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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - News That Could Change Your Life

James Meehan - News That Could Change Your Life

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    James Meehan - News That Could Change Your Life

Well, if you were to hear the greatest news on the planet and you knew that this news had the potential to change your best friend's life, how would you tell them? Like you are writing up a text right now getting ready to tell them about this thing that you are stoked about. What do you say? Like, do you cut straight to the point? Do you tease it out a little bit and then set up a conversation to go more in depth later? Do you like give them just a little bit of a preview? Do you tell about your own emotional reaction to the thing or do you write out an entire novel outlining every little point of the news detail by detail?

Whatever you do, I imagine that you would be thinking through how can I most effectively communicate this awesome news to my friend in a way that they will actually listen and hear what I have to say. When it comes to me and my little brother's relationship, whenever like a new video game or movie that we're excited about comes out, we just go straight to the point. We send each other the link to the trailer on YouTube because we know that that is going to capture the awesomeness of this thing more than any of my words ever will. That's what we do because we know that's the way that it's gonna most effectively get the other person excited about what we are excited about.

And I imagine that when it comes to your friendships and the news that you wanna share with them you do it in a way that's gonna connect with them and help them feel the excitement that you feel. Which begs the question then why in the world would Matthew the dude who wrote the first book in the New Testament the first book that outlines Jesus' life His teachings and the earth shattering good news that He introduced into the world begin his gospel with a long list of names of people we've never heard of with names that we can't even pronounce like what is he thinking? That is exactly what we are talking about in today's message. And when you find the answer, it might just surprise you.

If you're taking notes, I want you to write this down because this is the main point of our message. That God uses all things, the good, the bad and the ugly to tell a better story. God uses all things the good, the bad and the ugly to tell a better story. That's what we've been learning throughout this series to see how in the weird and wild parts of the Bible God is working all things for good. And the thing is, it's not always obvious but we believe that it is always true. As a matter of fact, Romans chapter eight tells us this that God uses all things, He works for the good of those who love Him. Who have been called according to His purpose. That's what He tells us He does.

And so we're gonna figure out how God does that with the genealogies, the long list of names that we find in the Bible, because Matthew the author of the first book in the New Testament decided that it would be effective it would be wise to kick off this book with a long list of names. In Matthew 1:1 here's what he says. He says, "This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham". So most of us are not like our great aunt Gertie who is way too into And so we don't really care about going into the details of somebody's family tree, but Matthew does, why? Because Matthew understands that Jesus is king and context is everything. Jesus is king.

In this opening line of his gospel he is saying that this is the record of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus the king, the Savior king, chosen by God promised to rescue His people from their enemies restore them to their former glory to bring about renewal to the Earth. This would come through the Messiah and that Messiah is Jesus. Matthew, right off the bat, wants to clue us into the fact that everything that has come before has been leading up to this moment. The arrival of Jesus, the Savior King chosen by God, Jesus is king, and Matthew understands that context is everything. Context is all the information that gives meaning to what we are reading.

Now, if you think about the movie "Avengers: Endgame" by itself it's an awesome movie, like don't get me wrong, but it is so much better when you understand the context like when you know all the struggles and the stories that lead up to this final climactic conclusion to the Infinity Saga the whole thing takes on new meaning. Now, what if you haven't watched all of the Marvel movies leading up to "Endgame"? Does that mean that you shouldn't watch it? Like do you just skip it all together? Do you have to go back all the way to the beginning and watch all 50 hours of movies leading up to it? Those are options you totally could, but you could also go on YouTube and look up like a story so far video, and you're gonna find like a 5 to 10 minute YouTube video that recaps all of the big events leading up to "Avengers: Endgame" so that you are up to speed with what's about to happen in this movie.

That five minute get caught up YouTube video is basically what Matthew is doing with this genealogy. Like he's reminding his readers that there's a whole lot of stuff that comes before that I wanna remind you about so that you understand the significance of who Jesus is, so you understand the stories and the struggles that have brought us to this moment in history. Now, unlike Matthew's original audience, most of us did not grow up going to Hebrew school where we would've memorized all of these names and the stories behind them. Which is why what we're gonna do today is look at three of the names in this genealogy and get a little bit more of an idea of who these people are and how God used them in good ways, how God worked in the bad things, and how even in the ugliest moments God was working through the ancestry of Jesus to tell a better story.

