Summary: This is the first message in a series through the Book of Matthew
What’s In Your Family Tree?
Have you ever been around people who seem to chatter on and on and in the end, you wonder what they said? Or heard people who have the appearance of knowledge yet when you check it out discover though it sounded right, it was off base? In the first century church, like in the 21st century church, it was a problem, and for all the ages in between. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3-7 As I urged you when I was on my way to Macedonia, stay on where you are at Ephesus in order that I may warn and admonish and charge certain individuals not to teach any different doctrine, Nor to give importance to or occupy themselves with legends (fables, myths) and endless genealogies which foster and promote useless speculations and questionings, rather than acceptance in faith of God’s administration and the divine training that is in faith, [in that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence]; Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith. But certain individuals have missed the mark on the very matter [and] have wandered away into vain argument and discussions and purposeless talk. They are ambitious to be doctors of the Law—teachers of the Mosaic ritual—but they have no understanding either of the words and terms they use or of the subjects about which they make [such] dogmatic assertions.
We often are confronted by people who desire the teaching position yet they are in need of a teacher, many with right hearts, others with personal ambition. The outcome remains the same, misunderstanding and wrong living. It is that very misrepresentation of God’s Truth that has lead the church down the path of being ineffective in totally reaching people for Jesus Christ. Not being grounded in the word has lead to groundless claims and few if any fruitful results.
I want to help you, through a variety of methods, to become more grounded in the Word. Anyone interested? Today I am beginning a series through the Bible, beginning with Matthew, and we will move around from book to book in the upcoming years, to help you gain a firm grip on knowing and practicing your faith. That however is not enough. That is why we have been writing Growth Seeds, to plant seeds of knowledge and faith in your life through a daily devotional you can print on line from our web site or pick up at the church. Even that is not enough, so we are creating small groups to go deeper in our faith, and you can tie into them through the area fellowship meetings held each month. If you want to live by faith as the Bible instructs us, you need to know faith. We are also making the messages available on cassette after the services, and you can subscribe monthly and have a tape available for your study during the week with a storage binder for $12. All this to safeguard you from teaching or being taught false doctrines. Now how do you know what I teach is right? Through all this, you can check me out, and you should do that.
If you have done the last three issues of Growth Seeds, you covered today’s text from Matthew 1:1-17, the genealogy of Jesus Christ. How many of your have done these Growth Seeds? Who found it interesting looking at the highlighted lives of various men and women mentioned? Who skimmed through it? You don’t need to raise your hand.
When we do a reading through of the Bible, genealogies are often skimmed over, with some obligations to say I have read the words though the mind and heart have disconnected waiting for something meatier to come up. Stay with me, don’t zone out and we will find a practical application in these first seventeen verses.
The Miss World pageant pulled out of Nigeria this past week because a writer said if Mohammad were alive today, he would take the winner of the contest as a wife. The Muslims were offended and the result was hundreds of deaths from the rioting. If they knew his genealogy, in fact if they totally knew his teachings, they never would have rioted but rather nodded in assent to the thought this is what he would have done in a contemporary society based on what he did in his day.
The genealogy of Jesus shows us how God responded in history and how God responds today. This can be broken down into three sections of fourteen generations each. They are not to meant to be taken as a parent to child accounting though some are. Mathew, inspired by the Holy Spirit, paints with a brush that paints in some names, and omits others but does include the family heritage with each stoke of the brush.