Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. It's not the healthy who will seek a doctor. It's those who know they are desperately sick and if you don't know you're sick you're not going to go to Bethlehem to look for him. The only requirement to seek God is a sense of your need. All that you need is need.
I don't care what else you bring. If you have need you will find him. Thanks for joining us today here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. As always, I'm your host Molly Vidovitch. You know, just like the wise men chose to respond with great joy when they found King Jesus, we too have to choose how we will respond to the stars or the signs that God puts in our lives to point us to him. Pastor J.D. explains the four responses you can have and how when you choose to keep seeking Jesus, you can experience the same joy the wise men had over 2,000 years ago. If you missed any of the previous messages in this series, you can catch up free of charge at JDCreer.com. So open up your Bible and let's return to Matthew chapter 2.
Here's Pastor J.D. We are going to take a quick peek tonight at one of the most recognizable, most iconic stories of Christmas and that is the coming of the Magi, the wise men, to see Jesus. Honestly, this might be my favorite part of the Christmas story. I always think of it as the seeker's moment in the story. It is for all those of you who simultaneously you feel drawn to the Christmas story, but you also find yourself with a lot of questions like, is it actually true? And if it is true, then what difference does it make? Here's what it shows you about seeking and finding Jesus.
Two primary things first, right? Letter A, if you take a note, God uses all kinds of things, all kinds of things to draw people to himself. God is active everywhere, among all peoples, including your life, putting signs into their lives to try and point them to him.
In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and be bold enough to say that for many of you, if you look at your life tonight, you will see that he has been putting signs like this into your life. Maybe it's been through, let me just speculate, maybe it's been through a string of coincidences. Maybe it's through some difficult chapter that you've walked through this year. Maybe life has completely fallen apart for you.
C.S. Lewis used to say that God whispers to us in our pleasures and he screams at us in our pain. For some of you that are in pain right now, for those of you who feel like your life is chaos, I want to tell you, I want to tell you that God is not mad at you. God is trying to get your attention. He is not trying to pay you back for some sin.
He is trying in love to bring you back to himself. Maybe it's been through your study of biology or science or psychology that you've just started to sense something greater, something wondrous, something beyond the physical. That's almost like it's calling to you. I don't know what it is, but I am bold enough to believe that God has been drawing a bunch of you for some time and you sitting here is the culmination of that process. I'm not starting a conversation with you.
I'm just the next installment in that conversation. That invitation you got to come tonight, that was not random at all. God has been seeking you. So first, what you see is that God uses all kinds of things to draw people to himself. Second, you see that the stars by themselves, like I pointed out, are never enough. The star got them looking in the right direction, but the scriptures had to complete the journey. The stars, so to speak, in your life can point you in the direction of God, but only the scriptures can bring you to Jesus. Y'all, this book, friend, this book, this book, this is the gateway to God, which leads me to an invitation.
I want to say this in a non-snarky, non-judgmental way. Every Christmas and Easter here at the Summit Church for 20 years now, we see a lot of people migrate into church for this weekend and also again on Easter. Sometimes we joke about them. We call them CEO Christians, Christmas and Easter only Christians. They know God ought to be a part of their lives and some, when they come on these weekends, they have this powerful emotional experience, but that's where it stops. This ought to be an invitation for you to search the scriptures because it is in the scriptures Jesus said that you find God. That's why every single week at the Summit Church, you want to know what happens here on the weekend, every single week consists of somebody, me or somebody else, opening this book and talking about what God says.
That's it. People don't gather here to hear Story Hour or Life Lessons from Uncle JD. We don't talk much politics. I try to keep most of my opinions out of this pulpit. Sure, I will slip in a few things about who the greatest actor of our generation is, or I will tell you who I think the best sports teams are, but that's about it.
That's about it. We basically just open this book and we let it, we let him speak to us. So my invitation is come and join us.
Come and join us. The star can get you here, but this is the only place that you're going to find Jesus. Let me wrap this story up by giving you four possible responses that you can have to the stars in your life. Four possible responses when you're in one of these four, I promise.
Number one, hostility. That's the first response. That was Herod's response. Herod tries to eliminate Jesus. He wants to kill him. Why? Because Jesus represents a rival claim to the throne.
Now, we tend to write off Herod as some crazed, murderous lunatic, but on one level, you understand what Herod did made sense. You cannot have two kings on one throne governing the same people. It is impossible. One of them has to be eliminated if both of them insist on being king. Y'all listen, in the same way, you cannot have two kings in one heart ruling the same person. It is impossible.
