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Joseph's Exemplary Faith

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
December 5, 2021 6:00 pm

Joseph's Exemplary Faith

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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December 5, 2021 6:00 pm

From these verses in Matthew's gospel, Pastor Greg Barkman explains this account of the virgin birth from Joseph's perspective.

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Two of the four Gospels contain an account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Luke's account is primarily from the viewpoint of Mary. And Matthew gives us the narrative from the perspective of Joseph. Matthew gives details that are not found in Luke.

Luke includes details that are not recorded by Matthew. But together, they form a full account of the record of the birth of Jesus Christ and other events that surrounded that momentous time. Today we're going to examine Matthew's account, which is a very familiar story to most of us.

How simple it sounds, how profound it becomes when we look into it very carefully. Because as always, there are fresh insights to explore every time we open the pages of Scripture. And therefore, we ask that God will give us eyes to see and ears to hear as we examine Matthew's account in five parts.

Number one, a miraculous conception. The birth of Jesus Christ, we are told, was as follows. After his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. It is an historical account. Matthew represents it in that way and we understand it to be so. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. A straightforward historical narrative, buttressed by the fact that this narrative follows a detailed genealogy in the first 17 verses of Matthew's Gospel, the genealogy of Joseph's lineage, and that can be verified from any other places in Scripture and even historical accounts outside the Bible. So it's very clear that what Matthew is giving us is history.

Here is the lineage, here is the line of descendants, and here is the account of the birth that came out of that line. It is given to us without apology, without embellishment, without any words that are mythological. This is not a once upon a time type of story, it is not a fairy tale, it is a straight historical narrative of what took place. And those who believe the Bible understand that and people who want to know what happened accept it as such, and only those who have hearts that are steeled against God and against his word are unwilling to accept this as a straightforward historical narrative. An historical account, but it is also an unprecedented occurrence.

Something happened here that has never happened before, something happened here that has never happened since. Here is the account of a birth that was given to a virgin who was a virgin at the time of the conception and was a virgin up until after the time of the birth of her child. It involves a Jewish betrothal, which is unfamiliar to us but was very, very ordinary in that day when his mother, the mother of Jesus Christ, was betrothed to Joseph, a Jewish betrothal. Mary, from all appearances, was a very ordinary Jewish maiden.

Nothing extraordinary about her as far as human accomplishment is concerned. And Joseph, likewise, seems to be a very ordinary Jewish man. We don't know much at all about the families from which either Joseph or Mary came from.

We do know that Joseph's father's name was Jacob because that's part of the genealogy before us, but other than that we don't know too much about them. They're not the kind of people about which you would expect to find long accounts of detailed information because they are just two ordinary Jewish people that did not stand out in their society in any way whatsoever. But they had entered into a marriage arrangement that we know of, according to the customs of that day, as a betrothal. That was the ordinary Jewish arrangement, very different from ours today. When a Jewish man and woman decided to get married, and sometimes that was primarily their decision, sometimes it was their parents' decision, and generally it was some combination of those elements.

The parents very much involved, but not generally to the entire neglect of the individuals who were involved, but the parents were very much involved. And particularly in the case of the woman, the father would make arrangements for this marriage and would enter her into a legal betrothal with the husband that he approved of and that hopefully she desired to marry and that everyone thought was going to be a good mate for this woman. It was a legal act, the betrothal.

The betrothal was actually the legal part of the Jewish marriage. In our day we have engagement, which is the informal part. That's a private matter between the man and the woman. The man asks the wife, usually, well, asks the woman to marry him. Sometimes it goes the other way around, but generally the man asks the woman to marry him and there's some kind of a, sometimes in our day and time, it's even posted on Facebook, isn't it? I admire those brave people who are willing to pop a surprise, what do you call it, proposal on Facebook without knowing ahead of time whether or not she's going to accept.

That can be pretty embarrassing when it doesn't turn out that way. It isn't quite as private in our day as it used to be before all of the social media that we have today, but in our day the man proposes marriage to the woman and she agrees and it's a private understanding, a private contract. Generally rings are exchanged, sometimes immediately, sometimes a little bit later, an engagement ring at least is given. And of course the announcement is made to family and friends and it's a very informal thing until the appointed day of the wedding and that's when it becomes a legal matter. Before you can be married you have to get a marriage license. Don't forget the marriage license. I won't tell you about a marriage where that happened, where someone forgot to get the marriage license, but don't forget to get the marriage license. That's vitally important because now we come to the legal part.

