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    Dec 12, 2021

    Advent Joy

    Passage: Luke

    Preacher: Jess Achenbach

    Series: Advent 2021

    Keywords: worship, christmas, advent, joy, spirit, fruit, happiness


    Advent week highlighting Joy



    1. Advent 1/Luke Timeline (Angels, fear, Holy Spirit, Joy)
      1. Joy with Anticipation
      2. Joy vs. Happiness
      3. Joy replacement – exchanging back for true joy.

    Week Three of Advent.  Joy

    Advent literally means coming, or appearing.  While in this season as we celebrate Christmas, we are reminded of the first coming of the Messiah, the Christ, the fulfillment of every prophecy from the Old Testament.  He is the completion of the hope that we have. These are the promises that Pastor Bob talked about last week.

    This week we are looking at Joy in advent, and I want to take the time to look a little deeper at the story of Jesus birth in Luke chapters 1 and 2, where and how it is used in light of the coming of Jesus as a baby, but also how it pertains to us today as we celebrate and looking forward with hope to the second Advent of Christ in the form of a rapture.

    As we study Joy we need to look to scripture, and there were so many places that I could have looked, like James chapter one, “count it pure joy, my brothers when you face trials of every kind” etc. but I felt compelled to look at joy as it pertains to the characters in Luke chapter 1 and 2 and then through that lens, how it applies to us.

    So today I am going to read Luke Chapter 1:5-Luke 2:40 please be warned that we are reading 75 verses in chapter 1 and another 40 in chapter 2, so sit back relax and enjoy the reading of God’s word.  As I am reading, I want you to listen for 4 different pieces of context. 1. Angels, 2. Fear not, 3. Holy Spirit 4. Joy. I am reading in the NASB 95 version so if you want to follow along with me feel free to do that alright, here we go!

    Read Luke 1:5-2:40

    5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

    6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 And yet they had no child, because Elizabeth was infertile, and they were both advanced in years.

    8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 Now an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zechariah was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

    18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in her years.” 19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

    21 And meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple, and he repeatedly made signs to them, and remained speechless. 23 When the days of his priestly service were concluded, he went back home.

    24 Now after these days his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among people.”

    Jesus’ Birth Foretold

    26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and was pondering what kind of greeting this was. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth herself has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called infertile is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

    38 And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

    39 Now at this time Mary set out and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”

    Mary’s Song: The Magnificat

    56 Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.

    John the Baptist Is Born

    57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.

    59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zechariah, after his father. 60 And yet his mother responded and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began speaking in praise of God. 65 And fear came on all those who lived around them; and all these matters were being talked about in the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.



    Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all the people were on their way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was betrothed to him, and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

    8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying,

    14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.”

    15 When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

    Jesus Presented at the Temple

    25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

    29 “Now, Lord, you are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace,
    According to Your word;
    30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
    31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples:
    32 A light for revelation for the Gentiles,
    And the glory of Your people Israel.”

    33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and as a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

    36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the temple grounds, serving night and day with fasts and prayers. 38 And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak about Him to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.


    Lk 1:13 Zechariah – But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John 1:13.

    This is the first time in this story where we see an angel appearing and his is Gabriel, the same angel that came to Daniel in the OT.  There isn’t a lot of information on the way the appearance of the angel, how he looked except that in Daniel which says he had the appearance of a man.  However, looking like a man or not it was something terrible to behold because each time these angels appear what do they always say?  Fear not. 

    Zechariah was from the tribe of Levi, one of the priests.  During the time of Christ there was estimated about 20,000 Levites in the country.  Each family group would take a turn to serve in the temple, and then from the family group the lot was cast for who would be the one to do the services.  This really was the chance of a lifetime for Zechariah to be serving in this way, something that was looked forward to.

    My dad likes to hunt, and several years ago he finally drew a moose tag in the lottery they have where he lives.  You are allowed to apply every year, but after you get it, you don’t get to apply any more.  So, you better make sure that you bag your moose.  He had been looking forward to the opportunity for a lifetime, and finally was awarded the chance. 

