Not Our Plan
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 11 months ago

Not Our Plan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Do you see Mary and Joseph? God's plan is usually a little different than our plan. He accomplishes His plan. Will we trust him?

Jesus. In the beginning was the word, that's Jesus, and he already existed. The word was with God, and the word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. Jesus, Savior, Jesus, mighty God, Jesus, creator of the universe, Jesus, Lord of Lords, King of kings, Jesus, human baby, a hundred percent God, yes, a hundred percent man to nature's one person. Yes, a mystery, certainly a miracle and definitely a gift. The Savior of the world entered into the world. That's what we're celebrating this Christmas season. As a helpless little baby, totally dependent on his parents, and I'm sure he received great motherly love and nurture and care, and I'm sure his dad swallow them up just right, you know, nice and tight, and I'm sure his parents kept them on a great sleep, play, eat, play schedule. And those of you that are parents of newborns know what I'm talking about right and others of you, you you haven't been parents in a while, or maybe ever, and so let's not think about parents for a second. But you all once were a baby. Think back to the moment that you were born, okay, maybe don't do it. That's weird and it's traumatic. Okay, let's fast forward a couple hours later. Still kind of strange. Okay, day two. All right, everyone with me. You're a baby. It's Day two. You had a beautiful night sleep in your wake up, your big eyes open up into the World Day too, and it's like there it is, there it is. And we kind of understand human development, how babies learn and grow and see and all this stuff. But Jesus was God and God was opening his eyes as a baby for the very first time to see the world that he created. Can you imagine that? And then all of the sudden another set of eyes comes into view. It's like, what's that? And they get closer and they get bigger and all of a sudden baby Jesus feels something wet on his forehead and he kind of likes it. But those eyes, they tell a story. They're saying that I'm safe, I'm secure, and a very familiar emotion, I'm loved. Can you imagine being Jesus's parents? What were their names again, Mary and Joseph. Can you imagine the responsibility you are parents to the savior of the world? Good luck. I don't want to mess this up. Can you imagine the awe inspiring worship, like God himself and trusted himself to you to raise me, to be my mom and dad? Can you imagine playing such a vital role in...

...the history of the world, the history of the universe, the history of salvation? You are the parents of the Messiah and I just wonder that maybe Joseph and Mary were still trying to figure out who exactly they were. They're young, most likely, at least Mary for sure, was. They're trying to figure out their identity, what their role in this world is. Maybe they're trying to figure out their genealogy. They don't know. They don't know who they're from their great great grandparents, that you know. They're not quite sure. And they knew growing up in synagogue, reading the Bye, reading their scriptures, that the Messiah was going to come from a very specific bloodline. He had very specific traits. This person was, you know, the Messiah was going to be born of these people. And so Mary and Joseph they get this promise. Mary gets the promise and she's probably wondering, could this be me? Like is my great, great, great, great, great great grandfather David. Really, how do I know that? And Joseph maybe the same questions. And so that's exactly where the Writers of the Gospel of Matthew Start, is he takes us into this moment and he says Jesus is the Messiah. And if you have your Bible, you can turn with me the the very beginning of the New Testament, Matthew Chapter One. And in Matthew Chapter One, verse one, the Very First thing that the Gospel writer of Matthew Matthew Rights as this is a record of the ancestors of Jesus, the Messiah, descendant of David and of Abraham. And then he goes into many verses that you've probably never read, at least all the way through before. Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Sarah, whose mother was Tamar Paris, was the father of hers on, and I'm going to stop because I don't know how to pronounce all those names either and you get the point right. But they're there for a reason. Matthew includes them to start his gospel for a very important reason and he was showing us that, yes, Jesus has all the right but bloodlines to be the Messiah. Mary and Joseph, you are the people that were planned from the very beginning of time to be the parents of the Messiah. As Matthew tells us, Jesus and Joseph and Mary or descendants of David, and on Joseph's side he was a descendant of King Solomon and all of the Kings that came after Solomon. And then you keep reading the Bible and you're like, I'm going to read about this Jesus Guy. You know, the Christmas story ends after a couple chapters and then there's a lot of other good stuff. You Read Matthew, you read mark, which is really short, then you read Luke, and Luke starts in a little bit of different place, but it doesn't take too long before you get to Luke, Chapter Three, Verse Twenty Three, where Luke does something very familiar. Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry. Jesus was known as the son of Joseph, and Joseph was the son of Heli and Heli was the son of Mathod than matth that was the son of Levi, and Levi was the son of again, you get the point. And what Luke does is he's again. He's showing us that Jesus, the Messiah, was a real person born to real people who were also descendants of real people. Like this isn't some fairytale story. This is you look back at the Genie Ology and they kept records like nobody else. You go and check it out for yourself. This is true, this is real, and what Luke does is really interesting, is he's not only does he trace it back to David and trace it back to Abraham, these guys that receive promises from God, Luke...

