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Christmas Sermon from Matthew 1 (First Advent) December 2, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Christmas, Matthew, Religion, Sermons.
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CHRISTMAS, THE FULFILLED PROMISES

Matthew 1:1-6, 20-23

INTRODUCTION: This advent season we are going to be looking at “Christmas According to Matthew”. Both Matthew and Luke use genealogies in their account of the Christmas story. It is important that Jesus is God born as a man. It is important that His birth is a miraculous birth. It is just as important that we know the ancestry through which Jesus came because these genealogies prove that Jesus is the promised one of God.

This is underscored by the title that Matthew gives his gospel. He does not call it a gospel as Mark does nor does he identify it as a historical narrative as Luke does. He entitles his book, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham, the son of David.” Genealogies were important for a number of reasons. They were important to the religious life of the people. A priest could not serve unless he could trace his ancestry back to Levi. Even the singers and the gatekeepers of the temple were determined by family, traced back to the time of David. Genealogy was also important to the economic structure of Israel. The title to land was kept secure through genealogy. Land could not be sold permanently but it could be sold temporarily and genealogy was the way to guarantee that the land returned to the family every seventh year.

CHARACTERISTICS OF MATTHEW’S GENEALOGY 

The genealogy that we have listed here is essential to the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. It is important to prove Jesus Christ’s ancestry because the spiritual promises that God made to the world through the covenants he made with Abraham and David were promised through there descendants. For that reason, Jesus must meet the physical, ancestral qualifications of the genealogy, otherwise He is a pretender and imposter, perhaps even a liar who we cannot and should not trust. So the main purpose of these genealogies is to establish credibility.

Credibility is not always easy to prove. In the news earlier this week, it was announced that the remains of the heir to the throne of Russia, who was murdered in 1918(?) had been found. Since the time of the murders there have been various pretenders who claimed to be an escaped member of the Russian royal family. One of these imposters was proved through DNA not to be who she claimed to be. DNA testing, of course, was not available but there were extensive records of genealogy that were used to verify the credibility of one’s claim to the throne.

This particular genealogy is divided into three parts, each with fourteen generations (Matthew 1:17). The main purpose for this form was probably to make the generations easy to memorize. In order to fit this genealogy into those parts, a few generations were skipped. At the time Matthew was written, one could go to the temple and could verify if this genealogy was accurate. This genealogy gives us an overview of the Old Testament and of God’s plan in forming history to bring His Son into the world on that first Christmas Eve in order to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham and to David.

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY 

The genealogy establishes the fact that the Christ of Christmas is totally the work of God. It does this through the different people who are mentioned in the genealogy.

The Miracle Son – Isaac. God promised Abraham a son. His wife could not have any children, so she suggested that Abraham have a child through the slave girl, Hagar. When that young boy reached thirteen years old, God came by and said, “He’s not the one. I’m going to give you a son through Sarah. Through him will come the fulfillment of the promises that I have given you.

The Deceiver – Jacob. From before his birth, God prophesied that he would be the chosen one instead of his brother, Esau. These two boys grew up aware of the promise, the covenant, that God had made with their family and were aware of the importance of the birthright and the blessing of their father but Jacob did not become a part of the line of the chosen seed because of his deception of his father and of his brother but because God had chosen him. That is what is meant when God says, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

The Father who did not do his duty – Judah and Tamar. God had killed two of Judah’s son who should have fathered children by Tamar. Judah, apparently kept his last son from her, refusing to give her children. Tamar then deceived him by pretending to be a prostitute. Genesis 38:27-30 tells about the birth of her twin sons, “Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb. And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, “How did you break through? This breach be upon you!” Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand. And his name was called Zerah.” We see God’s hand in determining the line through whom the Messiah comes.

The Foreigners who turned to God – Rahab the harlot and Ruth the Moabitess (Tamar and Bathsheba may also have been foreigners, non-Jewish). These two women had no part in God but He not only brought them through their faith into His people but allowed them to become a significant part of the line that gives us the Messiah.

