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Dec 04, 2022

The Wise Still Seek & Worship Him

The Wise Still Seek & Worship Him

Passage: Matthew 2:1-3

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: God With Us

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, worship, faith, christmas, jesus, sunday, god, sermon, bible, christ, gospel, hope, advent, believe, jesus christ, the bible, christianity, nativity, wise men, god with us, seek, bible study, wise, emmanuel, baby jesus, merry christmas, jesus birth, christmas story, live music, bible stories, god is with us, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, christmas gifts, story of jesus, 2022, burnt hickory worship, christmas 2022

We reflect on the wise men as they sought and worshiped Jesus this week as we continue our sermon series God With Us. We learn that despite the distance, discomfort, and danger, the wise men worshiped Jesus at his birth. What led them to him was the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, and a star God placed in the heavens. Even today, the wisest thing you can ever do is to drop what you’re doing and seek and worship Jesus. Take time to assess how you are responding to Jesus, and may God fill your heart with overwhelming Joy. What does worship mean to you? How are you responding to Jesus? We’d love to connect with you if you’ve got questions or want to pray. You can take the next step – burnthickory.com/next.

Well, good morning. Church of you have been a part of Burn Hickory for any length of time. I don't have to introduce you to the person beside me, but if you're new, let me just introduce you to Mr. Peter Abungu, our partner from Kenya. And we're excited about him, but we're incredibly excited about having his wife, Miss Julie Abungu, with us. You guys give them a hand this morning for being with us. Come on, love it. We have had the opportunity to host them this weekend. And man, it has been so good for Melissa and I just to be able to hang out with them, hear their hearts, and be able to share with them. I want you just to hear from Peter and Mrs. Julie this morning, just for a few minutes and just hear their heart. Hear what is going on in Kenya right now and how things are. Peter, take it away. I'm getting out of your way.

Good morning. Church in Africa, we are. We say praise the Lord. And when we see praise the Lord, you respond by saying Amen. Praise the Lord. Good job. We are so delighted to be here this morning. Just to give you a little bit of a report of what God is doing, you know, in our neck of the woods. And with me is my beautiful wife, Mrs. Julie. Um, yeah, this. This this girl, she gets better looking by each day. I mean, I can't wait for tomorrow. And she's. I would like you to hear her beautiful voice. She. She's also a worshiper, so, uh. Yeah, just listen to a beautiful voice.

Indeed. I am excited to be part of it today after so many years. I'm excited that God is doing a brand-new thing, even in the ministry that we are doing, that we are doing back in Kenya. Thank you. Thank you so much for locking arms with us and supporting that which God has bestowed in our lives. The vision that we are running in Swahiba Networks. Yes.

Wow. I told you, she's amazing. We we've been blessed with three kids. Our eldest is called Barnabas James. He's sixteen years old. Our second born is Joy Tahala Abungu. She's 14. And our youngest is Abigail Abungu, she's eight. And all of them, their birthdays are on the 22nd. It's called good planning. We've been so blessed by what God is doing through the partnership of Burnt Hickory and Swahiba over the last I want to say 12 years that the Lord has enabled us to walk the journey of faith together. And right now, we are in the process of building courtesy of the giving, the faithful giving and generous giving of this family of believers. And the facility is going to be almost like an oasis of hope. It's going to be a place where young people who need counseling and discipleship and mentoring can find that. Families that need food baskets can come and receive food baskets. It will be a place where our ministry will happen. We will have a lot of training for pastors where we will be ministering to widows. Which we already do now. What this building does, it just expands our capacity to be able to do that more effectively and efficiently. This building also is a testament to the to the community that we are planted in that community long term. And I want to tell you that so many people really have just been so blessed by the work that is going on there, because so many young people from that community have been engaged to be as laborers on that site. And it has offered great employment. The community has totally embraced this project, and we really want to thank God for that. I also want to thank the church for locking arms with us as far as the girl's program is concerned.

It's been awesome to see how that program has expanded through the giving of God's people in this church. And we want as many of you as possible to continue to join hands with us. Thank you. Also, for those who have supported the Tabasamu. Tabasamu is the shoe program that we use that platform to minister to young people to share the gospel with them. And this year, God challenged us to double our number from last year. And this year, we are giving a 6000 pair of shoes. And so, we want to thank God for that. Next year, in February, we are hosting a team of missionaries from this church. We would love for as many of you to come and serve with us in the trenches of the slums. You'll have an opportunity to minister in that community to be the hands on the feet of Jesus in the slums of Kibera. And hopefully our plan is to cut the ribbon on the new building in the month of May. So be praying for us and those of you that can find opportunities to encourage us in whatever way, please do so. God bless you and thank you very much. asante sana.

