Waiting in line. Think of all the time that you have ever spent waiting in line. How many hours have you spent waiting to board an airplane, get a table at a restaurant, use an ATM or a bathroom, or talk to a customer service representative?
Waiting in line can be frustrating, but there is nothing worst than waiting in the wrong line.
Recently in October customers hoping to sample doughnuts at Ireland’s first Krispy Kreme waited over an hour without realizing they were in the wrong line after a number of cars believing that a McDonalds’ parking lot was Krispy Kreme’s entrance!
The first century Jewish-Christians feared that they were waiting in the wrong line as unbelievers attacked them for standing for Christ Jesus. They were anxious to see God’s vindication and blessing.
“Will we be counted as blessed, when we count on God’s promises?”
“Is there a guarantee that I will receive?”
“Do believers really share in God’s blessing?”
Apostle Matthew writes a record of the Gospel, the book of the Bible the we know as “Matthew,” to encourage and confirm the persecuted Jewish-Christian and to help them withstand their opponents’ attacks. Matthew is anxious to give an anxious people proof of the nature of Christ’s person and the mission that he was to accomplish.
So, by the Gospel of Matthew, Apostle Matthew is giving Christians encouragement to stand firm in their line by confirming why they are standing there.
In verse one, of Matthew chapter 1 we find Matthew’s purpose for writing… Look at verse one with me to find what type of record Matthew is giving us.
Matthew 1:1 (NIrV)
“This is a record of the family line of Jesus Christ. He is the son of David. He is also the son of Abraham."
Jesus Christ. Many people assume that Christ is Jesus’ last name. Like mr. and mrs. Christ!
Christ is not a last name! “Christ” is the greek word of the Hebrew word “Messiah” meaning the “Anointed One” the promised deliver that the Israelites waited generations for. Jesus is their promised Messiah, their promised Blessing.
Matthew traces the family tree roots of Jesus in order to prove that He is the promised Messiah.
He was prepared for and prophesied of within the Old Testament. The Messiah was to be the son of the Abraham and the son of David, that is the descendant of both of these OT fathers.
In Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18, God gave to Abraham and his offspring the promised of blessings for the whole earth.
In 2 Samuel 7:12 and Psalm 132:11, God gave to David and his offspring the promised of eternal government.
It is not a endless or needless genealogy. It is not a common non-resulting and non-glorious one of that of common folk. It is a proof given for evidence. Given to proof a title, and make out a claim, the design is to prove that our Lord Jesus, is the son of David and the son of Abraham, and therefore of that nation and of the family out of which the Messiah was to arise.
Now, we can think of the OT as a large and long story of God preparing His people for His blessing.
The family line that Matthew gives to us below is really a line. A line of people like you and me standing in line, waiting in line for a blessing (that being a personal promises God made to them as a person) and they were waiting for the Blessing (that being the universal promise God made to them about the Messiah that would bless all people).
The Jewish-Christians were standing as Christians because of the Promise. Today those of us who are Christians are standing because the Promises. More specifically, we are standing as Christians because we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the fulfillment of all promises.
Their is something which makes us different from the Jewish-Christians of the first century. Now, one must realize that the Jews were not interested in “complete” family tree lists. The Jews were interested in establishing the fact of linage. It’s how they would know who gets to be king, it’s how they would know who gets to be a priest, It’s how they would know who gets a family inheritance. People of linage were often removed from the record of the family line for various reasons. Relationships to prove linage were important, so even if a few names are left out of the linage, we can still speak accurately of a great-grandfather “begetting” a descendant.
The point is that Matthew was more concerned about producing impactful parts of his record than he was about producing a complete list of names.
In keeping with Matthew’s purpose, and today’s sermon, I want to make three observations about Matthew’s linage of Christ Jesus.
Matthew arranges the family line into three sets of 14 names…
“So there were 14 generations from Abraham to David. There were 14 from David until the Jewish people were forced to go away to Babylon. And there were 14 from that time to the Christ.”
Matthew arrangers the family line into three sets of 14 names, each representing a major period of Israel’s history: Abraham, David, Exile (expelled). Matthew intends to show that Jesus is the fulfillment of all Jewish history. Generation after generation of Jews longed and looked for the promised deliver of Israel. If Matthew can prove that Jesus’ family roots go all the way back to David and Abraham, he will have shown how seriously we must take the claims of Jesus to be the Messiah. But there is something else to take note of…
God’s power is seen in delivering His people through terrible times (for example the Babylonian captivity). Why is the Babylonian captivity so important in the genealogy of Christ? Matthew wants to stress a great fact. God alone could save a nation of people through great trial. The Babylonians took the people of the nations they conquered and scatted them in mass all over the world. By such methods they destroyed the conquered nations.
Matthew is saying that God preserved the Jews though the impossible—an attempt to erase them as a people. And God did it in order to preserve the line of the Messiah who had now come! God preserved the Jews through the Babylonian captivity; he kept His promises to send the Messiah.
The believer can rest assured in God’s promises and power, for He will fully fulfill all His promises.
