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December 21, 2020 1:21 pm
I think it likely that joy has not been very evident during 2020 has it. We dealt with 19 without layoffs with a blog with school closures with political and social divisions of the very bitter presidential election. I three 2020. Many of us have complained of God is to be meditated frustrated and perhaps even be angry about what is going on during 2020 is been a very strange. It is not unprecedented and difficult and many many ways is not be much joy during 2020 and I with Christmas only days away. We wonder about Christmas has always had its fair share of critics who complained with some validity about the grass commercialization of Christmas of the sentimentality on the excesses of Christmas and there always have been Scrooge's supervisor to ring had their hands of gloom, rather than ring the bells of Joy, but for followers of Jesus we be reminded in this wonderful time of worship that Christmas is a time of celebration. Christmas is about joy and this Christmas we been praying that the joy of Christmas will fill your heart will fill your home will fill your relationships, and certainly Phyllis at Calvary church.
I can remind you, even with the difficulties of 2020. I hope you haven't forgotten how to smile and laugh.
Proverbs 1722 is states, a joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bone.
The bones were told that laughter releases powerful chemicals in their bodies. In this a great stress reliever stress and worry and anxiety and negative and pessimistic attitudes because we are told great damage to our bodies and our minds so Paul did get it right when he said to the Christians at Philippi. Rejoice in the Lord always again I will say, rejoice. As followers of Jesus Christ. We are people of joy and certainly Christmas is joy in arguing for some self-indulgence. I'm not arguing for mindless frivolity or some kind of sentimental center. Type of Christmas is nothing that the tall, and I'm very aware, Pastor Pierce referred to this in his prayer very aware that this year has been especially painful for many people, and that Christmas as were celebrating Christmas. It often reawakens difficult memories, but listen to the message of heaven to you for your note. For behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people I don't want to remind you that joy is a gift from God as part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and in heaven. That is perfect joy. CS Lewis says joy is the serious business of heaven serious jar. Yes, joy is the serious business of heaven. God is a God of joy and God wants you to be a person of joy want you to be joyful and that first Christmas. The angel is announcing that the joy of heaven. The joy of a perfect God that died joy of heaven is coming to this coming to us in Jesus and Christ the son of God were going to conclude this morning by singing Joy to the world, the Lord has come, and then the miracle of Christmas, this joy is offered to you. I want to read the familiar story from Luke chapter 2 if you've got your Bible time there with me familiar versus I know as I read the word of God in this unit with me. I asked that you listen carefully, and that you pray this morning that the joy of God will enter your heart. Perhaps your other side. Perhaps things are difficult, perhaps you're here and you're wondering about something and perhaps 2020 has been for you a rather sad year we allowed the message of Christmas we allowed the spirit of God for his joy into your heart. Luke chapter 2 then verse one in those days a decree went tight from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria and all went to be registered each to his own time and Joseph also went up from Galilee from the Tyne of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, was with child, and while they were there, the time came for her to give birth and she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the end, within the same region there were shepherds like in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night and an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear and the angel said to them, fear not for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
At this will be a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest, and on that peace among those with whom he is pleased when the Angels went away from them into heaven.
Shepherds said to one another, let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that this happened which the Lord has made known to us and went with haste and find Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger when they saw it, they made known the saying that they'd been told to them concerning this child and all who had wondered what the shepherds told him.
But Mary treasured up all these things pondering them in her heart and the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, as it had been told. Christmas is knowing joy not fear. Here are the shepherds watching the flock this night they're doing so in the field just outside our bathroom a little time about 5 miles from the capital of Jerusalem and the night had fallen over the little tug of Bethlehem and there were the shepherds humbled man.
The bottom is aware of the social, economic scale in that culture, and they may that night little little fire.