Would you guys give them a hand this morning? Amen. We're excited about where the future is and our partnership with these guys for the long term. Peter, would you pray for us as we jump into our message this morning?

Father, we love you, Father, we are so humbled by just the sheer fact that you left your throne in heaven to come and dwell among the sinful like us, that you will be Emmanuel, God with us and Lord. The truth and the reality of that may humble our hearts to the place where we can respond in worship in your name. Lord, we thank you that as your word come forth this morning, Lord may it come forth with power and authority to accomplish that which you've intended in our lives, for your glory. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

Amen just to let you know these guys will be in the worship space right after this service. If you want to stop by, say hello, meet them. Or even just say I'm coming in February. If you got a copy of Scripture this morning, I want you to grab it, fire it up, or turn with me to Matthew chapter two. Matthew, chapter two. We're going to pick up right where we left off last week in our series called God with Us. It's hard to believe we're already in the second week of the Christmas season. And I know that means that the craziness is coming, the gifts are being bought, everything is happening. And some of us that are professional procrastinators have a long time to worry about it. Last week, we looked at the life of Joseph. We looked at the stepfather of Jesus. And we kind of looked into the depths of his faith and his ability to just look at the Lord and just say yes. We got into his mind a little bit and said, It's just incredibly amazing. The faith that it took for him to not only stay with Mary, but to marry Mary and to raise Jesus in his family. And we said that his faith should look like our faith, like we should model our faith after his in the fact that God's plans are always better than our plans, that God gives us the ability to fulfill His dreams in us, and that God sometimes calls us to things that we don't understand. But that's okay.

We said last week that we follow Jesus because He is two incredible people. He is the God that saves, that's Jehovah that saves Jesus, and he's Emmanuel. He is the God that is with us. Well, that was Joseph last week. This week we're going to fast forward a little bit in the Christmas story, but don't worry, we've got plenty of weeks to come back and we're going to look at another group of people this week called The Wise Men or the Magi. You've probably heard of them described both ways. They both are the same thing. Don't worry about it. But then also we're going to look at this, for contrast reasons, this other guy named Herod. So, we're going to look at the wise men. We're going to look at Herod and what we're going to pull from their lives out of the Christmas story is this idea that God has called us to seek and to worship Jesus. He's called us, to seek and worship Jesus. And I'll just kind of put my prayer on the table for the end of today's message is that I'm praying that every one of us, no matter where we are in our faith journey, that we walk out of here today with a deeper sense of God, I'm seeking you and God, I am going to worship you. Now, we briefly pointed out a little bit about Matthew's gospel last week, but I want to talk about it a little bit more because this is important.

Matthew wrote his gospel for a couple of reasons. I mean, the first was that he wanted to convince non-Christian Jews that Christianity was, in fact true, that it was the hope of the world. Secondly, he wanted to explain that Christianity was the fulfillment of the Judaism that they had been living their life in. It wasn't a replacement. It was a fulfillment of that. Third, Matthew wanted to kind of encourage young believers and give them a way to walk out their faith in a practical way, a guide to how they can live their lives for it. He wanted to encourage the persecuted church because if you remember right during this time, persecution for the church, the early church, it was coming from every direction: government, Jews, nonbelievers, family, they were getting it from every side. And then the last reason that Matthew wrote his gospel, which I think is incredible, was just to deepen the believer's faith. Now, this was important because up until this time, all of the life of Jesus was passed down from generation to generation. We're kind of in a next generation. With Matthew here, orally. It was an oral society. A lot of people didn't read. There are many books available. In fact, Gutenberg hadn't created the press yet. Right? It was just scrolls at this point. So, you had to take the stories that were told to you remember those stories and that would be what you would pass down to your family. Now, Matthew, through the Holy Spirit set out to write out an account of Jesus's life, and that's what we have in our hands today, and praise God, he did right. Why? Because we're terrible oral people in our society. What if it was left up to us just to remember everything and to walk into life group next week and teach not having a copy of scriptures? Well, thank God that Matthew wrote this to solidify the message of Christ and to preserve the message of Christ and to make it easy to spread the message of Christ.

