Yesterday at C3 we continued our Christmas Presence series, and Matt preached a great message on Experiencing God’s Joy! So often, we confuse joy with happiness, but yesterday, Matt reminded us that Joy comes from a personal relationship with Jesus, and is not based on our circumstances. Happiness comes and goes while joy is ever-present when we have a relationship with God.
WHERE DO WE FIND JOY?
Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”(NKJV)
Luke 2:8-11, “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”(NKJV)
We find joy in God’s presence. Fear can keep us from experiencing God’s joy. It can be fear of the past, fear of the future, fear of the unknown…but in His presence, we experience GREAT JOY! That great joy can overcome any fear.
WHAT IMPACT DOES JOY HAVE?
Nehemiah 8:10, “And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Joy gives us strength when we feel like giving up. Too often, we try to do things in our own strength, which is very limited. But, when the joy of the Lord is our strength, we can not only keep going, but we can remain strong and full of joy!
2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
How awesome is it to know that when we are at our weakest, God is strongest in our life. When we recognize that we don’t have it figured out or that we can’t do it on our own, God’s power and joy are available to us.
WHO CAN EXPERIENCE JOY?
Luke 2:10, “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
All People. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the World”…that means all people. His joy is not designated for certain groups of people. It is available to anyone that wants a relationship with Him!
HOW DO WE EXPERIENCE JOY?
John 15:9-11, “As the Father has loved me, so have I love you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Love Relationship with Jesus. When we have a love relationship with Jesus, He is in us, which means that His joy is in us. It isn’t something that we have to seek out…it is available to us and is part of us.
I John 4:4, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
As Matt wrapped up his sermon, he read us the words of Joy to the World. Too often, we sing these carols without really taking in what the words say. Joy to the World is a beautiful hymn that reminds us that we can have joy because of Jesus!
Joy to the World
“Joy to the World , the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.”