You've got to have the license and it's got to be witnessed and it's got to be signed by the official as well as by the witnesses and it's got to be returned to the courthouse and it's got to be recorded there. And all of that in our custom is attached to the wedding vows, the wedding ceremony when these two people pledge themselves before witnesses to one another in marriage. We call that marriage, but in the Jewish way of doing things the betrothal was the legal part.

When they entered into a betrothal that was recorded in the archives of that society. And from that time on, as far as the legal part is concerned, the man is now considered husband, the woman is now considered wife, and that arrangement can only be dissolved by divorce because it is a legal arrangement. And then the coming together in marriage is followed, the betrothal is followed by a betrothal period, which is a time of preparation, and that can last anywhere up to a year. I understand it was not to last longer than a year. So if the father wanted to drag his heels, he could drag them as long as one year before he finally said, okay, the time has come. You can now live together as husband and wife.

It couldn't last any longer than a year. The groom, the new husband, had that assurance, but it was a time of preparation, and that's not a bad thing. How many times do we see people rushing into marriage with very little preparation? So now it's serious.

It's already legal. There are already legal obligations, and yet before you come together to live together as husband and wife, to set up your own household to start having this marriage relationship, let's have a time of serious preparation, which can involve all kinds of things for the woman. It can involve getting together all of the clothes and the kitchen utensils and whatever things she thinks she needs to have to take into a new household, and the husband can prepare a home if he doesn't already have one for them to move to and all the things that are involved there. And in our day, it wouldn't be unlikely that during this period you would have the marriage counseling. In our day, that takes place during the engagement period before the wedding, but betrothal was a time of preparation. Let's get serious about this. Let's find out what is required in this relationship, and then the time would come when it was agreeable to everyone that the actual marriage should be entered into.

And sometimes that would involve a great celebration, a great wedding feast. It could last as long as a week. You say, how long did it last?

How did they decide how long it would last? Probably that would decide the issue for most people. I learned. I've gone through this four times with my daughters. I've learned that the husband's role, the father's role, is to keep your pocketbook open and your mouth shut.

It works pretty well that way. But anyway, they would have a wedding feast that would last up to a week long if the family could afford that. Sometimes it was almost no celebration at all, just a decision to come together and start living as husband and wife if finances did not allow a great public celebration. So this is what is going on in the arrangement between Joseph and Mary, but we have this problem or this great joy, depending on how you understand it, how you've come to understand it. But we read, after his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, before they came together. There had been no sexual relations between Joseph and Mary. That's clear from the account that Joseph knew, without any shadow of a doubt, this was not, it could not be his child. And of course, under the circumstances, that could only cause him to assume that Mary had been unfaithful and that this child was a child of fornication. But as Matthew gives us a clear account, he's careful to tell us even up front before he gives the official announcement to Joseph, but he tells us up front that she was found with child, but of the Holy Spirit.

That changes everything. She was found with child, startling and disgraceful as that was when Joseph learned that information, but by the Holy Spirit. Now that changes everything from disgrace to honor when that becomes known. But any way you look at it, this is unprecedented, this is miraculous, and this is chaste.

It turns out to be entirely opposite of what it appears to be. It turns out to be entirely opposite of every other similar experience down through the thousands of years of human history when a woman has become pregnant and her husband or her betrothed husband-to-be is not involved. But in this case, it was a miraculous conception, and Mary was with child not of any man anywhere in all the world, but by the Holy Spirit of God. Some find that difficult to believe.

And my question to those is, why do you find that difficult to believe? Don't you believe in God? Don't you believe in the power of God? Don't you believe the God who made this universe is able to do something like this? This is a small thing with God, big thing with us, but a small thing with God.

It reminds me of Paul before, was it Agrippa? And he said to him, why should you think it strange that God should raise the dead? He was talking about the resurrection from the dead. Why do you think that's difficult? Why do you think that's impossible, that the God who could do all this would have any difficulty raising people from the dead?

Well, likewise, why do you think this is difficult? Why do you think the God who has all this power would have any difficulty bringing a child into this world through a different means than the way he designed originally? After all, the way we're accustomed to for having children is the way God designed it, and that's a miracle in itself, a wonderful miracle of God's design. But couldn't the God who designed it that way also have another way of bringing a child into the world? He could have a hundred other ways if he chose to do it that way.

Why do you have difficulty? A miraculous conception. But the miraculous conception is followed by a difficult decision, verse 19. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man and not willing, or not wanting rather, to make her a public example was minded to put her away secretly.

