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Summary: This is an Advent sermon.

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Joy is a big word this time of year. In the song “How Great Our Joy,” we sing “Joy, joy, joy! Joy, joy, joy!” seemingly over and over. We have “Joy to the World,” “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You,” “Good Christian Men, Rejoice.” We talk of spreading “Christmas joy.” Where does Christmas joy come from?

Read Isaiah 35:1-10.

We have here a contrast that shows us where real joy comes, Christmas joy or regular joy. There are two types of lives we can live: a life without God or a life with God.

* Life without God is a DESERT

I have never been to a desert. I don’t much aspire to ever really go to a desert, other than to say I’ve been there. What do you think of you when you think about a desert? In many ways a life without God offers many of those things.

O WORRY

When we try to live without God, we worry a lot. Usually it’s about stuff that doesn’t really matter. Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Worrying is useless, because if it’s something we can do something about, then there is no need to worry. If we can’t do something about it, then why worry? We can sit and worry about a test, or we can study.

O BLIND

This is more than physical blindness. This is spiritual blindness. Just because we have 20/20 vision doesn’t mean we can truly see.

O DEAF

A life without God means we can’t hear him. We can read the Bible and not hear the voice of God. We can pray and not hear the voice of God. Listening is more than hearing.

O LAME

In days gone by a physical challenge was a death sentence, or at least a sentence to a life of poverty living at the mercy of a stranger. Christopher Reeve would never have lived as long as he did. Sin makes all of us spiritually lame.

O MUTE

We cannot praise God when we are walking away from him. We can’t tell others of what has done. If we do credit someone or something it is usually “luck.”

O THREATENED

In the desert, we are in danger from wild animals. The jackal, the lion and the ravenous beast are our enemy. Peter said, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

O LOST

An inexperienced desert traveler will soon find himself lost. Sand lies as far as the eye can see. If there is a road, it will probably be covered with sand. We are lost without God.

o EGOTISTICAL

A life without God is self-centered. It’s all about me, me, me. Have you ever met someone who thought the sun rose and set on their command? We get all wrapped up in where we are headed, where we are going. A life without God isn’t fun.

* Life with God is an OASIS

Often in the desert, people think they see water, but it’s a mirage. All the good times promised by a life apart from God are a mirage. The Bible says that the pleasure of sin lasts for a season, but we must be concerned with eternity. A life with God gives us

O SECURITY

Instead of worry we have security. Worry is produced by a lack of security. When children worry about their parents, it’s because something has shaken their security.

O SIGHT

Jesus healed no fewer than 7 blind men, and that is all that is recorded. There were likely many more. When Paul was physically blinded, he received spiritual sight. When we begin to walk with God, our sight becomes clearer.


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