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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode · 11 months ago

The Line of Promise

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Line of Promise

Matthew 1:1-17

Dax Bryant - Preaching

We are going to be in Matthew Chapter One, looking at those first seventeen verses this morning, but before we dive into that, I want you to think for a minute. If you were even to sit there and close your eyes and just picture the Christmas story, do you have a favorite part of the story that that kind of jumps out at you? Maybe it's the the shepherds in the field, or maybe it's the cute little animals that are that are in the manger there, or are perhaps it's the wise men who are making that long journey bearing gifts from afar. Whatever your favorite part of the Christmas story might be, I'm fairly certain it's not anything from the passage that we just read a few minutes ago, because if you were paying attention, what we discover in those verses is that prostitution, adultery, murder, deceit unplanned pregnancies are all a part, an unavoidable, indispensable part, of the Christmas story. And so as we sort of tie a bow on this sermon series that we've been in for advent, we are again reminded that in the middle of all the decorations and the traditions and the sentimental feelings of the season, which are good things. One unintended con sequence of that can be that the reality of Christmas gets sanitized, it gets cleaned up and and what we've seen, if you think about the messages the last few weeks, every step of the way as we've been tracing God's promise through scripture, that we have encountered sin and despair at every turn. This time of year we contend to ignore or or hide or forget the difficulty of the world that is around us. We can even clean up the Christmas story so much kind of brushing aside the gritty reality of the word taking on flesh, that we start to kind of fool ourselves that we've that we've understood things which we can never fully understand. But this passage in Matthew one brings us back down to Earth. Curious how many of you've read that passage all the way through before without skimming over it? How many times have you heard that passage read out loud and its entirety in a church setting? We tend to skim over stuff like this in the Bible right, especially when you can look down the page and in our modern bibles we have these nice little subtitles. There in the next section is the birth of Jesus Christ. That's what we want to get to. We can skip over these names and get to the good part, right. But of course, if we believe, Eve that this genealogy is part of God's breathed out word to us, then even this is here to instruct us and sanctify us, and so to skip over something like this is to miss out on an opportunity to be to be transformed and to glorify God. So this is well worth our time, this passage and Matthew, it's interesting how he's beginning his entire Gospel here with this list of names. But of course these are not just names. These are people, people with stories, and if we read in between the lines in this passage, will find that it is full of the scandalous, the miraculous, the mysterious and the mundane. This passage not only reminds us of the reality of the world we live in, but it also points us to Jesus, who he is, why he came.

And we're not going to go through and look in great detail at every single name that's that's listed here for us. But as we consider this passage, this is our this is going to be kind of our loose outline. What I want to do is is we've in the scandalous and the miraculous and the mysterious and the mundane into into three categories that we're going to pull out of this passage simply the past, the future and the present. So we're going to try to bring those things together to frame this passage and, Lord Willing, that's also how we will bring this passage to bear on your life. So first let's let's think about the past and let's be honest, if you were going to write an attention grabbing introduction to the most important story ever told, you would probably not begin with the book of the genealogy of so and so. It's not very exciting facts, it seems a bit boring, but genealogies are a big deal. I mean around here, genealogies are a big deal. Just about every week I discover someone is related to or connected to someone else that I had no idea about, and trying to put all that together is really helpful in figuring out all these relationships. They're important, they're they're important to understand. GENEALOGIES are a big deal here. Their big deal for the Jewish people to this is how they trace their family line, this is how they kept track of landownership and inheritance and those kinds of things. But even more importantly than that, genealogies are closely connected to the promises of God that we've been tracing through the Old Testament. If you remember, to Adam and Eve God promised a serpent crushing seed. To Abraham, God promised a son that would bless the entire world and, as we saw last week, to David, God promised a coming king that would rule forever. In fact, notice there in your Bible how Abraham and David provide book inds to this genealogy. See their names together there, both in verse one and then down at the bottom again in verse seventeen, and of course they're mentioned individually in verse two, in Verse Six. Now there are dozens of other names to notice in this genealogy, but if you miss those two names, Abraham and David, you miss the entire point of what's going on here. Matthew is intentionally attaching Jesus's name right to the main story line of the Old Testament. In other words, he's saying this is the family line through which we can trace all of God's covenant promises to save sinners through the coming and dying of his son Jesus Christ. Matthew Henry, the the Puritan commentator, speaking about this genealogy. He puts it this way. He says it proves that our Lord Jesus is of the nation and family out of which the Messiah was to arise. The promise of blessing was made to Abraham and his seed, the promise of dominion to David and his seed. It was promised to Abraham that Christ should descend from him, and it was promised to David that Christ should descend from him. And therefore, unless Jesus is a son of David and a son of Abraham, he is not the Messiah. Now this is here proved from well known records, in quote, and these records, this genealogy. It grounds the story of the son of God firmly in human history, which means, of course, that what we're reading here is not...

