So some Churches feel as though there's about fifty Sunday's of the year and the other for which would be the Sunday after Christmas July 4th weekend Father's Day weekend and Super Bowl weekend. They are what some refer to as one-offs. It's a it's a it's a really should be good. Maybe an odd rated as National Youth pastors get the preaching big church Sunday for Sunday's were all the opportunities to preach in my time. And youth ministry it is it odd Sunday cuz it it it's not still Christmas but is not yet New Year's it's this in-between Sunday that none of us know what to do with because we struggle to find something big to make a big deal out of which is curious beings the Church of Jesus Christ that we would struggle to find something to make a big deal out of it or with which to make a big deal.
Fortunately, well, I don't believe in fortune sovereignly. We have this amazing event that occurs right after our celebration of Christmas. And that is the visiting of the Magi or the Wiseman. I love the way that our outdoor production rightly puts it in place the. Event that the arrival of the Magi happens after the actual birth of Jesus. So here we are in this Sunday after we celebrate the birth of Jesus and sovereignty it seems to make a whole lot of sense that we would spend today.
In that part of the Gospel this in-between time. I've been talkin about a lot lately this in-between time in which we find ourselves where the kingdom of God is here. But yet it's coming Christ is real and he's present but he's returning we are living eternally right now, but our bodies are going to one day quit right until we're resurrected bodily upon Christ's return we continue to talk about this in-between time in which we live and often when we're stuck in a time where we're not quite sure we don't have something awesome that we're looking for. Maybe maybe we're sad about what has just been left behind and working with struggling to find something with which to upon which it to fix our eyes. We look for signs. Height we look for signs. We look for signs in a lot of ways. I don't answer. I don't know if it's a part of The Human Condition tour part of the fall or part of our imperfect Vision we can't quite see what God is doing. So we really want signs. I mean the people around Jesus were always begging for signs this morning as I'm driving and Jupiter Donuts. It's like so foggy I can barely see and I'm thinking Lord great now no one's going to be at church, you know, because apparently the weather dictates whether we worship or not and the sun's going to come out and that's actually a good sermon illustrations of the sun will rise and burn to silly so I'm not going there but we're always looking for something to point us in a direction see where I'm going with this the Wiseman the Magi saw something. head pointed them in a Direction
recall that Jesus came at the end of 400 years of Silence. The guy was quiet he was silent with his people for centuries. I started getting discouraged in my own face if it's been 4 days or 4 weeks are 4 months and I've been there for four years and longer like like more. Where are you in my home life gets thrown into a Desi Arnaz, I'll just say it. I was like, there's got to be a better word than tizzy. But now my whole life gets thrown into a tizzy because I've yet to hear from God. I haven't heard from him lately. Imagine for centuries of Silence.
the waiting to hear from God this event happens not what I I don't want to do is get get too caught up in in. Minutiae or cleverness? You can do a lot of clever things with the Christmas story because in a lot of ways, it's it's very it's vague and it didn't is open and we can place ourselves in the story really easily we can imagine what if you were a Shepherd. What if you are wise man would if you were King Herod, I'd imagine I do a little better than King Herod might be hard to do worse. I don't want to go in a clever direction or I don't want to go in into an overly, you know, like Tippy application kind of thing. But I want us to see something much like the Magi much like the wise men saw something and it was profound and then I want us to see something this morning to turn with me. If you will if you have your Bibles and if you don't you can look on the the side screens. screen, but in Matthew Chapter 2 The Familiar passage begins in verse 1 No after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king behold wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, where is he who has been born King of the Jews for we saw his star when it Rose and have come to worship him when her and heard when are the king heard this he was troubled at all Jerusalem with him at assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people. He inquired of them. Where are the Christ was to be born. They told him in Bethlehem of Judea for so it was written by the prophet and you o Bethlehem in the land of Judah are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for from you. Shall come a ruler who were who will Shepherd My People Israel been heard some of the wise men secretly and ascertain from them what time the star had appeared and he sent them. Tobacco him saying go and search diligently for the child. And when you have found him bring me word that I too may come and worship him after listening to the king. They went on their way in the hold the star that they had seen when it Rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was when they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child. And yes, the Greek word means toddler double to 3 years something like that will look into it here in a second and go into the house. They saw the child with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshipped him. Then opening their Treasures. They offered him gifts gold and frankincense. And myrrh. There's myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod they departed to their own country by another way. So what is it? I don't want us to get bogged down in too many little details or or clever little pads upon which we could draw it. I don't want us to focus too much on who were the wise man or what was the star? How old was Jesus or or you know or a wise men still seek him kind of deal the sign. I want us to see in them seeing a sign. It's much more Grand. I wants to see that we have a God who has never had a plan for anything but has a plan for everything I said it before and I will say it again. Our God has a plan. For everything we have an intentional God. And another molecule is outside of his Sovereign power is Will and permission and it does involve a star this sign that I want us to see involves a star in and it does involve these wise men and does involve. What was the star in does involved who were these men, but but understand that I want to make sure I'm being clear.
