Leon Fontaine - Our Greatest Joy
It's amazing when you look at, Christmas and you understand that, it was the start of something so incredible. In Luke 2:8-11, it says now there were in the same country, shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. That's what I'm going to focus on today. Great joy. Which will be to all people. Every colour of skin, every language. It doesn't matter what their history of religion is, at all. To all people. To those who are perfect. To those who are messed up, whichever you think you are. This was good news to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.
When you hear this term, "GREAT JOY", there's what I want to focus on. Because people who, you know, in our modern vernacular, we keep thinking that joy is kind of like happiness, it's an emotion, it's a feeling. But it's not. No, it has a profound effect on your emotions. Joy, has a profound effect on your relationships. Joy, Bible joy, this joy that was going to be to all people, is a joy that was never really on the planet before. It is a joy that comes from this born-again experience of inviting Jesus into your heart. This angel said here, that this good tidings of great joy. The Bible says in Nehemiah that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Not the joy of waterskiing, although I love that. Not the joy of a good meal with all your friends and family. Though I love that. This is a joy called the joy of the Lord. The joy that comes from the Lord. The joy that is of the Lord. And when this Jesus, when He died for you and I, just 33 years later, something happened. Where to any person on the planet, regardless of their, the religion, regardless of their past, whatever, to turn to the Saviour, to the Lord, and believe on Him as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, puts Him on the inside of your spirit.
Now, we can talk about a lot of things, so I'm going to focus on this one area. You now have access to great joy. Great joy. And so, I want to talk to you and I want to show you some ways to access that joy. This joy, is a power, rumbling force, deep in a believer's spirit. And when it flows into your life, it maintains through storms. It maintains, it's there, through heartache, brokenness, it doesn't matter what goes on because, this joy is not a kind of shallow tee-hee-hee that you try to work up. This joy can't be worked up. It's not the joy that you can work up. This is a joy of the Lord. This is not a joy that comes from doing fun things. It's not the joy of fun things, this is the joy of the Lord. It is that stabilizing presence when you lose someone you love. It's the stabilizing presence when around you is nothing but bad news and storms. And this joy, this phenomenal hope is attached to this joy. That when everybody is saying the future's never going to be the same, everything is going downhill, nothing's going to work out.
The Bible disagrees. And the Bible's been around for thousands of years. It's the governments and the experts that come and go, every fear years. So who you going to out your faith in? I want to show you how to access this joy. Maybe, you've allowed yourself to get melancholy. Maybe the constant barrage of negative news has made you lose hope. Or, started to get you believing things that are exaggerated, or maybe even things that aren't true, I don't know. In Isaiah 12:3, it says with joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation. This beautiful picture is of a well. Now, a well goes deep down into the earth. And it access clear, clean, fresh water. There's huge aquafers, below the ground, of crystal clear water, where the water that has come through has been cleaned, and it's just this beautiful picture that as you drop a bucket deep down into that well, and you begin to pull it up, and then you pour it into a pitcher, and you drink this refreshing, cool, clean, water. This picture is gorgeous.
And it is saying that deep within you, because Jesus in Mark 4, taught us that the soil, a type of the soil, is our heart. Where He is. And that, as you learn to go deep inside of you, stop looking at the periphery. Stop looking at the external world, and people say well you know, I just not very happy today. And I say well, happiness just comes from happenings. If you want to have some happiness, go make something happen. Go do something for somebody, go shovel a walk, or you know, happiness. But, joy is different. And I want you to know that as a follower of Christ, that the reason this angel was so excited, the, from horizon to horizon in 30 seconds, it was filled up with the host which is the armies of heaven.
It wasn't an eight band angelic choir like the paintings, no. The word 'host' means the armies of the Lord, filled the skies with the shepherds heard them saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men. No wonder there was such a stunning display of joy and excitement that the angels were over the top. This joy, would be inside the heart of every born-again person. Every person who believes on Jesus. And you need to start to believe now, that joy does not come from an outside force. Joy is not up in heaven where you're begging and bugging and pleading with God to give me some joy. Joy is within you, and you go down deep into this beautiful well of salvation which is in your heart, and learn to draw up. Learn to be joyful. A crucial thing for you to understand and to begin to confess with your mouth, is that deep within me is the resource of joy. The joy that God gave me, when I believed on Jesus. This is crucial.
