He Will Save His People from Their Sin

December 6, 2015   Matthew 1:18 – 25   He Will Save from Sin

      Dr. John McArthur, in his book The Miracle of Christmas, tells an interesting story about the confusion and error which abound at Christmastime.   A little girl came home from Sunday school triumphantly waving a paper. “Mommy!” she said, “My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!”   The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture. “This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?” the mother gently asked.   “It’s the flight into Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture’s meaning was not immediately obvious.   “Oh,” the mother said cautiously. “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front?”  “That’s Pontius, the Pilot,” the girl said, now visibly impatient. “I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby” the mother volunteered. Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?”  The little girl sighed. “Can’t you tell? That’s Round John Virgin!” 

    That is really cute but it for a lot of folks today that little girl knows a lot more about Christmas than they do.  There is a lot of joy in the story of Christmas.  I guess over the years it has brought a lot of joy to people also.  It used to be about the only time I could get toys as a child.  We were poor and we used to get up early to get those presents.  There is a lot of joy in the scriptures also about the birth of Jesus.  Mary is visited by the angel in Luke 1 and told you are highly favored.   The lord is with you.  Thos that walk with the Lord are highly favored.  Mary you are going to have a child and you will call him Jesus.  He will be great and He will be called the son of the most high God.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and his kingdom will never end.  Mary wonders how that can happen because she was a virgin.  The most high will over shadow you.  Mary says I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you said. 

    Mary goes to visit Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting her baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  That is amazing.   Mary’s presence was such that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Your life and my life speaks.   Then Mary is full of joy and praises God and sings.  After John the Baptist is born Zachariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesy.  The angels appear to the shepherds out in the fields at night and announce we bring good news of great joy.  Then Simeon is promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he has seen the Lord Christ. 

    But not everything is all joy.  As we pick up the story in Matthew we see that Joseph is troubled.   Mary who Joseph is espoused to is pregnant and they had not been together.  Joseph loves her but it looks like she has been unfaithful.  Joseph is a righteous man and does not want to shame her or expose her.  Joseph finds himself in a real situation.  They are engaged but they have not consummated their relationship.  I suspect that Joseph labored over that.  What am I going to do?  I would believe that Mary told him about the encounter with the angel of the Lord.  That probably did not resolve all of the questions in his mind.  What am I going to do?  It is not easy for us to wrap our arms around the story either. 

   How could the creator God who made everything even Mary become a tiny little sperm and impregnate her?   The story is amazing and we know it is true by faith.  God becomes a baby.  Think about the DNA that was in that tiny sperm that went into Mary’s Body.   That is amazing.  Did all of Jesus DNA come from the father or did some come from Mary?   I do not know.   Joseph becomes his dad legally by man’s standards.  By God’s standards and Satan’s standards Jesus is legally the Father God’s son and at the same time Jesus is equal to the Father.  This child had a different set of DNA than any other person.  Jesus had a very amazing set of DNA.   Perhaps even greater was the fact that Jesus did not have a sin nature.  He was not born in sin.  I guess you could say his dad was Joseph but his father was God. 

    Joseph struggles and labors with what to do.  I think Joseph labors to understand what really happened.  We often struggle with some tough things in life.  God has all the answers.  The angel of the lord appears to Joseph in a dream.  Take Mary home to be your wife.  What she has conceived has come from the Holy Spirit.   Well that is good news!!  She will deliver a son and you will name him Jesus.  Why is his name Jesus?   He will save his people from their sins.   Isn’t that word save a great word?  We like to save things.  Have you ever lost something valuable?   Did you ever lose a document in the computer?  That little save button on the computer is so important.   His name is Jesus because he will save his people from their sin.  We like to be saved or safe from our enemies.  Man has a couple of big enemies.   In spite of what our culture says today sin is a big problem. 

   One issue with sin is that it separates us from God.  Romans tell us that those who are in the flesh cannot please God.   Corinthians tells us that Christ came to reconcile us to God.  Jesus said he is the only way to God. Man could not fix his relationship with God.  We cannot work and pay for our sin.  We cannot in any way make God our debtor.  We cannot earn heaven.  Do you think we can earn his favor?   We need to walk in his spirit and trust him.   But God loves us and Jesus came to us.  God wants to be involved in our life.

     I like what Max Lucado writes in Gentle Thunder.    God loves us.   God is crazy about you so God sent Jesus.  There are many reasons God saves you: to bring glory to himself, to appease his justice, to demonstrate his sovereignty. But one of the sweetest reasons God saved you is because he is fond of you. He likes having you around. He thinks you are the best thing to come down the pike in quite a while.  If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart. And the Christmas gift he sent you in Bethlehem?   Face it, friend. He’s crazy about you!   A lot of folks reject God’s love.  Most people miss out on the true meaning of Christmas.  God is crazy about us and that is the good news of Christmas.  God sent his son to die for us to save us from our sins.  That is good news of Christmas.  It is good news for the one who is trapped in sin that they cannot break free from.  It is good news for those that want to get back into relationship with their family because sin has separated them. 

    One reason sin is a problem for man is that death came by sin.  Romans 5:12 therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.  Death came by sin.  The whole world is marked by graves.  I live in rural Northwood and about a city block east of my property is a cemetery and there is one on my road a couple city blocks west of me.  When we get to heaven there will be no more sin and in heaven no more death.  There are big issues today as the result of sin.  Think of the cost today in the United States for stealing.   Think of the cost today for those that cheat on their income tax.  Think of the cost today of illegal use of drugs.  There is the cost financially but the biggest cost is the destruction of lives not only the person using the drugs but the family.   We are seeing the results of that in new ways this year in New Hampshire.  There is aobut 1 death a day in Manchester because of drug over dose. 

    The bible is plain about the cost of sin.  Jesus said those that sin are the slaves to sin.  People can become hopelessly enslaved to sin.  Sin traps people and holds on to people.   People become slaves to their own desires.   People can be slaves to their own self centeredness.  Sin is ugly.  Sin holds us and we cannot escape in our own power.  Many people are at the mercy of sin and powerless to fight it.  I suspect those that take drugs to the point that they lose their life are at the mercy of sin.  We need to love those folks because God loves them.

    When we receive Jesus God’s spirit in our life we gain a new power.  We can say no to sin.  We are set free.  We do not have to live in bondage to sin any longer.  Are you a slave to sin?   I think it would be very hard for me to say no to ice cream for a month.  That smacks of slavery an addiction.  How are we doing in the area of sexual thoughts?  I think all of us have ground to gain.     If there is something you have to have every day it may be a statement of something that is not good.  We can break out of our selfishness.  

    Share Maria Durso testimony

 The spirit of God lives in us.  Jesus came to save his people from their sin.  What a great savior.  God offers us a great salvation.  It is good news.  The gospel is good news.   Jesus is good news.  It is the greatest story ever told.   A person who is a slave can be free in Jesus. They can be free inside.  They can have a good attitude.  They can have joy and blessings beyond belief in this life and in eternity even if they are slaves to another human being.