December 22, 2013  Matthew 1:18 – 25  He Will Save His People from Their Sin


     Guy McGraw shares the illustration that says in the over 3100 years of recorded world history, the world has only been at peace 8% of the time or a total of 286 years, and over 8000 treaties have been made and broken. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed.   Seems like the world is broken doesn’t it?  

     We do not have to look very far to see that things get broken.   Sally and I in the last 4 to 5 years have replaced most of our appliances.   The microwave form the early 80’s finally gave out on us and the stove bought from the late 80’s was repaired a couple of times.   The igniter that lights the burners was not working again and the oven.  The carpet that our boys were raised on needed replacing.   I am sure around your house you can see things that need fixing.   Sometimes the homes where a service man works has the issues of the homes that he repairs much to the frustration of their spouse.   That honey to do list in many homes can be big.  

     We watch the news and often pray for the things that are broken around us.   Some of us look at our expense and our income and know that something is broken.   Some of us look at our bodies and know that something is broken that something is not quite working correctly.    Butch hears the police all the time and you know something is wrong.  I know a Christian who prays every time they hear an emergency vehicle with the siren on.   At times we think the legal system is broken.  Many become angry when they see what seems to us is injustice.   Many feel that the government is broken and our national debt is out of control.   Many are concerned about the Social Security system and feel that it is broken.  We can go on and on with the brokenness in the world and around us. 

       The bible speaks about brokenness and things that are not right.  It did not take man too long to bring brokenness into the world because what God created was good.   Adam and Eve sinned and things did not improve even though they thought their plan was not good.   Adam’s plan was not better than God’s plan.  Adam and Eve broke things.   Man broke himself.  God drove them from the garden and Adam I am sure learned the hard way about producing food and making a living by his sweat and harder work.    Eve experienced pain in child birth and they both experienced death when their son Cain killed Abel.   Life certainly was not better for them. 

      In a few years man got further and further from God and things really gets broken.   We see in Genesis that God said every thought of man’s heart and mind was only evil continually.   God was grieved that He created man and decided to destroy the whole world except one family.   Noah found grace in the eyes of the lord.  It is neat and a huge blessing to find God’s grace and experience it.  God told Noah to build an ark and God sent the animals to the ark in pairs.   God then flooded the earth and then things were new again.   Then man multiplied again and soon things break down again.   Man settled in the plain of Shinar and gathered to build the Tower of Babel.   Things are broken again and man is up to no good so God confused their languages.   So it is like at one moment they were all speaking one language and then in the next moment they could not understand each other because they spoke were different languages.  That must have been confusing for them.   I do not understand a word you are saying.  

    God had a great desire to reveal himself to all of mankind so he called Abraham and through him came a nation.   They became enslaved in Egypt and God called a man named Moses to set them free and to give them God’s laws.   They wanted to stone Moses God’s good leader from time to time.   God gave them leaders and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey.   God sent to them prophets.   God’s people because of brokenness often failed to walk with God and God would allow other nations to harass them and tax them.   When they cried out to the Lord, God would raise up a judge to set them free and then they would fall back not sin again.  The cycle repeated itself over and over again for about 400 years.  Yet God remained faithful to his faithless people.  

     The people demanded a king and so God granted them a king.  God warned them not to set up a king to rule over them and their first king Saul had a great start and but terrible finish.   Then David came along.   He was God’s choice for a king.   He was a man after God’s own heart but he also sinned.  When David sinned, he could have brought all kinds of sacrifices. But they would not have pleased the Lord.   God was waiting for the sacrifice of a broken heart.   That's why David said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart--these, O God, You will not despise"   A broken heart is not being sorry for something that you did.   A broken heart claims God’s righteousness.  A broken heart looks up to God in faith and claims his forgiveness.  The broken person repents and changes their ways.   They put that sin away from them.   Repentance is not a negative thing.   Repentance is changing direction.  It is moving toward God and moving away from sin and the world. 

