Faithful Love

There is a tremendous story with a mass audience that carries great attention. It is a story of love, conspiracy and controversy. This couple began their relationship in friendship with it turning toward love and marriage. Everyone around this happy couple looked upon their relationship with eyes of admiration. How could it get any better? Until the rumors of infidelity began swirling. There was talk from both outside and inside the family. No one seemingly knew the truth. The couple had to face each other. And when the news came out it was an even greater conspiracy than one had first thought. In the days after the dramatic news, discussion ran rampant. It became the talk of the town and even in the city. In fact, hardly a day went by when it wasn’t discussed. Even the couple could not move away from the fact that this news would change their lives forever. Their future would never be the same. It would only be a matter of time before a fall out of their once closest friends and supporters. The couple tried their hardest to stay together. Would it be possible? Could they stay married and raise their family with even a hint of normalcy? Should they even try to make it work?

What would you do?

This story may be compared to national headlines of the Wood’s family. Tiger and Elin were married in October 2004 and apparently the past 5 years have been filled with an insurmountable amount of unfaithfulness. The latest news is that Tiger and Elin are separated and Elin will certainly file for divorce. Not to mention that Tiger has lost millions in endorsements and supporters and fan respect.

It is an extremely sad and sober reality for us all as it reminds us of several truths about life and love.

1)     Marriage is the most sacred relationship and it can never be taken for granted.
In 21st Century marriage has come under great attack. It is demeaned and devalued among media and society. Yet, those who are married know the profound mystery and importance of this relationship because it becomes part of their identity. Once you are married you will never escape the physical, emotional, psychological and even financial impact it has upon your life. Therefore, its value should be heightened and honored, especially as it points to God as the creator of relationships.

2)     Sin never stays secret.
Tiger thought his female escapades apart from his wife would stay hidden from her. He was disastrously wrong. Tiger and these female friends are now hunted by every media outlet across the globe. Every disgusting detail is being splattered across the internet. I heard tabloids are offering upwards of 300k for a picture of Tiger.

3)     Sin’s consequences are never isolated to just yourself.

Tiger’s faults and sin may ultimately result in the loss of his wife. However, the greatest loss is with his children. Rather than growing up in the home with an intact family with a father and mother, they will now be another statistic of a broken home. How will this turn out for Sam and Charlie is yet to be determined. We can only pray for protection from the emotional scars that they will deal with in their future. We also should pray for the gospel of Jesus’ message of reconciliation to take root in their family.

Why do I address this story of national attention? Because there is a greater story that carries greater attention and consequence that impacts us all. Tiger Woods’ indiscretions and family separation will have no direct impact on your life. However, the faithfulness of a husband and wife to remain together along with the birth of their son bears significant influence of how you live your life. This is the story of Joseph and Mary. Similarly it had conspiracies of infidelity surrounding their marriage. Yet, one contrast is glaringly different – the fingerprints of God’s faithfulness are all over this story. Rather than infidelity there was the incarnation of a virgin born child. Rather than misgivings of a man there was the miracle of the Messiah. Rather than separation of a family there is now today salvation by faith!

This message will explore how faithful love from and in God guides our life.

Faithful Love in God’s unwavering promises (1:18).

Matthew opens his Gospel writing with a long genealogy (vv.1-17). He does this to legitimize Jesus’ messiahship comes from the line of David and Abraham, legally from Mary through Joseph (Luke’s Gospel does the same in human form through Joseph). Even greater than that is that Jesus is presented as the fulfillment of God’s promise to send Israel’s redeemer and messiah. Jesus has the title “Christ” – Anointed One in verse 1 and 18.

Every page of the OT points to the coming Messiah. More specifically, there are direct prophecies and promises made by God through the prophets.

Isaiah 7:14 promised “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
[This was 600 years before Jesus was born]

Micah 5:2 promised “You, O Bethlehem, though you are little among thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” [Again, 100’s of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem]

There are over 300 hundred prophecies concerning Jesus and many of them have turned true, with only few remaining for the future. One mathematician determined the odds of one person fulfilling even 60 specific prophecies are 1 in 1 plus 157 zeros. Or as marking one silver dollar with the entire state of Texas covered in silver dollars knee high and you being able to pick out that single one with one try. It’s essentially impossible yet Jesus fits and fulfills each one.

The point is that God expresses His love to you in being a promise keeper. He is faithful. You can trust and depend on Him.

Galatians 4:4, 5, 7 “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons… So you are no longer a slave but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Faithful Love in God’s uninterrupted plan (1:19-23).

When Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant he had to come to a point of decision. His plan seemed limited to two options – leave her quietly or bring the news public and have her held accountable for corporal punishment which was death (Lev 20:10). Joseph did not want to bring public shame on Mary so his plan was to divorce her quietly. However, man’s plans are not God’s plans. God spoke to Joseph and Mary though an angelic vision. The plan was for Joseph and Mary to get married and give birth to the child, giving him the name Jesus. Joseph obeyed the plan.

Life is filled with decisions and plans. And sometimes those plans get interrupted. Money runs out or gets tight, an employer downsizes, the doctor gives a terminal report, parents have different expectations for teen plans… etc. You can count on the fact that your plans will not always go according to plan. Everything will not always be easy or smooth.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

If there is one thing you can count on in life it’s uncertainty. Our knowledge is limited, our resources are fleeting and our lives are finite. Yet God’s promises are unwavering and His plans are uninterrupted. He wants us to view life from His eyes and that’s what He did for Joseph. He allowed Joseph to see his decisions from an eternal perspective. He showed him that his purpose was not for self comfort but for the greater glory of God.

So, the next time your life plans get interrupted remember to seek the Lord. You just never know what miracle adventure awaits you.

Faithful Love in God’s unblemished purity (1:24-25).

A third and last way we see God’s faithful love is through unblemished purity. As discussed, Joseph was a righteous man who sought to honor God and he obeyed God’s plan to marry her and bring Jesus into the world. Even more, Joseph remained faithful in keeping their virginity until after their marriage and pregnancy. Jesus was born to parents who valued godly standards.

You can also note the purity of Jesus since he did not have a human father he was not tainted with a sin nature. Because he was born of a virgin that means he is uniquely pure and holy. He is able to be a pure sacrifice for our sin.

There is nothing greater to validate love for someone than to remain faithful through unblemished purity. That means you seek to honor them through your lifestyle. Jesus did that for us on the cross. We do not have unblemished purity because we have sin natures. Yet God wants us to see His faithful love for us in His perfect sacrifice.

The Christmas season is a reminder that Jesus came for a reason –

Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus [The Lord saves], because he will save his people from their sins.”

Tiger Woods is being hunted not only by media columnist but also his own conscience. He will now live with the guilt, shame and regret of his sin. The Bible says your sin will always catch up with you (Num 32:23; Prov 28:13; Rom 1:32; 1 Cor 5:6, 6:18; Gal 6:7—8). Tiger’s greatest need is more than a publicity change, he needs a heart change that can only come through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Isa 1:18; Ez 36:26; Jn 3:5; Ac 2:38).

If you pass through Christmas without understanding this then you have missed everything!

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