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Abounding Grace (Vol 08) - Grace That Changes Lives

Sunday English Service - 16 AUG 20

Transcript

We started a new series of teaching, and this teaching is about grace, and we titled it as abounding grace. And the title comes from Romans chapter five and verse 20, where Paul says, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."

What does it mean? Sin by nature abounds, that means it exerts its influence and all what powers everything so that when it enters into a man's heart, it totally captures him, his heart, his mind, his actions, every realm of his life is affected by sin. And until it completely destroys him, sin will never leave him. The same thing happens when sin enters into a community, a family, it gets in there and completely dominates and destroys. It's an evil power. So, sin abounds, but the good news is grace abounds much more where sin abounds. That means God has got another power, and this is called grace, to counter sin with, and to destroy sin's power. What grace does is, not only remedies and repairs what sin has damaged and destroyed. It also makes those very things more beautiful and wonderful than it ever was than it ever could be. That's the work of grace, is far greater than what sin could do. Grace can do much more than what sin can do. And that is what every Christian experiences in this work of salvation.

So we went all the way back to Genesis one and started praising this. And I actually dealt with five instances in the first 11 chapters of Genesis where sin abounded and we saw grace did much more abound. And those five instances are Adam's sin, Cain sin and then thirdly, we looked at Genesis chapter six, where the entire human race became depraved. And then the people at the time of Noah's flood where God had to destroy the entire human race except Noah and his family. Sin abounded there, and how God's grace abounded, we showed. And then finally we saw the tower of Babel effort and how it was. Sin abounding actually, and how grace of God came and abounded there.

Then we talked about Abraham, last week. And Abraham is very important because Abraham is one man that God chose and made a covenant with him and gave him some unconditional promises because he has chosen him. And now God is going to take charge, even though he's not so spiritual, he's not so strong and he's not so perfect. God is going to take him and bless him, make his name great. And through him, bless the whole world, that is bring a savior through him ultimately, and through that savior, salvation will come to the whole world. This is God's plan. So Abraham and his descendants are very important in the scheme and the plan of God. So we're going to look at a few things here. We're not going to look at everything, we can go into life of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Joseph, and so on. Look at many instances where this thing can be taught, but I'm going to just pick and choose just a few instances.

So today we're going to look at Genesis chapter 38. It is a strange chapter stuck right in the middle of Joseph's story. Now, Joseph's story begins in chapter 37, chapter 37 is where it begins. It talks about Joseph as a man who was the beloved of his father. Father loved him greatly. In fact, showed partiality towards him and that created a lot of tension between his brothers and him. They were all jealous of him. Plus, he also dreamed some dreams and told them, and the dreams meant that one day, they're all going to bow before him and stand before him, including his father and mother. And these things upset the brothers and they wanted to get rid of him. And you remember how they tried to kill him and then throw him in a pit and then sold them to some Egyptians and he ended up as a slave in Potiphar’s house and so on.

So chapter 37 takes you till the story reaches that point where he is sold into Potiphar's house. And after that chapter 38 talks about a totally new thing and it seems like an unrelated subject. It goes into this story of Judah and Tamar. Judah is one of the sons of Jacob and Tamar is his son's wife. That is Judas son's wife. Talks about their story, which is a strange story, it doesn't seem to have any relationship with the story of Joseph. And then in the very next chapter 39 chapter, the story of Joseph continues from Potiphar's house, very strange. So some scholars, even the old scholars suggested that 38 chapter is an unwanted insertion that some editor has inserted while putting together the book of Genesis in bits and pieces, they have inserted in the wrong place. It doesn't belong in there, must belong somewhere else, but does not belong in there because it has nothing to do with Joseph's story. And if you read it, it will by all means look like that.

But scholars later on began to see some reason for why the story is there. Why is it there? See a lot of people think about the Bible as an inspirational moral story, for us to admit it. So you read the Bible and imitate the Bible they say. The wonderful moral teachings here, very inspirational, you just imitate. And widely people believe this to be true, but I want to tell you something today. The Bible is not an inspirational model storybook to imitate. What is the Bible then? The Bible is the story of redemption. The Bible is about how God created the world and created man and put him there and how sin came and corrupted man's life and corrupted this world and how therefore man today needs redemption, salvation, deliverance from the sin so that he can live the kind of life that God intended him to live. This is the story of redemption. Because it is a story of redemption, it has to tell about how sin abounds, how sin destroys, how sin works. It's evil into people's lives, into communities, into families and so on.

And then only it can talk about how grace works in order to show the work of God's redemption and salvation. It has to show what sin does, and then only it can show what grace does. And that's exactly what the Bible is all about. That's why when you read chapter 38 in Genesis, you will not find inspiration there. If you just read it like a story. Tamar's story, Judah's story. If you read it from chapter 38, you'll say, "My God why do they include stories like this in the Bible?" This is not a story which I could just sit and tell my children at home, as a bedtime story. This is an ugly, evil, nasty story that you would even feel very embarrassed talking about in public. That's the kind of story and people wonder why such stories are in the Bible. It is in the Bible because this is what sin does. And without telling what sin does, you cannot explain what salvation does, what redemption does, what Jesus has come to do, and what the Christian message is all about. And this explains why the world is like that, why families are the way they are many times and why communities are like the way they are many times.

And what is the remedy for the whole thing? See, you cannot to talk about these things without passages like this, or without content like this. So the Bible is not all pleasant content with full of inspirational stories, moral stories, no. Many times, it's ugly stories. Stories of evils, stories of injustice, stories of tremendous wickedness and evil in society, in families, in individuals working through individuals and so on. And through it, the story of salvation is told. So, don't be upset at passages like that, because if you begin to understand the Bible and look at it as a story of redemption, then you will find inspiration. So let's look at Tamar and Judah's story. It is given to us in 38-chapter, 37 chapter is all about Joseph, 39 chapter continues with Joseph, but right in between is the strange Judah and Tamar story. It looks strange, but you will see the relationship as I explained this.

Now, you remember Judah is one of the sons of Jacob and you remember he played a very active part in selling Jacob to the Egyptians, and building the whole story that somehow he was killed by an animal and they found this clothing and he killed a little lamb and dip the clothing in the blood and showed it to his father, asked him to identify if it was his son's, father started weeping and crying because his son is now dead. So he built this whole narrative. This is the guy who planned, and he had such an evil mind, evil mentality that would sell his own brother, that would even dare to kill him, but ended up selling him finally for some money, and then building up such a lie about what happened to his brother. After Joseph was sold to Egypt, Judah comes back and he builds his life. He goes and marries a Canaanite woman, which his father was always against and starts his life there with that Canaanite woman and has three sons and his oldest son gets married to a girl named Tamar.

And the Bible says, if you read in 38 chapter, the Bible says, the guy is so wicked. So wicked that God's judgment came upon him and he died. So now Tamar, the young lady is left as a widow. Now in that culture, at that time, there was a practice that said if a man dies and leaves a widow behind, someone from his family, some close relative, usually a brother or some other close relative must marry his wife and give her seed, give her children. And thereby that man who died we'll have seed, we'll have descendants. They will not be left without descendants. This was in practice. So Judah chooses his second son to marry Tamar and Tamar gets married to the second son. And the second son is even more wicked than the first one. He makes sure that she doesn't get pregnant, she doesn't have seeds, she doesn't have children. He knows that it's not going to be his. So, he doesn't want anything to happen, that will insure her future. He is very wicked. And generally, was very wicked in all his activities and therefore God's judgment came upon him also and he died. That's what the Bible says. I don't have the time to read. It's all in 38 chapter.

 

Then there was a third son. Now, it was the turn for the third son to marry but the third son was very young. See the girl, Tamar must've been only 15, 16 years old at the most they say, and the third son probably was 12, 13 years old at that time, and Judah was not very comfortable now giving his third son to this girl because he now started thinking, "Oh my God, something's wrong with this girl, because I got my two sons married to her, both of them died at such a young age, something wrong with this woman. Let's not have anything to do with her.“ Somehow pack her and send her off to her father's house. That's what he was thinking. But in that society, it was his responsibility to take care of her, make sure that she's married to someone close relative in the family and that the property that belonged to the dead husband goes to her through that and her children through that. He needs to make sure of all these things and he must take responsibility for her future and for her sustenance, but he wants to pack her and send her off.