...fiction, it's not a fairy tale, it's based on fact. These are real people with real names who lived in real places. This is the family into which Jesus was born and and this genealogy has a side effect, by starting us out in in fact and history, in real time and real place, of setting the stage for the rest of this Gospel, that what we will continue to read is also dependable and reliable and real and trustworthy. Now, of course, that doesn't mean that it won't be confusing at sometimes either. I mean even when your own family starts talking about a third cousin once removed or something like that, at all starts to get pretty fuzzy pretty fast. It could be kind of bewildering to keep up with the the details and the intricacies of how a family tree works. And that's that's true here, even to some degree with this genealogy in Matthew. I mean especially if you go compare it with the other genealogy in Luke's Gospel, you'll notice pretty quickly that that some of the names don't line up with each other, and we won't get into all of that this morning. There's some plausible explanations for why that is. Perhaps one of the genealogies is Joseph's family, one could be marries. Perhaps one of the genealogies traces who would be the king's and the other one branches off to directly to Joseph's line. None of that as important for us to understand as this is that biblical genealogies are not just historical but they are theological. As we'll see, some generations might be skipped over. When it says father of so and so, that might be referring to a father or a grandfather or a great grandfather. This isn't like ancestrycom where you're going to find every leaf of every branch spelled out exactly right. It's meant to make a historical connection, ground it there and then prove a theological point, which explains why, when we start looking, even in the opening verses of this genealogy, you notice surprisingly that several women are included in this list of names from Jesus family, because most genealogies, especially Biblical genealogies, record the line of male descent, and you can see that just as you skim this one. Right how the word father is repeated again and again and again. It's male dominated. But but very unusually, five women are inserted into Jesus family line and and four of those women appear in the first six verses, Tamar, verse three, Rahab and Ruth Verse Five. And the wife of Uriah, Bathsheba, of course, in verse six. So not only is it highly irregular to have the names of women included in a genealogy at all, but each one of these women in particular is at the center of some scandal or rumor of scandal. There's Tamar, the twice widowed daughter in law of Judah. And after God put to death two of Judah's wicked sons who were married to Tamar, Judah failed to carry out his responsibility in marrying her to his third son, and so, desperate Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute, sits by the side of the road waits for Judah to come by. He propositions her, he impregnates her with the twins Perez and Zerah. I mean it's it's all right there in genesis thirty eight. You can read about it. It's not usually part of the Christmas story that we talked about, but it is part of the Christmas story. There's Rahab who who wasn't...