One of them will have to be eliminated. So the question is, who governs you? When I was growing up, my Sunday school teacher used to always say in every heart, in every heart, she would say, there is a throne and a cross. In your heart, there's a throne and a cross. She said, if Jesus is on the throne, that means you must be on the cross. But if you are on the throne, then Jesus is going to have to be on the cross.
So which is it for you? Who is in charge of your life? Who is the king in your heart? You see, you have either surrendered to Jesus as Lord and thus crucified any will that you have outside of his will. Everything in your life is submitted to him now. You have died, so to speak, to your own will and agenda. Or you have rejected Jesus' claim to be king, and you have kept yourself on the throne, which means that the only option is to crucify him. He said, I feel like that's a little dramatic.
I'm not really sure I'm in either category. Maybe, yes, I haven't fully surrendered myself to him, but Jesus is a big influence on me. I'm not crucifying him. I mean, I believe in him. I come to church.
I'm a pretty good moral person. But y'all see, that is not an option. When Jesus comes into your life, make no mistake, he comes in as king, and Herod understood that. He comes in as absolute Lord. You either surrendered to him fully or you reject his claim. It's like we often say, he is either Lord of all or not Lord at all. You're either with Herod or you're worshiping like the wise man, so which is it for you? Hostility is your first option.
Option number two, indifference. Y'all, maybe the most perplexing part of this story to me is why nobody else from Herod's palace went with the wise man to check out what was going on in Bethlehem. Remember how Matthew said that all of Jerusalem was troubled? They'd all noticed the wise men coming? The biblical scholars had to pull out the biblical scrolls to figure out what the star was pointing to. But nobody, nobody in all that group went with these wise men to check out what was going on?
Not sure. There were lots of Messiah claims in those days. It was like every five to six years, somebody else would claim that the Messiah had come. But doesn't this one seem a little different with all the scriptures and the foreign wise men? Why not at least go to Bethlehem and have a look?
Here's what I think. It just felt like too much of an inconvenience. Everybody was busy. This just didn't seem like that pressing of a question. I mean, yeah, they would have been curious about the Messiah, but not enough to really inconvenience their lives to go and look.
They weren't desperate. They didn't have the sense of, do I really know that my sins are forgiven? Am I really right with God? Friend, the only requirement for seeking God is a sense of need. To come to Jesus, all you need is need. Jesus said, it's not the healthy, not the healthy you seek a doctor.
The ones who seek a doctor are the ones who know they're sick. God has, let me give you a little biblical mystery. Listen to this. God has hidden himself. That's what you find from the New Testament. He has hidden himself so that only those who are desperate to know him can find him.
I got a friend who made it to the top of his career field, which gave him access to just about everything money and fame could buy. He became a Christian about two years ago because he said he came to a point where he was not a Christian. He came to a point where he realized that none of the things that he had accomplished, none of the money that he had obtained first did not satisfy the deep need of his heart and soul. And also he realized it does me no good if I died and lost my soul in eternity. And he said, I have to know who Jesus is.
I have to know if there's life after death. I have to know that I'm right with God. I will tell you that for a long time in my life, I grew up in the church. I was pretty laid back about whether I knew God.
I was like, well, yeah. I mean, I go to church. I'm a pretty good person. And God probably grades on the curve. And as long as he does, I'm going to be fine. It wasn't until I became desperate to know, is Jesus true?
And am I right with him that I really found him? It wasn't until that question became an obsession for me that I found God. It's not the healthy who will seek a doctor.
It's those who know they are desperately sick. And if you don't know you're sick, you're not going to go to Bethlehem to look for him. The only requirement to seek God is a sense of your need. All that you need is need.
I don't care what else you bring. If you have need, you will find him. But it's a need that most people in that day and this day are totally blind to. That's why God said to Israel, you will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart and all your soul. And only then, half-hearted searching is never going to find him. Is this God come to earth? If so, that's all that matters.
Seek him with all your heart and soul. Response one, hostility. Response two, indifference. Response number three, 4x joy.
Let me tell you why I say that. You see verse 10, when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. You can sort of see it in that translation right there, but Matthew uses four Greek words for joy. Rejoice exceedingly with great joy. Literally in Greek, when they saw the star, they had joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. The NIV, the NIV translation that many of you use, lamely translate that as, they were overjoyed. I mean, talk about an understatement.
