The Power Of Private Obedience

The Power Of Private Obedience

Sermon notes

Matthew’s Themes

  • Jesus is the King
  • We are part of Jesus’ new kingdom
  • Jesus teaches us how to live in this kingdom

Matthew is writing for people who are

  • Geographically removed from Jesus
  • Chronologically removed from Jesus
  • Interested in the life of Jesus

Large Narrative of the Old Testament

  • God creates humanity
  • God establishes Israel
  • God give the nation kings
  • Exile (Isa 40)

Many in Israel thought that after they had paid for their sins through the exile that they would be reconstituted as a powerhouse on the global scene. But the power that would be presented was not in the form of an army, governmental policy, or a power tyrant. This new kingdom would usher in a new way to approach God. And today we will witness how powerful private obedience from a humble heart is in God’s plan.

Discuss: Think of a time when you did something that was noble or sacrificial. Did you want special attention or credit for that? How does that feeling interact with the good deed itself?

1. Joseph choose nobility over opportunity – Matthew 1:18

  • Joseph didn’t attack her
  • Joseph didn’t pull legal maneuvers
  • Joseph didn’t try to enrich himself (the bride price, the dowry)

2. Joseph’s act of honor set him up for God to speak into his life – Matthew 1:20-23

  • Often, private obedience suggests that the trust factor is extremely high
  • Here is the prophecy of the angel: Jesus will do what His name says He will do

Application: Identify a way you can take on an act of private obedience this week?

Discussion Questions

MAIN TEXT

Matthew 1:18-24

TALK IT OUT

  1. Sometimes our familiarity with certain Bible passages tends to cause us to gloss over the details without remembering that the people involved were real human beings, not storybook characters. Read Matthew 1:18. Imagine for a moment that you are Joseph. How do you think you would respond if your fiance told you that she was pregnant and that God was the father?
  2. Read Matthew 1:19. How did Joseph respond to this news from Mary? Do you think he believed her at this point? What does his response tell you about him?
  3. Read Luke 1:26-35. Imagine for a moment that you are Mary. How do you think you would react if an angel appeared to you, told you that God was going to father a child with you and that your child would grow up to be great and have a kingdom that would never end?
  4. Read Luke 1:38 and Matthew 1:20-24. Do you think you would have responded to the Lord in the same ways that Mary and Joseph did? Why or why not? In what ways do their responses challenge you?
  5. In Matthew 1:23 we see that one of the names of Jesus is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” What does “God with us” mean to you as it relates to the overall idea of God coming to earth in the person of Jesus? What does “God with us” mean to you as it relates to God being with you personally in your daily life?

LIVE IT OUT

  • Think of an area of your life in which you feel God may be asking you to make some kind of personal sacrifice. What do you think is keeping you from obeying Him? Take a few moments right now to ask Him to help you take your first step in that direction.
  • Think of a time when you took comfort or courage in the fact that God was with you. Look for an opportunity to share that with someone you know who could use some encouragement this week.