Faithlife Sermons

The Promise has come pt 1

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Introduction
Good morning LaFayette Baptist Family. It is so good to be here with you all today and celebrate this Lord’s day with you all, singing hymns to Him, learning of Him, and reading His Word, and praying together. Our passage today will be from Matthew 1, Matthew 1:18-25 please go ahead and turn there in your bible’s. In a few moments it will be on the screen for us to read from the screen together as well. Matthew 1, that’s the first book of the new testament.
While you are doing that, I want to put a thought in your head and share a story. So, for the last few weeks we have been speaking and looking at promises. So, have any of you ever had a promise made to you that wasn’t kept? Or maybe even worse, made one but didn’t keep it? I can tell you very recently that I made one I didn’t keep, and thankful it wasn’t that big of deal. This happened this week. You see this past Tuesday, Emily had started cooking dinner but then had to run to the store to grab something else. Before she left she was making these awesome baked green beans with salt, pepper, oil, and pine nuts that I absolutely love. So, Emily left and asked me to take them out of the oven in about 15 minutes for her…. I think you can see where this is going….. At the time, I was reading a book and got very drawn into it. Then, as if out of nowhere, I thought I smelled something! Well, it had been nearly and hour! The green beans, well, they were no longer green. They were black, like charcoal. Then, as I was pulling them out of the oven and looking for my phone to call her, guess who walked in.. My wonderful wife. Just think about, after an hour my promise stood null and void and useless (and keep in mind I wanted this). Could you imagine how Israel must have felt at times, after being promised a savior from God, the last time they had really heard anything about it had been nearly 750 years before. God though, doesn’t forget like Jacob forgets after even an hour. God was always working towards His promise, it’s bits and pieces coming together for our good all along. Now, with our sermon text today, Israel and the whole world are able to say, The Promise has come.
Scripture
If you will all please rise for the reading of God’s word today, which is Matthew 1:18-25. As usual the scripture will be on the screens for us all, so please read along out loud as I read along. When I’m done reading I will say “This is the Word of the Lord” after that please respond with “thanks be to God.” Before we do that tough, let’s pray. Father God, we thank you for who You are, and what You are doing in us and in this place. We thank You for this time together. We thank You for this season. We thank you for the most precious gift of all, Jesus Christ. We didn’t deserve Him, yet You sent Your only son to us anyways, so that we could be redeemed. May this truth fill our thoughts today and the rest of this Christmas season. Father, today as we share Your word together, we look expectantly towards whatever it is You are going to show us about Yourself. May every distraction that fills our hearts and minds be erased during this time together. Then, help us take whatever it is You are going to show us and help us move to share it with others, it’s in these things that I ask and in Jesus Christ’s Holy and precious name that I pray, Amen. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Context
We continue in our Christmas/Advent sermon series this week, very near the end and completion of it. Next week (or rather Christmas Eve) our text will be from Luke 2, so please go ahead and read that chapter during your personal devotional time, Luke 2.
In this series, we began all the way back, almost at the beginning of mankind. This was just after thanksgiving and we looked at Genesis 3. Here, mankind (Adam and Eve) separated themselves (and us as well) through their own rebellion to God through the very first sin of mankind. This was where they took of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, desiring to be God Himself. This isn’t possible for mankind though, as nothing or no one can or ever will be like God except God Himself. Importantly though, God loved his creation, mankind, so much that even then He gave us a look into His plan to redeem us from sin and bring us back a sinless and perfect fellowship with Him.
The next two weeks, we looked at two of the great prophecies that foretold of Jesus Christ’s coming. These happened nearly 750 years before His birth and were in the Prophets Micah and Isaiah. Some of the highlights from Micah would tell us of not only that a child was to be born to redeem Israel and the world, but even the location of His birth, Bethlehem. This prophecy was even quoted by the Chief Priests and scribes to King Herod when the 3 wise men came seeking the new born king (Jesus).
Last week took a deep look at the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1-7. When we went through this, we noticed that the structure of this prophecy seemed to have a lot in similar with our own personal salvation stories and experience. When breaking down these verses, the first section spoke of the anguish of the Nation of Israel (much like our anguish when we realize our sin). Moving on, we then saw the light. The light of God that makes all those deep dark and hidden places open and known and understood, and with God now peaceful. With that comes the new, the new like the new people we become when realize and admit/accept that the child has come who is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This child is and is from God, this child is Jesus Christ.
