Joy | Isaiah 25:6-9 & James 1:2-5

December 16, 2018 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: ADVENT | Words

Topic: Gospel Passage: Isaiah 25:6–25:9, James 1:2–1:5

Introduction | What is Joy and why don’t we have it?

Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work,Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are in a brief series during Advent (Arrival) where we are looking at good words that point to a greater God. The words area Peace, Hope, Joy, Love. These are individual words, but they are come together to help describe and bring meaning to what was/is/is being accomplished by the Arrival of Jesus into Human history. We have done Peace and Hope, now Joy. Words have meaning. So we need to know what this word means if we’re going to understand it’s implications.

Joy, gladness, happiness, Why do we need to understand and experience Joy?I hope it is because it’s can be a positive motivate and if joy/happiness are good then wouldn’t we want some more good? We experience joy, and enjoyment when we respond to things outside of us.Experiences and inputs that cause us to respond with excitement, joy, happiness.What are the things in this world that bring you the greatest joy? What are things you naturally enjoy? Where when you experience them, you don’t need coaching on how you should respond like when you get a gift you’re not that excited about. THANK YOU! What is easy?

A definition of joy only being a response is bit incomplete, so we’ll come back to it later. If this is the only way we can experience joy and happiness we’ll just keep pursuing the next thing that brings us pleasure and we’ll always run away from pain as fast as we can. A life lived this way will never truly satisfy.

PART I | What is the true source of Joy? | Psalm 104:14-15

Psalm 130 | 14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart.

God is the source of all that can bring joy. Life didn’t have to include anything “good” it could have been neutral. It could have just bland. God could have given us nutrient pods to eat and made everything one color, and boring work. But He didn’t, this is God’s grace (giving us something we didn’t earn) in making a world that has abundant life with plenty of diverse experiences, objects, people, types of relationship to make our life on earth rich and enjoyable. If there are things in this world that you enjoy, know they are from God, they were His idea, and He created them good for you to enjoy. God makes good things and He makes good things grow. God has invited us into this work of cultivation to make good things better.

What is the purpose of all of this? Sustenance so life can continue, but also enjoyment so the continuation of life is pleasurable and desirable. Wine for our hearts not to be sad but glad, things for our outward appearance, even the bread of life is for our hearts to be strengthened so we can have more joy in our lives even in a world that has plenty of reasons that could keep us from joy. What went wrong? Sin entered.

We know in this world there is evil and brokenness, there is grief and death, there is sin and suffering. So while we can know or be told God is the source of Joy and life we can also want and desire things to be better than they are. We can know in our own souls there is sin that has to be addressed, there is shame we’ve experienced for sin that has been committed against us and for those we’ve committed. Death is coming for us all at some point. So are we at a place where we just have to try to enjoy as much of this life now “eat drink, be merry for tomorrow we die” to get ours while we can to avoid pain and purse pleasure? It will drive us to motives of selfishness every time. It still ends in death. How will that work out? We need a better and more robust understanding of where and how God promises/brings/gives/calls to pursue Joy in this world and in our lives if we’re going to move from moments of short term happiness to lasting Joy.

Sin is when we take these things God has given us for enjoyment and we make them ultimate. It’s when we take what is good and make it our god. The point of the psalmist writing about the growth, and the gifts given is not to worship the gifts but to enjoy the gifts BECAUSE they came from the great gift giver. 

PART II| How has God promised Joy? | Isaiah 25:6-9

Isaiah 25:6-9 |“ On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

God, the Lord of Host, God of Angel Armies. God the warrior is going to prepare a great feast for people from every tribe and nation. God’s ultimate answer to sin and sorrow, death and despair is a great feast. Great feast not lame dinner. It’s not going to be a potluck where you’re bringing your best (or what you know you can do in a crock pot) so everyone else can enjoy. Because your best isn’t going to be good enough for lasting joy. God is the host, God is the one catering this feast and He’s going to make it a feast of “rich food”. The best meat, (last dinner in Marketing was El Gaucho) not taco bell. We’ll aged wine, refined, in a word “fancy” not the boxed stuff. This feast isn’t on paper plates. God has promised us an eternity with Him where He has prepared a great amazing feast that we can enjoy. But the feast isn’t just about what is served, it is about the purpose of what the feast is celebrating.

