Everything I Need To Know, I Learned From The Wise Men, Matthew 2:1-20
Impact Christian Church – Pastor Steve – 12/17/17
Turn to Matthew Chapter 2 and we’ll get there in just a moment. A number of years ago, I read a book, a brilliant little book by Robert Fulghum entitled All I Really Need To Know, I Learned in Kindergarten. Many of you probably read it too. He shared a few of those simple lessons. I’ll share a couple of them with you…
“Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Flush! Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. When you go into the world, hold hands and stick together. “
Those are so simple and so profound. Now, in the same vein this, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from the Wise Men! Same idea, different place of learning,I want to share a few of those lessons with you. But first a bit about the Wise men…
- Where in the east the wise men came from, I think Babylon is a good guess. Long walk!!!
- We don’t know… How many wise men there were. We tend to think there were three because there were three gifts and someone wrote a song, We Three Kings of Orient Are.
- HOW far they traveled! Babylon is about a 1,000 mile trek on camelback one way. This would have to rank as one of the longest journeys of that day!!!
So what I’m saying is, there is so much about this story that we do not know. But everything we need do know, we learned from the wise men. So let’s share lessons learned and see how they Impact our Lives!!!
First of All…
I. WISE MEN FOLLOW THE STAR.
Matthew 2:1, Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” 3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
A. We Stopped following the Stars.
1. At some point we stop staring at the stars and we start staring
at our phones. And our world gets smaller and smaller and we lose the sense of wonder…the wonder for our Creator & His creation.
…But of course, the wise men didn’t just stare at those stars, they followed the stars and this is where the story gets so interesting…The stars are right there and people, people like us, miss them… I wonder, if there were some other wise men who saw the star and didn’t follow it? There was no trail. There was no map. There was no guide. All they had was a star to guide them.
2. It is so easy for us to miss the miracle: ”Heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” Ps 19:1
On a mission trip to Peru Jill and I were on the back side of the Andes from all the cities. So it was black, really black at night. The stars were amazing…absolutely amazing. We had no surface lights or city lights to bug us, and no North Star, just horizon to horizon stars. Beautiful display of Creation.
We had with us a group of students from inner-city Philadelphia who were in school and knew some of the constellations. Ones that we knew were all up north, but the Southern stars were just as amazing. Just for the sake of simplicity, here is what I want to suggest, there are billions of miracles right above us but most of us never even take the time to look up or to appreciate what we are looking at or appreciate that the light that left those stars left them a long, long, long time ago! So I think what happens is it is so easy for us to miss the miracle. We miss the Beauty of Creation…
3. Night after night the Stars show God’s Handiwork. But if we aren’t careful, we stop staring at them…
Switchfoot, my favorite band has a song titled, When I Look At The Stars. “When I look at the stars, I feel like myself. When I look at the stars, I see someone else!!”
B. Who should have found the Messiah?
1. It should have been the religious leaders who were in Jerusalem
5 miles from Bethlehem. They wouldn’t even go five miles out of their way to see if in fact the Messiah was born. But the Wise Men who were 1,000 miles away sought Him! And they discovered Him and
2. It changed their lives!!!!…that one divine appointment, changed the course of history for Joseph, Mary and Jesus!
12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
(Jesus would have been killed like all of the other boys under 2 in Bethlehem if it wasn’t for the Wisemen following God!!)
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!
I want to be careful how I share this because it is so easy to make overstatements…
1. We don’t celebrate life or celebrate love like we could or
should, or our blessings, or our journeys or our God…as much as we could or should…let’s enjoy the journey or Let’s enjoy God!!! We find so many other things to do!!!!!
The shorter Westminster Catechism written in 1646 says that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” It is the second half that I think we forget. We leave it off. We don’t realize that God wants us to enjoy Him.
Look at these challenges in the Bible:
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” Philippians 4:4 (NIV) Page 4 of 8
II. WISE MEN ARE FILLED WITH JOY.
“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Now let me ask, how many of the days has the Lord made? Psalm 118:24.
1. The Joy of the Lord is this Emotional Baseline for Us. Stop and think about this angelic announcement of the birth of Christ. They could have announced it any way they wanted to, right? But what did they say?
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10
- Joy is Found in the Lord…Not Bethlehem, not following a star, it is found in the person of Jesus Christ. True joy is only found in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
- You haven’t experienced joy until your Sin has been forgiven and forgotten by your Savior!We ought to be the most joyful people on the planet! It doesn’t mean you have to smile like you’re a televangelist or game show host. But we ought to smile more!!We ought to laugh more. We ought to be a little better at having fun because we take God seriously but we don’t take ourselves seriously. I think the happiest, healthiest, holiest people on the planet are the people who laugh at themselves the most.Look at the Old Testament and you’ll find that God has instituted 7 feasts. Why??? Feasts are just religious parties, celebrations if you will, and they are the rhyme and reason of the Jewish calendar, the rhythm of life…Why would God ordain seven feasts? He gave them seven feasts so that they weave joy into your lives and the ability to celebrate!!!
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”
Christmas is not just a celebration of the birth of Christ, it is a celebration of his sinless life and his substitutionary death
on the cross.
John 3:16,“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
illu… “I love the story about the little girl who was asked if she got what she wanted for Christmas and she thought about it for a second and she said, ‘No, but then again, it is not my birthday!”
Let me talk about this third lesson…
Wise men follow the star, then Wise men are Filled with Joy, and…
III. WISE MEN COME BEARING GIFTS.
11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
A. How can we be a blessing to the people that are all around us all the time?
1. I just wonder if we were truly wise men and women if we would just look for opportunities to come bearing gifts.
2. It doesn’t have to be something financial. Some of the greatest gifts I’ve gotten are words of encouragement just spoken right when I needed to hear it. Or even something small, or the gift of time or a batch of cookies, it doesn’t take a ton of effort or a ton of money.
B. Wisemen bearing Gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh…
Has any child in the history of the world had myrrh on their Christmas list? Give the kid an ancient action figure or something like David with a sling shot! Not myrrh!!!
Okay, what do they mean. What Did Gold Represent in the Bible?
1. He is the Divine King (Gold), He is the Eternal Priest (Frankincense) and He is the Sacrifice for our Sin (Myrrh).
2. Even the vilest unrepentant sinner will have no choice but to one- day honor Christ as Lord. Not only did the gold represent Christ’s deity, it also represented his kingship. Jesus is the King of the universe. He’s King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
3. The Bible plainly teaches that Christ is our High Priest. He makes intercession for our sins , and He is the eternal sacrifice for us.
4. The Wisemen brought Him gifts, What can you bring?
How about we do this…we pick ourselves up and lay them before Him and say Lord….
First…I Confess that I am a Sinner…I need Jesus!! 1.Confess that you are a sinner and are in need of Jesus to Save You!
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from every wrong.” 1 John 1:9
2. Accept God’s free gift of salvation. Don’t try to earn it!
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
“Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is
rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” Luke 10:16
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” Acts 2:38
4. Engage Make it you Purpose to Engage in your Christian Life. Don’t sit and wait for it to happen…Get engaged in a Men’s, Women’s, Youth or Small group. Serve on a Team or Learn on a mission. Find ways to engage in your faith and share it with others!
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“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” John 1:12-13