Matthew's statement is way over the top. I mean, it's like it was written by a middle schooler. Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. That's why he wrote it. They went, they lost their flippin' minds is how he would have said it today.
Think with me for just a minute. What caused their joy? Jesus gave them no gifts. He performed no miracles.
He gave them no guarantees of future prosperity. The joy came entirely from seeing him. You see, somehow these guys understood, before almost anybody else did, who this baby actually was. This was God whose presence was being restored to humanity. This is Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. We'll return for the conclusion of today's teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to remind you about our featured resource this month. You know, there's nothing magical about the new year, but it does present a natural opportunity for reflection and change. It's a great time to take stock of your life and set some goals for ways that you want to grow in the coming months. Maybe you want to start reading your Bible every day, or maybe you want to get better at making time for ministry or leading your family in a new way.
Whatever it may be, we hope that our 2024 Summit Life Day Planner will be a great tool to help you meet those goals. This popular resource is our gift to you for your generous year-end gift of $35 or more, or when you sign up to join our gospel partner family. When a college student tunes in to stay rooted in the gospel on a secular campus, or when someone hears the gospel for the very first time, their thanks belongs to you. Reserve your copy right now by calling 866-335-5220.
That's 866-335-5220, or visit us online at jdgreer.com. Thanks for being with us today. Now let's finish up this week's teaching on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor JD. Think about that for a moment, if you will.
Okay, just go with me on a little mental journey. Have you ever stopped to think just what exactly the gospel message is? The gospel message is that God created us, the human race, the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, special in his image.
We look out at all the galaxies, and we see that we are a teeny tiny beans on a tiny planet in a teeny little solar system in the backwoods of a medium-sized galaxy in the vast expanse of the universe. Yet, God created us in his image, sons and daughters, to be his companions, his co-rulers. Of all the things in all of God's vast and impressive creation, he cares about us. In fact, Psalm 8 says he created all the other stuff for us. We messed it up by rebelling against God. We decided that we knew better than him. We didn't want to do things God's way. We wanted to do things our way. We didn't want to live for him. We wanted to live for ourselves.
That is a rebellion that started with Adam and Eve, but in which every single one of us has willingly participated in our own way. Each of us has made choices that we knew were not right, simply because, well, that's what I want to do. Or because we were convinced that our way was better than God's way. That's what the Bible calls sin. Don't think of sin as some horrendous act of injustice or even a moral compromise. It is that, of course, but at its core, sin is simply self-will.
I want to be in charge of me. I want to be king, not God. That sin, however, did not deliver for us in what it promised. That sin left us broken, condemned before God, abandoned, afraid. It made us God's enemies. In our hearts, we all became herets. God could have left us there in that miserable, rebellious, abandoned state, but maybe the greatest mystery in the universe, in the Bible, is that God did not want to leave us there. God so loved the world, the apostle John wonders, he so loved the world that he gave his only Son and sent him to earth to redeem us from that sin.
God's own Son would pay the penalty for our rebellion by suffering on a cross, in shame, so that you and I could be forgiven and reconciled to God. Standing there in that crowded room, in that little tiny house, these wise men realized that this child was that son. This baby was the son of the Lord.
This son. This baby was the one that Daniel told them about, the scepter and star that would arise out of Israel, the seed that had been promised to Adam and Eve, that would crush the head of the serpent, the lamb who had been promised to Abraham, who would die on the altar so that the children of Abraham could go free, the coming king that had been promised to David, that would restore peace on earth, the suffering savior that Isaiah saw, who would be wounded for our transgressions and then bruised for our iniquities so that we could be healed, the resurrected son of God, the righteousness that Malachi saw, who would rise for his people one day with healing in his wings. This child was that son.
That was the one. He was the one that all the Old Testament prophets had spoken about. And these magisterial wise men, men of power and wealth and authority, who had been educated in the finest schools in the land, got down on their knees in front of a poor little helpless child, and they, get this, worshiped him.
In the Bible, you see, you're only God. These wise men are perhaps the first ones to recognize Jesus's full divinity. Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, hail incarnate deity. They worshiped him. They rejoiced with joy, joy, joy, joy. Somehow, y'all, they realized the Holy Spirit had to have opened their eyes.
It's the only way. Who this little baby was. In fact, you can see it in the presence they gave to him. Gold is the precious metal of a king. This baby was the king. Frankincense was an incense used in ritual sacrifice. This baby was going to grow up and be a sacrifice for their sin.
