Sunday December 12 2021 Advent Three Joy

ENTER INTO THE JOY OF THE LORD

 

Matthew 25:21 NKJV

“His Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’”

On this the third Sunday of the Advent Season we are to focus upon joy. There has been much said about the joy of this season – reflecting upon the joy of His coming to Bethlehem.

  • This morning, however, I wish to consider another foundational aspect of our joy.
  • The above Matthew reference takes us by the hand and propels us forward, from the joy of the manger scene all the way to the end of days.
  • The end of days where there is also much joy at His coming again.
  • As He came the first time and there was joy, so too He is coming a second time where again there will be very much joy.
  • Two occurrences accompanied by two outpourings of inexpressible joy.
  • The carol reminds us, Joy to the world the LORD has come, let earth receive her king!”
  • But unfortunately the world in large part did not receive her king at Bethlehem, nor later at the gates of Jerusalem.
  • And I’m afraid the world will again not be open to receiving Him as He cleaves the sky upon His white mount.
  • There will be joy in heaven, as at Bethlehem, but little joy in the corridors of worldly power.
  • In fact according to Revelation 19:19, at the peak of the final great war, the kings of the earth and their armies turn their weapons away from each other and turn them toward Him as he descends from the heavens. Folly upon folly!
  • The angels will break into shouts of praise and joy at His second coming much as they did on the hills about the city of His birth.
  • We too, His body of believers, will spontaneously erupt in joyful rapture.
  • From our vantage point within the beloved, I find it incredible that the world cannot see and cannot understand.
  • What is so obvious to us, is so obscure to the world; what is so sensible to us is such total nonsense to those outside.
  • To us, our joy is so secure and confident, whereas the world wrinkles its brow at our naivety.
  • As the darkness cannot comprehend the light, so the world cannot grasp our joy.

Not only is our joy at seeing Him, but we joy in His words to us. “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  • Our ears will ring with joy at the hearing of His voice.
  • We are joyful as we read His words on the pages of our Bibles;
  • Our spirits joy in hearing His still small voice within these temples of ours.
  • But to hear Him speak audibly, will elevate our joy to heights unimagined!
  • That same voice that spoke creation into being resounding in our ears!
  • At that first dawn, He spoke to the grasses, generally; He spoke to the trees, generally; but on that day we each, individually, will hear His voice addressing us!
  • And as the sheep of His pasture, His voice will fill our universe.
  • We will have ears only for that Voice.

And if this isn’t enough we will hear Him bestow further blessing upon each of us.

  • “Because you have been faithful . . .”
  • “faithful over a few things.”
  • Faithfulness is both joy of being, and soon will be a joy of receiving.
  • We are faithful in what the LORD asks of us because we desire to bring Him joy!
  • And because of this He delights in us – another benefit of our joy in serving Him.
  • And our joy will continue to expand as He entrusts us with greater work in His name.

The gospel of John and the epistle of John both use the phrase “that your joy may be full.”

  • In 1 John 1:4 we read, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
  • The words that John was writing are in fact part of the Scriptures that we too read.
  • What this is saying to me is that as one reads the word our ‘cup of joy’ begins to fill more and more.
  • John is saying that he is writing these things to the believers of his day, that their joy may be full.
  • Likewise the Spirit is saying to us He is writing these things that our joy may be full.
  • We reach a point where our “cup overflows” as an analogy of our overflowing joy to come.
  • Joy increases in direct proportion to our contemplation upon His word.
  • Most of us, if not all, can identify times when the Spirit dropped a nugget of truth into our hearts as we contemplated His word. And our spirits leaped for joy in that moment.

The second reference to “that your joy may full,” caused me to pause this week.

2 John 1:12 reads, “Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.”

  • Upon meditating upon this verse, to say that my joy went through the roof, would be most understated!
  • The Spirit suggested to me that this verse, besides its plain surface truth, is also a metaphor of a much deeper reality and truth.
  • Remember that the Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus – wrote the Scriptures.
  • Can you hear Jesus saying, I have many things to write to you (to believers – His sheep – ), but I didn’t want to write these things using paper and ink.
  • Rather I want to say them to you (us) face to face.
  • And the result of this face to face speaking “Our joy may be full.”
  • So, it’s the desire of Jesus to speak to His brothers and sisters face to face.
  • And to what purpose? So that our joy may be full.
  • Now notice something! The metaphor suggests that Jesus is the speaker and we are the hearers. Just as John was speaking to the believers in his day, so too Jesus is metaphorically speaking to us in His day.

So when He say “Our joy may be full,” He means He receives joy along with us with this face to face discourse!

Again, 2 John 1:12 reads, “Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.”

  • Jesus receives joy as He sees our joy in Him rise.
  • Scripture says that He delights in us and this is one aspect of His delight in us – to see our joy!
  • Our joy gives Him joy!
  • Repeat after me, “Our joy gives Him joy!”
  • Turn to your neighbour and say, “Your joy gives Him joy!”

Matthew 25 ends with the phrase therefore, “enter into the joy of your LORD.”

  • On that day as our joy becomes full we enter into the fullness of His joy.
  • We joy in Him, and He joys in us!

Our second Scriptural reference may seem to some to be a strange passage for Advent.

