Joseph's Vision

Visions of Glory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction -

Conversation with Wednesday Youth
What is righteousness, and why is it important?
Righteousness is having a right standing with God - the holy, sovereign, and righteous God who will bring all things to justice before Him.
How can you be righteous in a world where sin and brokenness touch everything. Even if you were able to keep you own life above reproach, which no one born of Adam has been able to do, the sins and failings of others affects our own standing.
Micah 6:8 - “Do Justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God”
But keeping righteousness and mercy together is like holding opposing ends of a magnet together. How can I be righteous before God?

Joseph’s Dilemma

He was betrothed to Mary
Betrothals in Judea - marriages were usually arranged, couples were pledged to one another, when the betrothal began it was more than an engagement, they considered married, husband and wife, but the relationship was not consummated, they did not come together, until after a period of preparation/courting
The only way out of betrothal was divorce
Mary was found to be with child - a scandal
The assumption would have been that she had been unfaithful, violating the betrothal
Joseph was a righteous man
By all accounts, he had lived a good, upright, and moral life. He was free of any public charge. He was righteous, but by all outward signs, Mary was not, and that would reflect upon him.
His options -
Public divorce and shame
It was with his right to bring Mary before the civil magistrate, to be punished according to the law in Deut. 22:23; 24 which requires the person to be brought out to the gate of the city and stoned with stones, which was making a public example indeed; or divorcing her in a very public manner, and thereby expose her to open shame and disgrace - though this was seldom practiced
Quietly sending her away to avoid shame
Being merciful, though just and good, he decided to put her away quietly: to give her a bill of divorce, in a very private manner; according to Deut. 24:1 - “If there is found some indecency within her…”
Mary would have been ruined, but Joseph’s righteousness would have been intact
Joseph’s Dilemma - how can he maintain his own righteousness and still be merciful

A Vision of Glory

The Angel Appears to Joseph saying, “Do not be afraid to take Mary for your wife,” then gives Joseph a vision of the glory of Christ.

That which is conceived is from the Holy Spirit

The Spirit brought Christ to Mary, Jesus was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit It is the Spirit’s work, the Spirit’s glory, to make Jesus known The only way Christ can come to any of us is through the Holy Spirit

He will be named Jesus

Jesus means he will save his people from their sins
Jesus is the Aramaic adaptation of the Hebrew name, Joshua, which means (Yahweh helps)
The other Joshuas:
Joshua, successor to Moses who the people into the promised land - defeating Israel’s enemies
Joshua, Israel’s high priest when the people were returned from Babylon
In Ezra and Nehemiah he’s called Jeshua, and he’s seen in Haggai and Zechariah, leading the restoration of the temple and worship in Jerusalem
Both were associated with great deliverances; but neither had given the rest of full salvation to the people of God. Their work was temporary, pointing to another Joshua would bring full and final salvation
Salvation in Jesus - not from worldly enemies, but from our own sins, and the destruction that they bring to our souls
By his living a sinless life, he perfected the law that Moses put before the people
In his death, he offered the perfect sacrifice that Joshua the high priest could not - making the final atonement for our sins.
In his resurrection, he defeated death and sin, leading us to the promised victory and rest where the first Joshua could not.
By faith in him, we are his people, forgiven, ransomed, and redeemed - saved in Jesus.

He is Immanuel, God with Us

A Vision of Glory - Jesus is the very presence of God with us to save and deliver us
As the righteous judge to those who reject Him
As the merciful savior to those who believe in Him.
Jesus is the Lord and Savior
He will never leave nor forsake us He is with us, always, to the end of the age

Faithful Obedience to God’s Word

How does Joseph find righteous?
How to hold righteousness and mercy together?
He had to sacrifice his hold on his own self-righteousness in order to be faithful to the word of the Lord
“God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s righteousness is not our righteousness.” Fredrick Bruner
Joseph’s self-righteous to divorce Mary was overcome by God’s perfect righteousness in Jesus Christ
A righteousness which came not through the law, but through faith (trusting in, and obeying, God’s revelation in His Word).
Joseph, like us, had to find his righteousness through another, through the righteousness of Jesus
Even in the reproach and shame that it might bring -
Responding to Jesus as Savior and Lord
Wake Up - Joseph was asleep
God acts when we are inactive, asleep. But God’s activity is always followed by immediate, concrete and humble human activity.
Joseph took Mary for his wife, doing all that the angel had told him
God’s grace does not cancel our responsibility, it enables it; grace does not lull us to sleep, it awakens us to obedience.
To repent, turning from your sin, because of the great grace given to you in Jesus
To be active in sharing your faith, telling others of the grace you’ve found, the forgiveness you know, the peace you have in Christ.
To be alert, fighting sin, growing in righteousness and faith, studying the word, maturing in Christ, because you know that Christ is living within you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
To stand firm, rising up as men and women of faith to serve the church and strengthen her, bearing with one another’s weaknesses, and encouraging each other in good works.
With a vision of God’s glory in Christ - conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus our Savior, who is God with us - with such a vision, let us live in the light of His glory!
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