Restoration by Joy
Delivered By
Pastor Doug Groen and LaVerne Wiginton Accompanist
Delivered On
December 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Central Passage
John 1:6-8, 19-28
Restoration by Joy

John 1:6-8

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

John 1:19-28

John the Baptist Denies Being the Messiah

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leadersa] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”b]

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize withc] water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


  1. John 1:19 The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10, 15, 16; 7:1, 11, 13; 9:22; 18:14, 28, 36; 19:7, 12, 31, 38; 20:19.
  2. John 1:23 Isaiah 40:3
  3. John 1:26 Or in; also in verses 31 and 33 (twice)


Pastor's Summary of Psalm 126

This is the third in a series of Advent sermons.  The first two dealt with the restoration of hope and the restoration of peace.  This Sunday we will be focusing on the restoration of joy.  The psalmist teaches us that joy isn't just a good feeling that arises spontaneously.  Instead, we feel joy most intently after the resolution of a period of distress.  It's one thing to be happy due to our present state, but it is quite another to resolve some long term burden and feel a new freedom. It is one thing to live in God's grace when everthing's going well, but it is quite another to experience the reality of that same grace after a period when, we ourselves have been lost, searching or distant from God.  It's not just something you nod and smile about but, like the psalmist says repeatedly, it's something you have to shout about! (vv. 2, 5, 6).

Joy is more elusive, more subtle and more nuanced than happiness, a predisposition to cheerfulness, persevering with emotional extra effort, or the luck of good fortune.  In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis describes joy as "an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction...I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world." Whereas we can manipulate circumstances to our own advantage to obtain what we think will bring happiness, or expand great efforts in pleasure-seeking, joy is entirely gratuitous.  You cannot earn it, buy it or deserve it.  It is a divine gift to receive rather than a selfish goal to pursue.