Joy [12-12-21]



I think this is a really good definition of joy:

JOY IS THE OUTWARD EXPRESSION OF THE HOPE THAT IS IN US.


Luke 2:10-11 gives us insight into how God has designed us to understand joy:

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."

Over and over in the birth narratives, people are told not to fear. Jesus Christ is the center, the foundation, the wellspring, the most perfect reason for joy in our lives. Do not fear…a great joy…does it get any clearer than that?


How has God designed us to express joy? What is the primary way God has called us to express our joy in Christ?


Luke 2:12-14 tells us how:

"And 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 earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

What did the angels do? They praised God. Later, in verse 20, Luke tells us that "the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them."


DO NOT FEAR - GREAT JOY - PRAISING GOD


The angels show us the way to the expression of joy…worship. What didn't the angels do? Right…they didn't sing. But that's okay. They praised God. Their example isn't an exact and literal template for how we express our joy. They give us the big picture…worship is glorifying and praising God…we fill in for how that looks. We sing…they didn't…that's okay. The point is this:

WORSHIP IS DECLARING THE WORTH AND GREATNESS OF GOD.

Here's the first question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism {July 28,

1648}:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

That's it. That's how we primarily outwardly express the joy that is in us. Through worship.


And the way we especially love to worship is with singing. Here are two great passages about singing:

And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders.

- Revelation 14:2-3

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God… Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing…"

and the elders fell down and worshiped.

- Revelation 5:8-14


Did you know that "Joy to the World" was not written as a Christmas song?

It was never intended to be sung at Christmas. But people loved it so much, they started requesting it for Christmas. Hundreds of years ago, people were making song requests for Christmas music! Worship is the primary means of expressing our joy. And music is God's gift to His worshiping people. We sing songs that point us to Jesus, the songs of our Christmas faith, songs expressing joy that Jesus Christ was born into the world to save us from our sins. We sing songs packed with meaning and truth. Worshipful songs. Songs expressing Biblical truth. Joy to the

world.


Joy…Reasons for joy expressed in song.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Savior's birth; Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

-Chorus- Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices! O night divine! O night when Christ was born. O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Do you know how much you matter to God? Do you understand the depth of God's love for you? While we are pining away in our sin…which means to waste away from a broken heart…while we are broken by how miserable our lives can feel, God showed us our worth by sending His Son to die for

us on the cross.


That's why we joyfully worship.


Here's another example. It's not as well know as most other Advent songs in our hymnal, but its expression of Christmas joy is a beautiful thing. It was composed in 1641:

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light, And usher in the morning; O shepherds, shrink not with afright, But hear the angel's warning. This Child, now weak in infancy, Our confidence and joy shall be, The power of Satan breaking, Our peace eternal making. This night of wonder, night of joy, was born the Christ, our brother; he comes, not mighty to destroy, to bid us love each other. How could he quit his kingly state for such a world of greed and hate? What deep humiliation secured the world's salvation! Come, dearest child, into our hearts, and leave your crib behind you! Let this be where the new life starts for all who seek and find you. To you the honor, thanks, and praise, for all your gifts this time of grace; come, conquer and deliver this world, and us, forever.


There's a sermon in every song. And there's joy in every worshipful

expression from the wonderful people of Covenant Church. Worship is from the heart. And it's only from the hearts of believers. Only devoted followers of Jesus Christ can sing, "I once was lost, but now I'm found." Jesus was born to die and he died to save us. That is the foundation of joy. It's why

we worship and sing.


Here's something you might want to write down. It is intricately woven into the fabric of our joyful Advent worship:

THE LOVE OF GOD HAS RESCUED US FROM THE WRATH OF GOD.

Joy to the world, indeed!


Finally, while it is not an Advent song, this last song captures why we proclaim joy to the world:

His Robes for Mine

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange! Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage. Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified. In Christ I live, for in my place He died… CHORUS: I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost: Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God. Bought by such love, my life is not my own. My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.

His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased. Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased. Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “‘Tis done!” Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know. Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe. He, as though I, accursed and left alone; I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home! CHORUS: I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost: Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God. Bought by such love, my life is not my own. My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.


With joyful hearts, we worship.




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