Perhaps there were gathering around it and little did they know that events want to happen that night that Bethlehem, which would eternally impact not only the shepherds but the whole universe is significant of all of the people he angel could've appear to but it was to these humble shepherds was people like you and me ordinary people in the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared around the shepherds and the glory of the Lord to look records shone the rind about the glory of God transformed that night seen into the most brilliant of lights as the glory of God was manifested on these fields outside birth limit must've been an absolutely spectacular site in the Old Testament when Moses constructed the tabernacle in accordance with the commandments of the Lord will eat at the end of the end of Exodus Exodus chapter 40 that the glory of the Lord, the Shekinah of glory filled the tabernacle. I was magnificent, but this was even greater wasn't now the glory of the Lord signified that God himself was coming to that in Jesus there is God Emmanuelle God with us and in the glory of the Lord reflected that spectacular momentous event as God himself is coming at the time and space as the word is becoming flesh and dwelling among us. The joy of heaven is coming to a dark dark sinful world. Not surprisingly, I we read that the shepherds were filled with fear. No wonder your engine standing in the presence of an angel. Imagine if your work one day you're working in the bank in hospital you're in school you're going about your business with a few of your friends and suddenly the moments there's a blaze of the glory of the Lord. When you get down on your knees and be like the shepherds terribly afraid. They had never ever seen anything vaguely like this. Then they hear the voice of these unclean shepherds probably were expecting God's judgment upon them. I can imagine that the whole of their life flashing in front of them, possibly recalling all of their failures and shortcomings and to the astonishment of the message from heaven to them is not one of condemnation is not one of judgment, but there told fear not the message is one of joy and salvation message of hope not of condemnation, fear not first thing the angel said to as God is speaking to the shepherds, and so in a sense of the whole universe and the first thing that is said is clear, not the message is one of good news of great joy not just joy but great joy and this joy comes not just Israel, not just of the shepherds nudge up to a select few people but it comes we read I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people God speaking to you today you are you so I'm just an ordinary person. God is saying to you, fear not.
You is the message fear Christmas properly understood is not knowing fear, but is experiencing joy.
I meet people sometimes think that they are doomed to a life of sadness, a life of despair, despondency, fear, hopelessness, light is been very difficult for them. Perhaps only come from.
Perhaps some disasters over taken them some illness, some abuse, some terrible wrong inflicted on them and that they struggle and they they feel well. I missed out about my life is one of disaster. My one. My life is one of darkness. In some cases leading to serious depression, sometimes even league-leading to suicide living in fear, fear of others, fear of failure, fear of the past, fear of what people think of us fear of over 19 fear of death by the field in the world. I think over 19 has brought that out, doesn't so many people living in fear. Fear the day. Yes, with over 19 cylinder doorsteps of a very thankful for these vaccines that God has provided for us today.
The message to you and to me is not one of fear is one of celebration celebrate Christmas Christmas as joy joy to the world joy to you joy to be fear. Christmas is knowing joy not.
But also the joy of Christmas is knowing the Savior personally can I emphasize that last word personally. The joy of Christmas is not just knowing about Jesus Christ is not just saying what I understand the way in the manger. I love to sing these hymns and is been wonderful to be a Calvary singing of Jesus Christ doing a sense of always believe that and if use your thinking like I can I say to you kindly but directly you're missing the point because this joy that comes from heaven to is to be received and personally experience Jesus is born is the Savior. Listen again to the angel, fear not look to verse 10 bold I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior that said he comes as a Savior, and it is essential as we celebrate Christmas and sing these wonderful tiles and ask and receive in exchange presence in all of that, it is essential that we understand the basic mission of Jesus that Jesus mission is number one priority is to be the Savior and the angel is declaring guard is declaring mankind to the shepherds and to you and me that when he sends his son into this world. It is to be the Savior is very naming Jesus for you will save his people from their sins.
How wonderful our greatest need is forgiveness of these shepherds were were guilty men. The door sinful man and all of us have fallen short. Not one of us could stand a split second in the presence of a holy God's light would gently consume us.