Notice Joseph's position. He's called her husband. They're not living together yet, but they are betrothed legally. He is her husband. He is the husband.

He's legally bound. He is the husband, and he has certain societal expectations. Mary was expected to be a virgin. She was presented to him as such by her father, and he expected her to be that in every way. But now she's found with a child, and if Joseph takes her as his wife under these conditions, that is a signal in Jewish society that he's acknowledging the child to be his.

And he knows the child is not his. Joseph is a righteous man. That, of course, means in human terms, nobody is righteous ultimately before God. There's none righteous, no, not one.

But we speak in this language in human terms. We talk about people who are godly. That's a godly man, a godly woman, and that distinguishes them from other people. Now, nobody is perfect. Nobody's righteous. Nobody is perfectly godly.

No one is good ultimately and perfectly, but God alone, as Jesus told the rich young ruler. We use this kind of language, and this indicates the kind of reputation that Joseph had. He was a righteous man. He had a reputation for godliness.

He was known to follow the law carefully. He tried to do what was right to other people and before God. And if he took Mary to be his wife, then he was acknowledging, or at least was communicating, that he had fathered a child prematurely before the marriage was to be consummated properly. And he had not done that, and he was unwilling to have such a disdain on his reputation.

It was a dilemma. Joseph's desire was that he did not want to disgrace her. According to Mosaic law, in a situation like this, Mary should be brought before the officials of the city. A trial should be held to determine how she had come to be pregnant, and if and when it was determined that she had become pregnant out of fornication, then she was to be stoned to death.

That was the law. But they lived in days of Roman occupation, and the Romans had set aside much of the Jewish law. Well, maybe I should say they had set aside some of the Jewish law. They allowed the Jews to carry out many things according to their law, but they certainly did not allow the Jews to carry out executions, as would be required by Mosaic law in this situation. And so Joseph, he's got a dilemma.

He's trying to weigh the different possibilities. He knows what should have happened back in the days when Moses gave the law. In the years following, when Israel ruled themselves, their own nation, he knew what the law required, but now God has allowed the Romans to come in and supersede Jewish law in some situations, and it's hard to know exactly now what to do. You can't carry out the Mosaic law according to the details and to the minutiae, all of the precepts of the law in this day and time. Now, there was also in Mosaic law a permission for a private divorce. Going before two witnesses, a man could divorce his wife by giving her a bill of divorcement, written out that he was divorcing her, and that was attested to by the two witnesses. Now, that was not designed for a situation like this.

It was designed for what we would call a normal divorce. But again, this is not a time when all of the normal laws can be carried out. So now Joseph is weighing that. Could I possibly employ that provision under these circumstances?

Because the normal circumstances don't apply. You see, there's a whole lot more in Joseph's decision than what we probably have thought about. He's weighing this, he's weighing that. He's trying to figure out what is the most pleasing route to please God in this situation. Does God expect me to press for justice, complete justice?

I know what that means. In fact, if that is carried out completely, that means the death of my betrothed wife Mary, whom I love, even though I now am in a place where I don't think I can take her to be my wife. Or is this a time when there are other Old Testament scriptures that ought to weigh in the decision? We hear the words of the prophet Micah. With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God? Well, that's interesting, to do justly. What does justice require? Public trial execution, but that can't be done under Roman law.

And what about the mercy? How does that figure in? How does that mitigate the requirement of justice? So you can see Joseph has got a lot going around in his mind. He's a righteous man. He tries to obey the law. He does obey the law. But there are times when the law comes to a dead end and it can't be followed through.

And he knows that. And now what do you do in that circumstance? Joseph finally came to what he thought was the most God-honoring decision, and that was to put her away secretly, as my translation says, privately, as other translations say. To employ the Deuteronomy 24 provision, to go before two witnesses in a private ceremony, to give her a bill of divorcement and to put her away quietly with the least fanfare possible. That's the decision that Joseph arrived at, a difficult decision, but he made it in a way that would appear to have carried out his reputation as a righteous man who followed the law. But as he's still weighing this, he hasn't pulled the trigger on this decision yet, hasn't gone to the witnesses yet.

He's obviously reluctant to put her away at all, but something's got to be done. And as he's weighing this, we come, number three, to a clarifying revelation of verses 20 and 21. And while he thought about these things, verse 20, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take you and marry your wife. I'd often wondered, what exactly was involved in that fear?

