New Plans & Fulfilled Promises
|January 1st||January 2nd||January 3rd||January 4th||January 5th|
|New Testament||Matthew 1||Matthew 2||Matthew 3||Matthew 4||Matthew 5 v 1-26|
A new year, a new decade, a new season! God loves to stop us looking back and place new opportunities in front of us. 2020 is such a moment for all of us at GoChurch, with the brightest of futures ahead of us and our best days still to come.
Matthew’s gospel opens up with a look back at the genealogy of Jesus, all the generations of people who heard God’s promises. Some responded with faith and saw the impossible become real. Others did their own thing and paid the consequences.
New Beginnings – A virgin bride-to-be and her future husband get the scariest of visitors, an angel with a message. Hebrews 1:14 calls angels “ministering spirits sent to minister to those who will inherit salvation”. Mary & Joseph definitely needed some ministry or TLC after the angel visit but one thing they did was record the message (remember). All prophecy needs testing, praying though and checking with God. The other thing prophecy needs is faith to be added to it.
When God speaks, whether encouragement or challenge, we have a choice – to believe or not!
Prophecy Fulfilled – Matthew wrote his gospel for the benefit of Jewish believers and the phrase “this was to fulfil what the prophet said” or similar words regularly appear. I love underlining those fulfilment verses and finding the original promise so that I can mark the original promise. As a father one of my fondest memories was the holiday Claire & I took with our kids to Disney. For almost 10 years we had been promising our kids that once Joe (our youngest) reached a certain age/height we would take them. I stood with tears in my eyes as I watched the excitement of their faces as they watched the big parade. Promise fulfilled, children feeling loved.
Our Heavenly Father enjoys fulfilling the promises He gives, ones that have much better and longer-term consequences.
Jesus – born to a virgin, a descendant of King David, born at Bethlehem, called back from Egypt, called a Nazarene – to mention just a few of the prophecies fulfilled at his birth. Totally impossible to fake or control unless you are God!
A New Message – At his baptism, Jesus spoke about fulfilling righteousness. John had already begun to prepare the people for a new message. No longer focusing on sin, instead Jesus baptised us with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Good News or gospel is empowerment and transformation for us to live and behave like God.
Our Heavenly Father was so excited about Jesus’ humility and obedience at his baptism that He broke all protocols and shouted down His encouragement. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. Our Heavenly Father gets just as excited today every time we operate by faith or turn to Him.
Jesus then called his first disciples and preached his famous sermon about the kingdom. The Good News is all about the heart attitude and our ability to fulfil God’s plan for the people around us. The challenge to walk like Jesus, to speak like Jesus, to believe like Jesus, to heal like Jesus. Jesus heard what the Father wanted and did it. What is God speaking to us today? Promises for the future? Opportunities for now? Issues of the past to deal with?
We have an exciting year ahead. Full of opportunities. 2020 – our best year yet!
Join in the conversation by downloading BibleApp and connecting with “Alan Morton”.
• Welcome to the plan that we are reading together as a family of churches. What are you expecting to get out of reading the plan together?
• How many differences from the traditional nativity story can you see?
• What was your baptism experience? Tell us your story!
• How did Jesus deal with the devil’s temptations? How have you dealt with temptation?
• How do we “shine before people” and also face challenges?