SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2008-12-21: "A Leap Of Joy"

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A Leap for Joy


The fourth Sunday of advent is called “Joyful Sunday.” It is joyful because it is the last Sunday before Christmas. The birth of Jesus is to be celebrated and remembered with great excitement and anticipation. No other religion holds such an incredible truth as the incarnation. God Himself came to earth and submitted Himself to all the indignities of residing in human flesh.

I chose to give this sermon on joy, but because I am joyful, but in spite of my particularly negative mood. I woke up Saturday on the wrong side of the bed. All day long I felt “out-of-sorts.” Have you ever awakened irritable and agitated? That was me on Saturday. I was anything, but joyful.

After rising early to supervise five volunteers for community service, I spent the afternoon doing my “not-so-favorite” thing: shopping. Lois and I went to Aldi’s a discount grocery store and purchased food for our emergency food project. The store was packed. Every time I turned around I was bumping into someone. I became claustrophobic (fear of being in closed places), and ochlophobic (fear of crowds). My reaction was inwardly anything but joyful.

At WalMart it was worse. Four times I was almost run over by a rapidly moving shopper on their way to another bargain. Finally, when I went as far as I could and took our carts to the cashier’s line, the cashier hit a wrong button at the end of our order and two supervisors took us to a nearby empty shopping station to RE-RING the whole order.

To my already foul mood was added resignation and exhaustion. What happened to my joy? One thing is certain. The source of joy isn’t in our circumstances, it comes from deep within. This sermon explores the root sources of a Christian believer’s joy. May it challenge you this Christmas Season.


Pastor Phil   <><<



December 21, 2008, Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland


A Leap for Joy

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:39-45


 “What is occupying your heart this Christmas? This is the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Joyful Sunday. The Birth of Jesus is a time for rejoicing. Give Him thanks."     Pastor Phil


“"For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” Luke 1:44


”The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.” Psalm 28:7



        A. Joyless Saints – Not enough “Ble$$ me, Lord, Ble$$ me!”

                        1. Billy Sunday in a NY 1914 sermon

                           “If there is no joy in your religion, there are leaks in your religion!”

                        2. Too many sad-faced Saints,

                            “Their religion hasn’t traveled from their hearts to their face.”

            B. Joy is the second Fruit of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22,23

            “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,            goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

                        1. The Fruit of His Spirit is available to those who get close

                        2. Second Fruit of the Holy Spirit’s Presence in your life

            C. Christmas is the time to Leap for Joy

                        1. Angel’s Message to Zachariah – Luke 1:14

                  "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”

                        2. Elizabeth exclaims to Mary – Luke 1:44

                          "For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my

                           ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”

                        3. The Angel’s Announcement to the Shepherds – Luke 2:10

                           “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. "For

                             there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is

                             Christ the Lord.”

            D. Christmas Carols Proclaim the Joyful Theme

                        1. Joy to the World

                        2. How Great Our Joy

                        3. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You

                        4. Good Christian Men Rejoice


II.   THE LEAP OF JOY                     

            A. Elizabeth, Who Was Barren Was in her Sixth Month – Luke 1:37

                 "For with God nothing will be impossible."

                        1. John, in his mother’s sixth month, Leapt for Joy – Lk 1:26,36

                            “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a

                              city of Galilee named Nazareth” (Sent to the Virgin, Mary)

                            "Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in

                              her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was

                              called barren.”

                        2. With God All Things are Possible

            B. Christ’s Spirit within John Caused the Leap – Luke 1:15b

                "He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.”

                        1. He Possessed a Human Spirit

                        2. He Possessed the Holy Spirit

            C. Elizabeth Began Spontaneously to Praise God – Luke 1:42

                “Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you

                  among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

                        1. Usually the Younger Pays Homage to the Older

                        2. Elizabeth Reverses the Order – The Lesser to the Greater

            D. Elizabeth Was Filled With the Holy Spirit – Luke 1:41

                 “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.”

            E. We are to Be Filled with the Spirit – Eph. 5:18-20

                 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled

                   with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and

                   spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

                  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our

                  Lord Jesus Christ,”



          A. We rejoice even if Relationship with Jesus Means Persecution

              “Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And

                   revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake.

                   Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in

                   heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.” Lk 6:22,23

            B. There was Joy When Jesus Sent Forth the Seventy – Lk. 10:1

                  “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent

                    them two by two before His face into every city and place where He

                    Himself was about to go.”

            C. The Seventy Returned with Joy – Luke 10:17

                   “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons

                     are subject to us in Your name."

            D. We are to Rejoice Over His Salvation – Luke 10:20

                "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you,

                  but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

            E. We Rejoice over the Power of His Resurrection – Luke 24:39-43

            "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a

              spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."  When He had

              said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did

              not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food

              here?" So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.

              And He took it and ate in their presence.”




A Leap for Joy, Texts:

Luke 1:39

Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,

40  and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

41  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.

45  "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."


A Leap for Joy

Closing Illustration


What Occupies Your Heart? I squirmed a bit as I forced myself to listen to my friend cataloging her problems. After three hours, I interrupted her gently to ask, "If you were to draw a circle to represent your life, what would be in the center? She thought a moment, then said, "My problems." My friend spoke the truth. A week later, I sat across the hospital bed of my younger sister, Joye, who had just been diagnosed with acute leukemia. Gray and perspiring, with bandages encasing her throat from a biopsy, Joye talked to a student nurse who was interviewing terminally ill people to see if there was any way she could help them. "Oh, Jan, I'm a bit fearful of the pain and process of dying--but I'm not afraid of death! It'll just be a change of residence for me," I heard my sister, her face radiant from within, say to this student nurse. And for forty-five minutes, Joye explained the good news of Jesus Christ to Jan. Afterward, I thought, both my friend and sister have serious problems. Yet one's walking in despair, and the other in joy. What makes the difference? Then I realized what it was. My friend's heart was occupied with her problems; my sister's heart was occupied with the Living God.


Author Unknown