Jesus is Promised: The Present

Jesus is Promised
Jesus is Promised

Jesus is Promised: Present

Matthew 1:18-25

  1. Introduction

Neil Marten, a member of the British Parliament, was once giving a group of his constituents a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. During the course of the visit, the group happened to meet Lord Hailsham, then lord chancellor, wearing all the regalia of his office. Hailsham recognized Marten among the group and cried, “Neil!” Not daring to question or disobey the “command,” the entire band of visitors promptly fell to their knees!Today in the Word, July 30, 19This

  1. Christmas season is filled with anticipation of presents and family, 1st Christmases and last ones, food and football
  2. That first Christmas came at an incredible cost of obedience on the part of two people
  3. How far are we willing to go for the gospel?
  4. How far out on a limb are we willing to let ourselves climb?
  5. How far would we be willing to venture down the road of obedience before the road gets too hard to deal with?
  6. What is that one thing that if God asked you do it right now would be too tough?
  7. Remember that Jesus said “wide is the way that leads to destruction, but narrow is the gate that leads to life” Matthew 7:13-14
  8. We may not always be able to see the path or know the way, but obeying God is always the best way to go no matter the difficulties that come through obedience.
  9. In our country up until now, we have had a relative easy path of Christianity compared to history and to many other parts of the world. You can feel the wave of persecution rising.
  10. God may call you to do something out of the ordinary and face public pressure, but remember that he is the one calling.

Here are 4 parts of the Christmas story…

  1. Consequences of Obedience v. 18-20
    1. The consequences for a young woman who was betrothed to a man and to be pregnant not by that man was death
    2. There clearly had been an unfaithful situation
    3. The betrothal would have been as close to marriage as you will find
    4. They were probably just waiting for the formal ceremony or for Mary to be a little older
    5. Mary would have been a young teenager and Joseph would have been much older and in his 30’s
    6. This was customary at the time for arranged marriages to happen
    7. Nothing would have been out of the ordinary until Mary came up pregnant
    8. Can you imagine that discussion between Mary and Joseph?
    9. Mary: “I got pregnant by the Holy Spirit.”
    10. Joseph: “Right?”
    11. The explanation would have been preposterous to anyone hearing it
    12. Joseph did not react like a lot of men would, but rather wanted to put Mary away quietly
    13. This would probably have included a divorce and sending Mary to live with someone else who did not know her
    14. Joseph did not want to embarrass her and certainly did not want her killed.
    15. Joseph was going to be kind and loving toward her, but he had no intention of making her his wife.
    16. He knew that the stigma that would have been on Mary and if he stayed with her on him would have been more than they could bear
    17. The obedience of God for Mary was not easy because obedience meant being socially ostracized, looked down upon, despised, hated, thoughts of wanting to kill her, always being stared at as she grew with child.
    18. Many times we have this picture of a very pregnant Mary on a donkey smiling and a glow about her, but the reality was this was hard.
    19. American Christianity has become soft in a lot of ways
    20. We desire to be blessed by God, but when it comes to obedience in difficult moment we have shied away
    21. We have sought the path of least resistance.
    22. If God send an angel to you to tell you that you were going to have do something that would make you be hated by everyone, would you do it?
    23. Sure, it is easy in here to say it, but would you really?
    24. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we willing to do the hard stuff for Jesus or are we just too soft?
    25. Does God give you more than you can handle? You bet he does, because you lean on him.
    26. Mary had to face the consequences and lean on her heavenly father.

It is not the multitude of hard duties, it is not constraint and contention that advance us in our Christian course. On the contrary, it is the yielding of our wills without restriction and without choice, to tread cheerfully every day in the path in which Providence leads us, to seek nothing, to be discouraged by nothing, to seek out duty in the present moment, to trust all else without reserve to the will and power of God.

  1. Source Unknown.
  • Trial by Fire v. 20-21

A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain. Mildred Witte Struven, Bits and Pieces, September 19, 1991, p.6.

  1. Once again let’s imagine Joseph having this dream.
  2. He must have been like “Say what?”
  3. This is all real
  4. He probably felt bad, because he probably said some choice words to Mary
  5. He probably had a sinking feeling, but also because he loved Mary and overjoyed feeling of purpose
  6. He knew the life of obedience to God was tougher then not obeying God, but the end result was more joyous then any other option
  7. His choice to rightfully bear the responsibility of an unwed mother, but also of her son assured that in the earthly perspective Jesus would be in the line of David
  8. Joseph was confronted with a choice.
    1. Choose God and obey
    2. Choose self and walk away
  9. This was truly a trial by fire
  10. Joseph was an ordinary guy, with an ordinary job, with an ordinary plan for life, with an ordinary desire for happiness, but God has bigger plans
  11. Each of us in small ways and big ways encounter the very issues that Joseph faced
  12. Do we choose God and obey or choose self and walk away
  13. Sin is simply choosing yourself over choosing God
  14. When we boil down the issues of why we are addicted to certain things it is because we choose self over God
  15. When we struggle with making relationships work it is because we choose self over God
  16. When we can’t seem to make the right choices in life, it is because we choose self over God
  17. Ultimately our desire to serve God has got to be bigger then our desire to serve self
  18. Choose Christ
  19. We all know and say in this room that if faced with the potential of death because our faith in Christ we would be fine, but God is really asking will you choose Christ and obey and live for Him.
  1. The Promise is fulfilled v. 22-23
    1. Because of Joseph’s choice he gets to experience the promise of God being fulfilled
    2. Look at what happens, the words of the past prophecies from the OT now come to pass
    3. If Joseph does not choose God then we have a completely different story
    4. God’s plan was to use mankind to bring his son into being
    5. He worked through the natural means of this world to bring salvation
    6. Jesus did not arrive as an adult
    7. Jesus did not come on a white horse, the first time
    8. Jesus did not start his ministry the day he came
    9. Jesus went through 9 months in his mother’s womb
    10. He was born through natural means
    11. He grew up from being a child to being a man
    12. He developed knowledge
    13. God works through the natural ways of this world
    14. He works in unusual ways that are unseen
    15. We aren’t always going to have God figured out
    16. Joseph is now remembered as a man who followed God

The words of Eleanor Roosevelt ring true: One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

  1. Tim Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway, p. 143.
  2. Play Your Part
    1. We don’t see Joseph when Jesus starts his ministry
      1. He was much older so probably had died
      2. He played his part
    2. We remember Joseph as someone who served God for a time and for a purpose
    3. We see Joseph choose to follow God over following self.
    4. We see him step into a situation that he had to swallow his pride
    5. He was going to raise someone else’s baby, it was God’s but still he stepped into the role God had for him
    6. Joseph doesn’t question after this moment
    7. He doesn’t go back on his word and try to get out of his responsibility
    8. Joseph simply obeyed God
    9. What is your part to play?
    10. We see that each of has a part
    11. We each have something we need to do for the Lord
    12. Paul talks about the many spiritual gifts we have in Romans 12 and I Cor. 12
    13. We each have a different role.
    14. We each have a different part to play
    15. How can you play your role today?
    16. Be obedient and trust the Lord to use you powerfully for His glory.
    17. Il Football team, band, any organization
  3. Conclusion
    1. Today is the day to trust God
    2. Today is the day to obey God
    3. Start by obeying him in the little things…
      1. God asked Mary because she has already been faithful
      2. God asked Joseph because he knew Joseph would follow Him above all else
    4. Begin by following the small things and see how God might call you to the big things.