...pretending to be a prostitute. She was a prostitute who lived in the city of Jericho at the time when Joshua was conquering the promised land not only was she a prostitute, she was a pagan outsider condemned to destruction along with the rest of the citizens of Jericho. And yet not only did she save the Israelite spies, but she confesses Yah way as the one true God. She pleads for mercy and she's a branch, eventually brought into be part of the Covenant People of God. Then there's ruth, another pagan outsider, a moabite no less, and another widow after her Hebrew husband dies. She also confesses Yah way as God, and she follows her motherin law, Naomi, back to Israel. There she encounters a man named Boaz, who's a relative of Naomi, who shows her kindness. Then she boldly approaches him one night after this plan she's hatched with Naomi, she puts herself in a very vulnerable situation, effectively making herself available for marriage, which Bo as sees to a short time later, and eventually she becomes the great grandmother of King David. Then there's Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, the man, of course, whom David had killed to try to cover up the adultery that he'd committed with her. And yet, despite that scandal Bathsheba eventually gives birth to Solomon and becomes a vital link in the chain of the Covenant Promise that we saw last week, that God gave to David to give him a son who would rule from his throne forever. And then, finally, way down in Verse Sixteen, There's One more woman named Mary, a teenage girl from a poor family, a nobody from nowhere Nazareth, betrothed to Joseph and yet scandalously, scandalously, found to be pregnant before the marriage was consummated. And when Joseph heard about this, we're told that he intended to quietly seek a divorce, until the Angel Gabriel shows up and announces that that this child was given to Mary by God. He is going to be named Jesus because he will be the Messiah sent by God to save his people from their sins. Now the point is, you can't read through this genealogy without hitting the names of these women. And just like if you were flying down the freeway at eighty miles an hour and you encountered speed bumps, suddenly you're forced to slow down, that's what these names are like here. You are meant to pause as you encounter each name and think about the circumstance of this woman's life and what part she plays in the family line of Jesus. But of course these aren't the only speed bumps in this genealogy either, as we as we keep thinking about the past. Did you catch that little phrase that's repeated there at the end of verse eleven and the beginning of Verse Twelve, where it speaks about the deportation to Babylon, the deportation or the exile as we know it, that that was God's judgment on his people for their ongoing unrepentant idolatry and rebellion. People like those mentioned in verses seven through eleven, people like a Baija and Jorem and a has and Ma Nassa. We read about those men in the book of Kings, where there's this constant refrain that is attached to their names. He did evil in the sight of the Lord and of course the people...

...followed after their evil rulers, and so God judged them and eventually they were vomited out of the Promised Land. But but those aren't the only people in this list who are unworthy and unfaithful. Abraham was a rank pagan before God called him. Even afterwards, he proved himself to be a cowardly liar at times. His son Isaac followed in his footsteps and on top of that, he played favorites, causing these deep riffs in his family. Isaac's son, Jacob, had a reputation for deception that was unparalleled. And and those are the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These are the fathers of the faith. The point is, even the best of men listed in this genealogy are still sinful human beings. We could say that maybe there are not a lot of so great grandfathers in this genealogy, because all throughout this list of names there is sin attached to everyone, and some of the sinful baggage that is associated with this genealogy is of the most shocking and scandalous kind that you'll find. And you thought your family tree was a mess, and yet this is the family line that Jesus is born into. He's not a shame to enter into this mess, he's not ashamed to enter into this function. In fact, he does so in order to redeem the mess and the dysfunction, and this is this first thread of mystery that we want to introduce here, that the mystery of the incarnation, that the son of God, Holy, undefiled, separate from sinners, would take on the flesh of unholy, thin, stained, scandalous humanity. Matthew Henry says again, when the son of God was pleased to take our nature, he came near to us in our fallen, wretched condition, but he was perfectly free from sin. And while we read the names in his genealogy, we should not forget how low the Lord of Glory stooped to save the human race. That's that's something that we can't make sense of. We can't explain that. The incarnation is a mystery. It's only by the infinite power of a good, wise loving God that his son could be born into this world. I mean, just just read that list of names, Abraham and David. They're highlighted to show that Jesus came from the right stock in order to be the Messiah. But it is bad stock. It's full of sinners. Why? Because these are exactly the kind of people that Jesus came to save. Jesus Christ entered into the worst in order to save the worst Paul writes in First Timothy One fifteen, a great Christmas verse. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full accepts and acceptance, that Christ Jesus, came into the world in order to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. There's no shame, there's no brokenness with which Jesus cannot identify. There's no sin, there's no guilt, there's no failure that Jesus cannot redeem and restore. And not only is he not a shame...

