November 2019  
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Jesus: The Promise Fulfilled
Matthew 1:18-25
The greatest story ever told is the story of Jesus. What a wonderful Child is Jesus!   
He is the child of Promise. Last week, we looked at Jesus, the Promise Foretold from the pen of Isaiah. All the way back in the Garden of Eden, God announced the promise of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, we are looking at Jesus-The Promise Fulfilled. 
Notice our text and see 3 marvelous truths about His birth. 
First of all, we see:
1. The MYSTERY of His Birth!
verse 18
As you consider the unusual means of Christ's birth, there are a couple of things which make it a great mystery.
For one thing, God chose to use an ordinary place. 
The old prophet Micah, in chapter 5: 2 said, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
The name "Bethlehem" literally means, "House of Bread." It literally speaks of a city of great renown, respect or reputation. And yet, Bethlehem was a common town filled with common people. But, this was the city which God had ordained for Christ to be born.
Now Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, but the prophecy given was for Christ to be born in Bethlehem. How did they manage to get to Bethlehem? 
God ordained for a decree to be issued, by the Roman emperor, and for a census to be taken, which included the province of Judea. This demanded that Joseph, being of the lineage of David, go to Bethlehem to be enrolled. Thus, God slipped His hand into the glove of history, and arrange for Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem.
And in Luke 2: 4, we read that, "Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:"
By leaving Nazareth and going to Bethlehem, Joseph was fulfilling the prophecy of Micah.
And while they were there, we read in Luke 2: 6, " the days were accomplished that she should be delivered."
God chose an ordinary place to be the birthing ground of an extraordinary Savior. That encourages my heart, because it tells me that we do not have to be listed among the Who's Who of Churches to experience the power of God. 
We do not have to have the biggest buildings and budgets to experience the blessings of God.
God is not, cannot and will not be limited to ordinary places. We can be just ordinary people, in an ordinary place and experience a glorious visit from God. 
It's not about the place, it's all about the person, presence and power of the Lord Jesus. You let Jesus get in a place, and suddenly an ordinary place becomes an extraordinary place. It is God that will make the difference in any place.
What a mystery that God chose an ordinary place. 
He also chose to use an ordinary person.
We read in our text of the earthly mother of the Lord Jesus. Her name is Mary. Little is known, or recorded of Mary's personal history. Luke 3 records her genealogy, and we read that she was of the tribe of Judah, and the lineage of David. 
But, outside of that, when we meet Mary she was but a village maiden, a little peasant girl. She did not hold some great position in life. She did not appear to have a person of great wealth and means. She was just a simple, common, ordinary person.
But, the mystery is that God chosen an ordinary place and an ordinary person to accomplish extraordinary things. Why? Because God is not limited by ordinary places or ordinary people.
I believe the reason God chose to work with an ordinary place, and an ordinary person is so that man could not take any credit for what God would do.
God can, and will use any place, any person, or any procedure to accomplish His will. Someone says, "But, pastor, I'm not a gifted, talented, educated individual.” My response is, "Excellent! You are a perfect candidate to be used of God." 
Remember that:
Noah was a drunk;
Abraham was too old;
Isaac was a daydreamer;
Jacob was a liar;
Leah was ugly;
Joseph was abused;
Moses stuttered;
Gideon was afraid;
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer;
Rahab was a prostitute;
Jeremiah was too young;
David was a murderous adulterer;
Elijah was suicidal;
Isaiah preached naked;
Jonah was a runaway;
Naomi was a widow;
Job filed bankruptcy;
Peter denied Christ;
The disciples fell asleep praying;
Martha was a worry-wart;
The Samaritan woman made Elizabeth Taylor look like a Girl Scout
Zacchaeus was too small;
Paul was too religious;
Timothy had an ulcer;
Lazarus was dead.
And look what God did with their lives. The Bible is filled with ordinary places and ordinary people who used of God to accomplish extraordinary things. 
Such is the case with the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a mystery to behold. 
Secondly, I want you to notice:
2. The MIRACLE of His Birth!
Let me show you why the birth of Christ was so miraculous. 
First of all, it was because of a natural arrangement.
We read in verse 18 that, "his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
The word "espoused" literally means, "To woo," and it was used to speak of 'wooing a woman, or asking for her hand in marriage."
According to Jewish customs, there were 3 stages in a normal Jewish marriage. The first step was the engagement. This was usually made through the parents, many times while the couple was only children.
The next stage was the betrothal or espousal. This was known as the "ratification of the engagement." 
Once the period of espousal began, it was legally binding on both parties.
The espousal lasted for one year, during which time the groom would go away to make provisions for his bride. At the end of the year, he would come back for her.
