“Visit Of The Magi”

                                     Matthew 2 – Visit Of The Magi

Vs 1 – Micah 5:2 – Bethlehem was about six miles southwest of Jerusalem.

           From the East – Persia or Arabia

           Wise men – gentiles. They were scholars.

           “Magi,” a term which designates an order of priests and philosophers which belonged originally to Persia and Media, and who were extensively distributed over the region of the Euphrates.

Vs 2 – They saw His star – In the East is where they were when they say it.

          His star – Among the ancients, the appearance of a star or comet was regarded as an omen of some remarkable event. Perhaps they knew the prophecy of Numbers 24:17.

          Come to worhip – not necessarily a religious worship. This was the mode in which homage was paid to earthly kings; and this they wished to pay to the new-born King of the Jews.

Vs 3 – Herod was troubled – Herod had obtained the kingdom by great crimes, and by shedding much blood. He was, therefore, easily alarmed by any remarkable appearances; and the fact that this star appeared, and since it was regarded as proof that the King of the Jews was born, alarmed him.   Besides, it was a common expectation that the Messiah was about to appear, and Herod feared that his reign was about to come to an end.

         Jerusalem was troubled – Herod, fearing rivalry, put to death three of his sons, and several other men and women.  The whole city was upset because the people knew only too well what he could do when in a rage over the thought of another rival.

Vs 4 – Chief priests and scribes – the heads of the four and twenty courses of the priests and the High priest and his deputy.

         Scribes -transcribers of the Law and they read the Law in the synagogue. Later, they became  interpreters of the law and referred to as lawyers.

Vs 5 – Written by the prophet – Micah 5:2. They answered without hesitation.   700 yrs before this, the prophecy was written and the priests and scribes knew it.  Yet, we find no evidence that these men went to Bethlehem to try and find the Messiah

Vs 6 – Bethlehem …Juda – This distinguishes it from Bethlehem, in the tribe of Zebulon

          Not the least – this distinction lifts it from the lowest to the highest rank.  Out of a small city comes a new King – the Messiah.

          Rule – to tend as a shepherd – to feed

Vs 7 – When did star appear? – This would give Herod clue as to the age of the new “King”

Vs 8 –  Herod wants to worship Him – What hypocrisy here. He only wished to find the child that he might murder him. He sent the wise men that they might actually see him, and bring him word.

Vs 8 – Wicked men often hide their evil motives under the appearance of religion. They attempt to deceive those who are really good, and to make them think that they have the same belief. But God cannot be deceived, and He will bring them to punishment.

Vs 9 – The star took them to Jerusalem on route to Bethlehem.. The wise men perhaps thought that a “King” would be born in a Palace; that’s why they went there first.   The star guided them to the house where Jesus was.

          A real or ordinary star would have stood indiscriminately over every house in Bethlehem, and would have been no aid whatever toward finding the right child.

          Stood over where … they were guided by it to the exact spot by His star.

Vs 10 When they saw starStanding over where the child was.

          They rejoiced – their search was complete – they found what they had been looking for; success. A  Saviour was found.

Vs 11 – Came into house – they place where they lived.  Jesus was now about two years old.

          They fell down and worshipped Him – (fell down) This was the usual way of showing respect or homage among the Jews.  Worshipped – paid  homage & showed reverence.

          They worshipped Him – not Mary but Jesus

          Gifts – The people of the East never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. 

          Frankincense was an aromatic used in sacrificial offerings: It was fragrant when burned, and was, used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God.

          Myrrh was used in perfuming ointments.  The name denotes bitterness, and was given to it on account of its great bitterness. It was used chiefly in embalming the dead, because it had the property of preserving them from putrefaction.

          Gold showed that the Magi were affluent & was a usual offering to a king. These offerings were made because they were the most valuable which their country produced. They were tokens of respect and homage which they paid to the new-born King of the Jews.  These offerings would be used in the long and expensive trip to Egypt, by Joseph and Mary, and to help with their living expenses in Egypt.

“The Text Of Text”

                                                              John 3:16

                                     “He gave His only begotten Son”

 Introduction: There is no sweeter verse in the Bible. It declares:

A. That God is love

B. That He loved the world instead of hating it

C. He so loves that He gave His Son. Jesus did not come to appease the Father’s wrath, but He came because God loved so well.

D. He came to keep mankind from perishing.

 I. If we could measure the love of God, we would have to measure it by Calvary.

   A. The measure of love is always its willingness to “give.”

   B. The measure of love is its capacity for sacrifice.

   C. In our text – the word “for” = a primary particle used in argumentation – explanation or intensification …   It denotes that there is NO DOUBT.

   D. There is no doubt about God’s love.   He “so loved” = on this fashion or in like manner.  This teaches us that – there is NO DOUBT about the love of God … He proved His love for us  “in this fashion” – He GAVE His only begotten Son.