The Sinner to whom God showed mercy – David with Bathsheba. David’s sin with Bathsheba was an awful thing leading to murder and judgment on David’s family and his kingdom but God did not forsake David. He had promised that he would never reject David’s family as he had Saul’s.

THE PROOF OF FULFILLED PROMISES 

This genealogy not only establishes the fact that God has been working in history but also that He has fulfilled his promises in Jesus Christ. Genealogy is an interesting field. We have had various ones in our family do research and have found out some things both positive and negative. My sister was at my parents during the Thanksgiving season and she posted some pictures of various of our ancestors, some of which I had never seen before. One of these was of my grandfather and his college football team in the 1920’s. Jadyn was looking at the pictures with me and she thought because of the football helmets that they wore in those days, that these men were all in the army. Well she learned something about her family. Now, there are a lot of things that can be learned from genealogy but the genealogy of Jesus is a royal genealogy, a genealogy that established that Jesus Christ is the Sent One from God. It is a genealogy that brings hope to those who understand its purpose. It brings joy to those who are waiting in expectation of the fulfillment of its promise. It gives a foundation for the faith to which we hold.

The Christ of Christmas fulfills the promise of an inheritance through the seed that God made to Abraham. God made a promise to Abraham. He promised that all the nations would be blessed through his seed. Galatians 3:6-4:7 explains how that became a reality, through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”

Galatians 3:16:  Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

You can partake today in the promise to Abraham through faith in Christ (Galatians 3:14, 19). You can become an heir of the promise today (Galatians 3:26-29).

Christmas is a vital part of the fulfillment of that promise (Galatians 4:4-5). The ultimate fulfillment, of course, is on the cross but the fact that the Son of God was born of woman is of great significance. All of that works together according to God’s plan that we might through the redemption of His blood be adopted into the family of God as heirs of the Father and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

THIS IS THE GENEALOGY OF A KING! 

The Christ of Christmas fulfills the promise of an everlasting kingdom and an everlasting King that God made to David. David wanted to build a house for God (2 Samuel 7:1-3). God evaluated David’s plan as lacking (2 Samuel 7:4-7). Rather than a temple displaying His glory to the earth, God established a covenant with David. Rather than establishing a house for Himself where men can come to Him and worship, Jesus, the Son of David came Himself to die and to establish His eternal kingdom through His death, burial, and resurrection (2 Samuel 7:8-16 and Romans 1:1-4). The coming of Christ brings God to us.

Why did God do all of this? Why did He choose Abraham out of Ur of Chaldees and David out of the shepherd fields of Bethlehem? Why did God choose a virgin by the name of Mary to bear the Son of God? The answer is found in verses 20-23. To fulfill the promises of salvation from sin made by God for the world to Abraham and David.

Sometimes doubts come to our minds. Can this really be true? Is the hope that Christmas promises a real hope or is it just a charade which serves a nice purpose. In the past, when I have been plagued with doubts about God’s Word, it is such passages like this one, established in fact, in this case the fact of genealogy, that assures me that this book and the Christ is reveals are true.

 

These promises are also for you. Is it not time that you believed the promises of God? Is it not time for you to say, I am going to trust Christ alone as my salvation. Would you do that today?

Maybe you have a lot of questions. We can help you to get connected with someone who will take the time to meet with you weekly and answer your questions. Please let us know today, if we can help you in this way.

ADDENDUM

“WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS BY NIGHT”

The Lyrics

“Traditional ascribed to Irish-born Nahum Tate (1652-1715), this paraphrase of Luke 2:8-14 is believed by many to be among the better carol texts in the English language. It was first published in Tate and Brady’s Supplement (1700) to their New Versions of the Psalms of David. It was the first, and for 82 years the only Christmas hymn permitted to be used in Anglican churches. Tate was named poet laureate of England in 1692.” http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/while_shepherds_watched.htm

The first part of stanza three especially points out the importance of Christ’s ancestry: “To you, in David’s town this day/ Is born, of David’s line,/ the Savior, who is Christ the Lord;”

 

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