Sometimes, it’s hard to want to celebrate. Ever been invited to a party when you’re in a bad mood? Or ever had something painful around a holiday happen so you’re just not in the same place to want to enjoy what’s going on? You come to a place and it seems like everyone else is in a good mood, happy, joyful but you have your own pain you’re dealing with, grief experienced, and the idea of being around a bunch of happy people or celebrating just seems wrong. Even if it’s not your life that’s struggling being in tuned with and connected to the suffering going on in the world it’s going to be weird to think about celebrating. So in order to have a lasting Joy there has to be a worthy reason to celebrate with joy that is unencumbered by the shadow and spector of pain. God can prepare this great feast of celebration, because it is a response to what has been accomplished by God. The cloud, fog, that has covered the world of sin and death has been “swallowed up”. You can enjoy and celebrate this feast with God and His people because death isn’t something you have to worry about any longer, because God has removed it forever. This new forever with God is one without sorrow because there is no suffering so there are no tears. God’s come and says “I know your sorrow, I know your grief, like a good dad let me wipe away those tears.” You can celebrate unencumbered because there is no more “reproach” that is “disapproval”. Because of sin we have righteous disapproval from God. God knows this and He says “I am going to take that disapproval and disappointment away. It is going to be my word, my declaration that is going to accomplish it.”

That is a reason for great celebration! God is going to be with His people and God is going to save His people. For people who have “waited/Hoped” that God is the one who is going to bring about a better future will be rewarded with salvation. Salvation from their sins and from the brokenness of the world. The response to this salvation and this hope in God “realized” will be an overwhelming response of gladness and rejoicing not because of the feast He’s bring but the purpose of what the feast is celebrating. God saves AND God gives, so we can celebrate salvation from God “A thrill of hope a weary world rejoices.”

PART III | How do we Receive Joy in Jesus?| Luke 2:10-11 

Luke 2:10-11|10 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. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Jesus arrival brings Joy. When is God going to work? When we can we have this time of great joy, because I am getting tired of waiting. 700 years pass from this promise that salvation is coming. Then angels tell the shepherd to not fear because there is “good news” the good news is for who? All the people (like Is 25) This good news should lead us to what “great joy”. Why should we have great Joy? Because God is bringing salvation to His people through the “savior-king” of His people. Jesus Christ the Lord. Jesus is “God who we have waited/hoped for who will save us.” So the arrival of Jesus into History is a cause for celebration because He is our champion who comes with a mission to swallow up the Spector of death and deal with our “reproach” so we can have no more tears and joy with God for the great forever feast.

John 15:11|These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Jesus mission is our Joy. Jesus, God the Son, has perfect Joy because Jesus is in perfect relationship with God the Father. Jesus is the source of all Joy because Jesus is the source of all life and all that makes life good. Jesus is full of abundant joy. Jesus comes peaching and teach regarding sin and obedience to God and entrance into His kingdom for a purpose. Not so we would know condemnation and disapproval, but so we would know there is Joy in life with God. Jesus goes further than merely telling us where Joy can be found or that in walking in sin we will not have joy. Do this equals joy, do that equals no joy. He knows our inability to walk in a path of joy. He says He’s here so that who He is (joy) and what He has (joy) would be in us. So we can have fullness (wholeness with God) This isn’t simply “Jesus wants me to be happy” or our world that says you deserve to be happy all the time. Jesus is telling us where Joy can be found and where Joy is from.So we if we want to experience and know true lasting joy we need to look first to Him.

Hebrews 12:1-2 | 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.