I challenge you, every morning that you wake up, to declare with your mouth. Deep within me is joy. And it's flowing out of me. And this effervescent well, this fountain. I'm just pulling it up. I'm just drawing on the joy of the Lord. This is a Biblical truth. A second thing that it says here, that is really cool, is in Psalms 5:11, it says rejoice. Haha, when the angels came to those shepherds, they weren't kind of oh here's another job, nine-to-five, and clocked in, I'll go sing for a while to the shepherds, then we're going to clock out. No, no, no, no. They were rejoicing. The word 'rejoice' is an amazing word. It literally is talking about choosing to act out joy. I'll never forget.
A number of years ago we had a really tough year. It was a rough year. Different things had happened in our family, and things were going on in the ministry, and it was just pushing at us. And we were at home and, all of a sudden Sally just goes over and puts some music on. It was just happy, singing, and worshipping God type of music. And she just grabs the girls and starts to jump around the room and dance, and of course every kid is coming from all over the place. They're dancing and laughing and jumping around the front room. And it was, that was what I call rejoicing. You might not have a reason. There might not be anything good going on in your life at the time, but there's something about speaking, singing, laughing, hugging. Dancing. Just choosing, it's a choice that goes, I'm flipping the switch. What switch? The joy switch. What switch is that? That's the one that draws from deep within us where the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Learn to shout for joy. Be joyful. Or rejoice. You can sit at a table full of people, well you've got three conversations going on about wah-wah. Wah-wah. And you can just choose to laugh and talk about good things. Play a joke on someone. Tell a joke. Do something funny. And as you choose to rejoice, deep within you, you are drawing up this amazing joy that only God can bring. The thing about joy as well that I want to leave with you is Galatians 5. When I saw this as a young man, it changed my world. It taught me, that there are nine strengths that come out of my spirit, where Holy Spirit is. And it calls them fruit. And the reason it uses the word 'fruit' isn't because it's wimpy. It's because it shows you the characteristics of fruit. Fruit has to be planted as a seed somewhere, and then if it's an apple tree, it begins to grow. And every day, every week, every month, it just continues to develop. Then from one apple tree to two to three to four, to orchards.
Another words, the fruit of the spirit, it literally is something you can grow. Did you know that years ago, I learned how to, how to draw joy from deep within me. I'm not perfect at it. But I have noticed, that every year of my life, that this force of joy has become a powerful thing that I continue to develop and grow. Like fruit on an apple tree. Like fruit would grow. Like plants would grow and develop, these nine strengths that Holy Spirit brings to the human spirit can be grown. Or, you can ignore them at your own peril, and live out a life with none of these nine strengths that must be grown every day of your life. The one I'm looking at is joy.
And I want to challenge you today, that this joy is needed. With children around you and grandkids around you, and all the negativity that comes. It has a profound effect on them unless you hang on to your joy. And you just let them know, we'll go through this, God will see us through. Don't you worry. Yes, we'll analyze, we'll figure things out. We've got stuff to work out in business. We've got stuff to work out in government. We've got stuff to work out, in healthcare. We've got lots of things to learn and grow. But there's one thing I know. God never leaves us, and He never forsakes us. This message to our children, and our grandchildren, and those around us of the joy of the Lord, the hope comes from the Christmas story.
Well, Merry Christmas. Today, is a day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. And what it means to you and I. You know, for so many people it's just the historical Jesus. And, what an amazing story when you follow the historical Jesus, meaning that walk, being born in a manger, rising and growing up, all the different pieces from the shepherds, to the magi, the wise men, to the threats against His life, angels guiding His parents to Egypt and then back. It is the most amazing story. And then Jesus coming on the scene for a while at 12, then in His thirties, and then His life which is proven by more books than just the Bible, that Jesus is a real deal. He was a real person. He walked and bled and died, on this planet. And, most people that's all they think about Jesus. But did you know, that what makes Jesus stunning and phenomenal to you and I on this Christmas day, is He's secured eternity for you and I.
One of the most beautiful, incredible things, is even if you got 120 years of life on this planet, and you live that 120 years out, it would be like a drop of water in the oceans of the world when you compare to where will you go for eternity? It's like one grain of sand on the entire beach would be your 120 years. Yet it's special and it's precious, and Christmas and family is exciting, and I love the celebration. But I want to leave a thought with you. The reason that we celebrate Jesus, is because He brought us back to a relationship with Father God. He paid the price, He took our place. He was our substitute, and so that you and I could know Him now, experience His love, His peace, His joy now. Be able to look at the future with such calm and peace and know that as we trust Him, as we follow this Jesus, that the generations coming after us of your family, your friends, we are going to be together forever in heaven.
