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Remember Joy

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Joy
“Music is a fair and lovely gift of God which has often wakened and moved me to the joy of preaching.… Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.… My heart bubbles up and overflows in response to music, which has so often refreshed me and delivered me from dire plagues.” —Martin Luther
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 3785 Two Singing Religions

Judaism and Christianity are singing religions. Atheism is songless. It has nothing to sing about. The funeral notices of Robert Ingersoll, the noted agnostic, stated, “There will be no singing.”

The psalm-singing of Christian martyrs going to their deaths in the arena alerted the Roman Empire to the fact that a new and revolutionary force was coming into being. When the pleasure-bent populace saw the Christians singing as they fearlessly entered the amphitheater where hungry lions awaited them, they were filled with awe.

Heaven is vibrant with song: “And they sing the song of Moses … and the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3).

Singing, making music is often the result of joy. And we have much for which to be joyful in the Lord.
In this world we have troubles, both within our own hearts, and around us.
However, in the midst of the troubles, there shines a light, a beam of hope in the darkness.
When we gaze at that ray of light, and believe that the Lord is true and faithful, when we receive that hope by faith, joy wells up!
That is what happened with Zechariah.
A couple weeks ago, we found Zechariah, well along in years. He had a good life as a priest and husband. yet, he was troubled within, and without. In his own heart he was troubled and disappointed because he had no son.
On the outside, he was serving in a priesthood that was meant to bring people to the Lord, but was instead hindering them, and turned into a profiteering and domineering venture.
The Romans ruled publicly. The Priesthood was part of the Sanhedrin ruling every other aspect of life.
The scathing accusations the Lord made against the priesthood were still true after hundreds of years. He was praying for the nation, but did not see any hope.
Then, the angel, Gabriel appeared! Your prayers have been heard! Gabriel appeared to give Zechariah hope; hope for the nation with the coming of the Messiah, and hope for him personally with the gift of a son!
Hope, however, was not received by faith. And so, he was made to be silent. Why have a priest speak to the people when he himself did not believe the Hope of the Lord?
However, man’s lack of faith does not hinder the faithfulness of the Lord. The Lord still fulfilled His promises, and Zechariah’s son was conceived. What is more, his niece, Mary, also was with child, the most special child, the Messiah!
Zechariah saw all of this, and this man who did not receive hope by faith at first, was changed.
Let’s look at what happened now.
Luke 1:57–79 NIV
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Prayer
Luke 1:68 NIV
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.

Joy because He has Come

Joy because He has Redeemed

Luke 1:69 NIV
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David

Joy because He is Faithful - Davidic Covenant

2 Samuel 7:11–13 (NIV)
The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:
When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom.
He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
Psalm 132.17
Luke 1:70–71 NIV
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—

Joy for Salvation from enemies

Luke, Vol. 1—That You May Know the Truth Praise for Fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (vv. 68–71)

Today this mighty “horn of salvation” is able “to save completely those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). Whoever we are, whatever we have done, no matter how heinous our sin—whether it is murder, infidelity, perversion, betrayal, embezzlement, lying, jealousy, hateful gossip, or whatever—Christ, the “horn of salvation,” can save us completely and eternally. We must therefore take the greatest pride in the gospel, “because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

Luke 1:72–75 NIV
to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Joy for His Faithfulness - Abrahamic Covenant

Deuteronomy 7:7–8 NIV
The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 9:5–6 NIV
It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
Micah 7:18–20 NIV
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.
Luke 1:74–75 NIV
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Joy for Enablement to serve

without fear
holiness and righteousness
Joyous service is a hallmark of lives where the Son has risen. Christianity not only delivers us, but infuses our lives with purpose. This is no small boon in a world where so many culture-shapers teach that life is meaningless.
Luke 1:76–77 NIV
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,

Joy for a Son

Joy for forgiveness of sins

release
Psalm 32:1–5 NIV
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Luke 1:78–79 NIV
because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Joy for God’s Mercy

Ezra 9:13 NIV
“What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this.
Ephesians 2:4–8 NIV
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Joy for the Rising Sun from Heaven

shadow of death… to light of life
Is 59.9, 20
Isaiah 59:20 NIV
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.
John 1:4 NIV
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 8:12 NIV
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Joy for Peace

John 14:27 NIV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Joy because: He has Come, He has Redeemed, He is Faithful, He provides Salvation from enemies, He enables us to serve, He gives good gifts, He forgives sins, He is Merciful, He gave us the Rising Sun, He gives us Peace!
Reflecting upon, focusing on these things will give us Joy, even when within and without we have troubles.
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