Joseph Prince - Grace: Your Past Does Not Determine Your Future
Are you ready for the Word? Let's jump right into the Word of God, and this is somewhat like a Christmas teaching, but it is very vital you understand this, all right? God gives us four Gospels. Four Gospels. Why four Gospels? Why four Gospels? Well, God in his wisdom, set up four Gospels of the same life, the same person, his darling Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, amen? Because they are different ways of looking at Jesus. But four Gospels give us the full op revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. We start with Matthew. What is Matthew's emphasis? Matthew was writing primarily to the Jewish people, and Jesus is portrayed there as King, all right? King of Israel, the Messiah, amen.
So in Matthew, we find the genealogy of Jesus Christ, all the way, traced back all the way starting from who? Not Adam. All right, in the Gospel of Luke it is Adam, because in the Gospel of Luke it's portraying Jesus as man. But in the Gospel of Matthew, it is all the way to starting from Abraham, amen? Because Abraham was given the promise of kingship, that his descendants will become kings, amen? So the burden of Matthew was to write a genealogy to prove that Jesus Christ's claim to the throne of David is valid, okay? Then we have the Gospel of Mark. Mark doesn't begin with genealogy.
The very first chapter... one day if you have the time, just take your pen, turn to a new King James or an old King James Bible, and underline the word "straightaway". Underline the word "immediately". Underline the word "and from then on," you know, like, words that speaks of immediacy, all right, imminency, all right, quickly. It's like a busy servant, because in the Gospel of Mark, all right, he is the servant. He's always serving your needs. He's always serving miracles, serving hot bread of life, amen? He's always serving you. Can I have a good amen? All right, that's the Gospel of Mark. It's very beautiful. Even at the end of Mark, it says what? "And the disciples went out, working everywhere". Sorry, "preaching everywhere, and the Lord working with them". Even the last verse says after he's ascended, as the disciples went forth, he's still working, amen? The tireless laborer.
And then the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of Luke is very beautiful. It portrays Jesus as the man. And you find the phrase, "the Son of man," so often quoted in the Gospel of Luke. And that's why the Gospel of Luke, to show that he's man, he came from Adam, Adam's line in a sense, but not from Adam's blood. Hence the virgin birth, all right? It's the blood of the man that carries sin, all right? And that's transferred from one generation to another. And that's why Jesus had to be born from the line of Adam, yet not carry Adam's sin which is in his blood, okay? So we see in the Gospel of John now, okay, so we find two genealogies in four Gospels. One goes back to Abraham, one goes back to Adam: the Gospel of Luke.
Gospel of John we have no genealogy, all right? Because why? He's God in the Gospel of John. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," amen. God doesn't have genealogy, amen. And there, Jesus portrayed as God. Therefore there is no genealogy, okay? Only two Gospels: Matthew and Luke, amen, that has genealogy. Today we look at Matthew, okay? Are you ready? In Matthew's Gospel, I used to read the Gospels in the genealogy and "Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot his 12 sons," you know? And on and on and on. I'm thinking, "Why does God take the trouble to list down all the begets? Who beget who beget who beget who beget who beget who", amen? You find in the Gospel of Matthew, it is targeting the Jewish people. It is telling them the King is here, Emmanuel, God with us, amen.
The story of Christmas. The King has come. The King that you longed for, the Messiah, he has come. And who is the one that God appointed to write this story? Matthew. Matthew. Now, Matthew is a tax collector, all right? He was a tax collector when Jesus called him, okay? Matthew, in his own Gospel of Matthew, this is what he said, all right? "As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew," he was writing, and then he's talking about his own conversion, all right? Jesus passed by there, and he saw a man named Matthew, all right, "sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, 'Follow Me.' So he arose and followed Jesus. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples".
Stop here, and let me just tell you this. Tax collectors, during the time of Jesus, they are treated worse than a prostitute, okay? A tax collector, let me tell you this, is considered the scum of the earth. For them, prostitute even, you know, though it's sinful, forbidden by the Torah, by the law of God, but yet they find that, you know, it is for them legit business. But for this tax collector, they are going, all right, and collecting money for a foreign nation, from their own people, so they call them the scum of the earth. The rabbis, during the time of Jesus, actually will not allow them to enter the synagogue, okay? And Jesus came to the table and told him, "Follow me," just two words.
You know, when Jesus comes to you, do you know something? Look up here. When Jesus comes to you, he knows all about you, all right? That's a beautiful thing. People think that, you know, "God may not know everything about me, although he came to me. Now I must behave, all right, to be something I'm not, so that God will love me, I can be better towards God". That's the wrong reasoning. Grace never reasons like that. Grace reasons from God to men. Law reasons from men to God. You can say it like this: law is what man is before God. Grace is what God is towards men. And the gospel reveals him as God is Savior to men. God is all love towards men. God is all grace towards men.
"Wait a minute, Pastor Prince. God is justice". I'm talking about after Christ died and rose again, God sees you. When God comes into your life, he knows everything about you. He knows all about your sins, more than you do. You might think that God does not know, you know, every iota. God knows sins about you, all right, that you don't even know of. When he comes to you like Jesus stepped into the boat, he knew everything about Peter. Peter's reasoning should not be, "Oh, I should be holy. Depart from me, I am a sinful man". You see, he was under law, and he's reasoning from himself to the Lord, as opposed to this: reasoning from the Lord to him, he'll be like this: "Wait a minute, he knows everything, and he stepped into my boat. He knows I am sinful, and yet he came close to me". That's grace. That's the way you reason. Can I have a good amen?