...to call us brothers and sisters, but that he would take on flesh and remain in human form forever reveals something about the God given dignity that we have is human beings. This genealogy shows us first of all what Jesus has come to do, to to redeem and restore a scandalous past. But but what about the future? Do these names have anything to say to us about the future? We've seen some of these scandalous episodes in the history of this family line. But but think even about the way that some of these things unfolded, the way that some of these events came about. In this list of names there are not only the scandals, but there are stories of miracles, not just a scandalous but the miraculous, and these miracles, they are inextricably bound up with the with the bigger story of scripture. For example, verse two, there mentions Abraham, the father of Isaac. Of course, we remembered that that the way Isaac came about was through the Baron womb of Sarah and Abraham's seed. Both of Abraham and Sarah will well beyond the the point of naturally being able to conceive children. Isaac's wife, Rebecca, she was also a baron, and yet God gave them Jacob and those miraculous births. Of course, their pointing us to the most Mirac acculous birth of all, from not a barren womb but from a virgin womb. Miracles. Verse for there's a man mentioned by the name of NA shone. He was part of the exodus generation. That means he witnessed the plague. He was delivered out of Egypt on the night of the Passover. He crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground. In verse ten, there's a man mentioned by the name of Hesekiah. You know him. He he received supernatural deliverances in battle. He received divine healing, all of these miracles happening along the way to prepare for the coming of Christ into the world. But not just the the miracles. It was also, even primarily, the very ordinary events and people that are listed here that God was working in. So it's not just a miraculous but also the mundane. When you look at the names in this list, most of them are people who lived relatively normal lives, doing ordinary and expected things, living and working and marrying and having children and dying. Every person in this list experienced the ordinary event of death. There's another refrain that echoes in the book of Kings, that so andso died and was buried, or sometimes it says so andso was gathered to his father's each one of these people on this list, except for Jesus, it ends in death. Most of these people experienced life and death and everything in between, just within the the normal flow of history. You consider the story of Ruth in the book of Ruth, nothing miraculous takes place, nothing very spectacular happens after the deportation to...

Babylon. That that list of names towards the end, from the time of the deportation to the time of Christ there's more or less silence from God during that time. We know very little about it, even if you look at the names. They're in verse fourteen, for example, Azar and Zadok and a Chim and eliude. We don't know anything about those men. Their names aren't found anywhere else in the Bible. We do know that life was very hard for people living during this time. We get that when we read the prophets like Nehemiah and Haggai and Malachi, that the Kingdom of Judah was under foreign domination, that the future looks bleak. But we find that it is precisely during this bleakest of times when the people were trampled and and beaten down, teetering on the edge of faith and compromise. That's precisely when the son of righteousness began to blaze. That's precisely when the Messiah is on the threshold of entering the world in the fullness of time, at just the right time. We look at this list of names and there are tragedies, they're sorrows, there is sin, there is temptation, there are physical and spiritual battles, there are celebrations and blessings and so much of it is just so ordinary. And yet during all of this time God is moving to Sind his son and all of us. Is taking place over the course of two thousand years. Verse Seventeen mentions, Fourteen Generations, from Abraham to David, and then fourteen from David to the deportation and then fourteen from the deportation to Jesus. And we'll come back to that in a moment. But the point for now is it took a long time. It's seemed very ordinary. It was a slow Monday in working out of God's plan across the ages through these normal people. But as but as slow and mundane as it might have seemed, God was b hind the scenes working to bring about his plan of salvation, in sending forth his son. God is is knitting to gather all of these different lives and all of these different events, good and bad, miraculous and mundane, all of it to accomplish his will. And that's another bread of mystery that we can weave in here. That's the mystery of God's Providence, of his working behind the scenes, often in such a way that what man intends for evil, God intends for good. That's something we can't understand either. We can't understand everything that God is doing in our lives, let alone what he's doing in the world. But just as he ordained every life and every event associated with every person listed here to bring about the purpose of sending Christ, in the same way God has also ordained every event in each of your lives to accomplish his good purposes in you for Christ. The problem is we...