So, when you read the story that we're reading here, that's why Matthew wrote it, to give us all those things. Now let's jump into the text and let's see what it has for us this morning. This is our guy, Matthew, chapter two. We're going to start in verse one. We're going to talk through the text. So, what we do every week, honor what we do at church. We read the Bible; we talk about it. All right. It's pretty simple. Here it is. Matthew, chapter two, verse one says, After Jesus was born in Bethlehem and Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed and all of Jerusalem with him. Now, let's pause there because there is a lot to unpack. But I want to start with kind of the overarching principle of the whole account this morning. It's simple but profound. I want you to write it down. Here's the principle want you to think through. The wisest thing you can ever do is to drop what you're doing and seek and worship Jesus. The wisest thing. Well, Matt, you don't understand what I got going on. Don't need to. Matt, you don't understand how crazy my life is. Don't need to. You don't understand the responsibilities I have. Don't need to. Listen to me closely. The wisest thing you can do is to drop what you're doing seek and worship Jesus. And here's why. Here's why. Right here, you see so many things pull for our attention, don't they? So much pulls for it. We can list things all day long of all the crazy things that pull for our attention. There are so many things. But listen to this. None of them will ever come close to the importance and eternal significance of seeking and worshiping Jesus. None of them.

Listen, every other thing in life that you are chasing after is temporal. It is temporary. It's not going to last. And I want you to hear that. The story is going to show us that that means this. If you're chasing something other than Jesus and if Jesus is not the foundation, I'm not saying you just take your Bible, go sit in your house and never do anything. That's not what I'm saying. But if Jesus is not the foundation, you are always going to be chasing a fleeting goal. You're going to be chasing a moving target. And the last time I checked, when you're chasing something that is moving, it makes you nothing more than a Greyhound race dog, right? Chasing that little rabbit around the track. You don't know where you're going. All you're doing is chasing it. And listen, you're never going to catch it. You're never going to. Why? Because if Jesus is not our primary affection, this moving target is always a fleeting goal that never last. Have you ever noticed that no other joy makes it very long? I mean, some of you, you have reached the pinnacle of your career. You have everything you've ever had. And now that you're there, you're looking around going, I thought it would be better. Some of you have families that are that are, man you're hitting fourth gear. Everything is perfect. Everything is there. But you're thinking, man, I just feel like something's not right. That's why. Because when Jesus is not the foundation, we're never going to make it.

So, Matthew gives us the story to tell us and to show us how to seek Jesus. Why? Because Jesus satisfies, He satisfies. Now, Matthew, last week we talked about him. He opened up his gospel with this idea of Joseph's lineage. And we said in Joseph's lineage, there is a lot of crazy going on in that family. And actually, we agreed last week, if there's no crazy in your family, it's you. All right. We agree that last week all of us did. And you saw it. Some of you saw it this week. And your kids were like, you're the crazy, right? They saw that. But immediately after that story, he introduces us to our next people in the story. And that's the wise man. Now, I love this and here's why. First off, no one would have ever written a worldly story brought people into their family baggage. You leave them out, right? You got that? And nobody ever talks about nobody ever does that if it's not from God. Secondly, no one would have ever led with the Magi. Why? Because they're not Jewish. They're quasi-religious astrologers from another place, and they don't fit the mold of the, quote, unquote, good religious person. So, when you're reading this, you've got to see that this is not some story that's just made up to make everybody feel good about all the Jews. It is not it's not how you would have written the story. So, let's get into the life here of these religious magi people. Who are they? Well, listen, we don't know a whole lot about them other than what the Bible tells us and what history tells us.