And God who knows everything about you, all right, through the blood of Jesus has removed every one of your sins, based on his knowledge. Now, if I have to catch my sin, confess it, then God will forgive that sin, then lo and behold, I can never be fully assured because it's dependent on me. So there is in the law even judgment on sins of ignorance. David one time, you know, he had seven years of famine, and he didn't know what's going on, all right, and God told him, it's a sin of ignorance because of the blood that Saul, the previous king, shed. So just because you're ignorant of sin, it's no excuse.
So can we confess all our sins? Think again. Can we confess every sin in order to be forgiven? No, we are not forgiven based on our knowledge, based on our being cognizant of sin. We are forgiven based on God's knowledge of our sins, and how perfect is that comprehension? How perfect does God see? And when God sees all our sins, past, present, and future, and God gave the provision, Jesus Christ, his own Son. Let me tell you this, the blood of Jesus has removed every one of your sins based on God's knowledge. So that gives you settled peace, amen? Praise God. Jesus came to Matthew and said two words: "Follow me". No need to go to Bible school. I'm not against Bible schools, all right? Do your Bible courses, all right? Read through the Bible. No, "Follow me".
Knowing all about Matthew, knowing that he is a traitor to the nation, said, "Follow me". And the Bible says: "He arose and followed him". "Now it happened, as Jesus sat at table, behold, many tax collectors". How many know that grace attracts sinners? Preachers, if you are preaching the grace of God, the grace of the gospel, all right, make sure sinners are attracted. If sinners are not attracted, you're not preaching the grace that God is preaching. So, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. Is Jesus holy? Yes, thrice holy. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. He is the one of whom the angels said, "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill to men". Emmanuel, God with us. He is not just a baby, God is with us. He's God in human flesh. And God is thrice holy.
So, here God is in human flesh. Yet the Bible says: "The sinners came and sat down with Him". How homely that sounds. How nice to know we can sit down with a thrice holy God, and you're sitting down there not based on what you are to him. Based on what he is to you: Savior. Amen, church? You know, when Israel came out of Egypt, all right, Israel was sinning, murmuring, murmuring. At the Red Sea, murmured. After God opened up the Red Sea, they still murmured. God sent manna for their hunger; they still murmured a few days later for water, all right? God made the bitter waters sweet, they still murmured. They murmured all the way, all right? But during this time, God was treating them based on grace. And grace means what? It's not based on who they are to God. It is based on who God is to them.
Would to God they have stayed here instead of receiving the law at Mount Sinai. But in essence, Israel asks for it. Israel says, "All that God can command us, yo, we can do it. Bring it on, man. Bring on for ten, man. All the ten and no less, Lord, come on. No discount. Just give me all the ten". In essence, there's a pride. In Hebrews, even stronger. They ask for the ten. They promise to keep the law without even hearing the law. Men's presumptuousness, men's assuming he's something before God. Are you listening? But over here, before the law, I mean, God opened up the Red Sea, God brought manna from heaven. Even though they were sinning, they were murmuring, because it's based on what? Grace. And what is grace? What God is to you, Savior, love, all right? What is law? What you are to God.
I don't want to stand before God as what I am to God. I want to stand before God as what God is to me, amen? Praise the name of Jesus. Okay, "When the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, 'Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'" You see, people don't tell you straight. It's the same thing even today. People don't come to me and tell me. They tell my pastors. "Tell Pastor Prince to"... you know? All right, it's the same thing. The Pharisees, Jesus was there, because you can see his reply. He was there. But they'll tell the disciples, "'Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'" When Jesus heard that, he was there. "He said to them, 'Those who are well have no need of a doctor,'" but those who are sick, yo. Okay, yo is mine, okay?
"But those who are sick," amen? Actually, they're all sick. There are those who are sick, but they want to appear well. I don't want to live a lie. I want to know, I might look bad outside, but I have the healthiest health oozing inside, amen. I'd rather have that than the other thing, amen? So the thing is this, you know, this whole idea about, you know, you've got to clean yourself, make yourself right. You know, you need to change yourself to accommodate God. It's religion, and it is not the gospel of grace. The gospel of grace, God comes into your situation the way you are.
The Christmas story is God bursting into human life, into human history, all right, as man really is. Finding man as they really are. Can I have a good amen? God was under no delusion. When Israel rejected Jesus or when the Pharisees said things about Jesus, Jesus didn't... "I didn't expect that, or else I wouldn't come," all right? That never happened. He came knowing full well he'll suffer. He came knowing full well. In fact, his suffering started the moment he was born. The moment he was born as a baby, his suffering started. They didn't have a proper place for him. He was not delivered in a hospital, he was not delivered in a comfortable room in a house somewhere. Man, he was delivered in a smelly manger that houses smelly animals.
Think of it. The only baby that has a choice to be born anywhere he wants to, he's the only baby that has a choice. He can choose the palace. He's the creator. "All things were made by him," the Bible says. And he took on human flesh. He can choose. But what a lovely Savior he is. Let me tell you this. That's the thing I love about him so much. He loves humility. He is so powerful, he can get the media's attention and become the darling of the media, but in those days you will find him, he will tell the one who received the miracle, "Don't go and tell anyone about it. See thou tell no one about it". It's not about show. It's about being attracted to his person and not just miracles. But can he perform miracles? And how, amen?