     God’s people sin against God and turn their back from God.   God judges his people and they are deported.   Jerusalem is destroyed and the temple is burned and destroyed.   The walls and the gates of Jerusalem are broken down a direct result of their sin.   Nehemiah is deported to Babylon and later hears about the conditions at Jerusalem.   The walls at Jerusalem have been broken down and the gates are burned with fire.   Proverbs 25 like a city whose walls are broken down is a man without self control.   It is not a good thing for the walls of the city to be broken in those days.  Nehemiah fasts, weeps and prays for days.  He confesses the sins of his people and lifts the situation before God.   The temple is rebuilt before Nehemiah comes and rebuilds Jerusalem’s gates and walls.  Nehemiah and Ezra bring God’s people closer to God restoring their broken relationship with God.  God has called us to build up the broken walls.   We are not to sit around and complain about how broken things are.   We need to stand in the gap and pray and build just like Nehemiah did.    Several thousand of the people that were deported return to the Promised Land.  After this time frame there are no more kings in Israel.   Then there is silence for about 400 years.   God is not speaking to his people through God’s prophets.   Man’s answers to life are in God and it is not good when God is silent. 

     I believe that God was crying out to his people not only then but now also.    Let me in your life.  Repent from your sin and let me in.   God kept working in this ole world.   And in the fullness of time Jesus comes.   God comes to man in the form of a baby.   Just before Jesus comes God sends John the Baptist.   You would think that the people would be looking for Jesus to come but that was not the case.   They needed – God’s people needed a person to come before Jesus to prepare them for the Savior.    God’s people are far from him and so God sends John the Baptist to prepare them for Jesus because of their brokenness.    John the Baptist was beheaded and Jesus God’s son crucified.   Things were not right.   Something was broken.   God’s people were broken.   They were broken because they were far from God.   It seems like evil is getting the upper hand but God is working.  God has a plan and God works his plan in ,man.

      What was man’s answer for our brokenness?        Our creator God became broken for us.   God’s weakness becomes our strength.  God’s brokenness becomes our mending.   God’s pain becomes our blessing.  God pays the price for our sin and our waywardness.   He paid the price because he loves us and we are free. 

       Story: A Korean Pastor shared this story some years ago, when he came to Switzerland.   In the 4th century AD in Korea a man had two sons.    The elder rose to become Chief Justice in the land and the younger became an infamous bandit.   The elder brother loved his younger brother but was unable to persuade him to change his ways.   Eventually the younger son was caught and brought before his brother, the Chief Justice.   Everyone in the courtroom thought the younger brother would get off because it was well known that the Chief Justice loved his brother but at the end of the trial, the Chief Justice sentenced his brother to death.    On the day of the execution, the elder brother came to the prison and said to his brother “Let’s swap places”.   The younger brother agreed thinking that once they realized that it was the elder brother, the execution would not go forward.    On he went up on the hill to watch proceedings.   His brother was brought out at dawn and to his horror executed.  Filled with remorse, he ran down the hill and told the guard his name and that he was the criminal who should be executed.    The guards said to him.   “There is no sentence, there is no warrant, there is not broken law outstanding for anyone with that name”   The price was paid and the books were clean.   In the same way, Christ has died for our sins so there is no sentence outstanding.    All we have to do is to accept his death in our place, totally trust Jesus to save us, ask for forgiveness, receive him into our life and walk with Jesus.  

   His grace is greater than your sin.  Romans 5 where sin increased grace increased all the more.  If you confess your sins and take steps toward God you are cleansed.  Sin no longer controls you.  As you walk with God you reign.  You are pure and you are acceptable to God.   We will stand before God clothed in righteousness.  There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus Romans 8.     You are set free in Christ.  Satan may condemn you but God no longer condemns you.   We are all equal at the foot of the cross.  God sent his son into the world nto to condemn the world but that the world through Christ may be saved.  Write your sin down and give it to God.  Love the Lord your God and your Neighbor as yourself.  Pray without ceasing and meditate on scripture day and night.   Confess anger, fear lust, grudges, envy, etc.  Write in on paper and wad it up and we are going to use the Christ candle and burn it up.