...traces it back all the way to Adam, the very first man. And what's interesting about Luke's genealogy, and what you'll quickly realize, is that it's different than Matthews Genealogy. Like, how is that possible? Well, think about it for a second. Matthews is Joseph's genealogy, Joseph's parents, Joseph's great grandparents. Luke's is Mary's Genealogy, Mary's parents, grandparents, and so Joseph goes back through King Solomon to David, Mary goes up through Nathan, that other son or one of the other sons of David, to David, and so they're doing some things here to show different things. And in the gene theologies you'll find a lot of different interesting people and you'll find a lot of women, which was unique and is unique to first century genealogies. They usually aren't included, but they are in the genealogy of Jesus and in Matthew he gives us different sections. There's fourteen generations, fourteen generations, fourteen generations, and what matthew saying is this isn't an exhaustive list. I'm not here to give you a genealogy book. I'm here to prove to you that Jesus is, yes, the Messiah because he fulfills some of these prophecies, all of the prophecies that relate to who he was born from and all of that good stuff. So Jesus is the Messiah. He was a real person, born to real people, he lived on this earth just like we are. And yes, it's this person, this hundred percent God person, a hundred percent man person, that we worship and we believe that he is our God. And maybe you're approaching this Christmas season with a little bit of fresh questions or a little bit of open heart that hasn't been there before, or a little bit of curiosity that maybe you haven't had in a while, and you're wondering how could all of this be true? How could we worship him? How could this all be real? And I think, if you are doing that in this season that you have some great company with Joseph and Mary, because can you imagine the questions that they have or had? They're the parents of the Messiah. Now what? And Mary? She was probably a teenager. When young women got betrothed, or maybe in our world just think of it as engaged, although it is a little bit different. When they got engaged they were young, between twelve and fourteen. So here is a let's call her a fourteen year old girl that is the center player in this game. You got to think of the questions that she has. God chooses her to be the mother of Jesus. What do we know about Mary? Well, Mary in Luke One thirty nine through fifty six, we read that she traveled from where she was up in Galilee, a little north, she traveled down south, maybe about a hundred miles or so to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and traveling in that time was little bit more difficult than it is now. You couldn't get on airplane or a railroad or a car or whatever else you do. You got to walk, you got to take an animal, something like that, and it was dangerous. Right there's you're away from people, you're traveling through you know, dangerous hillsides and people can hide and all that stuff. But Mary successfully accomplishes this mission, this travel as she is pregnant, and so Mary, of course, you know that's that's pretty cool...

...for her. She responded really positively with faith and with obedience when God appeared to her. We read that in Luke One, thirty five to thirty eight, and after she hears about this news from God, she sings a song and if you've never read Mary's song before, you should. It is deep, it is theologically rich. She knows her scriptures. When she was singing it was it was the words of God coming through her mouth. I mean she was learned growing up reading the Scriptures, but there was nothing special about Mary. She was just a regular lady, young girl. She didn't do anything to earn God's approval or earn God's choice of her. She didn't like have this spotlight shining up to heaven and God was wondering, I wonder, who's going to be the brightest Shining Star for me to pick today. God chose her and God favored her and God gave her this gift, this unmerited favor, this great that wasn't any result of her doing anything special. We don't worship married. She's not holy in her in and of her own being the source of the favor, the source of the grace is from from God and he picks her and it's special. But what about Joseph? What do you know about Joseph? Not much. He was a carpenter. He had to figure out how to respond to Mary when Mary told him in the news that she was pregnant, and he had to figure out how to do this and respond. He wanted to respond in a good way. Then the last time we hear about Joseph was when Jesus was twelve years old and Joseph lost him at the temple and we never heard from Joseph again. So I don't know if there's a coincidence, but that's true. But we hear a lot about Mary. After Jesus was twelve and into Jesus's life, his public ministry from thirty to thirty three ish, we hear a lot about Mary. Mary was at a wedding with Mary. was even all the way at the end when Mary, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, Jesus Calls Out to the Apostle John and says take care of my mom and you would think that if Joseph was alive or there, that Jesus would call out and it just be obvious. You know, you take care of your your wife. So that's why many people believe, and I think it makes sense, that Joseph was probably passed away by the time that Jesus started his public ministry. So we can see him when Jesus was twelve and we don't see him again. And if if Joseph was alive and passed away when Jesus, you know, was in his public ministry, then we probably would read about it. I mean the passing away of your father is a big deal, so you would probably see that. So that's why you think maybe Joseph passed away between when Jesus was twelve and was thirty. So I want us to see Joseph and Mary today. I want you to see how God hands selected them out of everybody in the history of the universe to do something very special. I want us to see that this whole Christmas story is real, like everything in it is real. I want us to see how Joseph and Mary responded like authentically to the news, to the situations that respect that arose. And I want us to look through the noise, through the core, through the lights, through the fog of our world, and see Mary and Joseph Today. Do...

