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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Third Sunday In Advent
Series B

Option #1: "Paul's Formula for Joyful Christians"
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.
 
There's a shopping mall near my home. There are always a few empty stores that find temporary tenants as Christmas draws near. One of them sells Christmas decorations of every description. Many shoppers will go through the store, looking for that unique decoration that will make this Christmas even more special. Paul has some guidance for this coming Christmas and for the rest of our lives. (Note: the word for "rejoice" [chara] is closely related to the word for "grace" [charis].)

1) BE GLAD IN THE LORD--Lk 2:10, 10:20; Phil 4:4; see Thayer's Lexicon or Strong's G5463

2) PRAY CONTINUALLY--Eph 6:18; Col 4:2; 1 Pet 4:7

3) BE THANKFUL IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES--Eph 5:19-20; Phil 4:6-7; Col 3:17; Ps 34:1-4; Heb 13:15-16

Holman Bible Dictionary: JOY--The words joy and rejoice are the words used most often to translate the Hebrew and Greek words into English. Joy is found over 150 times in the Bible. If such words as "joyous" and "joyful" are included, the number comes to over 200. The verb rejoice appears well over 200 times. Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts. The Bible distinguishes joy from pleasure.

The Bible warns that self-indulgent pleasure-seeking does not lead to fulfillment. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 records the sad testimony of one who sought to build his life on pleasure-seeking. The search left him empty and disillusioned. Many people think that God is the great Kill-Joy. Nothing could be a bigger lie. God wants His people to know joy. Psalm 104:31 speaks of God Himself rejoicing in His creative works. Isaiah 65:18 speaks of God rejoicing over His redeemed people who will be to Him "a joy."

The joy of God came to focus in human history in Jesus Christ. The note of joy and exultation runs through the entire biblical account of the coming of Christ (Luke 1:14, 44; Matt 2:10). The most familiar passage is the angel's announcement of "good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10).

As Jesus' death approached, He told His followers that soon they would be like a woman in labor, whose sorrow would be turned into joy (John 16:20-22). Later they understood, when the dark sorrow of the cross gave way to the joy of the resurrection (Luke 24:41). Viewed from this perspective, eventually they came to see that the cross itself was necessary for the joy to become real (Heb 12:2). Because of His victory and the promise of His abiding presence, the disciples could rejoice even after the Lord's ascension (Luke 24:52).

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THE MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN

Suppose that you really want to remember something. One way to do that is to memorize it. Another way is to put the letters of the word one on top of the other. That way each letter means something and helps you to remember better. We can do that with the word JOY. It would look like this:

J

O

Y

When the angel came to the shepherds, he told them: I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL PEOPLE. A Savior has been born to you; He is the Christ, the Lord.

So the "J" stands for Jesus. There is joy in Jesus because He brings us back into God’s grace. That means our sins are forgiven and we are headed for eternal life.

"O" reminds us that Jesus died for OTHERS; for the sins of all. He had no sin of His own. He was holy.

The "Y" stands for you, and you, and you, and all of us. He died for you, and now you are to be today's angels, messengers, to make certain that your friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors know that Jesus died for them too. God doesn’t send angels to give the message today; it’s up to us.

That’s what JOY means, and that is our part in it. When you’re joyful in Jesus, you just want to share it. Now would be a good time to begin.

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Option #2: "'Tis the Season to be Joyly!"
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 

 

Point: Don't worry, be joyful!

 

Problem: We try to force joy, putting out the Spirit's fire, disbelieving and/or despising God promises.

 

Promise: God makes us joyful and thankful through prayer, because of Him and Him alone, setting us apart for His purposes, keeping us blameless, because of His faithfulness and promise to bring all things to completion.

 

Notes:

 

1.amemptos {am-emp'-toce}, v23: blameless, so that there is no cause for censure. (Blue Letter Bible)

 

2. ...a dress is a dress; but a wedding dress is sanctified--set apart for a special, glorious purpose--per v23. (David Guzik)

 

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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 11:35:43 AM