Well, we have been kind of going through some of the songs of Christmas as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the greatest event in all of human history the coming of Jesus Christ Our Lord as the babe in the manger who grew to be a man and did wonderous Miracles and then died on the cross for us and rose again that we might have life, eternally and abundantly.
As we went through these various hymns. We have seen the gospel in song and today. I'd like us to look at one more hear the hymn Joy to the World in the 16 hundreds and for many years before congregational singing in the English church had been strictly limited to the Psalms many of these sung songs were so unnatural in the formatting that Samuel Wesley the father of the famous brothers Charles and John Wesley called them scandalous dog roll, which it sounds better in that old English than it really mean poor quality composition. I like scandalous dog roll myself.
His opinion was shared by many and the church and it was in the midst of the Church of this church climate in 1690 that a 15 year old boy complain to his Deacon father about the atrocious nature of the musical portion of the worship and in response to his complaint. His father said give us something better than young man. The boys answer was ready for the evening service. I think you might have been thinking about it. They even sung the song that night and thus began the hymn writing work of Isaac watts are Christmas season would hardly seem complete without singing of the joy that comes because of the King Jesus. We sing that Carol Joy to the World
As we learn more about the one who came for us, it was Isaac Watts attempt to put scripture to music and the hymn is based on Psalm 98, especially versus 4 to 9, and then putting this song to music watch sought to express the joy of the promised Messiah with its New Testament reality in our savior's birth.
I like to read you a portion of that psalm this morning beginning and verse 4 I'm reading from the new King James version
shout joyfully to the Lord all the Earth Break Forth and song rejoice and sing praises sing to the Lord with a harp and with the harp and the sound of a song with trumpets and the sound of a horn shell. Joyfully before the Lord the king Let the Sea Roar and all its fullness the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands up the hills be joyful together before the Lord for he is coming to judge the Earth with righteousness. He shall judge the world and the people's with equity.
And reading the song we see the joy of Simply knowing that God is going to bring righteousness and Justice in to the world Joy to the World is an exhortation to Rejoice that with the coming of Christ into this world that righteousness and justice has indeed arrived and will be brought to completion through the work of the cross the death of Christ his resurrection at it last his second coming. The birth of Christ got the ball rolling the cross paid the price the resurrection offer the promise and the second coming will bring it all to completeness. Even so Lord Jesus come is the word of the church this day as we understand that it is with this second coming that everything will be finally set, right?
In this Advent and Christmas season in particular as we sing great songs, like Joy to the World is hard not to notice that most people aren't really all that. Joyful there want to talk about the Christmas story from the perspective of joy.
Joy that it originally brought to the world in the birth of the Savior and the continuous joy that is available for everyone who claims Jesus Christ as their lord. And I want to start with something that seems a little strange at first and that is the delay of joy.
But the delay of joy is a reality the Jewish people have been dealing with for a very long time. They've been waiting for the coming of Messiah from the beginning of the promise until the day he came. They had been a captive Nation many times and their history and they lived through both years of Triumph and many years of slavery. From The Book of Genesis to Malachi. God had promised and prophesied that the Messiah was on the way the deliver they had hoped for your day after day month after month year after year passed and no Messiah arrived on the scene. To top it off by the time we reach the New Testament era. The people of Israel had not heard a word from the Lord any word from the Lord for over 400 years.
I'm sure the summer beginning to doubt God's promises others were most likely wondering if they had done something to cause the messiah's delay. While still others held out hope that he would indeed arrive on the scene and begin to set things, right.
Something very similar I think has taken place in most of our Lives. While most of us do not have a Jewish Heritage and perhaps don't even understand what it is. We've been missing there is a sense of delay in our lives before we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Messiah we are longing for that joy that can only be found in the gifts come from God and Jesus Christ. In fact, I am convinced that without Christ in our life. We cannot will not truly experience joy to its fullest
You to be happy. There's a lot of happy people in the world commercials on TV. Tell us that if we just get the right car or the right ring, or the right clothes are the right food like anything out there that we will indeed be happy and we will have a joyous and Merry Christmas.
But regardless of the temporal happiness we experience.
We still often find it difficult to truly experience Joy on its deepest most satisfactory level the level that can only come when we believe in Jesus Christ as our savior.
