Third Sunday of Advent 2018

The King is Coming ~ Part 3 An Unlikely Text About Joy Isaiah 51: 11; Matthew 1: 1-17 December 16, 2018


I. Isaiah’s VISION of the FUTURE. (Is. 51:11)
A. The REALITY of the PRESENT. (Is. 9:8-21)
B. The HOPE for the FUTURE. (Is. 51:11)
C. The PROMISE of JOY. (Is. 51:11)

Today we move from Isaiah on into the Gospel of Matthew on our Advent Journey. We start with the hope that Isaiah was calling his people to hang on to despite the reality that they were living and what the near future was going to bring to pass. He promised them the coming of joy.

1. Kid’s question: What was your worst day ever? What has been your best day ever?
2. In what ways do you identify with Isaiah’s listeners in regards to your present situation? Does joy seem like something hard to come by?
3. How is joy different from happiness in your opinion? Is it?

II. Matthew POINTS toward that JOY. (Matthew 1:1-17)
A. ESTABLISHING the LINEAGE of the King. (1:1)
B. A king in FLESH and BLOOD. (v.2-17)
C. A King FOR and FROM all people. (v.3,5,6,16)

This text in Matthew doesn’t seem to have anything to do with joy. It’s just a boring list of names; a genealogy. The joy that usually comes from these texts is when we finish reading them and move on to something we feel has more substance. But don’t rush away too quickly, there is a lot of joy embedded in this historical listing of Jesus’ ancestors.

4. What aspect of Matthew’s tracing of Jesus’ family tree stands out to you and why?
5. When we look at our past do we try to hide the failures and glorify the good parts? How does Matthew’s approach challenge that?

III. Good NEWS of great JOY. (v.23; Luke 2:10-11)
A. Joy comes from FUTURE HOPE. (Is. 51:11; Mt. 5:11-12; Rom 12:12)
B. Joy flows from GRACE, not WORTHINESS. (I Cor. 1:26-29; Eph 2:8-9)
C. Joy is RECEIVED, not EARNED. (I Pet. 1:3-6, 8-9)

The thing about Joy is that it is usually radically different from what we expect. It’s something that comes despite circumstances and that rests of the hope of what God has promised to do. The fact that we get invited into it, despite our brokenness and failure actually intensifies the joy that we are given. That’s the way God likes it.

6. What is your hope for the future. Share it with the group. Try to be specific.
7. What difference does it make to your life that joy flows from grace and not worthiness? How do we live that was toward others?
8. In what ways do we try to “earn” joy? How do we work at “receiving” it?

“In the Gospel of John, Jesus sums up pretty much everything by saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). He said it at the supper that he knew was the last one at which he’d have a mouth to eat with. Happiness turns up more or less where you’d expect it to-a good marriage, a rewarding job, a pleasant vacation. Joy, on the other hand, is as notoriously unpredictable as the one who bequeaths it.” (Frederick Buechner)