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← Christ's Star - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 7 created 12/16/2017 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. ...to Matthew chapter 2
    and Luke chapter 2.
  2. And you can go to both those places.
  3. You can stick your finger in Luke 2,
  4. and open your Bibles to Matthew 2.
  5. And we're going to go back and forth
  6. between them.
  7. Today, I do want to speak to you
  8. about the birth of Christ
  9. and the Magi
  10. and the star that led the Magi
  11. to Bethlehem.
  12. So, this is our sixteenth Christmas
  13. as a church
  14. since our church was started.
  15. I have never intentionally preached
  16. a Christmas sermon.
  17. If you're visiting our church today,
  18. you may notice there's no lights.
  19. There's no tree.
  20. We don't even have a manger scene.
  21. You probably noticed we didn't even
  22. sing a Christmas song.
  23. I purposely like to sing
    them in the summer.
  24. I was half-minded to sing
  25. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
  26. just because the words in it,
  27. I think are glorious,
  28. and they do have to do
    with the message today.
  29. I don't think it's necessarily wrong
  30. for preachers that do preach
  31. Christmas sermons.
  32. I'm not knocking that.
  33. I have just never personally
  34. felt compelled to preach a sermon
  35. based on a man-made holiday.
  36. And I personally am not going to be
  37. driven by those holidays,
  38. whether they be Christmas,
  39. Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day...
  40. I smile because just thinking
  41. about Mother's Day -
  42. Mack Tomlinson - he told us
  43. just a hilarious story
  44. that when he was a young preacher,
  45. he was preaching
  46. and he was preaching on hell
  47. and he was really giving it to the people.
  48. And he said suddenly,
  49. about five minutes left in his message,
  50. he noticed that the women
  51. were dressed really fancy.
  52. And he said with five minutes left,
  53. "Now, a word about mothers..."
  54. Our smallest crowds are probably
  55. at Christmas and especially Easter
  56. because we do our Denton conference
  57. at Easter.
  58. The world's holidays haven't dictated
  59. to me what I'm going to preach.
  60. And brethren, we do have to be honest.
  61. Christmas and Easter are
  62. man-made holidays.
  63. That doesn't mean that
  64. biblical things might not be
  65. spoken about.
  66. But they're man-made.
  67. God has never told us to observe these.
  68. In fact, there's really
    only one celebration
  69. in Scripture that God
    in an ongoing fashion
  70. tells us to observe.
  71. What might that be?
  72. The Lord's Supper.
  73. And not just once yearly.
  74. As often as you do this,
  75. do this in remembrance of Me.
  76. So, that's what we're called to remember.
  77. That's what we're called to celebrate.
  78. Now look, I'm not here this morning
  79. to bash Christmas.
  80. From a pastoral perspective,
  81. personally it's been a non-issue.
  82. I think for our church largely
  83. it's been a non-issue.
  84. Some of you do things.
    Some of you don't do things.
  85. Some of you do more.
  86. Some of you do less.
  87. It's just been a non-issue.
  88. I think it's something
  89. between you and the Lord.
  90. If you're going to make any sort
  91. of observation you want it
  92. in line with Romans 14.
  93. You want to do it unto the Lord.
  94. And if you don't do it,
  95. you don't do it unto the Lord.
  96. I think it's the same way with preaching.
  97. If a man wants to preach a message
  98. around Christmastime on things
  99. that have to do with the Incarnation,
  100. well, if he can do it unto the Lord,
  101. let him do it unto the Lord.
  102. If he wants to preach about the cross
  103. around Easter time,
  104. let him do it unto the Lord.
  105. But I say all that to say this,
  106. this year, I do feel compelled to preach
  107. on the birth of Christ at this season.
  108. Just recently, here's what happened:
  109. Just recently, you know
    that a group of us men
  110. went to prison over in Huntsville.
  111. We were in the chapel.
  112. Let me describe the chapel to you.
  113. It's probably somewhat
    the size of this room.
  114. Maybe not as long.
  115. But it's fairly big.
  116. Much higher ceilings.
  117. It's a chapel that
    sticks off of the prison.
  118. It's like a church building.
  119. Up front, they had a choir.
  120. To the right, sitting in the seats
  121. over here -
  122. behind there was a choir,
  123. over here there was a band.
  124. We sat, all 8 of us that went,
  125. we sat across the front row there.
  126. And on either side,
  127. they had t.v. monitors.
  128. And I'm supposing those were wired
  129. into a computer in the back.
  130. And so what was happening is
  131. not only do they have to count
  132. the prisoners - this was
  133. a maximum security prison;
  134. and once in awhile cell block numbers
  135. would come up on those screens,
  136. and everybody would stand up
  137. in that cell block and
    just immediately exit
  138. when their cell block came up.
  139. But, when you didn't
    have cell block numbers,
  140. you actually had the words to the songs.
  141. And because it was around Christmas time
  142. and many of the songs they were singing
  143. were Christmas-related,
  144. they also, not only had words
  145. to the songs,
  146. they had pictures.
  147. Christmas-esque pictures.
  148. And one of them
  149. was just a picture of the night sky
  150. with a bright, shining star.
  151. And you know how it
    is in the Christian life?
  152. You can take certain things for granted.
  153. You know they're there.
  154. You come across them
    as you read Scripture.
  155. You know it's truth.
  156. You know it's fact.
  157. But you know it is sometimes
  158. when certain truths from the Bible,
  159. they just lay hold on you?
  160. They come to you with power.
  161. I look at that star and I thought,
  162. that's real.
  163. Kevin Woodell was sitting next to me.
  164. I said, "Kevin, there really was a star."
  165. It's called "His star" in Scripture.
  166. That's what the Magi called it:
  167. His star.
  168. "We have seen His star."
  169. It's the Christ's star.
  170. I was affected by that.
  171. So, I decided maybe we'd look at that.
  172. God put a star in the sky 2,000 years ago.
  173. A star that had never been seen before.
  174. And it wasn't seen after.
  175. It was just there at that time
  176. to guide certain men to Christ.
  177. That's what I want to
    bring a sermon on today.
  178. There really was a star.
  179. Let's look at that.
  180. Matthew 2.
  181. Notice verses 1-2.
  182. "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem
  183. of Judea in the days of Herod the King,
  184. behold, wise men..."
  185. The word is magoi: Magi.
  186. "...from the East came to Jerusalem,
  187. saying, 'where is He Who has been born
  188. King of the Jews?
  189. For we saw (here it is) His star."
  190. The Messiah has His own star.
  191. That doesn't mean that He doesn't
  192. own all of them and uphold all of them.
  193. Here's a star that's His star
  194. and it's uniquely there
  195. for His coming into this world.
  196. "For we saw His star when it rose
  197. and have come to worship Him."
  198. Now jump down to v. 7.
  199. I'm just going to give you the verses here
  200. that speak specifically of this star.
  201. "Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly
  202. and ascertained from them
  203. what time the star had appeared."
  204. You see, there was a
    time that it appeared.
  205. Before that, it hadn't appeared.
  206. And you know, after these Magi
  207. find the Christ,
  208. there's no biblical evidence
  209. that it ever appeared again.
  210. V. 9, "After listening
    to the king (Herod,)
  211. they went on their way,
  212. and behold, the star that they had seen
  213. when it rose..."
  214. That's how they talked about it.
  215. They said, "we saw His star when it rose."
  216. It rose.
  217. Like the sun rises, the moon rises.
  218. The stars also rise,
  219. because we're spinning.
  220. It rose.
  221. And they saw it rise.
  222. "The star that they
    had seen when it rose..."
  223. Now, here's the thing,
  224. it rose like other stars
  225. that come up over the horizon,
  226. but now it went before them.
  227. That's really an interesting statement.
  228. "It went before them
  229. until it came to rest."
  230. Is that like the sun
    stopping in its orbit?
  231. Is that a linear thing
  232. where it basically tracks straight
  233. and then it stopped?
  234. Or is this thing moving,
  235. like it goes that way
  236. and it goes this way?
  237. It came to rest.
  238. There was motion in this star.
  239. And then it came to rest.
  240. "...over the place where the child was.
  241. When they saw the star,
  242. they rejoiced exceedingly
  243. with great joy."
  244. Now, here's the first thing.
  245. The first thing I want to emphasize:
  246. The historicity of this thing.
  247. It's historical.
  248. We're talking about actual events
  249. that actually happened in the course
  250. of human history.
  251. There was a star.
  252. It's real.
  253. It's not fictitious.
  254. There were Magi.
  255. They're not imaginary - they're real.
  256. There was the birth of the child King.
  257. We are talking about reality here.
  258. We are talking about fact.
  259. We are talking about history.
  260. I stress this.
  261. Brethren, I stress this.
  262. Because we are in the midst of a world
  263. that is controlled by the evil one.
  264. There is satanic deception on every side.
  265. And what did Paul fear?
  266. What did Paul fear for the Corinthians?
  267. That Satan would do what to them?
  268. That he would deceive them
  269. and move them away from this
  270. simple devotion to Christ.
  271. There is so much falsehood.
  272. You know what?
  273. We might say,
  274. well, we have to remember
  275. the reason for the season.
  276. Look, I don't know who the author
  277. of this season is,
  278. but oftentimes I suspect it's not God.
  279. Brethren, let me tell you something.
  280. Yeah, it's true that during this time
  281. of the year,
  282. the world will tolerate
    the mention of Jesus.
  283. They will tolerate
  284. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
  285. But you know as well as I do
  286. that right next to the manger scene
  287. is Santa Claus.
  288. And right next to "Hark! The Herald..."
  289. is "Santa Claus is Coming to Town,"
  290. and "Rudolph," and "Frosty," and all that.
  291. And you see, we say,
  292. the world basically has this mindset.
  293. We're going to deceive our children
  294. with these things;
  295. tell them that Santa's real,
  296. but then at some point we know
  297. that they're going to be undeceived.
  298. We try to push the lie as far as possible.
  299. But you see, all the lies get mixed in
  300. with anything that's true.
  301. And even what's true is stretched
  302. to where it's not true.
  303. Since when did the wise men
  304. come to a stable?
  305. They didn't.
  306. Since when was the star over the stable?
  307. It wasn't.
  308. Since when did the wise men
  309. ride camels?
  310. It never says so.
  311. Since when were there three of them?
  312. There wasn't.
  313. I mean, what we have is all manner
  314. of fictitious stuff
  315. all thrown together
  316. with a bunch of lies.
  317. Brethren, this season men talk about
  318. good will, but it's a lie.
  319. Men don't have good will
  320. towards one another.
  321. And then, this idea that what?
  322. We're going to worship Christ
  323. one time out of the year?
  324. As we remember, the Lord's Supper
  325. is as often as you do this.
  326. It's an ongoing thing.
  327. It isn't once a year at Christmas
  328. or twice a year at Christmas and Easter.
  329. It's a deception.
  330. What it wants to do is say
  331. you know it's ok to mix all this
  332. error with some things that might be true.
  333. And as though we're just going to
  334. be able to discern what's true,
  335. what's not true.
  336. Well, we better be able to discern that.
  337. And we better be able to look
  338. at everything through the Word of God
  339. and sort through it.
  340. We need to be discerning people.
  341. And so much of what happens
  342. this time of the year
  343. is a mirage.
  344. It sets out a hope.
  345. Oh, the Christmas spirit...
  346. It gives people this hope.
  347. There is a sense of anticipation
  348. and expectation this time of year.
  349. And what happens?
  350. It leaves men hollow and empty.
  351. And what happens afterwards?
  352. People have to be confronted
  353. by the reality of life.
  354. But I'll tell you this,
  355. if you're a genuine Christian,
  356. after the Christmas season
  357. and New Year's is over,
  358. you're not left empty and hollow.