All right, so this Matthew took his pen, all right? And he wrote "Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew". He wrote his life story, all right? And then the next chapter, when Jesus chose the 12 disciples, Matthew wrote this down in the very next chapter. I won't read every one of them because of time. Look at verse 3: "Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector". He still calls himself the tax collector. Now, look up here. There are people who believe that when you understand grace, "Oh, Pastor Prince is saying, you know, never acknowledge your sins. Never say you have this". No, on the contrary. Once you know you are forgiven, you're not afraid. Can I be vulnerable with you?
One day I was driving down the road with my daughter, Jessica. Just me and her. Father-daughter time, all right? Poom, someone came in front of me. Didn't signal, didn't do nothing. Came in front of me, and I had to swerve, and I had my daughter with me, and I was angry and my foot went on the accelerator, hallelujah. And I was about to overtake the guy, and all of a sudden I remembered my daughter's in the car. It was an unconscious sense of her, you know, fear for her safety that caused me to even be more angry, and I, you know, but and I stopped myself, and I looked at her, and she looked at me. And she smiled. And I said, "You've gotta pray for your daddy, right, in this area". Then she, "Yeah," she said, you know? I said, "Pray for me. This is one area that Daddy wants victory in, all right? You're going to pray and ask that".
The thing is that we think our children don't see our weaknesses. Let me tell you this: they do! Newsflash, hello? They do. And you know, something happens when you say, "I'm sorry. Daddy's sorry. It was Daddy's mistake. Daddy lost the cool. I shouldn't have, you know, you did something wrong, but I shouldn't have scolded you in the way I scolded. I lost my cool," okay? Let me tell you this. It's okay, you won't lose power. In fact, you increase your influence over your children when you learn to say sorry, okay? Don't just say sorry when the child is wrong and the child is being grumpy. "I'm so sorry you are tired. I'm so sorry you are this". And don't be the kind of parent also, you know? But the thing is that our children see us as we really are. Isn't it wonderful when we can be vulnerable because we know we are forgiven.
Some people have this idea, you know, that we are forgiven of everything. So, you know, we are teaching people not to be honest about their sins and all that. No, I'm talking about 1 John 1:9, which I believe is a salvation verse. It's like hell and heaven, between confessing your sins in order for God to forgive you. That is serious business. You better know whether it's for the believer or not. Unless I confess my sins, God won't forgive me. That's the idea there. And God won't cleanse me from all... So I'm thinking about that. I'm not talking about being vulnerable and being open and being transparent. In fact, husband and wife, we can say, you know, "Look, baby, you know? I just lost my cool just now, okay? And I said things I shouldn't have said. Pray for me in this area. I don't know why, you know, this one area I haven't got victory over".
You know, when you have experienced God's grace, you know you live like that. "Oh, Pastor Prince, that's negative confession". Throw away that stupid idea. I believe in confession, but you know what? You bind your wife's, when she share her feelings with you, "I bind that in Jesus's name". You are binding your marriage. You're putting your marriage in a noose, making it tight, all right? Positive confession is never something used as if you cannot say anything, cannot say anything vulnerable or be honest about your feelings and emotion. No, it's when you come to God in God's presence. What makes confession work? It's in God's presence, all right?
I tell you, if everything you say comes to pass, you are finished. And some advocates of positive confession go to the point of saying almost like the wife cannot express herself, her negative emotions. You cannot express your, you know? I mean, I understand David expressed all his emotions to God and received therapeutic healing.
One thing about knowing you are forgiven, let me ask you a question. The other day the Lord gave me this illustration, all right? The Lord says... supposing you are a businessman, all right? You're a businessman, and you owe a lot of money to the bank. Okay, let's say you owe $1 million, okay? And your debts are piling. Then one day, your good old friend who made it big, who has been looking for you, trying his best to find you all these years because you changed his life, hasn't been able to find you. Finally, he found you. He's now a billionaire. Say "Billionaire". And he looks at your account. He says, "Give me your ledger, your accounting book, all right? Trust me"? You say, "Sure, a billionaire". "I want to pay for everything, okay"?
So he takes your accounting book, he goes to the bank, he clears the debt. Not only that, all right, he puts in your account $5 million. I thought five, number of grace, okay? $5 million for any exigencies, whatever you need, all right, to use it from. Now, that's what Jesus did with us, in essence. Now, this is the point God is saying to me. "Now after it's paid, it's paid already, okay? You go back to your office and you take the ledger, all right, that accounting book and you open up. Normally, you ask your accountant to look at it, but you start opening up and when you ask your staff, your staff says, 'Roughly $1 million.' And you start looking at your debt. 'My goodness, it is actually, wow, and'"... how many know, number one, you're able to open the book that you dare not open for a long, long time.
Come on, you are able to look at your debt squarely in the eye. Are you understanding? Only those who know they are forgiven can look at their sin and say, "Lord, you've got to work on this. Lord, you've got to work on that. Darling, pray for me in this area," amen, amen. And we must not be afraid. You see, we are so defensive whenever someone try to tell us something to improve ourself, we always think... "No, no, why you like that," you know? Why are we so defensive? Because we have this belief that if you find something negative about me, you love me less, you respect me less. Actually, the one loving, all right, sees you already with a problem, still loves you a lot. And because he loves you a lot, he's telling you to improve.
