Summary: I wish I was more like Joseph. He obeyed God over and over. This sermon on Joseph can encourage your audience to obey God in new ways.
The Characters of Christmas # 2
JOSEPH -- "I’LL OBEY."
Hope Christian Church, Tamarac, Florida
December 7, 2003
Dr. David L. Haun
Joseph - truly a man of God. I wish I could be more like him. Joseph was probably a mature man, perhaps a widower. He was a blue-collar worker, a carpenter. He must have been a good one, no doubt skilled of hand and good with details. Joseph was a man of integrity, a man of faith, a sensible man, a willing servant, and level headed Most important, Joseph was willing to obey. Perhaps that’s why God chose Joseph to raise his Son... Today, let’s look at Joseph and the example he offers us. For what God longs to see in 2003 are some Josephs here at Hope.
Our Scripture is from two New Testament sources as found in The Message: The NT in Contemporary English.
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: "Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus -- ’God saves’ -- because he will save his people from their sins." ...Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream. He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.
Matthew 2:13, 19-23
God’s angels showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, "Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until further notice.
Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. "Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel ... Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as King in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth.
I. JOSEPH OBEYED. HE TOOK MARY INTO HIS HOME AS HIS WIFE
A. He protected Mary, removed her social stigma, and provided godly leadership to his family.
1. It has been said that women teach their children what it means to be gentle. Men teach their chidren what it means to be spiritual.
2. Joseph taking that stand protected Mary from the vicious gossip that could have come. I read somewhere that it would be strange for someone nine months pregnant to make that long trip for the census registration. She did not have to go. Joseph could have registered for both of them. And the suggestion was that maybe he took his wife with her to protect her from all the whispers she would have had to endure if she had stayed home. --unknown
B. Obeying was not an easy thing for Joseph to do.
1. He knew he would face the taunts and laughter of his neighbors and community.
He can’t keep his wife happy - She wandered even before the wedding
He can’t keep his zipper zipped and his lusts in control.
2. He must have cried out "God Why?!"
CAN WE OBEY LIKE JOSEPH?
A. Change habits and lifestyles in faithfulness to God?
Joshua 24:14 Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD .
B. Welcome the unwelcome and accept the offensive?
Luke 15:1 -ff Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Then Jesus told them this parable: (the sheep and the shepherd, and a wife wih a missing coin.)
You see, our goal as believers and as a church is twofold: First, attempting to reverse the status of the lost. That which was missing has been found. God’s grace is the offer of acceptance to the unacceptable. The sheep, lost in danger is found and returned. The coin, lost in uselessness is found and returned to value. In the two parables, each "finding" was followed by a celebration with family and friends. As the Scripture says, there is true joy in heaven over one lost who is foiund.