Whatever it Takes for Us to Find God will be Worth the Effort
I. Introduction (Job 23:8-10; Jer 29:13)
A. It is amazing that God invites us to go looking for Him – to give diligent search – to seek out and find Him – it is challenging
B. Jesus has been sought after several times
1. Remember His parents “losing” him in Jerusalem when He was 12?
2. Multitudes came from all over the middle east to hear Him teach, and watch Him do the impossible – “Sir, we would see Jesus!”
3. But the most amazing search for Jesus began at His birth
C. Every once in a while, it is just good to set out to get close to the Son of God, and just kneel before Him, and honour and worship Him, as these wise men did so long ago
D. Maybe it has been a long time since you set out to find this King of kings and Lord of lords named Jesus
E. He is not always easy to find in this sin-cursed, sex-crazed, super-charged busy world.
F. Maybe we just need to be reminded that he is worth looking for (Jer 29:13)
II. Message -
A. The Seekers (Mt 2:1)
1. Wise Men
a. Studious men, learned men. They loved to learn.
b. Everything to them was to be explored and understood
c. They were philosophers, counsellors, astronomers (Some call these men astrologers – they may have been before meeting Jesus, but they definitely were not astrologers AFTER they met Jesus)
d. We get the idea that Jesus is a religious fairy tale that we tell our children – not for the last 2,000 years! Great and wise people have found Him to be the awesome God that he truly is
1) Galileo Galilie
2) Sir Robert Boyle
3) Isaac Newton
4) Thousands and thousands of smart people throughout history have found that God did indeed become born in flesh and lived here, and was crucified and miraculously rose again
e. Now, not every smart, highly intelligent person comes to this conclusion – but wise men have and still do seek Him with all their heart!
f. Don’t think that all the wise people are at the BBC, or in the modern universities – many are sitting in a Sunday School class, teaching young people that God is very much alive!
2. Unusual Men – Interested in the Bible, and things Jewish
a. These men did not just own a Bible, and keep it in their library – it was a part of their studies, and a part of their culture
b. Most people ignored that Bible even in those days – much like they do today, but wise men are unusual because they study the Bible
3. Observant Men – they paid careful attention to detail
a. Wouldn’t every wife love to have an observant man for a husband?!
b. These men didn’t just see words on a page, but pieces to a puzzle
c. They studied the Bible to know its truths, and to find its Author
d. It takes some effort to hear every word of this Book (Mt 4:4)
4. Faithful Men
a. When they set out on their search, they were going to stay at it until they found Him
b. Oh that we didn’t give up so quickly – on our walk with Jesus, with each other, on our search for answers to our life’s struggles!
c. These men set out from a totally different culture, across so many miles without confirmation that they were going to find anything – no mobile phones, no internet showing what was at their destination
d. Faithful men
B. The Search (Mt 2:1-6, 9,10)
1. A 500 mile trek one way from Babylon in Iraq!
a. Started with the Scriptures
b. Included the Stars
c. Travelled Across the Sands
d. To a City – Jerusalem
2. What were they were looking for?
a. Most people struggle through life not knowing what they are looking for (a good time, a friend, a new buzz, a fast buck)
b. These men KNEW just what and who they were looking for! Three characteristics:
1) A newborn King
2) Somewhere In Israel
3) Known as The Messiah
3. How Did they Know the Way? Three things helped them find what they were looking for: The Bible, a Star, and some sceptics
a. The Prophecies of the Scriptures - They were prophesied anywhere from 500 years, to 2000 years before his birth (These Scriptures, and views of the Messiah are the reason why Christmas is miraculous, and can be miraculous still!)
1) They read about God coming here in the flesh (Micah 5:2; Isa 40:9,10; 44:6,8)
2) They read about a Star Rising (Num 24:7) – The Star of Christmas. Daniel described it as a stone falling against the empires of the world
3) They read about a New Ruler (Num 24:7; Isa 9:6,7; 11:3-9) – the Ruler, and Power of Christmas – King of the Jews!
b. Their Guidance by a Star
1) A most unusual star
a) Appeared at the time of Christ’s birth
b) What’s amazing is that so many ancient rulers searched for stars to have appeared at the time of THEIR birth so that they could claim to be from heaven. Pharaoh associated himself with the Morning Star (Venus)
c) They saw it over in Babylon – not many paid attention to it
d) It shone for months as they travelled from Babylon eastward
e) It didn’t seem to move
2) But then it disappeared evidently – forced the wise men to have to go and ask directions
3) But then it reappears, but this time is low, and hovering over a tiny village
4) It is amazing what God shows you when you are looking and paying attention!
