“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Foundation Scriptures: Luke 1:41-44; Luke 2:8-10; Matthew 2:10-11
And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
Luke 1:41-44 NKJV
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. Luke 2:8-10 NKJV
When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy. 11 And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11 AMP
l. The whole Christian / Christmas message is based and rooted in JOY.
- Even in the womb, the baby John, who would become known as John the Baptist, leapt for joy in the presence of the unborn baby Jesus.
- The angels announced glad tidings of great joy to the world, singing and worshiping the Lord. This word “great” here in the Greek is “megas” and means: exceedingly, great; greatest; high; large; loud; mighty. (We get our word “megaphone” from the same root word as the word “great” here)
- When the wise men saw the star they were filled with ecstatic joy. The KJV says exceeding great joy. The Greek word for “exceeding” means: vehemently; in a high degree; much. The word “great”, as in the previous scripture, means: exceedingly, great; greatest; high; large; loud; mighty.
- So their joy was as big and loud as joy can get!
ll. Wherever the presence of the Lord is, there is JOY – whoever the Lord touches is filled with JOY.
- Psalms 16:11 AMP – You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.
- Acts 2:28 AMP – You have made known to me the ways of life; You will enrapture me [diffusing my soul with joy] with and in Your presence.
- Psalms 2:4a NKJV – He who sits in the heavens shall laugh.
- Job 5:22a NKJV – You shall laugh at destruction and famine.
- Acts 13:42 Wuest – And the disciples were continually filled with joy and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
lll. Jesus faced and endured the cross for the JOY set before Him.
- Hebrews 12:2 NKJV – Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Acts 2:23-28 NKJV – Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
- No matter what Jesus had to endure, He chose to obey His Father. He knew that He would face death, but His hope was in the fact that the Father would never let Him remain in the grave. He knew what great joy lay on the other side of obedience and He expected to experience that joy!
- Matthew 25:21-22 NKJV – His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
- Eternal joy awaits the faithful, in the presence of the Lord.
lV. Those who know and serve the Lord have many reasons to be full of JOY.
- Luke 10:21-22 NKJV – In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
- Luke 10:20 NKJV – Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.
- The source of your joy is not in yourself, or your accomplishments, or even in the fact that devils run from you. Your joy is in the fact that Jesus has saved you from death and destruction, brought into fullness of life and that your name is written in His book of life!
- Isaiah 61:10 AMP – I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
V. God’s Kingdom—here on earth—is a JOYFUL, JOY-FILLED Kingdom.
- Romans 14:17 KJV – For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
- In God’s kingdom, what we eat and drink is not what matters to the Lord. What does matter is a right way of life, peace, and joy, which all come by and through the Holy Spirit.
- Galatians 5:22-23 AMP – But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
- The greater the work of the Holy Spirit in you, the more of the fruit of the Spirit will be manifest in your daily life, including the fruit of joy. A joyless religion is just that – religion. Serving Jesus means a life full of the joy of the Lord!
- 1 Peter 1:8 AMP – Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.
- Our joy comes from the fact that the blood of Jesus has eternally saved us from sin and death. No matter what else happens in our life, we need have no fear of death, hell or the grave ever again.
Vl. No matter what you go through, you can still be filled with JOY.
- John 16:22 NKJV – Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
- Happiness and joy differ in that happiness is dependent on circumstances and joy is not. Joy comes from a heart filled with the Spirit of God.
- Job 8:20-21 AMP – Behold, as surely as God will never uphold wrongdoers, He will never cast away a blameless man. 21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter [Job] and your lips with joyful shouting.
- True joy can only be experienced by those who fully serve God. The sinner can never experience this joy; the backslider is the most unhappy person on the earth!
- Proverbs 14:12-13 AMP – There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. 13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth is heaviness and grief.
- Without Jesus in your life, your laughter is empty and your happiness is temporary.
- Psalms 5:11 AMP – But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.
- Psalms 126:1-6 KJV – When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. 3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. 4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
- Philippians 4:4 NKJV – Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!