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Hope that Overcomes the Horrors of Life
Matthew 2:13-23
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 26, 2012
*We had a great Christmas yesterday, with all 3 children home, plus Katie's husband Wes.
Mary pulled out all the stops to make sure that everything was just right, and it was.
But over in northern Nigeria, radical Islamists attacked an evangelical church that was celebrating a midnight mass.
Gunmen from Boko Haram shot six Christians dead including the pastor.
They then torched the church.
(1)
*This massacre reminds us; this Scripture reminds us that there are horrors in this life.
But as Christians, we have hope.
1.
First, we have the hope of God's protection.
*This may seem like an odd thing to say in light of what happened in Nigeria on Christmas Eve.
But according to God's grace and according to His perfect will, we have God's protection in this world.
In vs. 13, Matthew says: "Now when they (i.e. the Wise Men) had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, 'Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.'''
*We may think, "Well, God has never protected me like that."
But if you are breathing in this world, it is because Almighty God has protected you.
Daniel spoke to wicked King Belshazzar of the judgment that was about to fall on him.
And here is part of what the prophet said in Daniel 5:23: "You have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. . .
and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified."
*God holds our breath in His Hands, and He is protecting us moment by moment.
One great place to see this truth is in Psalm 121.
But before I read it to you, understand that our words "keep" and "preserve" are the exact same word in the original language.
And it means to "guard" or "protect".
So six times in this short Psalm, God promises to guard and protect His people.
*No wonder the Psalmist said:
1. . .
I will lift up my eyes to the hills -- From whence comes my help?
2. My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
3.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who KEEPS you will not slumber.
4. Behold, He who KEEPS Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5.
The LORD is your KEEPER; The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6.
The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.
7. The LORD shall PRESERVE you from all evil; He shall PRESERVE your soul.
8.
The LORD shall PRESERVE your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.
*Let me tell you about one of the times God protected me.
I was a senior in high school, lost as a goose and as foolish as can be.
Two of my best friends and I had been to Atlanta for some function at Georgia Tech.
And we started talking about finding a new place to have the next summer's week-long beach-party for our high school fraternities and sororities.
*On a whim, we decided to drive over to Myrtle Beach South Carolina, and check it out.
Of course our parents didn't know.
We were 2 or 3 hours out of Atlanta on I-20, when we looked over at the west-bound lane and saw people waving and hollering.
We thought maybe it was a caravan having a party or something like that.
And for no particular reason, my friend driving switched over to the right-hand lane.
*A few seconds later, we topped a big hill, and passed a man who was driving on the wrong side of the Interstate.
If my friend hadn't changed lanes, we would have hit that car at a combined speed of 140 mph!
We would have surely been killed.
But our merciful God spared our lives.
And Heaven only knows how many times He has protected us from danger and death.
*Christians, we have the hope of God's protection.
2. And we have the hope of a Godly purpose in life.
*Joseph reminds us of this great truth in vs. 13-14, where God's Word says this:
13.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.''
14.
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
*An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream here, and that is an extraordinary thing.
But please focus on what happened next: "Joseph took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt."
*Joseph didn't have to do that.
Danger was coming and he could have bailed on them.
But Joseph was faithful.
He was faithful to his family and faithful to our God.
And I want to stress that Joseph was also faithful to serve in the ordinary things of life: packing for the trip, helping provide the food and clothing for his family, helping provide all of the things they needed to live.
*Joseph also helped teach the Lord how to walk and talk.
He helped teach Jesus the things that all fathers need to teach their sons.
Joseph was taking care of the ordinary, everyday duties of a Godly man.
This was his Heaven-sent purpose in life.
And what a difference he made!
All eternity was changed because Joseph was faithful in the everyday things of life.
*And you may not have thought much about it.
But I want to tell you that if you are a Christian, God has a heavenly purpose for your everyday life.
*And guess what children in Great Britain wanted for Christmas this year?
-- A dad.
I read yesterday that a dad was the tenth most requested thing for Christmas.
(2)
*One Father's Day, Clara Null had her Sunday School students make a card for Dad.
Miss Clara gave the little 5-year-old boys all the materials they needed.
Then she suggested they draw something their dad liked, such as a fishing pole, golf balls, or a pet.
*After hearing all of Mrs. Clara's suggestions, one boy raised his hand and asked, "May I draw a picture of my mom?
My dad sure likes her a lot!" (3)
*Way to go dad!
That man's example of Godly love for his wife will have an impact that lasts forever.
*Of course, moms make a difference too.
Chuck Swindoll once saw an example in the life of a young mother who sat across from him in a doctor's waiting room.
She was pregnant, already had a toddler, plus one in diapers in her arms.
Was she busy!
Swindoll described the scene: "Untied shoes, runny noses, twelve questions a minute, dropped rattle -- (five times), three falls, -- once on his face, loud crying, a bottle of juice that spilled in her bag.
And as she mopped it up with her last clean diaper, the baby barfed right down the back of her neck.
Yet with incredible patience, that mother hung in there."
Chuck Swindoll wondered if that young mother realized that she was modeling an unforgettable display of Christ's message.
She was going the extra mile out of patience and love.
(4)
*Just being a dad or a mom or a good friend or a good worker doesn't sound like a glamorous thing to do.
But Christians, God can add eternal value to our everyday lives.
And we have the hope of a Godly purpose in life.
3. We also have the sure hope of God's prophecy.
*And in these few verses, Matthew shows us 3 of God's Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled.
[1] The first fulfilled prophecy is found in vs. 13-15:
13.
Now when they (i.e. the Wise Men) had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.''
14.
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
15. and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son.''
*This prophecy came from Hosea 11:1, and it was written 725 years before Jesus was born.
[2] The second fulfilled prophecy is found in vs. 16-18:
16.
Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
17.
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
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