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Third Sunday of Advent Sermon Rejoice! (Isaiah 12) 喜びなさい!(イザヤ書12

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. It is called Gaudete Sunday on the Advent calendar. “Gaudete” in Latin means “rejoice,” and today is the day during Advent specifically designated for rejoicing. Of course, as Christians, we are to rejoice in the Lord at all times. And we know that to be right and true, as something we know we should do. But in the midst of busyness and difficult circumstances, we sometimes forget, don’t we?
今日は待降節第3主日です。待降節Gaudete Sundayと呼ばれます“Gaudete”
Well, today is Gaudete Sunday, the day during Advent to rejoice. Today is the day to refocus our attention on the Lord, and respond to his call to rejoice.
As it says in Hebrews 3:15, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”「今日、み声を聞いたなら、神にそむいた時のように、あなたがたの心を、かたくなにしてはいけない。」
Let’s see what today’s Advent reading has to say about rejoicing. One of today’s Advent Scripture passages is Isaiah 12.
(Bible reading)
1 In that day you will say: “I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. 2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” (Isaiah 12)


This passage in Isaiah is a prophecy of things to come. Bible scholars argue about its mulitiple meanings and applications. First, it can be seen as the prophecy that applies to Israel’s return from exile after their 70 years of captivity. Second, it can be seen as the prophecy that applies to us in our present age of grace, ushered in by the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And third, it can be seen as the prophecy that applies to the end of days, when Jesus comes again.
And since we currently live in this present age of grace, let’s take a look at how this passage applies to us, we who have been saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. As Christians, this is why we celebrate Christmas. The birth of Jesus basically put into motion God’s marvelous plan of redemption for all mankind. This marvelous plan of redemption is what we are enjoying as Christians today. And Advent is the church’s prescribed method of celebrating Christmas.

Now, according to the Advent calendar, today is the day specifically designated for rejoicing.
The Bible passage we read gives us some specific reasons for why we ought to rejoice:
1) God’s anger has turned away 神の怒りはやんだ (v.1)
2) God has comforted us 神は私達を慰められた (v.1)
3) God is and has become our salvation 神はわが救である・わが救となられた (v.2)
4) God is our strength 神は わが力である (v.2)
5) God is our defense 神はわが歌である (v.2)
6) God is great 神は 大いなる者だ (v.6)

There’s a running theme here, isn’t there? What is it? (ask the congregation)

We rejoice because of who he is and what he has done.

1) what he has done 神のみわざ (v.4)
2) his name is exalted み名のあがむべきこと (v.4)
3) he has done glorious things みわざをみごとになし遂げられた (v.5)
4) great is the Holy One of Israel イスラエルの聖者は大いなる者だ (v.6)

We rejoice, because God has given us reason to rejoice.

The Biblical reasons have just been listed. Let’s take time to reflect on these Biblical truths through praise and worship.
(Mighty To Save)

The fact that God has loved us and saved us, that he is great and mighty, are things that we should never forget. They are foundational, and these truths alone should always give us reason to rejoice. But let’s not stop there. I’m sure that he has done great things personally and specifically in your life. At this time, let’s break up into small groups of 4-5, and let’s recount and then share all the things that God has done that you can rejoice about.
(break up into small groups)

I hope and pray that this time has been a source of encouragement.

It’s good to verbalize the things that God has done in our life. It’s also good to hear what God is doing in the lives of others. It helps us to refocus on God and experience joy in our hearts, especially during this Advent season, and especially on this “Rejoicing Sunday.”

In closing, I want to share about what I rejoice about. I rejoice about my salvation and my sanctification. Of course, I rejoice that I am saved, and I rejoice that God has changed me. But what really makes me rejoice is when I think about what God saved me from. What really makes me rejoice is when I think about what my life would have been like without God.
If I weren’t a Christian, if I’d never met Jesus, if God hadn’t saved me and changed me, my life would have been very messed up right now. I’m almost certain of it. As I shared previously in my testimony, my father was a drinker, a gambler, an adulterer, and an abuser. And as the sins of the fathers are passed down to their sons, meaning like father like son, I would most likely have ended up just like my father if it weren’t for God’s saving grace in my life.
Growing up, I thought I was a “good’ and “decent” person. I grew up very straight-arrow (真面目) and was a very good son who didn’t rebel or do anything wrong. But still, I’m almost certain of the fact that I would have ended up like my father. God saved me from that life. God saved me from becoming that person.

As Psalm 40:2 says, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”「主は私を滅びの穴から、泥の沼から引き上げて、私の足を岩の上におき、私の歩みを確かにされた。」
For that, I rejoice! だから私は喜ぶのです!

For some of us, this may be difficult to imagine. Maybe you grew up in the church, so you were always a “decent person” for as long as you can remember. Or maybe you didn’t grow up in the church, but you grew up in a stable environment and had a “good” and “normal” upbringing. Don’t be deceived, brothers and sisters.
Before becoming a Christian, before you knew Jesus, no matter how “decent” or “good” or “normal” of a person you were, you were a sinner, and your ultimate destination was hell. No matter how good one’s life may look life from the worldly point of view—good health, good job, good family—a life without God is empty, incomplete, and headed for ruin.クリスチャンになる前、イエスを知る前、どんなに“まとも”で“良い”、“正常”な人であったとしても、あなたは罪人であり、あなたの最終目的地は地獄でした。世の目から見てその人の人生がどんなに良く見えても-健康、良い仕事、良い家庭-神なしの人生はむなしく、不完全で破滅へと向かっているのです。
If you think that your life before Christ was “good” or “decent” or “normal,” you’re just deceiving yourself, just like the Israelites wandering in the desert who longed for their life back in Egypt.
Yes, we were saved into heaven, but let’s not forget that we were also saved out of hell. We now have the assurance of spending eternity with God, but let’s not forget that before knowing Jesus, we were assured of spending eternity without God. Yes, we can rejoice about how God has changed us into a better person, but let’s not forget that before knowing Jesus, we were selfish, foolish, immoral people.

When God saved us, he saved us from a most wretched and broken place. And as God changes us, he changed us from a most wicked and despicable state. So let us rejoice today, remembering who God is and what God has done!