In her sermon this week, Eirwen talks about Joseph, and how he simply believed God, and what God was telling him to do. Eirwen asked us, “What is faith?” Martin Lloyd Jones gives the definition, which is the title for this message; “Simply believing God,” and what God reveals to us. Faith is believing Him, not believing in, or through something, but believing Him with our everything. We must just believe, and if this belief is ours, then we will have peace.
It says in Philippians 4, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. This is the truth. God is an amazing strength, and He is there for us, if only we let Him be. Galatians 5:6 says that if we have great faith, then we will have great love, but without the expression of great love, we are denying God. The truth is that faith and love casts out all fear, and this is something that we must strive for.
Speaking about Joseph, Eirwen tells us that he is so underrated. here was no retaliation in him. He is chosen out of all men, to bring up the son of God. He was about twenty eight years old, and Mary could have been as young as twelve. They were betrothed. In those times, this meant a legally binding contract, though the marriage ceremony had not yet taken place, nor had the marriage been consummated.
When Joseph discovered that Mary was with child, he had every right to take her to court, but he didn’t, instead, deciding to divorce her quietly. He had the right to have her dragged in front of the elders and stoned to death, and yet, he didn’t do this. In his actions, we see how love will cover a multitude of sins. So often in life, when someone wrongs us, we desire comeuppance, and revenge, but God behaves differently. He behaves out of love, and covers a multitude of sins, and His perfect love casts our all fear.
The thing is that Joseph didn’t justify himself to anyone. Though he had been aggrieved, he chose to cover the perceived sins of Mary. The truth is that great faith produces great love- they are two sides of the same coin, and great love robs us of the fear about our reputation.
Secondly, faith leads us into living an exciting life. We can be Christians who don’t want to move out of our comfort zones; ‘Steady Eddie Christians’, who would rather work within our perceived limits, rather than just trusting God to know what He’s doing. Looking at Joseph’s story, Mary had an angel appear to her- visible proof of what was happening. All Joseph had was a dream, but he believed and took a chance.
The key thing here is that we must stick to God’s plan, because it works. We need to not be afraid of obeying God, but simply have faith and believe in Him, His power, and His plan. We need to be like Joseph, simply taking a chance and believing, not being afraid of stepping out in faith. We need to not be worried about being self-sufficient, but to just reach out to God. There are certain things that we must learn, but faith involves stepping out into the unseen.
Thirdly, there is no room for selfishness in trusting God. In this situation, Joseph and Mary were not married, and they had not consummated the relationship, and yet Mary was pregnant. Eirwen asked us to imagine the gossips, again reminding us of Joseph’s right to have Mary publicly shamed. However, he not only covers her shame, but is prepared to share in it. He walked with her, supporting her through it all, even though, according to Jewish law, they shouldn’t have been together, but Joseph trusted God. He trusted in His plan, and he didn’t look down on Mary, and he did not judge her, instead putting all of his faith and trust in God.
In closing, Eirwen encouraged us to trust in God’s plan for our lives, and to not try to be self sufficient, because in the end, God’s plan is there for a reason, and God’s plan works.
Scriptures: Philippians 4, Galatians 5:6, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:5, Luke 2:4-7