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Summary: Joy is evidence of the presence and applause of God.


Advent 2007: “Christmas in Song and Story”

Week #2

Psalm 98:4-8

Sermon Objective: Joy is evidence of the presence and applause of God.

This is our second week of Advent. This year’s theme is “Christmas in Story and Song.” We will use a different Christmas Hymn/Carol each week as our theme.

Last week we looked at O Holy Night. We discovered that even though many rejected the song because it was written and arranged by “secular people” that God claimed it and transformed the secular into the sacred. It is often God’s good pleasure to use the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27) and we would do well to remember that `What God did cleanse, … declare not thou common;’ (Acts 10:15 YLT).

In coming weeks we will look at:

• Come, O Come Emmanuel

• Come All Ye Faithful Silent Night

• Silent Night (Christmas Eve Service)

Today’s theme is Joy to the World.


Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, wonders, of His love.


His name is Phillip Pullman. Pullman is no friend of the Church or of the Christian faith. In fact, in his own words … he is out to “Destroy God.” At present, his agenda is to “Kill God in the minds of children.” Please understand: those are his words not mine. They come from his lips and his pen.

Pullman has been in the news a lot lately because the first of his three children’s books (designed to kill God in the minds of Children) has just been released as a full length Children’s movie called “The Golden Compass.” It came out in theaters just this weekend.

“The Golden Compass,” is the first novel in Pullman’s trilogy called His Dark Materials.

Pullman has not been shy about verbalizing his beliefs — or his intentions in writing the "Dark Materials" novels. The novelist has said they are in response to C.S. Lewis’ "The Chronicles of Narnia," the popular children’s fantasy series of which "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is the first book. The Narnia books were written by Lewis to teach Christian ideals to kids.

"I loathe the ’Narnia’ books," Pullman has said in press interviews. "I hate them with a deep and bitter passion." He has called the series "one of the most ugly and poisonous things" he’s ever read.

He is quoted in the Guardian Unlimited newspaper of England as saying “I am all for the death of God.” And, as has also stated that if God is indeed like the Christians describe him then God needs to be “put down.”

As I said, you need not take my word for this. You can find complete treatises and opinions on his website.

It is sad (but not surprising) that at Christmas, the time when we celebrate the incarnation, that Pullman would release an atheistic movie just for children. But what is even sadder is that Pullman would have such a distorted view of God that he would want God “killed in the minds of children.”

If Phillip Pullman knew the God I know he would not be trying to eliminate all knowledge of God, rather, he would be proclaiming Him as good, grace-full, loving, and living!

This is where today’s hymn comes in. What I wish Pullman could experience is the radical transformation that takes place when God’s joy replaces anger, bitterness, skepticism, and/or guilt. If Pullman was to experience that – his desire to see God eradicated from human existence would cease.

Isaac Watts was inspired by Psalm 98 when he wrote “Joy to the World”.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together (KJV)

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