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December 18, 2020 12:29 pm
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We really don't know too much about your markers up some of the mystery of the magic is David today's message why the gifts of the wise men thank you so much for joining us for the weekend edition of Turning Point on David Jeremiah and were celebrating Christmas talking about the themes of Christmas by asking some important questions.
Today's question is the following. Why the gifts of the wise men that want to talk with you about gifts giving the whole nature of Christmas just to give gifts and it all started. As you know, with the greatest gift it's ever been given by the greatest giver in all of the world, the Lord God himself who gave us his son and that's what Christmas is all about. What is it that Paul wrote in second Corinthians. Thanks be unto God for his indescribable gift.
We start with a giving God but one were in the midst of studying the story of Christmas.
We haven't gotten very far before we run into some people called the wisemen and these wise men probably have as much to do with our giving gifts to one another, and gifts to the Lord is anyone in all of history record is given to us of their coming with gifts to the Lord in Matthew chapter 2 I like for you to read with me from Matthew chapter 2 verses one into and verses 11 and 12 and we can read out loud together. Now, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the behold wise men from the East came to Jerusalem to say where is he who has been born king of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him, and when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to go frankincense and myrrh then warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. There is something special and mysterious about this age-old picture that we have read from across the continent over the desert sand beneath the silent stars trudges this curious caravan in a distant land. These men have read signs in the evening sky, sensing an incredible truth that few other living souls were to recognize for many years. We remember them as the wisemen or using the gospel name the Magi from which we derive the word magic and it is indeed a story filled with wonder for centuries we have speculated about their identity. They were first cited in the vicinity of Jerusalem asking a question recorded in verse two of Matthew to say where is he who has been born king of the Jews have seen his star in the East and the come to worship him painters throughout the ages have enjoyed showing the elegant wisemen worshiping Jesus on Christmas night, beside the shepherds, but such an idea never came from the Bible at all. Matthew tells us that when the Magi arrived to worship Jesus. The scene was not the rustic birthplace of Christmas at all, but it was a house. Matthew 211 says and when they had come into the house, they saw the young child. It was seen that a few weeks few months, maybe even a year and 1/2 had passed since Jesus had been born in a manger. Joseph and Mary had situated their little family in a more suitable home. Therefore, it was a bit later that the wisemen came three well maybe there were three and maybe there worked as a matter of fact three names have traditionally been associated with these men. Baltasar Melchior taskbar, but they are in the Bible you will find their names in the Bible. In fact, it was the seventh century before these names were attached to the Christmas story and they came out of an opera that was created to tell the story of Christmas so I don't want to undercut your faith in the Christmas story, but I want you to know what the Bible says the wisemen in the manger scene now. I hope it doesn't ruin your Christmas pageants for make you go back and rework your Christmas cards. I remember when the film the Nativity story was being finished, and they sent me the screenplay to read so that I could decide what I wanted to do this book project are not.
They asked me if there was anything in the screenplay that was on biblical and I said well there's only one thing that's not quite right and that is the wisemen are at the manger scene, and they're not supposed to be there and the director said Jeremiah this films only 93 minutes long. We have to get him there before the film is over so so we give them a little latitude there but if you really want to know the truth. The wisemen came when Jesus wasn't a babe which is the term that is used in the book of Luke here in the book of Matthew. He is called, look out your Bibles. A young child that's a different word in the language of the New Testament which means an older child.
So Jesus wasn't a baby. He was a young child. When the wisemen came so why do we say there were three wisemen.
The only reason we say that is because the Bible tells us there were three gifts and we assume that each person brought one gift, but we don't know that for sure. In fact, there may have been many wisemen and only three presenters but having said all about what we do know is these men of intelligence. These aristocrats, these Gentile king came a long way to find Jesus and they came for the very same purpose for which the shepherds had, they came to worship him and they brought gifts. That's what they bring to the story. These men brought gifts and these were not incidental gifts. They are not just three things they chose out of there fast treasures to bring to Jesus. They were last-minute gifts. I'm sure the gifts are extremely significant and when we understand the background of each of the gifts that were brought we will comprehend the tremendous faith that these wisemen had in coming to worship the Lord. They truly are some of the heroes of the Nativity story. Let's look at them first about what the wisemen gave to Jesus. They gave the gift of gold for a king.