You know, our thinking is warped. That's why we are very defensive. We don't understand grace. We're even defensive with God. "It wasn't me. It was the woman you gave me". And the woman says, "Not me. Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm, mm. It wasn't me. It was a snake". And the snake look around and said, "They speak with forked tongue". So the guy has the confidence to open his book now. For so many months or maybe even years, he dare not open the book. He tells his accountant to look at it. Now he can open it, why? It's forgiven. In fact, the more he looks at all the numbers, the more his sense of thanksgiving and gratefulness increases, hallelujah, to his benefactor, amen, amen. Are you listening, church?
Now, he is not looking at them to get them forgiven. He's not looking to confess his debt for his debt to be forgiven. This is not 1 John 1:9. This is just being real about your sins. It's forgiven, past, present, and future. Supposing as he's going through, and the accountant says, "Actually, I didn't tell you". "What"? "It's more than a million. You see down here, see down here? It snowballed all the way". "So how much is it, my debt"? "Actually, was $1.3 million, but he paid everything, based on his knowledge". Your sense of gratefulness increases. Are you listening, people? Grace people are the ones who have no worries, no qualms, saying that, "I got a problem. God is still working on this". You see, be patient with me.
"It took him just a week to make the moon and stars the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How lovely and patient he must be. He's still working on me. Dum-dum-dum. He's still working on me. Making me what I ought to be". Took him just a week to make the moon and the stars, amen? So be patient with each other. I see your fault, so when I bring up your fault, You know, relax. Why do we do that? Because, you know, normally we don't do it physically. We don't fight back. We fight back with our mouth, you know? It's like verbal kung fu, verbal karate. Our wife tells us something... "You also". And you laugh, okay, but let me just tell you this, ha, ha. To the extent you do that, to the extent you still don't understand grace.
And I can tell you this: your loved ones sees that flaw already. Doesn't change their love. They love you, but you have a wrong thinking that when you correct me, you see my flaw, you think all the while we see your beauty all the time, 24/7. Please! Amen? Are you with me? So how many understand when God gave me this illustration just recently about the ledger, do you understand? You're not afraid. In fact, the more you look at it, once a while you say, "Bring me the ledger again". A few years later, "Wow, look at all this debt. Look at all this debt has been cleared, hallelujah," amen, amen? So when your sins come out of you and you see your bad temper, learn to step out and say, "Ah-ha, wow, it has been forgiven. You have been forgiven of that". He gives you a sense of gratefulness.
Now, some people think that this produces licentiousness. No, you have been doing the same thing over and over again. You don't believe grace. Your problem is that you're thinking from self to God. You're reasoning from earthwards, all right? Where God wants us to reason from heavenwards. Can I have a good amen, church? So there are two genealogies that you must understand. One is from all the way... Let me explain real quick, all right? It starts with Abraham in Matthew, because the promise of king, but Abraham is not the first man. Adam is, all right? So from Luke's account, the genealogy goes back all the way to Adam, because it's talking about Jesus as man.
Look at Matthew chapter 1. So you find the genealogy, there's something very interesting, all right? Genealogy begins with.. Put your finger there in Matthew 1, all right? The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The first name in the New Testament mentioned is Jesus Christ. The last name mentioned in the book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, is Jesus Christ, all right? He is the first, and he is the last, amen. Now, okay, we are merciful, okay? For those of you who didn't bring your Bibles, all right, look at verse 17: "So all the generations". Say all. I want to show you the accuracy of holy Scripture.
You see, the Bible that you hold in your hand is amazing. It's no ordinary book. Everything precious here is precious. Everything beautiful is beautiful. Everything that is lovely is lovely. Everything that's moral is moral, everything. And we look at Jesus, you know, it's like in a world where there's so many, even leaders have clay feet. You look at one who have no clay feet. Every which way you turn Jesus, all right, you see beauty, you see loveliness. You see compassion. You see love. You see someone you can really, really worship, all right, without boundaries. You don't have to hold your heart back. You can worship in an unrestrained manner.
What a beautiful thing to know in a world where you can be disappointed in me, I can be disappointed in you, you in her, and her in the husband, husband in wife and all their children, children their parents and all that, we can look at Jesus, and then God put all of us in him. There is therefore now no condemnation where? For those who are in, in him, in Christ Jesus. Doesn't say no condemnation for those who do right, those who perform well. No, those who are in Christ, amen? Believe right, you will live right, okay? Now, watch this. Verse 17: "So all". I'm going to show you the accuracy of holy Scripture. "So all the generations from Abraham to David are 14 generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are 14 generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are 14 generations".
Very interesting. There are three sets of 14s, 14 generations. Three sets. But in the first one, only in the first one, they have all the generations, okay? The other two don't have the word all, why? Because Matthew left out a few names. But from Abraham to David, he did not leave any. Every single father and son in the lineage of Jesus is all there from Abraham to David. That's why he says all. When it comes from David to the captivity in Babylon and from 14 generations, from Babylon to the time of Christ, he left out a few names, amen. Say why he left out the few names? God cursed those people. Those are people who were cursed, and their names are blotted out of the genealogy, wow, giving us three sets of 14s. And you know why there's no all? Because some names are, if he says all, that means, someone would say, "Look, the names in the Old Testament are here. Where are they in the genealogy"?
