Summary: The Candle of Joy is lit when we encounter Jesus and that encounter should change us!
• PC VIDEO
• SLIDE #1
• There are many reasons for one to be joyful during the Christmas holiday. I know it can be a buy time, but where one stays centered on the reason for the season, how can one help but be filled with joy.
• If your Christmas season is simply chaos, maybe it is time to take some time to relax and re-focus.
• Today we are going to look at the candle of Joy!
• When God sent Jesus to us, He did so in order that we could experience joy in life.
• When we have in inner peace about life and where it is headed, we can experience joy.
• Later in Jesus’ ministry, He said He was here in part to bring joy!
• Joy is the inward feeling of happiness and contentment that bursts forth in rejoicing and praise.
• SLIDE #2
• John 15:11 (HCSB) — 11 “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
• When you examine those who follow man-made religions, do you see or even sense joy? Jesus came to bring joy into your life. Even when life gets difficult you can still have joy, joy that you know who you belong to and who is in control.
• Today we will look at the issue of joy as we examine the shepherds who were in the region that Jesus was born.
• From the story of the shepherds we will examine a couple of issues concerning joy.
• Let us turn to Luke 2, we will begin in verse 7.
• SLIDE #3
• Luke 2:7–12 (HCSB) — 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place. 8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
• SLIDE #4
I. Fear stifles one’s joy.
• One reason one can lack joy in life is fear. Fear stifles joy.
• When you consider your own life, do you experience joy when you are full of fear?
• When we are bogged down with fear, it is difficult to experience joy.
• Let’s look at the shepherds for a moment.
• Shepherds were common among the Jews; it was not an easy job it was wrought with dangers. It was a lowly job and shepherds were not held in high esteem.
• One should not romanticize the occupation of shepherds. In general shepherds were dishonest and unclean according to the standards of the law.
• They represent the outcasts and sinners for whom Jesus came. Such outcasts were the first recipients of the good news
• These shepherds were near the scene of the birth of Jesus. They were in the fields which was typically done from April to November. Some rabbinic writings state that shepherds were in the fields between Jerusalem and Bethany in February according to commentator Leon Morris.
• Sheep were kept out in the fields during the day. In the evening they were moved into sheepfolds, where the shepherds could take turns keeping watch over their flock during the night. Inside the fold the sheep could more easily be guarded from predators and thieves. MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 1-5.
• According to the Rabbinic Law, sheep were to be kept in the wilderness and any animal found between Jerusalem and the vicinity of Bethlehem was subject to being used as a sacrifice in the temple.
• It may be, then, that the sheep these shepherds were caring for were destined for that very purpose. (John MacArthur Jr. Luke Commentary)
• How ironic if this were true of these sheep. The shepherds were watching over the sheep destined for sacrifice, and they were going to visit the Lamb of God who would be slain for their SINS.
• It was probably a typical night in the field, the shepherds were watching the sheep and then something strange and wonderful happened!
• Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: