This week we begin a three-part series in the book of Matthew, taking us through much of the next year and a half.
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the earliest biographies of Jesus. What makes this kind of biography unique is that it isn’t presenting Jesus as a mere historical figure. Matthew’s biography is written as “good news” for the world that should reshape every part of our lives.
Here’s how you can prepare for this Sunday:
1. Read our text, Matthew 1:1–17.
Often, writers will take a little time before they get into the deep end of their subject matter. Not so for Matthew. The first line of the story (and of the New Testament!) gets right to the heart of the Gospel. It could be translated, “The book of the genesis of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David, the son of Abraham.” He’s saying that this story is about what God is doing to bring about the new creation, to restore the world, and it’s all happening through Jesus.
He says that Jesus is fulfilling the promises made to King David and to Abraham: that one of their descendants would establish God’s reign on earth and bring God’s presence and blessing to all nations. In other words, Jesus is the Promised One for whom Israel and all creation has been longing.
On the surface, the genealogy may feel mundane, but it’s loaded with powerful and surprising themes that will be present throughout the gospel: the brokenness of the nation of Israel, the dignity that Jesus shows to the socially marginalized, and the sovereign wisdom of God in bringing all of His promises to fulfillment through Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God.
2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:
CALL TO WORSHIP: Hebrews 1:1–2, Greeting:
Father, so many voices are competing for our attention
and so many loves are seeking our allegiance.
Even now, by the power of Your Spirit, quiet our restless hearts.
Help us to hear the voice of Your Son inviting us today:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Here For You (Maher, Redman, Reeves, Wanstall)
Stand In Your Love (Baldwin, Harris, Hulse, Springer)
CONFESSION OF SIN: From Thou, Dear God… by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
O thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being. We humbly confess that we have not loved Thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive, we love our friends and hate our enemies, we go the first mile but dare not travel the second, we forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against Thee. But Thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know Thy will. Give us the courage to do Thy will. Give us the devotion to love Thy will. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: 2 Corinthians 1:20–22
What A Beautiful Name (Ben Fielding, Brooke Ligertwood)
GREETING, SERMON, RESPONSE & COMMUNION
Way Maker (Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu)
Yes And Amen (Anthony Brown, Chris McClarney, Nate Moore)