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December 24, 2019 9:51 pm
I love looking at the stars and the clear nights.
These pinpoints of light against the darkness of the sky create a sense of wonder and remind us of the vastness of the universe sure all of us about that experience and think that throughout human history. These same stars that we see him. Sean on generation after generation who lived in this tiny planet who lived, died not been buried. But these stars continue to shine and they make us question. Possibly the meaning of our own brief existence. There they are continuing to shine. While we live just a few years and then die and as we look at the stars. At least I asked this question are the stars pointing to something greater, something more glorious something more transcendent than our brief life on this little planet and the answer is I believe the stars are pointing to something and that this Christmas story were going to think about a star and the star may help us to unlock some of the questions we may have about your own existence.
I trust we think about why we're here on this planet. The trust we think of the meaning of life rather than just living out on little self-indulgent self absorbed life and the stars certainly remind us of the vastness of the universe. After all, they are so far away that we could never reach them there so far away that they are measured in light years, we could never ever possibly reach the stars and if that is the case, and it is how can we possibly encounter God. How can we know God.
If you believe there's a God, if we believe that the God, the true God is the creator of the whole universe including the stars. How could we tiny specks in the cosmos. How could we ever know God or encounter God the answer to that question I believe is find in the Christian gospel is find in the story of Christmas because Christmas reminds us that if we are to encounter God if we are to know God and even have a relationship with God. God must come to us. We could never ever reach God by ourselves. And so God must come into our world into human history. Coming from eternity into time and space. We are, after all, limited by the boundaries of our own existence. We could never enter God's world. This is the claim of the Christian gospel. This is why the angel said to the shepherds. This is good use of great joy to all people, because the message of Christmas that I'm asking you to consider is that God reveals himself to us. That's why we were followers of Jesus get so excited about the Christmas even though we celebrated hereafter hereafter.
Remember someone coming to one of these services. About five years ago would bring to the previous Christmas Eve service the previous year and sent well, he's TALKING about Jesus Christ as if somehow the message is going to change the message doesn't change because of the very center of the Christian message at the very center of Christmas is Jesus Christ.
We just heard a song about Emmanuelle with his Emmanuelle mean God with us the light of God has shown into our dark world. Not only into a dark world and into our dark, sometimes rather meaningless, sometimes rather hopeless lives and hearts. So really the story of the star. Some of you have heard it many many times but I want you to listen with fresh ears and have open heart because this ancient Scripture written by Matthew 2000 years ago had been read by followers of Jesus Christ in their millions with it comes to us fresh today. We listen to it. My two tubers, one though. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king bold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, where is he who's been born king of the Jews, for we saw his star when it rose I don't come to worship him. When the king had this, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
We told him in Bethlehem of Judea for so it is written by the prophet, and you will Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel that had summoned the wisemen secretly and ascertain from them what time the star had appeared to send them to Bethlehem same goal and search diligently for the child and when you find and bring him bring me word that I too may come and worship him.
After listing to the king. They went on their way. Bold the star that they had seen when the girls went before them until it came to rest over the place for the child was when they saw the star they rejoice exceedingly with great joy and going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshiped him in opening the treasures we offered him gifts goals and frankincense and myrrh and being warned in a dream not to return to Haddad, they departed to their own country by another way.
Yes, I think this rather familiar story of the wisemen may help us in our own quest for truth, for they don't want to say is to follow the example of the wisemen and that is to follow the lights that is follow the light of God follow what God has revealed to us the wisemen certainly followed the star, neither varies feelings about this star something. It was a supernova, a new star violently splitting and giving off light which could last for some weeks or even possibly months something. It was a comment which the wisemen followed.
Others have suggested that this star started Bethlehem was an unusual alignment of the planets of Saturn and Jupiter and Mars. What we do know is this that this star guided the wisemen the**did you notice it seems of appeared disappeared and then stopped over the house where Jesus was God certainly could have used existing stars because of it, or did the plan is a certain way, but this star was a supernatural provision by God, it was God breaking into human history.
It was God giving a special revelation to these wise men and led them to Jesus.
That led them to the light of the world. These wisemen we don't know too much about them or they may have read some of the ancient prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures which told of the coming Messiah which told of a cane coming which told of this special person coming. This king because when they come, they do ask the question, where is he who has been born king of the Jews, not who is going to be born, but who has been born. So these men had received a revelation from God that the king of the Jews prophesied in the ancient Scriptures had in fact been born and they had come in search for the king. The Bible tells us that came from the East that is east of Israel east of Jerusalem, possibly coming from what we know is Orion automatic on Arabia. I find it interesting, they say, for we saw his star that is the star of the king star of the king of the Jews.
This light, the star, rather, with the lights given by God's to the wisemen to guide and this is applying. This is the wonderful point of the Christian gospel appointment that we must not miss this star led the wisemen to Jesus, the Savior of the world. The light dieted them to the one who is the light of the world God gave them guidance on the these men were wise enough and humble enough and determined enough to follow the star in.
This reminds us of the truth that we have in Scripture that God guides you to the truth that God reveals himself to us.