Don't be afraid. And I think I understand. For him, as I've already explained, to take Mary would be a public admission that the child belongs to him. And that was an assault upon his righteous character and his public reputation.

And he feared to besmirch his reputation in that way. But the angel says, don't fear to take you, marry your wife. And again, see, she's called his wife, even though they haven't come together. Marry your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. An angel of the Lord, an angel of the Lord, not the angel of the Lord, an important distinction. When you read about the angel of the Lord, that's Jesus Christ coming as an angel. But when you read about an angel of the Lord, that's one of tens of thousands of holy angels that are messengers that God employs.

And this was one of those. And the angel came and intervened by means of a dream, which was just one of many ways that God communicated his word to his people throughout the Old Testament. There were visions, that's when a person was awake.

There were dreams, that was at night when a person was asleep. There was the inward clarity of thought that obviously came from God, that a person that was chosen as a messenger of God recognized was not his thoughts, was not his words. It was God who was directing this. And of course, for many people, there was the words of the prophet that God had given to him that came to them, and that was the word of God. But in this case, God chose to speak to Joseph during his sleep in the night in a dream. Joseph, son of David, don't pass too lightly over that. That term is found a number of times in the Scriptures, primarily in the Gospels. And this is the only time that it doesn't refer to Jesus Christ. The son of David is Jesus.

But here, the angel of the Lord says to Joseph, son of David. That is significant. That, of course, causes us to take a more careful look at that genealogy. We tend to skip over that and not pay attention in my Bible reading schedule whenever there's a chapter of a genealogy. That's usually combined with another chapter because the person who put that schedule together assumes that you're not going to really read that, just kind of zip over it. So we'll go ahead and lump two chapters together.

And most people skip over genealogies, but we shouldn't do that. There's a lot of information there, and it's all the word of God. And notice verse 1 of Matthew. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David. There's Jesus Christ called the son of David, the son of Abraham. It's a genealogy of Jesus. He is the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Then drop down to verse 16. And Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. The genealogy even is so precise that it makes it clear that Jesus was not the physical descendant of Joseph like all the other people were in this genealogy. But he's in the line of David.

Now here he is, a commoner, a carpenter, a blue-collar worker of no fame or reputation in Jewish society. But he's royalty. He traces his line back to King David. I suppose that if Israel were their own nation, not under the Romans at this time, that Joseph might be king of Israel.

He's certainly qualified to be, but why is that important? Because he's going to adopt Jesus as his own, and that means legally Jesus is the legal son of Joseph who is in the line of David. This is one of two lines of royalty that flow to Jesus because Mary's genealogy shows that she also was in the line. And so from his birth mother, actual physical birth, Jesus is in the line of David. And legally from Joseph, his adopted father, he is in the line of David. And that's why the angel says, Joseph, son of David.

This is important. Don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife. That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Now Joseph understands, changes everything. He realizes that that which appeared to be disgraced is actually the highest honor. The highest honor that could be bestowed upon a Jewish woman was to be chosen to be the mother of the Jewish Messiah. And his wife, Mary, had been chosen by God for that privilege. Amazement, amazement, astonishment must have overcome Joseph at this time. And so he takes his responsibility seriously. He will, as we see in a moment, take Mary under his roof and in the betrothal period and bring her into his home so that they are now considered legally married, fully married.

Everything is final. And he, according to the words of the instructions of the angel, is going to name Mary's son. The name will be Jesus, which is a Greek form of Joshua, which Joshua means Jehovah is salvation. But you see again, in Jewish custom, the man who named the child is the father of the child. And Joseph, by doing this, is not admitting to biological paternity, but what he's saying is, I take this child as my own. I adopt this child legally.

He is now my legally adopted son, and I demonstrate that publicly by naming him. I take that responsibility gladly, and his name shall be Jesus. Because, as Joseph understands, he, Jesus, will save his people from their sins.

He is emphatic in the Greek, he and only he, he and no one else. He, this one, this child, shall save his people from their sins. Jesus comes, and we all know, to bring salvation. Jesus comes to bring joy. Jesus comes to bring light. Jesus comes to bring life and all the wonderful things we think of at Christmas. Let's not forget that for all of this to be beneficial, to be received, Jesus has to come first to deal with sins. Sins have got to be dealt with for all of these wonderful benefits to follow. And Jesus is his name because he will save his people from their sins. And then we'll have the benefit of life and light and joy and victory and eternity with the Lord. And he comes to save whom?

