God with Us Brings Joy

NOTE: There was a recording issue that makes the audio sound slow. We hope to have the audio problems fixed soon.

 

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10

 

Four Biblical Truths about Joy…

 

Truth #1: Joy overcomes shame

 

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” Luke 1:13-15

 

Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. Luke 1:57

 

 

Truth #2: Joy is deeper than happiness

 

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)

 

 

Truth #3: Joy defies our circumstances

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

 

 

Truth #4: Joy is a choice

 

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” Luke 1:46-48

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

 

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12 (NLT)

God with Us Brings Love

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17–19

 

Name a Love Song:

 

Name a Love Story:

 

LOVE: Advent and Beyond is possible because…

 

 

  1. God is Love

 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

 

  1. God gives Love

 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

 

  1. God’s Love Flows through us

 

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

 John 13:34-35 (The Message)

Mature Relationship

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

 

Three Markers of Spiritual Maturity

 

  1. Spiritual  intimacy
  2. Biblical knowledge
  3. Holy obedience

 

 

The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness… John 17: 21-23 (MSG)

 

 

Three Truths of Spiritual Intimacy

 

 

Truth #1: God is a person

 

 

 

Truth #2: God wants to be known

 

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13-14

 

 

Truth #3: Knowing God requires deliberate effort and time

Finding Nemo

What we learn about the lost…

 

Reason #1: The lost wander away

 

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Luke 15:4 (NLT)

 

Reason #2: The lost are neglectful/careless

 

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Luke 15:8 (NLT)

 

Reason #3: The lost are willful

 

“A man had two sons.  The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. Luke 15:11-12 (NLT)

 

What we learn about God…

 

 

  1. God is concerned for the lost.

 

 

  1. God is seeking the lost.

 

 

  1. God rejoices when the lost are found.

 

 

What we learn about ourselves…

 

 

We are active participants in God’s mission