Joy to You and MeLuke 2:8-20Theme: Rejoicing in the promise.This week’s lessons teach us that true joy is found in Christ alone.
LessonNothing so commends the Gospel to the unsaved world as the great joy of Christian fellowship, the fact that something is different there in the company of God’s people. But, also, by contrast, nothing so hinders the Gospel as a lack of joy in the church, which occurs when joyous fellowship is broken, or maimed, or undermined, or destroyed. There is joy in Christian fellowship, and there is joy in the Gospel, too.
When the Gospel was announced at the very beginning and again at the very end after the Resurrection – when the angels appeared to the women and told them, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead…’ ” (Matt. 28:6-7) – the women hurried off, afraid, but filled with joy. At the very end, after Jesus had appeared to the disciples, and had taught them for forty days and had ascended into heaven, and the angels had appeared, telling them to go on about the task that he had given them, we are told that the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. There is joy in preaching the Gospel; there is joy in receiving the Gospel; there is joy in believing the Gospel.
And then finally, let me suggest that there is joy in Christian work and witness because where Christians speak of Christ their Savior, and where they work for him, their God works and speaks also. God, who can work without us, nevertheless, chooses to work with us and through us. There is nothing so thrilling in life as to speak the message of the Gospel in human words, and to see the Holy Spirit of God work in a superhuman way through those words to bring about new life in the people who are listening. We need to have that kind of joy – that kind of effervescent, indestructible joy that points men and women to Jesus. I don’t know why it is, but we seem to be afraid of it today.
E. Stanley Jones, a great missionary, had a friend whose name was Rufus Moseley. Rufus Moseley was one of those people who always seemed to be joyful – the kind of people who often get under our skin because we are not joyful ourselves. Moseley could never be repressed. Someone said of him on one occasion, “When I first met Mr. Moseley, I thought he was crazy. When I met him the second time, I knew he was crazy.” That’s the kind of man he was. One of our more sober brethren got Moseley on one occasion and said to him, because they wanted to try to sober him up, to teach him how grim the world was, “Do you know of a single instance in the Bible where it tells us that Jesus Christ laughed?” As far as I know there are no verses that say that, though he undoubtedly did. But Moseley had a good answer. He said, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I know he fixed me up so I can laugh.” And that is Christianity. That is wonderful.
I want to say to you at Christmas that it is all right to laugh. Moreover, it is not only right, it is fit that we be joyful. So be joyful this Christmas. When you get your family together, don’t do it with long faces and with the grim characteristics of the season, of which there are many, but do it with knowledge of the Lord’s goodness to you, and share that with those who are gathered about. As your children gather on Christmas Day, rejoice in God’s goodness. Remember the good things, the joyful things of the past. And if you are going through difficult times, as many are, remember that you can be joyful even in the midst of grim circumstances, because our joy is not grounded in the circumstances – the things that happen to us – it is grounded in the Lord.
I don’t know whether it is right to talk about joy in terms of the non-human parts of creation–of the animals, for example, who have no souls and presumably do not worship. I do not know whether animals can be joyful. If they can, it’s certainly not in the same sense. And so, I am not willing to say that Peter, Paul, and Mary were right when they sang that song, “Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, and joy to you and me.” But they were at least right in this: “Joy to you and me.” That’s the message of the angels, a message that is good news of great joy to all the people. That means joy to you and joy to me. If you ask, “What is that message of good news,” the angels give the answer quite clearly: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
Study Questions

According to Dr. Boice, what can hinder the Gospel?
How does Christian joy affect unbelievers?

Scripture MemoryMemorize Philippians 4:4-5.

Study Questions
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