And very conveniently, the third son happens to be a younger guy, so he goes to her and tells her, "Look, you go to your father's house and remain there and just wait for some time until my son grows up." The third son is very young. Let him grow up. Once he reaches marriageable age, then we can arrange marriage with you. You can have him as the husband. So she believes him and she goes home and waits and waits and years roll by and the boy grows up, but he doesn't hear anything from Judah. She knows Judah probably, that he's a liar and a cheat and he is that kind of a person, who will tell stories, but never do what he says. But she needs some backing, she needs to find a place in society. It's not like these days, girls cannot just go and get an education and go work somewhere and then marry whoever they want and all that. It's not like that, she has to belong to a family. She has to have a husband, children and all that, all that has to be the support system. Things were different in those days. So she's now trying to figure out how she can get her place in society, how she can get what she rightly deserves.

So she hears that her father-in-law is going to come to a market nearby where sheep shearers bring their sheep to be sheared. And so she makes a plan. She's a girl that doesn't know God, she's from that local community and she does not know God, even Judah doesn't seem to know God that well, because he came from Abraham. He is the great grandson of Abraham, but he doesn't seem to have any faith in God. He seems to be so wicked. The family seems to be so wicked. It looks like they haven't taught their kids and they're not very spiritual people. And just imagine what Tamar from that area would have been like. She absolutely does not know God and does not have any knowledge of how she can go to God and God will help her and so on. She doesn't believe in any of those things. So, she has only her brain to help her right now, her own power and strength and intelligence.

So she goes to work and comes up with a scheme, where she dresses up like a prostitute and goes and waits in an area near the sheep shearing market where she thought Judah might come by and sure enough, he comes by and he wants the services of a prostitute. So he goes to her, not knowing who she was, not recognizing her, that she covered herself and talks to her and fixes a rate for her service and that happens to be a little lamb from his flock. And he did not have any money to give her at that time, did not have the lamb with him also. So he had to go send it back to her through a servant, but she said, "Well, you need to give me some guarantee. How would I know that you're going to send me my price?" So he said, "All right." And he gave her his signatory, which is used as a stamping thing, in those days. All these business people used it to stamp their documents for business transactions and they will hang it around their neck, because it was a cylindrical thing, attached to a cord, went around their neck. And then he had a staff and this staff, they say they are particularly made for that person and everybody knows when they see the staff who stuff it is, that's the way they are made.

So he gives all of these things to her as guarantee. But the thing is, when you give those things as guarantee, is like giving your other card and your driver's license to her, it's your identity, very important documents like, those days. So he goes, after everything was over, he goes to the market, finds his servant and gives him a little sheep and tells him to take it to the girl that he will see at such and such place. And he brings it and looking for her. He finds no prostitute there, and he inquires in that area and they said, "There's no prostitute, here in this area." He comes back and tells his master that he finds no one there. So, Judah just lets it go. He knows that he's lost his ring now and his staff has gone. But he hopes that he will not be put to shame one day through this. So he probably goes back and makes his signaling again. He makes a staff for himself again and everything is all right. But three months later he receives news. News that Tamar has been working as a prostitute and has become pregnant. And as soon as he hears that, he becomes very enraged, very angry. It's like a holy anger that works up from inside of him. And he wants to bring her out and kill her by burning her, not just ordinary killing, but by burning her.

And so in verse 25, we read, when she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law saying, "By the man to whom these belong, I am with a child." She gave the signatory and the cord and the staff to someone and said, "Hey, please take this to Judah and tell him, the man to whom these belong, that man is the father of the child that's growing in my womb." And she said, "Please determine whose these are, the signature and cord and stuff. Please determine whose these are." This translation says in King James version. The Hebrew word behind this line, please determine who’s these are, is a very fascinating and a critical word in the whole text they say, is the word [Hebrew 00:21:55]. And it links to a number of other texts in Genesis. In other words, you can find that same expression in other places in Genesis. The word literally means recognize. In other words, she's asking, "Do you recognize this? [Hebrew 00:22:18] means recognize. You see who's this is? Do you recognize this?

And so these things are sent to Judah and they're showed to him and look at verse 26, so Judah acknowledged them and say, "She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son and he never knew her again." So he looks at it and something tremendous happens in him. He begins to somehow have his eye open, where he not only just knows that he's now been found, it seems like he's truly repentant because of the words he says here. He says, "She is more righteous than I." That's saying a little bit more than saying, I'm sorry. "She's more righteous than I." He says. He's not saying she's righteous. He's not saying what she did is right. What she did is not right. She should not have done that. And he knows that. And he's not saying that she is righteous, he is only saying she's more righteous than I, because he feels that he failed to do his job. He should have married her to her third son and given her life that way. And because he failed to do that, that drove her to that desperate attempt to do such things, even though such things are wrong. She should not have done it. The greater wrong belongs to him. The greater wrong doing is by him and he realizes that.

