Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Joy is the result of gratitude in light of God’s grace to our guilt.

“Jumping for Joy” Luke 1:67-79

• What makes people jump for joy? A winning basket? Graduation? A new bike?

• What makes you jump for joy? For Scrooge, it was more money!

• Zachariah was jumping for joy in our text, but it was more than for a baby boy. Zach and Elizabeth had waited a long time to have a baby. Finally baby John was born, and Zach was ecstatic. He broke out in praise!

A. Grace and Gratitude Lead to Joy

1. Papa Zach knew God had come to deliver his people. (1:68-71) The Heidelberg Catechism states that our comfort is knowing that we belong to God and that He delivers us.

2. “Gratitude and joy are the twin children of grace.” – Ben Patterson. Grace, gratitude and joy all have the same root word in Greek - KAR.

- Col. 2:7 teaches that gratitude is the essence of the Christian life. Zach was full of gratitude.

3. When we are grateful, joy is the result. (I Thess. 5:16-18)

Look at Bob Cratchit’s attitude in the Christmas Carol. In response to his "bah humbug" Uncle Scrooge, Bob relishes Christmas, "though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good."

B. But Guilt Smothers Our Joy

1. Rabbi Zach knew their sordid conditions. They needed help. (1:72,74,77)They needed rescuing. They needed forgiveness. Have you ever faced your condition and cried to God for help?

2. We are guilty before God, because of our thanklessness! (Rom. 1:21)

- It is not the mass of our sins, but our sin condition that alienates us.

- Stop thanking God, and the result is guilt and darkness.

- Stop honoring God, and the result is alienation from God and lostness.

-When Scrooge’s old business partner comes back to haunt him, he says, “I wear the chain I forged in life; I made it link by link and yard by yard.” – Jacob Marley. What a picture of bondage!

3. We are all guilty before God. (Rom. 3:23)

None of us are better than Scrooge. We have all been alienated from God. For example, if we to take the three best jumpers in the world to the Grand Canyon, one would jump farther than the others, but all would fall to their deaths.

"Before the finite, all infinites are the same." - Pascal

C. God’s Love Shines in Our Darkness

1. Singer Zach rejoiced at God’s Mercy and Light. (1:77-79) Zach praises God for His Love.

2. God deals with our guilt in His LOVE. (Rom. 5:8) Would I die for you? Probably not! But Jesus did!

- In His love, there is nothing I can do to make Him love me less,

and in His love, there is nothing I can do to make Him love me more!

- “Grace and love like mighty rivers, Poured incessant from above;

Heaven’s peace and perfect justice, Kissed a guilty world with love.” from an old hymn

3. God’s love makes us want to leap for joy. (Rom. 5:9-11) This is exciting, almost too good to be true. Only God could think of such a redemption.

When the spirits of the past, present and future made their case before Scrooge, he was appalled.

“No, spirit, no! Hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been before these revelations. Why show me all this, if I am past all hope? Assure me that I may yet change these shadows you have shown me by an altered life.”

- Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Old Ebenezer (whose name from I Sam 7:12 means Stone of help) learned to celebrate Christmas like no one else. He woke up, danced around the room, and made Christmas the best ever for the Cratchit’s and everyone else around him. He was grateful, and filled with joy.

What is your grateful attitude this Christmas? Have your reviewed the grace of God in your life? Are you ready to celebrate as never before?

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