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Summary: A sermon teaching the difference between commitment and surrender.

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"Radical Obedience"

Matthew 1:18-25

Mat 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.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Introduction: In many respects Joseph is the "forgotten man" in the Christmas story yet when we examine the narrative as a whole he plays a very important part in the plan of God to send His Son into the world to die for our sins. Matthew gives us the genealogy of the Jesus from Joseph's side of the family and there are a few other details provided to us about him but for the most part the thing that stands out in both his character and his conduct is his willingness to obey God in spite of the circumstances he found himself in. Joseph's life was characterized by what I would like to describe as "radical obedience." What is that?

First:

I. Radical obedience begins with revelation

An angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream (aggelos kuriou kat' onar ephanē autōi). This expression (aggelos kuriou) is without the article in the New Testament except when, as in Mat_1:24, there is reference to the angel previously mentioned. Sometimes in the Old Testament Jehovah Himself is represented by this phrase. Surely Joseph needed God's help if ever man did. If Jesus was really God's Son, Joseph was entitled to know this supreme fact that he might be just to both Mary and her Child. It was in a dream, but the message was distinct and decisive for Joseph. He is called "Son of David" as had been shown by Matthew in Mat_1:16. Mary is called his "wife" (tēn gunaika sou). He is told "not to become afraid" (ingressive first aorist passive subjunctive in prohibition, (mē phobēthēis), "to take to his side" (paralabein, ingressive aorist active infinitive) her whom he had planned (enthumēthentos, genitive absolute again, from en and thumos) to send away with a writ of divorce. He had pondered and had planned as best he knew, but now God had called a halt and he had to decide whether he was willing to shelter Mary by marrying her and, if necessary, take upon himself whatever stigma might attach to her. Joseph was told that the child was begotten of the Holy Spirit and thus that Mary was innocent of any sin. But who would believe it now if he told it of her? Mary knew the truth and had not told him because she could not expect him to believe it.


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