Online Worship for Trinity Fourteen — Sunday September 13, 2020
Sermon for Trinity Fourteen – Sunday September 13, 2020
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
Matthew 1:18–25 (NKJV)
18 Now 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. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 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.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who is the 2nd Adam who was born of God;
Who is the only-begotten Son of the Living God;
The One Savior for sinners, Dear Fellow Redeemed –
We are all the same. There are currently about 7.8 Billion human beings living on the face of the earth, and in certain respects we are all the same. We all need certain things to live. We need oxygen to breathe, food and water, clothing, shelter and protection. The importance of these necessities may vary depending upon the climate in which we live.
We are, at the same time, all different. We have different skin tones. We have different social circles and different friends. We have different strengths and weaknesses. We like different foods. We have different hobbies. We have different fashion senses. It’s ok, we don’t all have to be the same to be declared ‘normal.’
But almost everyone has an inborn desire to be considered…normal. It can be considered abnormal to be different. The truth is, being ‘normal’ isn’t very often a good thing. If Jesus’ birth and entrance into the human race had been ‘normal’ then He could not have been the Savior or have completed the extraordinary work given to Him.
Jesus birth was far from normal…of necessity.
The Gospel of Matthew relates to us briefly how the Son of God entered the Human Race. The birth of the Savior, the entrance of the Christ into the human race wasn’t just different, it was truly unique, far from normal, not for some shallow reason, but of necessity.
May God the Holy Spirit guide and teach us through these words to confess with all certainty that Jesus, the Christ, was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, understanding what this means for us. Amen.
18 Now 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.
Things that were once considered ‘normal’ have in our day and age come to be under attack. What things, you ask? Well, let me offer two examples – marriage and gender.
Marriage -- It was accepted not so long ago by our society that marriage was by definition the union of a man and a woman. This definition of marriage is now considered biased and outdated by many (but it isn’t).
Gender – It was also accepted not so long ago that there were two genders, male and female. This scientific biological reality is now being dismissed by some who believe or feel they are a different gender than their biological gender.
While there have been some advances in ‘reproductive science,’ we understand that human conception requires something from a man (sperm) and something from a woman (ovum). So far as I know, no one today disputes this biological necessity. While many in our society today believe that this may occur between any male and female for nearly any reason; our Creator has declared that sex and reproduction belong within the bounds of marriage, the marriage of a man and a woman.
The Gospel of Matthew reports that a man named Joseph and a woman named Mary were betrothed. In other words, they had each promised to marry the other. In the world in which they lived; betrothal was more than what we today call engagement. It involved a public promise to be married, but it didn’t involve living under the same roof or sleeping together…neither should it today. After being betrothed, Mary lived at home until Joseph would one day appear at the door to take her to his own home.
However, before they ‘came together’ that is to live under the same roof as man and wife, Mary was found to be pregnant. I know what you are thinking, so far this doesn’t seem any different from what routinely happens today.
This is where it is far from normal. The living infant growing inside the body of Mary was not the result of her and Joseph’s love, but a conception miracle worked by the Holy Spirit. The son to be born of Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit…of necessity.
Why was this necessary?
Jesus had to be human to be subject to God’s Law. He was God’s choice to save Humanity and so He had to be flesh and blood like us, born of a woman, to take our place and obediently fulfill God’s demands of perfection, in His Law.
So, it is written of Him (Galatians 4:4-5):
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Jesus had to be human, like us, but he couldn’t be a sinful human being like us or he couldn’t be the Savior of Humanity.
If the child Jesus had merely been the result of Mary and Joseph’s love, then he would also have been a sinful human being. This is also a spiritual and biological imperative, even if our world dismisses it. A sinful father and a sinful mother can only produce a sinful child. It is impossible for a sinful human being to make atonement for another.
For God has declared of sinful humankind (Psalm 49:7-8a):
“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him For the redemption of their souls is costly…”
Therefore, in this one (unique) case, far from normal of necessity, God suspended the usual process of conception and the Holy Spirit placed the embryo of the eternal son into the womb of the Virgin Mary. He thus became fully human; but conceived by the Holy Spirit and thus without sin. He became fully human, born of Mary; but was also, fully God from eternity. He is the one of a kind, God-man.
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.
The conception of a child isn’t normally a complete shock to the parents…whether truly planned for or not. Pregnancy may be a surprise to a degree, but not usually a complete shock!
It was far from normal with Mary. She was preparing for the day when her husband Joseph would come and take her to his own home to begin their life together when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her unexpectedly to tell her that she was having a child…without Joseph or any other man.
Mary’s pregnancy was certainly a shock to Joseph. He could only assume (humanly speaking) that Mary had been unfaithful to Him. He could either make the matter public and have her declared an adulterer and shunned or he could break the marriage quietly, without bringing shame upon her. He was planning to do the latter, when the LORD God sent an angel to comfort his heart and set his godly resolve.
What her son would accomplish was also far from normal. For the Angel revealed to Joseph in his miraculous dream:
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS,for He will save His people from their sins.”
Normally when a child is to be born, parents decide carefully what they will name the child. We name our children after our parents or grandparents; or even famous people. We might not name them after family, but decide on unique names. Parents usually name their children. Parents also have high hopes for their children.
It was far from normal with the child conceived in Mary. God chose the name to be given Him in advance, and revealed it to both to Mary and to Joseph in advance. The name they were to give the child was a fairly common name. It was the name given to an Israelite Hero. The name in the Hebrew language was Joshua; in the Greek it was ‘Jeshua’ or ‘Jesus’. It wasn’t chosen because of the way it sounded or because of an OT General, but because it indicates the reason for His Coming into flesh and blood – to save. The name Jesus means ‘Jehovah Saves.’
When you hear the name Jesus, remember what it means! Jesus came to save sinners…and you are a sinner. Jesus came to save you from the consequences of your sin, from death and from the Devil your master. The name should always sound sweet to us because it is the name of our deliverer, our brother, our master, our eternal friend.
Jesus, the Christ, came to save humankind from sin and its consequences!
Sadly, that’s not what many of the people of Jesus’ day were looking for in the Messiah. They were mindful of earthly enemies and longed for a Messiah like King David. They wanted the Christ to provide earthly security – which is why they tried to make him king by force after he fed the 5000. They wanted liberation from poverty and oppression; rather than deliverance from sin. Like so many today, they waved off sin as something serious.
Sadly, that’s not the Jesus that some Christian churches are proclaiming today. Instead of pointing to the cross, the purpose of Jesus’ coming, they set out to fix the earth’s injustices. They offer to provide nutritional security and liberation from poverty, promising to make this world a better place. They say little about sin’s solution, the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son.
Some suggest that churches are dying today because of an old, outdated message. They look at the fact that many churches are made up of elderly people, and few young families seem to have a need for Christ. They say that we should change our approach, our message.
If we feed the body but starve souls we encounter; they will be unprepared for Christ’s 2nd Coming. If we stop speaking of Christ, we will not make this world a better place, it will be an even more hopeless world. If we do not proclaim Christ as the one savior of sinners, then the message will be given to someone else to proclaim.
Instead of questioning the task given us by God, let’s get to work. Let’s carry out the tasks given to us by God as Mary’s Joseph once did…
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 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.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
We aren’t told what Joseph thought about all of this; we are told what he did. He did what He was told to do by God, through the Angel. He took Mary as his wife. He raised the miraculous child given to Mary, the Virgin Mary. So was the Word of God given to the Prophet Isaiah fulfilled, and the Son of God entered the human race miraculously and was born to save sinners.
We don’t know what kind of father Joseph turned out to be. We do know what the sinless child that he raised as his own has done. He lived without sin and died to atone for every human sin of all time. He rose again the third day to confirm that we have been pardoned, saved from sin and its consequences.
Jesus birth was far from normal. So was His purpose in life, of necessity, to save us. So it is that we confess:
“He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.”
We also confess: He is my Lord. He is my Savior.
He came to be your Jesus too.