    This is the anticipation that Zechariah had as well.  He was looking forward to this prestigious opportunity to serve the Lord.  The text tells us that he was righteous, faithful to follow all of the commandments of the Lord as was his wife, Elizabeth. 

    Like this opportunity to serve had been in anticipation his whole life, he also had been praying for a child his entire marriage, but Elizabeth his wife was barren.  He must have truly loved her, because during this time, having a child was so important that you were allowed to divorce your wife for being barren.  Instead, they prayed together for a child and now here he is in the temple and the Angel appears to him and delivers the news that he has been praying for.  News that the coming of the Messiah was immanent, but more than that, he and his wife would have a son that would be the forerunner of the Christ. one that was filled by the Holy Spirit!  And what was his response? He doesn’t believe what the angel is saying and starts to question him.  Yet the angel told him that his prayer had been answered.  He KNEW what his prayer was. 

    Because of his questioning, Gabriel punishes him, causing him to be mute until over a week after his son’s birth.

    After Elizabeth had been pregnant 6 months Gabriel goes to visit Mary.

    Lk 1:35 Mary- Angel says Greetings favored one. The Lord is with you, don’t be afraid.  The Holy Spirit will come upon you.  So again, we hear the words, do not be afraid, and the Holy Spirit will be upon her. 

    Mary is a young girl and hasn’t had the length of years that the other characters in the story have, but now begins the nine long months of her waiting in anticipation for the baby to be born.  The turmoil during that time must have been difficult.  It was made easier by the reaction of Joseph her betrothed, in that he honored her and decided to marry her regardless of her being pregnant.

    That must have been difficult news to hear, but oddly, Luke doesn’t mention that part here.  For that we have to go to Matthew 1:20

    Mt 1:20 Joseph - The angel appears in a dream to Joseph and tells him not to be afraid but to marry her anyway.  Basically, the angel lets him know that the girl isn’t lying!  She hasn’t been fooling around, but instead was truly chosen by God to be the blessed mother of the Messiah.  And the blessing was his as well.  It must have felt like both a blessing and a struggle at the same time.  Interestingly the Angel references the Holy Spirit would be the method of her pregnancy.

    Lk 1:41 Elizabeth- Filled with the HS.  Back to Luke in verse 41 we see Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she rejoices and says a blessing over Mary as she enters the home.

    Lk 1:44 John the Baptist, was also filled with the Holy Spirit in utero and leapt for Joy.  Elizabeth continues to bless Mary

    Lk 1:47 Mary says “my spirit Rejoiced in God”.  In verses 46-56 is Mary’s Magnificat, a song that blesses God and rejoices that she was chosen to be the blessed mother of the Messiah.  Many young Jewish mothers would name their son Joshua because each hoped that their son would be the Christ.  Which is also another reason why being barren was such shameful curse.  There was a desire to be the instrument of God to fulfill His prophecy. Elizabeth had likely lost the hope being so old, and then what a miracle to have a child, which is where we are going to skip to next.

    Lk 1:58 Neighbors/relatives rejoiced in the birth of John the Baptist.  There was a true JOY that came from the birth of a baby, and especially for the circumstances surrounding this birth.  All of the speculation that must have been going on, and expectation of what this child would be like after the drama surrounding his father’s situation in the temple, and now here at the birth.

    Lk 1:67 Zechariah.  As soon as he wrote the name on the tablet that the angel had instructed him to, his tongue was set free and he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he Blessed the Lord.  Again, we see the connection of being filled with the Holy Spirit and Blessing the Lord.

    Lk 2:1 Census: Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.  Amazing that 700 years before this had happened Micah the prophet (Micah 5:2) had said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but that isn’t where they lived.  They were about 70 miles away to the north in Nazareth.  Which is a similar distance to Sandpoint from here.

