- Sermon Notes
God Redeems the Broken
I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 11 years old. I was given a New Testament and began reading from the beginning. The first thing I came to was the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1. I thought to myself, “Man, this Christian thing is going to be harder than I thought.
Most people skip over the genealogy of Jesus. The names are hard to pronounce, and they don’t seem important. Oh, but they are. It helps us to know that Jesus is rightful heir to the throne of David. The Messiah God promised was to be known as the Son of David.
But there’s another reason the genealogy is important, because it makes a point of including dysfunctional people.
How about you, do you come from a dysfunctional family? The reality is that all of us come from messed up families. It seems like every family has a bizarre uncle or a strange cousin. If you don’t think your family has anyone strange or unusual, maybe that’s because it’s you. It seems like every family has that one person who insists on arguing about politics and ruining the family dinner.
One of the great joys of Christmas is getting together with family, and one of the greatest stresses of Christmas is… getting together with family.
All of our families are messed up or dysfunctional in one way or another, but that’s a reflection of the fact that we live in a messed up, dysfunctional world that is lost and broken; without God and without hope.
The story of Christmas is the story of God is doing something about it. This messed up, broken, dysfunctional world has moved far away from God and there is a great chasm between the world and God. But He sent His Son into that broken world to make a way for the lost to be found, for the broken to be restored, to free those who are held captive and to give light instead of darkness.
You don’t have to look far to see evidence that God sent His Son into a broken world; look at the family tree of Jesus and you’ll see all the people that are seriously flawed and yet God redeemed.
On one of my trips to Africa I was speaking to the African pastors about the importance of teaching chapter by chapter and they said, “What about the genealogies of Jesus Christ? How do you teach through that chapter?” “I’m glad you asked,” I responded, “let’s look and see…”
I. Not Your Typical Family Tree
- Looking at your family tree is interesting. My wife discovered that you can have your DNA tested and they will research your ancestry using your DNA.
- It appeals to a deep desire in people to know where they came from, to know their heritage.
Illus – All my growing up years I heard that we had American Indian in our heritage. Cherokee Nation. My wife didn’t believe it, so she bought a DNA test…. Turns out; American Indian …0%.
- If you ever look at your genealogy, you would no doubt focus on those who have accomplished much or rose to a degree of acclaim.
- It’s human nature. And the truth is — we all have it. Want an example? If we were to gather everyone for a group picture and hang it in the lobby, who would you look for first?
- Do you delete all the pictures on your phone that make you look goofy? I know I do.
1 John 2:16, For all that is in the world…the boastful pride of life, is not of the Father, but is from the world
A. God invites you to join the family
- It seems that God was specifically making a point to include people you would not want to include in your genealogy.
- Truthfully now; if you had a prostitute in your family tree, would you 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 at all, let alone a prostitute.
- The first woman mentioned is Tamar. Her story is a tragedy of epic proportions.
Illus – Tamar was married to Judah’s son Er, but he died before they had children, so she was given to his brother, Onan. But he took advantage of the situation for his own pleasure and so he died also. Judah was afraid he might lose his third son also, so he withheld him from Tamar, even though she waited years in the hope of marrying the third son. Finally, she took matters into her own hands and pretended to be a prostitute so Judah himself would fall into her trap. When she was then found to be with child, Judah wanted her killed, that is, until she revealed that Judah himself was the father. He responded by saying…
Genesis 38:26, “She is more righteous than I…”
- The second woman listed in the genealogy didn’t 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. When they came to the house of Rahab, she helped the spies and went to the side of Israel. Later, her family was saved because she helped the spies. Can you imagine including a prostitute in the genealogy of Jesus?
- Rahab is even mentioned in the famous chapter 11 of Hebrews that lists the heroes of the faith…
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. Moabites were to be excluded from Israel because they refused to allow Israel to pass through their land when they were on their way to the Promised Land, and because they hired Balaam to curse Israel.
- But Ruth married a Hebrew named Mahlon. His name means ‘sickly.’ His brother’s name was Chilion, which meant ‘wasting away.” The brothers died and Ruth went back to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi. Later, she was taken in by Boaz who married her. It’s a wonderful story of the grace of both Boaz and Ruth. She became great grandmother to David, but she was a Moabite – an outcast of Israel.