I don't want us to wonder. No, I don't want us to question. I don't want us to wonder in the sign but I want us to wonder and who put the sign in the sky. A lot of times as Christians we just marvel at the signs in the Wonders want to see people killed when she miraculous stuff going down right at what point do we start worshipping the stuff? Instead of the one who doesn't write so our sign. I don't want us to lose it. I don't want to lose him and searching for what the sign was for the Wiseman. We have a sovereign God who is conducting a grand Eternal Orchestra of his own Glory Psalm. 115:3 says our God is in the heavens. He does all that he pleases Isaiah 46 9 through 10 says remember the former things of old for I am God and there is none like me. Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done saying my counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose Psalm 130 5 or 6 says whatever the Lord pleases he does in heaven and on Earth in the seas and all deaths. Psalm 119 verses 1 through 6 says the heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech there are no words whose voice is not heard their voice goes out through all the Earth and their words to the end of the world and then he has set a tent for the sun which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber and like a strong man runs. Its course with joy its Rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them and there is nothing hidden from its heat. John 641 Jesus himself says no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him and I will raise him on the last day and Proverbs 16:9 says the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
I Want To Pray Again pray with me Father may we not miss you? And trying to see the sign.
Why would we trade? The destination for the signs that point to it.
For this is the silliest thing to just popped into my head last night on I-4. We saw signs for Disney and Universal and how awesome are they not how awesome are the signs? It's the destination father that I want us to get to this morning you your Sovereign awesome powerful. Loving gracious without comparison Glory. I want us to see you help us not to miss you and your name, we pray. I'm in the heart of man plans his way. But the Lord establishes his steps. How many steps do you figure are 700 miles because that's the distance from Babylon. to Jerusalem where exactly they came from we know it within a general small vicinity to how many steps how many steps did the Lord establish and why in the world did they start journeying to begin with? The glory of the Wiseman narrative is not found in the men but in the god that Drew them so turn back to Matthew to our forward to it. You know what I mean? Go Matthew 2. Starting at the beginning again Matthew 2 verses 1 through 2. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king behold wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, where is he who has been born King of the Jews for we saw his star when it Rose and if come to worship them. Who were these guys aren't so who were the Magi Magi does have implications very strong applications that they they studied the Stars. They studied the sky but also means they were wise or very learned they were assistance and advisors to the king. They were very important to me. They were the they were the phds of their of their time and they did studied the sky quite a bit. That doesn't help me a lot though just at just add that just because they they saw things in the sky like why would they care? about a king of Israel I mean Israel was it was a conquered Nation heard rumors about its once greatness, but it was conquered and actually the people many of them. Almost all of them were taken to Babylon and captivity and just kept there until Cyrus the Great goodness it alright, you can go back I guess and they can they kind of rebuilt got an empty shell of the former Kingdom. Why would these men care?
I've heard some explanations about who the wise men probably were I cannot point you chapter and verse in the Bible, but but this explanation makes a lot of sense to me. they were spiritual descendants if not actual descendants of Daniel. The prophet who lived in Babylon during the Captivity and end was raised by the king through the workings of God to that level of magic of the Kingdom advisor to the king. And then you being a prophet himself and being keenly aware of prophecies before shared his knowledge with his students that then got shared that then got shared then got shared. The reason that these Magi however, many of them there were would care about signs point to a King being born in Israel is our long-promised King to reestablish the empty shell of our once great Kingdom that would get their attention. Now in terms of what the star was there. Also a lot of theories lot of documentaries lot of stuff Comet Cupid Donner Blitzen. I'm sorry just train of thought like what was it in the sky wasn't wasn't reindeer. Okay, you know that for sure. I found a documentary about it and I'm going to steal some of it. But what I'm going to do is just I'm going to commend it to you. Okay, you just go on the YouTube and and search for Bethlehem star or Star of Bethlehem. If you actually want to honor the the guy that did all the work and all the studying you got to buy the DVD off the website Bethlehem star. Com just type it into the Google and if this is one of the I found it on mostly terrible Christian television at like 2 in the morning. I was like flipping through and I'm like, why is this guy talking YZF stars in the background. What are you talkin about an in an hour later? I'm weeping and I've got goosebumps and I'm on my knees praising God. I'm going to give you the very short of it. So here we go. Johannes Kepler. They and Sir Isaac Newton mathematicians and they studied the sky and in day or the ones first with Kaplan with Newton to discover that the stars are actually a perfect and mathematically perfect clock that turns.