But we do know some things about them. Let me clear a couple of things up first and then I'll tell you who they are. First thing I need to clear up, I hate to bust up the nativity scene, but listen to this. If we were true to Scripture, we all probably need to go home today and set the Magi on the other side of the living room. All right. Because that's really where they belong in the story. They were not at the birth story, in fact. Verse one, What did it just tell us? It says, After Jesus was born, right? After Jesus was born, they started their journey. Now, I'm not saying go do that. We can all be friends with the Magi. Don't ban them all right, I get that. But what I am saying is, if they heard about this and they saw the star, they started their journey after Jesus was born. Their journey was like a thousand ish miles. And it wasn't like they jumped on the Delta Connect and headed over that afternoon to visit Jesus. It was a journey. The second thing I want to just kind of point out is there were more than three of them, all right. There were more than three. I know that just blew the “We Three Kings” song. I know it. We're still going to sing it here. It's cool, right? But here's what I have to say about it. In this time, history shows us that bands of Magi or these astrologers, they traveled in groups of 12 to 17 to 20. Everywhere they went, it's just what they did. We find it in history all over the place, and they have a long history. So, when you think about these guys, we never read that they were only three of them. We just kind of pull that from the three gifts that we'll see later, right? The gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh.

So, we just assigned each one of them a gift and we called them something over the years. But don't believe the hype, right? Here's what in verse three, it tells us that this group disturbed Herod and they disturbed all of Jerusalem. Now go with me just in being reasonable for a minute. If three dudes rode in on a camel coming into Jerusalem at some point during the day, does the city of Jerusalem care about that? No. I'll answer that for you. They know why that happened all the time. But if there's 50 to 75 people in this entourage of magi coming all the way from Babylon, and they're part of the priestly ruling group of the day. That makes a difference. That's what we're seeing here. So, there's more than three of them. So don't believe the hype on the Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar guys they found buried in somewhere in the Middle East. It's baloney. All right. It's not in the Bible. All right. Want to point that out. So glad we got that clear. Let's go on to talk about what we know about them. Now, it's obvious these guys are astrologers. They study the stars. They know the stars. They're not watching Netflix at night. They're outside. They're looking at the stars every single night. Now, when I say astrologers don't think that they're like some crazy stargazing club. No, they're part of the priestly ruling group of Persia. They would have been part of the Babylonian School of the Wise Men. So how did all this stuff come together with these rulers from Babylon in and up in this little town of Bethlehem worshiping the Messiah? Man, I'm glad you asked, because I wanted to tell you how this worked out today. The first answer is It's all God. But the second thing is, I want to show you how it's all God. All right. So, stay with me for a minute and let me give you a little history lesson here for you, history nerd. You're going to love this for the rest of you. Just bear with me, because this can be incredible for your faith. About 600 ish B.C., if you remember correctly, the children of Israel were taken into captivity, into Persia. You remember this, right? If you're doing the daily reading plan in the Bible, that gives you the Old Testament, the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb every day you would be this week finishing up on Tuesday with us. Right. The Book of Daniel. You'll be finishing that book up in the Book of Daniel. It tells us of Shadrach, Michigan, Abednego and Daniel. Right. Being part of the young men that were taken into captivity as Israelites and put into the School of the Wise, put into the school of the wise. It's the same school, going to let you into a secret. There was the same school of the Magi. Now, here's the cool part about it. Not only did those three guys and those four guys get put into the school, but Daniel also rose up in power. Remember the lion's den? Remember Nebuchadnezzar? Remember the fact that after that God said, you are in charge. Watch this. Nebuchadnezzar said you are in charge. Remember that happening, right?

So now you've got Daniel is over the whole school. He's actually second in charge in the whole country. And the Bible plainly tells us that Daniel used his position to influence the country. He taught them the scriptures it says. Now, what were the scriptures in this time? You're asking great questions. Here they are. All right. The scriptures in that time were the writings of Moses. The writings of Moses are packed with the prophecies of what the coming Messiah, the coming of Jesus. So, Daniel poured into the School of Magi, the coming of Jesus story from top to bottom. And now they're watching the stars to see part of this happen. You say Matt, how would they get this thing about a star from Daniel? Another great question. Let me show you this. All right. One of the prophecies that Daniel would have taught them is a prophecy about a guy in this evil King Balak. All right. Some of you are familiar with this story. Not going to do it justice. You're going to need to read it later. Numbers chapter 23 tells us of an evil King Balak that was afraid that Israel was going to conquer him. So, he goes out and hires this prophet to curse Israel. Never a good idea, by the way. He goes out to hire him and, on the way, to curse Israel, this prophet is riding on his donkey and an angel appears in front of the donkey. And there's a little bit of an altercation. In fact, let me read it to you, because this is awesome. Numbers 22:26 says this. It's going to make a point, I promise. But it's just a great story in general. Here it is. Then the Angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn either to the right or the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam.