We can reach God by ourselves. And so God comes to us and guides us and speaks to us and reveals himself to us in various ways, I ask you, are you in a search for meaning in your life would you describe your life with the point of your life always you look back over this past year. What kind of life of your hydrogen. Look forward to 2020 what your expectation. I trust whoever you are, that at least in part, you're a person who is seeking the truth that you know there must be more to life than the material and the tangible letter must be more to life than your personal happiness usable. I want to be happy because we all want to be happy but do you really think the point of your existence. All centers on yourself on your personal happiness as if the world revolves around you to make sure the end of each day that you're a happy person. Surely there must be something more to life than that. Indeed, there is one of the Old Testament prophets quotes the word of the Lord and says this when you seek me with all of your heart I will be find of you, says the Lord is that it is a promise. If you see God with all of your heart he will be filing by you and the wonderful thing is that the wisemen unexpectedly and these are these are not Jewish people there from another culture and another language.
Wisemen educated men probably kind of astrologers having an interest in truth and seeking the truth and so they persevere and they discovered the truth whereas the people who were right there that you would've expected to know the truth fail to come to Jesus.
Here is how it is right there Israel here are the religious leaders of the man who know the Bible, the people who know the Old Testament Scriptures and they do not see the star and sadly they are not sincere seekers of the truth. Why is that I think we can all understand their hearts and their minds are closed. So easy isn't it to have our minds and our hearts close to the truth. This is my life.
I'm going to lead my life. No one is going to break into my life and eyes but he didn't see there's none so blind as those who do not want to see they had in years, but they did not hear God's truth. Why is that because they really were quite happy in the wrong lives in their own comfortable lives and their traditions. Living life on their own terms.
And so when the truth is presented to them. It comes as a web right to the door, they miss the truth and the miss the birth of the Savior of the world. The Old Testament Scriptures were non-these root religious leaders but they seemed inoculated against the truth. They knew where the Messiah was going to be born when the question is asked them, you know, the Old Testament Scriptures. What did the prophets say regarding the birth of the Jesus they know it is hard and Micah chapter 5 verse two. When Jesus is born to be born in Bethlehem a prophecy made 700 years before the event. They know the Scriptures, but they don't know the Savior that information in their minds, but their hearts are close to the truth, paralyzed by the on religious traditions paralyzed by self interest paralyzed by pride new information but did not act on it and this is astonishing although they knew where the Messiah was to be born, and although they give the right answer, and although he learned wisemen asking where is the king of the Jews going to be. They don't even take the time they don't take the effort to even check it out with your thoughts. But even if it was a bit skeptical. Luther said perhaps we should check this out to see if in fact the Messiah is going to be born investment but they don't. I'm astonished example which can be so true to each one of us of spiritual blindness of spiritual paralysis trapped in our own little fighting the world. How did the great there was a great builder you been to Israel using some of his work tremendous builder but an evil man much more concerned with his throne, and with his soul much more concerned with material than with the spiritual much more concerned with holding onto his father, rather than seeking the truth happy in his own existence.
You seeking the truth. I don't know where you are in your spiritual journey, but I have to ask you you seek the truth but are sometimes obstacles under. I'm asking you to persevere and the more you follow the supernatural light which God gives you, the more he will reveal to you listen to the prophecy that Jesus quotes the people who walked in darkness have seen a great lights. Those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness on them as light shone good years of darkness unit of despair unit wondering what life is all about. I'm asking you to respond to the truth God reveals it to us, but there must be a personal response. The biblical word for that is faith's faith Hebrews tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, for those who come to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. So your diligent, secretive God is the dabbler quite prepared to argue by the Christian faith. But you have never taken that step of faith.
You say I have many many questions. I have many questions does God explain everything to us know he doesn't.
But we take that step. Follow the lights trust in this great God. The wonderful thing is this the more you trust them. The more you understand and then ascends the more answers you get as God leads you step by step as God been getting your attention this past year.
Life is taken an unexpected turn God as his ways and the getting out attention that life would seem so predictable. But I'm so humdrum and then something happens. Could it be that God is getting your attention. Could it be that God is revealing his truth to you, but I'm someone you know has been telling about Jesus Christ. Perhaps you read something in the Scriptures, perhaps in some Way Supernatural Way, God has been getting your attention.
Don't be like the religious leaders don't be like had it on standby. Don't be hostile. Don't be in different embrace the truth embrace Christ.
Don't close your heart and your mind because notice what the wisemen do they come and they worshiped the Savior before the lights but now there's the act of faith when they see the baby Jesus is now in the house. What do they do, the Scripture says I read it, they fell down and worshiped him worship here literally means the case forward. The adored the Lord on the face of it that's in the strange thing is what wisemen they were educated men were men who knew about life and he only had come from the East traveled a long way follow the star and then start leads them to Jesus as Ms. said, surprising the boat and adore him and imagine what Mary and Joseph thoughts about these wisemen from a different culture looking for a possibly very different from them came into the little home in Bethlehem and worship Jesus superstar led them not to religion but to Jesus and the Christian faith is often misunderstood when people think of the Christian faith, to think of alternative fingerprint show they think of J, but that the center of the Christian faith is the person of Jesus. Them asking you. Do you know him. Have you come to him for some people that's a relatively easy journey for others is very difficult on that first Christmas night the shepherds were in the field event went very close to the manger and they arrived and then came quite easily at the Jesus wisemen on the other hand, took a long time.
