A Hard Candy Christmas!

Title: A Hard Candy Christmas!

Bible Book: Matthew 1 : 18-25

Author: Vince Hefner

Subject: Christmas; Joseph



A Hard Candy Christmas means not receiving what you were expecting. It means going through tough times during the Christmas season, even if you are a believer in Jesus! A lot of people go through "A Hard Candy Christmas." No doubt you have heard Dolly Parton sing a country song by the same title. Well, I want to talk to you about the first hard candy Christmas.

I am speaking today about Joseph. Joseph wanted to have a Godly profession in his public life, like the one he had in his private life. Joseph love Mary and felt he knew her very well. He knew she was a sweet and kind woman. More than that, he knew she was godly and devoted to the Lord. He was excited about their growing love for each other. They had remained pure in their relationship and he was proud of that. But, then, she was with child. How could this be? He had not "been" with her. It is so difficult for us today to imagine how heartbroken he must have been.

Joseph wanted to have a godly wife. He wanted a good wife - an honest wife. And Joseph wanted to have a godly family. With Mary expecting a child, what was he to do? He was devastated. He decided to put her away quietly. In other words, he would not embarrass her or make a public spectacle of her situation. He would do the right thing, even if she had not.

Joseph then had an amazing experience - one that would change his life. He was told in a dream that the child she was carrying was the Son of God. The child was a miracle that would change the world forever!

Joseph was able to do two things that changed his life. He trusted God in the circumstances of his life. Secondly, He obeyed God in the decisions he made. You see, Joseph was willing to believe God was in control throughout his life. The first Christmas might well be called A Hard Candy Christmas for Joseph and Mary. Even when God is at work in your life, it doesn't mean that the way will be easy. In fact, it may well mean the very opposite. But, trusting God always leads to victory. I want us to look at that thought today.

I. When God Is In Control, Bad News Can Turn Into Good News

A. Joseph's Past

He was pleased with his past, because he had been brought up right. His family had taught him the values that matter. Public opinion, materialism and treating people like things was just not part of his life. No doubt, godly teaching had been a part of his childhood and youth.

B. Joseph's Prospects

He was excited about his future, because he was going to be married. Just to hear Mary's name excited Joseph. When he saw her, his heart seemed to skip a beat. Mary and Joseph were in love and his future seemed so bright.

C. Joseph's Present

Joseph was devastated about his present circumstances. Why? He found out that his fiancé was pregnant - she was expecting a child and it wasn't his child. You have to think about how you would feel in the same situation.

How would you have felt?

Joseph still wanted God to be in control. His heart was right in the situation he faced. He didn't turn against God because things were not going the way he wanted. Because of this, God was able to get through to Joseph and share the truth of Mary's situation with Joseph. Note this fact, when God is in control, bad news turned into good news.

II. When God Is In Control, Compassion will Reign in Your Heart

Joseph's conviction told him the Law had been broken. He knew that an unmarried woman should not be child. What was he to do? I want you note two very important principles.

A. Conviction without Compassion will Lead to Legalism

Thought Joseph believed in the law, he did not become immediately legalistic about it. Had he done that, God may not have been able to get through to his heart. Joseph could have missed the opportunity of a lifetime. Listen to carefully, we should all seek to obey God but we must be careful about being legalistic. The truth is, based upon the Law alone, everyone of us in this room would perish and miss heaven!

B. Compassion without Conviction will Lead to Compromise

But, we must not allow compassion to lead us to compromise either. This is a thin line and we need to learn what to do when faced with disappointment in someone who has sinned, or seems to have sinned.

What is the answer?

C. Conviction and Compassion Lead to Acting with God's Love

Joseph was convicted by Mary's situation. He was offended by it. Had he acted wrongly, however, he would have offended her. He put compassion in the midst of conviction and that caused him to act in love. It gave him time to think carefully about his reaction. It caused him to pray and seek the Lord. I want you to note what that led to in the final point of this message.

III. When God Is In Control, Your Heart Remains Open Till You Hear From God

A. Don't make up your mind until you hear from God

Joseph thought about what he should do. He would lovingly put Mary away - that is, he would not Mary her - but, would not do it in a way that was harsh or hurtful to Mary. This gave him time to hear from the Lord.

B. Planning is good, as long as God has the Final Say

You should act carefully in all things. Always seek God. Sure, on many things we have God's Word. In fact, the Word of God stated that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned. Joseph could have said that Mary surely committed adultery - she was expecting a child and she was not married. But, Joseph acted with conviction and compassion. That sounds like the way Jesus acted in His earthly ministry, doesn't it? Joseph let God have the final word and how blessed Joseph was because of it. Don't you know that he was so glad - a thousand times glad - that he had waited on God in his situation? Do you always wait on God or are you quick to jump to conclusions and make decisions too quickly?

C. Real Trouble will Follow if God is Not in Control

Leave God out, act on emotions, and somehow believe you always have all the answers, and I assure you trouble will follow you like night follows day.

IV. When God Is In Control, Your Mind Will Believe The Impossible

What would have happened if Joseph didn't believe in miracles? What will happen to you if you don't believe in miracles? God has power and can overcome A Hard Candy Christmas.

God has power over...

A. Your Physical Problems
B. Your Personal Problems
C. Your Spiritual Problems
D. Your Financial Problems

Are you willing to believe and follow in the path of the Christmas miracle?

You can experience the miracle of the new birth today. You can trust Christ and have your sins forgiven and removed forever. You can have Christ In your life. Believe on Him. Trust that He died for you and rose again. Salvation is a miracle and it is waiting for someone today.

You can experience a miracle of renewed faith. You can have faith to overcome those things that are making you feel that you are in the middle of A Hard Candy Christmas.

Come to Him now! He came for you at Bethlehem; why not come to Him at the altar of First Baptist Cherryville today!


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