  359. Why?
  360. You've got the Christ!
  361. You've got salvation!
  362. You've got the real deal!
  363. It wasn't all hinged on Santa and presents
  364. and materialism and family coming together
  365. and songs and football games
  366. and all the things that the world
  367. looks forward to at this time;
  368. drink and song and festivity.
  369. If you've got the Christ,
    you've got Him forever!
  370. And look, I'm not knocking
  371. if people get together as families.
  372. There's certainly nothing wrong with that.
  373. I'm not knocking
  374. if people come together
    at this time of the year
  375. and they want to actually open up Luke 2.
  376. I'm not knocking that.
  377. But brethren, there is deception.
  378. And this whole season is
    just full of deception.
  379. It's everywhere.
  380. Everywhere.
  381. We need to cut through the garbage.
  382. We need to cut through all the lies.
  383. I'll tell you this,
  384. Scripture tells us,
  385. there was a baby born 2,000 years ago.
  386. This is history.
  387. A workplace at the North Pole?
  388. That's not history.
  389. That's akin to Mormonism.
  390. You want to make up fictitious lands,
  391. fictitious places.
  392. It's fiction.
  393. But I'll tell you,
  394. there really was a baby born
  395. 2,000 years ago.
  396. And there really was a star
  397. that wasn't there before.
  398. And there really were Magi who came.
  399. We're talking about a historical Christ.
  400. We need to remember that.
  401. This isn't myth.
  402. This is history.
  403. And if anybody was the historian,
  404. it was Luke.
  405. I mean Luke isn't messing around.
  406. He doesn't just dream up something
  407. about the North Pole.
  408. He's talking about real people
  409. in a real time in real places.
  410. You notice how articulate he is?
  411. I mean, he tells us,
  412. in the days of Caesar Augustus.
  413. In the days when Quirinius
  414. was in a certain position of leadership.
  415. In those days...
  416. He's very exact.
  417. Look.
  418. Look there at chapter 2:1.
  419. "He was born in Bethlehem."
  420. It's a real place.
  421. It's not like these places
  422. that the Mormons dream up
  423. that nobody can find.
  424. These are real places.
  425. Bethlehem of Judea.
  426. And real days.
  427. What days?
  428. In the days of Herod the King,
  429. behold, wise men from the East
  430. came to Jerusalem.
  431. Real days.
  432. Real places.
  433. I'm quoting Matthew here,
  434. but we're going to look at Luke
  435. in a second.
  436. Anyway, he was the real historian.
  437. He spells this out.
  438. In fact, you've got
    your finger there still.
  439. Look over at Luke.
  440. Luke 2.
  441. I mean, he's all the more historian
  442. than Matthew was.
  443. Like I said,
  444. he's very articulate here.
  445. "In those days..."
  446. You see that?
  447. Those days.
  448. There were really days.
  449. This is a historical account.
  450. "A decree went out from Caesar Augustus
  451. that all the world should be registered."
  452. There was a registration.
  453. There were really register books.
  454. There were places you went to register.
  455. It was a taxation.
  456. The people registered that
    they might be taxed.
  457. Let's keep going here.
  458. "This was the first registration
  459. when Quirinius was governer of Syria,
  460. and all went to be registered,
  461. each to his own town."
  462. (Incomplete thought)
  463. Look, this is the Word of God.
  464. This is true no matter what
    the history books say.
  465. In fact, you don't want to trust history.
  466. There's always somebody with an agenda.
  467. And it's always being rewritten.
  468. And God has never promised to keep it
  469. free of error.
  470. But you can even look at secular history,
  471. and you know,
  472. Caesar Augustus was real.
  473. Quirinius was real.
  474. Look at your secular geography books.
  475. You know Bethlehem is real.
  476. Judah is real.
  477. These are real places.
  478. "In those days..."
  479. What Scripture will never let us
  480. get away from is
  481. the fact that all of this is historical.
  482. It's real.
  483. It's there in Scripture.
  484. And you know what it will never
  485. let us get away from as well?
  486. That the historical Christ
  487. is the supernatural Christ.
  488. You don't want to get away from that.
  489. We've got a lot of people out here
  490. in the world,
  491. they're ready and willing to admit
  492. that Jesus was historical,
  493. but if there's anything supernatural
  494. about Him, then they deny it.
  495. They don't want to go there.
  496. This is simply the pride
    and arrogance of man.
  497. Man says I cannot understand
  498. how a star can simply appear
  499. where there wasn't one before.
  500. I cannot understand it,
  501. therefore it must not be real.
  502. This is constantly what happens
  503. when little men face
  504. the incomprehensible and supernatural
  505. divine being of the living God.
  506. Well, we cannot understand it,
  507. therefore we cannot believe it.
  508. But the historical Christ
    is the supernatural Christ.
  509. You look back then.
  510. What did you see?
  511. You see a virgin birth.
  512. You see a star in the sky.
  513. You see the supernatural.
  514. You see angels appearing
  515. and declaring to the shepherds
  516. that the Christ has been born.
  517. Christ - He is born.
  518. And He lives His life
  519. and it's full of the supernatural.
  520. Water made into wine.
  521. He walked on water.
  522. Where He went,
  523. the supernatural happened.
  524. You see, God broke into history.
  525. And what happens when God becomes man
  526. is it just turns everything upside down.
  527. You can say, "I don't understand it."
  528. Well, there's a lot about it
    I don't understand either.
  529. But Scripture tells us it's so.
  530. The historical Christ is
    a supernatural Christ.
  531. And I'll tell you what,
  532. the Word tells us
  533. there was a star -
  534. a star created just for this occasion
  535. to lead a group of (get this) Gentiles
  536. from a far away place
  537. to come and fall down and worship
  538. before a baby.
  539. And what a baby!
  540. If you've got your
    finger still in Matthew 1,
  541. you can keep your fingers there.
  542. It says in Matthew 1:21,
  543. "She will bear a Son,
  544. and you shall call His name Jesus,
  545. for He will save His people
  546. from their sins.