So when he recognized whose the ring was and who's the staff was, he literally discerned and realized and recognized who he was. His eyes were open. God seems to be working in his life to bring about a change in his life. After all, he's got this great responsibility to be a forefather of Jesus. So God is interested in him. God knows that sin is working very, very strongly within him. That sin is abounding in him and he's going in the wrong direction all the time. Therefore, God is now unleashing grace in his life. In the midst of that abounding sin, God unleashes grace, which abounds much more and grace seems to abounds much more to that man, who is such a hard hearted fellow, who can even sell his own brother, who can even plan to kill his own brother, who can tell such lies to his father, that his brother may have been killed by an animal and so on. God could take such a person in whom sin is so well set, and so artfully working, and God can turn that kind of a person around where he will admit his fault, completely and fully.  And this is something amazing. He says, "She is more righteous than I." This is God's grace. Grace does this. He realizes his hypocrisy. He realizes his hardness of heart. He realizes who he is really. He realizes his wrongdoing. He realizes that he's acting like he's this big holy righteous person, whereas he's the one that is in the wrong. Is that amazing?

This is something that happens to everyone, who turns from their sin and changes. See grace brings changes in our life. This happens to every person whose experienced salvation, who's experienced the realization of their sin. Normally people would not admit their sin, admit their wrongdoing. Instead they will act like they're so angry at other people's wrongdoings. Other people's wrongdoing looks so big and so evil. Their own wrongdoing, they cannot see they're blind to it. Very difficult to make them see, very difficult to make them recognize. And you got to have the grace of God working in order for that person to open up and begin to see how wrong they are. And especially if you come from a family like Judah's family, he comes from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, belonging to such a privileged family, knowing God, knowing so much about God and so on, that makes them feel like they're superior to others. Even today, when you come from a good background, you feel like so superior and all others are sinners and sometimes, you feel like you belong to a very religious background and others are sinners. And especially, if the woman does something like this. They will always say, "Oh, very bad character." Character is no good.

But sometimes the very people that say their character, you'll never be able to make them see their own character, unless they themselves have an experience with God's grace, where they are made to see the evil that is in their character, that is in their nature, that sin has come into them and it's ruining them unless they see it. Unless by the grace of God, they see it. Unless there is a spiritual awakening of that sort, nothing will happen. And that's what that word her [Hebrew 00:28:35] means. Recognize means are you awakening to who you are? Are you able to see who you are? Wake up, open your eyes, look and see what you really are. That's what it means. So, Judah has amazing experience, an experience with the grace of God. God's grace initiates a work in him, begins the work in him. Sometimes it happens with situations like this, it happens through some painful experiences and some difficulties and challenges that we face, and some complications that we're dealing with. It is at that time, through that many times, God opens our eyes so that we can see that we are in need of God's grace and that we are need of God's help. So he realizes that she's more righteous than him.

I'm sure that when that signature ring was brought to him and the question was put forth before him saying, "Do you recognize this?" He remembered how, when Joseph was sold and he came and told a lie to his father, he showed Joseph's clothing, dipped in blood to his father and said, "Do you recognize this?" There he was fooling his father asking him, "Do you recognize this?" And the father said, "Yeah, this is my son's." And he starts crying. And father has been crying for years like that, after his son was gone. Now, the whole thing comes back to him. Now his own signature ring is brought back to him. And the question is asked, "Do you recognize this?"

But there is another occasion that this word will come at him and come to him. You know where that is? When Judah and his brothers, you remember went to Egypt to get some grain, they didn't know Joseph had become the chief in Egypt next to only to the King. They couldn't recognize him. And when they saw him, he could recognize them. They couldn't recognize him. He had now grown up, dressed up like an Egyptian speaking the Egyptian language. They thought he was someone else. And they go there for grain and he recognized, and he asked many questions about the family and who they are and their identity and so on and sends them back with bags of grain and so on, and then tells them, you leave one of the brothers with him so that they can prove their integrity by going and bringing their youngest brother, who they left at home and came to show that they're speaking the truth. And so they go to the father and ask his permission to take Benjamin because they said that man over there was asking about our family and doesn't believe us and he wants to make sure that we're speaking the truth. Wants us to bring our youngest brother. We need to take him. And Jacob was not willing to let the son go because he's already lost one beloved son, Joseph.

