Luke: What brings you joy?-01/14/18

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘What brings you joy?’                    Text: Luke 10:17-24

Introduction: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor… (Isaiah 61:1–2a)

That should sound familiar. It’s Jesus’ mission statement that we looked at back in Luke 4:18-19. What Jesus didn’t include was the second, but equally important part of His mission; verses 2b-3

  • to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. (Isaiah 61:2b-3 NIV)

When you put those two parts together, you get…Joy!

  • Jesus’ mission was, and still is, to bring us joy, through the work He does and will do, in, through and around us!

That makes joy, an integral part of God’s plan for the followers of Jesus Christ.

Yet, too many of us live w/o the joy that Jesus came to bring us.

  • Well pastor, we live in very difficult days. Financial troubles, relationship burdens, fear of the future, worry over the choices our children are making, sickness, illness.
  • It’s hard to feel good when so much in our life is bad.

Well, that’s the problem. More often than not, the reason we fail to experience the joy Jesus came to bring us, is because we look for it in the wrong places.

Our text this morning deals, in a great way, with our Christian worldview. You see,

  • all of life… all of life, is affected by how we relate joy
  • to being a follower of Jesus Christ.

ILL: The Jewish Encyclopedia states that no language has as many words for joy as does the Hebrew of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament there are 13 roots, used in 27 different words. They are primarily used for some aspect of joy or joyful participation in worshipping God. (Kaufmann Kohler)

Folks, God’s people were meant to be joy-ful.

But, true joy is not found:

  • in making more money, in climbing the corporate ladder, in losing weight or looking good.

True joy is not found:

  • in our hobbies, sports, or even in the success of our children.

Jesus, through the pen of Dr. Luke, will tell us where true and lasting joy is found.

  • And it’s not in anything that you can do.
  • It’s only found in what God has already done for you,
  • when He wrote your name, in heaven!
  1. Luke 10:17-20 The disciples’ joy
  2. Luke 10:17-19 Lesser joy

Read: Luke 10:17-19

When the 72 disciples Jesus sent out returned, they were pumped! The text says they returned with joy. We can see the source of their joy when they told Jesus Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.

  • And I don’t think the emphasis here was on in Your name, but in are subject to us.

How do I know that? Because Jesus redirects / corrects their focus in verse 20.

  • But, not before He can rejoice with them for a moment.

He responded by saying I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. While this response does throw some commentators for a loop, when you stay in the context, it’s a bit clearer.

  • Jesus wasn’t remembering the time in the past when Satan was kicked out of heaven for trying to steal God’s glory.

So what did He mean? Perhaps this will help.

  • Lightening is quick and happens very often in a storm.
  • The lightening metaphor Jesus used represented each time one of the 72 shared the Gospel and someone responded and placed their faith in Jesus. It was as if Satan was falling all over again.
  • The lightening metaphor Jesus used represented each heart warmed to Jesus. It was another defeat to the plan of Satan to turn humanity against God.

Pastor John MacArthur explains it this way:

  • Evangelism is not just convincing people by a good argument of the truth of the gospel…
  • Evangelism is the task of rescuing people out of the clutches of Satan, ripping them, as it were, from the lap of the evil one.
  • Believers are still the instruments of the Lord by which the grip of Satan is broken on souls.
  • We are the soldiers that invade the kingdom of darkness and… rescue of souls that are held captive by Satan and his demons.
  • The power of darkness, is crushed by the gospel. (Adapted)

Christian, you are a part of that. In God’s eternal plan for salvation history, your… life… matters!

  • If that doesn’t bring you joy, then someone needs to check your pulse.

So when Jesus said to the 72 I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven He was encouraging them, He was sharing in their joy.

Jesus even assured them,

  • not only of the authority He had given them over Satan and his demons,
  • but of His protection over them while they were out serving Him.
  • Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

I have no doubt that what Jesus said was both literal and figurative.

  • Literally, the 72 were protected by Jesus from any physical harm while they were out serving Him.
  • Figuratively, the 72 were protected from the spiritual battle that Satan and his demons were waging war against them while the 72 were out serving Jesus.

Read: 1 John 4:4b He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

  • While I don’t believe Luke 10:19 gives the Christian freedom to ‘test’ God’s protection over them in the physical realm,
  • I do believe it, as well as 1 John 4:4b, mean that as long as God has use of us, we will be protected from death.
  1. Luke 10:20 Greater joy

Read: Luke 10:20

I think the reality for most people is this: That which they truly value, is what makes them the happiest.

In verse 20 we see Jesus telling the 72 that true joy was not found in what they did, when He said do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you… with the operative words being are subject to you.

BUT… big but here, huge, life changing but. Jesus tells us all:

  • But rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Our greatest joy is never found in what we do, but in what God has already done for us.

  • He has written our names in heaven.

Question: Christian, you know this… what does it mean that God has written our names in heaven?

  • Our sins have been forgiven.
  • Our relationship with God has been restored.
  • We are saved… from an eternity in hell.
  • We are saved… to an eternity, in heaven!

That’s Joy, above all joys!