We live in the darkness. And God comes in Jesus Christ as the light shining into our darkness coming not to judge you but now that through him you might be saved in great joy, not knowing, just about Jesus. Johnny is not just about singing a Christmas Carl great Johnny is not just looking at a nativity scene, great job. I some of you have not yet been there great joy is personally receiving Jesus as your Savior. He comes to save all the people we began our Christmas season on the AdVent with a organ concert and that we reminded ourselves that Mary would what we call the Magnificat. She referred to Christ as my Savior. Mary the Virgin holy woman, a pure woman, yet she also needed a Savior like you and like me she needed a personal savior and Christmas is joy by knowing Christ personally, as your Savior becomes to rescue us to save us. But I have to apply this to myself to understand that when Jesus Christ died on the cross he was dying for the sins of John Monroe and although I believe this is a sense all of my life and was brought up with Christmas from my earliest memory and in a sense never rejected Christ that had to come for me as their pastor come for you a decisive point in time when you open your heart and you personally receive Christ as your Savior. I'm asking you today a very very important question of you personally trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior.
But tell me about your terms by grant tell me that you come from a Christian home and tell me that you remember a Calvary church. I'm asking do you know Christ personally, as your Savior. I can tell you from the authority of Scripture, but also from my personal experience that there is no job. I like knowing Jesus Christ personally as a boy. We used to saying I don't know if you know the song was Tim was it for me for me alone Savior laughed his glorious throne. The dazzling splendor of the sky was it for me. He came to die. It was for me. Yes, all for me the love of God, soul return for your wondrous love else showed up saying he died for me, my Lord and my treatments are you died for me to say that Paul says the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. That's the testimony of an individual saved by the grace of God, trusting completely in Christ as our Savior, who dies for us, who rises again and I was the living Christ comes into our hearts and our lives forgiving our sins and we moved to Christ and believe in him. When you do that to use the apostle Peter's expression these as we rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, although Peter says in first Peter one. Although we don't see Christ I've never seen Jesus, but yet I know him received his my Savior and that brings inexpressible joy.
No but I'm eternally saved by the grace of God using the saved the joy of Christmas is knowing the Savior personally but also the joy of Christmas is knowing Jesus is Lord unto you. Verse 11 is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ. He's the Messiah is the anointed one is a long promise, Redeemer is the Christ, but he's also the Lord is Christ the Lord Jesus is Lord his God incarnate, comes to us. God doesn't discharge instructions is a work he comes to us and the reason the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds was because the Lord of heaven. The God of glory had come to our Paul writes that God was manifested in the flesh. He writes in Colossians 29 in Christ the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily. The whole of deity dwells bodily in Jesus Christ. John writes in his prologue John 114 the word became flesh and dwelt among us stacking is the eternal Almighty God who dwells in the spring is in glory that comes Jesus comes as a long promise Messiah Christ to deliver his people.
That little baby lying in a feeding trough in the stable was none other than God know this is no mere human Savior. This is not just some kind of good about our profit on clinical work cut out someone who gives us great insight into life. No, this is much more than that.
This is the Savior from heaven. This is God in flesh. So when the deadliest Christian creeds was the Jesus is Lord, is the supreme one is arrivals is unique. There is none like him, nor will there ever be anyone like he's the son of God is God incarnate.
And so Jesus comes. Peter tells us he dies, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God doing and get the got yourself you think you can ever get into the presence of God yourself. It is utterly impossible. God's two big dogs to Holy Ghost too far away you to sinful your two small never ever get to God by yourself is the miracle of Christmas then that what we can do. God has done in Jesus Christ.
He comes to deliver us to rescue us.
He brings us to God is peacemaker is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father apart from him. He is the unique Jesus because he's gone God in cognitively with the Jesus as God large burden on the because the night will concede that Jesus is a good man. Historical figure on the message of Christmas. The message of Christmas is this that you can receive this joy if you know Christ as your Savior and that joy will be increased as in your life more and more you submit to the Lordship of Christ to believe that the more you surrender to Jesus as Lord, the greater your joy at his birth. People rejected people to acknowledge that he was Lord no room no room for him and in how symbolic the innkeeper didn't realize that the one in Mary's womb was none other than God no room for Jesus so many myths the most momentous occasion in human history during hatted no room for Jesus. Blinded by his automation.
