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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:
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).
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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