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2007.12.23 To Trust, Be Dependent & Obedient

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To Trust, Be Dependent & Obedient

Matthew 1:18-25

December 23, 2007

Turn to Matthew 1:18

Intro: 

  • If I were to ask anyone of our youth here today, “How old do you have to be in order to get your driver’s licence in Ontario?”  I’m sure each one of them could tell me that you need to be at least 16 yrs old.  I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s licence – I went right on my 16th birthday (raise your hand if you went to get your licence on the day you turned 16).  You see to get a licence you have to meet certain requirements to qualify
  • That’s true with many things….
    • CAA – you need a membership in order to benefit from their services – if I call and ask them to tow my vehicle and I don’t have a membership, it’s not going to happen – I don’t qualify
    • How about the OT sacrifices…it says in Leviticus that for a burnt offering from the herd it must be a male w/o blemish – there were certain requirements you see to be accepted before the Lord
  • Likewise Christ who is our substitute sacrifice, had to be a man in order to be an acceptable substitute for us, to take our place, to pay the penalty for man’s sins he had to be a man.  There were certain requirements in order to be an acceptable sacrifice on our behalf before the Lord.
  • Now let us not forget that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time.
  • Jesus was one of us in form – a man – not exactly like us as he was w/o sin, but in the likeness and form of a man - so by one man’s obedience (Christ’s obedience) the many will be made righteous.  Jesus as a man was perfectly dependent on the Father; as a man he was perfectly faithful to the Father & as a man was perfectly obedient to the Father.  He was perfect in obedience, w/o sin and the perfect substitute for us – to make propitiation for our sins.

Prayer

Background (read v.18)

  • Things don’t quite take place today, like they did back then in regard to marriage.  It says that Mary was betrothed to Joseph, which is legally pledged to be married, yet they knew each other not – meaning that they were not involved physically/sexually.
  • They were considered married and were called husband and wife, but did not, begin to live together.  Or have physical relations for a period up to one year.  With that understanding we can better understand Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth.  Let’s take a look at the three people involved in this account – Mary, Joseph & Jesus.

1. Mary found favor with God, trusted in God, was dependent on God & was obedient to God

  • There is not a lot of detail given to us about Mary in Matthew’s account; however in Luke 1 we have more of Mary’s story. 
  • We read in Luke 1 that an angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and informed her that she has found favour with God and that she will conceive and give birth to a son and that his name is Jesus – also that this Jesus will be a ruler, a King – in fact the King of Kings with a never ending throne…WOW!
  • So Mary like any of us in that situation asked….how is this going to happen, since I am a virgin.  Mary obviously knew there was a piece of the equation missing…
  • Gabriel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you”  “she will be with child from the Holy Spirit.”  Conceived by the H.S.  This is not the normal way of events unfolding…this is something new.
  • Amidst all of these unusual but magnificent circumstances this is Mary’s response – v.38 “Behold, I am a servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Basically she is saying – I will trust in the Lord, I will serve my Lord in whatever capacity that He sees fit, whatever the cost – I am dependent on Him – I will be obedient to Him.  I’m sure Mary had time to consider the cost of this obedience (maybe not right away, but in time she likely started to think this through…as she counts the cost….I’m with child, yet I’m betrothed)
    • I’m sure she thought of Joseph whom she loved dearly and to whom she had pledged her commitment and purity to him – what will Joseph think of this?  Will he understand? – I can imagine her saying…I trust you God that Joseph will understand.
    • I’m sure she thought of her own family and what would they think of her – getting pregnant prior to being fully married – this would possibly disgrace them – will they understand? – I can imagine her saying…I trust you God that they will understand
    • I’m sure she thought of what others would think of her – pregnant before married, did she consider the potential ridicule, shame, or mockery others might pin on her.  I’m sure she said to herself, I trust God will take care of it. 
    • But Mary’s words also indicate her willingness to trust God even if they don’t understand.  There must have been many who didn’t believe Mary – that the Holy Spirit conceived this child (good excuse, is that the best that you could come up with, I’ve never heard that one before – at least it original), but Mary’s response - I will trust you God even if they don’t understand.  I am a servant of the Lord, be it to me as you have said
  • The last words the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary, were likely words of great comfort to Mary, he said, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”  I’m sure that she would have clung to those words, nothing is impossible with God!  Nothing is impossible with God.  Repeat that with me, “Nothing is impossible with God” Again, “Nothing is Impossible with God.”  Lord I know that you will take care of the details, I trust you and I will serve you.
  • Is God taking you on a journey right now, not quite like Mary’s, but one in which He is working something in your life (a situation, a person, a problem) where these words, “Nothing is impossible with God” are very encouraging and comforting to you…for you to trust in.  Is the Lord leading you in a way that some will doubt you are following Him or maybe there is a family member who doesn’t know Christ or a wayward child…remember, ‘Nothing is Impossible with God.’
  • What I really like about Mary’s response to the words of Gabriel is that she said – I will do it, I will serve – she didn’t barter and say, what will others think, what will Joseph think – she just trusted and said I will serve the Lord….Amazing.  You see Mary trusted in God, she was dependent on God that he would work this out for his glory, she was faithful & obedient to be used by God.
  • Now lets take a look at how Joseph responded in this situation.