Myrrh was the expensive ointment used in burial. This baby was going to grow up and die for them. He was born to die, born to die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth. Friend, do you realize if it's true that very little else in life matters but whether or not you know this God, because if you know him, if you know him, see, everything's going to be okay, because you've got a God who cares enough to come to earth for you, a God who promised to supply you in life and take care of you in death, who while you live, promises to be your shepherd. He says that through all your days you will never lack. He will make you lie down in green pastures and lead you beside still waters.
He will prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies and make your cup overflow. That goodness and mercy will follow you through good days and bad ones all the days of your life. He has promised that in all things good and bad, he is going to be working for your good and that even when you walk to the valley of the shadow of death, you don't have to be afraid because he's going to be with you overruling and overturning all those things for good and that when you die, you don't have to be afraid because he's the resurrection and the life and the one who lives and believes in him, though he die, yet will he live. And if this is all true, it means that not only can your sins be forgiven and not only can you be reconciled to God, it also means that the power of his new life and resurrection can come into your life right now. Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead can help free you from the deadening addiction and self-destructive habits that have ruined your life. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can raise your broken marriage from the dead. He comes into your life to make all things new, and that means you can leave tonight with joy, joy, joy, joy, hostility, and difference, 4x joy.
One last one. A resolve to keep seeking. You see, maybe you're drawn by all this, but you're not totally there yet. You know something's going on, but you're just not ready to cross that line of faith yet, so here's what I want to say to you.
I have a feeling I'm talking to a number of you. Keep seeking. Just like with the wise men, the star can only take you so far. The scriptures, the scriptures, these have to complete your journey. What if your decision this weekend was simply to come back after Christmas, to come each weekend and just study the Word with us? In the meantime, start reading the New Testament.
That's your Christmas assignment. Go on our website and listen to old messages that look like they'd interest you, and then come back after the new year and gather with us each weekend around the Word of God. Y'all, that's all we are. We are not a perfect people.
Far from it. We're just a group of people who gathers each weekend around the Word of God because we believe that in this Word is life. Come join us. Come join us.
Come and see. Now, having said that, I know some of you are ready, and it's time for you to receive Jesus as Savior. And you know that right now is an important moment in a journey that God has been working on.
I'm not starting this conversation. God's been having it with you, and it's time for you to cross the line of faith. And I want to give you an opportunity to do that right now. So to all of our campuses, would you bow your head with me? So to all of our campuses, would you bow your head with me? And if that's you, if that's you, you can pray a prayer that sounds just like this, but in fact, use these very words, Lord Jesus, I believe you're the King, and I'm ready for you to be King of my life. And with these wise men, I bow my knee. I receive you, Jesus.
Say this to them. I receive you, Jesus, as Lord and Savior. What is your response to Jesus's coming?
Is it curiosity, hostility, indifference, or joy? Our prayer is that you would find joy in the coming of our Savior, true joy in the gospel of Jesus's life, death, and resurrection. Thanks so much for joining us today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer, the free teaching archive on our website. And these daily radio and podcast broadcasts are made possible by listeners like you. When you give, you are helping people across the country and even around the world dive deeper into the transformative power of the gospel. You're equipping a young mom or dad to teach the gospel to their kids. In the end, we exist to help people come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
And unlike traditional radio, we don't make money from advertisements. We rely on God's people to help fund this mission. So when we say Summit Life is a listener-supported ministry, we mean it, and we're so excited to see what God's going to do in this coming year. As our way of saying thanks for your year-end gift, we'd love to send you one of our most requested resources every single year. It's the 2024 Summit Life Day Planner. Now, this is so much more than just a calendar.
Of course, there's space for you to record all of your notes and to-do items, but as you use it, you'll notice Bible verses that remind you of a timely and important truth. We've also included a Bible reading plan that'll take you through large sections of the Bible over the next year. Ask for a copy when you make a generous year-end donation by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.
Or request the planner when you give online at jdgreer.com. That's J-D-G-R-E-E-A-R.com. If you'd rather mail your donation, our address is J.D. Greer Ministries, P.O. Box 122-93, Durham, North Carolina, 27709. While you're on the website, you'll also want to subscribe to Pastor JD's weekly newsletter.
The articles and resources go in-depth with many of the topics that we cover here on the broadcast. Sign up online at jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch, and we'll see you right here Monday as we start a new teaching series all about the meaning of Christmas called God with Us. Have a great weekend of worship, and we'll see you next time on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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