- Finally, reference is made to Bathsheba, although she is not mentioned by name. Instead it says in verse 6, “To David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.” Now there’s a scandal if there ever was one. 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 they too are invited into the family and that it doesn’t matter how messed up your life has become, God is inviting you to be in the family.
- Hey, if Tamar, and Rahab and Ruth and Bathsheba…and David, are in the family, then you and I can be also.
- You know how some churches are filled with people that have everything together and never had any issues? Yeah, well, we’re not one of those churches. If you’re looking for a church filled with perfect people, this isn’t it.
- However, if you ever do find a church filled with perfect people, don’t join it… ‘cause you’ll ruin it. You’re not perfect either.
Illus – You know how everyone avoids a smelly baby? God is the opposite. He’s not afraid to touch those that have made a mess of their lives. If you and I been adopted into the family of God, how messed up is the family tree now?
- God invites dysfunctional and messed up people to join the family, but He does something about it! He doesn’t say, “Come just as you are and don’t worry, you can stay messed up.”
- 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.
B. It’s a family tree of mercy
- The genealogy of Jesus Christ is a record of God showing mercy to those who turned their lives around.
- Jesus isn’t afraid to touch lives that are messed up, but He’s also going to do something about it. When you turn from your old ways, you see the outpouring of God’s mercy.
- One of the classic examples 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.
- There are other examples. Manasseh was perhaps the most evil of the kings who reigned in Israel, yet at the end of his life, he changed; he softened his heart before the Lord.
2 Chronicles 33:12-13 When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.
- Matthew himself knows something of 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 only gave the appearance of being religious and concluded, “If life is about getting money and power, then I’ll do it openly.” Let’s just say his parents wouldn’t have been proud of him for being a tax collector. He’d better make a lot of money, because he wasn’t going to make a lot of friends.
This reminds me of the young CEO who controlled a pharmaceutical company that purchased the rights to manufacture an older drug; and then raised the price 5,000%. It was legal, but it wasn’t nice, and he became despised; persona non grata.
A Jew would never be seen with a tax collector; they were so offensive that when a Jew paid his taxes, he wouldn’t take change from him… but then came Jesus.
- This is 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 tax collectors and sinners?”
Luke 5:31, Jesus answered, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
- The word repentance is an important part of the genealogy, because there are also those who stubbornly held on to their hard heart and the result was tragic. It’s a great lesson.
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.’”
- This is an interesting part of the genealogy. 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 was also the son of David through the blood line of Nathan, another of David’s sons. We have that genealogy in the book of Luke.
- After the genealogy, we have the account of the birth of Jesus that reveals the significance of the name given to Son sent by God.
II. His Name is Hope for Sinners
- We can identify with the sinners, the dysfunctional and messed up in the genealogy of Jesus. We can also identify with those who found hope.
- The rest of the chapter reveals the heart of God in taking messed up, dysfunctional people and giving them hope through this One who would be called Son of God.
A. He will save people from their sins
- Verse 21 — Joseph was told by the angel that the child shall be named Jesus, “For it is He who will save His people from their sins.”
- His name means, “Jehovah is salvation.” Are you saved? What does that mean? Saved from what? Saved from your sins.
- Sin brings death; eternal death; death to the soul and death to relationships. Jesus came to save sinners from their sins. He defeated death and gave life – both eternal life and life to the full right now; when you walk with Him.
- But the name of the Messiah shall include 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.
- Each aspect of the name brings the promise of hope for sinners. Wonderful Counselor…Mighty God…Eternal Father…Prince of Peace.
B. He is God with us
- Verse 23 – “And they shall call His name, ‘Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’”
- That is our healing. That is our hope. That is our confidence and our response to everything 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.”
Matthew 1:1-25 NASB
The [a]record of the genealogy of [b]Jesus [c]the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham [d]was the father of Isaac, [e]Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of [f]Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of [g]Ram. 4 Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. 5 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of David the king.
David was the father of Solomon by [h]Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of [i]Asa. 8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of [j]Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah was the father of [k]Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of [l]Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of [m]Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of [n]Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel was the father of [o]Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. 14 Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. 15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called [p]the Messiah.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to [q]the Messiah, fourteen generations.
18 Now the birth of Jesus [r]Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been [s]betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned [t]to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for [u]the Child who has been [v]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for [w]He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this [x]took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name [y]Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph [z]awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 [aa]but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.