Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Exceeding Great Joy
Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
This is definitely the time of year to celebrate and remember the birth of our Lord and Savior. If you read the Gospel accounts of the wise men, you will see that they traveled a very long distance to get to their final destination. Some theologians say they were from Iraq, this trip could possibly have taken 1-2 years. Can you imagine taking a 2 year trip to get somewhere? Most people would be so wore out they wouldnít want to do anything after that, however they evidently didnít stay long and left shortly after they arrived. Godís Word says they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. This was a tremendous moment for them, it was the whole purpose of their trip, to find the savior of the world. Many Christians wonít hazard a trip across town to go to church much less travel 2 years one way to worship the Christ. This was a moment they had been looking forward to for a very long time, not only them, but all that knew Godís promise for the Savior and redeemer of all mankind. This truly is a time for great joy.
The Gospel of Luke says this Ö
Luke 2:6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8. 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. 11. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12. "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.'' 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!'' 15. So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.'' 16. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
There is a very good reason for great joy. There is reason to be joyful, for there is now hope. The Angle of the Lord said I bring you tidings of great joy, which will be to all people.
Then with the angle there was a multitude of Heavenly Hosts singing, glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men! This was the heart of the Father saying peace on Earth and toward men goodwill. The Goodwill was coming from God to men. This was something the prophets talked about. This was something men yearned for.
Once again men would have the opportunity to be restored to right relationship with God.
Since the sin of Adam man had lost his rightstanding with God.
2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
This was the whole reason He came this is the reason we can have great joy, we have been reconciled to God the Father through Christ Jesus. He sent Jesus to bring us back to Him.
He came to give us His life in place of our death, His peace for our turmoil. He also came to make us into something we were not, that is new creatures in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
This is one of my favorite Scriptures because it clearly shows what Christianity really is.
It is not something that we can attain; it is something that we become in Christ Jesus when we acknowledge His Lordship.
We as Christians need to take stock of what we have to be grateful for. More than we can even imagine. Life eternal, freedom in Christ, and no longer under the dominion of Satan but under the Lordship of the King of all Kings.
Satan would have us become quiet Christians this time of year as it has become politically incorrect to even say merry Christmas. We ought to say it every chance we get, not in a rude or pushy way but letting the love of Christ show through us to the world. As the Apostle Paul said, He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. This is a serious responsibility and we should not take it lightly. We have a perfect opportunity to share Godís love this time of year as no other time. The greatest majority of Americans donít want to take Christ out of Christmas; even those who donít claim Christ as their savior grew up with this American tradition. Letís not loose it or forget why we are celebrating the birth of Christ. He is after all, the whole reason for the season. If the politically correct minority canít understand this then we just need to stand firm in our beliefs and not back down just because it may seem a little uncomfortable. Lets politely stand up and be counted for what we are, new creatures in Christ Jesus. After all if we donít share the good news then who will? We are the ambassadors of hope.
Vs. 18 goes on to sayÖ
2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
Joy is an awesome thing to have. I know what it is like to not have it, and I also know what it is like to have its fullness. Fullness of joy is better!
Psalms 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
This is something we need to proclaim, not hide under a bushel.
Neh:8:10: Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
I would like to share something the Lord put in my spirit a few years ago and it ties in with what we are talking about here. I call it my Acceptance Speech. These are things I am grateful for.
I accept His resurrection for my burial
I accept His life for my death
I accept His light for my darkness
I accept His love for my hate
I accept His sufficiency for my insufficiency
I accept His ability for my inability
I accept His success for my failure
I accept His freedom for my bondage
I accept His sacrifice for my sin
I accept His forgiveness for my unforgiveness
I accept His redemption for the curse of the law
I accept His prosperity for my poverty
I accept His incorruption for my corruption
I accept His righteousness for my unrighteousness
I accept His victory for my defeat
I accept His wholeness for my brokeness
I accept His completeness for my lack
I accept His sight for my blindness
I accept His soundness of mind for my unregenerate mind
I accept His worthiness for my unworthiness
I accept His strength for my weakness
I accept His healing for my sickness
I accept His joy for my strife
I accept His all sufficiency for my total need
I accept His knowledge for my ignorance
I accept His longsuffering for my impatience
I accept His confidence for my arrogance
I accept His humility for my pride
I accept His boldness for my faintness of heart
I accept His wisdom for my foolishness
I accept His peace for my turmoil
I accept His happiness for my sadness
I accept His security for my insecurity
I accept His authority in my life for my rebellion
I accept His complete Lordship for my family and myself
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.