  547. All this took place to
    fulfill the prophet.
  548. What the Lord had spoken by Isaiah,
  549. 'behold, the virgin shall conceive
  550. and bear a Son,
  551. and they shall call His name Immanuel.'"
  552. We're not talking about the birth
  553. of a great man.
  554. God came among us.
  555. Oh, He was a great man,
  556. but more.
  557. God came among us to be with us.
  558. This is the Eternal One
  559. coming into the world.
  560. You know the verse.
  561. "In the beginning was the Word."
  562. In the beginning.
  563. What beginning?
  564. Go back to the beginning.
  565. Well, wasn't there something
  566. before that beginning?
  567. Yeah, go back in the beginning
  568. before that beginning.
  569. Back, back, back, further back.
  570. Before there was a beginning.
  571. There's the Word.
  572. And the Word was God.
  573. And the Word was with God.
  574. And the Word became flesh.
  575. That's what we have going on here.
  576. He didn't start to exist.
  577. You have a star in the sky.
  578. And it's a messenger.
  579. It's a beacon
  580. that God and humanity are coming together
  581. in the womb of a virgin
  582. to be born into the world.
  583. That's what we have.
  584. God coming into the world.
  585. But you think about this,
  586. God coming into the world -
  587. think about what you have done.
  588. You think about the things
  589. you've done in your life.
  590. God's coming into the world.
  591. You hear that.
  592. God's coming into the world.
  593. You know what?
  594. This is the God Who has a score to settle.
  595. We've done things.
  596. I mean just that by
    itself is not good news.
  597. That might actually be
    reason for some alarm.
  598. But think about those words.
  599. I mean, those angels appeared out there
  600. on those plains.
  601. Quiet.
  602. It's night.
  603. It's peaceful.
  604. The sheep.
  605. The shepherds standing watch by night.
  606. And I mean, what happened?
  607. The sky split open.
  608. They weren't expecting that.
  609. You would be shocked,
  610. as I'm sure they were.
  611. But you've got to hear in those words,
  612. those angels said that that very day
  613. a Savior was born.
  614. Just think about those words.
  615. That baby that came forth
  616. is a Savior.
  617. Sometimes we have to stop.
  618. It's kind of like the star hitting me
  619. there in the prison.
  620. Sometimes you just have to stop
  621. and hear that word:
  622. Savior.
  623. Somebody came to save us.
  624. Somebody came to free us.
  625. Savior.
  626. He came to save us.
  627. He didn't come to destroy us.
  628. He's come to take our sins upon Himself.
  629. Not to deal with us according to our sins,
  630. but that star that's shining
  631. up there in the sky -
  632. it's a beacon of hope,
  633. not of destruction; not of doom.
  634. That's the reality.
  635. Listen to this.
  636. Matthew 2.
  637. Look at it there in v. 10.
  638. "When they saw the star..."
  639. Not the shepherds -
  640. we're talking about the Magi here.
  641. "When they saw the star,
  642. they rejoiced exceedingly
  643. with great joy."
  644. This is a reflection of the
    shepherd's joy as well.
  645. We could look over there at Luke 2.
  646. There was joy.
  647. This One Who came into the world
  648. came to produce joy.
  649. Listen!
  650. That's not what this world experiences
  651. in this season of Christmas.
  652. There's a hope.
  653. There's an anticipation.
  654. There may be some kind of cheer
  655. and happiness.
  656. But not the abiding joy.
  657. Rejoice in the Lord always,
  658. and again I say, rejoice.
  659. The world doesn't rejoice come January.
  660. Something was happening here.
  661. Here's the thing,
  662. even though it's misplaced -
  663. the star was not over the stable.
  664. The star didn't lead the Magi
  665. to the stable.
  666. The star led the Magi to the house
  667. where Joseph and Mary and the baby were
  668. after the Christ was born.
  669. So when you see the manger scene,
  670. you see a star there,
  671. it's misplaced.
  672. How it ever got on top of a Christmas tree
  673. I don't know.
  674. But I can tell you this,
  675. you see that star on
    top of a Christmas tree;
  676. you see that star on the front of a stable
  677. or the back wall of the stable,
  678. you can think about what that means.
  679. That thing shined in the sky
  680. guiding men to a Savior.
  681. A Savior has come.
  682. Man need not be damned.
  683. A Savior has come.
  684. God has come!
  685. Immanuel: God with us
  686. to redeem us, to help us,
  687. to save us, to take us to glory,
  688. to give us life everlasting,
  689. to give us pleasures forevermore
  690. at His right hand,
  691. to give us life,
  692. life more abundantly,
  693. to free us.
  694. Brethren, to forgive us!
  695. No lake of fire!
  696. I deserve the lake of fire.
  697. That's what that star says.
  698. There's hope.
  699. That's what it was saying.
  700. Now listen,
  701. I want you to think about this.
  702. (Incomplete thought)
  703. I cannot help but see election
  704. in that star.
  705. You say, election?
  706. What do you mean?
  707. I mean this.
  708. I mean that God chooses some people
  709. and not other people.
  710. You say, really?
  711. Well, look, if you haven't been here
    for our Ephesians series
  712. and you're calling that into question,
  713. I would encourage you to go study
  714. the first 14 verses of Ephesians,
  715. because you will not come away
  716. convinced that election doesn't exist
  717. if you have eyes to see
  718. what those verses say.
  719. But in that star,
  720. I see election.
  721. You say, what are you talking about?
  722. What do you mean?
  723. How do you see that?
  724. Let me explain.
  725. Just think with me.
  726. David and I were talking about this
  727. the other night.
  728. A star appears.
  729. A new star.
  730. Something nobody's ever seen before.
  731. A new star appears in the sky.
  732. Here's the first question I would ask you.
  733. Who would even notice?
  734. I mean, the truth is,
  735. if a new star appeared in the sky tonight,
  736. would you notice?
