Sermon series on dating teens
The two sets of parents would meet and draw up a formal marriage contract. (21) The angel explains just enough and nothing more.
When the contract was signed, the man and woman were legally “pledged” to each other other. The baby is “from the Holy Spirit” and thus not of man. We are not told precisely how the virginal conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary took place. He was temperate when he could have indulged himself. Men, could we use those same words to describe your life?
Pastor Andy Stanley recently gathered with about 250 singles to answer questions on the topic of love, sex, and dating Attendees were asked to write their questions on cards and turn them into the moderator ahead of time. A recent (August 2015) article in Vanity Fair contains some shocking quotes and vignettes about a website that connects people for the sole purpose of having sex.
The most pointed question of the night came from a middle-aged gentleman.
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His older brothers don’t throw a football around with him in the backyard anymore or take him to Minnesota Twins baseball games or teach him about dating girls. Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? And he’s only guilty of two things: being his father’s favorite son, the ‘apple’ of daddy’s eye, and being a dreamer. Stanford University historian and King scholar, Clayborne Carson, was asked in an interview, “What messages do you think King would want to impress upon Americans today?
I’ve been thinking about that this week, and it’s not easy to decide. Matthew tells Joseph’s story this way: This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. If she did, can you blame him for not believing her? In those days, a man could get a divorce in two ways: First, he could get a public divorce by going before a judge at the gate of the city.(Matthew )What our version calls “pledged to be married,” the older versions call “betrothed.” It refers to an ancient Jewish marriage custom. Second, he could get a private divorce by giving her the papers in the presence of two witnesses. He had every legal and moral right to divorce Mary but he just couldn’t do it. With each passing day, it became more obvious that Mary was pregnant. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (20)To us, this seems strange. God often spoke to people through dreams in the Bible. He couldn’t marry Mary until he was sure it was all right. God met him at the point of his need at exactly the right moment.In those days most marriages were arranged by the parents–with or without the children’s approval. It is entirely to Joseph’s credit that he chose to do it privately and thus spare Mary the humiliation of a public divorce. As one writer put it, there was a “short but tragic struggle between his legal conscience and his love.” He hesitated, waited, thought long and hard. Late at night he lay in bed staring into the blackness, wondering what to do. It was one way he used in those ancient days of communicating to his people. He told Joseph the one thing he most wanted to hear: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” The angel is not finished yet: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.In between those two events we have the whole life of Christ.That’s our focus as we walk “In His Steps”, a book of 47 devotionals for the season of Lent (the period of time leading up to Easter).There are so many fascinating people: Herod–That wicked old toad squatting on the throne of Israel, insanely jealous lest a baby steal his glory. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. That would mean that the whole town would know about Mary’s shame. There is every reason to think that the shepherds were not the old men of tradition but teenagers who were 15 or 16 years old. –His family hometown was Bethlehem in Judea but he lived in Nazareth in Galilee. –He was a religious man, a devout keeper of the Law, a fact we will observe more closely in just a moment. We don’t know the answer for sure, but most writers agree that he was a young man and probably a teenager. I was going to build a little house for us in Nazareth. Abortion was very rare in ancient Israel and Planned Parenthood hadn’t opened up a clinic in Nazareth yet. He was an observant Jew and under the Law he had the right to divorce Mary for unfaithfulness. Nearly all the shepherds in modern Israel are teenagers– many of them girls. Simeon who took the baby Jesus in his arms and blessed his parents. Let me briefly list for you the things we know about Joseph: –His father was Jacob. Jews only did that when they could not afford a lamb. It’s the preferred solution for what people call an “unwanted pregnancy.” Thankfully, Joseph and Mary didn’t have that option. A good man, harried, frustrated to turn away business. The Shepherds–Here’s something you probably didn’t know. Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, sing with us Messiah’s birth.” Unfortunately our hymnal omits that verse, which means that Joseph is left out completely. We know that because when he and Mary presented Jesus in the Temple, they brought a turtledove to sacrifice. A half-million teenage girls take that option every year.This period of betrothal would last up to a year, at the end of which period they were formally married in a public wedding ceremony. It remains one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. He is a model of the man of faith, struggling with his doubts, persuaded to believe what God has said and ultimately acting upon his persuasion. –Are you tough-minded, determined to do what is right no matter what it costs?Now that sounds like our practice of engagement, but there were some major differences. After 2000 years of debate, we know nothing more about it than Joseph did. Verses 24-25 are insufficiently celebrated as great Christmas verses. In these days of confusion, Joseph is a wonderful model of what a godly man looks like: He was tough when he could have been weak. –Are you tender with your wife and with your children?