Choosing Joy in Christ!

Matthew 1:18-2:6, Romans 5:1-5

Tonight, we come to celebrate that first advent, the arrival of the Messiah, the Son of God, born into this world. Jesus, at his birth, fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, over 300, with His birth, life, death and resurrection. So, it was not like the information of His birth was not out there for all to know. That this light to the gentiles was now coming, and yet, for the most part, His birth went unnoticed by those in power, at least for a couple of years until the magi went to King Herod.

But what do you know of this baby born that was given for us? God’s Word says this about Jesus, “Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited.  Instead, He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when He had come as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death —even to death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

We have looked at choosing joy in the midst of the mess of 2020: choosing joy in hope, choosing joy in peace, and choosing joy in the love that God has for us. So we celebrate the birth of Christ for what He has done for us and for what we can now have because of His birth.  Jesus, born into this world, became flesh and blood and lived as a sinless man, in order to be the atonement for our sins.  Having suffered and died in our place and having risen on the third day for our justification, we are now able, through the atonement and our justification by faith, to have peace with God. 

Matthew 1:20-21 tells us that Christ came to deliver or save his people from their sins. Today, because of the love of God who sent His one and only Son, you can be delivered, you can be forgiven, and you can be saved! The Savior of all mankind, whose birth we celebrate ,was born a helpless baby, just as you and I were. Yet this baby would grow to save His people from their sin, to save His people. 

We do not need to ask, as the Magi did, “Where is He who had been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2). Because He is Immanuel, God with us, He resides in the hearts of those that have been justified by faith. 

We as believers, as faithful followers, as Christians, can with confidence proclaim, “He is here and Has filled the emptiness of my heart with His love. He has given me hope, He and He alone has brought the peace we have with God, and, in all that, I choose joy in Christ!

We should be declaring that to the whole world for their benefit. Jesus can fill the emptiness of your heart! He can provide you with purpose because God has a plan for you, to give you a future and a hope (see Jeremiah 29:11)! He loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to be justice for you and I! He paid the penalty of our sin.

 Jesus, because of our sin and God’s love, came to this earth and died in our place, “He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our Justification” (Romans 4:25). 

If you have been justified by faith, if you are born again, given new life and walking with the Savior, then let the world know of the joy that can be found in Christ! Let the world know they can choose joy in Christ!

The celebration of advent also reminds us of the second advent of Christ, the second coming of Christ. Think about this: the people back then had been told, with the Old Testament prophecies, of the coming Savior. We too have  prophecies: the New Testament tells of Christ’s return, the second advent of Christ’s coming. It will not happen in some out of the way place, in the least of cities and towns, it will not be told to a few shepherds in a remote part of some, out of the way, field. Not this time…

No, when Jesus returns it will be public and loud, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him” (Revelation 1:7).

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

1 Thessalonians 4:16

When will this happen? On the last day, Judgment Day. Jesus said this, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36). 

Go, proclaim Him coming again in judgment over all the earth! Celebrate His birth, give presents, be filled with gratitude for what God has done, for what He is doing, and for what He has promised. Keeping in mind the love that sent His Son, that dwells with us now and the love in His promise to come get us,  “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Are you ready? Or are you unprepared as they were with the first advent?  In order to be prepared, one must come to repentance, turn from sin with a complete change of mind and heart and behavior, it will take an act of will to do so, there must be a “want to” in order to receive what God Has for you in Christ.  

Many were unprepared for Jesus’ first advent, even though the religious leaders knew the place and how he would arrive. When it happened they were not expecting it… We too know that Jesus is coming back, we know all will be aware of it. We just don’t know when… 

Digging Deeper

  • Are you choosing joy in Christ?
  • Do you look forward to the second advent of Christ? 

Further Reading: Matthew 24, Matthew 25:31-46, John 1:14, John 6:39-40, 44, 2 Peter 3:10-13, Acts 1:11, Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:11, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Peter 1:8, Romans 15:13

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