The world can be overcome: despair, depression, discouragement, emptiness, loneliness, and lack of purpose can be conquered. There is assured victory in His promises.
1 John 5:3–5
“That’s because everyone who is a child of God has won the battle over the world. Our faith has won the battle for us. Who is it that has won the battle over the world? Only the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Not only is the family line of Jesus Christ show us God’s power seen in delivering His people through terrible times, but the family line of Jesus Christ symbolizes God’s glorious mercy.
It is unusual to find the names of women in genealogies let alone unfavored and scandalous women. Yet, they are listed in Jesus’ family line as a sign of God’s mercy.
Tamar was a seducer and adulteress who God reached (Genesis 38:24).
Rahab was a Gentile rejected by the Jews. She was a prostitute who was saved from judgment because she exercised faith in God and in Israel, His people (Joshua 2:1).
Ruth was a citizen of a nation hated by the Jews, but she was a women who chose to become associated with God and His people (Ruth 1).
Bathsheba deliberately sinned with David, but she sought God’s forgiveness along with David (2 Samuel 11-12).
There are no barriers to God’s mercy. He will have mercy upon anyone—no matter the sex, nationality, or sin. Glance at the women listed in the line of Christ. How marvelous the mercy of God. There is a beautiful picture in the four women listed in Jesus roots, a beautiful picture the gospel of Christ: their sins are forgiven, and they are accepted by God as His own.
2 Corinthians 1:20–22
“God has made a great many promises. They are all ‘Yes’ because of what Christ has done. So through Christ we say ‘Amen.’ We want God to receive glory.
He makes both us and you stand firm because we belong to Christ. He anointed us.
He put his Spirit in our hearts and marked us as his own. We can now be sure that he will give us everything he promised us.”
It was centuries before God fulfilled His promise to send a Savior to the world. There are many different reasons for this. Some people in line to receive the promised Christ failed to adopt responsibility. Judah’s son Onan was told to that he had a responsibility to go to his brother’s wife (Tamar), and perform his duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for his deceased brother (Ge 38:8.). Onan refused to be a part in God’s story, his blessing. So God allowed Tamar to play the prostitute in order for God to preserve the family line to fulfill His promise of the Messiah.
Some failed to adopt responsibility. David, also, failed to adopt responsibility. He had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, who’s husband was a foreigner, who gave brith to Solomon. In 2 Samuel 7:12-17, God promises David that though Solomon’s line there would always be a descendant to sit on his Throne. However, in Jeremiah 22:30 says “Record this man as if childless… for none of his offspring… will sit on the throne of David…” How is it that God can keep both promises. By David’s sin, David failed God and God had to reroute His plan. Since Jesus was the adopted son of Jospeh (not blood related), Jesus became the legal heir to Jospeh’s family line (that of King David). Matthew makes it clear that Jesus is not the physical son of Jospeh, but the adopted son and therefore legal heir to the throne of David. God keeps his promises in spite of man’s failures. God’s steadfastness and plan was not removed by man’s stumblings and waverings.
It was centuries before God fulfilled His promise to send a Savior to the world. There are many different reasons for this. Many had despaired; others had forsaken the belief.
Abraham failed to believe during season of doubting God’s promises that he would give him a son to carry his linage. So he took matters into his own hand, lying down with his slave maiden. She gave birth to Ishmael, and his people (the arabs) have opposed God people for centuries. Yet, God has done the impossible, despite Abraham’s disgrace, he gave him son Issac, and from his line Christ… and Christianity has covered 2/3s of the world.
When facing the impossible, Sarah laughed at God and His promise that he would give her a son.
There were some who went so far as to mock and persecute those who still believed. But “when the time had fully come, God sent His Son…” (Galatians 4:4). There is application here for the second coming of Christ: “In the last days scoffers will come, sneering and following their own evil desires. They will say, “where is this “coming” he promised” (2 Peter 3:3-18).
Every person should take note both as a warning but also as a hope.
2 Peter 3:9-10
“The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. He is patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins.”
”As you know, we think that people who don’t give up are blessed. You have heard that Job was patient. And you have seen what the Lord finally did for him. The Lord is full of tender mercy and loving concern.”
Our Question today: “Will we be counted as blessed, when we count on God’s promises?” YES
“Is there a guarantee that I will receive?” YES
“Do believers really share in God’s blessing?” YES
But this morning, I think we found a far more greater question: “Will God bless his people when they fail to stand on the promise?” If you fall on Grace, then YES!
What does this mean? What does it mean to fall on grace?
“He saved us. It wasn’t because of the good things we had done. It was because of his mercy. He saved us by washing away our sins. We were born again. The Holy Spirit gave us new life.”
To fall on grace, means that we fall on the thing that first Brough us to God. God’s good works. God’s abilities and strength. Not ours. God’s promises never happened because of what you did or didn’t do. God will do what he was promised to do, because of his power.
It is here that I am reminded of the late Rich Mullin's lyrics of his song, "If I Stand."
"If I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can’t let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You"