They required the constant guidance of the star as they followed it step by step, until eventually become to the Savior but you your search been a difficult one. You say what what was important in my search perseverance, but here's a key humility. Humility.
What did the wisemen do they fell down before the Lord and is not part of the problem right to do my own thing. I think all this with Jack that I can barely replace it with something in my life is pretty miserable, but know I'm going to go my own way. Well, you can go your own way. But why not be like the wisemen follow the light worship the Savior you see why we got bogged down to the Lord Jesus well because of who he is, is God incarnate, is a Manuel God with us and that little baby grows up and to be a perfect man. Yes, perfect totally different from us and that all of us have sinned all of us of messed up.
He is sinless is different from all of us and this is why he is uniquely qualified to die on the cross for your sins to pay the penalty for your sins and demonstrates that he's God by literally bother late yes being raised from the dead and is alive and calls on us to borrow to open our hearts and to receive the Savior. Follow the light. Worship the Savior and live for him with wisemen do not only did they bow down to give the best they were Gentile outsiders is at work, but they were all in.
This was not a casual matter. They present so the Lord the very best gold for Kagan, frankincense, incense murder, perfume used for embalming, perhaps in anticipation of the death of Jesus for our sins. Usually when we take seriously what it means to follow Jesus.
We must be all in the Jesus is not someone on the periphery of life. Jesus is not like an old friend that we call from time to time when were feeling a bit lonely on when we need help.
Nope, he must be central. He is the Lord Jesus Christ and God wants us to present ourselves as living sacrifices and this begins by receiving Jesus as our Savior and Lord is worthy of the very best he is Lord of all themselves that seek first to give of God that is to be the first thing Mike first priority is to seek God is to seek the kingdom of God is God who made me this God was put me on this planet for certain purposes. God, with whom I'm going to spend all of eternity. I must be all in. I must seek first the kingdom of God.
This must be my top priority. The day the Savior was born when he said no room no room for him in the but no room in their life. Let's push them out to feel that you're too busy you likes to crowded likes to exciting you don't have time for Jesus really perhaps occasionally, but he's not central what you're saying to Jesus from being different. Like the religious leaders perhaps are like had I didn't even hostile in some ways you presented your you're here tonight but you really don't want to be about resentment against Jesus. Why why is that she had a new that this one man was born King of the Jews, and he thought he was like a you didn't really want an unconquered with the King of Kings and Lord of lords know what we to do to thank Christ are the only footage Bertha sinless life is atoning sacrifice is glorious resurrection to follow the light to worship the Savior of Christ to the very center of their lives look for him. But as for the wisemen. Did they give the treasures the very best. I'm just a shepherd boy, very poor. I am but I know there is a king in Bethlehem, but one shall I bring as a present for him. What shall I bring to the manger. I will bring my heart and give my heart to him I will bring my heart to the major is what God wants is to that we both cried to him for salvation he comes in he forgives our sins and they hates us. This is believing in Jesus Christ launches that are ad, but in our hearts. The Bible says if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. So I have to ask you where you your spiritual journey. I left as people that question as I meet them with you and your spiritual journey to know the most common answer I got in my almost 14 years in Charlotte and I think if I did the survey tonight and asked you to write down the answer to the question, I'd be pretty sure this would be the most common answer. How would you answer answer is no, in your heart was because like where are you on your spiritual journey. Julie answer. You are the most I'm working on it. I'm trying to do better. That's why say to my dental hygienist when she gets met with a lecture about flossing and chicken who waves her little finger at me and reminds me that I'm back at the elementary school and I say what I'm trying to do better.
I'm working on it.
If you give that kind of answer to the spiritual question where you can I say this very directly but kindly you need to hear this, that that is a fatal flaw in your answer is not a matter of working on it now. The method of our process because the wonder of the incredible wonders of the Christian gospel is this that Jesus Christ has done it all he's done the work and you can never, ever, ever work your way to God.
You can't work your way to the stars.
You can get right with God.
He comes to us and he does what in his mercy he dies on the cross for our sins we see the work is done, you have to receive it. You have to believe this is to put your wholehearted trust in the Lord Jesus Christ confess that you've messed up that you can save yourself and ask him for mercy and salvation.
On the one that is if you do that will save you because God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him not work for him but believes in him should not perish but have ever lasting life like to put your trust in Christ to lead you in the prayer saying these words can Savior what if they reflect where you are tonight. God has got your attention and you say what I've heard is truly the truth and I've resisted it up not understood it. But now I'm writing put my trust in Jesus Christ, we just bow your head and your heart previous with let's skip this moment silent and pray with me, Lord Jesus, I admit that I have sinned against God, and the gone mind on the way I repent of my saying of my self-centeredness.
Thank you for dying for me on the cross and paying the penalty of my sins on the cross. I believe that you're the son of God that euros from the dead or alive.
I know trust you as my Savior and open the door of my heart to you, Lord Jesus cleansed, save me a call on your name for mercy and salvation