2. Joseph was a just man who trusted in God, was dependent on God & was obedient to God.

  • V.19…and her husband Joseph…resolved to divorce her quietly. 
  • So Joseph and Mary were legally pledged to be married and before they came together (before they had physical union) she was found to be with child – pregnant. 
  • Picture yourself as Joseph…what would you think?  You know that you had not been with her sexually, so you can count yourself out as the father and the only other logically conclusion would be that she stepped outside of her commitment and had sexual relations with another man – resulting in this pregnancy. 
  • Joseph loved Mary and this must have been a difficult situation to be in.  Mary must have told Joseph about Gabriel appearing to her and that she was pregnant from the H.S. (although Scripture does not say this) – since v.20 says that Joseph considered these things – now what things exactly we are not totally sure, but he was considering what to do in this predicament. 
  • The word consider in v.20 is Enthumeomai (en-thoo-meh'-om-ahee/                   en-tho-meth-o-may) a verb an action word to deeply ponder, to revolve in mind, to deliberate – a process of thinking through all of the details and looking at one’s options, the opposite of being hasty or rash.
  • A significant consideration is taking place here.
  • We all have been where Joseph is…not having to make the decision that he is regarding a H.S. conception, but we have all had to make difficult, heart wrenching decisions before.  Decisions that when we are in the midst of considering the details and our options that it just hurts, we wish we didn’t have to make a decision, but the circumstances dictate that we must.  I know when I’ve been in these tough decision making circumstances I have often just wished that I only had one option so that the decision would be made up for me and I would just live with it….have you been there, seeking God asking the Lord what is your will in this situation, what do you want me to do?  You sure increase your prayer life during these times don’t you.  These circumstances have a way of dropping us to our knees as we consider what the Lord would have us do…this is where Joseph is 
  • So as Joseph considers his options, his love for Mary, he must of felt betrayed, but he didn’t jump to a rash decision and publicly expose her rather he was leaning toward putting her away quietly – divorcing her in a way not to shame her (he must have thought I’m sure that she will be shamed enough) – remember he loved her and the Scripture tells us that he was a just man or a righteous man. 
  • The easy thing for Joseph to do would be to expose her sin of impurity and thus vindicate himself in front of everyone.  The punishment for this may well have been death to Mary, but at least Joseph would appear to all others as being innocent of any wrongdoing.  She was impure, but I am pure…that’s the easy thing to do to make yourself look good.
  • Joseph hadn’t fully made up his mind about what to do with Mary, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “v.20b, 21, 24,25”
  • Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded.  He obeyed.  He took Mary to be his wife and knew her not – meaning she remained a virgin until after she had given birth to Jesus.  He trusted that the Lord was faithful and he depended on the Lord to work out all the details for His glory.  There was that clear direction that he was looking for, that he was “considering”, we’ve been there, when the Lord finally shows us the way – this is the way to go – they you step out in faith - Joseph stepped out in faith.  Joseph was a just man, a man who trusted God, depended on God and obeyed God.

3. Jesus was the Son of God, a man who perfectly trusted in God, was dependent on God & was obedient to God.

  • V.21 says, “she will bear a son” – Jesus came as a man, as a son.
  • John 1:1, 14, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….v.14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” so Jesus was the God man, he was fully God and fully man.
  • So what is the importance of the virgin birth of Christ?  Born as a son to a virgin.  In our text today they make four references to the aspect of the virgin birth (don’t list them)…So what is the importance of this?

