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One Big Mess

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Start: Read Matthew Chapter 1

One Big Mess:

We just read through the genealogy of Jesus Christ according to Matthew as we start this book.  I know how quickly I tend to read through texts like this, but I always ask myself why is this text in here.

You could spend weeks, months, and even years unpacking the history in Matthew 1, and if you do, you will find it to be very rich and eye opening to the incredible God that sent Jesus.  However, even without spending a huge amount of time pouring over Jesus' ancestry we can notice some huge blotches and blemishes in the family line of this King.

I don't know about everyone in this line, but I do know enough of the stories of these people to know that they were by no means perfect.  Abraham's trust in God wasn't always as strong as when he willingly would have sacrifice Isaac.  Before that ever happened he tried to take matters into his own hands to make sure that God gave him a son so he could have generations as many as the stars in his family line.  His choice there only created pain and suffering.

Jacob wrestled with God, deceived his brother, lied to his father, and was a thief.  This list continues with many names I don't know a lot about all the way to a point where idol worship was so severe that God allowed His people to be deported to babylon as slaves.  It continues through a line of murder and promiscuity until finally it get's to a point where a man named Joseph is going to be married to a women named Mary and he finds out that she is pregnant and he has nothing to do with it.

So what happens now?  Joseph, convinced that he wouldn't be marrying who he assumed to be a promiscuous whore, had a dream.  God sent an angel to tell Joseph not to be afraid because Mary has conceived, and the child in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Whoa! Hang on!  What we are seeing here is that we have an incredible family history of Jesus that is full of sin, it actually is a complete debacle, or so it appears.  Then God says don't be afraid because I have sent one who is going to be human, in this messy line, who is conceived from the Holy Spirit.

So, why is this supposed to help Joseph not be afraid?

Because this baby, this King, is going to be able to empathize with humanity like God could never do because of his perfection.  Jesus is God and yet perfectly human like no other human could ever be!  Jesus, because of his incredible genealogy of both God and Man, is the reason He, and only He, could be the perfect savior.  The perfect high priest to intercede on humanities behalf before a perfect God seated on the throne of Grace.

What I find almost more amazing about this story and chapter that we just read is found in verses 22 & 23.  That, "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us)."

God had a plan, a perfect plan, that could only be fulfilled by a perfect God Man, to perfectly redeem me, a completely lost, separated from God, sinner; who now through faith in Jesus can be saved by Grace.

What a big messy, perfectly incredible, plan of redemption.

Thank You God

 

Posted by Daniel Robbins with
in Hope

The Olympics, a boy's dream, and true hope!

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I heard a DJ this morning on the radio attempting to share an encouraging story about her son, most likely brought on by the Olympics going on right now.  He had received a medal for most improved, several days earlier, in some sporting event which I didn't catch what it was.  She noticed that he was still wearing his medal.  She suggested to him that maybe he should take it off and put it somewhere in his room so that it didn’t get lost or damaged.  He responded to his mom by saying, “no mom, I don’t want to forget that I am good”.

At that moment the radio DJ’s story was over and she said, very simply, “maybe that is what you need to be reminded of today, that you are good and with God things will keep getting better”.

Once I heard her statement, that she attempted to encourage her listeners with, a thought crept into my mind of, “yeah, I’m good and things will keep getting better with God”.  As I processed that for a moment I turned the radio off and said out loud to myself, because I was the only one in the car, “Bad theology alert! Bad theology alert! Bad theology alert!”

After realizing that I just talked to myself in the car, and reprimanding myself accordingly, I began to ask myself, is what I heard correct?  Is what I heard good theology?  Why did a red flag come up in my mind saying that the point of the story that I just heard, and its application, was bad theology? 

First, what is theology?  Theology is a compound word, which means it can be broken into two parts, where two words come together to create one word with an intentional meaning.  Theo means, “God”.  Ology (the ending of the word) means, “the study of”.  The word theology literally means, “the study of God”. 

Second, if theology means the study of God, then how come I stated that the application of the Dj’s story was, “Bad Theology”?  Because through study of God’s word, and scriptural understanding of who God is and who I am, my mind delineated that what this Dj surmised from her story, and stated about me, was foundationally false.  So what does that mean? 

Her intention for encouragement by, “reminding us” that we are “good” unfortunately is simply not true according to the scriptures.  In Mark 10:18 not even Jesus wanted to be called good and clarifies that no one is good except God himself.  Her statement, in actuality strips you, if you believe it, of all hope.  It tells you that you’re good and if that were true than neither you or I wouldn’t need a savior.

Our only hope comes in Jesus because we are all “sheep” who have gone astray and each turned to his own way.  The problem with that is that the way which is natural to us is not good, but rather is full of selfishness and sin.

I don’t need to lie to myself and say that I am good to feel better when, in reality, I am not.  If I am in need of hope, which we are,  I need to be reminded that God is good and through His great love he chose to save me. (Romans 5:8) I need to be reminded that every good and perfect gift comes from Him and not me or by my merit. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  By telling myself that I am good, and not acknowledging God’s goodness, I create a false hope in something or someone who cannot truly bring genuine hope because I deny who I am, as well as, who God is and has made me.

The second half of her statement claims that things will keep getting better with God.  Yes, when those who believe in Jesus die and are in eternity with Christ worshipping Him forever, things will be better than they are here and now on earth.  This, however, is not the implication given by her story.  Without further clarification it appears that the statement says that your daily problems and life will get better with God.  This is not scripturally true. 

Nowhere in God’s word have I ever found that God says your life will be easy or gradually get better and better if you follow me.  No, that would be a false “prosperity” gospel.  What I find it scripture, in place like Luke 14, is that following God will cost you everything.  In order to be His disciple you must give up your life, and take up your cross, and follow him.  (Matthew 16:24-26)  I see no guarantee in God’s word that once you accept Christian your life will be easy, care and trouble free.  What I find brings far greater hope than relying on myself, rather giving of myself and relying on a savior for my everything.

I see evidence that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us in times of trial in Jeremiah.  I see God allowing terrible things to happen to Job to show God’s sovereignty and deep love for us.  But I never see where God promises life to be easy or better because we know him.

Life is good because of God.  I can be a new creation, which is good, because God created in me a clean heart, not that I created in myself.  Life is full, joyous, and wonderful because Christ came and brought life. 

Are we good? No, but God is.  Will things keep getting better because we know God?  No, not necessarily, but things are not guaranteed to be all bad either.  Does God give good gifts to his children?  Yes.

So how does all of this banter about a radio dj’s comment encourage you to live?

  1. Spend time in God’s word so you may know the truth and grace that is found there and you won’t be tossed about by every fleeting thought or improper doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14)

  2. Filter what you hear and see through the colander of God’s word to determine what is right. You will find true hope and reminders that will give you greater strength than you could ever muster from yourself.

  3. For further encouragement read Romans 8
Posted by Daniel Robbins with

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