 II. God’s love is revealed in His giving

     A. His giving is beyond all measure

     B. We will never know what Calvary cost God

     C. We will never know the love that lay behind the Cross of Calvary

 III. Here we see the “oneness” of God the Father & God the Son

      A. In giving the Son, the Father gave Himself

      B. II Corinthians 5:19 (God was in Christ)

 IV. Jesus was not just an agent that God used to send a message that He loves us

      A. Jesus IS God Himself & God came to earth to love us

      B. He just does not expound the love of God – He IS the love of God

      C. God “so loved” = so freely – so fully – so sublimely

 V.  Think of How God the Father gave up His Son on the Cross

      A. He incorporated the human nature into His Divine being.

      B. This was done by a real human birth

      C. Language now breaks down … Such love is beyond our words

      D. God loved us in such a way that words cannot express

 VI. Christmas is close by

      A. In our minds and hearts .. we cannot separate His birth at Bethlehem  from His death at Calvary.   We cannot separate the cradle from the Cross

      B. Without the virgin birth, there never would have been an atonement  And without the atonement, there never would have been a virgin birth

 Conclusion: The greatest thing that we can know about God is John 3:16 “For God so loved …”

I John 4:19 – Romans 5:6-8.

To experience God’s love is to FIRST, receive Him as Saviour.  That is done by simple believing FAITH.

If you are saved – you experience God’s love John 14:15 & 17 – this is by serving, trusting, obeying, walking in His steps etc.

“The Wonder Of Wonders”

                                                            John 3:16

                                      “He gave His only begotten Son”

 Introduction:  The word “gave” means “gave up.”  God gave His Son to the world;

But also for the world. We must think & realize just how horrible our sin is to require such a sacrifice, as God revealed to us, in the flesh of mankind.

 I. His Giving Was A Free Gift

   A. We don’t deserve it

   B. We have no claim on it

   C. It pleased God to give Himself, as Jesus, to die in our place & for our sins – I John 3:1

 II. The Magnitude Of The Gift

     A. John 3:16 “He gave  …… Son.”

     B. Its unending reach: He gave to a sinful world – Romans 5:8

     C. God’s gift is impartial – ANYONE can receive it – Romans 10:13

 III. God’s Gift Has Limits

      A. Love is a mutual and binding grace between God and mankind

      B. He will save ALL who come to Him by faith and receive Him

      C. The limit = He will not save those who refuse Him – John 3:18 =  the limit is set by us

 IV. No Greater Gift Was Ever Given

      A. He left the beauty and greatness of His Father’s throne – for a stable in Bethlehem

      B. The Infinite became an infant

      C. He left the riches of  Glory for poverty on earth

      D. He was tempted in every way that we are – hunger, grief, sadness, heartbreak

      E. He suffered the shame of being beaten – spit on – A crown of thorns & iron spikes and a deadly spear

      F.  He tasted death for you and me.  Jesus, the One without sin – became our sin bearer

      G. He came – He toiled – He hungers and thirsts

           He weeps – He suffers – He bleeds and dies

           “For God so loved the world, that He gave (gave up) His only begotten Son

 Conclusion: God’s giving is different than ours. We tend to give so we can get – God gives so we can get. God gives out of pure love.  Our giving has limits (how much we can pay) God’s giving has no limits.

We usually give to friends.  God gives to those who really don’t care about Him, Romans 5:6.

We give and want folks to appreciate our efforts and the gift we gave them.

God offers His gift to those who don’t appreciate it & don’t even realize their need for it.

Such Love – Such giving – the greatest gift of all.

“Peace On Earth”

Introduction: Christmas will soon be upon us. “Peace on earth; good will toward men,” is the message. To some, it is just a symbolism of an annual festivity.  Others will ponder the mystery of divine love which Christmas really is.

 1. Yet, there is the striking contrast between “Peace on earth, good will toward men” and the present state of this world and our country.             – It is filled with strife – ill will – international suspicions and cooked politicians.

  – There is friction and factions – fears, unrest and war.

    – the irony is this: The cure for all the worlds ills and this nation’s ills,  lies wrapped up in swaddling clothes.

    -The babe in the manger of Bethlehem came to seek and to save that which was lost.

2. The nations of the world need to stop and listen to the angels of Bethlehem.  Millions of people with broken hearts – broken homes – living in war torn areas of this world need to go to Bethlehem.

3. If the great Christian religions of this world, had kept true to the word of God, true to the Jesus Christ of the Bible, how different would our country and this world be today.  This is not a pathetic appeal but the tragic truth.

    The problem we have is that the people of this world and the leaders of this world, have, rejected the babe in the manger – the Christ of the Bible – the King of Kings – the Lord of Lords.  In Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

    Here, this great Christmas story teaches us – the babe in the manger came to save our souls

 –  Save us from our sins. What a wonderful gift to receive this Christmas  the Gift of God’s love – forgiveness and salvation.

4. Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”    There will never be peace on earth until there is first “Glory to God in the highest.”

5. The application is a direct one to all of us: Each of us should try to bring “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”    Bring it into our social lives – our work – our families – our friends and neighbors.

6. Luke 2:15 (read) shepherds “let us go NOW) = they came to Jesus VS 16  with haste  (They didn’t wait or procrastinate).   If you are a Christian – will you come to Jesus and ask His help? Believe in Him as your pray and ask? Will you live for Jesus and share Him with others?

 When will you come to Jesus? He waits for you, even now. To come with haste and to receive His wonderful gift – to have your sins forgiven – to have salvation – to find peace in your heart and rest for your soul. The shepherds came with haste – they came as soon as they found out – how about you?