Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

Dec 18, 2016 Sermon

Matthew 1:18 – 25 
Ted Jansen  December 18, 2016  Waynedale UMC
1.)        As we celebrate the songs of the season let us sing the first verse of “White Christmas.”   I'm dreaming of a White Christmas, Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten, and children listen, To hear sleigh bells in the snow. 
2.)        Who can tell me who wrote this song?  (Irving Berlin)  Did you know that this song was written in 1940 and when the song hit the charts in 1942 within a month it became the number one song?  This song became the biggest selling single for 50 consecutive years, from 1942 – 1992.  That is an amazing run as a number one seller. 
            What do you know about the year 1942?  What was happening?  What was the spirit of the country?  We were in the middle of World War Two and there was fighting, chaos, uncertainty, stress, animosity and violence all over the world.  I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to be alive then.  Those of you who are in your 80’s or older could tell us about that time.  It was during that time that this song became popular.    
3.)        “White Christmas” invites us to dream, to yearn, to imagine, to ponder.  The words of the song and the music produce in us a dream-like state as we think of a white Christmas, childhood memories, hearing bells, and writing Christmas cards.  This song highlights the importance of dreams.   
            What are your dreams?  What are the things that you yearn for?  What are your hopes, your desires, your wishes?  Dreams give us a picture of a different world than the one we are living in.  Dreams are important to our lives and to our faith. 
4.)        A dream and an angel were an important part of Joseph’s life during an uncertain time in his life.  This dream came months before the child was born but it impacted Joseph, Mary, the child and each of us here today.  Let’s look at Joseph’s life.         
            Joseph was engaged to Mary.  They had a relationship that they believed they were to be together forever as husband and wife.  So, they got engaged (or betrothed) and looked forward to a life time together.   A wedding was generally held within a year.  This relationship filled him with love. 
Joseph then found out that Mary is pregnant.  He knows that he and Mary have not had sexual relations and nothing makes sense, this is a very troubling and confusing time.  Their relationship changes because Joseph is filled with the feeling that he is lost. 
Joseph thinks and decides that he will divorce Mary.  He decides to do this quietly and privately.  This relationship is coming to an end and Joseph is filled with the feeling that it is time to leave. 
Joseph goes from feeling love, to feeling lost, to feeling like it is time to leave.  I cannot imagine the thoughts, emotions, and struggles that Joseph is going through.  Joseph, in the midst of this troubled time, goes to sleep.     
5.)        Matthew 1:20 and 21 tells us, “After he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…”  
            In this dream Joseph recalls what the angel 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.  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."
            As we consider this dream look at the things the angel spoke to Joseph about.  
6.)        We read that the angel: 
*spoke his name, Joseph.  (The dream was personal in nature and this got Joseph’s attention.  When the Lord speaks to us it is always personal.)
*told Joseph not to be afraid.  (He had some fears in his life, perhaps of the dream, perhaps of the angel, perhaps of the future, perhaps of what he planned to do.  Fear is a part of all of our lives.  What are your fears today?  We need to be reminded to not let fear rule our hearts)
*told Joseph not to divorce Mary.  (Joseph needed to hear this loud and clear.  Don’t leave Mary.  She needs you more than ever.  We need to stick with those who are closest to us in their time of need.  At times God tells us yes, and other times God says, NO!, to our ideas.)
            *told Joseph to take Mary home as your wife.  (Joseph had hurt Mary by making plans for divorce.  He needed to get connected to Mary and renew his covenant to her.  Joseph needed to make arrangements for a wedding and take her home.  Mary, Joseph, and this future child needed to be together.  We all need family and strong friendships.  There are things that we have done to hurt our relationships.  We need to come home and heal the hurts in the heart by our actions and attitudes.)
            *told Joseph the Holy Spirit caused Mary’s pregnancy.  (Joseph needed to be able to trust Mary and to know that there was not another man.  Joseph needed to know that God’s miracle was with Mary.  We need to have faith in a God of the miraculous.  The Holy Spirit can do things in our lives that we cannot do, or even imagine.) 
            *told Joseph the child is a boy.  (This was a word that Joseph held in his heart for months.  It was a miracle that finally came to reality when the boy was born.  There are some truths that God places in our hearts that we believe even though it might not be confirmed to others until months or years later.)
            *told Joseph what to name the boy.  (Joseph would have probably named him after someone in the family but this decision had been made.  The name would be Jesus.  The Lord needs us to name our blessings as coming from God.)
            *told Joseph that this child would save people from sins.  (The name of Jesus showed that there was a divine mission and purpose for this child.  This message tells us that in the name of Jesus we can find salvation.) 
7.)        The most amazing thing happened when Joseph woke up.  Joseph discerned this dream and the message of the angel and then did it.  He changed the direction of his future life based on a dream.  Dreams are not rational, or logical.  Sometimes they don’t make sense.  Yet, Joseph dared to believe the dream and in obedience acted on the dream. 
            There are a few songs written that capture Joseph’s heart as he lived through this experience.  4Him wrote “A Strange Way to Save the World,” in 1993.  Listen to these words.  “And Joseph said, Why me, I’m just a simple man of trade.  Why Him, with all the rulers in this world.  Why here inside this stable filled with hay.  Why her, she’s just an ordinary girl.  Now I’m not one to second guess what angels have to say, But this is such a strange way to save the World.”   
            Mercy Me has also written a song called, “Joseph’s Lullaby,” and Michael Card wrote a song called, “Joseph’s Song.”  They are touching songs that embrace the words and feelings that Joseph must have had.  
8.)        John Maxell has written a book called, “Dare To Dream…..Then Do It.”  He wrote about the difference between what he calls a Daring Dream and a Daydream. 
“There’s a difference between a daring dream and a mere daydream.  One fires you up and moves you forward.  The other is nothing more than wishful thinking.  Daring dreams are hills worth dying on in order to take them.  Daydreams do little more than make you want to nap.  Take a look at some of the differences between the two.” 
            A Daring Dream relies on discipline.  A Daydream relies on luck.  A Daring Dream leads to action.  A Daydream leads to excuses.  A Daring Dream initiates.  A Daydream waits.  A Daring Dream embraces risk as necessary.  A Daydream avoids all risks.  (Dare to Dream, by John Maxwell, page 16, 17)
            Joseph had a daring dream and believed the angel.    
9.)        What do you dream about?  What are the yearnings of your heart?  What are your wishes, hopes?  What about your life would you like to see as different?    
As you think about your dreams are there some that you have you seen fulfilled in your life?  Are there some dreams that have faded or died?           How has the Lord spoken to you and guided you through your dreams?    
10.)      “O Holy Night,” invites us to dream, imagine and yearn for things that are different.  Let’s sing the first verse.        
“O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.  Long lay the world in sin and error pining.  Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.  A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.  Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night, O holy night, O night divine!”
11.)      Dream of the birth of a child.  Dream of a world that is burdened and weighed down by sin and selfishness.  Dream of a soul that feels alive with the arrival of this child.  Dream of a weary world that rejoices when a brand new morning arrives.  Dream of falling on your knees in worship and adoration.  Dream of hearing the angel voices speaking.  Dream of the night when Christ was born. 
Dare to dream.  When you hold the dream don’t let it go.  Wake up and let your divine dream lead you in new directions.