When this happens, the third and final stage known as the wedding proper took place. It was here where the vows were exchanged and the marriage was consummated. It took place at the end of the year of espousal, or betrothal.
But, notice what God did. 
In spite of a natural arrangement, God stepped in and brought about a supernatural accomplishment
Mary was "espoused to Joseph." In other words, Mary and Joseph were involved in the 2nd stage of the wedding procedure. They were betrothed and legally engaged to one another.
But, here is where it gets interesting. We read in verse 18, "before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." 
Then, we read in verse 25 that Joseph, "knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son."
The word "knew" speaks of intimate knowledge. We studied that recently in regard to the eternal security of the believer. The reference carries a sexual connotation. 
If I could put it bluntly, "Mary and Joseph did not have a sexual relationship until after the birth of Jesus."
And yet, she comes up pregnant. Needless to say, such news of Mary's pregnancy would have come as a total shock to the heart of Joseph. 
Questions filled his mind like, "Has Mary been unfaithful? Has she been with another man? Has she broken the covenant of betrothal?" “Has she been assaulted?”
That is why the angel of the Lord fills Joseph in on the news in verse 20, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
In other words, Joseph did not have to worry about Mary's virginity, because this was not a human conception, but a Heavenly conception. This pregnancy was not natural, but supernatural. The seed of Christ had been conceived in the virgin womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost.
Someone might say that it is absolutely impossible for a virgin to conceive and give birth to a child. And they would be absolutely correct. It is impossible from a human standpoint.
But, I remind you that the first man got here without a man or a woman; therefore, it would be no problem for God to get a man here with JUST A WOMAN! That is a part of the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ!
God can use anything He wants to! He can use a widow woman to supply the preacher’s needs; If He chooses, He can fly in resources on the wings of a raven. He can use a lad with 5 loaves and 2 fishes; He can put a coin in a fishes mouth, and have it jump in the net. 
God cannot, and will not be squeezed into the ordinary. He is not limited to ordinary places. He is not limited to ordinary people. And He is not limited to ordinary procedures.
He worked through a natural arrangement to produce a supernatural accomplishment. He chose to use a little, virgin girl, who had never been with a man, as the vehicle to bring Christ into the world.
It’s a part of the mystery of His birth and the miracle of His birth; but don’t miss:
3. The MESSAGE of His Birth! 
The mystery and miracle of Christ's birth are wonderful, but the most amazing aspect is the message of His birth.
For one thing we learn that Jesus was the PROMISED Savior
The angel of the Lord has just informed Joseph of the Sovereign plan, program and purpose of God. 
verses 22-23
In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just 8 prophecies regarding Christ.
Now bear in mind there are 100’s of prophecies about Jesus, but just for figuring sake, let’s deal only with 8. 
Stoner says that the chance that any man might have fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (One hundred quadrillion).
Stoner suggested that we take 10 to the 17th silver dollars, and mark one of them with an x. Now let’s lay them on the face of Texas; they will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up that one marked silver dollar.
What chance would he have of getting the right one?
Stoner concludes, "Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom."
Yet, we read that God chose an ordinary place, and an ordinary person "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet."
In other words, Jesus was the promise of God fulfilled. 
Way back in the Garden of Eden, God gave a promise of hope that the "seed" of the woman would "bruise" the "head" of Satan. Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. 
Abraham foretold that "God will provide Himself a Lamb." Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. 
Isaiah foretold that "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. 
Jeremiah foretold of a "Righteous Branch" from the seed of David. Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. 
Micah foretold of a "ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting." Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. 
Back within the ions of eternity past God originated the promise of that "a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel." Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise.
But, finally notice how the promised Savior became the PROVIDED Savior
We read in verse 25 that Joseph called his name JESUS." Of all the names Mary and Joseph could have given their newborn baby, they chose the name Jesus.
Why? The answer is found in verse 21, " for he shall save his people from their sins." The word "save" is the idea of saving from disease and all its effects.
What was the disease? The disease is called SIN. What are the effects? The effects of sin are helplessness, hopelessness, defilement, depravity, grief and guilt.
And, ultimately, an eternity spent apart from God in a place called hell.
But, He was given the name Jesus because He would be the only One who could "save" us from the disease of sin and all its effects. He, who was the promised Savior, stepped out of the pages of eternity into history into prophecy, to become the provided Savior.
I don’t know what you see when you look in the manger, but if you will have any hope for eternal life, you must see a savior. 
Is it any wonder then that "God also hath highly exalted Him and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
Jesus, Jesus,
Oh what a wonderful child.
Jesus, Jesus,
So lowly, meek and mild.
New life, new hope, new joy He brings,
Wont' you listen to the angels sing.
Glory! Glory! Glory!
To the newborn King.
Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! He is the promise fulfilled!
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