The Fulham Fellowship News

21st December 2014 – 4th Advent Sunday

Dates for your Diary: Monday 22nd December at 10am Cornerstone Café will be open for teas, coffees and Bacon Sandwiches.

There is no Prayer & Bible Study this week and the next

one will be on Tuesday the 6th January at 7.30pm.

Wednesday Luncheon Club Christmas Lunch will be at 12pm followed by our Christmas Eve Night Shelter which this week will be staffed by our friends at West London Family Church.

Our Christmas Day Service will start promptly at 10.30am and will be our usual mixture of Scripture, Song and Prayer with just a short address from Pastor Mark.

The Sunday Service on the 28th December will commence at 11am and will be a Baptismal Service.

Message from the Minister: Matthews Gospel describes Jesus’ earthly father as a craftsman (Matthew 13:55closeMatthew 13:55 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? (ESV) closeMatthew 13:55closeMatthew 13:55 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? (ESV) 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? (ESV) ). A small-town carpenter, who lived in Nazareth: a single-camel map dot on the edge of boredom. Is he the right choice for the adoptive father of The Son Of God? Doesn’t God have better options? An eloquent priest from Jerusalem or a scholar from the Pharisees perhaps?

So why Joseph? Well a major part of the answer lies in his reputation which he is willing to give up for Jesus. “Then Joseph [Mary's] husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly” (Matthew 1:19closeMatthew 1:19 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to spanorce her quietly. (ESV) closeMatthew 1:19closeMatthew 1:19 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to spanorce her quietly. (ESV) 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to spanorce her quietly. (ESV) ).

With the phrase “a just man,” Matthew recognises the status of Joseph. The Nazarenes viewed him much as we might view an elder, a deacon, or a Bible class teacher and Joseph likely took pride in his standing, but Mary’s announcement jeopardised it. “I’m pregnant”.

Now what? His fiancée is blemished, tainted … he is righteous, godly. On the one hand, he has the law. On the other hand, he has his love. The law says, stone her. Love says, forgive her and Joseph is caught in the middle.

Then comes the angel. Mary’s growing belly gives no cause for concern, but a reason to rejoice. “She carries the Son of God in her womb,” the angel announces. But who would believe it?

A bead of sweat probably forms beneath Joseph’s beard. He faces a dilemma. Make up a lie and preserve his place in the community, or tell the truth and kiss his reputation good-bye. He makes his decision. “Joseph … took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son” (Matthew 1:24closeMatthew 1:24 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, (ESV) closeMatthew 1:24closeMatthew 1:24 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, (ESV) 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, (ESV) –25).

Joseph swapped his Torah studies for a pregnant fiancée and an illegitimate son and made the big decision of discipleship, and he placed God’s plan ahead of his own life and reputation. I for one am glad he did, how about you?

Lynda and I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas Day. We hope and pray that you and your family have the time and the peace to encounter the real spirit of God. Let us pray, let us worship and let us play. Let us remember the wonder of the coming of Jesus in a stable some 2000 years ago and may we understand what He, The Risen Lord Jesus, Son Of God, Immanuel, means to us today. Remain blessed this Christmas season, love Pastor Mark.

Scripture Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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