It says in Matthew 211 when they opened their treasures, they presented to him gold. Now we imagine the first visitor stepping forth opening his little small chest to reveal breathtaking sight as he takes over the cover. There is gold and the gift needed little explanation throughout the world gold was coveted as being most precious of metals. The standard by which all wealth was measured. Even back then they had such a thing is the gold standard. Gold is one of the noble metals, no single acid can destroy it, nor will it rust away or will it like iron or tin corroded.
No one can successfully imitate or think gold and it is the metal easily turned into the uses of beauty all the way back in Exodus 39 we read of them sowing gold in the fabric for garments, chemists say that the durability of gold is so great that a single grain of gold can be drawn out into a wire one 1000th of an inch in diameter extending for a length of about 1 mile pure simple, almost indestructible gold is indeed a royal metal in the ancient world in which Christ was born. Gold was even rarer than it is today. That's why gold is a royal gift symbolizing kingship. John Henry Hopkins Junior gave us a little Carol that we sing at this time of the year. We three Kings which includes the stanza born a King on Bethlehem's plane gold I bring to crown him again came forever cc never over us all terrain so gold is a gift which was given to signify the royalty and kingship of Jesus.
Some have pointed out the paradox here. A baby born in the simplicity of a feed trough to peasant parents and three wealthy men journeying from a far country to give this child the gift that for a king. Some have pointed out that what the wisemen gave was the most precious of all metals and they finance the trip of Mary and Joseph into Egypt, which they had to take to get away from the wrath of Herod. We may not know all of this except we do know that in that day even in our day. Gold is the royal metal and it was presented to Jesus to signify his kingship. Secondly, the Bible says the gift of gold for a king, and the gift of frankincense for a priest.
Once again, in Matthew 211 were told that when they opened their treasures, they gave to Jesus gold and frankincense. Another visitor steps forward. This time he doesn't have a box in his hand. He has a little bottle and he opens the bottle and this delicious fragrance permeates the small room.
It's the aroma of frankincense the second of the gifts I did a little homework on frankincense and I found out it is a resident which is from a kind of tree that is held so sacred in Arabia and Ethiopia were a group that only a few, particularly holy and poor people were even allowed to approach the trees to obtain this precious frankincense itself in the Arab cuts/in the trunk of the tree like someone from Vermont cuts a maple tree and then strips off a narrow piece of bark and about 5 inches long.
Below the cut and the sap slowly loses out of the tree and it's allowed to harden for about three months then it's collected in lumps and these lumps are yellow or colorless, dusty looking with a bitter taste but when you like them on fire. They burn with the bright white flame. And there arises from them this beautiful smell that goes to heaven which certainly made the wisemen believe that this was a gift would be pleasing to God in Jesus day this kind of incense was used in temple worship.
It was mixed with oil and it was used to anoint the priests of Israel.
It was also mixed with the meal offerings as they offered them to God, but one of the interesting things about incense is this that it was always an offering of thanksgiving and praise to God. It was significant of the priests role among the people and it is that I believe to which Paul refers when he writes to the Philippians in Philippians 4. Indeed, I have all and abound I am fully having received from a puffer diet is the thing sent from you a sweet smelling aroma and acceptable sacrifice well pleasing to God. In other words, Paul said, like the incense offering of the Old Testament. What you have given to me to support me in my ministry. Paul said, is like an incense offering the goes up to heaven, and the aroma is pleasing to God in the Old Testament, the incense offerings were never associated in any way with the sin offering. Never was an incense offering offered with meat offerings or with wine offerings and atonement for sin. The incense was always a thanksgiving and praise offering.
It was always an act of worship to bring incense to God, almost as if to say is they presented this gift to the Christ child. Here is the gift that is fitting for a priest yes fitting for a sinless priest who himself will become sin for us, that we might know his forgiveness and his righteousness gold was given, because Jesus was the king and incense was given, because Jesus was a priest the high priest over us all and and finally there is the third gift in Matthew 211 says they presented to him gold and frankincense and myrrh. Say the word morale allowed murder. It is a word which comes from the Hebrew word mar, which means to be bitter in Jesus day murder was the ingredient that was used to embalm a dead body. There was an external embalming as you remember, in those days they did not have the procedures that we have today, but when they prepared a body for burial.