The angel's message is very clear. He shall save, he will save his people from their sins. Now, no doubt, when Joseph heard that phrase, he was accustomed to thinking in terms of the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, the physical descendants of Abraham as being the people of God, and here comes the one that he knows is the promised Jewish Messiah, and for the angel to say he will save his people from their sins, he no doubt is thinking he will save the Jewish people, the Jewish nation from their sins. But as we think about what happens here, we realize that the Jewish nation as a whole and as a majority doesn't turn from their sins and aren't saved from their sins.

Some are, but most aren't. So then what does the angel's declaration mean? Does it mean he will offer to save the Jewish people from their sins? He would like to save the Jewish people from their sins? He would desire to save the Jewish people from their sins if they will only let him? Or, do the words of the angel stand and we have to find another explanation? He will save his people from their sins.

That's what the angel said. So that drives us to ask the question, who are the people that the angel is talking about? Obviously not all physical Jews, some, but not all. But he will save his people, but last week we learned from the words of Jesus himself, other sheep I have which are not of this Jewish fold, them also I must bring. There are Gentile sheep that haven't even heard the gospel yet, but they are his sheep.

They belong to him and he must bring them because he must save them. He will save his people from their sins. And so his people are his sheep. His people are his bride from every tongue and tribe and nation, Jew and Gentile. His people are the Father's gift to him, those who have been given to him by the Father, as Jesus prays in John chapter 17. These are Jews and Gentiles. The elect of God from eternity past have been given to Christ.

They already belong to him. Their all is and they belonging to him will be saved. He comes to save his people from their sins and he will do exactly what the angel says that he's come to do. So we move number four to a prophetic fulfillment, verses 22 and 23. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel which is translated God with us. I see first of all a significant reminder concerning the nature of prophecy. That might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet. Now we recognize this as a quotation from Isaiah 7 14. Quoted almost word for word here, not exactly in every word.

In verse 23, Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son and so forth. Those words were spoken and later written by Isaiah the prophet. So whose words are they?

Some would say well they're Isaiah's words. Who does the angel say these words belong to? The angel says that God's words, the Lord's words, the Lord has spoken through his prophet.

Don't miss that. That's very important. Spoken by the Lord through the prophet, God's chosen messenger. And because they are the words of the Lord, they must be fulfilled and they will be. And because they are the words of a genuine prophet called and chosen by God and utilized by God to communicate his words, they must be fulfilled because every word of a genuine prophet must come to pass or else he is identified correctly as a false prophet. So they must be fulfilled. They are the words of God.

They must be fulfilled. They are the words of a genuine prophet of God. And so this prophecy written 700 years prior to the birth of Christ tells us that a virgin will be with child. This is an example of the New Testament clarifying what to some people seems to be a little cloudy and ambiguous in the Old Testament. Because the word, the Hebrew word in the Old Testament for virgin, behold a virgin shall bear a child, is the Hebrew word alma which can mean what we mean by the word virgin but technically means a young woman or a young maiden and does not in every case have to mean a virgin though it's hard to find an example of the Old Testament where it doesn't mean that. But nevertheless it's just ambiguous enough to give the critics an opportunity to say see this is not requiring a virgin birth.

Well yes it is. How do we know? Because the New Testament Scriptures say so. And in the New Testament when it says a virgin shall conceive the Greek word is parthenos and there's no other use of that word except an actual virgin as we understand that word to mean. In other words, this is one of many occasions where the New Testament clarifies and helps us to interpret accurately what is spoken in the Old Testament. The Scriptures all go together.

That's all God's word and it's an unfolding revelation and it's progressive. And there are some things that may not be completely clear in the Old Testament but if we will allow the New Testament to help us understand the Old Testament then we'll be more likely to understand the Old Testament aright than if we interpret the Old Testament standing on its own. And then when we get into the New Testament and can't make things fit very well we just sort of set things aside. We put them in different categories so that we don't have to try to harmonize some of these things that don't go together very well.

I'd say that's the wrong way to go about it. Allow the New Testament to interpret the Old. Allow the New Testament clarity of Parthenos to make clear in what way the word Alma is used in Isaiah's prophecy. There are other indications as well. What kind of a sign? The Lord himself shall give you a sign. What kind of a sign is it if a young married woman or young woman has a child? That's not much of a sign.

It happens all the time. What about naming him Immanuel? Do you know that you can scan the Old Testament from front to back and all the genealogies, the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of names that were given to people in the Old Testament and you will not find anybody who's called Immanuel? That doesn't speak about the king's son or grandson or some other young woman in Jewish society in Isaiah's day who's going to get pregnant and have a son. This tells us what that means. If you have trouble figuring it out, just look at the New Testament. It tells us what it means.