You see how accurate Scripture is? And you know who is the one doing all this? Matthew. God used Matthew, his penman, all right? God is the author, he's the secretary. And Matthew, you know, God uses people's personality. Have you noticed? Even like for me, I'm not like another preacher, another preacher is not like me, thank God, Thank God there's only one me, hoo, you know? And God uses our personality. Like John, he's more with ardent affection towards the Lord. Peter is always the one, all right, step out first, think later. Move fast, all right? And then we have Matthew. Matthew has precision, why? Accountant, tax collector. So you imagine sitting on his table, all right, and God trust him with the records and the archives.
Why the long genealogy? Why did Matthew give us a long genealogy? Because in AD 70, what happened was this. The Romans came, prophesied by Jesus, and the Romans were used as judgment on Israel, okay, for rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. The Romans came in, burned down their temple, all right, in AD 70. And all the archives, all the records, of who belongs to the priestly tribe, who belongs here, belong there, all that was burned. The archives were all burned. So next time, in the future, all right, when there's a false Antichrist that comes, and he claims that he is the king, there is no record. But there is one in the pages of the number one bestseller in the world. Millions and millions of copies all over the world has this archive there, the records are there. The father to the son, all the way, showing Jesus as the rightful claimant of the throne of David, okay?
If you study Matthew, and I said Y, right? Like a Y letter. From Matthew, Abraham, all the way down, all right, the person that converge is David, okay? The Y converged at David. Luke 1 from Adam all the way to David also, but from David in Matthew, it was David's son Solomon that goes down all the way, and Joseph was the one, okay? Then from David again, he had another son called Nathan. From Nathan's line all the way down is Mary, you got it? So actually, Jesus has a double claim to the throne of David, and it's in the pages of the number one bestseller, in the holy records, hallelujah. And God used a tax collector, all right? Go back to Matthew 10. He calls himself Matthew the tax collector. And you say, "Matthew, don't say that. You are no more a tax collector". He says, "No, no, it just magnifies God's grace to remind people". I said, "It magnifies God's grace".
You know, and people come to me and they think I'm blind. You know, they tell me, "Pastor Prince, you know, the nation of Israel, you must know, no, they're not perfect, you know? They have done this wrong, they have done that wrong. Based on history, Israel has done this, done that". So what? You think I do not know? Why do you think God chose them? It magnifies his grace. Why do you think God chose you? If God abandon Israel, we are all finished, amen. God did not choose them because... in fact, God said, "I do not choose you because you are greater in number, but few. I do not choose you because you are holy. You're stiff necked," God said. Don't think about Israel, all of us. It's called grace. It's got nothing to do with us. It's got to do with him. It's not our goodness, it's his goodness. Can I have a good amen?
Okay, coming back to this again. See, why the devil hates Israel so much is because God saved the world through the Jew. His Son came as a Jew. And you think God is finished with the Jews? No, they are blinded, that the blessing might come on the Gentiles, but God says, "Don't boast against them. Otherwise you'll be cut off from the olive tree, from the blessings of the olive tree". Okay, back to this again, okay? So we have a Y all the way down to Joseph and Mary coming together. Can you see it? Okay, when I say coming together, I don't mean sexually. What I mean is that they were a couple. So Jesus has a double claim, one in his stepfather, and one in his earthly mother. Are you with me?
Now, Matthew who has been the recipient of grace, Matthew must have taken his pen with tears in his eyes. Remember that he was a tax collector. And he wrote the story. How do I know he wrote about grace? Because in this story, okay, turn to your Bibles again. All right, in Matthew chapter 1, you will find in the entire genealogy, and by the way, you all don't like to turn to your Bibles and y'all people look up here all the time, okay? Okay, look up here, then, all right? In Matthew 1 please, the names: "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez, Zerah by Tamar". Believe it or not, this is the first female name.
Now, how in the world do you think Abraham begot Isaac? What's Abraham's wife's name? Sarah. Why is Sarah's name not there? "Isaac begot Jacob". How did Jacob come forth? What's Isaac's wife's name? Rebecca. Can God choose names that are better? But God chose four names that have a stigma to them. Out of the four ladies, one of them only is called having a good character and that's Ruth. I'm going to show you their names real fast, okay? Don't forget. Matthew is writing all this. So Matthew, by the Spirit, who understands grace, because once upon a time he was at the tax collectors, you know, and he was compiling his coins. I can just see Matthew, all right, he compile his coins.
You know why he says from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the captivity of Babylon, 14 generations from the captivity to Christ, 14 generations? It's like the way he pile up coins, all right? On a table, he will pile up, okay, 14 coins here, all right? Fourteen coins here, all right? Another pile up, another 14 coins, all right? So three sets of 14 generations. By the way, it reveals the entire history of Israel in the Old Testament, the first set, the first 14, Abraham to David, is the morning of Israel. Second set is the noon of Israel, and the last set is the evening of Israel, okay? Three 14s make what? How many generations? Forty-two. Class, three times 14 is 42. Forty-two is a number in the Bible of rest after trials. In other words, after 42 generations of all kinds of characters, Jesus came. He's the final rest of God.
Do you know how many stations the children of Israel wandered when they were wandering in the wilderness? Do you know how many stations before they entered their good land of rest? Forty-two stations. Do you know that the Great Tribulation, how long it lasts before we enter the Millennial rest? Forty-two months. 'Cause 42 months is 3 1/2 years. So number 42 is a number of rest after trial. Now back to this again. The names of the women, the first one Tamar, she's famous for what? Deception, she deceived her father-in-law and slept with him. An incest. Her story is a story that most people will not want to read, publicly, in churches. But it's there in the Bible, all right?
