Summary: This message looks at the life of Joseph, step-father of Jesus. It shows how he heard from the angel and adjusted his life when God spoke.
How to be useful for God (Matthew 1:18-25)
December 23, 2007
Have you ever been in a real spiritual predicament? You’re caught between a rock and a hard place? Did you come to a crisis of belief? Did you wait to hear from God? Did you seek spiritual counsel before you took action? Or did you take matters into your own hands? Did you over react and blow things way out of proportion? And if you did, are you willing to make amends? Are you willing to reflect and say, ‘Holy Spirit what are you trying to teach me through this process?’ Joseph, a man of character, chose to reflect upon the Spirit appointed messenger in his life. Joseph found himself in an unwelcome nightmare. But he chose to wait on God before he took action.
There was a time when Joseph thought the virgin birth was a spiritual impossibility. Oh, he believed the Messiah would be from the Jewish nation. But he had no idea that God would use him. He had no idea that God would give him such a high calling. That God would use him in the line to the Messiah. He had no idea that God’s time was now and today in his life. God had a purpose for his life. God has a purpose for your life. And through that purpose God brought Joseph to a crisis of belief. God will also bring you to a crisis of belief. A crisis of belief, defined by Henry Blackaby is simply this. You must believe God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He is going to do (H. Blackaby, Exp. God). Without faith and reliance on God Joseph would have made the wrong decision. Joseph was at a fork in the road. Would he choose to hear God’s word and God’s angel and adjust his life? Of would he choose make up his own mind and block out God’s direction? Many of you are at the same point in your life.
Today, at Christmas time, I want to reflect on how God uses ordinary people. Are you feeling pretty ordinary these days? Well great, because God wants to use you. The Apostle Paul understood this (2nd Co. 4:7). Now God can work any way he chooses. He does not need you or any human to tell him how to work. When he chooses to use someone he does not need someone who is socially accepted, wealthy, nor popular. God has a pattern of using people ordinary people whose character is equal to the task.
Like Joseph, you are not where you are by accident. God allowed you to be here in Red Lake, at Calvary Church, in this spiritually hard area. Regardless of where we are, when we gain a godly perspective, like Joseph God will reveal himself to us.
God had begun a work in Joseph. Like Joseph, when you give 100% of your life to Christ’s rule you will enter into a renewed covenant relationship with God. Like Joseph, when God brings spiritual authority into your life, and you listen, you will find God’s purpose. Many people never see their God given purpose come to pass. Sadly many miss it because they don’t pass the character test. God wants to shape our character and cleanse our lives of all that hinders us from fulfilling his purposes for our lives. Today, I want us to briefly review five lessons on how God shaped Joseph’s character and how he responded to his crisis of belief.
1. First God shapes ordinary people. Joseph was an ordinary guy
Joseph lived in the time of Herod the Great. Jesus was born about 5 BC. We know that because the Bible says Herod was king when Jesus was born, and Herod died in 4 BC. Now Herod was a successful king. He brought great wealth into the kingdom. The economy was at full throttle. He spent money on lavish building programs. He did a massive rebuilding of the temple. The rabbis said ‘He who has not seen Herod’s temple has not seen beauty.’ He also built a theatre and an amphitheatre in Jerusalem. This was the world that Joseph lived in.
The Bible says Joseph was a carpenter, and he taught Jesus the trade. Let’s go back in a time machine, way back 2,012 years ago. You’re a tradesman. You know Joseph. He is a carpenter, one of twenty-five separate trades mentioned in the Bible. Joseph was an ordinary guy, recognized by all. You know who he is. You know what he does. You know about his family line. You know him well. Tradesmen were recognized in the street. Everyone knew him and here is how they recognized him:
o Dyers carried a colored rag