Jesus, the Gift of God’s Hope (Matt 1:18-25)

Jesus, the Gift of God’s Hope (Matt 1:18-25)

Prepared and preached by pastor Steve Rhodes for the Saturday night service at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, December 26, and Sunday, December 27, 2020

They were always waiting for a Savior in the Old Testament. Are you waiting for a Savior? Do you know that you need a Savior?

Watch this clip

Nativity Story: Angel coming to Joseph

Read with me Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from 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 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

My theme today is: Jesus, the gift of God’s hope

  1. 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)
    • Joseph had hope and so do we. Jesus is our hope.
  1. Jesus will save us from our sins.
    • What brings salvation?
    • What, or who, 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. Psalm 51:4: against, you only have I sinned…
    • 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
  2. Jesus will be Immanuel, which means God with us.
    • Do you ever feel alone? I remember being in 6th grade and 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.
    • Fast forward another eleven years. I was serving as a pastor of a church with a childcare and preschool. My office was in the main hallway. There were many days I heard children crying as their parents left them those first few days.
    • There is a fear in being alone, isn’t there?
    • A. W. Tozer shares: Most of the world’s great souls have been lonely.[1]
    • What is it like being alone? We are not alone. We have God with us. Jesus is our hope and He is with us.
    • Neil Strait shares: Loneliness is … spending your days alone with your thoughts, your discouragements, and having no one to share them with. [2]
    • You know that in Christ you can share your thoughts with Jesus anytime you want?
    • Think of how amazing it is that God is with us as Christians. The term is Immanuel and the term for God becoming a man is the “incarnation.” Winston Churchill described Russia as “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” That’s appropriate to describe the Incarnation also.[3]

Made Flesh

After the bright beam of hot annunciation

fused heaven with earth, His searing,

sharply focused light went out for a while,

eclipsed in amniotic gloom.

His cool immensity of splendor, His universal grace,

small folded in a warm, dim, female space,

the Word stern sentenced to be nine months dumb.

Infinity walled in a womb until the next enormity,

the mighty.

After submission to a woman’s pains,

helpless in a barn bare floor,

first tasting bitter earth.

But now I in Him surrender

to the crush and cry of birth.

Because eternity was closeted in time,

He is my open door to forever.

From His imprisonment my freedoms grow, find wings.

Part of His body, I transcend this flesh.

From His sweet silence my mouth sings.

Out of His dark I glow. My life,

as His, slips through death’s mesh times bar,

joins hands with heaven, speaks with stars.


(Luci Shaw, Listen to the Green)[4]

  1. You and I, we are not alone.


Charles Swindoll:

Christmas comes each year to draw people in from the cold.

Like tiny frightened sparrows, shivering in the winter cold, many live their lives on the barren branches of heartbreak, disappointment, and loneliness, lost in thoughts of shame, self-pity, guilt, or failure. One blustery day follows another, and the only company they keep is the fellow-strugglers who land on the same branches, confused and unprotected.

We try so hard to attract them into the warmth. Week after week church bells ring. Choirs sing. Preachers preach. Lighted churches send out their beacon. But nothing seems to bring in those who need warmth the most.

Then, as the year draws to a close, Christmas offers its wonderful message. Immanuel. God with us. He who resided in Heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety. . . .

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever (Revelation 22:5)

[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 354.

[2] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 354.

[3] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 295.

[4] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 296.

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