The story of His grace and our redemption because Jesus is king and context is everything. And right off the bat, this genealogy is Matthew's way of telling us that it is all about Jesus. It's all been leading to Jesus. And here is the context For those of you who forgot, I wanna remind you, for those of you who don't know, I'm giving you a preview. And again, we're not gonna go through every name we're just gonna pick three, but all of this is meant to give you a preview of the significance of what happened before so that we can appreciate what God has done through Jesus. So starting with the good, we're gonna look at the story of a man named Abraham, the very next line in Matthew's gospel.

Matthew 1:2 tells us that "Abraham was the father of Isaac". Now, Abraham is known as the father of faith. He was this dude called by God to travel to a far away land, to listen to and obey all the things that God asked him to do. And God promised that if you follow me I will bless the entire world through you. Abraham was not perfect, but he was faithful, at least for the most part, like when God called him, he listened. When God led him, he followed even to this one point where God asked Abraham to do something unimaginable. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac and Abraham went with it. He took his son up on a mountain, laid him on this pile of sticks and was ready to sacrifice his son for God. And then an angel calls out saying, "Abraham stop" and God brought a ram to take the place of Isaac. Here's why this story matters because it was through this event that God was showing Abraham something really special.

God was showing Abraham that the God of the Bible is not like any other gods in history, because the gods of Abraham's day were all about child sacrifices. And God wanted Abraham to see to experience that this God was different that I will never actually ask you to go through with this. And if you continue to trust and follow me then even when it seems like the last possible moment I will provide a better way for you. And the reason why Abraham went along with it is because he trusted that even if he sacrificed his son, Isaac, God was so good that He would bring him back from the dead. We read about that in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. And even back then, God is giving a preview to His people of what he would eventually do through Jesus, because while God would never ask us to sacrifice our kids for Him, He absolutely sacrificed Himself for us.

When you follow Jesus, it will cost you like you're gonna have to give up things that seem unimaginable. But what Abraham's story tells us is that no matter what you give up for God He will bless you so much more in return. When I first became a Christian, it cost me a lot of my friendships because so many of my friendships from before I started following Jesus were built around very un-Christian things. And so as I became more serious about my faith those friendships started to crumble to the point where I was like, "Oh my goodness like what do I do? I have lost all of my people as I've been trying to follow where God is leading me". It didn't take too long, though, for God to bring people into my life who loved me better than I ever thought was possible, and who were there alongside me committed to following Jesus too.

This is what the story of Abraham shows us that following God will cost you but if you're willing to do it He will bless you more than you could ever imagine. Abraham's story tells us that faith is trust based on evidence that leads to obedience. Faith is trust. Trust in the character of God based on the evidence of what He has done in our lives that leads to obedience us willing to actually do the things that He asks us to do. That's what we see in the story of Abraham, this trust that God is who He says He is, based on the evidence of God calling and speaking to Abraham that led to an obedience that now we remember Abraham as the father of our faith.

So what is it that God is asking you to do and do you trust Him enough to do it? Because when He calls you, it will cost you. Maybe it's gonna cost you some unhealthy friendships. It might even cost you some really negative habits that you need to give up. Maybe the thing that it's gonna cost you isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's whatever that hobby is that is distracting you from God's best for your life. God uses all things the good, the bad and the ugly to tell a better story. He did that in the life of Abraham and He does that in the life of Rahab. So if we look at the bad in Jesus' genealogy we read about a woman named Rahab. Matthew 1:5 tells us that "Salmon was the father of Boaz whose mother was Rahab".

Now Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute so she was a prostitute that was a part of a nation that worshiped false gods and were enemies of the people of Israel. And when God led his people into the promised land to end the injustice that the people of Canaan were doing they conquered the city that Rahab called home. But previously Rahab had sheltered some of the Israelite spies, kept them safe and asked them to show her mercy when they finally came to take over the city. And that's exactly what happened when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, several of the people of Israel went into rescue Rahab and her entire family and brought them into the people of God. So much so that Rahab ended up marrying an Israelite man and she gave birth to Boaz and became a part of the lineage of Jesus.

So here's what that means. Rahab used to be a Canaanite prostitute but she became an ancestor of Jesus because Jesus takes who we used to be and he replaces that with who we are meant to be. Before I became a Christian, I lived most of my life under the assumption that my value is entirely based on what I do. That love has to be earned, to the point that, for me, every accomplishment just fueled my ego in really unhealthy ways. And every failure crushed my soul and that's a really exhausting way to live. And then I met the mercy of God and He began to show me that who I am is not based on what I do. It's based on who He is and what He has done.