And this Benjamin is the other one that he loved very much both born to Rachel, his beloved wife, didn't want to let him go. But finally, it was Judah who told him, "If I do not bring back your son, Benjamin, may the blame beyond me for the rest of my life." He says. And guarantees him and then obtained permission from his father to take him there. And Jacob lets him go only because he realizes that if Benjamin doesn't go, they won't get any more grain and they'll starve and die, including Benjamin. Everybody will die. So it's better to let him go and he lets him go under the guarantee given by Judah.

So when they come back the second time to Egypt, they were entertained with a big dinner from Joseph. And at the end of the dinner, they were given sacks of grain and Joseph literally frames Benjamin there. In Benjamin's bag, he puts a silver vessel purposely because he has some questions about these men. These brothers, because he knows that they can kill, they can lie, they can even sell because they sold him. They tried to kill him. They told his father the lies. He knows what they would've done. What they're capable of. He wants to see whether they've changed. He's concerned about his brother Benjamin. They're both born to the same mother. So he's very much concerned about him, concerns about his father. So he wants to make sure these fellows have changed. There is some change in them. So he wants to make a final test. And that's why he puts this silver thing in this, in Benjamin's bag. And then lets them go. And as they leave and get out of the city, there is a check post and they're checking. And when they checked, they found this silver thing in Benjamin's bag. So they bring back Benjamin. He wants to keep Benjamin.

And in that situation, he really wants to see through this test what these fellows are like now, whether any changes happen and look at chapter 44, verse 32 to 34. Now Judah begins to beg Joseph. He says, "For your servant became surety for the lad to my father saying, if I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father forever. Now, therefore please let your servant remain instead of the lad, as a slave to my Lord and let the lad go up for his brothers." He's saying, "Let me remain as a slave, take me.

I'll remain here as a slave. If you think they've done wrong, let my brother go, because otherwise I'll be responsible. I gave the guarantee to my father, for how shall I go up to my father, if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father. Something will happen to my father if I go back without him." He says, "Take me as your slave. Let my brother go."

Complete turnaround in this man's life. It seems like a lot of things have changed. It seems like a lot of transformation has happened. Grace has been working, sin abounded, but grace abounds much more. He was the evil wicked guy, very evil guy and plans some very evil things, do some very evil things. But something has been happening in his life. Ever since Tamar's incidents, things have changed a lot. He realizes that he's been wrong. He realizes that he's not so righteous. He realizes that before God he is wrong. So here he says, "I will be a slave, let my brother go." He says. Then chapter 45 says, then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him. He cried out, make everyone go out from me. So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wanted all his men Egyptians to get out of the room and he wept loud, the next verse says, and the Egyptians in the house of Pharaoh heard it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph, does my father still live." I hear as well that [Hebrew 00:37:21] comes again.

Joseph is literally saying, "Hey, you recognize me. Do you recognize who I am? Do you recognize this? I'm Joseph, does my father still live?" And his brothers could not answer him for they were dismayed in his presence. So they stood there in total dismay, total fear, heads bowed, shaking before the man and the man that had most to fear was Judah, just remember. The man who had a lot to fear for was Judah because he's the one that arranged for in the first place to have him killed and then they changed and they sold, all this happened because of Judah suggestion. And Judah was probably standing there shaking, thinking what he would do because he's got such power. 20 years had gone by, but grace of God is still working in his life. He realizes now that things have caught up with him, he probably stood there in total fear thinking now the soldiers are going to come arrest him, take him, put him in a dungeon, kill him. And he's going to experience all the punishment that he deserved so long. And he totally deserved it because he's in the wrong. So he's standing there shaking, waiting for everybody to come and take him and something very terrible to happen to him.

