Joy to the World

One of the outstanding marks of the Christmas Season is this idea of joy and happiness! As I was thinking on the pursuit of happiness, it dawned on me that we pursue this joy and happiness because in reality we haven’t yet found it. The truth is that everything we claim that brings us this joy in this world soon fades away. Joy is such an elusive dream for so many.

It is often good news, such as a baby being born, or the news of a loved one who has been lost for days finally being found, that produces a joyful response. In Luke 2:10 the angel messenger to the shepherds announced, “I bring you good news of great JOY which will be for all the people”, and it is this phrase that caught my attention and I hope will catch yours.

The scene being described is no mere everyday scene. This is not even explainable by natural phenomena. What we have here is the God of the universe, the God who is self existent, eternal, all powerful and all knowing, breaking into time and space through one of His messengers to deliver this message, this good news of great JOY!

What Luke highlights in Luke 2:10-14 are four essential reasons that the good news from God will produce “Great Joy” in you. Consider these reasons with me

I. The Good News of Christmas is True for all People

v. 10 “I bring you good news of great JOY which will be for all the people”

You will never know great joy until you find good news that is truly universal. This joy being proclaimed here by the angels is based on something much greater than the individual or the circumstances one might be in. It is a joy that transcends cultures. It is a joy to ALL the PEOPLE. This good news is good news no matter what your ethnic background.

So, the good news of Christmas is a transcendent message for all people, including you personally this morning. This is worthy of great joy! The second essential reason for great joy is that…

II. The Good News of Christmas Declares God’s Salvation Plan 

v. 11 “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior”

You will never know great joy without knowing the good news of the Creator God’s plan of salvation. The true JOY of Christmas is based on the eternal plan of God to offer salvation to mankind. Mankind as a whole is unsatisfied with life. Like a man who has been lost in the mountains for many days, he is hungry, cold, miserable, and fearing death. He is longing to be found. This state of emptiness exists in the heart of man because he knows he was created for much more than what this life has to offer and so searches for it all the days of his life.
God had set a particular day – “Today” – for the Savior to be born.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Not only was there to be a precise point in history, but there was to be a precise place in which the Savior of the world would come. “For today in the city of David,” which is called Bethlehem. It was no accident that the baby was born in Bethlehem. This fulfilled a 700-year old prophecy found in Micah 5:2.

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

There is great joy in knowing that God has a plan of salvation, and He is working out that plan in the person of Jesus the Baby who was born in Bethlehem.

III. The Good News of Christmas Identifies the Savior

v.11-12 “a Savior Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

You will never know great joy until you discover the One whom God said would be the Prophet, Priest, and King of the earth. What will bring great joy to your life is when you know and have relationship with Jesus Christ as your Prophet, Priest and King. We see all three offices of Jesus’ saving work in this verse.

As the Savior, He assumes the role of a Prophet and proclaims salvation through Himself. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

As the Christ, which means anointed one, He is our Priest chosen by God, and as that priest He offers up His body as the only acceptable sacrifice for sin and sheds his blood to cover our sins from a holy and just God.

As the Lord, He is King of Kings and provides for us a kingdom where there is no more sin, sickness, pain, or dying. He exercises His dominion over all and casts Satan and His demons into the Lake of Fire forever.

There is no greater joy, no more lasting reality of joy to be found anywhere, than in the saving work of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that this message is foolishness to the Greeks’ rational mind. It is a stumbling block to the Jewish national kingdom mind-set, but to those who are being saved, the good news of a Savior is the power of God unto salvation – a salvation where life is eternal, where there is peace forevermore, where there is everlasting joy!

IV. The Good News of Christmas is Praiseworthy

v.13-14, 20 “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.””

v. 20 “The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”

You will never know great joy until the good news becomes yours and fills your heart and life with the praises and glory of God. The reason for great joy is that through Jesus Christ there is the possibility of being at peace with God. No more fear or anxiety. No more guilt over sins committed – only pure, unadulterated peace.

The reason God created mankind in His image is that they might praise and glorify Him. This is why we exist. However, mankind thought he knew better and so sort to glorify himself and thus found that God does not share His glory with another. Mankind found himself an enemy of God, hostile to God, warring in his soul against God and all that God commanded. This is who you and I are. We are at war with God, and if you read the Bible, you know who is going to win – and it isn’t you. The Bible declares that there is no peace for the wicked (Isa. 48:22).

The good news that brings great joy is that Jesus has obtained peace with God for you. Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

When we understand the good news of God correctly, there is truly great joy to those who receive it. I love the way Peter puts it as he describes this joy in the life of a true disciple of Jesus.

1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

Can you say that you have this great joy of an eternal hope?

Can you say you greatly rejoice with a joy inexpressible and full of glory even in the midst of difficult and trying times?

Can you say that regardless of what circumstances you find yourself in I have a deep, abiding Joy?

The personal experience of “Great Joy” is the result of God’s good news, news of the plan of salvation for all people, news of the Savior Jesus Christ who paid the price to purchase us from the slave market of sin, news of peace with God made possible at the cross. All this can only illicit one response, and that is praise and glory to God. This is the good news of Christmas.

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