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Star Search

Epiphany  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:53
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Star Search

Matthew 2:1–12 NIV
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Where is the One Born King of the Jews?

Matthew 2:2 NIV
and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

We saw his star and have come to worship Him

Prevenient Grace

God wants the world to know who Jesus is. He has plans and methods that can transcend culture and traditions. He uses the heavens to communicate his glory!
Romans 1:20 NIV
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
We sometimes use this passage to focus only on the last phrase. It could paint a bleak picture that God only wants to judge outsiders and aha, they are without excuse! But the truth is that God speaks and many hear.
N.T. Wright, eminent British scholar, shares that many in Iran have testified to having dreams about Issu, the name for Jesus in the Quran. They’ve had dreams and they’ve awakened to seek out the answers. Some have risked their lives to get a copy or portion of the New Testament. Others have fled to the West in order to follow Jesus openly. He had the privilege of baptizing some of these people.
Star Search was the original reality TV music contest. The judges were constantly searching for rising stars that would be the future of entertainment. The Magi who found Jesus were constantly searching the heavens for meaning. Many would have just dismissed them as superstitious pagans on a wild goose chase.
God has a larger story that is still being written. Even though these were pagan seekers, they came to understand that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews and that somehow God is saving the world through this family line. The glory of that story is written into the very stars.
Has it been written onto your heart?

Drama

The Magi are innocently seeking the truth. They run into a belligerent worldly leader pretending to be a devout man. Herod acts very interested in their quest. He was interested in his public appearance all the time. He was a very insecure leader who demanded loyalty above all and if he ever doubted you he got rid of you; even having his own family members killed. Men who lead this way are to be watched very carefully.
But his men do excellent Biblical research and they found what the early church found when they searched through the Law and the Prophets. They found Jesus. A child being born in humble Bethlehem who would shepherd God’s people.
Are you amazed by Grace yet? That this was foretold hundreds of years in advance is amazing. That it was foretold 2 years in advance through signs in the heavens is amazing. That these men were seeking and seeking until they found Jesus is just grace upon grace.
But we know they found Jesus. They weren’t just looking for a good feeling. I’m sure the good feelings burned out about a year into the project. When they found him they worshiped him. They came prepared and gave offerings of lavish gifts that would sustain this vulnerable holy family.

God wants to write you into this story

He sent signs into your life and called you toward the light. In this day of keeping your options open, end your search here today. Burn the ships. No going back. Begin again on the shores of the Kingdom of God. Bring him all that you are and all that you have. Hold nothing back. He is so generous, so you can be, too. All that you are for all that he is, is an offer of amazing Grace.

Stewards

God is pouring resources into our lives. Will we be stingy with them? Following Jesus means being all-in. At the beginning of a new year of opportunity make sure some important things. Make sure you’re letting God write you into His story. Make sure you’re holding nothing back.
God has gifted you so you can shine for him. So many around you don’t have the hope of Jesus. The early church gathered together in lived in radically new ways. People were so impressed by them as people they wanted to know the story that bound them together. Folks that’s where we are once again. Live the story. Don’t just look down your nose accusing and cursing the world in darkness around.
Colossians 3:12–14 NIV
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Philippians 2:14–16 NIV
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
We are the biggest part of God’s plan to reach those who seek him in ignorance. Are we shining like Stars? Sometimes it may feel like the world is judging us believers. But maybe they are just on a star search. We can shine when we shine for Him. Really it’s about getting out of the way and letting Him shine through us.

Shine Like Stars

Be in the Word, but more importantly let the Word dwell in you richly. I like the way Bible teacher Beth Moore puts things sometimes:
Spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing. The Bible is the Word of God, crucial to knowing Him, but it’s not God. We can study our Bibles till the 2nd coming & leave God completely out of it. We can grow in facts & never grow a whit in faith. (Tweeted 5:57pm Jan 2-19)
It’s an amazing story that is still being written. From stars in the universe to shining lives. Not perfect lives. At times broken. But always leaning in to a new reality. A new and holy way made possible by the love of God shared among us.
Let’s come to the table of Grace: prevenient, saving, sanctifying and sustaining grace. Be fed here bring that nourishment with you into every encounter this week. Let’s pray...
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