They would wrap the body in layers of cloth and then they would place their embalming spices in between the layers and then wrap the body some more, and continue to do that, we are told in the Scripture that when Joseph of Arimathea came to prepare Jesus body for burial that he brought with him 100 pounds of murder for the burial to be wrapped within the cloth that was used to bury our Savior. The significance of the gift of murder is that it was given to someone who was born for the particular purpose of dying just as Mary of Bethany over in John 12 anointed Jesus body for burial before he had even died. Remember when she poured all of her expensive ointment on them and washed his feet with her hair and it says in the Scripture that she anointed his body for burial in advance long before Mary ever did this, the wisemen did the very same thing and the one who brought that gift to Jesus was say this one we have come to worship as not only are taking and are priest but we worship him as our Savior, for he is come to die for us and the gift of murder signifies his death with one more verse about murder that I want you to see this one from the Old Testament that is even more exciting to me as I see it in Isaiah chapter 60 and verse six. There is a prophecy concerning the second coming of Christ Jesus at Bethlehem is the first coming and there's another time when he's going to come again to set up his kingdom on this earth to rule and terrain and we will all be subjects with him.
If we are Christian.
The prophecy of Isaiah chapter 60 has to do with the second coming of Christ, and I want to read it to you from the six verse and you listen to the prophecy carefully. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the dromedary's of media in an effort all those from shade shall come, they shall bring gold and incense and they shall proclaim the praises of the Lord.
Now when you read the prophecy there something missing.
Isn't there. What's missing say is missing her.
The writer must've forgotten. No, he did not forget because you see the gifts you bring to Jesus in his second coming, don't have any were in them because his death is already past when he comes. The next time it will be for the gold and frankincense of praise and worship, and murder will be absent hallelujah he died once for all, and he will never die again. Murder is associated only with his first coming and how accurate is the Scripture.
Even so many years in advance that when speaking of his second coming.
The third gift is omitted because it doesn't fit with the worship and praise of Almighty God, our King when he sets up his reign upon this earth, so there's a lot more in the gifts than you thought gold, frankincense and myrrh goal for attaining incense for a priest and murder for the Savior. Now the question I want to ask as we close our time together is this week. Talk first about what the wisemen gave to Jesus and I want to talk for just a moment about what wisemen still give the Jesus and I want to complement all of you here today using man in the generic term you are all very wise men and women here how many do you know who don't have that wisdom so I speak to you as to wise men and women. What do wise men and women still give to Jesus. Well, let's go back through the gifts once more and notice that first of all we give to Jesus gold responding to him as our King. Gold is the gift for King and his Christ followers.
This Christmas, a gift we can bring to Jesus is our absolute total submission to him in the kingship of our life. We can say Lord God, I bring to you the gift, which is yours is my King. I bow my knees before you, as the Lord of my life and I am confident that what God wants from his people more than the great treasures that we have even more than the money which we give representing our sacrifice is he wants our obedience. In fact, in the Old Testament. It says straight out to obey is better than sacrifice.
God wants the gold of our willingness to come before RT and really make him king of our life is not enough that he be resident.
He wants to be president when we become Christians, we invite him into our heart and he forgives our sin, but along the way we begin to realize that he wants more than just the opportunity to forgive our sin he wants to govern our lives as the king over us and when we yield to him as the sovereign of our being. We begin to understand the purpose of being a Christ follower, you can become a Christian and just sort of slip inside the door give lip service. Sometimes not total commitment to him. What greater gift could you give to Jesus this Christmas season, then your total absolute devotion to him and willingness to let him govern your life if you look back over your life. In this past year and noticed how easy it is to do foolish things make stupid mistakes go ways that now looking back you say how did I ever miss that sometimes when we do our own thing we have to pay a penalty for it, Almighty God wants to spare so that he just simply says if you'll just come, I will be the Lord of your life and I will guide and direct you in every step, and secondly, we not only give him gold responding to him as king, but we given frankincense reaching out to him as our priest is never such a timelessness that is more wonderful to be a preacher of the gospel been at Christmas time for Christmas says basically, this that Almighty God did not stay in heaven to say I love you from a distance, but he came to earth to draw near to us so that he could be touchable and knowable and put his arms around us and love and say not just I love you in words but I love you, indeed. And in action and he comes not only to be our Savior.
But to be our priest. We look at the passage in Hebrews chapter 4 that says that we have a high priest who has sympathized with our weaknesses, who understands the hurts in our life has come down here to be one of us so he could experience it all. Not even sparing all of the anxiousness of a child being born into the womb of Mary and growing up to be full aged 33, and throughout all his life he felt the pain that you feel than that I feel and frankincense reminds us that he is our priest is the one who has come to draw near to us and we offer him now, our hurts and our hangups and our problems and or issues.
Have you ever thought of that. Remember the story about Jerome who said he had a dream and God said Jerome just give me your sins. That's why came did you ever stop to think about the fact that one of the gifts you can give to Jesus at the season of the year or all of the things that have so troubled you and you can offer them to him for his help and his encouragement and he reaches out to grab hold of them as he grabs hold of you offer him the frankincense of responding to his high priestly ministry and then finally and most important of all murder tells us you can receive a measure Savior. That's the thing that you need to do most of all, somebody said what gift should I give the Lord Jesus first given your heart if you haven't given in your heart, there's nothing you can do receive any gift from you to first of all, you give them your heart murder tells us that he's a Savior, who was born to die.
And when you think of murder. You ask yourself this question, so he died for me. Have I received his gift, and have I given him my heart. That's the most fundamental truth of Christmas and is a preacher of the gospel. I love more than anything else to remind you at Christmas time. Even though I know you are so preoccupied with everything else that God loves you and Christ came here to be your Savior and if you don't know him in a personal way as Savior of your life. You cannot fully comprehend the true meaning of Christmas. 40 wants to be born in your heart as he was one day born in Bethlehem when they after service. A preacher had a young man come up to him who was very upset with him. He said I don't know why you have to preach on the cross what you have to talk about the blood. When enough to say something about Jesus dying, especially at Christmas time, it doesn't fit and I don't like it, why can't you just talk about Jesus as the great example we would all deal with that so much better and I have a lot of friends have told me that if you wouldn't talk so much about the blood of Jesus and the death of Jesus. If you would more talk about it being a great example that they would be much more favorable toward the church and probably been supported more financially. The pastor who received these compliments was much wiser than your pastor more knowledgeable about how to deal with the static and he said to the stranger. He said Sir would you be willing to follow Christ.
If I preached Christ as an example, would you do if I preached Christ just as an example, would you be willing to follow.
He said absolutely I would. And so would many others in the preacher said Jesus Christ did not sin.
Can you take that step in the stranger synopsis, no I cannot.
I do sin, sort of confused you know what to do with it. Most of the preacher. Your first lead of Christ and is not as an example, your first lead to Christ as is a Savior. If you try to follow him as an example. Without his redemptive work in your life. He will set an example you can not follow. For he is sinless and you sin you see the problem when he told him this little parable, he said, son, suppose you were sinking in quicksand and a man on firm ground nearby calls out to you walk like I do lift your feet like I do follow my example is advice. What do you absolutely no good is advice would do you no good because you have to get your feet planted on solid ground before you can walk like he does what you need is someone to come and take you out of the quicksand and lift you up and place your feet on solid ground. What is that sound like last that's what it means to be safe to be brought out of the sandpit of sin by the miracle of God's grace lifted up out of all that we have been set over here on the solid ground of faith and then as you watch the Lord Jesus in the New Testament, you can begin to emulate his life because he gives you a new power in the person of his Holy Spirit who comes to live within you. What can you give Jesus a Christmas give him the submission of your heart. Overall of your life. Give him the praise and worship and acknowledge his priestly ministry as he comforts you in your sorrow and sickness, but most of all your heart, because that's where it starts to you given him your heart you don't have a relationship with God came here so that if you would believe in him and would not perish but have everlasting life. We have your jointed eyes Turning Point, weekend edition with Dr. David Jeremiah to have this another Turning Point programs to get more information about this ministry. Simply download the free Turning Point mobile app for your smart device or visit our email@example.com/radio that Jeremiah done OIG/radio.
You can also view Turning Point television on Friday to channel 7 to Sunday mornings that I and on I CCTV Sundays at 6:30 AM and Friday afternoons at one. We invite you to join us again next weekend is Dr. David Jeremiah. She is another powerful message from God's word here on Turning Point, weekend edition thanks for taking time to listen to find a nice trim piece increased in size and anything else I