You see the happiness that we gain from possessions from relationships from the events in our lives is only temporary. You all know that you've experienced that you can have a day that just seems like the happiest day. Maybe it's at the happiest place on earth. I don't know.
And then the ride home becomes tedious and you get home.
And the dog has had an accident.
Or perhaps has eaten all of your food.
Or a pipe is busted?
Or perhaps even worse your home's been burglarized and the happiness. You felt for a moment is gone.
and you wonder
is this what life is about?
For everything in this life is temporary.
And can only bring happiness for a Time.
The joy, true joy It's found in Jesus Christ and it is a joy that is unspeakable and full of Glory. The Bible says it is a joy that does not fade away. Jesus said these things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.
He wants His joy to reign in our hearts. He wants his joy to be full in us. He wants Joyce overflow from our lives regardless of situations. We may find ourselves it and then he wants joy to be in our lives. No matter if we have a No Good Very Bad Day or the best day we've ever had. He wants joy to be in our life before experiencing a brand new relationship with all the weird little tingles that come with it or if we've been married for 50 years, and we're not sure what A tingle is anymore.
He wants joy to be in our lives to the fullest so that we can truly know what it means to say. We have a savior who is Christ the Lord.
Sing with me
There we go sing this with me.
(Singing Joy To The World...)
when you sing that song, do you know what that really means? Do you understand? The joy that comes to you through Christ Our Lord many of us are missing out on the joy. Either, We've never experienced it or it is fading away. We have to discover the joy. No one can do that for us. We must discover the joy of our Salvation ourselves. This Joy can only be found in a personal encounter with God through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
At the first Christmas when the Angels appeared to the shepherds in the field the angel said fear not for behold. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people for untu you is Born This Day in the city of David a savior. Who is Christ the lord.
When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her that she would give birth of the Messiah she ran to tell her cousin Elizabeth, who is also going to have a baby. Elizabeth said when I heard your greeting the baby in my womb jumps for joy.
Are you noticing a pattern here everyone who is receptive to Jesus becomes filled with joy. Those that discovered him two thousand years ago experienced it and it's no different for those who discover him today.
I love the story of Zacchaeus and not because we have a little song that's fun to sing and especially little kids singing it.
But I love it because this man Zacchaeus had been a horrible sinner according to everybody around him talk about judging. They all judge Zacchaeus. Not only that he was short.
And that was a real problem for him. He couldn't see over the crowd. So he really wants to discover joy in Jesus. He really wants a personal encounter with him. So he runs and he jumps and climbs into a sycamore tree for the Lord. He wanted to see your right?
And when Jesus was there he invites himself over to Zacchaeus house for dinner. You were people invite themselves over to your house for dinner.
Do you panic? Evidently Zacchaeus didn't it says the Zacchaeus hurried and came down and received him. Joyfully and when Zacchaeus place to stay Jesus said today salvation has come to this house since he also is a son of Abraham for the son of man came to seek and to save the Lost.
When God seeks us and saved us through the person of Jesus.
Sin has no more power in our lives. The things that bind us the things that hold us the addictions that seem to keep us down have no more power in our lives because we're free sing this next verse with me.
(Singing Joy To The World...)
Jesus mission on Earth both then and now is to make himself known to those who will have Open Hearts to discover him.
His purpose is to seek out those who don't know him and reveal himself to them. Even on the cross as Jesus hung their breathing his last breath. He turned to the repentant Thief hanging next to him and said truly I say to you today. You will be with me in Paradise. Jesus offers the same promise to those of us today who have discovered him. He promises Paradise He promises eternal life, security for the Future Hope For Tomorrow piece of mine and everlasting Joy.
So Jesus makes the offer but then he leaves it up to us to choose whether we will accept it or not. For those of us who have discovered Jesus. We experience the same joy as Mary and the Shepherds and many others do thousand years ago and it isn't joy in the sense of a cheap laugh or that we are always happy and always have Smiles on our faces is the kind of joy that comes from having the deep-seated satisfaction of knowing that you are in an eternal relationship with the God of the universe.
If you don't have that today.
May I suggest to you that you trust in Jesus Christ?
Notice, I said trust you guys putting our trust in Christ means that we turn our lives over to him. And he does the work of making us new.
