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115 E. Frederick, LeRoy MN 55951 (507) 219-1774
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The Family That Welcomed Outsiders
The Story of Jesus' Dysfunctional AncestorsTexts of Interest: Matthew 1:1-7ff, II Corinthians 6:16-18, John 13:35, Ruth, Joshua (Rahab) & later references.
Let me repeat the thought that was said before in this series: every person mentioned in this series was a very real person. All of them exemplify the "glory of the ordinary." So you see, there is nothing "ordinary" about being ordinary.
In a recent Christian Standard, a preacher at a fast-growing church tells about discussions with a couple who wanted to become Christians. This led to the discussion about the meaning of baptism - their burial in water meant all the past was gone they became new again. The next Sunday they arrived at church with duffle bags of clothing, all ready to be baptized. Just before they entered the water, the preacher asked if they had any more questions. The wife did, "are you sure that ALL my sins are forgiven when I am baptized?"
He reassured her ALL sins are wiped away by going over the Scriptures again. When a person responds in faith and is baptized, God promises s/he is absolutely, totally, unmistakably pure in his eyes. He forgets all sins, as only God can truly forget. So she willingly was immersed with her husband.
It was a busy church and growing fast and the preacher lost track of that couple and many weeks had passed. One day in the middle of his sermon it popped into his head to tell about that event (not mentioning the specific names, of course). It wasn't in his notes and he had no idea why that event came to mind THAT day.
After church, as he was leaving, he bumped into THAT couple. They
confessed they had not been at church very much. Their marriage was in
turmoil and they did not know if they could continue. But that day they had
come to the church again seeking some indication if they should keep on
working on their marriage to make it work.
And the preacher knew once again... God works in His own ways to lead us to fulfill his purposes of love and care for all his people.
Today I want to talk about another ordinary or typical family over many generations... The were certainly very ordinary in the sense that some of the people involved had big problems. Still, they all had faith in God and kept going.
Matthew's genealogy - 1:1-7 (the early portion - Abraham to Solomon).
There are 4 women mentioned in the family line descended from Judah. In all
4 cases there is a very interesting story of family dysfunction. Yet from
all of them came both a King of Israel and indeed, Jesus our savior.
Her reasons in her own words were... I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.
Only she and her parents and siblings survived the destruction of the
city and the massacre that followed. Later she married one of the Hebrews,
Salmon, from the clan of Judah, and by him had a son, Boaz. He is the man
who was delighted that Ruth asked him to marry her.
When she was found to be pregnant, at first he tried to get her husband to come home from the battlefield and give deniability to David for her pregnancy. But Uriah would not dishonor his troops by enjoying the comforts of home, so he had him put into the most likely place he would be killed in battle.
Then the prophet Nathan came to him with a cunning story... II Samuel 12.
Lessons for Us
It doesn't matter what your life HAS been if you stay dedicated to follow
God's way, -
Embarrassing or scandalous events are part of every person's life. Still, good can come of your life. In fact, remarkable future events may happen.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. HE is the one who will make your life come to its full extent... and will bring you home to heaven.II Corinthians 6:15-18 - New International Reader's Version
15 ...What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 How can the temple of the true God and the statues of other gods agree? We are the temple of the living God. God has said, "I will live with them. I will walk among them. I will be their God. And they will be my people." (Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27) 17 "So come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch anything that is not pure and clean. Then I will receive you." (Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34,41)18 "I will be your Father. You will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord who rules over all." (2 Samuel 7:14; 7:8) John 13:34-35 - New International Reader's Version
34 "I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. 35 If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples."
Every "ordinary" person CAN live and love -- by faith in God since Jesus has given it to us. We MUST live this way. I challenge you, don't you want to allow the love of Jesus to change your life?
Many years ago the great pirate-explorer, Sir Francis Drake, was attempting to recruit a number of young men for an upcoming voyage. He gathered them around and told the group that if they came with him they would see some of the most marvelous things their eyes could ever behold. Sandy white beaches, juicy fruits, foreign peoples, priceless treasures, and gorgeous landscapes. And he promised them that this wild adventure could be theirs if they came with him. Not one of them enlisted for the journey.
The next day a different group came out. This time Drake promised a very different experience for them. If they came with him they would encounter storms that would terrify them into tears. Tiger winds would hammer them and blow them off course for months. Water would frequently be scarce. At times they will be so thirsty that their very souls would cry out for simply one drop of water. In short, danger would always be their constant companion. Drake concluded by declaring that if they could handle these things, the joys of exploration would exceed their wildest dreams. Every single one of them in the group joined Sir Francis Drake that day, some did not even go home to say goodbye to their families, they just boarded the boat eager for the journey.
What made the difference in these two groups? Why did the first group turn down the mission and the second jump at the chance? Was the second group different and more adventurous than the first?
The answer is: No. It is not that a different kind of men heard the 2nd speech, it was the new message. The first spoke of rewards; the second spoke of challenges. The first offered comfort; the second promised suffering. The first tempted them with things; the second seduced them with an experience unlike any other.
Sir Francis Drake discovered what Jesus knew all too well. The paths that are offered to us promise to shape us, build our character, change our world view. Whenever people are presented with a challenge THEY will change and be eager for the journey.
In all history, God has always accepted every person who has accepted HIS challenge.
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