...you see what I see? Mary and Joseph a couple. God reaches into time and chooses them and gives them this new thing and says, trust me, run with it. I want you to think about a time in your life when God gave you something new and said run with it, trust me, and maybe for you it was when you had a baby, your first baby, or maybe another baby, a special baby. They're all special and everyone has a birst story. Right, you ask a mom how was this? Everyone's got a story. You got a story, I know you do. They're special stories. You leave somewhere with a new human being for you to take care of. Wow, right, life changing for many reasons and many could remember being parents of one day olds or one month olds or one year olds. I have two little ones. I remember being parents of newborns. Although it goes by pretty quickly, you forget how your two year old used to, you know, not even be able to talk or walk. But you can think about maybe having a baby. Or maybe you think about you got a new thing, a very important thing. You got your driver's license and now all of a sudden you have such responsibility, don't you? Or maybe it's when you went on your first date or had your first kiss, or maybe it's when you had that amazing wedding celebration and then you realized it was just the beginning of a lifelong of marriage. All of these are moments, moments in time that are the be end of one season and the beginning of another. There's a past and there's a future, and even right now, in this moment, is one of those moments. And not every one of those moments in your life or in my life went according to your plan right. Not every moment in your life fell under the big heading of God's perfect plan for my life, but every moment is a moment to start fresh. Every moment is an opportunity to trust God and walk in faith and walk in freedom. And every moment might not have been according to your plan or even what God would have wanted. But God has a purpose for every one of those moments and God doesn't protect our plan. He accomplishes his. God does not protect our plan, no matter how good we think it is. He accomplishes his. Our Five Year Plan, it might have been over in a minute, but it didn't surprise God. It was not outside of God's plan and our five minute plan. I mean, who's got a five year plan nowadays? Right? Things change in a second. Our five minute plan might not have gone the way that we thought it was going to go, but again it did not surprise God. So let's zoom back in to Mary and Joseph's story. A young couple. They're not married yet. They're like, let's just think about again, engaged in a little different but it's engaged in the Jewish way of thinking about it. And one of the very...

...first things that we read about Joseph and Mary was an event in their life that did not go according to their plan. We read about it in Matthew, Chapter One, verses eighteen through twenty five. This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph, but before the marriage took place she became pregnant. Oh, Oh man, we had so many dreams. We could have been a great couple together, we could have had a great family, we could have had a great house, we could have done all this stuff. But before it all happened, she became pregnant. Now we know that God designed sex to happen between a man and a woman in the context of marriage, and babies are a product of that. And so when it doesn't go according to God's design, when it happens differently, now we wonder. This isn't right. And plus, this whole pregnancy was not culturally acceptable and perhaps it even broke the law. So was this Mary's fault? Who is she with? Right? Matthew tells us she was still a virgin. She was with nobody, to which everyone says that's silly. Pregnant and virgin don't go together, right that that they don't, they don't work. But something different is happening, something special is happening, and Matthew tells us what that is. She but before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. So God, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, made Mary pregnant and they be in her womb. Was Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. And so this is Mary's story. Get it okay? This is Mary's story. She comes to Joseph and says, I have some news for you today. Joseph looks at her. Yes, you probably have an experience like this before in some way, shape or form, but even kind of dramat from dramatic, dram dramaticizing it a little bit. It's hard to say, Joseph, Joseph, I'm pregnant, like imagine, like that moment and the store like it wasn't me, it wasn't it was God. I promise you it was God. Like how do you communicate that? And Joseph responded, reminded again that they were engaged. Was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. He's like, let's just pretend we weren't ever together. Just go off do your thing. He wanted the best for her. He didn't want to shame her, he didn't want to get her publicly in trouble. And it says as he considered this, as he considered his options. And I just wonder for a moment, what are you considering? What are you considering? What decisions do you have to make? Are you trying to decide? Are you staying, are you going? Are you buying, are you selling? Are you going to click that?...