 

ILL: William Barclay said It might well be claimed that the discovery of the use of chloroform saved the world more pain than any other single medical discovery. Once someone asked Sir James Simpson, who pioneered its use, “What do you regard as your greatest discovery?” expecting the answer, “Chloroform.” But Simpson answered, “My greatest discovery was that Jesus Christ is my Savior.”  He had it right.

Albert Barnes wrote: Though it was an honor to work miracles, though it is an honor to be endowed with talents, and influence, and learning, yet it is a subject of chief joy that we are numbered among the people of God, and have a title to everlasting life.

In Roman times, each city had a book/register of the names of the citizens of that city. And with it came the rights of privileges of citizenship.

To say that our names are written in heaven means

  • we are citizens of heaven,
  • that we have a home there, right now,
  • we have a home there, waiting for us to move in.

And, as citizens, we have the rights and privileges that go with heaven. What rights and privileges?

  • No tears, no death, no sorrow, no pain

(Rev. 21:4)

  • No sin (Rev. 21:8)No night (Rev. 21:25)
  • No curse (Rev. 22:3)
  • God the Father will be with us (Rev. 21:3)
  • Jesus, the Lamb, will be with us (Rev. 21:22-23)
  • The glory of God is unmasked (Rev. 21:23)
  • Home, we have a home in heaven (John 14:1-3)

Here’s something especially wonderful… the phrase your names are written is in the perfect tense in Greek. It means the Believer’s name stands written and always will be written in heaven.

And if that’s not enough, your names are written is in the passive tense in Greek. It means the act of writing your name in heaven was done by someone else.

  • Christian, your future, your home in heaven… is forever secured, guaranteed and protected by God, who Himself, has written you name in heaven.

And that is our greatest joy,

  • because it’s something that no one, no circumstance, can ever take away from us.
  1. Luke 10:21-24 Jesus’ joy
  2. Luke 10:21-22 In the Fathers will

Read: Luke 10:21-22

As far as I can tell, this is the only time in the Gospels that we’re told that Jesus rejoiced. The Greek formation here indicates that Jesus rejoiced… greatly. What would cause Jesus to be so, over the top, joyful?

  • Generally, Jesus was joyful that the Father’s sovereign will, is so full of grace.
  • Specifically, Jesus rejoiced that the Father revealed the truth of the kingdom and how to be a part of it; to simple, everyday people.

Jesus, in vs 22 also rejoices in the special relationship that exists between Him and the Father.

  • First, the Father has given all authority over all that exists… to Jesus.
  • Second, only the Father truly knows Jesus and only Jesus truly knows the Father.
  • Third, Jesus can only be known by those to whom the Father reveals Him.

Again, central here is the truth that true joy is not found when we place our faith in Jesus.

True joy is found when

  • God the Father, through God the Holy Spirit, reveals God the Son, Jesus, to us.
  • It’s only then, that we can place our faith in Jesus.
  1. Luke 10:23-24 In the Fathers work in the disciples

Read: Luke 10:23-24

Jesus rejoiced because the Father’s will was being accomplished in the lives of His disciples.

Here’s Dr. Luke’s point.

  • All the OT saints looked forward to the work God promised to do in sending the Messiah to save His people from their sin.
  • They, the 72 as well as Jesus’ 12 Apostles, are seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises.

It brought Jesus joy that God had chosen to bless His disciples to see that fulfillment in Him.

Yet, later Jesus will say that there is even a greater joy and greater blessing…

  • Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28–29)

Christian, that’s us, that’s you! There’s an even greater blessing;

  • that we have believed and are saved,
  • even though we have not seen Jesus in the same way His first disciples did.

Folks, coming here on Sunday morning should NEVER be a chore or a duty. It should be our joy!

  • We get to worship Jesus on this side of the cross
  • in a way that no one before that had the opportunity to do.

Folks, coming here on Sunday morning, regardless of what’s going on, should NEVER be dull or boring. We get the chance, each Sunday,

  • To open our eyes and see the nearness of God.
  • To be touched by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • To be lifted up by the truth of God’s Word.
  • To be reminded, that this world is not our home, we have a dwelling place, a home waiting for us in heaven.

Joy! True joy!

 Conclusion: I started off talking about the Christian worldview. And that all of life, is affected, by how we relate joy to being a follower of Jesus Christ.

The problem is, we have a view of God, of Jesus, of the Holy Spirit even, that leaves out the thought that they could actually express joy, be joyful.

It’s as if we think the Godhead is

  • so concerned with the sin in the world,
  • so serious about the coming climax of all creation with Jesus’ return,

that they choose not to express joy because it would be frivolous to do so.

Yet, there is great joy in the Godhead.

  • The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
  • looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
  • For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5)
  • These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)

Having an incorrect theology of the Godhead negatively affects how we view the Christian life and the place joy has in it.

  • Lisa, your name is written in heaven.
  • Chris, your name is written in heaven.
  • Barb, your name is written in heaven.
  • Marian, your name is written in heaven.
  • Stan, your name is written in heaven.
  • Ron, your name is written in heaven.
  • Matthew, your name is written in heaven.

Christian your name is written in heaven!

  • Be joyful!