SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. Ezra 9:8
You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.
God’s grace has been shown to us when the angel said, “And you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
Grace was revealed and hope had a name.
He came to us while we were sinners and “While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
‘For it is by grace you have been saved. Through faith – and this not from your effort, it is a gift from God.”
We light the second candle of Advent because God’s grace is greater than our sin.
Grace Greater Than Our Sin
Matthew 1:15, Hebrews 2:9-15
December 9, 2018
Intro: My mother-in-law has spent time reconstructing her family tree. She even had Terri and her brothers do the DNA test to confirm what she already new. She has gone far enough back to find some family on the Mayflower.
Typically when we put our family tree together and we look at names, we only know our grandparents and maybe our great-grandparents but that is where it ends. But in the Jewish culture into which Jesus was born, a family tree was more or less their resume. If you wanted to know someone, you had to know their ancestry. To be Jewish in good standing you had to know that your ancestors were Jewish.
Consider this story from Ezra. In chapter two of Ezra, Ezra puts together a list of those who returned from exile. The list included a list of who the exiles descended from. Toward the end a group of priests are mentioned. After the list of names of the priests it says in verse 62; “These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.
For the Jewish people your ancestry was vastly important and it was very normal for Matthew to include Jesus earthly family tree.
Consider this today, as I read Matthew chapter one.
I’m presenting this as a people are listening to the family tree of Jesus. There are two people commenting to each other as this is read. The text in bold is the scripture. The text in italics are the persons in the audience commenting to someone sitting next to them.
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: (this ought to be good)
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, (Abraham may have trusted God in big ways but He fathered an illegitimate child. He passed his wife off as his sister. He even tried to sacrifice his son and covered it up by saying God told him to do it.) Isaac, the father of Jacob, (Jacob played Him like a fiddle). and Jacob, the father of Judah (what a lousy child, brother and husband and father he was) and his brothers. 3 Judah (can you even believe they included this guy. They should have chopped this limb off long ago. He treated his daughter-in-law unjustly and didn’t financially provide for her. In order to force her father-in-law to take care of her she dressed like a prostitute and Then this holy man, slept with her. He gave her some of his belongings and left. She was brought before Judah to burn her at the stake for being pregnant out of wedlock. She then presented Judah his belongings and declared that he was the father. Perez and Zerah were the result of that illicit affair) Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of 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 (did you hear that? Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho. Do you think Boaz knew that?), Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth (she wasn’t even a Hebrew), and Obed the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of David the king.
David was the father of Solomon whose mother had been the wife of Uriah(they didn’t bother to mention that David had Uriah killed after David found out that his affair with Bathsheba ended in her being pregnant. Uriah was one of David’s mighty men). 7 Solomon (what a womanizer but was he wealthy, I would have loved to been one of his wives. Who are you kidding you would have been satisfied to be in his harem) Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. 8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon (What a awful bunch of kings. A good set of kings wouldn’t have allowed Judah to end up in Babylon) .
12 After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel was the father of 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. (this is what they call the lame duck years) 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary (more illegitimate children), by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah (He is the Messiah with that family tree?)
To their surprise Jesus steps to the podium and says “I heard what you have been saying about my family. I know they have failed me many times. But many times they exercised great faith. I loved them just the way they were. They are no different than you. Would you like me to read your family tree out loud?” ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God but through me is the gift of eternal life.’”
But, “God’s grace is greater than all our sins.”
This list points out the humanity of Jesus. Jesus’ resume was intact and Matthew begins the story of his birth. I’m glad that God does not judge us by our family tree. But it should be an encouragement to us that God didn’t exclude Jesus and the skeletons in our closet don’t exclude us from God’s love either.
God saw us in our hopeless and helpless state. His plan took a long time to develop but He made it clear that we would never be good enough for heaven on our own. We can never have a relationship with God through our efforts. We needed a Savior to bring us to God. Jesus is the world’s one and only Savior.
Look at Hebrews 2:9-15 with me.
9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
Jesus came to earth because of God’s grace that is given to us. Jesus not only came to earth He came to die. Not to experience death but to die for you and I. Jesus came to die for Steve. Make this very personal to you. Repeat this with me but include your name at the end.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
Who other than the Holy God who made all things be the one, be the perfect one to die for us and to bring us salvation? There is no other one!
The word perfect here does not mean that Jesus suffered to be perfect it means that because He died He accomplished exactly what God planned to happen. Salvation was available for all who would call on the name of the Lord.
I’m glad that God’s plans cannot be thwarted. I always wonder what would have happened if the Jewish leaders had just ignored Jesus or put Him in prison for life. But, Satan wasn’t smart enough to try that.
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Do you remember Jesus family tree? Do you remember yours? Well Jesus says that He and all who come to Him are in the same family- the family of God. Praise God, He is not ashamed to welcome all us to be His family and to call us His brothers and sister. People that is grace.
“I will proclaim Your name to My brethren,
In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”
13 And again,
“I will put My trust in Him.”
“Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.”
Jesus is our advocate standing before God saying this. He will stand up for us because He died for us. He has redeemed, saved or made new all who through faith receive His grace.
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Grace says, “No longer do you have to fear death.” No longer does sin have the power in our lives that it once had. Jesus died to defeat Satan’s influence in our life therefore glorify God in all you do.
Challenge: Do you see it today? That God’s grace is greater than all of your sin? This is the story of Christmas. This is the story of Jesus. The sins of people in the Old Testament did not deter Jesus from coming to save us. Our sin won’t deter Him from saving us. Here is why it can’t, “Jesus died for you.” And He says, “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Call out today and come to Jesus.
Salvation is not your problem but living for Jesus is Well admit that to Him and commit all of your life to Him. I would also tell someone who will help hold you accountable to your decision today. Salvation is free but growth comes in a relationship with Jesus. Develop that starting today.