Journey Through the Book of Matthew: Matthew 1:18

18 Now the birth of Jesus Chris was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

The novel War and Peace starts with, “It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.” Perhaps these were some of the same thoughts running through the mind of both Joseph and Mary. For both, it was the best of times for they were betrothed. Yet the worst of times because Mary finds herself with Child.

Imagine for a moment being somewhere between the age of 13 and perhaps as old as 17. Most Jewish women during the time of Christ where betrothed by age 13 and married before their 16th birthday.

Now imagine being this age and being betrothed to a man that had previously been married. Not only had he been married, but there was children involved as well. (See Matthew 12:46, 47; 13:55; Mark 3:31, 32; Luke 8:19, 20; John 2:12; Acts 1:14; Jude 1; Galatians 1:19) And to make matters more complicated you are pregnant and it isn’t his baby.

The Bible gives us very few details concerning who Joseph is. As we have seen, he is of the lineage of David from the line of David’s son Solomon. God entrusted him to become Father to God’s own son.

Many of us that are fathers and mothers will remember brining home that first bundle of joy from the hospital. The realization of the awesome responsibility hits home the first time the baby begins to cry in the middle of the night. As precious and helpless as our children are when we bring them home from the hospital, and the awesome responsibility we feel, would the God of heaven allow two unproven people to become mother and father to the future king of Israel? Even as young as Mary was could God be taking a chance? No for God chose a man of experience to be the father of His Son, and God could see the integrity and teach ability of Mary’s heart.

God had told through the prophet Isaiah, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. Immanuel, God with us. Oh how sweet the promise. The time had come. The fullness of time had here

Abiding In Christ

Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:22-25 and John 15:1-17; II Chronicles 7:14

Opening Song: “I need Thee Every Hour” #483

Closing Song: “Draw Me Nearer” #306

Introduction: During the 10 days of prayer, we will be praying for the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-25.

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

In the book Desire of ages on page 313 it says Christ longs to see His children reveal their character after his similitude. After his likeness he longs to see his earth children.

In II Chronicles 7:14 God says, “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn form their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Are we not called by Christ’s name? The name Christian means to profess or believe in the teachings of Jesus. So much so that the believer begins to take on the quality of the one he believes in.

The 26th verse of Galatians 5 tell “us to not become conceited, nor provoking one another or in no way envy one another.”

“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face.

When a young couple begin to date, they long to see each other’s face. To look into each other’s eyes and express their hopes, their dreams and what they longing for the future.

God desires the same relationship with us. He desires a people that will humble themselves. A people that will take the time to pray.

As the young couple’s relationship grows their wanting to be around the company of their friends decreases proportionally as their love for each other grows.

God desires the same with us. A people that will put on hold their busy lives. A people that will stop to pray and that long to build a relationship with their creator.

Our young couple falls in love with each other. Marry, have a family and sometime later in life they discover they have taken on many of the characteristics of their partner. They can finish each other sentences. They can anticipate the needs and wants of the other before the words are even spoken.

God desires this same trait to be manifested in us. He desires us to establish a relationship so interwoven with Him that we begin to have the same character traits as Christ has. Christ while on earth and even after returning to heaven showed love and compassion toward fallen mankind. He shows joy over one lost sinner that repents.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. Matthew 5:9. Christ endeavored for all his earth children to be at peace with one another as Christ is at peace with all who faithfully follow him.

Longsuffering: Oh, the injustice Christ endured upon this earth. Yet he never complained. Sure his faith was tested in the garden and who of us wouldn’t feint on the eve of such a trial that he endured. Christ suffers long for his fallen children. Christ patiently endures the wickedness of this earth, so that his righteousness can be vindicated before heaven and the universe.

If Christ can endure all this, can we also not endure the trials set before us each day? And, hasn’t Jesus promised; “Lo I am with you always, even until the end of the age.

Christ showed kindness every day in every way even to those that persecuted Him, he asked that their sins not be held against them. If the king of the universe could show such kindness to those that hated him, can we not do the same for those that despise us?

Christ the faithful witness. Christ faithfully stood the test of temptation. He faithfully showed us what a relationship with His heavenly father and dare I say our heavenly Father can do for us. Christ daily went to a solitary place and prayed to His Father and to our Father. Without the faithfulness of Christ to fully trust in the Father, he would have failed. He faithfully shows us what a relationship with Him should be.

Gentleness: Suffer the little children to come unto me. Kids of all ages loved to sit close to Jesus. His gentleness and longsuffering was not a barrier to people, but became an attraction. Not for self-glorification, but to show us who the Father really is.

Our kindness and gentleness and longsuffering should also attract others to Christ. If we are really truly living a life in harmony with Christ, then every fiber of our being will be to lift Christ up to others.

As Christ showed self-control in everything He did. So we must do the same. If we truly have humbled ourselves, then submitting our will to God should not be a problem.

But the first step in all this is to Abide in Christ.

John 15:4-5 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothings.

A branch that is not part of the vine soon withers and dies. It is only when we are connected, grafted into the vine that the branch can receive the life giving nutrients from the vine.

A branch that is cut off or has broken away from the vine no longer receives those life giving nutrients and water.

The young couple that no longer communicates, no longer talks freely among themselves will not continue to grow and mature as a couple. Their relationship is doomed to wither and die.

So it is with Christ. When we are faithful to communicate with Him on a daily bases. When we no longer tell him our needs, our wants and our concerns, we cut ourselves off from him and his life saving power. As the sap that runs through the vine and branches bring life to the branches, so a daily relationship with Christ and our heavenly father brings lifesaving water and nutrients into our lives.

Matthew 7:20 “By their fruits ye shall know them.” As the Savior declared. All true followers of Christ bear fruit to His glory. Their lives testify that a good work has been wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and their fruit is unto holiness. Their lives are elevated and pure. Right actions are the unmistakable fruit of the true godliness, and those who bear no fruit of this kind reveal that they have no experience in the things of God. They are not in the Vine. Jesus said, Abide in my, and I in you.

Without Christ we cannot subdue a single sin or overcome the smallest temptation. Many need the Spirit of Christ and His power to enlighten their understanding as much as blind Bartimaeus needed his natural sight.

If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and be grafted into the life giving branch, then the vine will bear much fruit. If my people I will turn their face upon Me as a young lover with loving-kindness turns his face upon his bride. Then I will abide in them and they will bear much fruit.

How much do you want Christ to abide in you and you in Christ? Ask God in a special way to give you a deep desire to abide in Him.

Is there anything that would hinder the Holy Spirit from transforming your life? Take those things to God in prayer and surrender them to him.

Because the life giver with the love of a groom toward his bride is wanting to graft you into himself.

Shall we pray.

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