These notes that I took from the sermon at church on December 4, 2016. If you want to listen to the sermon in it’s entirety then you can find it here. The sermon title was Complications of Christmas.
- The Pregnancy Surprise. Matthew 1:18 says, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” When Mary became pregnant, it was not something that was okay and would typically be overlooked in that day and time. It was most definitely something that was unexpected but Mary and Joseph kept faith and saw past the unexpected and most likely stressful situation and saw God’s plan. The take home for this verse to me is that God’s good plan will not always look so good on the surface and we will see his hand in the unexpected.
- The Relationship Problem. Matthew 1:19 says, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” Mary’s pregnancy was a problem and Joseph originally thought that Mary was unfaithful to him. Joseph believed the angel and that God was bigger than his problems. Sometimes, our relationships will be stressful and it can be due to any number of reasons. I feel that the take home for this verse is that we need to remember that God is bigger than our problems and sometimes what we see as a problem is actually just a part of God’s plan.
- The Angelic Proclamation. Matthew 1: 20-21 says, “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” This was a tough situation for Joseph. As anyone would, he was most likely concerned about his reputation. Worrying about reputations is something that many do on a daily basis today. When things are tough, remember Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Also remember that Joseph trusted in God during what most likely seemed like an impossible situation for him. The take home for this verse is that our reputations are who people think we are, but our character is what is most important. Our character is how Good knows that we are. Worry about your character more and less about your reputation and give the tough situations to God.
- The Prophetic Fulfillment. Matthew 1: 22-23 says, “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”which is translated, “God with us.” Mary becoming pregnant was impossible, but it happened. Is there any aspect of your life where you have put God in a box or given up on Him? Ephesians 3:20 is reassurance that God can do anything, “ Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20 specifically says that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, that means He can do more than we can imagine. There have been things that I gave up on and I should not have. A situation that I saw as hopeless in December is not longer impossible to me. I am starting to see more and more of God’s plan slowly, but surely.
- The Submission of Joseph. Matthew 1: 24- 25 says, “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” Both Mary and Joseph did God’s will. This verse is telling me to do God’s will his way. Galatians 5:13 tells me to serve, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Philippians 1:21 tells me to live for Christ, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” John 13:34 tells us to love one another, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Matthew 10: 8 tells me to give, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” It seems to me that there are a lot of ways that I can follow God’s will.
Always remember these things: The Devil will use whatever he can, whenever he can, wherever he can to try to distract, discourage, and destroy you. Call out to God for help during these times. Remember that God will ALWAYS give you everything you need for life. God gave us Christmas and Jesus so that we could have a chance for redemption and forgiveness.