The Advent of Joy

Advent 2023  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Advent recap

The Joy Needed

Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans
Recap the exile.
Nehemiah 8:9–12 ESV
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Ezra (a scribe) read the Book of the Law aloud to the people. This was the book of the law of Moses, most likely the book of Deuteronomy, but could’ve been Leviticus. So Ezra busted out the scroll and read all 34 books of Deuteronomy in one sitting.
One thing we know about the Law is that it was given to show us how sinful we are and how we cannot measure up to God’s standard.
The people were mourning and sorrowful because their own sin and failure was exposed. The Bible says that they understood what was read to them. Like this verse:
Deuteronomy 30:19–20 ESV
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
The people responded to this reading in the same way that we should any time we hear the first part of Romans 6:23. The wages of sin is death! That’s not good news! But you know what? We should hear that portion of the verse and be sad. We should hear about the destruction coming our way and be mournful.
Most people in this world, even within the church, do not take the wrath of God towards sin seriously.

The Joy Brought

What is Joy?
Where does joy come from?
How is joy and happiness different?
Luke 2:8–14 (ESV)
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. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels appeared, their first mention of good news is that the news was filled with great JOY. What word is commonly used in the church that means “good news”?
THE GOSPEL! The essence of the Gospel message is the joy that Jesus brings us.
The only way to receive true joy is Christ alone. You cannot receive true joy from any other religion, occupation, cult, addiction, anything! Joy comes from Jesus Christ alone!
Hebrews 12:1–2 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
How can Jesus face the cross and see joy?


The joy of the Lord is our strength. In good times and bad, the joy we receive from Jesus carries us through. We can’t fabricate the joy. We can’t fake the joy. It comes from Jesus alone.
Have you been down and out? Feeling utterly hopeless? Jesus can restore in you the joy that is missing. Give your life to him and see how he changes things.
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