When we talk about eternal life, everybody thinks about how long it is, forever and ever, and that is wonderful that heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. You know, if you're like us, whichever day you celebrate, whichever you celebrate Christmas, because a lot of times we don't do it on Christmas day because with five kids and you know, and they've got families with the person they married so we just kind of wait and see what day works out for us. We can celebrate Jesus any day but whatever day you're going to celebrate Christmas, and you begin to prepare meals and food and Christmas tree and decorating and presents, board games. All the things that you do. That preparation is because you're trying to make this day as special as you can make it. Because, when you make atmosphere.
You are, well I always tell all of our teams that you must create atmosphere for all that we do. An atmosphere requires five things. Reach out to all five senses. What do you smelling, what are you eating and tasting, what are you hearing, what are you seeing, and touching. And, when you recognize that if we're trying to create a Christmas day or a celebration day with all of these components, who do you think gave us that kind of wisdom? God. And when you think about heaven, and how that it's not some ethereal place with a cloud. But it is a place of God Himself preparing the greatest, most experiential, awesome, I can't even think of words anymore. That is filled with atmosphere, and love, and relationship, and partying. Experiencing new things, experiencing, it's, the Bible literally is saying that it's going to take God forever to show us His variety. To show us His love. His passion, His joy, His peace. This eternity, is stunning and incredible.
Another thing to look at with eternal life, is that eternal is how long. But life is the quality. That word 'life' is the zoe life of God. And, Christmas day. I am praying and believing with you that this life of God, zoe means that the life of the person giving it. And so with Jesus, it's this life that is in heaven. Okay? We get a taste of it now down here in our families. Now we can ignore it, but Christmas is a great time to realize that He just needs someone to flow through. That can be you. If you're listening to this right now, you can be the vessel that He flows through. An instrument. The Bible teaches that we are like these instruments, this clay pot that He fills Himself with and He flows through. Sometimes that's hard in families because we've got such a history of yeah but you haven't met my sister, or my brother-in-law. Or I mean. We, all of us have got somebody in the family and it might even be us for all we know. But when we allow this love and this joy that is within us to come out in how we talk, how we smile, how we look, how we nurture conversations.
How we create environment and atmosphere, and how we refuse to be dragged in to depression or fights or whatever. You can literally see miracles today. And so as you all come together, or whoever is, maybe it's going to be a phone call to someone overseas, or a son in another city, or family that can't make it in. And whether you're going to FaceTime or Zoom, when you do, please be aware that this incredible, beautiful, they talk about the spirit of Christmas, you know, and people try to back away from Christ when they don't know Him. But this Jesus, that you're celebrating today. He's not just a historical figure. When He died and rose again, His presence, He came to live within us. And His joy and His peace can flow through us.
I want to just say to every married couple, grandpas, grandmas, fathers, moms, dads. That your relationships and the people in your world can be totally touched today as you let this eternal life flow through you. Hey, just a side note to you singles. When you begin to trust God and get close to Jesus, something within you is an attractive force to the people around you because you can't be you, in its completeness, in its gorgeous complexity, until you and Jesus are really good and growing. And when you do, everything that is needed to meet someone for a spouse for the rest of your lifetime. It's, it's just an, there's an attraction to them. And the right ones come in, and so today. Is a day for the presence of God. And, I'm just praying right now and declaring your home, your Zoom meetings, your FaceTimes, your family, that flowing through you because He needs someone to flow through. Flowing through you today, is going to be this eternal life. And that you're going to get miracles.
If there's something in your family, in your home, that needs a miracle. Maybe a misunderstanding, maybe a sick loved one. Maybe a financial, um, mess, or et cetera. I'm agreeing with you right now, that Christmas is the most amazing time to receive the presents God's already wrapped. He teaches us through Peter that He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. That means that, the answer to your problem, He's already blessed you with it. Now believe and watch it come into your life. The healing for your body, He's already died for and given it to you. And as you believe, it manifests itself in our body. That the answer to finances and all that is going on, is already been done. It's a done deal. Every promise in the Book is ours now.
And so today, Christmas day, I'm in agreement with you, you may as well start to smile, you may as well start to be happy. You may as well start to transfer this joy and the spirit of God everywhere you go. And if anyone asks you what's so different about today, it's my hope is in the Jesus we're celebrating. The government is on His shoulders. How I live my life, is He has prepared a way. How our relationships work into the future, He's prepared a way. For our country, our eternities, Jesus has made a way where there is no way. Can you trust Him? And the Bible says you do what you can do. But if there's something you can't do anything about, you are to cast the care of that onto Him, and He'll carry it for you.