    God caused the most powerful person in the world at that time to make a decree that caused pain, frustration and suffering for this young mom-to-be right near the toughest part of pregnancy and have her travel all that way.  This gives me perspective.  Sometimes rulers and leaders of this world make laws and decrees, mandates that cause me frustration and irritation.  Passages like this encourage me that God is in control, I just am excited that someday on the other side of glory perhaps God will allow us to see all the reasons why things happened in our lives from HIS perspective.


    Lk 2:8-10 Shepherds- Don’t be afraid, good news of Great Joy for ALL people.  There is so much significance in the way that God decided to have His son save the world, in a humble way, not loud fanfare, and this set the pattern for the whole life of Christ, a humble servant.  After telling Mary and Joseph and everyone else that would listen about the angel’s appearance and message, they went out praising God.

    Lk 2:25 Simeon- The HS came upon him. And he came “in the Spirit” into the temple.

    When Candice and I lived in Japan, it wasn’t often the people saw white folks there, and if they did, it was most often business men or college students teaching English.  We were there and started our family there, Lauren and Kaity were both born there.  Sometimes we would be in a grocery store and we would turn around and someone we had never met would have taken Lauren out of the stroller and be holding her. 

    Now here is Mary and Joseph following all the customs that were required of them.  Mary would have to complete 40 days of ritual purification after the birth of the child and then following Mosaic Law they would come and give a sacrifice to God for the child.  Here they encounter an eccentric older gentleman that comes in and, in my mind, just snatches up the baby.  He had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died, and now the Holy Spirit comes upon him and directs him strait to Jesus.  His hope for seeing the Christ was fulfilled and he blessed God and then blessed them.

    Luke 2:36 Anna She was old. And after she had lived with her husband just seven years, she is widowed and what does she spend her time doing? Serving night and day with fasting and prayers.  She gives thanks to God and then tells everyone about it.

    Joy Anticipates

    Joy aches, and longs and desires. Joy is something we savor.  Simeon, Anna etc.  The fulfillment of our ache has to be Christ, everything else is trying to fill that with other things.  Anna filled her life with the healthy options, serving, fasting and prayer.  Yet many of us medicate our life and dull that desire for true joy?  Genuine Joy helps us to fully grasp gratitude and life in Christ. 

    These encounters with angels started with fear, but then the Holy Spirit is introduced and we see joy and giving thanks and glory to God.  In most of these passages giving praise or giving thanks to God is what follows when there is a filling of the Holy Spirit, or when the Holy Spirit is moving and working.  True joy is connectedness with God through the Holy Spirit.  The outpouring of this is byproduct of this gift of the fruit of the Spirit.

    Now I am not saying that as someone that is not a Christian can not feel joy, no not at all in fact here is a clip that demonstrates that:

    Show Video Clip

    The difference is as Christ followers we are given this gift and we have the opportunity to ask God for this even when we are not feeling it.  By being obedient we have the opportunity to receive it, but it might take asking, and then following some of the examples that are given even in these passages.  Like Anna, to pray fast and serve.  When we are obedient the Holy Spirit moves and our automatic reaction is to bless God, we get to do this in spite of our physical circumstances.

    Happiness Vs Joy.  Happiness is something that we can fake if we have to.  I can’t be sad and happy at the same time because these are opposite feelings.  This is why joy is special, we can experience joy in the midst of our sorrow.   But it is much more than that.  Check out this comparison chart.

     Galatians 5:19-24 sum this up nicely:

    Gal 5:19 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    The key to joy is placing Christ ahead of yourself.  Each of the deeds of the flesh listed in Galatians 5 are completely selfish.  The fruit of the Spirit is outward focused.  God invites us to enjoy Him, but what is holding us back?

    1. Is your life marked by joy and thankfulness or anger and frustration?
    2. What are you doing with the aches and longings? Are you trying to satisfy those healthy desires with unhealthy patterns and habits?

    Over the next few songs as the band plays would you take the opportunity to write down some of the things that you are using as a substitute and if you like, come down here and symbolically put them in the trash as the foot of the cross.  It is time to lay down your burden, and lean on Jesus.


    “Be joyful always…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).