There is clarity here. And the son shall be called Immanuel, God with us. And yet the angel told Joseph to call the child Jesus. Ah, now there's something we can make a contradiction out of.

Well, maybe not. What did Jehovah mean? Or what did Jesus mean? Jehovah is salvation or Jehovah saves.

Wow, now you see. This isn't Jehovah in heaven saving through the instrumentality of this child. This is Jehovah is the child. Jehovah saves. Jesus saves. Jesus saves his people from their sins. You can see that this nails the meaning of the word Immanuel and clarifies it further by what we're told in Matthew. Which brings us finally to an exemplary obedience when Joseph received this information.

Verse 24, then Joseph being aroused from sleep did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn son and he called his name Jesus. Immediate obedience. He woke up and took his wife. Sounds like he did it the very same day.

Bang, bang. Ended the betrothal period. Began the actual marriage. Took her into his home. Took her under his protection. Took her under his full responsibility and liability.

She is his wife and he's going to take full responsibility for her. It is a faithful obedience, an immediate obedience. But it is also, we're glad to see, a persevering obedience. He wasn't one of these kind of people who obeyed today and then lost his desire for obedience. But no, his obedience goes on and on and on and on. He took Mary his wife and he kept her a virgin. That's going to take several months.

Probably not an easy thing to do. He'd been waiting for this marriage for a long time. Looking for the day when she would be brought into his household and when they could begin normal marriage relationships and now he takes her into his household but he's going to keep her a virgin until her child is born because he knew it was the right thing to do. Persevering obedience. Self-control. He's not the victim of helpless, strong urges that must be fulfilled. As so many people in our day think that if they have a desire it has to be acted upon. If they have an urge it has to be fulfilled.

If they have a feeling it has to be pursued. Not if you're godly. Not if you're a righteous man like Joseph.

And he's an example to all of us. And we all need, by the help and grace of God, to exercise self-control over our emotions. Our emotions don't drive us. We decide what direction we shall go with or without our emotional consent. We'll do what's right regardless. We will do what's right regardless of what other desires and urgings we have.

Why? Because it's the right thing to do. We exercise self-control. We wait till marriage.

That's almost unheard of in our day and time. But young people, if you're a Christian that wants to please the Lord, you're going to wait till marriage before you have sex because that's what God says to do. You will control your desires and you will follow God's plan.

Your obedience will be immediate and your obedience will be persevering. He knew her not until she gave birth to a son. Mary's virginity clearly is not perpetual as the Roman Catholic Church teaches. He kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son. And then marriage relationships followed in the normal manner following the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, God blessed that marriage union with, we know of, at least four sons and no less than two daughters that we are aware of in Scripture. Mary gave birth at least seven times, the first time from a virgin conception and six times by her relationship with her husband Joseph.

But Joseph took her unto himself and kept her a virgin until the child was born and then he took the responsibility of the father and now owned this child as his legally adopted son when he named him Jesus. And everyone recognized the significance of that act. What an exemplary faith Joseph sets before us. May we follow in his tracks.

Oh, there's so many things in this account. It should stir us up to greater faith in the wisdom and power of God. What a God we serve. What a God has written the Scriptures.

What a God has done these things. Let us believe him. It should give us a greater commitment to the Word of God, the written Word of God. See how completely the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled down to the minutest detail. And that's what's true of that one particular little prophecy, great big prophecy that's found in a few words is true of the whole Bible.

You can believe it all. You can stake your soul upon it. It should drive us to saving faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. God came. Jehovah came. God with us in the body of a little baby who grew up with a sinless life and died a vicarious death upon the cross and rose again bodily from the grave and ascended back to heaven where he rules this universe upon the throne of God for he is God and those who trust in him have all their sins forgiven. All washed away.

All cleansed. This passage should prompt us to be obedient to the instructions of God promptly and perseveringly to honor the one who gave us life, to honor the one who gave us eternal life, to honor the one who gave us his Son. Shall we pray? Well, Lord God, what an amazing account, what amazing truth. Help us, O Lord, to embrace it to the saving of our soul and help us, O Lord, to proclaim it to the world beyond that others may know and by the work of your Spirit may come to Christ to have life everlasting as we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-13 11:02:40 / 2023-07-13 11:18:15 / 16

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