Sermon Follow Up - Week 52, 2022
TWO GUIDING QUESTIONS DURING THIS SERMON SERIES
Are you growing in the knowledge of God?
Are you growing in loving God and loving people?
“Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 98:1–9 ESV)
The absolute delight mankind can experience in this age is only found in the eternal promises of the age to come that Christmas points to.
We Delight in the Truth that the Lord Is Come
In the birth of Jesus, in his first appearing, in the first advent, his first coming we celebrate what is promised for our future in his second advent, his second coming and all that it entails. In Philippians 2:7-11 the Apostle Paul shows us the glory of the first coming in the humility of Christ. The obedient life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and exalting ascension of King Jesus before whom every knee will bow before on that final day, being proclaimed King and Lord by everyone.
We sing the lyrics “Joy to the world the Lord is come” because we know he has come to make his blessing flow…not just now in a time when those blessings are mixed with the curse of sickness and death, but the “then,” at his second coming, the second advent, when he finally comes to end all groaning – both ours and all of creation itself.
We Delight in the Truth that the Savior Reigns
We can delight in the truth that the Savior will one day reign, the day he returns, and every knee bends, and every tongue confesses him as Lord.
Amid the tears and sorrows of this life, the Lord reigns. And we are able to sing with certainty that “the Savior reigns” at Christmas as we celebrate that which is true now though seen through a mirror dimly in the sure and certain hope of what will be so clearly and joyfully true in the age to come.
We Delight in the Truth that He Rules the World with Truth and Grace
In his first coming Jesus hadn’t come to bring judgment. Rather, he brought the joyful truth of the grace of forgiveness and the gift of salvation (John 12:47). It's for this grace and truth we delight, we sing for joy. But that rejoicing comes also at the truth that at Jesus’s second coming he will come to judge those who have rejected him. The threat of judgment isn’t to make one mad and self-defensive…rather, it’s meant to cause one to recognize their need of a Savior. And because of Jesus’s birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension in his first coming, our Savior has, indeed, come. And if a person would simply place their trust in Jesus in the present, he will not be the righteous judge towards you, but he will be the righteous one who declares you blameless and forgiven and facing no condemnation in the age to come.
We Delight in the Truth of the Wonders of His Love
The only way we can sing the song “Joy to the World” with genuine joy and hope is because of everything Jesus’s first coming means to us. Jesus came to bear the sins of many, and he will come again to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Are these not the wonders of his love? Is not the greatest wonder of the season what the most famous scripture states? ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).
Christmas isn’t the end. The joy and wonder of Christmas are not meant to be primarily found in the gifts or the trees or the songs. The enduring joy and wonder of the season is found in the understanding that Christmas is the beginning of the end that we all long to see and enjoy in the age to come. The pain and sorrows for some that the days of Christmas represent will be swallowed up in the future, eternal joys of the age to come.
Christmas really does bring joy to the world because of what it promises for the world – eternal salvation and joy in the blessed hope of heaven where sins and sorrow no longer grow, where thorns no longer infest the ground and where the eternal King comes to make his blessings flow for ever and ever.
May this Christmas Day, and every day for that matter, be lived delighting in the promises of the age to come.
PRIMARY QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- How will you begin/continue preparing him room in your heart?
- How do the promises of the age to come inform your answer to the first question?
Section 12 of the Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith
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