...just can't see that when it's happening. Another purit than by the name of John flavil famously said the providence of God is like reading Hebrew words. It's best read backwards. And that's true, isn't it? How often have you only been able to get the right perspective on what God is doing in your life when you can look backwards and see what he was doing for your good, for his glorious things that you miss in the moment? And this right here is kind of where we can tie the past and the future together, because we can confidently look back and say that, because of what God has done for us all already, it's a guarantee that the promise is that God has in store for us in our future are even better. In other words, for the Christian that the best is yet to come. So we can we can look at this list of names and we can see how God has worked and we can see what he's done to bring about his plans, and that should give you hope, hope because of God's Providence, hope for the future, because right now God is working out his plan for your good, for your blessing, for your future. We've talked about the past, we've talked about the future. What about the present? What does this genealogy tell us about right now? Well, the most important word in this list of names is not a name, it's a title. Christ. It's not Jesus's last name. Christ is an office, it's a roll, and that one word, Christ, is an attention getter in this genealogy. It's right there in the opening verse the Book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, and it shows up twice in the last two verses. It's another way to frame this passage and and it is meant to be seen. And this word is life altering. This word is faith defining Christ. It's the Hellenized version of Messiah, anointed one. This is the the long awaited savior and Redeemer and King who we've been waiting for, whose line we've been tracing through the Old Testament, this is him. And in this passage where we have one Jewish name listed after another, what this tells us, in declaring that Jesus is the Christ, is far from mundane. It is bold, it is shocking. Jesus is the Christ, Matthew saying. Jesus is the seed who had been promised in the garden. Jesus is the one who brings blessing to the whole world. Jesus is the king who will reign forever over God's people. And and that that last one there is at least part of the reason why this genealogy is is grouped into these segments of fourteen. It doesn't include every generation, but but the way Matthew has intentionally structured this is to communicate something to us, and and you probably know that, that Hebrew consonants. You know the vowels were added later, but the consonants have numerical values attached to them, and so the name David Dalot, Bob Dod Dalot has numbers attached to it. Four Plus Six plus four equals fourteen. And so as this genealogy...

...is presenting that the full picture of the Jewish people from Abraham ending in Jesus. It's like Matthew is is shouting here on the opening page that you can't miss it. David, David, David, this is the promised King, this is the son of David. And then, like I said, it's Jesus name that appears at the end of the genealogy. He is the end of this genealogy. Much like the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, Jesus is the end, the purpose, the point, the the Telos of this whole family's history and even more than that, he is their hope and salvation. Now we're here at the very beginning of Matthew's Gospel, but I want you to turn with me for a moment to the very end of Matthew's Gospel, Matthew Twenty eight. Matthew starts with this very Jewish genealogy, but how does he end this book? You know these verses very well. Matthew Twenty eight eighteen. These are among Jesus's final recorded words to his disciples. We know it as the Great Commission, where he says all authority in Heaven and earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of the Jewish nation. No, make disciples of all nations. Matthew starts with this very Jewish focus that looks backwards, and he ends with this view, you looking ahead to the whole world again, something that's that's hinted at even in the genealogy, with the name of those Pagan Gentile women who are included in Jesus's family tree. And this is a third little thread of mystery that we want to weave in here. This was a mystery that was kept secret for long, ages were told, but has now been fully disclosed, and that is the mystery of God's kingdom. That Salvation is for both Jew and gentile Romans, one sixteen says. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. And what that means is that everyone, everyone who lives in the whole world, must come to terms with WHO Jesus Christ is. He must be reckoned with and you either bow the knee before him now in faith and worship and adoration and devotion, or you will bow it later in subjection, through judgment. There's no middle ground, there is no in between, there is no wavering between those two things. So what does that have to do with the present? Simply this that Jesus is the Christ and he demands your allegiance today. He demands your obedience right now. The Gospel call is not something that you can just put off to the side to deal with later. It is not something you can delay. It's not even an invitation that you can politely decline and send your regrets. The call of the Gospel is a...

