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Joy & Redemption

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Redemption

Psalm 98 ESV
A Psalm. 1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. 3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! 5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! 6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! 7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! 8 Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together 9 before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
I have had a tough week. It has been a stressful week at work and it’s been a stressful week at home. My son Noah has a 14 year old teammate that lost his dad this week. My heart has been heavy all week. I just can’t imagine what their Christmas is going to be like for them. Christmas is going to be tough for a lot of families, but Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love Christmas Eve service and singing Silent Night with just the candle light. I just can’t image going through it without my wife. So as I prepared this week, it has been tough, but Lord works in Mysterious ways. I know we all have had a tough couple years. But God is faithful and His Word is full of promises to get us through the tough times. And it is pretty neat that as I began to prepare with a heavy heart and a tired heart it was a mazing that this weeks topic is Joy. Let’s begin this morning by looking at the definition of Joy.
Joy (שִׂמְחָה, simchah; χαρά, chara). Closely related to gladness and happiness, although joy is more a state of being than an emotion; a result of choice. One of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22–23). Having joy is part of the experience of being a Christian.
The first thing to note about our definition of Joy, is “it is more a state of being than an emotion”
So what is an emotion?
An emotion is normally quite short-lived, but intense. Emotions are also likely to have a definite and identifiable cause.
Emotions describe physiological states and are generated subconsciously. Usually, they are autonomous bodily responses to certain external or internal events.
I find emotions to be a word that is hard to define, but we all know what they are because we have all felt so very intense emotions haven’t we?
I think the important part to focus on in our definition is short-lived and are response to a current event something that is happening right now.
So what does our definition of joy mean that it is more of a state of being than an emotion?
The first thing that comes to mind, a state of being is long term. This isn’t a reaction in the moment but who we are normally. Can we loose focus on the joy of our salvation and get depressed and despair absolutely. I think Corrie Ten Boom said it best.
“If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest.”
See that is the key. You must remind yourself if you are distressed or depressed where is your focus? We have to turn our focus back to The Lord. And then the joy of your salvation will return.
So what is the source of our joy? Let’s look at what the Lexham Bible dictionary has to say:
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Cultural Relevance

Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit; it is expected of Christians because it is the natural result of having received salvation. The joy comes on account of what Christ has done, irrelevant of whatever other circumstances are happening in one’s life.