But nobody came, nothing happened, no orders to take him and there was a strange calm. This would have been a day that Judah probably never forgot, for the rest of his life, this was a day of grace in Judah's life. On this day, he was given precisely what he deserved least. In other words, he was given precisely what he did not deserve. Instead Joseph said in verse five, but now do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here for God sent me before you to preserve life. See Joseph is so full of grace. This is the moment that I would like to have been there in that room to watch what happened, such a dramatic thing. They're shaking And Joseph says, "Don't worry, God sent me here to preserve life." They're all standing there consumed with the guilt and Joseph was consumed with something else. He was consumed with grace.

Joseph not only forgive them, but he invited them to bring their families and to live in the most fertile territory of Egypt. Do you realize that within seconds, Judah and his brothers went from condemned to death, to the position of esteemed guests of the second most powerful man in Egypt. Talk about law of sowing and reaping. What a man sows, he will also reap, is what the Bible says. That's a law of God. That's a law that was set in motion when God created everything, what you sow, you will get. Normally that is so, but this time it was watered by grace. They did not reap what they sowed. Judah never really got what he deserved, as it is always with grace. Judah got what he did not deserve, that's grace. But there is some more grace abounding to Judah as if this is not enough, already so overwhelmed by grace, has been such a change in his life and he receives the most unexpected grace showered upon him. That from the position of condemned to death, he now moves into the position of the most honored guest of the second most powerful man in Egypt, maybe the second most powerful man in the world at that time.

And here he was, totally stunned by everything that happened to him. Grace has taken him by surprise. He is surprised by grace. What he deserved was not given to him, what he did not deserve, what he is not worth of was given to him. Instead of death is given life. He is given a new future. But as if that is not enough, there is more grace coming his way. In chapter 49 of Genesis, you come almost to the end of the story where Jacob is now very old and all his sons are now gathered. And according to their tradition, one of the sons must be picked as the official head of the family. Usually the oldest one gets the position, but often times anybody can be given that position depending upon the situation.

And at this time, probably all of the brothers thought that the honor belonged to Joseph because Joseph had been a tremendous success, he has gone through much, he has endured a lot of wrongdoing, he has suffered much and come out ahead, he has proven character. He's a good man. He deserves that position and he's in one of the highest positions in the country. And he is a very credible person for that position, as the head of the family, everybody will feel proud to have him as the head of the family. He's got tremendous leadership. He saved the whole nation of Egypt from dying of famine. And he saved the whole nation of Israel from starvation by saving his family. So the man deserves all credit to be the head of the family of Jacob. So they all come and stand and they all come before the father, Reuben, Simeon, and Levi and so on. But then the honor falls low and behold upon Judah. I think Judah must've been surprised again by grace because by now all his secrets are out. Now, his father knows that he's the big cheater. He's the one that sold Joseph and did the terrible crime of selling him and then lying to him about what happened. His father knew all that he had done. He had masterminded the sale of Joseph into slavery, and he has watched his father cry most of his life for Joseph. And while Joseph was struggling and living a life of hardship in Egypt, he was living a double life over there at his house.

If any man forfeited his birthright, it was Judah. It did not deserve it. He does not deserve it, but grace bypasses all this. And Judah goes near his father and he knees down. And here is the blessing he received from Jacob. And you read it in Genesis chapter 49 verses eight and 10. And I'm going to read the message translation, you Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your fingers on your enemies throat, while your brothers honor you. The Sceptre shall not leave Judah. He'll keep a firm grip on the command staff until the ultimate ruler comes and the nations obey him. You know what a great blessing this is. You know what this blessing means. It means that Judah's descendants would be Kings. And at that time, they were just a family in Egypt. And the words uttered over Judah means that his descendants would be Kings. They are not even a nation. They're just a large family. And they were living not in their own country. They're living in Egypt. They don't have their own country, but yet this is exactly what was spoken. The families are Jacob's 12 sons eventually became the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel and beginning with King David, the Kings of Israel were born to the tribe of Judah.

And most importantly, Jesus was born from the lineage of Judah as well. He is the lion of Judah. Who would've ever thought that Judah would have this honor? Judah certainly did not deserve any of this. His life story reads like a dream. God chose to bring the Messiah into the world, through the lineage of Judah and not Joseph. After a lifetime of sin and hypocrisy, Judah was brought to a place of humility and gratitude. Just imagine, what changes grace has produced in his life. And he wasn't brought into this new position through threat of punishment. He was not threatened to becoming good. He was brought there through grace and he never went looking for grace. It was grace, which found him. Grace searched for him and found him, though 20 years went by God continued to work as grace into the story of Joseph's life and Judah's life. And he continues to work his grace with mankind. God continues to work his grace in your life and my life. Just imagine. And Judah story illustrates the great truth about grace. That grace is not reserved for good people. Grace is about the goodness of God to undeserving people. It's God's goodness coming to undeserving people. That's what grace is all about. My friend there's no better good news than this one.

