December 17, 2017 – Joy in the Waiting

Speaker: Don Dyck

Study Series: An Advent Prayer Journey

Study #3: Joy in the Waiting

Scripture: (all Scripture links go to BibleGateway.com)

audio

Link to Podcast

Advent → from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming”

  • a season of preparation
    • a season that invites us to adopt a posture of watching and waiting in two key ways:
      • 1) to step back in time before the birth of Jesus and enter into the experience of those who were waiting for the arrival of the Messiah
      • 2) to engage in actively watching and waiting for the second coming of Jesus and the ultimate fulfillment of all he came to do on earth
  • a posture of watching and waiting characterized by hope and faith, joy and peace → the themes of each of the four Sundays of Advent
    • First Sunday of Advent
      • The Prophets’ Candle symbolizing hope – looking beyond the present circumstances to a future promised by God
    • Second Sunday of Advent
      • The Bethlehem Candle symbolizing faith – the quiet trust and conviction that God, in his own time, would fulfill his promise
    • Third Sunday of Advent
      • The Shepherds’ Candle symbolizing joy – seen not only in the shepherds when they heard about and saw the baby who was the promised Messiah but also the joy that is experienced by those whose hope and faith are in God while waiting for the fulfillment of the promise
    • Fourth Sunday of Advent
      • The Angels’ Candle symbolizing peace – the promise of peace with each other and with God that the Messiah would bring about as well as the inner peace that can be experienced by those whose hope and faith are in God

The joy of the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)

  • The message of the angels was “good news of great (mega) joy”
    • for all the people
    • a Saviour has been born to you
    • he is Christ the Lord (the Messiah)
  • The response of the shepherds
    • Obedience  “Let’s go and see…”
    • “…they spread the good news…”
    • “…returned glorifying and praising God…”
  • “joy”
    • an ongoing inner feeling that results in external expression by how we live and our response to God
    • in contrast to happiness which is often determined by external circumstances and can be quite temporary
  • Joy is part of the evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a follower of Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23)
    • “Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence. It is not what we have to acquire in order to experience life in Christ; it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience.” Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p.96
  • Joy is the natural byproduct of living with our hope and faith in God even when going through the most difficult and darkest of time
    • hope and faith are focused not on what we already have but on what we do not have (see Romans 8:24-25) but for which at the same time can be certain (see Hebrews 11:1)
    • the belief in a coming Messiah began to take shape in one of the darkest times in the history of Israel – while in exile in Babylon⎫ the desperation of those times (see Psalm 137) became also the ground in which the seeds of hope were planted and took root (see Lamentations 3:19-26) and grew through their faith and trust in God
    • remembering how God had come through for them became the inspiration for further hope and trust and the experience of joy in the waiting for that to take place (see Psalm 126 – one of 15 psalms known as the Psalms of Ascent and sung on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the major festivals)
      • reliving through retelling

Learning about living with joy from Psalm 126

  • experiencing joy in the present looks back to the past as well as ahead to the future
    • recalling past experience of God’s intervention on their behalf (verses 1-3)
      • When the Lord brought back the captives… (v.1)
        • their experience
          • a dream come true, laughter, songs of joy – a spontaneous outburst of joy
        • The Lord has done great things for us,and we are filled with joy. (v.3)
    • trusting God to work once again (verses 4-6)
      • Restore our fortunes, O Lord… (v.4)
        • two images presented
          • the dryness of the desert and the hard labor of farming in tough conditions•
        • the conviction of experiencing joy in the future

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