That's the prophet, right? And he was angry, and he beat it with his staff. I love that he went all Old Testament on the donkey, right. Verse 28, the Lord opened the donkey's mouth. Oh, yeah? Watch this. The Lord opened the donkey's mouth and it said to Balaam, What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times? I'm not making up, this in the Bible. I love it. Balaam answered the donkey. And that's a whole other day. Do you really answer your animal if he talks to you? I guess you do, watch. You made a fool of me. If only I had a sword in my hand, Balaam said, I would kill you right now. Verse 30. The donkey said to Balaam. They're in a full-on conversation. Am I not your own donkey? Which you have always written to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? No, he said. And that's it, right? Then. The Angel at this point opens Balaam's eyes. This happens three times, opens Balaam's eyes, and the Angel shows Balaam himself, and the Angel shows Balaam that his ass saved his life right there. Right? Saved it. Saved his life right there. And I love this idea right here. What happens was, is instead of cursing Israel now, this prophet is like, man, that is the God. And watch what the prophet says. I'm going to tell the story together. You're like, Where is this going? I promise you, watch this. I'm going to tie it together. Numbers 24:17. Balaam proclaims this prophetic blessing over Israel that a savior is coming. Listen to what the magi would have known. Numbers 24:17. It says, I see him. He's talking about Jesus, but not now. I behold him, but not near. He's talking about in the future. Watch this. A star will come out of Jacob and a scepter will rise out of Israel. What does that mean? It means that a messiah king would come from Israel. He's going to rule the world. He's going to bring blessings to the earth. And listen, the wise men, they knew this. And from 600 BC on, they had been watching for a star to rise up in the air to show them the Messiah's coming, the Messiah is coming and now it happened.

So, they combine this with all the prophecy from Daniel and they said, It's here, it's here. And the wise men set off to worship the Savior, the Messiah Jesus. Now, when they set off to do that, they teach us some things about worship. They teach us some things about their worship that should be about our worship. Number one, they teach us that we should worship despite the distance. Despite the distance. Listen, they went over a thousand miles from Babylon just to worship king Jesus. Now, don't think, oh, man, that's like driving out west, you know, I got my car, my AC, my, my iPad, my comfy blanket. We are going for a ride. That isn’t how things roll during this time period, right? You had to prepare. You didn't know when you would make it back. You didn't know how long this was going to last. You took everything you need. It was such a long trip. But catch this. They went. Do you know why they went? Because it mattered to them. It mattered. Do you know what I never have to tell you to do? I never have to tell you to spend time on the things that matter to you. Nobody ever has to teach you that. You know why? Because it matters. They worship despite the distance, but also number two, they worship despite their discomfort. Despite discomfort, they worship. Not only was it far and they had to plan to travel, but it also wasn’t easy to get there. It was up mountains, down mountains, around mountains. It was super-hot part of the day, super cold the other part of the day, treacherous lands, robbers. There was all this stuff going on. Man, this is so convicting for me. Do you know why? Because most of us live about 15 minutes from the place that we worship. Maybe 20, right? I mean, we get into our warm car, we drive within 50 yards of a door to worship Jesus. We grab a coffee into a semi-climatized building. Because you never know with this place. Right? That's how it works. But even then, some days we're like, it's just not worth it. It's just not worth it today. It's been a rough week. Why don't we just maybe catch it online? Why don't we just do this? It's just been a super stressful week. It's just. It's okay. Yeah, it's okay. But you always do the things that's worth it to you. Melissa and I were lying in bed not too long ago, and it was like super early in the morning. And when I say I'm a good sleeper, I'm a good sleeper, the house could fall down, and I don't know around me. Right. She woke me up in a panic. She's like, Did you hear that? I was like, What? She said, Did you hear how loud that thunder and lightning was? I was like, What? She's like, it sounded like about 5000 people not going to church this morning. I'm just kidding. That's not what she said. But you get the point, right? You get the point; she would never say that she's too kind. But you get the point, right? See, these guys, they had it rough to worship. You see, man, that was that was different. No, it's not. I watched the Packers game the other day. Those guys had like six inches of snow on their hats, watching a sport with no shirt on.