5) God uses the supernatural to help you know His way, but beware, it is not always the spectacular – a tiny star instead of a new blazing Sun
c. Some Skeptics help Out
1) When the wise men stopped and asked for directions, they expected more people to be on this same search – they just expected that Herod and all the “wise” people of Israel would be searching for their new born King
2) But there were NONE caring to look for Him – kind of sad isn’t it?
a) Even though they knew the prophecies
b) Even though they had God’s promises
c) Even though they needed the same help
d) Nobody was interested in finding such a King
3) But they did know where to find directions (Mic 5:2)
4) Careful though – make sure you get the whole Bible – here these “scribes” left out the best part – that this was the eternal one in the flesh
C. The Sovereign (2:2,11a)
1. Just who did they stumble into in that small, humble house that Jesus and his parents were now living in – it has been several months since His birth – don’t expect Him to have remained in that stable!
2. They met Jesus (I’m sure they nodded to Mary and Joseph, but they were not interested in THEM)
3. They had found what they were looking for:
a. A young child – not an infant – this child was growing – on a mission
b. A King – THE King
c. A way to worship God in spirit and in truth
4. Here was GOD in the flesh - They were bowing prostrate on the ground before “the Ancient of days”
a. Not just a baby – not just a body – not just a story
b. Here was the Jehovah God of the Old Testament, packaged in the tiny wrappings of skin
c. Here was the Creator, the Sustainer of all life, cooing, and gurgling
d. Here was the voice of mount Sinai giggling and hugging on His Mom and Daddy
e. Here was the Author of wisdom staring right into the eyes of these aged wise men, humbling them
5. What is it like when YOU worship Jesus? What comes over YOU when you bow before His name? What right do we have to think our encounters with Him are any less important?
6. Oh that our morning times of worship were this way! Oh that we took our walk with Jesus seriously, and soberly! Oh that we realized that we have FOUND HIM who is the answer to all our needs and troubles (Jn 1:45,46)
D. The Swap (Mt 2:11b)
1. Look what they brought to Jesus
a. They presented themselves to him:
1) They fell down, and worshipped him. We do not read that they gave such honour to Herod, though he was in the height of his royal grandeur; but to this babe they gave this honour, not only as to a king, but as to a God.
2) All that have found Christ fall down before him; they adore him, and submit themselves to him. He is Lord, and worship him.
3) It will be the wisdom of the wisest of men, and by this it will appear they know Christ, if they be humble, faithful worshippers of the Lord Jesus.
b. They presented their gifts to him.
1) In the eastern nations, when they did honour their kings, they would give presents
2) If we are sincere in the surrender of ourselves to Jesus, we won’t have a problem parting with what is dearest to us, and most valuable, to give to Him and for Him
3) Note: our gifts are not accepted unless we first present ourselves to him living sacrifices.
4) The gifts they presented were, gold, frankincense, and myrrh
a) They offered him gold, as a king, paying him tribute, to Caesar, the things that are Caesar's;
b) They gave Him frankincense, as God, for they honoured God with the smoke of incense;
c) And they gave Him myrrh, as a Man that should die, for myrrh was used in embalming dead bodies.
5) They didn’t know what the gifts would signify – they just followed the work of the Holy Spirit as He directed their worship!
c. They were worshipping Jesus
1) With their time – had spent months on this search
2) With their best – brought great gifts – not for themselves, not really for Mary and Joseph, but for the Lord
3) With their submission – they fell down! What a sight!
4) With their whole heart – this was no formal show
a) They were few in number – not part of a huge pageant
b) They were made fun of by the other “wise” people
c) They were humbled by the surroundings – not a palace
d) Yet they bowed and worshipped before GOD!!!
2. An exchange took place. He will have an affect on you! Once you meet this Jesus, you never are the same again.
a. He gives us back a whole new life - eternal life. All the sins that condemned you are forgiven because of the coming of this Saviour (1 Tim 1:15; Rom 6:23)
b. He gives a new direction - purpose. Life no longer is lived in order to get to heaven, but rather, it is lived because I’m now going to heaven! No longer lived for myself, or my own pleasures, but for my Saviour’s joy! You never want to go back to the old life again. Jesus is your King now, and you serve Him!
c. He gives us eternity with Him – in heaven
d. What a swap!
A. God invites us to go looking for Him – to give diligent search – to seek out and find Him – it is challenging
B. But every once in a while, it is just good to set out to get close to the Son of God, and just kneel before Him, and honour and worship Him, as these wise men did so long ago
C. Maybe it has been a long time since you set out to find this King of kings and Lord of lords named Jesus
D. He is not always easy to find in this sin-cursed, sex-crazed, super-charged busy world.
E. Maybe we just need to be reminded that He is worth looking for (Jer 29:13)
1. The Seekers will be wise people
2. The Search will take some effort
3. The Sovereign you will meet and get to know will be awesome
4. The Swap will be better than we deserve
a. We need to bring of our best
b. But the exchange that takes place is incredible:
1) We get forgiveness and eternal life.
2) We get a new direction - purpose.
3) We get eternity with Him – in heaven
c. What a swap!
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland