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Summary: Christmas is the time to be family.

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TOUCH THE FAMILY

Matthew 1:18-25

S: Love a Family Member

Th: The Christmas Touch

Pr: CHRISTMAS IS THE TIME TO BE FAMILY.

?: Inductive

KW: Stages

TS: We will find in the story found in Matthew 1:18-25 five stages that demonstrate that Christmas is the time to be family.

The _____ stage is…

I. SITUATION (18)

II. SEPARATION (19)

III. SECRET (20)

IV. SATISFACTION (21-23)

V. SERVICE (24-25)

RMBC 16 December 01 AM

INTRODUCTION:

ILL Notebook: Christmas (rich Armstrongs) [Judy is made up for unknown name]

Rick and Judy Armstrong had a hectic holiday schedule encompassing careers, teenagers, shopping, and all the required doings of the season. Realizing that she would be short of time, she had the stationer print their signature on their Christmas cards, instead of signing each one.

Soon they started getting cards from friends signed "The Modest Morrisons," "The Clever Clarks," and "The Successful Smiths." Then she discovered the stationer’s subtle mistake. She had mailed out a hundred cards neatly imprinted with "Happy Holidays from the Rich Armstrongs."

I’m sure they laughed their way through that mistake.

But sometimes, during this time of the year, when things do go wrong, it is easy to throw up our hands and say, “What is the use?”

It just seems to be too much.

1. Have you ever wanted to skip Christmas?

ILL Grisham Skipping Christmas

John Grisham has a new book out this year that is on the bestseller’s list. It is called Skipping Christmas. The book begins with Luther and Nora Krank saying good-bye to their daughter, Blair, who is going to be in Peru for a year with the Peace Corps. Since this will be their first Christmas without Blair, they decide to skip it and go on a cruise instead. It is a fun read as they go through the adventure of telling everyone that they are not participating in anything that has to do with Christmas. And sometimes you find yourselves rooting for them and at other times thinking, “Are they nuts?” I’m not going to give away the ending, but I did find myself laughing out loud at several points as they find there is as much stress in avoiding Christmas as there is in celebrating it.

(By the way, the ending does it make a worthwhile read—I recommend it.)

There is no doubt that Christmas can be a time of stress rather than peace.

There is a touch of irony in that, isn’t there?

I mean…

2. Isn’t it amazing that we show the least amount of tolerance during a time that is to be distinguished by peace?

Do you know what the best part of Christmas is?

It is being together with members of your family.

Do you know that the worst part is?

It is being together with members of your family.

It would be funny if it weren’t true.

Right?

Well, we know that Christmastime is family time.

But sometimes there is a lot of stress when it comes with being with family.

Those imperfections become difficult to digest.

In fact, because of past mistakes in our relationships, the relationships may be more known for anger, heartache and confusion rather than peace and good will.

Interestingly, those characteristics were something that Joseph experienced as well.

He knew anger, heartache and confusion.

It is Joseph who we are studying this morning, and so…

3. We will find five stages in our study of Joseph that will help us understand how he handled the first Christmas dilemma.

OUR STUDY:

I. The first stage is the SITUATION (18).

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

The text tells us that Mary was found to be with child.

If the fact of her pregnancy wasn’t shocking enough, the explanation was even worse!

It was simply unbelievable.

The text also tells us that Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph.

They were not technically married yet, but in a way they were.

This pledge was a great deal more formal than our engagement period is today.

It was a kind of pre-marriage relationship, so much so that a rabbi would perform a ceremony for this pledge.

During this time that lasted about a year, abstinence was to be maintained until after the official marriage ceremony.

If during that period a woman became pregnant, it was viewed as adultery.

Under the strictest interpretation of the Old Testament law it was punishable by death for both parties.

But to be fair, it was not normally enforced during the time of Mary and Joseph.

So…

Joseph is faced with a crisis of betrayal.

Mary’s pregnancy was a breach of contract.

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