Faithlife Sermons

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*/CHRISTMAS/*
*/SUBJECT/*:     *The Christmas Star*
*/READING/*:    Matthew 2:1-12
*/TEXT/*:             “We have seen his star… and are come to worship him” (2:2)
!
Introduction
The purpose of the star was to authenticate and publicize the incarnation and to draw men to worship the celestial King.
Varied speculations about the star’s appearance and searches for a mechanistic explanation violate the very purpose of the gospel narrative.
The beautiful story of the star of Bethlehem was intended by Matthew to focus our attention on the Babe of Bethlehem.
The star is mentioned four times in this passage (2:2, 7, 9-10) and nowhere else in the New Testament.
Let us examine three things about the Christmas star:
I.
It Was a Guiding Star
“The wise men said, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (2:2).
These wise men, or Magi, would never have been able to find, see, and know the young King Jesus had it not been for the star.
Have you ever sat down with your open Bible and attempted to map out the journey taken by these Magi?
Whether they came from Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Persia, or Arabia, these ancient pilgrims had to travel:
*1) Along Vast Distances*
We read that “there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem” (2:1).
Had they not been guided by that providential star they might never have attempted the lengthy journey implied in the phrase “from the east to Jerusalem,” but they were drawn irresistibly to come and worship the young King, and no distance, no matter how vast, could deter them.
What a challenge this is to those of us who have the facilities for rapid transportation, by car, train or plane, in the Western world!
How it condemns us for our feeble excuses for not attending church regularly and gladly following Christ wherever He calls.
*/ /*
*/1a.
Illustrate/*
/An evangelist recalled how he and his staff prayed, debated and agonized over a decision not to proceed with the first outdoor meeting of a city-wide crusade because of the strong prospect of a heavy rain.
They knew that in this Latin American country rains were often more than sprinkles and that many poor people with inadequate clothing would be attending.
They spread the word, but buses began corning into the city from the countryside bringing people who assured the speaker, “We don’t mind the rain”./
/(The Luis Palau Story, Fleming Revell)./
* *
*/1b.
Illustrate/*
/Stephen Olford recounts how often, in his missionary travels, he has been moved almost to tears to see people gather for services after having traveled many miles by foot over rough trails and in impossible weather.
The look of expectancy on their faces clearly showed their desire not only to worship the Lord, but to wait upon the Word, as it was being preached and applied./
* *
!!!
Additional Illustration:  “Morbus Sabbaticus”
* *
*2) Among Varied Dangers*
“There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem” (2:1).
A pilgrimage of this kind in those days involved incredible dangers and difficulties.
Bands of robbers ambushed the thoroughfares.
Undoubtedly there were areas that were almost uncharted, where travel was arduous and uncertain, but guided by the star they traveled on until they found the Christ.
In a similar way, God has given us a Christmas star which is, in fact, Christmas day, to guide our thinking about, and our believing in, King Jesus, the Savior of the world.
Many would never think of Christ otherwise.
They let our Sundays pass without a thought about God; even Easter does not seem to remind them of Him.
Then the Christmas star appears, Christmas day dawns, and they are guided in thought and spirit to the manger where the Christ is lying.
They hear the angels saying, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Will you do what the wise men did—follow the guiding star; that is, follow the meaning of Christmas until it leads you to the Savior?
Whatever distances you have to travel in your thinking, or problems you have to encounter, in terms of experience, do not rest until you have met Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
* *
*/2.
Illustrate/*
/A band of fugitives was crossing an eastern desert.
The night was dark, but they determined to push on.
Soon they lost their way, and had to spend the night in anxiety and fear.
It seemed as if the night would never pass.
But almost all at once the sun arose, bringing daylight and showing the way of safety.
Not one of them ever forgot that sunrising./
/So it should be to us in our day and generation.
The star of Bethlehem should be a guiding light to us as we make our way not only to the cradle of the Christ, but also to His cross./
* *
II.
It Was a Guarding Star
“When [the wise men] had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them” (2:9).
King Herod was a wicked man.
If he had had his wish he would have done away with the young child Jesus.
The fact is that Herod was like so many people today.
What the Scriptures said about the messiah-ship of Christ was not a promise but a threat to him.
He was determined to do away with the coming King.
But the record tells us that as soon as the wise men had finished listening to Herod and had left his presence, God’s guarding star appeared.
Instead of being influenced by what Herod had said, their minds and steps were guarded, and they reached the place “where the young child was.”
*1) It Verified the Promise of the Scriptures*
Even the chief priests and scribes had to admit that it was written in the prophecy of Micah, that out of Bethlehem should come “a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel” (Mic.
5:2; Matt.
2:6).
God still has His guarding star: it is Christmas day!
People can say that the Bible is not true, but what about Christmas?
Christmas is the fulfillment of at least 333 prophecies concerning the birth, life, death and victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We find that both Old and New Testaments point to Christ (see Luke 24:27; John 5:39).
Writing to Timothy, the apostle Paul could remind him “that from a child [he had] known the holy Scriptures, which [were] able to make [him] wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim.
3:15).
/And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
(Luke 24:27 NIVUS)/
/ /
/  You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.
These are the Scriptures that testify about me,  (John 5:39 NIVUS)/
/ /
*2) It Signified the Presence of the Savior*
The story tells us that the star “which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was” (2:9).
Whatever Herod or the chief priests and scribes had to say about the birth of Christ did not alter the fact that Jesus, the Messiah, had really come.
Men and women today try to tell us that Jesus is not alive, but we ask, once again, what about Christmas?
The very fact that we are celebrating Christmastime signifies that Jesus was born to be your Savior and mine.
It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit not only to guide us to the Savior, but to glorify Him (see John 16:13-14).
Through the Holy Spirit we may be led to the Christ of Christmas.
Watching the program, “Christmas at the White House”, the other night woke me up to the secular nature of our society.
We celebrate Christian holidays but leave Christ out.
Vice President Gore gave a short, politically correct speech where he had to struggle on purpose not to say or name the Name of Christ.
A politically correct Christmas celebrates the qualities of love and generosity without acknowledging the source of it all which is Christ.
But then I praised God because of the music.
They may not claim Christ in word, but in song he is glorified.
The words of the music has been emblazoned on our minds and hearts through the Holy Spirit.
True religion has become part of our culture.
But Vice President Gore either didn’t know or want to repeat the words.
He just moved his lips in a way that didn’t match the music.
I could tell.
*/3a.
Amplify/*
/…God has given us a two-faceted star to guard the truth, as it is in Jesus Christ; it is the star of the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.
/
/ /
/But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.
(John 16:13-14 NIVUS)/
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