Summary: ADVENT 3(A) - Christ’s coming brings great joy first by faith and then in heaven.
CHRIST’S COMING BRINGS GREAT JOY
Isaiah 35:1-10 - December 14, 2003
351 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.
3Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."
5Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
7The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
During these weeks of Advent, we have been looking at the gifts that God gives to us as believers. These are gifts that we truly need, gifts that we cannot buy in a store. We have talked about the peace of God, which the world cannot give to us. We visited about the righteousness of God where God covers all of our sins. Today, as you heard in our text, hopefully you heard today’s gift is gladness and rejoicing, the joy that comes from knowing that Christ is our Savior. Yet, maybe this morning we might not feel like Isaiah says at the end, which says: "Gladness and joy will overtake them.” Maybe we have had a difficult week, or we are suffering from colds or flu or whatever. We don’t feel exactly like gladness or joy overtakes us. Maybe we have gone shopping and been discouraged by what we have not been able to find, or all the people that have rudely crowded us out of their way. There are many things in this world that can take away God’s gladness and joy. In the parable of the seed and the sower Jesus warns us: "But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful"(MARK 4:19). Such an event happening is quite easy during this Advent Season. It is the feeling to let all of those things crowd out that joy of our salvation, crowd out the blessed gift of the Christ Child. So it is this morning we want to consider the fact that CHRIST’S COMING BRINGS GREAT JOY as our theme. Isaiah’s words add, "Gladness and joy overtake us:
I. First by faith
II. Then in heaven.
I. Joy = First, by faith
In Isaiah 34, the Lord talks about His judgment that is going to come. When the Lord talks about His judgment and His return, He tells them they are going to face punishment. He tells them about God’s Law that condemns them. In today’s chapter today, Isaiah 35, Isaiah talks about the coming and coming judgment of the Lord. But now he talks about the Gospel message that is there. Isaiah gives them hope and encouragement, joy and rejoicing. In verse 3 and 4 of our text: 3Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear. After they had read or heard chapter 34 of Isaiah, the people were trembling. They were scared because of the Righteous Lord who would return. But now Isaiah says, "Do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution. But then he adds: "He will come and save you." Yes, on that Last Day when He comes again, those who do not believe in Him will face God’s divine retribution and judgment; but for those who believe and look forward to His coming, the Lord will come to save them.