    • The virgin birth tells us that it was all from God. 
      This has never happened before and never happened since Christ was born.  Conceived by God, there was no human effort here – it was all orchestrated by God.  It is the work of God that the Holy Spirit conceived a child to the virgin.
      • It is a great picture of salvation – it is all from God.  Salvation can never come through human effort – it is the work of God – and so it is with the virgin birth – from God

    • The virgin birth makes it possible for us to understand Jesus being fully God and fully man in one person. 
      Wayne Grudem says, “So God in His wisdom ordained a combination of human and divine influence in the birth of Christ, so that his full humanity would be evident to us from the fact of his ordinary human birth from a human mother, and his full deity would be evident from the fact of his conception in Mary’s womb, not by man - she was a virgin, but by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.”   
    • The virgin birth also makes possible Christ’s true humanity without inheriting sin. 
      All of us are born in sin b/c of Adam – original sin.  But Jesus did not have a human father – he was conceived by the H.S.  The original sin was not found in Christ – Luke 1:35 says, “the child to be born will be called holy.” – The H.S. must have intervened and not allowed Mary’s sin to effect Jesus, b/c the child will be called holy!  
    • Virgin birth tells us it is from God alone, makes it possible to understand fully God/ Fully man and also makes possible Christ’s humanity without inheriting sin.  
  • V.21 – “she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” – Why was Jesus’ humanity necessary to save us from our sins?  Or why did he have to be fully man to earn salvation for us? (Two reasons)
    • To Lead by Obedience. 
      Jesus was our representative, he obeyed, trusted and depended on God where Adam failed and disobeyed.  Romans 5:18,19 “18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 *For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.[1]
    • What is amazing about Christ is that in his humanity (as a man) he was perfectly obedient, perfectly trusting and perfectly dependent on God and he did not draw on his deity to accomplish this. 
      • As a man he suppress his deity or in Phil 2 it says he made himself nothing or emptied himself making him like us, not relying on his deity – he suppressed his deity in his humanity. 
      • Wonders, Miracles performed by Christ were actually accomplished by God through Christ – Acts 2:22 …
      • A super illustration of this is found in Matt 14 when Jesus is walking on the water.  Remember that Jesus is still fully God and fully man, so Peter recognizes Christ as Lord, but Jesus in his humanity is dependent on God the Father…read & elaborate
      • John 5:19, 30 – I can do nothing on my own….b/c I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.  I can do nothing on my own. Repeat it with me, “I can do nothing on my own.”
      • Sometimes we feel threatened by words like “surrender, submit, yield” our society tells us that we need to be in control, we need the power.  Christ gladly yielded to God the Father.  We need to dependent on God the Father like Christ was – exchanging our will for His.  How are you doing in surrendering to Him daily?
      • Christ is our example our representative of obedience, trust and dependence in God the Father.  He had to be a man in order to be our representative and obey in our place.

 

    • Christ also had to be a man, To Be a Substitute Sacrifice
    • If Jesus had not been a man, he could not have died in our place and paid the penalty that was due to us.
    • Heb 2:16,17 “16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”[2]
    • He had to be….to make propitiation for sins…to satisfy God in regard to man’s sin Christ needed to be a man.
    • Praise God – he was the only substitute that God could have accepted, b/c he was human and was without sin. 
    • Christ in his sinless humanity (which came as a result of being fully obedient, fully trusting and fully dependent on God) his sinless humanity met the requirements of God, in order to qualify as an acceptable substitute sacrifice for us.

Conclusion

  • Rachel and I went to Frankenmuth a little over a year ago.  We went to Bronner’s looking for a tree topper.  We found the best tree topper.  When I saw it, I knew we had to buy it, b/c it was the best tree topper I’d ever seen.  Nothing against what you have at the top of your tree, but we have the best!  We have a lighted cross….the cross belongs at Christmas, not just Easter.  “she will bear a son, Jesus, he will save his people from their sins.  * He was born as a man to die as a man in our place – for us on the cross.
  • We looked at Mary, Joseph and Jesus – Mary and Joseph were faithful but were still sinners who needed a Savior, but Christ was perfect.
  • In his perfect trust, in his perfect dependence and in his perfect obedience to God the Father, Jesus met the requirements to be an acceptable sacrifice for us.   
  • Will you consider as Joseph did, what Christ’s birth and his death really means to you – have you surrendered and put your trust in him as your Lord and Savior  - if you have praise God.  If not I encourage you to read about Christ in the Bible and consider full well your sin and what Christ has done to free you from it – should you decide to follow Him, to put your faith in Him, to surrender to Him – that you will you everlasting life with Him.
  • …by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous!


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[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Ro 5:18-19

[2] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Heb 2:16-17

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