  • But upon contemplating this week’s message I was drawn to Daniel 12:8-13.
  • Our joy reaches an apex on that day, the day of the LORD – His second coming.
  • And this joy that we acquire from Him is based upon revelation knowledge.
  • The world – the wicked – do not possess the means to access such joy as we have because they lack understanding.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:12 puts it this way:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

  • Our knowledge far exceeds that of the world, yet our understanding is incomplete.
  • On that day, however, our knowledge will be totally expanded.
  • This verse says that once we see Him face to face we will have full understanding.
  • And we will know even as He knows us!
  • This means I will have utmost joy in understanding how Jesus knows me!
  • I will see myself clearly as He sees me! What joy!
  • Daniel opens this section by saying, in effect, LORD, I don’t understand what you’re showing me.
  • But as we will see, this will be cleared up; the mysteries that Daniel witnessed will become clear to the generation of future believers.

“Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, ‘My Lord what shall be the end of these things?’ And He said, ‘Go your way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall  purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1290 days. Blessed is he who waits and comes to 1335 days. But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.’”

  • Let me paraphrase somewhat.
  • Daniel says, “I heard what was said but I don’t understand.’
  • Then he asks a question of God, “what will be the end of these things?”
  • The lord doesn’t explain his visions but tells him these visions are to be sealed up until the end of days.
  • This suggests that knowledge of these last days will be revealed to a later generation.
  • The LORD tells Daniel that there will be two classifications of people – the purified and the wicked.
  • He tells Daniel that many will be purified (justified), made white, (Sanctified), and refined, (glorified). This is the one group – the wise – as the last days advance.
  • The second group, the wicked will continue in their stubborn wickedness.
  • The wise will understand what is happening but the wicked will not.
  • The LORD then gives a reference to the abomination of desolation and the numbers 1290 and 1335. I will not address these things here.
  • Finally, a truly remarkable verse, verse 13.

“But you [Daniel], go your way until the end; for you shall rest,[sleep], and you shall arise to your inheritance at the end of days.” NKJV

  • This is what has been spoken to every believer down through the ages.
  • It is what is spoken to each of us today, should the LORD tarry.
  • Daniel finished his race; he did what GOD asked of him.
  • Even though he did not understand the scope of everything he heard, saw or did.
  • He did his part as such he will hear the words of Matthew 25:21:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.

Enter into the joy of your LORD.”

  • This verse is an Old Testament statement concerning the certainty of the resurrection.
  • And the certainty of reward and inheritance for faithful service.
  • It tells us of the process of salvation – purification by justification, making white – the process of sanctification, and refining – the process of glorification.
  • It also tells us that evil men will wax worse and worse. 1
  • That in their wickedness they become “earth-dwellers”, those operating in utter darkness of deed and understanding.
  • That the “wise” – the redeemed – will understand.

There is joy in our service to Him.

  • This last verse of Daniel 12 has always thrilled me since I first read it decades ago.
  • To think that Daniel, way back then, so far removed from the last days could express such confidence in his own resurrection.
  • I am much closer to the joy of the last days than he was and yet here he is accepting the joy set before him.
  • Job too, in 19:26 expresses the confident joy of his own resurrection. Listen.

“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

  • Their joy in their belief in their own resurrection is evident and speaks to us these many years later. “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your LORD.”

I wish to return to something I stated earlier.

  • His speaking to us face-to-face.
  • “enter into the joy of your LORD.”
  • He will speak to each of us, by name, individually!
  • That Voice! Those words!
  • The same Voice and those very similar words as spoken during the week of creation will resound about us on that day.
  • His Voice spoke to the grasses; His Voice called out to the great fishes of the sea; that Voice thundered to the stars of heaven and called forth the birds of the air.
  • And that very same Voice will call unto us on that day!
  • And as Job said in 38:7, “The stars sang and all the angels shouted for joy.”
  • And that same creative power, that same resounding Voice that brought forth the fish, the stars, the trees and mankind from the dust of the earth will once more cry out new life in the last days.
  • New creations will once again arise from the dust on that day.
  • And our joy will fill the universe!

What do I need concern myself with what the world has to say?

  • The world’s voice, the world’s opinion is nothing more that “tinkling brass or sounding cymbals.” 1
  • And their voices will fall far short of our ears.
  • “for my ears have be fine-tuned to the voice of the Bridegroom.”2

In Genesis 1:22 GOD blessed His creations and ordained that they should “fill the waters” and “multiply in all the earth.”

  • So too, He speaks for our joy to fill the earth!
  • Listen to Habakkuk 2:14:

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”

He spoke during the initial creation by speaking to the grasses as a whole.

  • Same for the trees and all creatures.
  • But this new creation; this new “glorification” that we will pass through we will each hear Him speak to us, not collectively, but individually.
  • That our joy should be full.
  • More even than full but to overflowing – overflowing unto the ends of the universe.

“Well done, good and faithful servant . . .enter into the joy of your LORD.”

 

COMMUNION

Prayer for the bread of His body.

On the night in which he was betrayed he took bread: And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,

“Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”

Let us eat together and remember.

Prayer for the blood of His new covenant

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying,

“This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Let us drink together and remember.

Final hymn

Benediction

1 2 Timothy 3:13

2  R. T .Muir I’ll be Rising Up When He Comes 1998

 

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