I mean, we struggle with church. We struggle with worship. Despite the discomfort. Watch this. They also worship number three. Despite the danger. Despite the danger in this, they worship the danger of getting there was a big danger. But the biggest danger was Herod. It was Herod. Remember I said, I'm going to bring him in for some contrast just for these guys. Herod, let me let me tell you about Herod just for a minute. Herod was evil. He was straight evil. In fact, he was probably one of the most evil kings that the Jews ever had. He was Jewish, but he was just a puppet for the Romans. He was so evil. He built all of these massive, like buildings and structures around. If you go with us to Israel, you get to visit one of them and you're like, Man, look at this place. And it was all about him. His name was all over it. Everything was all over it. Not only did he just kind of full of himself build things, but he was also psychotic. And he was incredibly paranoid about losing his power. So paranoid catch this, he killed his wife because he wasn't fully sure that she was on his team. Had her killed. You say man, that's terrible. Yeah, it is. But then also, three months later, he killed all three of his sons because he thought they were too excited about being king one day. This is the guy we're talking about right here. He was incredibly evil. Emperor Augustus, the Roman Caesar at that time, said this about Herod. It's better to be one of Herod's pigs than be one of his sons. Now, when an evil Caesar is saying that about you, you're rough. You're rough. 50% of what you made went to him. He was killing people. He was taxing people to death. And that was the people that were his Jews. But catch this he was even more rough to those that he didn't know. So, listen to what the magi were walking into. They were walking into a death trap. They knew that Herod would kill them, but they did it anyway. Do you know why? It mattered. It mattered to them. The question that was all over my mind this week was this. You can write down, does worship mean that much to me?

Does worshiping Jesus mean that much to me? Or do I just have a take it or leave it attitude about it? It meant everything to them. Do you know why? But because it was Emmanuel. It was God with us. It meant everything to them. And catch this because it meant everything. They found Jesus. They worshiped Jesus. It was essential in their life, and they knew him. It reminded me of Jeremiah 29:13 this week. Watch what God says. He says, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you declares the Lord and will bring you back from captivity. For the wise men, everything else came behind the worship of Jesus. Whether it's distance or discomfort or danger, it didn't matter to them what examples for our lives. Now let's get back to the story. Jerusalem is distraught. Herod is upset. Why is Jerusalem distraught? Because they didn't want Herod upset. Right. And then watch the story because the wise men just want to get to Jesus. Verse 4, when they when he had called Herod, when Herod had called all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. In Bethlehem and Judea, they replied, for this is what the Prophet, talking about Micah 5, has written. But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah. Four out of you will come. A ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel. So, the chief priest ran back. They grabbed a scroll. They found Micah's scroll. Herod says, where is he going to be born? They're like, he's going to be born in Bethlehem. And you would think they would have picked it all up at that point, got their donkeys ready, headed on to Bethlehem to meet the Messiah. But they didn't. You know why? They didn't care. It didn't matter to them enough. Watch verse seven, though. When Herod. Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go search carefully for the child and as soon as you find him, report to me Herod said, so that I may too go and worship him. Now, sixth graders in the room. Did Herod really want to worship Jesus? No. He pretends to worship, but he really wants to murder Jesus. Look in verse nine, after they, the Magi had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star that they had seen rose and went ahead of them. And it stopped over the place where the child was. Now, verse ten, my favorite verse of this whole thing, when they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

Now look, I love the NIV translation, but the NIV does not do it justice. It gives us a puny, yeah, they were overjoyed. Listen to how the NAS, New American Standard puts this. Same point, but I think it is clearer. Verse ten, in the NAS says this, when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. You feel the difference in those two? It's like overjoyed or rejoice exceedingly with great joy. Why? Because they're in the presence of King Jesus. They're in the presence of Emmanuel God with us. And catch this when you are truly in the presence of Jesus, here's what happens. Your first response is joy. Your first response is joy. And here's this. Your second response is Always worship. So, here's the point in this if you have a worship problem, it is not a worship problem. It's a joy problem. If you have a joy problem, it's not a joy problem. It's a problem of you not being in the presence of Jesus. You can't have one without the other. So, when you look at your life, it's like, Man, there's just no joy in my life. It's because there's no Jesus in your life. If you have a response of Man, I just don't worship. I don't care about worship. I hate worship. It's because there's no joy in your life. That's what it's teaching us right here. They're in the presence of Jesus. Why? Because they have now come to meet Jesus. But there's some things that led them to Jesus that I need to point out really quick, because it's the same things that lead us to Jesus.