Are you going to move on? Are you going to date? Are you going to marry? What are you considering? And I want you to know that God is with you right now as you are considering this. God is with you as you consider and for Joseph, as he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. Joseph, son of David, the Angel said, do not be afraid to take marry as your wife, for the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit and she will have a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. And all of this occurred to fulfill the Lord's message through His Prophet. Look, the Virgin will conceive a child and she will give birth to a son and they will call him a manual, which means God is with us. So, as you're considering whatever you're considering, an angel might not show up to you and tell you that you're fulfilling thousands of years of prophecy. That would be cool, but we do have God's word and we do have the Holy Spirit living inside of us for everyone who believes. And so are you listening to God and what he has to say about what you are considering? Are you listening to God's guidance about what you are considering? So when Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife, but he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born and Joseph named him Jesus. I love it. He did as the angel of the Lord commanded. He did it. He heard God's voice and he put it into action. He went with it. He even though Mary was pregnant, he still got married to her, wanted to get married to her. And sometimes that obediences is complicated. Right, just hearing from God and doing what he says. It's not always easy, but when we do get it right, it's a beautiful thing. It's a beautiful thing. And so Joseph took Mary, he heard God's voice, he pushed everything else aside and he tried to do what was best. So again, let's let's just acknowledge the very obvious thing here, or element that's going on. Right, a virgin doesn't get pregnant. It doesn't happen. Virgin in the first century, right, doesn't get pregnant. Mean maybe today, if you're trying to figure out technology, they might, they might have something crazy going on. But in the first century there was only one way to have a baby. Everyone knew that. But this is different. It was a miracle, God entering the stage. But why? Why would you do it this way? Like if you'd had it the normal way? Wouldn't that be a better story? Wouldn't that be more believable? Mean, the Virgin Birth, that whole idea just shuts so many people off. But Matthew tells us that it happened this way to fulfill prophecy. He tells us in the verses on the screen just prior to this, in Matthew and Isaiah fourteen, he was quoting. And so people say, well, the vert, the word virgin that Luke uses, that he quotes Isaiah and doesn't have to mean a young girl that didn't have sex, and it doesn't. If you look at the Hebrew word, it just means a young girl. And so what's weird, or what happens sometimes is when we're studying the Bible, we pull certain words, we pull certain verses and phrases...

...out and we look at them and we're like well, we pull them apart, we dig into him, we're trying to understand them, and what sometimes happens, and maybe all the Times happens, and we get ourself in trouble. So when we look at the word virgin and say, well, it doesn't have to mean that she didn't have sex and it just means young girl, we don't believe that Jesus was born of a virgin because Luke seven for or Isaiah Fourteen and Luke two, and Luke's telling the story uses a specific word. That's not why we believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. We believe that Jesus was born of a virgin because Matthew tells us. Read this verse again, Matthew, Chapter One, Verse Twenty Five. He did not have sexual relations with her? How much more clear do you have to get right? But you look at these words and you start wondering. You asking those questions. But Matthew is telling us in the context you always have to look at the context. You got to look at the bigger picture, what the writer is trying to communicate, in the big scope of things, and let what he has to say to find his words and terms. And so here he's very specific. He's saying they did not have sex, and so it had to happen this way. And Mary tells us this or Matthew tells us this. But it also had to happen this way because a regular, everyday human male and a regular everyday human female don't produce the son of God when they have a child. Like it doesn't happen. It can't happen. You don't have a sinless incarnation. But incarnate means God becoming flesh, carnate flesh, incarnation, God becoming flesh. It doesn't happen. But God gave us himself in this special, unique way, one of a kind. In the beginning was the word. In the beginning was Jesus, and in a moment in time he came and dwelt among us. No one else was born of a virgin and every single human being born of earthly fathers and mothers are sinners. So therefore Jesus could not be born that way. He was not a sinner. And so this whole thing about an unexpected pregnancy, even on lawful pregnancy, was just the beginning of the story of the Savior of the world. It must have been crazy for Mary and Joseph. Christmas is a crazy time of the year. Just think about it, the dreams that they were having, the physical changes that they were experiencing, the cultural norms that were being shattered, things happening outside of God's normal design. And yet God was not protecting their plan, he was accomplishing his and all throughout the story Mary and Joseph See this being true. And if it's true for them, I think it's true for us as well. So that's the beginning of Mary and Joseph Story. The next thing that happens as well. They had to travel to Bethlehem Luke Chapter two, verses one through five. At that time, the Roman Emperor Augustus decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. Oh great, just what I was looking forward to. This was the first senses taken when Curinius was the governor of Syria. Yeah, they're going to raise my taxes, and all return to their own ancestral towns to register for this sentence. You think someone knocked on on your door, is invasive or calling you. You had to travel, you had to get somewhere and move like it's like, all right, you got to go,...

