(This sermon was preached on Sunday, November 25, 2007, at the Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. It’s based on Luke 1:39-56. You can listen to the sermon in its entirety by clicking here. To read the previous three parts click on these: Part I, Part II, and Part III.)
This is the last stage for this morning, but must be an ongoing stage in our Christian lives. I have heard it said that with a Christian family, sorrows are cut in half and joys are doubled.
Getting back to the beginning of this — don’t you believe that Mary and Elizabeth helped strengthen one another by sharing this joy with one another? They both had received incredible and yet terrifying news of what was to happen. Yet you know that they encouraged one another to persevere and by sharing that joy, they shared Jesus with each other as well.
We here at Boone’s Creek had better make sure we are creating an atmosphere of joy in Christ — not based on circumstances or the amount of money in the general fund or on outreach and missions and discipleship and fellowship ministries taking place. We had better not place our joy in circumstances but in our Lord and Savior.
After hearing some folks talk about some things, something occurred to me about our churches. We lament and are concerned and shake our heads at some of our young people who grow in up our churches, only to leave our churches when they get in college. Why is that? We tend to give excuses such as lack of time, social temptations, or any number of issues.
But friends, could we have something to do with it? Could it be that our churches are breeding an atmosphere where joy in Jesus is not something to be stoked and fanned into flame — but rather we say by our actions, “Joy is not welcomed here! And if it is, please keep it to yourself— for we are a serious and orderly bunch.” Do we by our actions and our cutting remarks and looks steal joy from those who are joyful in Jesus — or do we rejoice with those who are joyful? Romans 12:14-17 tells us:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians–and I am one of them.”
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