The stars and planets even comets orbiting, it is a perfect clock. I know we talked a lot especially in America about about Believers in God who we called deists people that believe that God is just like a grand watch maker. He put the watch together and wound it up and then took a step back.
I'm going to say that they're not that far off. I weep because there's so much more for them to know about that God but the Stars themselves are a perfect clock. And so that knowledge existed for hundreds of thousands of you for me not to sound like a dummy. So up until about a decade ago. We didn't really have the Computing ability to like make that mathematical clock tangible for us to like to see but there's a program called starry night and this guy is a lawyer and somebody somebody Larson Esquire. He starts to become fascinated with the Star of Bethlehem. What is it? And so he buys this piece of software code starry night and basically what starry night is is it takes all of Kepler's and and and Newton's math. Plugs it in. Programs the sky essentially in and then on a timeline you can tell Starry Night where you're standing and which direction you're looking and you can scroll through time. I mean hundreds of years in a mousetrap, you can see the stars moving in in perfect order to right there off the bat, you know, Romans one where we were last week that creation itself is evidence enough of its existence how in the world we're told that the universe is just this chaotic explosion of matter just mindlessly careening through existence. That's not what we see. We see this amazing Galactic clock of sovereignty turning in the sky. So he goes to the Bible because okay. What is the Bible say about the star? And can I find it in the sky? He goes, all right starry night. I'm standing in the ancient near East and Babylon and I'm looking towards Israel. What am I going to find in the Bible with nine things that the star has the 9 characteristics that the star would have to follow in terms of what it physically did and the significance that it presented. So it it had to represent birth. It had to represent kingship. It had to represent the Jewish Nation. It had to rise in the east and had to get up here and exact time but it couldn't appear at an exact time. So profoundly like say a comment that the whole world would freak out about it and had to appear at exact time. But but only for those who were looking for it because the story said that Harry was like really appear appear but not so dramatic. I bet that the whole world would would know it without it being explained it had to
Like indoor over. Time to head the last four. Of time, it had to go ahead of them as they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem Little Five Mile jaunt. Right, and then the store has to stop. At least nine things have to have to be true for for Larson and his All-Star night program to find what the Star of Bethlehem was. So I I can't do the presentation justice. But again, I urge you Google it watch it. I know that Christmas is just pass it just like hearing Christmas songs on the radio to like shut it.
Even if it please right cuz you say I watch that next year. You won't watch it. Now. It'll actually spoiler alert get you really excited for Easter. Securities in a nutshell, this is what he found right looking at the sky.
September of the Year 3 BC Jupiter known as the king Planet it crowns regulus which is known as the king star in Jupiter rotates around regulus 3 x 1 2 3 King Planet revolving around the king * 3 * regulus is also the brightest star in the sky at the same time the constellation Virgo Rises with our sun at its head and our moon at its feet. At the same time the constellation known as the Serpent's head is below Virgos feet Virgo known as the virgin. All right. Well, that's something well it's a lot more when you read Revelation 12. verses 1 through 5
and a great sign appeared in heaven a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve Stars. She was pregnant and crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth in another sign appeared in heaven Behold a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns on its head seven diadems his tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth and the dragon stood before the woman who is about to give birth so that when she bore her child, he might devour it. this dragon sound like in the
narrative sounds like Herod. She gave birth to a male child one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne. Now, okay, you know great, you know at one point. In time some stars in a planet that some weird stuff that kind of sounds like Revelation 12 again the king Planet revolving around the king * 3 * Virgo the Virgin constellation Rises with the Sun out her head and the moon at her feet and below her was the Serpent's head constellation. It also happens to coincide exactly with Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year that that's cool. What happens in the sky? Nine months later? Can June nine months later Jupiter the king planet and Venus the Virgin Planet come into nearly overlapping proximity where to the naked eye. It's one bright light. If you're able to zoom in you can see that they are. Almost eclipsing one another but stacked on top on this to make a figure eight.
The Magi see that and they shut out for Jerusalem.
