FOUR TALKS ON JOY - 1
TOPIC 1: GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY
[Alternative: Where has all the joy gone? Answer #1: Frozen in the Frosts of Familiarity]
Possible introductory illustration: reference to the 'White witch' in Narnia ( in CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) - she froze people into statues.
Read Luke 2:8 & 9.
How often we have heart these words! How familiar we are with this story! We have heard it so often, we are so familiar with it that it has lost its impact.
Our minds tell us that we have heard it before, and we fail to hear what it is really saying!
So it is with the Gospel of Jesus Christ -
- we have heard it often
- we are too familiar with it
- we take it for granted
- it becomes 'old hat' - it loses its joy
- we forget the sheer wonder of it.
But let us look again at Luke 2.
What are these famiiar words saying to us?
'The glory of the Lord shone around them - and they were terrified.'
The glory of the Lord -
This is no ordinary happening!
Moses saw this glory and hid his face - Exodus 3:1-6.
Isaiah saw it and exclaimed 'Woe to me ...' - Isaiah 6:5.
Ezekiel saw it and fell face downward on the ground - Ezekiel 1:26-28.
The shepherds in Luke 2 see it - and they are terribly afraid.
It is not possible for sinful humans to survive in the presence of God.
Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel and these shepherds have every reason to be terribly afraid. So did Saul in Acts 9. So did John in Revelation 1.
But ... hear what the angel said - DO NOT BE AFRAID!
Impossible! They stand as condemned sinners in the presence of the holy God. They stand as rebels before the rightful King!
Condemnation. Death. Hell. All these stare them in the face!
The angel goes on -
'I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people' [Luke 2:10].
Good news. Great joy.,
It is very necessary to bring good news to sinners confronted by the holy God.
It is very necessary to bring news of great joy to people who know themselves to be doomed.
But how? How can it be.
The angel goes on -
'Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.' [verse 11]
Hear what the angel is saying:
'today' - right now as you stand in need.
'in the town of David' - that is, in fulfilment of God's promises.
'a Saviour' - the one who saves people from the otherwise inevitable death, condemnation and cursing.
'has been born' - a real human being.
'to you' - he has been born to save you.
'Christ' - the Anointed One, the Son of God.
'the Lord' - God.
An incredible message
This is an incredible message. This is an unexpected message. It is no wonder the army of heaven's angels sang in praise to God! [verse 14]
That which the old kings and prophets longed to see, has now begun - Luke 10:24.
That which the angels would like to understand has been inaugurated in this incarnation - 1Peter 1:12.
Christ, the Lord, has been born as a human baby to be our Saviour.
Even though they could not understand it the angels sang.
And the Shepherds - what did they do?
They hurried to see the child ... they could not do otherwise.
And having seen they excitedly share the good news.
Their fear has been turned to JOY.
Their JOY overflows into songs of praise.
AND WE HAVE SEEN FAR MORE THAN THOSE SHEPHERDS SAW!
BUT - familiarity has frozen the joy.
Let us repent of this joyless, barren attitude. Let us gaze on our Lord. Let us consider once again -
Who he is.
What he did for us.
What he gives us.
And let us break forth into JOY.
Let us hear the Word of the Lord:
Let us be filled with the JOY, the AWE, and the WONDER of it all.