...go to go take a sensus, we're going to raise your taxes, you got to go travel to North Carolina. I mean, nobody wants to do that. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea Davis, ancient whom he traveled there from the village of Nazareth and Galilee, and he took with him married to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And when they got to Bethlehem, they didn't even make call a head seating, call ahead arrangements. There was no room for them. In the end, God was not protecting their plan, he was accomplishing his purpose. The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem House of bread, the bread of life, being born in Bethlehem and after Jesus was born, through all the chaos after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph have to run away to Egypt. Matthew Chapter Two, verses thirteen and four fifteen, after the wise men were gone and Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dreams. This is years later. Jesus, probably a toddler older, get up and fleet to Egypt with a child and his mother, and Angel said stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. And that night Joseph left for Egypt with the Child and Mary and his mother and they stayed there until Herod's death. Go to Egypt and stay there for an indefinite period of time. Crazy. This was not in the plan, but we're going to talk more about this whole idea on the Sunday after Christmas. So the next event that we see in Mary and Joseph's life was what I referenced earlier. Jesus was at the temple. He was twelve years old, because every year Jesus parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival and when Mary was twelve years or when Jesus was twelve years old. They attended the festival as usual and after the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn't miss him at first because they assumed he was among the other travelers, and when he didn't show up that evening, they started looking for him among the relatives and friends. I've read this before. I know this. I did not remember this particular detail that I'm about to click for you. When they couldn't find him, they went back to Jerusalem and search for him there. How many days later? Three days later, they finally discovered him in the temple. How many days, tell the person next to you. Three days. The Messiah, the Savior of the world, was missing for three days. Parents nowadays, I don't know if I'm included in an this, gets scared when our kids are missing for three seconds, three days, the Messiah is who knows. Where did we just screw this up? God, out of everyone in the history of the world, chose us to be the parents and we blew it. He's gone, but Jesus was about his father's business. This is what Jesus said when they found him. Do you not know that I must be about my father's business? Our Father's business is going to get accomplished, our heavenly...

...father's business is going to get accomplished, and we get to live for him. We get to live for that glorious plan and that glorious purpose. Like we can start today to trust in Jesus. We can regret yesterday, but that is forgiven and today is a new start. You didn't mess up God's plan, you didn't ruin it all. You are right where God wants you to be, and now you have the opportunity to make a decision to trust and follow him, one step at a time, and for each of us it probably looks a little different. But are you willing to sacrifice your plan for your life or your next step for your life and trust and follow God's next step for your life? Mary and Joseph Wor and, I hope and pray that you are and that I am as well. Let me pray for us, Lord Jesus. Christmas is a is a beautiful time of the year for many, many reasons, and we think about the beauty of it all and the tradition and the history and the the worship that's involved in it, and I think sometimes, God, we forget the chaos that this whole story is, the fact that the creator of the universe comes as a human baby. That doesn't happen every day, and when it happens that I mean Mary and Joseph, the parents of God in the flesh. Questions and questions and wondering and wondering and searching, and I just pray that whatever we're thinking about, whatever we're experiencing in this moment, in this season, that we would just really, really really believe, that we would really just trust and know that we did not mess up God's plan. What we did might have been outside of God's design for our life. What God says is best, but God, you've got a plan and a purpose for us. Even in spite of that, we didn't surprise you. You love us and you invite us, in moments like these, to say yes, I trust you, I follow you, and I I might not know exactly what that means, I might not have all the details, I might mess it up again in the future, but right here, in this moment, I'm taking a step and I'm saying yes, I trust you. Jesus, it's not about my plan, it's about yours, and help me to live for it. So, God, help us to do that today, in Jesus name, Amen.

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