Does God Have All of You?
Christmas has passed, but its message remains. To get one last lesson from this incredible season open with me to Matthew 1.
Let’s meet two teenagers - Joseph and Mary, and consider the fact that God had all of their lives! How does one who God has a complete hold upon all their life respond to some very stressful times? Watch and see!
Look at verses 21 and 23 with me because in those two verses we have presented the greatest truth and the greatest question you will ever be confronted with. First the greatest truth is about salvation.
Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
First, the greatest truth of Christianity is--that the instant of our salvation, when our sins were forgiven instantly by the gracious work of Christ on the cross--we got all of God! The One who saves us is God with us! We have all of God in the person of Christ who dwells in us!
Then comes the greatest question that each of us need to answer this morning–does God have all of me?
As you open to this first book of the New Testament we are looking at the incredible spiritual maturity and responsiveness that God can produce in the life of a teenager. How many of you are teens or have teenagers? Here is what God can do with a teen when He has all of their heart.
It was nearly 2,000 years ago that God spoke to this young, teenaged couple. They had been engaged for marriage since their childhood, by their parents. Mary was by all available data from this historic period somewhere between 14 and 16 years of age, and Joseph was most likely between the ages of 18 and 20.
Their lives up to this historic moment had been exemplary, in fact they were chosen by God because He knew He could count on them. Think about how many right choices Joseph had made at such a young age. He was not perfect, but he had chosen to respond properly to the authority around him—from the heart. He actually was an obedient, law abiding man in God's sight!
In verse 19 Joseph was described by God as “just”. He was righteous as a young man of conviction. He had chosen the path of holding to his Biblical convictions and practicing self-denial. God knew he was pure, had chosen pure habits, and fled sexual sins. Those choices made him just the man God could use at this historic moment. And Mary was the same. She was a woman of the Word. She lived her faith, and considered herself a bond slave for the Lord.
God has captured with His Holy Word a picture that inspires and challenges us. This season of remembering Christ's Birth, join me in looking again at that familiar story of Joseph and Mary and Baby Jesus. But pause with me in God's Word and extract some powerful truths by observing what the Scriptures reveal and imply about this amazing couple who were walking with the Lord.
Joseph is such a powerful lesson to all who will look closely. Joseph was willing to be obedient and obscure! Joseph was willing to obey even if he didn’t understand what God was doing with his life.
Please read the story again in Matthew 1:18-25
How can we apply the story of Joseph and Mary to our lives today? First seven quick lessons from Matthew that outlines the type of choices that please God in the life of a teenager, or anyone for that matter who really wants to let God in to reign in their life. Why don’t you ask the Lord to help you make these choices for Him in your life.
1. Joseph sought the Lord with his problems (Matthew 1.18-20a)
2. Joseph listened to the Lord for His guidance (Matthew 1.20b-23)
3. Joseph obeyed the Lord with his actions (Matthew 1.24-25a)
4. Joseph honored the Lord by his obedience (Matthew 1.25b)
5. Joseph waited on the Lord for His leading (Matthew 2.13-18)
6. Joseph followed the Lord’s directions for his family (Matthew 2.19-21)
7. Joseph led his family in the ways of the Lord (Matthew 2.22-23)
- In the World of the Bible, betrothal signified more than our modern engagement. The marriage was almost always arranged by the families of the bride and groom, often without consulting them. A contract was made and was sealed by payment of the mohar, the dowry or bride price, which was paid by the groom or his family to the bride’s father. The mohar served to compensate the father for wedding expenses and to provide a type of insurance for the bride in the event the groom became dissatisfied and divorced her.
- Look at the wording of Matthew’s account. To us who live in a western culture it all sounds quite confusing. Matthew 1 records that Joseph is betrothed to Mary in 1:18; then he is planning to divorce her in 1:19; and then in a few more words she is called his wife by the angel in 1:20. But the relationships represent normal Jewish marriage procedure, in which there were three steps.
1. Joseph sought the Lord with his problems (Matthew 1.18-20a). Matthew 1:18b “before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”
- Just as the Great Creator God reached down and formed a perfect man named Adam from the Earth, so in similar Omnipotence God reaches down to make a perfect man from Heaven – our Virgin born Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ. “We could no more fathom such a thing than we can fathom God’s creating the universe from nothing, His being one God in three Persons, or His giving an entirely new spiritual nature to those who trust in His Son. Understanding of such things will have to await heaven, when we see our Lord “face to face” and “know fully just as [we] have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12). We accept it by faith”.
- Are you ready to start growing spiritually? Then it is time to take that first step and seek the Lord’s help when you have troubles and problems. Are you seeking Him?
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.