Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, December 15
- Sing For Joy
- Trading My Sorrows
- I've Got That Joy Joy Joy Joy
- Go Tell It On The Mountain
- Joy To The World (Unspeakable Joy)
- Advent - to come to or to arrive. The four weeks of Advent are designed to look back and reflect upon Christ’s first Advent - His birth - and to look forward, to anticipate Christ’s second Advent - His return. Advent encompasses the idea that God comes to us - He pursues people.The five candles of Advent are symbolic to the Christian journey. First is the Prophecy candle - symbolizing hope and anticipation. Second is the Bethlehem candle - reminding us of the faith of Joseph and Mary. Today’s candle, the Third is the Shepherd’s candle - the candle of joy. If you want to know what the Fourth and Fifth symbolize - you’ll need to come back.But, the third candle symbolizes joy.And in the same region there were shepherds out 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.As Christians, we know we are to have joy. Joy comes from the good news. Joy, being an internal condition of the soul - not shaken by circumstances but founded upon the truth that God sent His unique Son into the world, not to condemn but to save. Yet, in our physical humanness, life has a way of suffocating our joy. And we are also spiritual beings - and there is a spiritual enemy that has a way of stealing, killing and destroying our joy. And so at times we find ourselves in this tension - we are to have unspeakable joy, but …. And thus we at times find ourselves crying out alongside King David, a man after God’s own heart, who wrote …How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.Indeed, where do we find joy in the midst of life that can sometimes be anything other than joyful? How can we have this internal sense of joy that is steadfast, unshakable and that prevails over the chaos? Where do we find joy when we cry out, “How long, O LORD!”Losing joy is ever the temptation of the Christian and we must be careful to hold fast to our joy. Steadfast and unshakable joy cannot be found in this world, but in the promises of the world to come. But even then, joy is not found in the promises themselves, but in the One who promised and in the One who is to come. And that calls for one of the greatest virtues of Christianity - patience.See, true joy comes from patient expectation and desire. True patience is not a passively waiting for life to get better - or waiting for the storm to pass. We’re not waiting it out until Jesus returns. The foundation of true Biblical patience is waiting for a Person. It’s waiting with active expectation that Jesus will come again and when He does, He will make everything right. True Biblical patience is the longing, the desire - for the Savior - not simply what He will do - but in longing for Jesus Himself. As Charles Hodge said,“To be in Christ is the source of the Christian’s life; to be like Christ is the sum of his excellence; to be with Christ is the fulness of his joy.” ~ Charles HodgeBe patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.How do we establish our hearts with joy? We remember the words of our Lord Jesus -“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.Be joyful - I’m coming back!How do we establish our hearts with joy? We remember the words of two angels.And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”Be joyful - He’s coming back!How do we establish our hearts with joy? We remember the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote to new Believers who were afraid that somehow, they had missed the return of Christ.But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.Be joyful - He’s coming back!How do we establish our hearts with joy? Remember, active patience. We do not merely wait for Christ to return - but take heed the words of the Apostle Peter.The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.How do we establish our hearts with joy? Our hearts are much like clocks - from time to time they need recalibrated - they get off just a little. Advent is a time to recalibrate our lives. We look back and remember why Christ came into this world -Veiled in flesh the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate Deity. Pleased as man with man to dwell - Jesus, our Emmanuel.Mild He lays His glory by. Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth; Born to give them second birth.Advent is a time to recalibrate our lives. We also look forward in joyful active expectation - knowing that we live in the temporary - but we labor for the eternal. We live in the physical - but we long for the eternal.View the present through the promise: Christ will come again.Trust despite the deepening darkness: Christ will come again.Lift the world above its grieving, through your watching and believing, in the hope past faith’s conceiving: Christ will come again.Probe the present with the promise: Christ will come again.Let your daily actions witness: Christ will come again.Let your loving and your giving, and your justice and forgiving be a sign to all the living: Christ will come again.Match the present to the promise: Christ will come again.Make this hope your guiding premise: Christ will come again.Pattern all your calculating and the world you are creating to the Advent you are waiting: Christ will come again. ~ Thomas H. TroegerReceive Christ
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18ESV
1 Peter 4:7–11ESV
- In Christ Alone
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