...summons to submit to King Jesus, and the fact that Jesus is the Christ should be as earth shattering to your life as it is to this genealogy here in Matthew One. Now we all know that that what we've been through, maybe in this church, even in this country, in the world, over the last couple of years, is unlike anything that any of us have ever experienced. Maybe more than ever before, we've had to learn to kind of hold things more loosely, to have our plans be a little more flexible, to live with more uncertainty. But isn't that how Christ should always be living? James says, what is Your Life? You are a myst that appears for a little while and then vanishes. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, but in the midst of that, Christ is our solid ground. He is the same yesterday and today and forever. He remains unchanging. And when you don't know what the future holds and when you're disappointed and discouraged about what's happened in your past, Jesus is still the Christ and he commands you to live in the present for him and like him. which brings us to one final threat of mystery that we want to weave in, and that is that Jesus brings the kingdom in such a way that humiliation precedes exaltation. He brings the Kingdom not by power or strength or resources in any kind of impressive way, but rather by suffering and shame and death. Before he ever experienced exaltation, the man Christ, Jesus, willingly accepted humiliation, beginning at his birth and culminating in his death. What does that say to you as you seek to live for Christ today? It should remind you that your ways are not God's ways. So often, at least speaking for me, I think that I can and I should use my connections and my own resources to do my own thing, to get my own way, when in reality, I should be looking at the humility that Jesus modeled and and asking myself questions like what am I doing for Christ instead of for me? How am I living like him? What am I laying down for the good of others? How am I sacrificing my own priorities and my own preferences? Jesus is calling you today to live for him and to seek ways that you can serve others in his name. What is it that you can be doing for Jesus as you seek to live for his honor and glory? What is it? Because all honor and glory belongs to him, because he did not remain in his state of humiliation, did he? But he rose from the dead, he ascended to heaven and he will one day return crowned with the glory that belongs only to God, both to gather there his people in and to judge the wicked. And in this mystery that humiliation precedes exaltation. We we find ourselves bound up...

...in that too, because unless we are willing to share in the humiliate Paian of Jesus, laying down our lives, picking up our cross to follow him, then we have no reason to expect to share in his exaltation. Paul writes about this in Romans Eight. Romans eight hundred sixteen, says the spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, then air's airs of God and also fellow airs with Christ. Listen, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. See It there, humiliation proceeds exaltation. Not that, not that we have the right to glory ourselves, that that we are brought into it because of what Jesus has, a chief, thieved in our place. He is the Christ, he is the Messiah, he is the King, he is the Lord, he is the only savior, and this line of Promise in Matthew's Gospel leads us to him. And so as we look at this list of names, just ordinary sinful people like you and me, we see God bringing about his purposes in mysterious and miraculous ways, ways that we can't explain, ways that we can't understand. And here's the thing. If you took a razor to your Bible and attempted to cut out the scandals and the miracles and the mysteries and the mess of Christmas. You will miss the Glory of the Gospel and you may just miss the glory of what God is doing in your own life right now. See this list of mostly mundane names, but understand what it reveals. Jesus redeems your past, Jesus blesses your future and Jesus US commands your present. And the good news for you is that when you place your faith in Jesus Christ, you are brought into this family Abraham and David. They become your father's this becomes your genealogy, this is your family tree. You're not defined by your past, your future is not unknown and uncertain, and your present is worth living because Jesus is the culmination of all of God's promises, the totality of God's work in bringing about redemption. We've been tracing this promise through the Old Testament. It ends here. All of the promises of God find there, yes, in him. To whom else will you go? No one else has the words of eternal life. He is the one that you've been waiting for, so stop waiting. If you never have come to him. Let's pray, Lord, how I...

...pray that, through my own muddled thoughts and words, that your spirit would move and work, that in the hearts of your people, you would allow them to soak in the truth of your word, to the hearts, perhaps of any unbelievers who are here, God that you, that you would penetrate their hearts with the truth of your word, that would bring them to repentance and faith in your son. Lord, it is our desire that we glorify you in all things, and as we consider our own past lives before Christ, we acknowledge that they were the very opposite of bringing glory to you. We were consumed with bringing glory to ourselves. But A as we look to the future, God, help us know and live in the promises that have been made and in the in the presence of your spirit dwelling within us, that you are working, despite our ongoing struggles and battles against the old man, that you are working to conform us to the image of your son. Do that work in us. We pray, Lord, help us to yield and submit, to bow the knee every day, acknowledging Jesus as our king, to him belong all glory and honor. Amen,.

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