  737. I wouldn't.
  738. I came to the prayer
    meeting the other night,
  739. and these are the
    shortest days of the year,
  740. and so it was already getting dark
  741. when I showed up around 6:30.
  742. The Montgomery's were out here.
  743. And somebody made a comment
  744. about a star in the sky.
  745. We were surmising that it was
  746. probably a planet.
  747. It was bright.
  748. But you know what,
  749. if there had been two up there,
  750. I'd have just said,
  751. it's two planets.
  752. I would not have gone home,
  753. packed the car,
  754. put the family in
  755. and headed out in the direction
  756. where the star was.
  757. I would not have taken it as a sign
  758. that I needed to go to Canada.
  759. I wouldn't have even noticed
  760. that it was even new.
  761. A star appeared.
  762. They said to Herod,
  763. we saw it rise.
  764. Huh. They saw it.
  765. You know, who notices
    a new star in the sky?
  766. I'll tell you who notices,
  767. somebody who's looking at the sky.
  768. Somebody who looks at those things.
  769. Somebody who pays
    attention to those things.
  770. These are people that paid attention.
  771. And here's the thing
  772. God put that star
  773. where these people were looking.
  774. You say, you see election in that?
  775. Yeah, I do.
  776. Because He put it where these folks
  777. were looking.
  778. Other people may be looking
  779. in other places,
  780. but He didn't put it in those places.
  781. The sign.
  782. He put it here.
  783. Now there may be other signs.
  784. But He put one right where these people
  785. would look at it.
  786. And like I say,
  787. here's another thing.
  788. Even if you discover a new star,
  789. or even if you said, hey,
  790. we watch the sky.
  791. We're astronomers.
  792. We track the stars.
  793. There is a star that was
    not there last year.
  794. Like I say,
  795. who packs the camels?
  796. Or the mules?
  797. Or the horses and heads off to Jerusalem?
  798. Why would you do that?
  799. It's like seeing a tree
    you never saw before.
  800. You don't just pack up and move
  801. because something's
    new in your environment.
  802. But that's what they did.
  803. And there's more.
  804. You know that when these Magi
  805. got to where they were going -
  806. in fact, if you look here
  807. in Matthew 2, you will see that
  808. in v. 11, "...going into the house,
  809. they saw the child."
  810. They actually went in the house.
  811. They weren't standing
    out front of a stable.
  812. They went in the house.
  813. "They saw the child with Mary, His mother,
  814. and they fell down and worshiped Him
  815. then opening their treasures,
  816. they offered Him gifts -
  817. gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
  818. You say, what about that?
  819. Just this:
  820. So God put a star where they could see it.
  821. But when they saw it,
  822. they packed up.
  823. And as they're packing up,
  824. they just didn't put food and water
  825. in their bags,
  826. they put treasures in their bags.
  827. Why?
  828. Because, listen, when
    they got to Jerusalem,
  829. they specifically said to Herod;
  830. they specifically said to the Jews,
  831. "We have seen His star -
  832. the King of Israel."
  833. Ok, now here's this.
  834. Not only who packs up the camels
  835. or the horses when they see a star,
  836. but who sees a star and says
  837. we've got to go to Jerusalem
  838. because this means that
    the King of the Jews
  839. has been born?
  840. I'll tell you this.
  841. The Magi had revelation.
  842. Something was going on with the Magi
  843. that wasn't going on with other people.
  844. God was dealing with these Magi
  845. in a way that was very specific.
  846. Do you see election here?
  847. God deals with different people
  848. in different ways.
  849. These people had a blessing.
  850. These people had their eyes opened
  851. in a way that other people simply did not.
  852. Here's another thing:
  853. Even more telling is that
  854. when they got to Jerusalem,
  855. you notice there's no indication -
  856. listen to this:
  857. Here they come
  858. to Jerusalem.
  859. Matthew 2:1.
  860. And what do they say?
  861. "Where is He Who has been born
  862. King of the Jews?"
  863. Well, now, they would have known
  864. those in Jerusalem
  865. who he was speaking about.
  866. He was speaking about the Messiah.
  867. "For we saw His star when it rose
  868. and have come forth to worship Him."
  869. You see, they came with an agenda.
  870. That star was all about
  871. going to worship Jesus Christ.
  872. "When Herod the king heard this,
  873. he was troubled and all
    Jerusalem with him.
  874. They assembled the chief priests
  875. and scribes and he inquired of them
  876. where the Christ was to be born."
  877. They knew exactly Who this was.
  878. It was the Christ.
  879. "And he said, 'Bethlehem.'"
  880. V. 7 "Herod summoned the wise men
  881. and secretly ascertained from them
  882. the time the star had appeared.
  883. He sent them to Bethlehem saying,
  884. 'Go and search diligently for the child,
  885. and when you have found Him,
    bring me word that I too may
  886. come and worship Him.'
  887. After listening to the king
  888. they went on their way."
  889. You know what I find extremely interesting
  890. is this:
  891. They not only knew
  892. and recognized the
    significance of that star,
  893. they were the only ones who did.
  894. You say, what do you mean?
  895. I mean this:
  896. You notice they went on the Bethlehem.
  897. All the Jews that were gathered together -
  898. none of them went.
  899. None of the Jewish leaders went.
  900. None of the political leaders went.
  901. Herod didn't pack his horses
  902. and his gold and frankincense and myrrh.
  903. They went on by themselves.
  904. I mean, you have the Magi come
  905. and explain the significance of the star.
  906. They still didn't go.
  907. The presence of the coming Christ
  908. is proclaimed by this star.
  909. Who are the Magi?
  910. They're not Jews.
  911. They're just foreigners.
  912. A band of foreigners.
  913. We don't know how many.
  914. It doesn't say three.
  915. It doesn't call them kings.
  916. Not "We Three Kings..."
  917. It's the Magi.
  918. Foreigners.
  919. Isn't it interesting?
  920. I mean, think with me here.
  921. God gives us this picture
  922. about the coming of His
    Son into the world,
  923. and who are the only people
  924. who are on the same wavelength with God?
