When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "Away in a Manger."

Joseph and Mary, Part Two
Luke 2:1-20 

Good Morning to all of God’s People from the Voices of Hope Evangelistic Team!   It’s such a blessing to be able to worship with you today wherever you are!  I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him and to share His message with the world through today’s technology!   

We’re continuing our series on Couples in the Bible and today we’ll be covering Part Two of our study on Joseph and Mary.  

Our scripture comes from the New Testament Book of Luke Chapter 2 verses 1 through 20.  Last week’s Message ended with Joseph taking Mary to be his wife and he knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son, Jesus. We’ll cover the birth of Jesus today. 

Now reading from Luke Chapter 2:1-20:
1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 

Let’s pray:
Father, today I ask You to give us hearts like those of Mary and Joseph, willing to agree with Your Word, Your promises, and Your intent for our lives.  You have a plan for each of us which will have its challenges, its high points and low points, its joys and sorrows; but Your plans are far and above the best plans for our lives. May our souls be transformed into ones that instantly obey You, that come when You call, that follow Your leading, and that believe Your Word even when we can’t fully comprehend it, for we know that Your Word is Truth.  In Jesus’ name, Amen 

Two thousand years ago the world received a gift that altered the history of humans forever. The greatest gift; a gift of hope, peace, joy and love. A gift delivered to us in the lowliest of settings, a stable containing a manger in which the very Savior of the world would lay. God the Father wanted the world to know of His grace, His mercies, His blessings, His awesome power and love for us. He came Himself, incarnate in a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. The gift of course is Jesus. He came to live among us, to preach and teach of His Father’s Kingdom, to be an example to us, to fill our every need. 

We may have a little trouble believing that this gift is really for us. After all, the angel visited Mary. The angel appeared to Joseph in a dream.  The heavenly choir sang to the shepherds.  But it is for us. 

We are, says the prophet, like sheep who have gone astray.
Our lives are not quite as happy as we would have others believe.
We are not as good as we let on.
Faithfulness is sometimes in short supply.
We act at times as if obedience is a dirty word.
We confuse religiosity with devotion.
Sometimes, we’re downright mean.
We fail to offer grace to our Christian brothers and sisters.
We carry our sins around our necks like a millstone, only we refuse to admit it. 

The Christ child in the manger came for us so that we might have life and have it abundantly. He came for us so that we could see God face-to-face. He came for us to wipe away every tear, to put an end to mourning and crying, to vanquish death once and for all. He came to take away our sins and to restore us to relationship with Him. He came to teach us how to live as Christians. He came for all of us, whether we are children or the most senior of adults. He came for all of us, no matter what our color or sex or denomination. He came for all of us, whether we are rich or poor, black or white, educated or not. He came for all of us. 

God’s gift to us at Christmas came to fix the broken world.   For many of us:
Our families are broken.
Our marriages are broken.
Our relationships with our friends are broken.
Our churches are broken.
Our health is broken.
Our neighborhoods are broken.
Our political system is broken.
Our economic security is broken.
Our spirits are broken.
Our faith is broken.
Our intentions are broken. 

God’s gift is for all of us. It is a gift we desperately need. It is a gift for our salvation. It is a sign of God’s greatest love. 

There are those still today that refuse to see and hear of the King of Kings, the Lord of All, Savior, Messiah, Emmanuel. You and I both know that there are people who do not have a personal relationship with the Son of God. It is our duty as Christians to share this wonderful news of our Savior with those who are lost, struggling with their demons, struggling with the issue of sin in their lives. Yes, there are many who believe the sin and the lives they are dwelling in this very day are too far gone to ever begin to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Jesus is the only Savior for all mankind.  The work has already been done. If you are not saved, turn to God, repent and respond to His grace.  Receive the forgiveness of your sins and enter into a new life and destiny.  There’s no better time than now to surrender your life to God and receive Christ as Savior and Lord.   

 If you’ve known God but walked away from His call on your life to do your own thing or have been wounded and are now angry with Him or feel like you can’t come back to Him because of the depth of your sin, there is healing and restoration. 

When we turn back to Jesus in repentance, when we ask for forgiveness, intending to live a godly life again, God’s mercy reaches out to us with a message of love.   God is a God of mercy, of redemption, of restoration and of renewal. Just come by faith to the throne of grace to receive it. He is waiting for you with open arms.   Repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life. Tomorrow may be too late. 

I pray during the coming week that everyone is blessed abundantly beyond their expectations. 
In Jesus’ name,  Amen.