And maybe there are some of you that are listening to this message and you need to learn the same lesson that Rahab did the same lesson that I did, that God's mercy is big enough and good enough to take who you used to be and wash that away so that you can be made new, so that you can be made whole, that you can trust who He says you are even more than who you think you are. You see, what we see in the story of Rahab is that God uses every part of our story to bring Him glory. That's what He did with Rahab. That's what He can do with you, because God uses all things. He uses the good, the bad and the ugly to tell a better story.

So the good we see in the life of Abraham, the bad we see in the life of Rahab, and the ugly we see in the life of King David. Further on in this lineage we read in Matthew 1:6 that "Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah". All of that is so important, and Matthew included all of that because he's pulling no punches. He is spilling all the tea. He wants to make it abundantly clear that King David who's known as a man after God's own heart did some really ugly things. Because before Bathsheba was a widow, she was Uriah's wife and it was while she was married to Uriah while Uriah was off fighting in the war that David hooked up with Bathsheba, got her pregnant and tried to cover it up by having Uriah killed.

This is the king who killed Goliath, who wrote so many of the Psalms doing some of the ugliest stuff in the Bible. You see, David covered one sin with another and he just kept making the mess even worse. Before I became a Christian, I struggled a lot with pornography, and then when I became a Christian I stopped looking at porn as much as I used to and it was a struggle that continued far longer than it should have. And like I knew that God was calling me to mourn, I knew that God wanted me to stop this addiction that was really really toxic. Eventually, it got so ugly and it had festered so long in the dark that I finally had the courage to do something about it.

So I honestly confessed this sin to God. I confessed to my roommate Beau, and talked with him about the struggle that I had been hiding. And through those conversations with God and with my roommate asking for prayer and accountability, putting boundaries in place eventually I was able to find freedom from that addiction. But it took work and it took help. Eventually, David undid the wrongs of his past. He confessed his sins to God. He repented, he aimed his life back in the direction of God, and that's why we remember him so fondly, because the ugly things he did were not the end of his story. And the beauty of David's life and the ugly things he did is that he shows us that the worst decisions do not have the final say that God's grace does.

And so maybe for you you need to do what David eventually did to confess your sins, to admit that you've messed up and you need help, and then to repent to actually aim your life in the direction that Jesus is leading you. For some of you, this might look like confessing that secret sin that you've been hiding. For others of you, this might look like ending that unhealthy dating relationship you're in. Some of you this might be deciding today to start treating your friends and your siblings with kindness and respect, because up until this point, you just haven't. God uses all things. He uses the good, the bad, and the ugly to tell a better story.

If we keep reading in Jesus' genealogy, it ends with these words that "Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah". All of those listed above include the 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14, from David to the Babylonian exile and 14 from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah. Why does Matthew begin his gospel with this genealogy? Because Matthew knows that Jesus is king and context is everything. And he wants his readers to know right off the bat who Jesus is, the Messiah, the Savior king promised by God, and he wants to clue us into the context that the story of Jesus is the culmination of everything that has come before this moment.

So what do you do with all of that? Like how do you apply this message to your life? My encouragement would be for some of you to do what Abraham did to trust God enough to do what He asks. When God calls you, it will cost you but it is always worth it. For others of you it's to do what Rahab did, to replace your view of who you used to be with who God says you are. And maybe for some of you, like David, it's time to confess your sins and change your life because God uses all things. He uses the good, the bad and the ugly to tell a better story. He does that with the Bible. He does that with the genealogy. He did it with Abraham, with Rahab and with David and He can do it with you.

God wants to use every part of your story to bring Him glory because He is so good and He loves you so much that He will use all of it to bring about a transformation in you that will make you so different than who you used to be. And it will put you on the path to becoming who you're meant to be. A person of love who reflects the goodness of God in all that you do. God must use every part of your story to bring Him glory.

Heavenly Father, we thank you so much that you love us enough to use all of it for good. I pray for those that are listening to this message that they would identify the thing that they need to change whether it's to trust you the way Abraham did, to replace the negative views of themselves like Rahab did or to confess their sins and repent like David did. Whatever it is, God, make it clear to them so that they can pursue the path that you have placed them on that they can become the people that you have made them to be. And God help them to see how you are gonna use their obedience to tell a better story in the future. It's in Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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