- Sermon Notes
He Came to Save Sinners
As we continue studying through the Bible, we're going to move to the book of Matthew for our weekend services, although we will continue through the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles during the Wednesday evening services. The books of Chronicles summarize in greater detail the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah, going all the way back to Saul and David.
I thought it would be good for us to study the life of Jesus during the weekend services so we can get to know the life of Jesus in a more personal basis which will help us as we continue through our Old Testament study.
Matthew’s gospel shows Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah, the one who fulfills the Old Testament scriptures and so it is a wonderful book to bring into our study through the Old Testament scriptures.
The book of Matthew has a lot of personal meaning for me because when I first became a Christian it was the first book that I read on my own. I remember sitting on the bus reading chapter one and thinking to myself, “This is going to be a lot more challenging than I thought.” The genealogy of chapter 1, at first glance, isn't exactly what most people consider inspiring. However, one thing is for certain, it is most certainly inspired by God and given to us for a purpose.
Beginning with a genealogy isn't exactly what they would recommend in Bible college to use as an introduction to a sermon, but I break all the sermon rules anyway, so why not that one?
We have been studying through 1 and 2 Kings, so this genealogy has much more significance to us as we have gotten to know many of these kings over the last several months and now we will see how they relate to Jesus and how they relate to us as well.
I. Not Your Typical Family Tree
- As we study through this genealogy, one thing becomes quite clear; this is not your typical family tree.
- The nature of man is an interesting thing. If we could have our way we would want a family tree that was filled with honorable pedigree.
- If you've ever looked at your genealogy, you no doubt like to focus on those who have accomplished much and rose to a degree of acclaim.
- But isn't that a product of the pride of man? And the truth is -- we all have it. Want an example? If we were to take a church group picture and hang it in the lobby, who would you try to find first?
- If someone is taking pictures and shows you the camera, do you delete the ones that make you look goofy? I know I do.
1 John 2:16, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not of the Father, but is from the world.
A. God is not ashamed of who you are
- As I said, this is not your typical family tree. It seems that God was specifically making a point to include people that we would definitely not include in our genealogy.
- Truthfully now; if you had a prostitute in your family tree, you probably wouldn't highlight that fact. Yet God specifically makes a point of it. We know this is true, because women were typically not even included in a genealogy, let alone a prostitute.
- The first woman mentioned is Tamar. Her story isn't exactly a celebration of human achievement.
Illus – Tamar was married to Judah’s son Er, but he died and so she was given to his brother, Onan, but he only took advantage of the situation for his own pleasure and so he died also. Judah was afraid that he might lose his third son also so he kept him from Tamar, even though she waited many years. Finally, she took matters into her own hands and pretended to be a prostitute and Judah himself fell into her plot and she was then found to be with child. At first, Judah wanted her killed, until she revealed that he himself was the father. He responded by saying...
Genesis 38:26, Judah said, “She is more righteous than I…”
- The second woman listed in the genealogy did not pretend to be a prostitute, she was one. Her name was Rahab.
- When Israel was about to enter the promised land Joshua sent two spies into Jericho. So they went and came into the house of Rahab. Later, her family was saved because she helped Israel.
Hebrews 11:31, By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
- The next woman mentioned is Ruth. She was a faithful and gracious woman, but she was a Moabite and they were to be excluded because they refused to provide Israel with food and water when they were on their way out of Egypt and because they hired Balaam to curse them.
- But Ruth was married to a Hebrew who died and then later was taken in by Boaz who married her. It's a wonderful story of the grace of both Boaz and Ruth. She became the grandmother of David, but she was a Moabite – an outcast of Israel.
- Finally, a reference is made to Bathsheba, although she is not mentioned by name. But instead it says in verse 6, “To David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.” That's a scandal if there ever was one and can you imagine including that in your family tree?
- Why would these names be included in the genealogy of Jesus? Because God wants every sinner to know that Jesus came for them, that it doesn't matter how messed up your life has become, He is reaching out to you.
- Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that neither fornicators, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God…
1 Corinthians 6:11, Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Illus – You know how everyone avoids a smelly baby? God is the opposite. He's not afraid to touch those that are dirty.
- When you study through the genealogy of Christ, there is a record of those that were bad, those that were not quite so bad, and those that were good.
- But what stands out, is that it's also a record of God showing mercy as a response to those who turned around.
- Jesus isn't afraid to touch lives that are smelly, but He is also going to do something about it. When we turn from our old ways, we see the outpouring of God's mercy.
- One of the classic examples of that is David. God brought mercy to David by confronting him through the prophet Nathan; and David responded with a broken heart.
Psalm 51:10, Created in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
- But there are other examples as well. Manasseh was the most evil king that reigned over Judah, yet at the end of his life, he actually softened before the Lord.
2 Chronicles 33:10-13 The repentance of Manasseh
- Matthew himself knows something about the mercy of God because he was a tax collector who was given the opportunity to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
Illus – no doubt Matthew saw the hard hearts of the Pharisees who tried to look religious and concluded, “If life is about getting money and power, I'll do it openly.” Let’s just say his parents wouldn’t have been proud of him for choosing this career. He’d better make a lot of money, because he wasn't going to make a lot of friends. A Jew would never be seen with a tax collector, they were so dirty that when a Jew paid his taxes he wouldn’t take change from him… but then came Jesus.
- Here you can see why sinners are included in the genealogy…
Luke 5:30, The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”
Luke 5:31, Jesus answered, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
- And the word repentance becomes an important part of the genealogy, because there were those who stubbornly held on to their hard heart and the result was tragic.
Illus – Jeconiah was the last king before the exile and was so hard of heart that God cut off the line of David from him.
Jeremiah 22:30, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.’”
- That also becomes an interesting part of the genealogy here. Jesus had a legal claim to the throne of David because he was the legal son of Joseph, but Joseph was the son of Jeconiah.
- But Jesus also was of the house of David through Mary and we have her genealogy in the book of Luke to verify that as well.
II. Jesus is the Hope of Sinners
- If we can identify with the sinners in the genealogy of Jesus, then what is our hope?
- After this amazing genealogy, we are presented with the miraculous birth of Jesus as God presents him to the world as the answer to their sins.
A. Even His name speaks of hope
- Joseph was told by the angel not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife and that the child shall be named Jesus, “For it is He who will save His people from their sins.”
- The name, “Jesus,” means, “Jehovah is salvation.” And that is the purpose that God sent into this world, He came to save people from their sins.
- But the name of the Messiah shall include even much more.
Isaiah 9:6, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
- To “save us from our sins” speaks of healing. We need to be saved from the eternal consequences of sin, but we also need to be saved from the wounds, the hurts, and the bitterness that sin creates even now.
- How does God do that? It's found in verse 23…
- Matthew helps us see that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. And here, that God promised that He would be with us.
- That is our healing. That is our hope. That is our confidence and our response to everything that life throws at us.
Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.”
- Jesus made that same promise.
Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 1:1-25 NASB