In this week’s text, it may seem familiar to you. In fact, this past Wednesday night, Trevor read this out loud for us in his speaking part. This passage is in the Gospel (Meaning good news/message) of Matthew, and was written by the Apostle Matthew, one of the chosen 12 by Jesus. This book stands as a detailed account of Jesus and His ministry on Earth and is estimated to have been written between 80-90 AD (some 50-60 years after Jesus Death). This account of us birth, is one of the two gospel recordings, the other one being in Luke and is given to us by Matthew, who would have been someone who most (if not all) of Jesus’ earthly ministry, so this is someone who had first hand knowledge of everything that happened. So, with those things in mind let’s look deep into this week’s text.
Message
The first point, Found with child
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Here we begin our section which a short account of Jesus’ birth and some of the things that occurred during His time in the womb of His mother, Mary. Mary, during this time was an engaged (that’s what betrothed means) woman to a man named Joseph, whom this section calls a just man. Meaning he (Joseph) loved justice, he loved doing things the right way, was known for following the law, and was what we could an upright and good man. He would have also have been a loving and caring man. Remember what we said a few weeks ago about God’s justice, that it is love evenly distributed. Joseph was a just man. This in and of itself would have been a very serious situation (if it was not this unique situation), as the law of the time provided for stoning of women who were found unfaithful to their husbands. That being said, at this time , the Hebrew people no longer had a common cultural expectation of that. Sure, there would be shame, but it was not common at this time anymore for women to be stoned in this situation.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Hold on, they weren’t married yet.” Well, there is a lot to consider and know about Hebrew marriage culture at the time of this happening. At this time for the Hebrew people, to be engaged held most of the responsibilities, duties, and privileges that marriage does. The only main differences would have been that woman would still live in her fathers house and the son in his fathers house, and would be committed to Chasity until their wedding ceremony would happen, which would general happen a year after the engagement began. As such, they would be thought of and treated as if they were married and even this engagement required a divorce to be separated. So, this engagement/betrothal period looks quite a bit different that how we do it today and was a very serious institution.
So, here we find a young married couple, both loving and caring about each other very much. The trouble is, Mary becomes pregnant, she is found with child. This child was from God the Holy Spirit (at first Joseph didn’t know or understand this). Couldn’t you just imagine Joseph’s confusion and hurt discovering this? It must have been deep and bitter. Despite this, Even though by law joseph could have brought shame and even death to Mary, he cared about her very much, so instead he chose to walk in a path of mercy, seeking to divorce her quietly. How lucky are we church family?, that we have a God who is rich with mercy, who gives it to us freely and abundantly through our faith in Him, acceptance of the cross, and repentance. To God be all the glory.
The next point, Fear not, Joseph
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Needless to say, Joseph was troubled from this. The woman that he loved and was engaged to be married to, was pregnant, his life was rocked. His heart, would have shattered. Despite this, He did what wise men, wise people do, he thought, he considered something before he acted too quickly. The bible tells us he considered these things, quietly divorcing Mary. He thought about it, I think we can clearly know from his actions that he wasn’t just a “just” man, he was a wise man as well.
Then, as Joseph went to sleep, he was visited by an angel. The angel that addressed Him, “Joseph, son of David,” which clearly ties to the beginning of this chapter which contains a genealogy from the time of King David until Joseph. Here we see a theme of the promises of God coming in, specifically that God was going to bring a great king and redeemer through the family of David.
The angel then tells him to not fear, that he should take Mary as his wife. She had not been unfaithful, the child that she had, came from the conception of the Holy Spirit. Which could only mean one thing, this child (in a way that would have been confusing and hard to understand and comprehend in that moment for him) must be God. The angel told Joseph that this child was to be called Jesus, and that Jesus would redeem the people from their sin. This could only mean one thing, that this child was the messiah! The one the whole nation had been waiting all these thousands of years for.
These words must have also brought to Joseph’s mind the promises of God to provide salvation through the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–34).[1] 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant (A covenant means a promise that is NEVER NEVER NEVER going to be broken) with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Thank you Father for this gift, help us all turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
A Third Point, Fulfill the promise
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Last week, we looked at one the great prophecies of Isaiah regarding the coming Messiah (which means the chosen one who would redeem Israel and the world). This week we get to look at another one. Yes, the prophet that is referred to is Isaiah, and as you will recall his ministry happened some 750 years before Jesus’ birth. So, for 750 years all of Israel was waiting for this coming son. This scripture is found in Isaiah chapter 7, specifically looking in verse 14. It tells us that this son would be born from a virgin (which Mary was) and a son will be born (which is Jesus) and he shall be Immanuel, God with us.