Then we have, drop down to verse 5: "Salmon begat Boaz by Rahab". Rahab, the prostitute of Jericho. Why didn't he choose Miriam? Why didn't he choose Miriam? "Boaz begot Obed by Ruth". Ruth is a good character, but the nation she comes from, Moab, the Moabite, all right, is a nation that's cursed by God. God says, "Only the tenth generation will enter". Then we have "Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah". Bathsheba is the girl, but her name is not mentioned, but the way it said, "The wife of Uriah," is to remind the reader of the grace of God, because this one shows David's sin. She was the wife of Uriah.
Now, four women, of course, all the way down, the fifth one, God ends on grace, is Mary. But Mary is a given, of course, the mother of Jesus, right? But why in the entire genealogy of 42 names, all right, and we have many illustrious name among them, Miriam, Deborah, you know, Esther, how come they are not there, okay? And God chose these four ladies. Let's go back to Tamar in closing. Tamar. "Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar". Tamar means palm tree. Tamar, this lady Tamar, what happened was that she had a husband, okay, and the guy is really kind of like a weak guy, you know? And anyway, he died. The Bible says God killed him. God killed him, all right? The Lord slew him, and then she had no more son, all right? They promised her that his brother will grow up and marry her, but instead he was given to somebody else.
So she was very angry, all right, and she actually covered herself up as a prostitute one day at the side of the road, and he didn't know it was his daughter-in-law, Judah, all right, one of the 12 sons of Jacob. So he slept with her, thinking it was a prostitute. And what happened was that he didn't have money to pay, so she said, "Okay, give me your tokens, your staff is the main thing", all right, as a collateral, okay? So a few days later, he came back with the payment, lambs and all that. The lady wasn't there, already. Said, "Have you seen a lady down here"? Said, "No". So there goes his staff. That's like his Visa card, you know? There's nothing more important than that, all right? So he was concerned.
Many months after that, she was pregnant, and the the father-in-law was very angry because he realized that she didn't have a husband now. How in the world did she become pregnant? And he was about to expose her to even stoning and all that, and she says, "Tell me whose staff does this belong to"? It's a very, you know, the Bible tells it like it is. You want romance, it's there. You want violence, it's there. David cut off Goliath's head, and held it up, come on. He knew how to get ahead in life. I mean, I'm telling you, church, you want songs? Read the Psalms. You want miracles, real, real miracles? You want a perfect man, every which way you turn to him, you love him, you adore him, you worship him? It's in this book. If only people realize how wonderful this book is, and how accurate, amen.
Now, just a case in point because time is flowing, and I need to bring this to a close, turn to Genesis 38, the story of Tamar. Genesis 38, real quick, all right? Flip fast. Now, watch this. The story of Judah and Tamar, can you see the title of the heading there? Judah and Tamar. You see how revelatory that is? It tells you, "Judah and Tamar". Chapter 38 is a story I just told you just now of incest, but the story before this, look at the verse before this. The last verse is the story of Joseph being sold into slavery.
In other words, chapter 38, the story of Tamar is a parenthesis. In other words, the divine author was talking about the story of Joseph as a young boy and all that. Finally, the brothers are jealous of him, and they sold him to the Midianites, and then the story goes into parentheses, like a bracket, and then, you know, it starts talkin' about Judah and Tamar. Hey, Jacob has 12 sons. Why talk about Judah all of a sudden? Jesus will come from the tribe of Judah. The rabbi's been asking the question, "Why this chapter put smack-dab in the middle of Joseph's story"? You see, before chapter 38, verse 1, look at the last verse of 37: "Now the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard". Look at the ending, all right, in the next chapter, chapter 39, all right? After the story of Tamar and Judah in chapter 38, look at chapter 39 again. He goes back again to the story of Joseph, "Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt". Can you see that?
Okay, look up here. There's another revelation here. Are you ready? Are you ready? Remember I told you that Joseph is a type of Jesus, loved by the father, rejected by his brothers, okay? Became the bread of life to the Gentile world. Now watch this: At what point did Judah's story come in? By the way, you know, Jews, you call them "Jews" today. Why do you call them Jews? Why do they call a Jew, a "Jew"? It's short form for "Judah," okay? And God is telling us that, you know, the moment Israel, in this case, the brothers rejected their own flesh and blood, Joseph. When they rejected Joseph, the story goes in the parenthesis to Judah.
So let's follow the story prophetically, in other words, when Israel rejected their Messiah, the heavenly Joseph, okay? God focused on what happened to Judah, chapter 38, verse 1, "It came to pass at that time Judah departed from his brothers, visited a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua". Now, all this has meaning. During the time of Jesus's rejection by the nation of Israel, Israel has gone among the Gentiles. They have wandered, and they have relationships with Gentiles. God actually want them to stay in their land, a unique people to show forth his glory and goodness, but because of their rejection, they were scattered all over the world. Like Judah went to a Canaanite woman named, what? Shua. And you know what's the meaning of "Shua" in Hebrew? "Wealth. Riches".
