Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Joseph was a portrait of selflessness in his role of in the Christmas story

Series: Characters at the Cradle

JOSEPH: Portrait of Selflessness

Matthew 1:18-25

As God was assembling the cast of characters for the greatest event in the history of mankind: the birth of His Son Jesus Christ, He searched diligently for just the right players. This would not be a cast mindlessly thrown together to act out a story, but one representing

the depth of his love,

the truthfulness of his word,

the endlessness of his grace,

the wonder of his power and

the unselfishness of his plan for mankind.

Today we will begin a series called, Characters at the Cradle. Over the next five weeks we want to examine each of the characters assembled by the Lord who played a role in the Christmas story. We want to examine each character and learn lessons about the wonders of our Heavenly Father and the expectations of you and me.

We begin today with Joseph, the character chosen to be the earthly father of the Christ-child. I submit to you that I believe this was the hardest character to cast in this real life drama. This individual would be required to exhibit a list of virtues that few collectively possess. His life would have to be a portrait of selflessness, which is in direct conflict of the sinful nature which binds all mankind.

Would he be up to the role?

(1:18) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

There is an old story about a man who had been gone to war for two years. When he finally got to come home, his wife greeted him with the words, Congratulations, you’re going to be a father. I’m not sure how he felt about that, but Joseph must have felt like a ton of bricks had been dropped on his heart when he got word that Mary was expecting a child.



19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man,


and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20But while he thought on these things,

[A public example] To expose her to public shame or infamy. Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia, the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning, John 8:5>. This punishment was also inflicted where the person was not married, but betrothed, . In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death in this painful and ignominious manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man mild and tender; and he was not willing to complain of her to the magistrate, and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately.

(from Barnes’ Notes)

(Matt 5:5) Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

"Meek" ( praus: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness; Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time. (Isa. 41:17, Lk. 18:1 8) Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self assertiveness and self interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied withself at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will, Gal. 5:23).

A. He Controlled His Emotions

It could have been so easy for Joseph to let his emotions to get to him. He very easily could have exploded. This happens all the time, even to people who claim they love the Lord. He could have easily thrown a temper tantrum and disqualified himself for the Lord=s service.

B. He Controlled His Judgement

Now let’s be honest. What do you think Joseph first thought when Mary told him she was pregnant with the Holy Ghost. He probably wanted to say, AAnd yeah, I=m the Messiah. Every ounce of his flesh wanted to say she was lying and be certain, Satan, the old deceiver, wasn=t missing this opportunity to sew thoughts in his mind.

C. He Controlled His Impatience

"But while he thought on these things..."

(Ps 25:9) The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

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