Summary: 1. Be sure to listen to the Lord (vs. 18-20). 2. Rest in your relationship with Christ (vs. 21). 3. Always remember that Christ is close (vs. 22-23). 4. Commit yourself to live for Christ (vs. 24-25).
Wisdom for Worrying Times
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 12, 2012
*Joseph was surely worried in the opening verses of this Scripture. Mary had been "betrothed" to Joseph. The KJV says "espoused" in vs. 18. We get engaged before we get married. But this was much more than that.
*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. (1)
*Joseph was truly troubled in these verses, and we live in troubled times today. The influence of ungodly people seems to get stronger every day. God's church appears to be in decline, certainly in Europe and even here in the United States. Bible-believing Christianity faces growing opposition on every front. Government corruption goes largely unchecked. And family life has significantly disintegrated. We can see the decline most everywhere we look. On top of that is the trouble we face in our own health, our homes and our hearts.
*What should we do in troubled times? -- Let's look at Joseph and see.
1. First of all, Listen to the Lord.
*Starting In vs. 18 we find Joseph worried, but willing to listen to the Lord. These verses 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.
20. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
*Try to imagine how worried Joseph was in vs. 18. Because of his Godly lifestyle, he had to assume that Mary had been unfaithful. There was no other earthly explanation. So Joseph was devastated. And in vs. 19-20, he didn't know what to do.
*Have you ever been there? We all have. The great news is that God spoke to Joseph in these verses. And He wants to speak to us too. How does He do it? Well, here God spoke through an angel and a dream. But that's a pretty rare thing.
 God can also speak to us through wise friends and acquaintances.
*James Wilson gives a good example from his friend, Dan Rhodes. At the time, Dan was the pastor of two rural churches in Colorado, so, he was unusually busy:
-Twice the number of meetings.
-And twice the number of worship services.
*One day, his daughter's third grade teacher requested a parent-teacher conference with Dan. Dan's wife usually took care of those conferences. But the teacher insisted on seeing Dan.