The religious establishment no room for Jesus, blinded by their own tradition of self-interest. No room for Jesus words with the same of the persons of decanters on his own received him is rejected.
These put on the tree of you, Jesus, to visit with your own activities that are so important.
Do you want a little bit of Jesus as I worked unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord is Lord is Lord and to blow the seat something someplace in your heart with is noted for Jesus the son relationship you have no room for Jesus the human Jesus is not part of your life.
There's some practice, some habits, but after career pressure pleasure, perhaps ambition, perhaps your possessions. Perhaps your family. All of them are more important than Jesus. Practically speaking, and so Jesus is in a sense pushed out these these put on the periphery of your life on the circumference, rather than being at the very center. I need to remind you that this one who comes as God is Lord is not to be pushed aside. He is Lord over all. I can assure you 100% but you joy will increase when you surrender to Christ. Your joy will grow more and more as you acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus over every aspect of your life as joy by living the Lordship of Jesus. One of her themes were 2020 has been surrender to God's will. That's it.
I am to surrender to the will of God. I know Christ as my Savior as I go through life. Everything has to be surrendered to him. I like to do my own will. I like to make my own plans as you do not want to put my self at the center of my life that doesn't work out with the devil. Once you find that the devil gives you the best first the devil promises that if you follow him. It's going to be great. He always gives you the best first with following Jesus is the Lakota said it sweeter as the days go by. The more you follow Jesus, the more your body to his authority. The more you surrender to his will and becomes more and more joyful. The devil gives you the best and then the problems than the heartache and the toil on our first drug. It's incredible. So until you experience always so good it's so cool I finally done that and as you pursue the path becomes harder and harder.
Proverb says the way of the transgressors heart to really want to go down that way someone someone you know exactly what I'm talking about you you you taken a side track and you stop following Christ in your life has been messed up message of Christmas is this your joy will be increased to surrender to Jesus you say that sometimes hard yes not my will but yours joy knowing Christ Lordship in your life Nehemiah in the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Joyful Christians are strong, joyful Christians are strong in the Lord our wines life is surrender to Christ who is absolute joy.
After all, if you believe in Jesus Christ and headed for heaven with infinite joy this morning were in her break bread and the minute we open your heart and your life not only to the Christ not only to the to the child Christ, the man Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again receive his joy only for my science side of your house outside of this relationship side of your business side of your possessions. Don't do that right Savior still says behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with this Christmas we open your heart to the Lord Jesus Scripture was written to the church. The church of Laodicea may in some aspect. The Calvary church. The Lord is outside open their the heart of your life, your home, your marriage or relationship your bank balance everything and invite Christ difficult on the numerous visits in Paul's Cathedral presents some positive digital that is this wonderful painting by Holman Hunt that it is. It's called the light of the world.
And if you've seen it before it's inspired by revelation. See verse 20 the best I just read and if you look at their that picture you see that Jesus is standing outside the door talking gentle. The daughters overgrown with weeds and there's no handle on the outside of the door because it can only be opened on the inside Israel did quite well," symbolizing his sinless life in this death as a sacrifice on the cross is the crying of thorns on his head and the hand which knocks on the door is nail pierced the daughters. The meal puts from inside we will review any room for Jesus. Some of you have never yet received Christ as Savior we we do that many of you have but Christ's Lordship hasn't embraced her. We open your heart. Jesus said that that is joy.
Yes, joy in the presence of the Angels over one sinner that repents the ones I think was more than once repents will be joy in heaven joy in your heart, joy in your home joy in your relationship when you trust Jesus as Savior and Lord Christmas is joy received the joy of the Lord in our Lord Jesus Christ's father, help us to do that, we pray sometimes pursue our own happiness on pleasures and self-will help us to surrender to Christ as we prepare our hearts for communion.
Father I pray that each one of us will be opening our hearts. Life's to the Savior. Thank you for this wonderful message from you to us you're not good use of great joy for all the people we humble ourselves before you and thank you for Jesus and his precious name