Heyink, B. (2016). Joy. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
This is a truth that is easy to say but very hard to live out. It is actually impossible to live out on our own what do we need if we want joy in our life no matter our circumstances? You must depend on the Holy Spirit right? Because joy is a fruit of the spirit not a fruit of you trying harder. The Christian life is a constant struggle to let go of our selves and let the Spirit of God live through us.
Let’s turn our attention toward our advent devotion we read this morning, but first let’s read Luke
Luke 2:36–38 ESV
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Remember what are joy should our be anchored in?
The joy comes on account of what Christ has done, irrelevant of whatever other circumstances are happening in one’s life.
This passage reminds me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s focus this morning. Redemption! Let’s define it
REDEMPTION is The release of people, animals, or property from bondage through the payment of a price.
What did Jesus redeem us from? What are we all in bondage to? Sin. Every human being, outside of Jesus is born in bondage to sin. Jesus is obviously our best example of how we are to live. How did Jesus face suffering? How did He respond? Let’s look at Hebrews
Hebrews 12:1–3 ESV
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Because Jesus possessed joy, He endured suffering. What joy was set before Jesus? Us, you, me. His joy was doing the will of The Father, and that will was redeeming us because of His great love for us. Jesus came and bought us with His precious blood. The joy of know that the suffering He was about to endure, redeemed His bride, the church. See His focus was not on His current suffering, but was on future joy. This is how you endure the suffering of this life. You focus on the next world. This world is not our home, and if you are anything like me, you need constant reminders of this truth. Because man do I forget. I get focused on this world and what did Corrie Ten Boom remind us happens when we focus on this world? We will be Distressed! That is where I have been all week. Now this morning and the rest of advent let’s turn our focus to eternity, the promise we find in Jesus. You can find a joy this morning that will long out last advent. It will last for eternity, but you must keep your focus on Jesus and the promise of eternity. In closing, I want to look at the story behind the song we sang this morning, “Joy to the World”
It is one of the most exuberant carols that we sing. It is one of the most popular carols that we sing. It is also one of the most beloved carols that we sing. And yet, as you will learn today, it is not actually a carol at all. In fact, though we sing and treat it this way, it is not even a song about Christmas; at least, not as its author intended. The song in question is none other than Isaac Watt’s famous work Joy To the World. If the father of medicine was Hippocrates and the father of the telephone was Alexander Graham Bell, then the father of English hymns was none other than Isaac Watts. Having penned a massive collection of over 750 hymns, Watts’ work is still being printed in books, projected onto screens and sung by Christians worldwide. Isaac Watts was born in 1674, in South Hampton England. Raised in a deeply religious family, Watts’ earliest memories were of his father’s concrete convictions about religious liberty. Watts Sr. even spent time in prison on two separate occasions for his outspoken Nonconformist views. (Rather than conforming to the Church of England, Nonconformists were typically Presbyterians or Baptists who wanted to worship in a government-free church.)  Isaac Watt’ parents saw to it that their love for Christ and His word were passed on to their son. As a child, Watts showed remarkable propensity for rhyme, much to his father’s chagrin. After the family prayer time, one day, the sober minded elder Watts confronted his young son about why he had opened his eyes mid-prayer. The boy Watts creatively explained that he had been distracted, saying: A little mouse for want of stairs, ran up a rope to say its prayers. Unamused by his son’s rhyming reply and wanting to discourage such juvenile behavior, his father spanked him for it. To which Watts cried out, O father, father pity take, and I will no more verses make. No amount of spankings, though, could drive his love of verse, rhyme, poetry and music from his heart. His education eventually led him to pastor a large independent church in London. He quickly earned a reputation for his oratory and preaching skills even becoming a private tutor helping train other preachers in the city. Throughout his years of ministry, Watts obsessively sought to put his Christian affections and convictions on paper so that other could join him in heartfelt worship and song. Believe it or not Watts’ work, in his day, was not always well received. You see, Watts was boldly introducing (what was for his time, contemporary) “praise and worship” songs into the life of the church. (Think of Isaac Watts as the Chris Tomlin or Matt Papa of his day.) Up until that point, the song selection in most Protestant churches was limited almost exclusively to the Psalms. John Calvin, during the Reformation, had translated the Psalms into the common language of his people (French) so that they could be sung corporately. Many English-speaking churches followed in his pattern. When Watts came along, though, he began introducing extra-biblical poetry into his songs. To some, this was anathema. To others, it was a breath of fresh air. Watts’ lyrical goal, as one author put it, was to wed “emotional subjectivity” and “doctrinal objectivity.” Songs such as When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed, I Sing the Mighty Power of God and O God, Our Help in Ages Past were a blend of personal reflection and emotional reaction couched in rich theological convictions. His songs put the old wine of faith into the new wineskins of English rhyme and poetry. Isaac Watts was giving new life to church worship. Like Calvin did for the people of his day, Watts also published a work in 1719 that was a translation or rewriting of the Psalms for congregational singing. The hymnbook was entitled (it’s long, so prepare yourself), The Psalms of David: Imitated in the Language of the New Testament and Applied to the Christian State and Worship. In other words, Watts read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament and wrote his Psalm-book to explicitly point to the person and work of Christ. In that collection, you will find Watts’ rewriting of Psalm 98. It is familiarly entitled Joy to the World. The opening line of Joy to the World is sometimes sung incorrectly as, “Joy the world! The Lord has come.” That is not what Watts wrote. He wrote, “The Lord is come.” Watts was not describing a past event (the birth of Jesus) but rather looking forward to a future event (the return of Jesus). The main point of Psalm 98 (which Watts himself clearly understood) was not about the first coming of Jesus, but, rather, about His Second Coming! And that’s precisely what the song is about. It speaks of Jesus’ final coming to earth when “the Savior reigns” and when “He rules the world with truth and grace.” Watts longed for that glorious final day when the “nations (will) prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.” Even though Watts may not have ever envisioned his song being sung at Christmas time, I think it is a wonderful tribute to his work. Indeed, the first advent of Jesus stands as a historical guarantee that His Second Advent is just around the corner. Indeed, the birth of Jesus and the return of Jesus are “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
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