There are many Christians who are dealing with a laugh surprising lack of insurance other salvation. They feel like they can only hope to make it to heaven when this life is over but they do not know the joy that comes with the Assurance of their salvation.
If you receive only one gift this Christmas, I pray the gift that you receive is an assurance of your salvation without assurance. There can be no true. Joy and know that you know that you know that you are saved when you know that you know that you know that you will go to heaven when
Know that you know that you know that Jesus walks with you everyday even on the worst of days. There is Joy. Even when you have a whole bunch of final exams there still Joy on those days not as much joy when the finals are still there still on those days.
We are always longing for that Assurance. But many of us have come to the conclusion that we cannot be sure. We have been saved. That's just hogwash. Salvation without Assurance is not good news at all price promised that we would know and then that there is Joy sing with me again another verse.
(Singing Joy To The World...)
I want to sing that verse again cuz I want you to really get it. No more sins and sorrows grow. Get back up there. Please back up a slide no more. Let sins and Sorrows grow. We do not have to yield to Temptation. We do not I have to allow the Sorrows of this life to drag us down. We don't have to allow ourselves to be in bondage because Jesus is already set us free. He even has come to set this world, right? Because the curse that this verse speaks of his accursed that came with our first at it when I first parents sinned and curse came on this Earth,
Jesus is even come to reverse the curse. The curse was death. The curse was thorns the curse was saying she was all of these things. The rest assured Joy can be developed when we receive our assurance because we also know then that Christ is going to come again and everything that is wrong with Brian certainly politicians can't make it right. They seem to just messing up.
make it right even Healthcare can't make it perfectly right?
But Jesus can
Oh, sometimes we have to wait for it.
for some of us real Christian Joy doesn't happen overnight though. We have to live in to it for a while. It's one thing to experience Joy when you first become a Christian or if life is going great, but real lasting Joy the kind Christ offers us is a joy that can be experienced no matter the circumstances.
You see God wants us to experience his Joy. He wants us to know the joy, no matter what. James said, dear brothers and sisters when Troubles of any kind come your way considered an opportunity for Great Joy when troubles come your way and consider it an opportunity for great joy, that seems nuts.
The Joy comes not in the trouble
But it comes in knowing that Jesus is by our side God never gives us guarantees that there won't be trials in our lives. I've known Christians who have had cancer who've lost their children have been hurt in horrible accidents and who have suffered every imaginable trap tragedy and you know, what all I can give you some Pat theological answers as to why these things happen. None of them would be satisfied.
In fact, I'm not even satisfied with them, but there is one thing I know.
That even when there are no answers.
There is one answer and that is Jesus.
Bible says he even walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.
He walks with us everyday.
And in the midst of the trial He can bring joy.
He can bring joy.
Jesus didn't come on that first Christmas remove every problem that we have but he did come to equip us to deal with them no matter what.
the deal with them
and and no joy in the midst of
a mature Christian Life is one that knows Joy.
No matter what.
Apostle Paul said our hearts ache, but we always have joy we are poor, but we have spiritual riches to others. We own nothing yet we have everything. You see Paul understood that the development of Joy doesn't derive from our best circumstances that arise from the closer relationship with Jesus Christ when we allow him to rule in our hearts and our lives. Eternally, let's sing another verse here.
(Singing Joy To The World...)
Christ joy in US is not just for today. In fact, the joy we can have today is nothing in comparison to the joy. We shall have when we have completed our journey.
Our joy has a destination. There's a great story in an in an old copy of today's Christian woman magazine by Kathy Chapman.
That she wrote about her son Kevin one morning. My four-year-old son, Kevin and his grandpa went out to buy donuts on the way Grandpa turn to Kevin and ask which way is heaven heaven pointed to the sky which way is Hell Kevin pointed toward the floor of the truck grandpa continued and where are you going?
Sometimes I think we have a focus more similar to Kevin's than to Grandpa's.
We tend to think of the temporary instead of the Eternal yet. The Christmas season should force us to contemplate much deeper things.
The god of the universe came to Earth in the form of a man lived Among Us died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead and Promises all that accept him Eternal Joy with him and heaven and while we have to focus on the here and now if we place some level of emphasis on what is to come it will help us to better deal with the here. And now when I know that one day I will have the privilege to worship at the feet of the one who came that Christmas so long ago it helps me to put my life leading up to that moment in a whole different perspective.