Last week I had the chance to preach at our church, and the topic given to me was “joy,” going with an advent theme. Hoenstly, I was surprised at what came out (though I shouldn’t have been, as most of my GUPY’s would tell you that I only have one sermon that I preach – Christ in you, the hope of glory). My take home truth (sermon-class talk for "main point") is that if we truly knew that Jesus came to give us more than forgiveness, that He came to give us life, we would live lives of joy-fueled obedience. If you’d like to listen to it (it’s not long), click here and download it to your favorite PC/Mac/iPod. Below is my closing (I was preaching out of 1 Peter 3:3-9; 13-15):
In the first episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, Jed, Granny, Jethro and Ellie Mae pull up to their new home and go inside. Their mouths hang open as they stand in the foyer and look at the chandelier and the spiral staircase. Granny tells Jethro to bring her iron cook stove in from the truck and asks Ellie Mae to gather wood so that she can cook supper, despite being told that there is a brand new stove for her to use in the kitchen. When she sees the kitchen oven, she sets to work building a fire inside it. Jethro comes down from the upstairs and says, “There’s a whole other house up here, Uncle Jed,” to which Jed replies, “Git down from there – like as not that belongs to someone else.”
If only they'd known that they had a stove that would cook without a fire. If only they'd known that the whole house belonged to them, not just the downstairs.
And while we laugh at the Hillbillies, we are so often the same way with our salvation. We are amazed at the forgiveness of Jesus, as we should be, but we never begin to explore the fullness of the life that He has given us. We try to apply our old way of doing things to the new life that He has given and it just doesn’t work. We doubt that all that God says about His love for us and His work in us could possibly be true. And so we stay in the foyer of faith, missing out on the fullness of joy.
Could this Christmas season be the time where you discover afresh the joy of Jesus Christ? Will you fix our eyes upon Jesus? Will you prepare your mind for action, looking at all you have been given in Christ, and will you respond with a loving obedience, fueled by joy, that our lives might be consistent with the life of Christ in us.