Summary: God wants you to have: 1. Joseph’s character (vs. 18-19). 2. Joseph’s confidence (vs. 20-23). 3. Joseph’s care for other people (vs. 24-25).

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Back to the Best of Christmas

Part 2: Live Like Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 11, 2011

*What is Christmas about? -- Most people will tell you it’s about presents and Santa, lights and trees or days off from work and school. Some will even say that Christmas is about family and church.

*But it seems that fewer and fewer will actually state the true meaning of Christmas: The birth of Jesus Christ.

-Several years ago, a Barna poll found that only 37% of adults thought the birth of Jesus is the most important part of Christmas. (1)

*This year, let’s go back to the best things about Christmas.

-Joseph shows us some of these things, things that God also wants to see in you and me.

1. First: God wants us to have Joseph’s character.

*Joseph was a stand-up guy. That kind of thing shows up in times of trouble, and this was a time of trouble for the young couple. Vs. 18&19 tell us that:

18. 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.

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.

*Vs. 19 tells us that Joseph was Mary’s husband, but not in the way we think today. At this point, Mary was only “betrothed to Joseph.” But that meant a whole lot more than being engaged today.

*Hebrew marriages had two stages. In the first stage of betrothal, the couple was considered to be legally married, even though they did not live together as man and wife. This period of being separate, but legally married could last as long as a year. And it was far more binding than modern engagement. Only divorce could break it apart. And if they had been unfaithful to each other, it would have been counted as adultery punishable by death.

*Joseph and Mary had been joyfully making plans for a wedding. But then Mary gave him the shocking news that she was pregnant. Talk about trouble!

-With those shocking words from Mary, Joseph’s world began to fall apart.

-And the first time we see him, he was planning a divorce. (2)

*Troubles at Christmas:

-The hospitals don’t empty out at Christmas.

-The funeral homes don’t close down.

-Marriage problems don’t magically go away.

-Rebellious children don’t always come to their senses.

-People still get hurt.

-Dreams still get shattered.

*Pastor Mike Fogerson called his sermon on this subject, “Surviving the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Then he told about the sad year his wife had a miscarriage on December 13th.

*And Mike said, “Our plans were to become parents, buy Easy Bake ovens, Raggedy Ann & Andy stuff and a lot of pink. We spent the Christmas of ‘98 crying and buying a casket. The only pink things were the flowers on the grave blanket.” (3)

*How will we ever make it through the troubles that come our way?

-One of the best ways is to have stand-up character.

*We need to be like Joseph. Vs. 19 tells us that he was a “just man.” Of course, he wasn’t perfect, but he was “a just man.”

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