Wherever you're watching from. I say to you today, grace is the best good news that you can hear.  No matter who we are, no matter what background we're from, no matter what we have done, where we been, no matter what our past has been, grace means that we can have a new future. Grace means that our tomorrow can be different. Grace means if we open our door and allow God to work in our life, we'll seek the face of God. If we'll open our lives to God, to work his grace into our lives, grace will mend, rectify, remedy anything that has gone wrong. Grace will heal every sickness of the mind, of the heart. Grace is a tremendous thing my friend. Just imagine that. Just imagine Judah, this evil person, what a very evil family with evil sons. The entire family is a dysfunctional family, ruined family, ruined by sin. Sin has gotten in there into everybody's life. Not one is left. Everybody's got the influence of sin, is under the power of sin, but grace comes in and their total new future opens up so that Judah becomes one of the forefathers of Jesus. He has the greatest honor in this whole world, that he's a forefather of Jesus.

Now, we haven't forgotten Tamar. Tamar that poor girl that was so desperate to find a place in society for herself. She wanted to insure her place and her safety, and her provision for life. She would go to any extent, do anything to get a life. That's the way she approached life. She didn't know God. She didn’t know anything about the grace of God, but the grace of God found her also. Grace touched through Judah. Grace has touched the family now, and look at what happens in Matthew's gospel chapter one, where the genealogy is given. In this genealogy of Jesus, you'll find something that is very uncommon in the genealogies of that day. The genealogies of those days did not mention women, only mentioned the fathers, the male figures, did not mention women. But look at this genealogy. Abraham, we had Isaac, Isaac we had Jacob, Jacob we had Judah. From Jacob, it goes straight to Judah and his brothers, Judah we had Perez. That's the lane for the Messiah. This is how Jesus comes, Judah we had Perez and Zerah by Tamar. Tamar give birth to twin sons. And when the first child stuck his hands out, someone tied out a Scarlet thread on his hands, but he pulled his hand inside and the other boy came out first and they named that boy Perez.

And you know what Perez means? Perez means breakthrough, breakout, breakthrough. That's exactly what happened in the life of the Tamar and Judah and his entire family. This is exactly what happened. Sin was dominating, sin was holding them captive, sin was destroying them completely. The entire family was a gone case, but right in the middle of all that, just like Perez broke out, the grace of God broke out. The grace of God gave them the breakthrough they needed, to cross that miserable part of their life and get out of that and get into a life of feasts and glory and honor and blessing. That's what this whole story is about. Disconnected with Joseph story.

It is all part and parcel of the same, but it is a wonderful revelation of the grace of God. It is an ugly story. It is a story that embarrasses you even to talk about it, but it is a wonderful story when you realize the grace expressed through all of this, that God could even take someone like that and change that kind of a person makes such beautiful future out of such people. That gives great hope my friend, today no matter who we are, God can take our lives if we'll give it in His hands and say, "Lord, I've tried my best. I tried to make a life for myself. I've tried this and that and everything. I've tried everything that my brain could imagine, but all of that is vain. I give my life into your hands, take my life, Lord. This ruined broken life; you take it and make something beautiful and wonderful out of it. I'll be thankful to you, if you can take it and make it count, make it amount to something, make it meaningful, make it purposeful, make it joyful, make it valuable. If you will take it and make my life count. I give my life into your hand oh God." Can you say that?

You're a person there in need. If you're a person there that's in any kind of situation like this, and you say, "My God, my life is broken. My life is in pieces. How can I put it together? It has such evil. It is so bad." I tell you, the grace of God has more than enough power. That's why God told Paul; my grace is sufficient for you. Your needs may be great, your problem may be great, your challenges may be great. Everything may seem impossible, but the grace of God is more than enough for you. I challenge you today to reach out to Jesus. He's already reaching out to you, and ask him to come into your life, open your heart to him and your mind to him. Let him work his grace into you, and you will see him change your life into a beautiful, wonderful life.

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