So is there a story of the Jewish people all over the world? Wherever they go, all right, they have been... now, I'll say this carefully because there are always some people who are anti-Semitic out there, listening to me. They will pounce on this and say, "There, there, see, see, see"? No, it magnifies God's grace, but all over the world, their pursuit has been riches. Why? They have forgotten their Messiah came. Can you hear what I'm saying? But this chapter 39, the story of their Messiah again, okay? Are you with me so far? All right, so we have prophetic interpretation. We have a natural interpretation as well. "Why," the rabbis ask, "Why of all the sons of Jacob is Judah mentioned specifically, and mentioned in the way that's very sinful, very dark, very", you know, it's not something for you to be proud of. Why? God is showing that, in the midst of this darkness, God will send his Son. God will send his Son. Are you with me, church?
So this is the story of Tamar, and she became the great-grandmother of Jesus. Wow, that magnifies what? God's grace, you see? The things that don't hide your background, some people, they have all kinds of testimonies in the background, but they don't want people to know. "I'm ashamed of my past". You know, there are some things that will magnify God's grace to the hearers, and now you've been a recipient of God's grace, but you're acting like you have it all together, and the world is thinking that Christians are only for goody people you. No, say, you know what I was, now? Matthew was able to say... when Jesus chose the 12, there's a guy called Matthew the tax collector. Matthew the tax collector. And you know Rahab, by the way? We're coming to Rahab now. Look at Rahab: "Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab". Rahab. "Begot Boaz by Rahab".
Rahab was the prostitute of Jericho. She was a Gentile. Tamar was a Hebrew, but Rahab was a Gentile, which goes to show in these four names, there are two Gentiles, two Hebrews, which tells you Jesus is not just for the Jews. He's for the Gentiles. It's even revealed in his genealogy, okay? So Rahab, the prostitute, again, why did God choose a prostitute and put in the four names, God have chosen illustrious names. Women of repute ended up ill-repute: Rahab. But what did Rahab do? Rahab believed in the God of Israel. Rahab says, you know, "This scarlet rope, I'll let you down," all right? Or rather the spy says, "Leave the red cord so that we'll know not to destroy this house".
Not only she saved herself, all right, or by faith, you know, God saved her, she saved an entire family, amen. And she married the captain of Judah's son. The captain of Judah at the time was called Nahshon. He was the first, according to rabbinical tradition, that went down into the Red Sea, and then God split the Red Sea when the sea was at the level of his horse's mouth. It was Nahshon first in, and it stands to reason because the Bible says, "Judah shall go first". And who was the captain of Judah? Nahshon. Nahshon's son was Salmon. Salmon married the prostitute. Well, I'll tell you this. What God is saying in Jesus's genealogy, "I don't care about your past. I can change your future. I can give you a wonderful future, regardless of your past". Grace can change your future. With grace, you'll marry the captain's son, hallelujah. You understand, huh?
All right, don't have to get technical with me: "Pastor, you know, which captain"? You know? Okay, and she gave birth. She gave birth to a boy called Boaz. Remember Boaz? He became the most eligible bachelor, a wealthy bachelor in Bethlehem, amen, and he fell in love with a girl called Ruth. Now we come to the next girl, Ruth. Now, Ruth is the only one in the Old Testament that God says is a virtuous woman. God himself said, the other one is actually in Proverbs 31, about the virtuous woman, which many believe Solomon is talking about his mother, Bathsheba. So even virtuous women in the Bible, all right? But she was a Moabite. She didn't belong. She's a Gentile. She's not a Jew. How can she marry a Jew, let alone the richest and the most eligible bachelor in Bethlehem?
I'm telling you, church, against all impossible odds, God's favor will work for you. This coming year, God's favor will work in your life in such a way, all right, you cannot but give glory to God, all right? "Boaz married Ruth", beautiful story of redemption, "and they begot Jesse, who begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon", he had many sons, by the way, and many wives, but which are the sons... he had many good wives, you know? Decent wives. One of them is Abigail. Abigail is a beautiful woman, woman of wisdom, good countenance, but did God choose Abigail's son by David to become the king? No, God chose a very lurid background, a lady called Bathsheba. It all began with a "bath". David committed adultery with her, and not only that, to compound the problem, he murdered her husband so that he can cover up for his sin.
How many of you know that God sees everything, all right? So you can read the story in the Old Testament, but of all the wives David had and of all the children he possessed, God chose the son of the woman who had been the wife of Uriah to become king. What is God saying? God is saying, "No matter how bad your sin, it will not forfeit God's blessing, will not forfeit his promise in your life". Listen, God's grace is greater than your sin. There must be tears in Matthew's eyes when he wrote all this 'cause he has been the beneficiary of this grace, amen? "The wife of Uriah". Instead of saying, "Bathsheba," "the wife of Uriah," to magnify David's sin so that as to magnify God's grace. Isn't it wonderful? And all the way down to Jesus, hallelujah.
Church, what is God saying to all of us from these stories? God is telling us, no matter how bad your sin is, no matter how bad your past has been, if you put your trust in the Lord Jesus and trust God's grace, he who knows everything about you, sent his Son, when you didn't even care he came or not. You don't even care you're going to hell. You don't even care you're in darkness. You don't even care you have been bullied and oppressed by Satan. You give psychological terms to your disorders, your complexes, and the devil just smiles and says, "Keep on saying that. Don't ever say it's the powers of darkness oppressing you, giving you depression".