Take some time right take some time. So you zoom forward in the Timeline of stars and now you're in Jerusalem at about the time that it would take you to get there. It's going to be very late November and the star is over Jerusalem. So that's where the Magi land they go to the king and they say we want to see the king who was born and here it's like how do you know about that? Like didn't you see the star at the sky so bright it's dark and kind as ever seen the king planet did you not
So, you know, I see stroking this like long-haired white cat on his lap. That's just in my head. Tell me more about this. Right. And so the Magyar like I will we need a little more. So here it goes. I only talk to my priest and Pharisees don't go anywhere that takes some time. You look at the sky standing in Jerusalem. You look South towards Bethlehem, and I I kid you not on December 25th of the year 2 BC.
Star moves from directly over Jerusalem to directly over Bethlehem. Okay. Alright the first Christmas. stars in the sky
coming together to celebrate the first Christmas to the Magi come in. They find the toddler King and they give him the gifts that they traveled 700 miles to deliver. So now it's some of you might like, okay. Alright, so tell me is an astrologer. This changes a few things. Could I get my offering back?
Not even close astrology tries to tell us that the Stars determine. our life's sovereignty teaches us that God determines the hives of the Stars. Turn on go off move here move there.
flick of God's Sovereign wrist it happens I'm a follower of the sovereignty of God Stars. Don't tell me anything the God tells the Stars everything.
I don't care about Stars. This is what I care about a God that would move them into place just to announce the birth in the kingship of his son.
Looking Genesis, you know got to I was in Revelation got to be in Genesis Genesis 1 easy to find. Genesis 1 starting at verse 14 and God said let there be the lights in the expanse of the Heavens to separate the day from the night and let them be for signs and four seasons in four days in years and let them be lights in the expanse of the Heavens to give light upon the Earth and it was so and God made two great lights the greater light to Rule the Day the Lesser light to rule the night and the stars and God set them in the expanse of the Heavens to give light on the earth to rule over the day and over the night and separate the light from the darkness and God saw that it was good and there's evening and there was morning. the fourth day
at the very foundation of the universe God spun the Stars into motion knowing what would transpire knowing what was going to happen thousands of years later the clock starts moving and it doesn't carry. It doesn't blip. It doesn't stop and it moves forward to this point and this time now parallel to that go to Ephesians 1 to complete the hat-trick.
Ephesians 1 starting in verse 3 blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places. Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. He predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters are Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will to the praise of his glorious Grace with which he has blessed us in the Beloved in him. We have Redemption through his blood the Forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace which he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ has a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him things in heaven and things on earth.
Rights of Babe Ruth you steps up to the plate and what she do. He calls a shot over the fence and he puts it right where he pointed it.
That's what God does. Since before the foundation of the universe, he calls his shot. He says this is going to be this is always been and always will be about my son Jesus your praise my son Jesus.
Fallen mankind be resurrected with Christ to praise my son Jesus.
Sharks spin the way I told you to to announce the coming of my son Jesus.
We serve a God that so loves his son and so loves the adopted brothers and sisters of his son that he orchestrates an eternal Galactic Symphony of Praise in the lyrics of the Heavenly Choir singing. Our God is mighty his son is glorious the God who directs Stars calls and guides souls to his son's glorious feet. For he is as loving as he is Sovereign he is as just as he is beautiful and all creation exist to praise him.
The real quick. Let me run through all of human history.
We have a God who would set stars on a path. Make a planet Earth. Fill it with people only to watch those people spit in his own face and rebelled against him. So he wipes out those people and starts over with people that in mediately and instantly fail. He scatters those people to the ends of the Earth. He calls to one person and says through you I'm going to make a mighty nation. He does exactly what he says he grows up that mighty nation that my teeth Nation rebelled against him. So he has the Babylonians come and conquer them and drag them off 700 mile.
only the hundreds of years later put those Stars right where he determined they would be so the descendants of that broken Kingdom would say our King has finally come so they would come 700 miles so that they would stand at the feet of the toddler King Jesus and give him gifts. That sounds like an awful lot of work for some gold and frankincense. And myrrh. It's not the universe exist for the glory of Jesus. And how good is God the father that he would use us as a part of that plan that he would take us broken Fallen sinful dead people and razors to life. That's how much he loves us. That's how much he loves his son. That's how much he wants his son to be glorified.
to resurrect the Dead
Right when he was determined to do so.
God wants to show all with the eyes to see the beauty Grace and power of a God that cannot only it is not only able to move Heaven and Earth, but is willing to move Heaven and Earth to bring you to the feet of Jesus.
