately made the greatest preparation for you through the work of Jesus Christ!
Through the cross, God was saying....
Yes, this is done in preparation.....
Just like the passover lamb was sleighed to prepare for a people in which death would pass over....
Jesus was sleighed like a lamb to prepare a way in which death would pass over us too!
God was saying yes, this blood is the blood that will cleanse my people!
Yes, this sacrifice will serve as atonement a substitution for them!
And yes, this resurrection will be the power over death that will continue to bring about resurrection of the souls of my people!
Yes, what great preparation has been made today!
And because our God is a sovereign God, Jesus could make all preparations for the Gospel with JOY!
Hebrews 12:2
Hebrews 12:2 NKJV
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus says it was the joy of this preparation that enabled him to endure the cross.
Let that be a word for us today!
But you might say....well of course Jesus was joyful....he knew the end!
Well, first off....we know the end as well…its told to us!
But I understand.....Jesus is Jesus!

3. Our Joy is still DEPENDENT on the Presence of God.

Joy comes when we recognize God’s MERCY & GRACE. (Luke 1:57-58)
I believe recognizing God’s Mercy and Grace is synonymous with recognizing His presence!
His mercy and Grace is simply extensions of His presence upon our life!
We see this truth in Luke 1:57-58.
Luke 1:57–58 NKJV
57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives rejoiced with her!
Meaning they found Joy....
WHY.....BECAUSE they had heard about how the Lord had shown great mercy to her!
I love this picture!
First off, we see that Joy is contagious!
They rejoiced WITH HER!
You know it is hard to be around someone joyful without it rubbing off!
But Second, before the neighbors and relatives could rejoice with her......THEY HAD HEARD ABOUT THE LORD’S WORK IN HER LIFE!
Do you live such a life where your neighbors and relatives KNOW about the Mercy of God in your life???
I have asked us to all adopt someone....our “ONE”....
To write their name down to be prayed for at this altar often!
For you to be praying for them often!
For you to be intentional with the Gospel in their life!
It’s easy to write a name on a card....but to live a life....share your testimony…share God’s Mercy....
That’s another thing.....that's Obedience
May they hear of God’s Mercy on your life....maybe…just maybe....they will end up rejoicing with you!
Our Lord is a Gracious and Merciful God....may you recognize it today…your JOY is dependent on it!
Joy also comes through the TEACHINGS of Christ (John 15:9-17)
I love the concept of teaching and learning!
It is a beautiful gift we take for granted to often!
I have struggled with this through the years...
I remember in High School…I couldn't wait to stop learning....thought it was pointless!
Then, in college it was more directed learning but I still took it for granted.
It was in My masters that I truly started to appreciate learning!
But something I learned in school was that the teaching mattered as well!
And the further in my education I went, the more I caught onto this.
Some of my classes I had the privileged of sitting under the professors in which wrote the textbooks that all of the schools used for a particular subject....and I had the author as the professor.
Let’s just say....they knew the material…and there was a certain respect that came with that!
WELL....we have the best teacher there is in life!...
In fact, he is the author of life itself....the author and finisher of our faith!
However, JOY doesn't just come from hearing the teaching of Christ!
James says consider it all Joy when you face trials....and at the end of that he not be hearers only....but be doers of the word!
Jesus addresses this as well in John 15:9-17
John 15:9–17 NKJV
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
Jesus lays it all out here!
He says.....I LOVE YOU! you know that.....HE LOVES YOU!
Now, ABIDE in my love!
How....Keep my commandments!
Why....So that HIS JOY will remain in US…That OUR JOY may be complete!
And then He is so gracious to say…oh commandment is that you Love One Another!
I hope you hear this today.....
If you want to have JOY…if you want your Joy to be made complete....Go and Love One Another!
Too often, we struggle with not having Joy....
And we look at just about everything in our life's to see why we don’t have joy....
Is it my marriage that is taking my Joy
Is it my kids that are taking my joy
Is it my boss…my job that is taking my joy
Is it my community that is taking my joy
We tend to look everywhere but maybe one place....
Maybe your joy is incomplete because you are not obeying the one voice that matters!
Jesus said, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.....if you keep my commandments!
Our Lord ‘s teachings are invaluable...are you obeying them…your JOY is dependent on it!
Joy comes to us when Christ is REVEALED to us. (1 John 1:4)
This perhaps is the greatest blessing!
Why....well this is where obedience comes from!
The PROMISE of the new covenant is that God’s presence would indwell us and give us a spirit of obedience!
And that my friends is the source of Joy!…and it comes from His revelation!
READ 1 John 1:4
1 John 1:4 NKJV
4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
What things does John write in order that our JOY may be full...
Well lets take a look....1 John 1:1-4
1 John 1:1–4 NKJV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
The these things is simply the testimony of the WORD of LIFE!
The WORD that had been heard, seen with their eyes, in which their hands had touched.
The Life which was manifested that declares to us eternal life!
The same Gospel of Great Joy the angel was bringing to the shepherds!
This is the Word that John has been telling us about from the beginning…literally which was from the beginning!
And friends, we too have the testimony of the WORD right before us!
In fact, you are hearing it this morning!
The WORD which is from the beginning, is the WORD WE HAVE BEFORE US TODAY ....may it be revealed to you…your JOY is dependent on it!

4. Our Lord is One with JOY.

Read Luke 10:1-2,17-21
Luke 10:1–2 NKJV
1 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Luke 10:17–21 NKJV
17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
The seventy saw the authority in the Name of Jesus....and it gave them JOY!
I too pray that we see the authority in the name of Jesus and that makes Satan fall like lightening from heaven!
HOWEVER, Jesus says the real thing to be joyful over is that your names are written in heaven!
Do you have a joy in knowing your name is written in heaven!
Or maybe, you are not sure and your salvation is something you question!
Then, friend, may His JOY be made complete in you today as He gives you assurances for your salvation!
Confess with your mouth and believe in your Heart!
REPENT and Believe!
Repent and Be baptized!
Jesus says that the Father REJOICES when the Lost is fact...there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
God has been preparing you for this time today for all of eternity!
Whether that means you are lost and you have found JOY IN YOUR SALVATION TODAY!
Or whether that means you are a SAINT who’s JOY has been restored!
You have recognized his Grace and Mercy
You are ready to obey his teachings
And Most importantly He has revealed Himself to you!
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