Turn with me to Matthew 2
Hey- Some of you may have had your fill of Christmas by now
But before I officially end Christmas this year, I would like to focus our attention on an important event
This event happened a couple years after the birth of Christ. The Scripture says that Mary and Joseph were living in a house by that time. One day they had some unexpected visitors
You- FCF- As we look at this account from Matthew 2, I hope you’ll see in our passage that sin will divert your path from God
Hopefully you’ll recognize it early as you humbly bow before Christ, just as wise
When you do that, God will guide in His path. He’ll bless in the coming year as you yield to the Spirit of God
According to Matthew 2:1, the Bible says:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,2 saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
The context of the passage this morning comes from Matthew 1:21 where the Bible says Mary brought “forth a Son”
The virgin gave birth to the Messiah, the Son of God and Mary and Joseph were instructed to call His name “Jesus”
Why? Verse 21 tells us- they will call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
God Almighty brought Jesus in the world to save His people
He was on a rescue mission. He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life
You would think that people would have organized a welcoming party to hail the king of the Jews
But they didn’t
When sin enters the picture, you get this reaction: When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him
The king behaved in a typical way (sinful and selfish), He didn’t want any challengers to his throne
And the people in his kingdom where complacent; they didn’t want to upset the applecart
According to Matthew 2:4, the King gathered all the chief priests and “inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea
for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel."'(Matt 2:4-6)
A great Ruler was coming who would shepherd God’s people
This news was fantastic… or was it? Why weren’t the people excited?
Well somehow, sin diverted the people from the truth
Instead of jumping for joy that a Ruler was among them, they wanted to keep the status quo
Instead of enjoying God’s promise, they buried it, so it wouldn’t interfere with their “little world”
The prophecy declared that Messiah would be born in a village near them but nobody cared… …except these men from another country
The King of Kings was living literally “under their noses” and they weren’t aware of His presence
Sin had diverted them away from God. All the powerful and religious people were blinded to the truth
The Bible describes the blinding affects of sin. According to Eph 4:18, the understanding of sinners is:
Darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart
The Apostle Paul also wrote that
The god of this age has blinded, those who do not believe
But you don’t have to stay in that condition. In humility, we can bow before Christ
We can confess our need for Christ and Paul wrote in 2nd Co 4:4 that:
“the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God… will “shine on them”.
God will shine on you if you admit that you are a sinner
All you have to do is take the promise of 1st John 1:9. Ask for His forgiveness; ask to be saved and He will save you
He will open your eyes to the truth and shine on you (pray, invite)
Most you folks here today have sought the Lord wholeheartedly and you haven’t been disappointed
However, there might be others who have sought the Lord half-heartedly and for the wrong reasons
That was the case for Herod
Listen to his half-hearted comments to the Magi. According to :
Mat 2:7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
There is something we should note about Herod’s methods.
It’s obvious that when you call someone in “secretly”, you have something to hide
Herod was being deceitful. He really didn’t want to seek the child for worship
Rather Herod wanted to destroy Him; that’s why God directed the Magi to take another route
Herod would “seek the young Child” but only to destroy Him” (Mat 2:13)
I contend that people who are half-hearted in their worship are suspect in their walk with Christ
The good news is that God forgives those who are don’t fully give themselves to Him as Lord
Take a moment to imagine the effort the Magi put into seeking the Savior
Obviously God led the wise men by faith.
There is no other explanation for why they would leave their homes to find the one who was born King of the Jews
As scientific experts of the day, they studied the culture and understood the times
The Magi’s knowledge of the Messiah may have been influenced by men like Daniel in the OT
John MacArthur says that they probably knew of Daniel
“Because of his great wisdom and because he had successfully pleaded for the lives of the wise men who had failed to interpret the king’s dream (Dan. 2:24)
Mac Arthur says “Because of Daniel’s high position and great respect among them, it seems certain that the magi learned much from that prophet about the one true God, the God of Israel, and about His will and plans for His people through the coming glorious King
These wise men sought this great King with a wholehearted devotion and their diligence fits the definition of faith seen in Heb.11:6
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
Their faith is quite a contrast to that of the Jews who were unprepared for His coming
Which makes me think about Christ’s 2nd coming. Are we looking for His soon return?
Do we understand the times in which we live? Are we looking for His presence daily?
I believe God rewarded the faith of these diligent men because He allowed them to see the star
When nobody else saw or cared to see the star, these men of faith saw the star of Bethlehem
According to Matthew 2:9, the Bible says
Mat 2:9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
What was the most natural thing they could do when God revealed His Son to them? They worshipped!
They offered their gifts as an act of worship and they gave Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh
The gold represented Christ’s royalty; the frankincense His diety, that He is the Son of God
And then myrrh represents the humanity of Christ.
He was the Son of Man who suffered for us; Jesus Christ was born to die for our sins
He is the Son of God, whom God raised from the dead
Now He is interceding on your behalf, at the right hand of the Father. He is worthy of our worship!
As you consider these truths this morning, as you think of your spiritual condition today, please:
Don’t allow sin to divert your path from God.
Humble yourself before the Lord and diligently seek Him daily
When you persevere in your faith, the Lord will exalt you in due time
You’ll be ready to worship Him and bow the knee as the Magi did
These wise meni learned a truth Paul spoke of to the Church in Phillipi:
Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father
When you honor God, He will honor you and bless you in the New Year
God will guide you with His Word and you’ll know His will and all of His promises
Again, if you are looking for His forgiveness and love, remember: Wise men and women still seek Him.
The Bible also says that if any of us lacks wisdom, all we have to do is ask and God will give it to us liberally!
Don’t be complacent like the people living in Jerusalem during the time of His birth
Expect His presence as you come to Christ on bended knees. God will never turn you away!
When you have found Jesus you will want to worship Him just as the wise men did.