Summary: Joseph sets an example of someone who is committed to living a morally upright life in an immoral world. As we look at Joseph ask yourself if those positive qualities which he demonstrated are seen in your life.
Joseph: A Man of God
Introduction: We need men and women who can be identified by their lives that they are children of God. While what we know about Joseph is contained in only a few verses of Scripture, the verses we have identify him as a man of God. Joseph sets an example of someone who is committed to living a morally upright life in an immoral world. As we look at Joseph ask yourself if those positive qualities which he demonstrated are seen in your life.
I. Joseph was an Honorable Man
A. Matthew 1:18 – 19 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. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
B. NASB – “being a righteous man”
C. Joseph was a man of integrity and character.
1. The word Matthew used is dikaios which can be translated "just," "righteous," or "upright." It describes one who wants to do what is right toward people and toward God.
2. Joseph was a man known for his integrity.
3. Integrity is something that we hear about but seldom see exemplified.
4. The dictionary defines integrity as “consistency and sincerity, with no deception or pretense.” It is remaining consistent to our beliefs and our principles.
5. A storeowner interviewed a young man for a job. He asked, "If I hire you to work in my store, will you be honest and truthful?" The young man answered, "I will be honest and truthful whether you hire me or not." God still sees us, even when no one is watching. (Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, p. 155)
6. Proverbs 10:9 He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.
D. Joseph was a moral man
1. The Bible teaches plainly that Mary was a virgin. That means that Joseph had not committed fornication with her.
2. He was courageous enough to live a moral life in a corrupt culture. He grew up among people who were very religious but not very righteous.
3. Joseph is also a person of sterling character. If some traditional records are correct and Joseph was a widower, then it took a man with moral principle to keep himself right, after having been married before, that is if he was married previously.
4. 75 years ago married couples accounted for 84% of American households. Today the rate is just under ½. Out of 111 million family households 14 million were headed by single women, 5 million by single men, and 36.7 million or 3oughly 33% belonged to “non-family households that is couples cohabiting outside of traditional marriage. – Agape Press via MissionNet
5. 1 Peter 1:15-16 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct (behavior), because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy
6. "Wrong is wrong--even if everyone is doing it. Right is right--even if no one is doing it." –unknown
II. Joseph was a Compassionate Man
A. Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
B. If you were Joseph what would your response have been to find out that your fiancée is pregnant? Wouldn’t it have been natural to be shocked, angered, frustrated by her apparent imprudence and immorality? Wouldn’t it be easy to be filled with a desire for vengeance for the hurt he felt?
C. Following the letter of the law Joseph could have had Mary prosecuted with stern justice. But he loved her and was going to carry out the law by taking a middle course. He would use the most private method handing to her the letter of divorce in the presence of only two witnesses to whom he would not have to communicate his reasons sparing her public embarrassment. He chose mercy.
D. "The problem is we want justice for everyone else and mercy for ourselves." – Kent Crockett’s Sermon Illustrations, www.kentcrockett.com
E. Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
F. "As compassion decreases, criticism increases. As compassion increases, criticism decreases." --Kent Crockett (Kent Crockett, I Once Was Blind But Now I Squint, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004, 113)
III. Joseph was a Troubled Man
A. In verse 20 we read, "while he thought on these things”
B. He pondered these things in his mind. They must have gone deep into his heart and soul as he thought about these things and what he determined in his mind to do.