Making a Difference in Our Generation
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 5, 2012
*In these verses God tells us about the generations from Abraham to Christ.
But do these verses say anything about our generation?
The answer is yes.
In these verses we can see how to make a difference in our generation.
The first thing to do is focus on family.
*God's plan has always been to work in and through families.
In vs. 1, God led Matthew to begin by saying: "The book of the generation (or genealogy) of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham."
All through the first 17 verses, God's Word focuses on the Lord's family.
Families matter to God, and they always have.
*Your family matters to God, and that's good, because family life is not always easy.
As they used to say: "Living in a family ain't beanbag."
*Raising children ain't beanbag.
There are going to be problems from generation to generation.
So Abraham had to put up with Isaac.
Isaac had to put up with Jacob.
And Jacob had to put up with Judah and his brethren.
*Raising children is a challenge.
Proverbs 10:1 tells us that "A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother."
And Proverbs 17:25 says, "A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him."
Some of us have been through that grief.
And I certainly gave more than my fair share of grief to my own parents.
*Raising children is a challenge.
Luke's Gospel tells a story from the Lord's childhood.
It happened during one of the family visits to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Jesus was 12 years old, and as His family returned home, they discovered that Jesus was missing.
Listen to the story from Luke 2:41-50.
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.
And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.
When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem.
And Joseph and His mother did not know it;
but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.''
And He said to them, "Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?''
But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
*I love this story because it shows us the Lord's wisdom.
And it shows His determination to do our Heavenly Father's business.
But I also love this story because it shows us that even if our children were perfect, they would still be a challenge to raise.
*Family life is a challenge: Coping with your mate; coping with your children; coping with your parents.
Not to mention the trials and tribulations of life in this fallen world, like the dozens of needs on our Prayer List.
*But God cares about our families.
So He hears our prayers.
He gives us strength and wisdom.
He helps us to treat each other in a Christ-like way.
And He gives us great guidance in His Word.
-Scriptures like Ephesians 4:31-32, where God says:
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
-Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,"
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
2. that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
3. the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things
4. that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5. to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
6. Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded,
*God tells us all of these things because He cares about our families.
Your family matters to God.
And His ultimate plan is for us to be part of His family.
-So we can make a difference in our generation, by focusing on family.
2. But we also need to go forward in God's grace.
*The message of our Messiah Jesus Christ is the good news of God's grace!
And church, we can clearly see God's grace at work as we explore these ancestors of Jesus Christ.
Listen again to vs. 1-6, where Matthew wrote:
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
2. Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
3. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.
4. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.
5. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
6. and Jesse begot David the king.
David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.
 First here, we see God's grace in the life of Matthew.
*He, of course, was the man God used to write this book.
But Matthew was a publican or tax-collector before he began to follow the Lord.
And most publicans were thieves.
They were treated as traitors and hated by all the Jews.
*But Jesus Christ is our Redeemer.
When He died on the cross, He took the punishment for all of our sins.
And nobody can change a life like Jesus can.
*Thinking about Matthew, William Barclay said: "When Jesus called Matthew he called a man whom all men hated.
Here is one of the greatest instances in the New Testament of Jesus' power to see in a man, not only what he was, but also what he could be."
*The message of our Messiah is the good news of God's grace!
-- We see it in Matthew.
 And we see it in the mothers listed here.
*Other than Mary, there are only four mothers listed.
In vs. 3 we see Tamar who begot Perez and Zerah by Judah.
That was a sordid story, because Judah was actually Tamar's father-in-law.
Genesis 38 tells us that the Lord killed Tamar's husband, Er, because he was a wicked man in the sight of the Lord.
Er's brother Onan was supposed to take Tamar as his wife to provide an heir for his dead brother.
But Onan refused, and the Lord killed him too.
*Judah promised Tamar his third son as her husband when he was grown.
But Judah reneged on his promise.
So Tamar pretended to be a prostitute, seduced Judah, and had twin sons by her father-in-law.
Why in the world would the Lord put someone like that in His lineage?