Friday, December 21, 2012
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There are lots of people digging into their family tree these days. In fact, we've done some of our own. A lot of digging around to find out where your roots are. You know, where my grandfather came from and my great grandfather, and which king or famous person I'm descended from. Of course I would be descended from someone famous, right?
Some people do find out that they are related to royalty, and then other people find out some embarrassment in their family tree - the old horse thief, you know, that they'd rather not talk about. For 2,000 years God has been developing and protecting a line for His Son to come through, and there are in that family tree some eyebrow raisers.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Surprises in the Family Tree."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God, comes right out of the Christmas Story, is found in Matthew 1. Now, you may or may not be aware of the fact that the Christmas Story begins actually with a genealogy; a list of Jesus' family tree. God's been preparing this line for the Messiah; it's this most special lineup of people - the most special family tree in the history of planet earth. He goes down a long list of names that starts here with Abraham, works its way on down, and I'll just read a couple of them to you.
"Salmon was the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth," etc. You probably don't want to hear a whole lot more of that. But all of a sudden you stop and your eye goes back and you say, "Rahab? What's she doing in Jesus' family tree?" Now, in most of this genealogy only the father is mentioned. It's only in rare cases where God wants to make a special point of it that He includes the mother. Why Rahab?
Now, if you remember your Old Testament a little bit, some years before, the Israelites were preparing to conquer the land of Canaan. God sent in a couple of spies and they went to the city of Jericho and they found one home where they were taken in to hide, and it turned out it was the home of Rahab - the prostitute. She turned out to be the prostitute who gave herself to the Jewish God for the rest of her life.
But these aren't the kind of people you talk about in your family tree; these are the ones you cover up. This isn't the king! And yet God makes it a point to include her. You see, there's a hidden message here in the Christmas Story. A message that Jesus is for people who know they need forgiving and who know that God's grace has no limits. God doesn't use the word deserve when it comes to salvation. None of us deserves to be in His family tree. It's not just Rahab that's a surprise; what is Ron Hutchcraft doing in God's family? What are you doing in His family?
We're sinners who must always find grace to be "Amazing grace - how sweet the sound." The hymn says, "I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me...a sinner condemned, unclean." I hope today you still find God's grace amazing, and that you haven't been around so long that you think you belong in God's family because you deserve it. There is no one listening today who will not be forgiven by Him. Rahab was. And there is no person who doesn't still need His amazing grace today.
But maybe you've never experienced that grace for yourself. Oh, you've heard that song a lot of times - Amazing Grace. It says, "I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see." But today, this Christmas season, how appropriate. The God who will forgive all those who come to Him, holds out His hand to you and says, "Grab My hand, my child." His Son died to pay the penalty that you deserve. And God can be a forgiver because of the death of His Son on a cross. And, because His Son walked out of His grave under His own power, what began in a manger ended on a cross, and culminated with a resurrection and becomes personal for you when you let this Jesus be the forgiver of your sins.
That's the day you're welcomed into His family. Would you tell Him today, "Jesus, I want the Savior you came to be, to be my Savior. You came into the world at Christmas. Come into my life this Christmas season."
And, go to our website and find out there how you can be sure you belong to Him - YoursForLife.net. Because the story of Rahab tells us this Christmas that there is no one who He will not welcome into the family of God.