So, write this down. Number one, the Holy Spirit led them to Jesus. The Holy Spirit. It's incredibly clear that you cannot discount that the only reason that they are on their way this far from home to seek Jesus is because the Holy Spirit got a hold of their hearts and led them to Jesus. Romans three tells us there's no not one that on their own, just seeks Jesus. What does that mean? That means the Holy Spirit is the one who leads us to Jesus. Matt, I sought Jesus. Okay. True. You did. But the only reason you did is because He wanted you to. That's it. That's the only reason. In fact, the only reason God got to any of us is because we were running to God, and he ran faster. He ran faster. We were running away from him with our whole lives, and he caught us first. John 4:19 says, We love because he first loved us. He loved us. Here's kind of the balancing act, right? God puts the desires in our heart to seek him through the spirit of God. Here's our role. Our role is to take the step. That's the, that's the balance. Don't get mixed up in the balance. Don't get caught up in the balance. Don't get in a fight over the balance. It's not worth it. The balance is God calls; we respond. That's what we're seeing about the spirit right here. God placed the desire in the wise men and thank God for it. But let me say this, I'm going to move on. Some of you are here today and you're hearing this story today. And here's what I believe. God is seeking you. He's seeking you. We're going to get back to that in a minute. And that still small voice and your life is pressing into you now. It's your chance to respond. Number one, the spirit leads. But number two, here's the second thing that led them. They were led by the scriptures. They were led by the Scriptures. You say Matt, scriptures? Oh, yeah, the scriptures. How do you know? Look at the stories. The star got them to Jerusalem. But what told them about the star? The Scriptures did. They knew the scriptures. In fact, verse two says they called Jesus King of the Jews. Why did they call him that? They called him that because the Old Testament had already told them to call him that. In verse five and verse six, the religious leaders. What did they do on Herod's command? They went and unrolled Micah's scroll and they began to read the scriptures. He's born in Bethlehem. He's coming to Bethlehem. He's going to shepherd his people. The Bible prophesies very clearly the minute details of the birth of Jesus to give us a chance to see how powerful God is through time, drawing men to himself, giving us the gift of scriptures to himself, just like he does to guide us in everything else from the Scriptures. Man, me just tell you this. Some of you are asking God to lead you, but you're not in his word. That's a paradox. He's already led you. Our decision now is do we get into it. They were led by the spirit. They were led by the Scriptures. Here's number three. They were led by the star. They were led by the star. Or you could call it life events. Events in us, literally, the shekinah glory of God was in front of them, leading them where they were going.

Now, the word star there could mean a whole lot of other things. It's not we're debating over, right? It just means it's not the sun, it's not a planet. That's all that word means. It's a light that is leading them there. But here's the deal. Remember this God uses all kinds of stars in our life to lead to him. All kinds, to draw us to him. In fact, God is everywhere and catch this God can and does do anything He wishes to point us to him. Anything. I'll be bold enough to say it like this. If you were to take an honest look at your last month of your life, let me ask you this. Is there a string of circumstances that just hasn't made sense in your life from this last month? Listen, that might be God pushing you in a direction. Maybe in your life, there's a blessing that you know that you don't deserve. That might be God going, Hey, I got you. I'm pointing you towards me. Maybe it's the converse for you. Maybe in your life you've gotten some news in this last month, whether it be a bad health report, maybe it's something about your marriage, maybe it's one of your kids, maybe it's a job loss. And finally, it got your attention. Here's the thing. God's not mad at you. He's not paying you back. He is drawing you. He's drawing you to himself. So, my question this morning is, is God drawing you? God commandeers every part of the universe to draw him to himself. Why he wants us to follow him. He wants us to love him.

Do you need to come to Jesus today? Do you need to give your life to Jesus? Do you need maybe to come back to Jesus today? Because it's been a long time since you've searched him and sought him. Listen, God's role as he reveals our role is that we seek. Are you watching the signs? Are you searching the scriptures? Are you listening to the Spirit? That's what he says. Watch what happens when we do. We got to go. Here it is. Verse 2. Or verse 11 on coming into the house. It's not a cave, it's not the birth. And coming to the house. They saw the child with his mother, Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. Now, look, there is a whole series worth in this right here. I mean, we could talk about the posture of worship that these priestly, like, important men, all they could think to do is to fall in front of the feet of Jesus. Man, I hope that's the posture of our lives. What about the meaning of the gifts? The kingly gift of gold, this priestly gift of frankincense, this death spice of myrrh that just represented what Christ was going to do for us. But the point of this whole thing is this they responded to Jesus with full worship. Full worship. Like nobody else was doing. That's the point. So, here's the question of the day. How are you responding with Jesus? How are you responding to Jesus? Are you responding in the proper way? You know there's only three ways to respond according to this text.