Jesus motivation is Joy. We have experienced and committed sin, we have brokenness that has weighed us down in walking/running the race of life we were made for. When you’re weighed down with your own sin and with the weight of brokenness in and around you it’s is difficult to run and nearly impossible to actually “run with Joy.” But we aren’t told to simply give up and wait for the great forever feast. We’re told to keep running not to trying to muster up our own strength and motivation inside ourselves but to look outside ourselves… We are to look to Jesus who is the one who begins our story and who is the one who brings completion to our story. He has taken away the power of sin over us because He’s taken the eternal consequences of our sin for us. Sin, shame, and death are all massive barrier to joy. Hebrews uses intense language to describe Jesus disposition towards them. It says Jesus despises shame. Knowing that what He was going to accomplish on the cross, specifically dying in our place for our sins, removing our reproach of God, the wrath of God, our shame, giving us freedom and forever life with God, He saw all that before him and was motivated by the Joy (In Him being with His people and his people with Him) all that joy was set before Him and He endured the cross because His hatred of death and desire for lasting Joy was greater than the excruciating death He endured for us on the Cross. The suffering was endured, not for sufferings sake but because of what it would produce. Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father and He give us Joy because we have the promise of new eternal life with God and the current presence of the Holy Spirit can have life with God now even in a world that still has the shadow of death and tears. Because of Jesus’ triumph at the cross on that one day we can have joy prevail in our trials everyday.

PART IV | How do we have Joy in Trials? | James 1:2-5

James 1:2-5 | Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

I don’t want to talk about trials, I want to talk about Joy. See I don’t think we need to know what it means to pursue or experience joy when things are good or when circumstances are easy. We should be encouraged to really enjoy what has been given to us that is good. “Count your blessings”, stop and smell the roses, etc. are all good and we should have a greater disposition to simply enjoy what is around us as we experience it. This is the joy that is a natural response to good things outside of us. But we are in a real world where that is no always the case. Obviously, we’re not yet at the place of the final feast. Death still looms, tears are still shed. What do we do when there isn’t the natural reasons for us to respond with Joy? This is why we need a more robust definition. Joy can be a natural response to things that are easily “good”. (external) Joy is also an attitude we can adopt (internally) when things are difficult and “not good”.

Count it all isn’t as simple as “choose Joy” Joy doesn’t ignore grief and sorrow, Joy is how we navigate it. So we can see in the times of great trial we can be joyful (not happy or excited about, yeah trials!!) because we can know and have hope these trials aren’t just random beating from “the universe” or God who has forgotten us. We have a God in Jesus who has suffered for us with a purpose that produced great joy so when we face suffering we can know it is not going to crush us but it’s going to produce refinement and endurance that will lead to greater joy. It’s joy that leads the apostle Paul to sing in prison. It’s great that the apostle Paul could sing in prison. That can either be supernatural from God or it can be insanity. It also says he was praying, communing with God and likely begin told this light and momentary affliction is preparing him for an eternal weight of glory. In the Army-Navy Football Game it’s tradition that the team that loses still has to sing their song first before the winning team, it always seems so sad to tell them sing in the loss, and extra challenging to hear the victors sing for joy after you. We can have grief and sorrow but still sing for joy because we know there is still victory to be had, that we’re not ultimately on the losing end because Jesus lost on the cross for us. You need to place your hope in Jesus alone!

We can have joy when we know our trials are for a purpose. That purpose is to produce in us steadfastness. That we can be a bit of an oak anchored with deep roots connected to the source of life, producing life. So we’re told to count trials as joy because we might not know the purpose of what the trial is producing yet, but we will know it’s producing steadfastness and that is its own joy. We are not alone in trials. We can call out to God and ask wisdom on how to navigate sorrow with Joy and know that God is generous. HE gave of Himself in giving Jesus, He gives wisdom through His Spirit, Word, and Godly counsel. We can have and experience Joy in good times and bad when we Trust Jesus.

More in ADVENT | Words

December 23, 2018

Love | Matthew 22:34-40; 1 John 3:16-18, 4:7-12

December 9, 2018

Hope | Psalm 130, 1 Peter 1:3-7

December 2, 2018

Peace | Isaiah 9, Ephesians 2