And, my friend, you know, God sent his Son when we didn't even care. God loved us without asking our permission. God sent his Son. God stepped into our boat. God stepped into the table of Matthew. He came into our situation because he knew us better than we know ourselves, and he knows all about our sins. He knows all about our past. Nothing is hidden from me, yet he stepped into our situation. Knowing full well what we are like, he stepped near us, near to us and said, "I'm here to love you," amen? With clarity, full clarity of all our sins, he knew that, when he died on the cross, not a single sin would escape his notice. When he died on the cross, my friend, God removed all our sins through the body of Jesus Christ.
And that's why, can you understand when I say, today, God is not just saying, "Yeah, I forgive you when you trust in Jesus, you know? I just sweep your sins under the carpet". No, God's righteousness is involved. God's holiness is involved in justifying us, in forgiving us, because, when God took Jesus, who knew no sin, there was no sin in him, and God put him on the cross, and Jesus came for this purpose, he knew. The Christmas story, he was born to lie in a manger. You go to Israel today in the Garden Tomb, you will look at the place that looks like a manger, adult size. That's where he laid, and it's now empty, all right? God was showing the whole world he wasn't born to be a religious teacher just to give good teachings and then die a normal death. No, his teachings are without power without his death. It's his death that gives power for us to follow him. Amen.
So God took all your sins with full clarity, my friend. God sees like no one can see. God sees everything about you. You think you have this amount of debt? God says, "No, no, if only you knew your debt is so much more". We think we are great by confessing what sins that we know. God says, "No, if I forgive you just based on what you know and what you say, it's very limited". So God took all our sins based on his knowledge, and God put it on his Son, and with full clarity, God punished his Son because God has to be righteous. If God doesn't punish sin, God is not righteous. If God punish us, he is not love, all right? So how does God reconcile?
The cross answers everything. He punished our sins in the body of Jesus Christ. Jesus's body absorbed, you know, one of these days, I'm gonna show you video like a cyclone of all the sins and all the destructive diseases and depression and fears, and all kinds of oppression like a whirlwind, dark whirlwind, "shhh," over the cross, and all of a sudden, "phoom," in the body of Jesus. Like a black hole, he just absorbed it all, and cried, "Finished".
That's my Lord Jesus. That's the story of Jesus. That's the story of Christmas, amen, so that today, today, when God says, "There is therefore now no condemnation," it is not because God is just trying to be soft or, you know, trying to go easy on us, no. It's based on his righteousness and holiness. God cannot condemn the same sin twice. God cannot condemn Jesus for my sins and then condemn me for my sins, and God is the one that designed it to be this way. Give praise and glory to him, hallelujah. All right, church, come on, give him praise. Praise the Lord, hallelujah. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus. The King has come.
My friend, if you are here today or you are watching this through the media, wherever you are hearing this message or watching this message, God is coming right into your situation, he knew full well everything about you, still love you. Loves you like no one can love you, and he has done something about your sins. You don't have to hide your sins. You don't have to rationalize your sin. You don't have to blame anybody for your sins. God sees your sins. Just let it all hang out in front of him. Stand in the full blaze of God's light, and stand tall there because the same light, my friend, that exposed your sins, exposes the power of the blood of Jesus in cleansing them all.
Now you stand before God, washed by the blood of Jesus. The light of God no longer threatens you, no longer intimidates you. The light of God only reveals how white your robe has been made by the blood of Jesus, and my friend, all because God sent his Son. God sent his Son not through the lineage of perfect people but imperfect, yet his Son did not carry their blood. Sin was transmitted down the human race by the blood. The Bible says, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood". As the blood goes, so goes the life. Jesus's blood, all his blood came from his Father in heaven. His earthly father, Joseph, never had a part in it. He was born of a virgin, Mary, and even though he was in her womb, today we know medical science tells us the fetus does not share one drop of the mother's blood.
So none of Mary's sinful blood went into Jesus. All his blood came from the Father, and that blood was put in him to be shed because that blood is royal blood, holy blood. It's divine blood, the blood of God himself, and when they scourged Jesus, the blood was shed. Then they plaited a crown of thorns and put it on his head. His blood was shed. They spit on him, and they strip him in front of a garrison, mocking him. He took our shame upon himself, and then they put a scarlet robe that would stick to his blood, and when it's dried, they'll peel it off in a stripe, in one fell swoop, blood shed again. No wonder he came to a place he cannot carry the cross. They had to get one Simon of Cyrene.
Blood was being shed all the way to Calvary, and not one blood is lost. It's a mystery how the angels collected the blood to let him sprinkle it on the mercy seat. And when he was at the cross at Mount Calvary, they nail his hands, his feet. Blood was shed. The Bible says, my friend, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every sin. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every sin". In the Greek, "every" there is every kind of sin. You can say, "This is a big sin," "This is a small sin," "This is a white lie," "This is a black lie". It cleanses from every sin. Have you received the cleansing blood? I wanna pray for you wherever you are right now. If you want to receive the cleansing blood, my friend, just pray this prayer with me right now from your heart. Say:
Heavenly Father, I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He died on that cross for all my sins. His blood is efficacious in cleansing me from every sin, past, present, and future, and I stand before you, Father, in your full, blazing light, with no fear, because your light can only reveal the perfection of the work of your Son. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and I thank you, Father. You raised him from the dead. He's alive today, and because he lives, I live also. Thank you for loving me. Make my life a testimony of your grace, in the name of Jesus, and all the people said, "Amen, amen, hallelujah".