  925. A band of foreigners.
  926. God chooses people.
  927. God puts His hand on people.
  928. God opens certain people's eyes
  929. and not others.
  930. That's what you see going on here.
  931. And then, I just draw your attention
  932. back to v. 9-10 again.
  933. "Listening to the king, they
    went on their way.
  934. And behold the star,
  935. that they had seen when it rose
  936. went before them until it came to rest
  937. over the place where the child was.
  938. When they saw the star,
  939. they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy."
  940. Brethren, I do see election in this star.
  941. Why? The star went before them.
  942. It went before them.
  943. Listen, this star is leading them.
  944. It's like the thing is alive.
  945. There is a living God behind it.
  946. And it directs them: foreigners.
  947. Not the Jews. Not the Pharisees.
  948. Not the scribes. Not the priests.
  949. Not Herod. Not his entourage.
  950. Not the Romans.
  951. Some Magi from the East.
  952. Isn't that amazing?
  953. It's kind of like Jesus saying,
  954. you know there are many lepers;
  955. there are many widows.
  956. Doesn't God have a way of
  957. just choosing the insignificant.
  958. He chooses those we
    often would least expect.
  959. Are you still floored by that?
  960. God chose me.
  961. There's election.
  962. In the same way, brethren,
  963. most are unaware.
  964. Most are unaware of
    the significance of things.
  965. Do you recognize that that is true
  966. on this morning that the world labels
  967. as Christmas Day?
  968. Everybody thinks what's significant?
  969. The presents.
  970. The family.
  971. The tree.
  972. The lights.
  973. How many people are truly connected
  974. with what's really
    significant in this world?
  975. Maybe a little band of foreigners
  976. that meet in this place?
  977. We're outsiders.
  978. Gentiles.
  979. Those who are far off.
  980. Most are unaware.
  981. Think about even the night
  982. when Jesus was born.
  983. By the way,
  984. you recognize the time differential here.
  985. Christ was born;
  986. they laid Him in a manger.
  987. It really doesn't even say
    that there was a stable.
  988. The manger may have been under the stars.
  989. The shepherds came.
  990. It was sometime later that the Magi
  991. arrived at the house
  992. where Joseph had taken his family.
  993. His family was from there.
  994. It may have very well been family.
  995. But that night when Jesus was born,
  996. do you notice how unaware the world was?
  997. You just think about it.
  998. People just go on with their lives.
  999. What was happening?
  1000. There was a registration.
  1001. Oh, you think that stirred people up?
  1002. You think that was something
  1003. they were talking about?
  1004. You think if we got conquered
  1005. by a foreign power,
  1006. the Romans - Caesar comes in
  1007. and he sets up a registration
  1008. where we have to all go register
  1009. and pay our taxes.
  1010. If you're somebody like Joseph
  1011. and you actually have to pack up
  1012. in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem
  1013. because that's where your family is from.
  1014. That's what was required.
  1015. You can look at the secular history books.
  1016. They had various
    registrations in these days.
  1017. And they would make people go
  1018. to where their families were from.
  1019. And they would go there
  1020. and they would pay these taxes.
  1021. If an outsider like Caesar came in
  1022. and took over your country,
  1023. and then taxed you.
  1024. And now made you travel -
  1025. pack up your family and travel,
  1026. now it's affecting you monetarily,
  1027. not only in the tax you pay,
  1028. but in the fact you can't stay and work
  1029. the farm and work your home.
  1030. You've got to leave your business.
  1031. Joseph would leave
  1032. if he was a carpenter in those early days
  1033. he would have to leave that trade.
  1034. So now there's no income.
  1035. And he has to travel
  1036. and pay the traveling expenses.
  1037. You know what it was like in the inn?
  1038. Everybody was complaining.
  1039. Everybody was talking about
    what this was doing to them financially.
  1040. You know how it is in our world?
  1041. Everybody's talking about
    the new president.
  1042. They would have been talking
  1043. about Caesar, taxes, finances.
  1044. What it does to their whole
  1045. financial outlook.
  1046. That's what people talk about today.
  1047. That's what people are concerned about.
  1048. That's what they would have
    been concerned about back then.
  1049. The inn was full.
  1050. Why was the inn full?
  1051. Because everybody was
    traveling in those days.
  1052. They were trying to get home.
  1053. Trying to get home for the registration.
  1054. Caesar's taxing us.
  1055. It's all an inconvenience.
  1056. And yet, here's the thing.
  1057. You can imagine them packed in there -
  1058. tight quarters.
  1059. What are we going to do to eat?
  1060. Here we are. We're all packed in.
  1061. Everybody's traveling.
  1062. We've got to find food.
  1063. We've got to find our meals.
  1064. We've got to provide for the family.
  1065. Ah, this tax! How much is the tax?
  1066. It's too high! It's
    always too high, right?
  1067. Everybody complains about taxes
  1068. being too high.
  1069. They would have complained.
  1070. Do you think they were somehow sanctified
  1071. back in those days?
  1072. And they were entirely different?
  1073. And they all were back there
  1074. in this imaginary manger scene
  1075. with a placarded on star
  1076. on the front of it?
  1077. And all had halos over their heads?
  1078. And everybody was out there saying
  1079. oh, this is the greatest
    thing in the world?
  1080. No, that's not what happened.
  1081. What you had was some unobtrusive,
  1082. insignificant couple came in there.
  1083. This young girl's back there.
  1084. It doesn't even say in a stable.
  1085. Maybe she was.
  1086. I mean, if you're Joseph,
  1087. you would have tried
    to find a protected area
  1088. since there was no room.
  1089. She's giving birth.
  1090. Just insignificant.
  1091. The crowds are in the inn.
  1092. Nobody's out there.
  1093. Nobody cares.
  1094. In fact, until the shepherds got there,
  1095. it doesn't even say
    there were animals there.
  1096. A manger is what animals eat out of,
  1097. but we don't even know that.
  1098. But it's an inn,
  1099. people were traveling,
  1100. you can be sure there were...