Jesus was literally this, God with us. He literally is (and was and will always be) God, the second person of the trinity (God the Son). Part of the Godhead. He was and is to be the one who would crush the head of the serpent (Satan) and conquer sin once and for all, as we learned about in Genesis. And yes, He (Jesus) was literally with us. He came down from His rightful spot on the right hand of God the Father, left the heavenly places and become like us, as we all begin life. As a tiny, frail, dependent, needy, and weak baby. Yet, in this tiny little child, this tiny little baby, was almighty God. Imagine that, the most powerful being in the universe, God! He came down from a place where he would never know anything but limitless joy and became one of us. He took on flesh (as we have) and knew and experienced pain, heartache, hunger, tiredness, happiness, just like we all do! What kind of a God would do that!? What kind of God would put all of that good aside and take on the pain of this earth? I will tell you, it is, THE GOD, the true GOD of the universe. One who knows infinite power. One who knows limitless love for you and me, and all of those who turn to Himself in truth and faith that we could be forgiven of what separates us from God, sin. Turn to Him! He is the only one that can be trusted.
Another point, Faith in action
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Then, rounding out this passage, what happened? Joseph comes to. What did he do? Did he run? No. Did he do the things that he had been considering? The things that culturally would have made the most sense, the thing that would have been the easiest thing for him to do, put away Mary and start over again knowing that no known harm would come to you or your social status? No. He didn’t. He was a brave man, a just man, a man that knew God and wanted to serve Him. So, the scripture tells us that Joseph did as the angel had told him to do. He took Mary to be his wife, what more, he had the privilege of the naming the messiah, the savior of the Lord. Naming him Jesus as he was told. By naming Mary’s son, Joseph was accepting legal paternity. By naming him Jesus, Joseph was making a statement about Jesus’ redemptive mission: “he will save his people from their sins.”[2] He could have turned away from God, but he didn’t. What did he do? He put his faith in action, no matter what that meant for his life and what that would look like. His faithful yes was there for God.
So, we already know that Joseph was “just” we know he was wise, we know that he is brave. Now we know, He had faith in God. A Faith that was willing to do anything to glorify God. Brothers and sisters, what would it look for each of us to have faith in God like Joseph did? What in your heart of hearts are you holding out on God with? Finances? Comfort? Hurt? I can tell you with confidence, this week I was holding out on God with something, and I had to confess it to my wife. For me, as I’ve shared with you before, one of my great vices, one of my deepest sins and sin patterns is wanting control of everything and being extremely uncomfortable when things seem to be getting away from me, especially emotionally. Why do I struggle with this? Because of my sinful heart that requires me to often turn to God and say, “I messed up.” I know in my mind I can trust God, but sometimes my heart isn’t ready. Do you have anything like that? Do you have anything that you need repent of and turn towards the Lord Jesus about. I urge you too if so, do so and You will find a God that wants You to turn to Him and is preparing you for a deeper relationship with Him.
Conclusion
Brothers and sisters, friends, family. Take this story of Christ’s birth and apply it everywhere in your life. Remember when Mary was Found with child, the child that was promised to us. Think on those words the angel gave, Fear not, Joseph. Do not fear, turn to God. Know that God will always Fulfill the promise, a promise He made to You, to Me, and all of mankind; that that all that believe in Him and call on Him in trueness and faith will be saved. This should then move you Faith in action, faith that not only redeems You, but moves you to share and singing and speak of the one who did so. All of this, is because we know that The Promise Has Come.
To the unsure, or the unbeliever in the audience. Let me share with you friend. There is no time like today. God is calling you to accept that you have sin, sin that can be atoned for by turning towards the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. So, what are you going to do about it? There is not time like today.
Let’s conclude. I love you all. During our last song together, if you need prayer or need to talk to someone about God, or want to know more about Jesus, I will be here. Come on up. After that lost song, we will do the Lord’s Supper together. But first, let’s pray. Father, you are rich and mercy and love. And I am rich in hate and sin. Despite my shortfalls and problems you loved me, you loved us that You would come down in the tiny form of baby to restore us to You. Thank you for this, let us never take this gift lightly, and let us share You with others. It’s in these things I ask and in Jesus Christ’s Holy and Precious name that I pray, Amen.
[1]Barbieri, Louis A., Jr. “Matthew.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2, Victor Books, 1985, p. 20. [2]Turner, David, and Darrell L. Bock. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 11: Matthew and Mark. Tyndale House Publishers, 2005, p. 41.
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