Obedience and Usefulness – Matthew 1:24, 25

March 5, 2006

INTRODUCTION – Last week I shared three things we need to put in place – if we want to be used by God and chosen for God sized tasks like Joseph was…
Read Matt. 1:18-23
Review 3 points

I. We need to be a whole lot slower in responding to or sizing up the circumstances of life. We often draw wrong conclusions based on what we can see with our natural eyes. As far as Joseph could tell, his wife had been unfaithful to him and while he could drag her to the elders and possibly get her stoned (not the marijuana kind), instead he chose to quietly divorce her, which seemed noble to him and to others, but still was not the action God had in mind.

God help us not waste so much emotional energy in 2006 reacting to things that end up not being what they seemed. He will if we cry out to Him and learn to live in a greater sense of dependency upon His divine interventions in our lives.

II. We need to put ourselves in an environment where we are growing in righteousness. Joseph was a righteous man. He gave himself to walking in right relationship with God and all those people God put in his life.

Paul told Timothy in both of his letters to “pursue righteousness.” It is the effective prayer of a “righteous” man that accomplishes much James says.

III. We need to pay more attention to our dreams and the dreams of others. If you are married to a dreamer – as I am – perk up! Not all of Anne’s dreams are from God. But a number of them are. Impt. of journaling.

IV. We must obey the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit no matter what the cost. 24,25

Please note that Joseph not only had to commit himself anew to this woman who became pregnant before her time and who would quickly be the subject of ever increasing gossip and slander, but he also had to live with her now without having sex with her until after she gave birth to the Messiah.

And as if he didn’t have enough potential conflict and trouble already, parents and inlaws were going to have no say in what this baby was named – actually the mother and father were to have no say either. And names were a big thing in that culture and day.

Joseph “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.”
He took his wife
He refrained from having sex with her until after Jesus was born
He named Him Jesus

Two things about Joseph’s obedience:
His obedience was immediate
His obedience was complete

A. God uses those who as a lifestyle obey Him and His word. God’s revelation of Himself, His will and His ways are dependent upon or are a response to our obedience. As we obey – He reveals.

B. John 14:15, 21,23
Jesus Christ’s full expectation is that we His disciples will be constantly in His word – so we can obey what is black and white. And that we will be constantly alert to what He might direct us to do or say in the now – stuff that we could only know from revelation whether through a clear directive from Him, a dream, an angel, a vision, a trance, a prophetic word from someone else, etc.

Please note the order of vs. 15, 16.. We often want the revelation or the experience with the Holy Spirit and then we will obey. But He says it is as we take steps to obey that the Holy Spirit or the revelation will then come.

F.B. Meyer put it this way, “God does not fill with His Holy Spirit those who believe in the fullness of the Spirit, or those who desire Him, but (rather) those who obey Him.”

Can I share with you the heart of God towards us today regarding obedience? It may not be what you think it is.
Psalm 81:11-16
Isa. 48:17-19

There is a fundamental heart change I believe God is wanting to do in everyone of us today – –

Those of you that have seen the “End of the Spear” movie know that Nate Saint was one of the five missionaries who were killed by the Auca Indians. He once wrote that his life did not change until he came to grips with the idea that “obedience is not a momentary option…. It is a die-cast decision made before hand.”

Jesus said, as is prophetically quoted in Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is within my heart.” Cannot do this alone.

Application: Small group prayer & then communion

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