  1101. The carts; it was probably relatively
  1102. packed back there.
  1103. And you may have had people back there.
  1104. If you're Joseph, you're going to try
  1105. to get her in as protected and quiet
  1106. a back corner.
  1107. Can you imagine, ladies?
  1108. You're required to travel
  1109. at nine months pregnancy?
  1110. And you're at an inn and there's no room?
  1111. Back on the straw with you,
  1112. one of the most amazing things
  1113. is happening in all of human history.
  1114. And the world is just disconnected.
  1115. The momentus thing imaginable
  1116. is happening back there.
  1117. Maybe it's a stable. Wherever.
  1118. So quiet.
  1119. So ordinary.
  1120. No fanfare.
  1121. Everyone caught up in
    the events of the day.
  1122. No one took notice.
  1123. Nobody's giving any concern to this.
  1124. No account.
  1125. Some girl back there on the straw -
  1126. she's having a baby.
  1127. They lay it in probably some rough,
  1128. wooden animal trough.
  1129. When the shepherds came to town,
  1130. that's what they were looking for.
  1131. Find a baby in the trough.
  1132. Salvation.
  1133. Do you recognize?
  1134. Salvation has come.
  1135. The One Who has been long awaited.
  1136. All human history is
    pointing to this child.
  1137. And He's come.
  1138. And nobody knows it!
  1139. The shepherds wouldn't have known it.
  1140. No fanfare.
  1141. Miracle of the greatest magnitude
  1142. is taking place.
  1143. God and man joined together in this child.
  1144. The most unique Person ever.
  1145. I wanted to sing that song:
  1146. "Hail! The Incarnate Deity!"
  1147. But who's there to hail Him?
  1148. It's just quiet.
  1149. Everybody in the inn -
  1150. taxes and everything filling their minds.
  1151. Who's there to hail Him?
  1152. I'll tell you who.
  1153. Some lowly shepherds.
  1154. And then days, may have even been weeks,
  1155. just some time before Joseph
  1156. fled to Egypt with his family;
  1157. it was before Herod sent
  1158. and had all those children killed
  1159. in Bethlehem.
  1160. Some foreigners.
  1161. You see how God works?
  1162. It wasn't the Jewish elite.
  1163. Brethren, think of all the people
  1164. of power and money
  1165. and high rank in this world
  1166. that God has passed over
  1167. that you might know
  1168. the significance of all these things.
  1169. He's given you eyes to see.
  1170. Why didn't everybody else follow the star?
  1171. Maybe they couldn't see it.
  1172. Maybe they did; they just didn't know
  1173. the significance of it.
  1174. But you know what?
  1175. That star guided the Magi.
  1176. It led them.
  1177. No indication it led anybody else.
  1178. God's electing love.
  1179. He just draws these people to His Son.
  1180. The world like some great, flowing river;
  1181. the course of this world.
  1182. That's what we were -
  1183. following the course of this world.
  1184. Following the prince of
    the power of the air.
  1185. By and large, that's what this season is.
  1186. It's just a mass of humanity
  1187. in this river;
  1188. it's just being swept along.
  1189. Everybody's just flowing with it.
  1190. Unaware of what really is significant.
  1191. Just like they were 2,000 years ago.
  1192. Football games and Christmas trees
  1193. and lights and all of it.
  1194. I'll tell you this:
  1195. There really was a star shining
  1196. back in the sky in that day.
  1197. It was a guide at that time to Christ.
  1198. Today, we have the star.
  1199. We have the light.
  1200. It's the Gospel light.
  1201. It beckons men.
  1202. But isn't it interesting,
  1203. it's so much like it was then.
  1204. You get these people far off.
  1205. That's how they're described in Ephesians.
  1206. Those who are far off.
  1207. We come near.
  1208. We draw near.
  1209. Those who are far off
    have been brought near
  1210. by the blood of Christ.
  1211. Same thing.
  1212. Isn't it amazing?
  1213. God gives some people eyes to see.
  1214. There's some in here.
  1215. You just go out the doors.
  1216. You'll just be swept away.
  1217. Just swept away with all of it.
  1218. You really don't have eyes to see.
  1219. But if you have eyes to see,
  1220. if you have ears to hear -
  1221. even if God is just
    giving them to you
  1222. right now,
  1223. you need to recognize this:
  1224. These are all facts.
  1225. This is history.
  1226. God the Son broke into time
  1227. 2,000 years ago,
  1228. and what He did was He came
  1229. and He did not stay a baby.
  1230. He grew up.
  1231. And when He grew up,
  1232. there was a day the Spirit of God
  1233. descended on Him.
  1234. He was baptized in those waters of Jordan.
  1235. That Spirit came, filled Him.
  1236. There was a voice from Heaven,
  1237. from the Majesty on High:
  1238. "This is My beloved Son."
  1239. And He went forth, and He faced the devil.
  1240. And He conquered.
  1241. And He went forth.
  1242. And He did miracles.
  1243. And He showed the people
  1244. He could raise the dead.
  1245. He showed the people
  1246. He could heal our diseases.
  1247. And He showed people
  1248. He was minded to do it.
  1249. "If You will, You can make me clean."
  1250. And He said, "I will."
  1251. And if you have eyes to see
  1252. and ears to hear,
  1253. we've been given a Messiah
  1254. Who is willing that we should be saved.
  1255. And reaches out His hand
  1256. and beckons sinners,
  1257. "Come unto Me, all you that labor
  1258. and are heavy laden."
  1259. This is historical fact.
  1260. This is not fiction.
  1261. And I'll guarantee, it lines up perfectly
  1262. with the historical fact of your sin
  1263. and your guilt
  1264. and the reality that you and I know
  1265. you must die.
  1266. And He came to suffer in our place.
  1267. And He came to taste death
  1268. on behalf of all men.
  1269. That's what Scripture says.
  1270. This is real.
  1271. This is not like the Grinch.
  1272. This is not like Santa Claus.
  1273. This is not all this garbage.
  1274. This isn't some stable
  1275. with a placarded star on the front of it.
