Sunday, December 16, 2018: The Story of Christmas (Matt 1:18-25)
I am looking forward to the children’s Christmas play in a few moments. After all, Jesus did come as a baby. God became one of us, not as an adult, but as a baby. But there are lessons here for adults as well. I want to talk for a few minutes about the Christmas story.
Christmas is coming and is almost here. How are you doing? Are you ready?
A lady had a circle of friends for whom she really wanted to buy Christmas presents. Time slipped away and it was so busy at work for her she just wasn’t able to get to the store to purchase those gifts. Time was running out. So not too many days before Christmas she decided to give up on the gift idea and just buy everybody the same beautiful Christmas card. She went to the local gift store and hurriedly went through the now picked over stack of cards and found a box of fifty, just exactly what she wanted. She didn’t take time to read the message, she just noticed a beautiful cover on it and there was gold around it and a floral appearance on the front of the card and she thought, That’s perfect. So she signed all of them, “With all my love.”
As New Year’s came and she had time to go back to two or three cards she didn’t send from that stack, she was shocked to read the message inside. It said, in a little rhyme, “This Christmas card is just to say, a little gift is on its way.”
I hope you have not faced that type of experience. Regardless of how ready you are in purchasing gifts and sending out cards, I assure you that you can be ready by knowing Jesus, the true meaning of Christmas.
Let’s read Matthew 1:18-25:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
Watch this clip
Nativity Story: Angel coming to Joseph
My theme today is: Jesus our hope will be born, He saves us and He is with us.
- Jesus will be born.
- They were waiting for a Savior and He was to be born.
- This is an amazing prophesy to Joseph. Here he has just received the news that his fiancé is pregnant and not by him, but now he finds out this baby is the Messiah. Wow!
- Joseph went from gloom to hope.
- What Does Hope Do For Mankind?
- Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest.
- Hope motivates when discouragement comes.
- Hope energizes when the body is tired.
- Hope sweetens while bitterness bites.
- Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
- Hope believes when evidence is eliminated.
- Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
- Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
- Hope endures hardship when no one is caring.
- Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
- Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
- Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
- Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.
- Hope brings the victory when no one is winning. (John Maxwell from Think on These Things)
- What Does Hope Do For Mankind?
- Joseph had hope and so do we. Jesus is our hope.
- Jesus will save us from our sins.
- What brings salvation?
- What are you trusting in?
- Sometimes we think we don’t even need a Savior. Realize that when we mess with salvation we are trifling with the holiness of God. We need salvation because we sinned against a holy, righteous God.
- We need a Savior because of God’s holiness and when we say things such as “Everyone goes to Heaven with or without Jesus, or we say, “there is no hell.” This means that we are messing with the cross, yes, but we are also messing with the holiness of God. We are changing all of Scripture, we are changing the whole Old Testament. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The Bible says that Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). The Bible teaches that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). The Bible says that God will not let the guilty go unpunished (2 Thess 1:8-9). Yet, the Bible teaches that God loves the people of the world (John 3:16). That is a dilemma. God can’t tell a lie or He wouldn’t be God (Numbers 23:19). God doesn’t change His mind (1 Sam 15:29). That is why God sent Jesus. The guilty must go punished. Jesus took our punishment on the cross. The penalty of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.
- Jesus saves.
- Jesus will be Immanuel, which means God with us.
- Do you ever feel alone? I remember being in 6th grade I played football. I was dropped off at a game and my parents drove away and then I thought I needed something and it was too late, my parents were gone. I felt all alone. I can go back a few years earlier. I must have watched children cry when my mom dropped my older brother off at preschool. I thought I wouldn’t do that. I always saw the children get dropped off at preschool and they cried and cried and cried. I remember that fear when my mom dropped me off and I cried as well. Fast forward some 15 years. My parents dropped me off at college in Georgia and drove away and I think we all cried. What is it like being alone? We are not alone. We have God with us.
- Think of how amazing it is that God is with us as Christians.
- You and I, we are not alone.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you committed to Him?
What do you do with the Christmas message?
I’m sure that some of you are visitors and this is your first time here. I am sure that some of you used to attend regularly and you have lost the habit.
Whether you are part of the church or not, my question for you is: Do you Know Jesus as Lord and Savior and are you committed to him?
The Bible uses four verbs to describe the Christian life, they are: Believe, confess, commit and trust. Let me explain:
- The Bible teaches that we must believe in Jesus. We must believe that He is who the Bible says He is. The Bible teaches that He was born of a virgin; He lived a sinless life and died on the cross for our sins and He rose triumphantly over the grave (John 3:16; 14:6; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 5:17 and 21).
- The Bible teaches that we must confess that we are in need of forgiveness. This means that we must confess that we are a sinner in need of a Savior. In other words, we have done wrong things and we need forgiven (Romans 3:23; 6:23 10:9-10). We tell God this.
- The Bible teaches that we must commit to Jesus as Lord and Savior. This means we are not simply fans of Jesus, but instead we are followers of Jesus. Fans stay on the sidelines, but Jesus calls us to be on the field with Him. Jesus told them to count the cost before committing to Him (Luke 14:27-33).
- The Bible teaches that we must trust The belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior is not a casual belief, but a firm trust (1 Timothy 1:15; John 3:16).
Invite the children up
 Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 81.