How has God moved Heaven and Earth to bring you to where you are right now in him? Every one of us has a story.
Every one of us has a story with amazing coincidences.
I mean, I don't have time to tell you the story of my great-grandparents all the way down to my foolish decision to follow a girlfriend to college who I then promptly broke up with and met my wife who's only there because her father made up may be misguided business decision to move their family from Texas all the way to Florida only two, you know, I have that job get you know. And the whole family is miserable cuz they missed Texas and that brings them to the feet of Jesus in my whole family saved because my wife was saved because a girl named Tara. Invited her youth group.
another six children exist in the world because that boy met that girl. Coincidence or all a part of God's Sovereign plan to bring his son glory and bring us life.
Closest Once work is this is my prayer. I pray that you can see what God is doing right now to give you. The eyes to see who he is. two-story building sticks and blood water Glorious, I was a youth pastor. I was on a trip and one of my kids walks up to me and you got a bloody face what happened? And he's like I got hit in the face with a stick and I said, why were you hitting it face with stick somebody threw a stick at my face? And I said, hey guys, let's not throw sticks at faces. We cool. Alright several days later. We're at a park in Elizabethton Tennessee this beautiful little picturesque place with river running through and like a covered bridge. There is very beautiful very picturesque spot and we're just hanging out in the in the Glorious, you know, bright green soft grass of Tennessee. And here comes the same dude with a bloody face and I'm like dude what is wrong with what it what happened? Cuz I got hit in the head in the face with a stick. Why are you hit in the face with a stick? Cuz if somebody threw a stick in my face who threw a stick your face same guy? and I clearly were not learning much and then I said, oh by the way where your glasses and the guy said pointing to the river his glasses, which I was told by the toys mother are very expensive and he has a tendency to lose them. Don't let them lose the glasses and they're in the river. So I'm going to be awesome and I'm going to find the glasses because I'm awesome and I can find glasses. So I got into the Little River in it. And first I'm just going to
Looking can't see much kind of screwed my feet. You don't want to step when you're looking for glasses in a river. No stepping got to scoot. Right? So your little toes can lick her like, you know, and you can find it and that wasn't working. So I got down a little more, you know, I was trying to pull up my sleeves and do this kind of number right and that wasn't quite enough. So I try to do this number, right? Well, I'm committed now, so I just went all the way under
slightly a germaphobe the Lord made me like, you know a pool cleaner for three years so I can get over that praise be to God. But at the time I'm like, there's no way I'm getting out of this water, but I like but I do want to be awesome. So I committed I went under the water and then I can say anything and still couldn't find it. So stuffy nose exasperated in my associate youth pastor in it. It was there and I said Kelly I I don't I don't know what to do. I don't think we're going to be able to find his glasses like if I had a pair of goggles. I only had a pair of goggles. Then I know that I could find a glasses and she said aren't will let's pray Jesus. Tommy needs goggles promise you this is not a preacher story. I promise you. I reached down and I just closed my hand around a pair of goggles Finding Nemo goggles. Now, they're like brand-new out of the package like it defies like they're brand new out of the package. So I said, Are Jesus were going to find herself some glasses and put the goggles on I went down one time. Classes were right there at come out with the glasses.
We serve a god. that would cause Jupiter to Circle regulus three times and then to announce the birth of Jesus and that same God. Would cause some kid to cry because he lost his Finding Nemo goggles in the river. Because I needed those goggles to find a glasses. I needed to see to find the things to help Michael see. We were powerless without the Sovereign hand of God. So my prayer is that you can see him at work. We have a big Grand awesome God that moves having an earth to bring you to the feet of his son Jesus because he is awesome.
give us the eyes to see you Jesus. Holy Spirit, give us the eyes to see you.
We know that you are at work. And living in this in-between time, we can be so tempted to doubt into fear that maybe this whole thing is spinning out of control. It has never once even stumbled. The universe is held together by your Sovereign will and purpose.
to praise the Glorious Grace of your son Jesus
I want Jesus to receive more adopted brothers and sisters today even today this morning.
We trust your Sovereign call Nan and all of us have loved ones that are not here right now. And we want them. We need them or asking that they would know you give them the eyes to see God in this moment right now wherever they are.
Show them who you are. right now call and save and redeem. By removing the scales from their eyes and their wax from their ears so they could see you and hear you as right true and beautiful.
Now we are here because of you. We live and move and have our being because of you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you and you're holy and Sovereign an awesome name we pray on it.