  1276. We're talking about reality.
  1277. We're talking about a star in the sky
  1278. that actually led men to the Christ.
  1279. And they fell down
  1280. and they worshiped Him.
  1281. And that's what He calls us to do.
  1282. Come unto Me.
  1283. And bow down to Him.
  1284. That's what they did.
  1285. Oh, those Magi, in glory
  1286. when so many of the Jews -
  1287. and Jesus said it -
  1288. so many are going to come
  1289. from East - they came from the East;
  1290. and from the West.
  1291. And they're going to sit down
  1292. with Abraham and with Isaac
  1293. and with Jacob
  1294. in the Kingdom.
  1295. But so many,
  1296. so many that were privileged,
  1297. and so many that had rank,
  1298. and so many that had light,
  1299. and so many are not going to be there.
  1300. And they just assume.
  1301. They just assume.
  1302. But in faith, if we go to Christ,
  1303. and we fall down before Him
  1304. and we worship -
  1305. oh, those Magi, there was great joy.
  1306. If you're a sinner
  1307. and you come to recognize that a Savior
  1308. has been sent Who became sin for us
  1309. that we might become the
    righteousness of God in Him;
  1310. He came and He conquered
  1311. and He faced death,
  1312. and He faced the consequences of sin
  1313. on that cross.
  1314. He faced the wrath of God.
  1315. He faced a broken law.
  1316. And He conquered that we might be set free
  1317. and that we might have life.
  1318. Oh, they jumped with exceeding joy.
  1319. I'll tell you this,
  1320. if you actually look at that star
  1321. on top of a Christmas tree,
  1322. or taped onto the manger scene,
  1323. and you really recognize
  1324. at least the significance of the reality
  1325. behind that,
  1326. you would jump out of your shoes.
  1327. When they saw that star
  1328. and it was leading them to Bethlehem -
  1329. see, they'd heard
  1330. the prophecies were being fulfilled.
  1331. A virgin (Isaiah 7) coming to pass.
  1332. Micah 5: One who is from old,
  1333. even from everlasting;
  1334. He is going to be born
  1335. in Bethlehem Ephrathah.
  1336. These things are coming to pass.
  1337. They're exceedingly joyful.
  1338. Can you imagine?
  1339. The Christ.
  1340. And though we cannot see Him
  1341. as they could see Him
    with the physical eye,
  1342. yet we can hear His words.
  1343. And they beckon to us.
  1344. They call us like the star of old
  1345. called those men.
  1346. Come. Come.
  1347. That star just guided -
  1348. come, come.
  1349. And who had eyes to see?
  1350. None but the Magi.
  1351. But they came.
  1352. It didn't matter that
    they were foreigners.
  1353. They came.
  1354. You say, weren't they magicians?
  1355. Isn't that a cult?
  1356. Whatever you want to make of it -
  1357. they came!
  1358. Come!
  1359. And you will find Him
  1360. the Savior to the uttermost.
  1361. A star.
  1362. If you really recognize,
  1363. it's just a star.
  1364. No, it's a star that just proclaims
  1365. thunderously: Man need not be damned
  1366. any longer for his sins.
  1367. That is good news.
  1368. You don't want to lose that truth
  1369. in this season or any other season.
  1370. So much deception,
  1371. but that is not deception.
  1372. That is the truth. That is the fact.
  1373. And it is a fact that this same baby,
  1374. when He grew up,
  1375. He went to the cross.
  1376. That's a fact.
  1377. He died on that cross.
  1378. It's a fact.
  1379. You may say it's incredible.
  1380. It's unbelievable.
  1381. How can it happen
  1382. that He'd die and three days later,
  1383. He'd raise from the dead?
  1384. I'll tell you this:
  1385. It is supernatural.
  1386. It is amazing.
  1387. It is miraculous.
  1388. If He didn't come out of that grave,
  1389. we are yet in our sins.
  1390. He did come out of the grave.
  1391. And you don't want to stick
  1392. as Christmas perpetually brings us back
  1393. to the manger;
  1394. brings us back to the Incarnation;
  1395. it brings us back to the baby.
  1396. I'll tell you this:
  1397. one of the deceptions in this world
  1398. is Christ as an infant,
  1399. and they love to perpetually keep Him
  1400. as a harmless, little infant.
  1401. But He is not that.
  1402. You need to see the rest of the story.
  1403. Because when He came out of that grave,
  1404. He didn't linger around
    here for too long.
  1405. Forty days.
  1406. Enough time to let it be known
  1407. to His followers that He actually
  1408. was risen from the dead.
  1409. And they needed to know that
  1410. because they were going
    to be His mouthpieces.
  1411. They were going to be His witnesses.
  1412. They were going to go forth
    and tell what happened.
  1413. And after forty days,
  1414. He went up and He sits crowned.
  1415. And He is King.
  1416. And He is going to judge all of mankind.
  1417. We must all stand before
  1418. the judgment seat of Christ.
  1419. The day is at hand.
  1420. Do not think of Him as
    a little baby anymore.
  1421. He is not.
  1422. Little babies are harmless.
  1423. This is not One Who is harmless.
  1424. This is the God-man.
  1425. He is crowned.
  1426. He is enthroned.
  1427. He is Lord of Lords.
  1428. And you must answer to Him.
  1429. Right now, He beckons you
  1430. to come to Him
  1431. and He'll save you if you do.
  1432. And He is no lightweight Savior.
  1433. He is powerful to the uttermost.
  1434. He is strong to save.
  1435. But I'll tell you this,
  1436. if you ignore Him and will not
  1437. fall down and worship Him like the Magi,
  1438. He is strong to condemn.
  1439. And He is strong to judge.
  1440. And He will.
  1441. He will.
  1442. He is coming.
  1443. He is coming.
  1444. Father,
  1445. even so,
  1446. Lord Jesus, come.
  1447. Amen.