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Summary: 24 Days Until Christmas

Series: 24

Week: 3

Passage: Luke 2:7-15

Title: Week 3 – The Candle of Joy

Focus: Christmas

ADVENT BACKGROUND: There are often many symbols used to represent Advent from various churches of many denominations. An evergreen wreath is a solid staple followed by four to five candles. The wreath is a symbol of Christ’s perfection (complete). The evergreen meaning eternal life and the light from the candles often times represent the light of Jesus Christ. Each of the candles has a different meaning.

• The first candle represents the anticipation of Christ coming (anticipation of Christ coming for those in OT and coming again for those living in NT).

• Note: This candle is sometimes tied in with the second candle. We learned this week…

o Jesus as the “Righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5)

o The Righteous Advents (1 & 2 Coming of Jesus – Jer. 23:6)

o Anticipation of the Righteous King (Jeremiah 23:7–8)

• The second candle is a candle of hope (preparation). We learned two ways to prepare here…

o Prepare by Repenting (Luke 3:3)

o Prepare by Clearing the Way (Luke 3:4-6)

• The third candle is a candle meaning joy.

• The forth candle is a candle representing purity (or love).

• The last candle (usually white to distinguish between the other candles) is the candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day representing Christ on as the fulfillment of what is promised in the first four candles.

Depending on which circle one grew up these candles have been known to move from week to week depending on the denomination. The color of the candles often varies but most common are purple, pink and white.

Title: Week 3 – The Candle of Joy (Luke 2:7-15)

#1: The Joy of the Lord is the Fear of the Lord (Luke 2:8-9)

o Explanation: There were shepherds looking after their flocks when suddenly the angel of the Lord appears. In the Bible, the angel of the Lord was either a blessing or a curse.

o THE BAD: The angel of the Lord put a curse on Meroz, because they refused to come to the help of the Lord. (Judges 5:23).

o The angel of the Lord put to death 185,000 Assyrian soldiers saving Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:35).

o THE GOOD: Angel of the Lord visits Hagar after fleeing Sarai (Genesis 16:7-14).

o The angel of the Lord commissioned Joshua and Moses to undertake the Lord's battles (Joshua 5:13-15 and Exodus 3:5).

o The angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22:11-18).

• NOTE: Before Jesus, there is really no mention of the angel of the Lord as Christ the Messiah himself is this person who speaks for us. The shepherds had no idea whether to be terrified or filled with joy until the angel of the Lord spoke.

o Illustration: This terror is similar in little children, as they often fear discipline from parents in the early stages of development.

o Application: The same is true in our relationship with God. Believers often question to fear or have joy when Christ comes. It can be a terrifying thing when God starts speaking to us. Should we be afraid when God calls or should we have an attitude of joy?

o Those Who Don’t Believe: Yes! Be terrified! The wrath of God is communicated numerous times in scripture. Those who have not called upon the Lord are destined for judgment that will lead to an everlasting separation from God (Luke 12:5 and Hebrews 10:31).

o Those Who Believe: NO! Be filled with joy! The fear of God turns unhealthy fear into an adoration and reverence of God. It is the motivating factor for surrender and the beginning of knowledge (Romans 1:7). A biblical fear of the Lord means we understand how much God hates sin (Hebrews 12:5-11) and how He has promised those who believe in Him that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)! God has come and He is coming again! Rejoice!

• There is NO reason to be scared of God because the fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.

#2: The Joy of the Lord is the Salvation of the Lord (Luke 2:10-11)

o Explanation: The angel of the Lord’s message was one of comfort. Instantly the shepherds are told to not be afraid (Luke 1:13 and 30) because the Messiah has been born. There means great joy!

o What is Joy? Joy is an outward “intense” expression of something that happening internally. Joy is seen in the life of the individual believer as well as in the cooperate assembly (church). Joy comes from the Lord, as God’s desire is that we delight in Him (Psalm 16:11; Philippians 4:4 and Romans 15:13). Joy is a characteristic of the Christian’s life on earth (1 Peter 1:8) and an in eternity in the kingdom of heaven (Revelation 19:7).

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