You know, the first way we respond to Jesus is just with hostility. Number one, we respond with hostility. What does that mean? That means we follow Herod's path, right? Herod wanted to murder Jesus. Why? Because Herod saw him as a rival to his throne. Man, there's a lot of us, that's how we see Jesus. He's a rival to what we want. He's a rival to us. Listen, you can't have two kings on one throne. That's the point in the story, right? You can't have two kings in one heart. That's what Herod teaches us. So, the question is, who's ruling your life? Who is ruling your heart? Matt, it's Jesus that's ruling my heart. Okay, that's great. You want me to show you? What me to show you how you know it's Jesus? You look at what you're seeking, and you look at what you're worshiping. If it's Jesus, it's pretty clear. Number one, you respond with hostility. Number two, here it is. You can respond with indifference. Indifference. This might be the most confusing part of the whole story to me is that in verse three that all of Jerusalem is troubled, but nobody goes to find Jesus. I don't think there's one line in the Bible that describes the American church better than that. Man Matt, this country is going to hell in a handbasket. But ask somebody else to do something about it right? It's what it says. The religious leaders, the chief priests, they read the law. They point to Bethlehem, but they didn't care enough to go. They didn't care enough to do anything. What it was too inconvenient. It wasn't pressing enough. It would force them to miss something and catch this. It would probably cost them something. Man, just indifference. So, is this you? Is there a sense of desperation in your heart for Emmanuel, or is just a sense of indifference like, Matt, get me out of here? I got somewhere to go. Here's the third response. This is my favorite. You can respond with overwhelming joy. Overwhelming joy. It's pretty easy in the text. Matthew 2:10 The New American Standard says when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. Literally in the Greek its four words for joy. Joy, joy, joy, joy in one sentence.

You know what this means? It means they lost their minds when they met Jesus. Why? Because he's the one. He's Emmanuel. He's Jehovah that saves. He's the God that is with us. You know what they understood? That God was reaching the world. Church, I don't know how you need to respond today, but I guarantee you it's somewhere in that. The question is, will you?

Lord today, as we walk into our time of decision, God, I need you, I'm just asking you and begging you just to deal with our hearts and give us the boldness to take step. God, I know there's people in this room that need to submit their hearts to you. They've been playing the religious game for a long time and they're somewhere on the journey between Babylon and Bethlehem. But God, today they need to meet you, Jesus. And you need to save them. Forgive them of their sins and welcome them into your kingdom. God, I ask you, give them the boldness today to step out from their seats, wherever they're at, come up to the front of the room, whichever room they're in, and just look at one of us and go, Hey, I need Jesus today. Just like the two people last week said those exact same words. I need Jesus. God lead them to do that today. Give them the boldness to do that today. But God, for a lot of us that know you today, Jesus, I just need you to just show us if we are seeking and worshiping you. Lord, walk with us today. Move in this time it's in your name. We pray.

Amen. Amen.

Stand and sing with us.

Follow Along with the Message


The Wise Still Seek & Worship Him

December 04, 2022

Matthew 2:1-3
1 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 when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

PRINCIPLE: The wisest thing you can ever do is to drop what you're doing and seek and Jesus.

Numbers 22:26-30
26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” 29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said.
Numbers 24:17
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel."

the wise men worshiped:

1. Despite the

2. Despite the

3. Despite the

QUESTION: Does worship mean that much to ?

Jeremiah 29:13-14
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity."
Matthew 2:4-6
4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah 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 shepherd my people Israel.’”
Matthew 2:7-8
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 search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
Matthew 2:9-10
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
Matthew 2:10 (NAS)
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

Three things that lead them to jesus:

1. The Holy

1 John 4:19
“We love, because he first loved us.”

2. The

3. The (life events)

Matthew 2:11
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, frankincense, and myrrh.

how am i responding to jesus?

1. Respond with

2. Respond with

3. Respond with

Matthew 2:10 (NAS)
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

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