Christmas is now over and so is New Year’s.
We have been talking about prophesies fulfilled by Jesus, listen to what Tim Keller shared:
during his 2007 talk at the Gospel Coalition National Conference:
Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”
Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.
Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.
What do you most like and not like about Christmas? People were asked that question in 2013 and this is what they said:
Stats on What We Like/Dislike about Christmas
A 2013 Pew Research poll asked people what they like or dislike the most about the Christmas holiday season. Here’s a list of what people most look forward to at Christmas time:
1. 68 percent said spending time with family and friends
2. 11 percent mentioned religious services or religious reflection
3. 11 percent look forward to the Christmas “spirit” of joy and good will
4. 5 percent said music, decorations, and shopping
5. 4 percent look forward to the end of the Christmas season
Here’s what the poll said we most dislike about the Christmas season:
1. 33 percent—the commercialism and materialism
2. 22 percent—the money and expense
3. 10 percent—the shopping and crowds
4. 5 percent—the hectic pace and bad moods of people
5. 2 percent—the pressure to go to church
Note: For the purpose of this illustration, some of the categories in the original survey have been renamed and combined into one category.
Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, “Celebrating Christmas, Then and Now,” (12-18-13)
Regardless of what you most like and most dislike, there was a lot of worship during the first Christmas and the days afterwards. Jesus was born and then in Luke 2:13-14 and verse 20 there was worship. The angels worship and the shepherds worshipped.
Listen to what one scholar wrote:
What a paradox that a babe in a manger should be called mighty! Yet even as a baby, Jesus Christ revealed power. His birth affected the heavens as that star appeared. The star affected the Magi, and they left their homes and made that long journey to Jerusalem. Their announcement shook King Herod and his court. Jesus’ birth brought angels from heaven and simple shepherds from their flocks on the hillside. Midnight became midday as the glory of the Lord appeared to men.
Warren W. Wiersbe in His Name is Wonderful. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 18.
I planned that I would start a sermon series on worship next week. However, I started studying for this sermon and I thought, this is really the beginning of the series on worship. Next week we will get into the more nitty gritty. Today, we look at how the magi worshipped Jesus.
The great idea and application today is that Jesus, the light of the world is worshipped by the magi and so must we worship Jesus.
Turn in your Bibles and read with me Matthew 2:1-12:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christc was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the easte went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
I. Notice, in verse 2 the wise men are traveling to worship Jesus. I notice right here that worship involved sacrifice.
1. So, here is this baby, about two years old being worshipped.
2. The wise men are traveling from the East to Jerusalem. The E.S.V. Study Bible makes a note.The wise men likely traveled with a large number of attendants and guards for the long journey, which would have taken several weeks. For example, if they had come from Babylon by the main trade route of about 800 miles (1,288 km), averaging 20 miles (32 km) per day, the trip would have taken about 40 days.
3. We can read the next several verses about their travels and even in verse 12 they traveled out of their way to worship Jesus.
4. An application for us all: Do we desire to worship God and will we sacrifice in order to worship God?
5. We, actually, may not desire to worship God, but does that mean we should not? They traveled to worship?
6. We have talked about the prophesies fulfilled in Jesus and we see in verse 6 a quote from Micah 5:2 regarding Bethlehem and these wise men or magi likely knew the Old Testament writings which helped them know where to go in order to worship.
7. How important is it for us to worship?
II. In verse 8 Herod says that he wished to worship Jesus. I notice that in this case Herod lied.
1. Herod did not wish to worship Jesus. He wished to kill Jesus. In fact, in verses 16-18 we see what is called the slaughter of the innocense in which, rather than worship Jesus, Herod kills all the children under age two in hopes that Jesus will be killed. Wow!
2. By the way, verse 18 is another prophesy fulfilled, this time from Jeremiah 31:15. In verse 15 there is a prophesy fulfilled from Hosea 11:1.
3. Do we ever lie to ourselves or others about worship?
4. No, I don’t think any of us lie like Herod did. We likely, don’t even mean to lie. We may not realize that our motives our impure. But they are.
1. Why are we here?
2. Am I here to worship Christ or because of a job?
3. Are you here to worship Christ or to fulfill a duty, maybe to feel good.
4. Are we here to see friends or to worship?
1. Seeing friends is not bad. Fellowship is important as well but worship must be a priority as well.
2. I knew of someone who said that he came to church for business connections. The church is not Kiwanis.
3. I knew of someone that said we come for our children.
5. Are you here to worship Christ or because you have nothing better to do?
6. Of course it is equally as bad to say, “My heart is not in it so I will skip worship.” No, pray that God gets your heart right. Get up early and pray so that you are eager to worship Christ. Change something so that you can eagerly worship Christ. Don’t sin by skipping out on worshipping Christ Jesus.
7. These three words used for worship are verbs that means action. What is the action? Humility.
III. In verse 11, in humility, the wise men worship Jesus.
1. The bowed down.
2. The N.E.T. Bible has a note that reads: “they fell down.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”
3. Are we here to worshipping God in reverence?
4. Listen, I also have no problem with hand raising in worship but know what that means. What does that mean? It means surrender. We are surrender to Jesus and we raise our hands surrendering and exalting Jesus.
5. These wise men, or magi were wealthy, very wealthy and very wise and they surrendered and bowed down to a toddler.
6. My toddler wants me to surrender to her, but Jesus was and is worthy.
7. Whether we bow down or not, are we surrendering?
8. Are we metaphorically bowing down when we sing songs to God? What about when we pray to God?
1. The wise men, or magi, sacrificed to worship Jesus. Sacrifice to worship Jesus this week.
2. Herod lied about worship, pray for pure motives.
3. The wise men, or magi, bowed down in humble surrender to worship Jesus. I pray we do the same.
Christians that were in Russia anytime during the 1950s to about 1990 were familiar with the voice of Nick Leonovich. For decades before the Iron Curtain came down, Nick had been faithfully broadcasting the gospel in Russian to his people. When the doors began to open, and Nick would travel through Russia and meet those Russian believers finally, a lot of them would stop him and they’d say, “Hey, I know your voice! You led me to Christ.” Wow!
Well, I’ve got to tell you, Nick wasn’t always working for the Lord. That took a miracle. Nick was living as a teenager in Passaic, New Jersey, and his older brother, Alex, was pioneering Christian broadcasts in Russian for a company and ministry in Ecuador. And when he would ask Nick about his relationship with Christ, Nick kind of waved him off and said, “Hey, that’s my business.” It was an August day in 1945 when older brother Alex was driving to the radio station in Ecuador, and he heard the breaking news. He threw out his planned message and he spoke spontaneously from what he had just heard on the news. Nick happened to be listening on shortwave in New Jersey. He would never be the same.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I was to have A Word With You today about “Unconditional Surrender.”
The news that day? The unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces. Japan had expressed earlier interest in a surrender with specific conditions. But that day in 1945, they surrendered without condition. Alex Leonovich spoke on the subject Unconditional Surrender to Jesus Christ. Nick heard it in New Jersey, and he went to his knees. He said, “Lord, I’ve been a Christian but on my terms. Now I want to surrender to You with no terms. I unconditionally surrender.” Well, I’ll tell you, the lid came off his life from that day on.
Surrender to Jesus and worship.
Do you know Jesus?
God created us to be with Him
Our sins separate us from God
Sins cannot be removed by good works
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever