Words have meaning but when they are attached to the person saying them then they take on a special meaning. Many words get interpreted incorrectly because they are not applied to the setting or the person who is saying them. The Bible has many words that get misinterpreted because they are taken out of context. For example the word Peace is not the absents of trouble but Peace with God. When Jesus said you will have peace many people think it means that their life will go the way they want it but Jesus was talking in a bigger context of the ultimate problem we have which was being separated from God because of sin. Another word is Hope which is not wishful thinking but anticipation based on the promises made by Jesus. Many words in the Bible have been mistranslated or given meanings they were not intended to have an when people interpret their meanings incorrectly then they get frustrated when life does not turn out the way they thought it was supposed to go. This leads people to be angry with God and therefore walk away from Him because they thought wrongly about His promises to them.
Another word that gets wrongly used is the word Joy. Joy is something we sing about but do we really know what it means? In the original Greek language the word joy and rejoice occur 132 times because the message of the Bible is good news which leads to great joy. Again, when the word joy gets interpreted incorrectly is where people see the Christian life differently than what was promised in God’s Word.
What is Joy? Joy is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.
Although Joy can be associated with what is happening, the reason we have Joy in this world is because of what we have possessed or what is in our possession in the world to come. Our joy is not based on our circumstances but on the fact that anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be accepted into Heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
God has set eternity in all of us so there is something we all long for that this world cannot fulfil. Since many people associate joy with happiness they think that the things on this earth will bring them happiness. Happiness is based on happenings where joy is established on what has already been done and cannot be taken away so we can have Joy even when we do not like what is happening.
How can we have this true Joy? The song Joy to the World gives us the reasons we can have true joy no matter what is happening in our lives.
“Joy to the World the Lord has come”
1) Why do we have Joy? The Lord has come
“Once upon a time” is a phrase we see or hear when we read books or see movies that we know that are fictional stories. One of the things that can happen is that the story of Christ gets put into the category of being a fictional story with good morals and principles for us to follow. The story of Christmas is placed in the same category of some of the ancient Greek myths that have gods who lived and died but that are made up stories or ancient beliefs that are now no longer necessary because of our advancement of technology and because of the discoveries of how the universe operates.
The Book of Matthew does not begin with “Once upon a time” and it is not random in its timeline of when things happened and who was involved. The book of Matthew was written as an historical document and if you ever have tried reading through the Bible in a year you know that there are many things that you tend to skim over while you read through this account of the life of Jesus.
Matthew 1:1-6 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,[a] 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king…..
The birth and life of Jesus Christ is Historically written and to make it into a fictional story is to deny all the facts of the people, places and events that took place. Many of the false religions put things in their books that have been proven untrue or have details about events that were far fetched but Matthew wrote in such a way that the facts surrounding Jesus could be proven true by researching other historical sources. The specifics and details of what we have been given proves that this is not a made up story but was rooted in Jewish history and the belief that God would come to earth to redeem His people. . Matthew wrote his gospel trying to show the Jewish people that Jesus was the Messiah they waited for and everything he list in the book is historical proof that Jesus was the one who fulfilled the prophecies that were predicted about the Messiah.
We can have Joy because we know that God has come and has provided a way for us to be back in a right relationship with Him. Of all the things that man desires on this earth there is one that is desperately needed and that is to be back in a right relationship with their Creator.
1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
No matter how good or bad your life is or how long or short you live on this planet the reality is we all are going to step into eternity and we have can have joy because when we do leave this place we know that Jesus provided the way for us. (John 14:6) No matter what happens in this life and no matter how difficult it is true Joy is based on the finished work of Jesus and that He came to earth, lived a perfect life and died for us to be right again with God.
2) How do we get this Joy? Receive the King.
“Let earth receive her king”
Receive: To permit to enter, to welcome or greet also to accept as authoritative, true or accurate. (Webster’s Dictionary)
Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
The angels did not say this is what you must do to receive God’s mercy but what has taken place in order for God’s mercy to be shown. In order to receive God’s mercy you have to accept the free gift of salvation that is offered through Jesus Christ. What many people miss is what it means to accept Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life.
In Luke chapter eight there is the parable about seeds and it describes the different kind of people and what they do or do not do with Jesus Christ. One group was on the rock and they received the seed but when the sun came up they withered away. These people received Christ for who He was but when it became too difficult or because the Messiah did not operate the way they thought, they gave up because they did not accept Him as authoritative or true.
John 1:11-12 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Christianity is different because you accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ but it will still impact how you live because you receive Him by making Jesus your authority in your life.
Have you received the King? Have you accepted Jesus as authoritatively true and welcomed Him into your life to determine how you should live? You will never have true Joy until you accept Jesus Christ as the authority of your life because nothing else on this earth will fulfill you no matter how hard you try.
John 15: 10-11 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Our joy is made full not in getting everything we desire but from being obedient to Jesus Christ.
“Let every heart prepare Him room”
3) How do we receive Him? Prepare Him Room.
We prepare for many things in life like taking test in school or around Christmas time we prepare for house guest but have we prepared room for Jesus in our busy lives? We are a distracted society with many things fighting for our attention. Although it seems we are busy people the reality is we are just distracted. Entertainment and social media are the biggest culprits that take time away from us without us realizing the amount of time we have given up for them. If we are not careful we will allow meaningless things to take away from the most important relationship we can have and that is with God Himself.
How do we prepare room for Jesus?
Matthew 3:1-3 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”
Preparing room for Jesus always meant repenting or turning away from things that God considers a sin. Our society may not think it is a sin and you may not even believe it is a sin but everyone who prepared room for Jesus always eliminated the things in their lives that Jesus considered sin. Stories in the Bible about Zacchaeus (Luke 19) and the woman at the well (John 4) show us how they changed their lifestyles because they accepted Jesus as their authority and in turn they received an incredible joy that the world could not give them. Zacchaeus sought Joy in money and the woman at the well sought joy in relationships both of which are two areas people continually seek after today.
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
If we are to prepare room for Jesus then there are things in our lives that we will have to remove and that starts by us accepting Him as our authority which in turn will lead us to have the joy we long for in this life. Many people do not have true Joy because they are trying to fill their lives with many other things that will bring happiness for a moment but not lasting joy. They are filling their life with what brings happiness but that will change because happiness is based on happenings and when our happenings change for the worse than our happiness goes away.
Joy cannot be taken away from us because it is based on the Joy is based the deep seated emotion that Jesus saved us for all eternity. Many people know the King but have not received the King as their authority and so joy has not been found.
“Joy to the world”. That means everyone. “The Lord has come” True Joy is found in a relationship with God who came to the earth in the flesh. “Let earth receive her King.” You have to accept Him as the King or the ruler of your life. “Let every heart, prepare Him room” Have you allowed God to have access to your life by you repenting (turning away from) the things He calls sin?