Summary: The angel’s announcement to those frightened shepherds was intended to produce great joy.
Joy to the World
As we gather here this morning, following Christmas, I still find myself thinking back to the wonderful joy that was brought to us in the form of that perfect babe in the manger. And I think of those shepherds at work out in the fields, when the angels came to them, to announce the birth of Christ. The angel’s announcement to those frightened shepherds was intended to produce great joy. So, this morning I want us take a look at the joy we are offered through the birth of Jesus Christ.
I. The Need for Joy
a. The world today is in need of joy.
i. There are many factors today that contribute to an unhappy frame of mind for people.
ii. The present world crisis
iii. Personal past failures
iv. The competitive and materialistic spirit of our age.
v. Disappointment by others
b. These factors contribute to a spirit of pessimism.
i. In the midst of these distressing circumstances, it is somewhat difficult to be joyous.
ii. We need to remind ourselves that a sour-faced Christians is a very poor advertisement of what Christ can do for a person.
c. A student of anatomy has said that it takes 13 muscles to smile and 65 to frown.
i. If this is so, some of us are overworking ourselves by wearing a frown instead of a smile.
ii. A sincere smile on the face is the outward expression of joy in the heart.
d. Jesus came into the world that people might be filled with joy.
i. Most of the painters and poets have given the world a false concept of the character and nature of Jesus Christ.
ii. They have painted him as a sad, melancholy, morbid, unhappy individual.
iii. Because of this impression, many have the opinion that a Christian must never smile.
iv. Some judge the quality of one’s piety in terms of the length of one’s face.
v. The great majority of those who are not yet disciples o four Lord believe that all enjoyment of life is over when one becomes a Christian.
II. Jesus was Joyous
a. Have you ever asked, “What kind of man was Jesus Christ?” Was he a joyful individual or did he forever wear a frown?
b. Jesus had a magnetic personality.
i. His disciples detected in him something for which their hearts hungered.
ii. They perceived that he had come into the world to make available abundant, lasting, true joy to the hearts of people.
1. Jesus described himself as a bridegroom.
a. I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I was waiting at the pulpit for my wife to walk down the aisle, I assure you I was not frowning.
iii. People were drawn to Jesus, because he was full of joy.
III. Jesus desired Joy for Others
a. Jesus desired that his followers be filled with joy.
i. John 15:11 reads, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
b. Concerning the privilege of prayer, Jesus said in John 16:24, “Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
IV. The Babe in Bethlehem’s manger was born to be a Savior from sin.
a. The absence of joy in the hearts of people can be traced to sin and all that this little three letter word stands for.
i. Christ was born to deal with humankind’s sin problem.
1. The Savior came to bear the penality of our sins.
2. The Savior who died but lives again can deliver us from the power of sin.
3. Ultimately, this Savior, who birth brought joy to the angels, will one day bring to each of us who trusts him the joy of being saved from the very presence of sin.
b. This Savior seeks to produce joy in our lives by replacing fear with faith.
i. People have always been afraid of the possibility of not having adequate resources for the future.
ii. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught to trust in the greatness of God and to work without worrying.
1. As his disciples faced the future, they feared personal failure, and he sought to encourage them with a promise of his continuing presence.
2. People have feared to face the curtain that we call death, and Jesus sought to bring joy by assuring his disciples of a prepared palce for a prepared people.
Jesus thought of bringing joy into the hearts and lives of people as one of the primary motives for his coming into the world, for he said in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” You must let Jesus Christ be born in your heart and live as a guest in the house of your life if you want to know the fullness of joy abut which the angels proclaimed the day of his birth.