Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 27 Dec 2015
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was this way (for His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph) before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
Mary was engaged to Joseph. The Bible makes it clear that there is a great difference between engagement and marriage. But things are evil in our day. Some do not keep their engagement vows. Others do not even get engaged but simply live together as if they’re married. Our text says that Mary and Joseph did not come together, visiting each other, while they were engaged.
God created the universe. The Bible says that the earth is the Lord’s. We are on His property. He is the owner. So if the earth is the Lord’s and we’re not living His holy life, we are guilty before the Lord. One of the names of the Lord Jesus is ‘Lord’ or ‘King’. He is highly exalted. He has the whole world in His hands.
We are taught in the ‘Our Father’ prayer to pray that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven (Matt 6:10). Imagine what it will be if we all pray that God’s will be done in us as it is done in heaven. It will be like heaven on earth. In many cases God’s will is not being done. In fact it’s not a reflection of heaven, but rather of Sodom and Gomorrah. Is God’s will being done on earth when people want to kill and murder each other?
The Name Jesus means Saviour, ‘for He will save His people from their sins’ (Matt 1:21). He came to save sinners, us, who have lost our position through sin.
If you steal, you are guilty before the owner of the earth, who said, you shall not steal. Have you taught that to your children? We are not to just teach them the law. That is easy. But Jesus instructed us to teach them to keep whatever He told us (Matt 28:20). Your child isn’t taught the right way unless it keeps what it is taught. It’s not enough just to know it (Matt 7:24). If you claim to know Jesus but your life is not transformed, it is a lie. Meeting with Jesus works a thorough transformation (2Cor 5:17). Jesus changes even the person with loose morals to keep what He has taught us and stop being immoral. It’s not even necessary to testify that you’ve met with Jesus, for your life will radiate that you’ve met with Him. Other people will testify to the fact (Acts 4:13).
In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus went a little distance to pray alone. And He prayed that if it were possible the cup would pass from Him. When He returned He found the disciples fast asleep. While He was praying, His sweat were as it were great drops of Blood (Luke 22:44). What was in the cup that Jesus drank, that caused Him such agony? It was filled with my and your sins. It must have been the most difficult thing for the Holy One to identify with our sin! He drank our filth, our grudges, anger, and irritability. And even the sins that should not be mentioned from the pulpit when children are around.
The Bible tells us to flee youthful lusts (2Tim 2:22). And that’s not just symbolically in your thoughts, but also physically with your body, even as the angel told Joseph to take the mother and Child and flee to Egypt (Matt 2:13). If he didn’t flee literally the Child would have been killed. But he obeyed and fled, and remained there, until he heard that Herod was dead.
Some ask how they will get married if they don’t get to know their future spouse. But you might see a pretty peach of a girl and don’t know that deep inside is a worm. God knows the heart.
If you follow the Lord your children, parents and parents in law will be blessed. But if you forsake Him, your grandchildren will one day speak about your evil ways with sadness.