Faithlife Sermons

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It’s not that we don’t work hard and it’s not that we haven’t made a contribution.
How do we deal with the things that we have coming?
How do we deal with our possessions, our achievements, our position?
A sense of entitlement can make us into very disappointed, discouraged people.
He was God and there was nothing wrong with that picture.
The issue of his being God is one that is crucial to the faith.
No one else could have done what he did.
No one else could have made him do what he did and he did it freely and willingly.
Only love can motivate someone to that height.
Greedy people are incapable of sacrificial action.
Insecure people are incapable of  sacrificial action and they are many times incapable of receiving unconditional love for to them there is always an angle.
Nothing is as it seems.
Those who thrive on power and control are incapable of sacrificing themselves
 
Whatever you “grasp” will breed in you suspicion, greed, insecurity
 
Edomites were the descendants of Esau. 
 
 
 1) the act of seizing, robbery
 2) a thing seized or to be seized
 2a) booty to deem anything a prize
 2b) a thing to be seized upon or to be held fast, retained
 
 
Herod was a puppet king & ruler.
He held no real power except what was afforded him by the Roman government and if he had been considered a threat he would have been removed in an instant.
A Sense Of Entitlement
 
One desperate King – an old man who just couldn’t let go.
70 years old threatened by a tiny baby.
 
the name of a royal family that flourished among the Jews in the times of Christ and the Apostles.
Herod the Great was the son of Antipater of Idumaea.
Appointed king of Judaea B.C. 40 by the Roman Senate at the suggestion of Antony and with the consent of Octavian, he at length overcame the great opposition which the country made to him and took possession of the kingdom B.C. 37; and after the battle of Actium, he was confirmed by Octavian, whose favour he ever enjoyed.
He was brave and skilled in war, learned and sagacious; but also extremely suspicious and cruel.
Hence he destroyed the entire royal family of Hasmonaeans, put to death many of the Jews that opposed his government, and proceeded to kill even his dearly beloved wife Mariamne of the Hasmonaean line and his two sons she had borne him.
By these acts of bloodshed, and especially by his love and imitation of Roman customs and institutions and by the burdensome taxes imposed upon his subjects, he so alienated the Jews that he was unable to regain their favour by his splendid restoration of the temple and other acts of munificence.
He died in the 70th year of his age, the 37th year of his reign, the 4th before the Dionysian era.
In his closing years John the Baptist and Christ were born; Matthew narrates that he commanded all the male children under two years old in Bethlehem to be slain.
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*Herod the Great*
 
(Matthew 2:1-22; Luke 1:5; Acts 23:35), the son of Antipater, an Idumaean, and Cypros, an Arabian of noble descent.
In the year B.C. 47 Julius Caesar made Antipater, a "wily Idumaean," procurator of Judea, who divided his territories between his four sons, Galilee falling to the lot of Herod, who was afterwards appointed tetrarch of Judea by Mark Antony (B.C. 40), and also king of Judea by the Roman senate.
He was of a stern and cruel disposition.
"He was brutish and a stranger to all humanity."
Alarmed by the tidings of one "born King of the Jews," he sent forth and "slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matthew 2:16).
He was fond of splendour, and lavished great sums in rebuilding and adorning the cities of his empire.
He rebuilt the city of Caesarea (q.v.) on the coast, and also the city of Samaria (q.v.), which he called Sebaste, in honour of Augustus.
He restored the ruined temple of Jerusalem, a work which was begun B.C. 20, but was not finished till after Herod's death, probably not till about A.D. 50 (John 2:20).
After a troubled reign of thirty-seven years, he died at Jericho amid great agonies both of body and mind, B.C. 4, i.e., according to the common chronology, in the year in which Jesus was born.
After his death his kingdom was divided among three of his sons.
Of these, Philip had the land east of Jordan, between Caesarea Philippi and Bethabara, Antipas had Galilee and Peraea, while Archelaus had Judea and Samaria.
This Herod was an Edomite, made king of Judea by Augustus and Antonius, the then chief rulers of the Roman state, a man made up of falsehood and cruelty; yet he was complimented with the title of /Herod the Great./
Christ was born in the 35th year of his reign, and notice is taken of this, to show that the /sceptre/ had now /departed from Judah,/ and /the lawgiver from between his feet;/ and therefore now was the time for Shiloh to come, and /to him shall the gathering of the people be/
 
The traditions of the Romish church are frivolous, that they were in number three (though one of the ancients says that they were fourteen), that they were kings, and that they lie buried in Colen, thence called the /three kings of Colen;/ we covet not to be wise above what is written.
III.
What induced them to make this enquiry.
They, in their country, which was in the /east,/ had seen an /extraordinary star,/ such as they had not seen before; which they took to be an indication of an extraordinary person born in the land of /Judea,/ over which land this star was seen to hover, in the nature of a comet, or a meteor rather, in the lowers regions of the air; this differed so much from any thing that was common that they concluded it to signify something uncommon.
Note, Extraordinary appearances of God in the creatures should put us upon enquiring after his mind and will therein; Christ foretold /signs in the heavens./
The birth of Christ was notified to the Jewish shepherds by /an angel,/ to the Gentile philosophers by a /star:/ to both God spoke in their own language, and in the way they were best acquainted with.
Some think that the light which the shepherds saw shining round about them, the night after Christ was born, was the very same which to the wise men, who lived at such a distance, appeared as a star; but this we cannot easily admit, because the same star which they had seen in the /east/ they saw a great while after, leading them to the house where Christ lay; it was a candle set up on purpose to guide them to Christ.
The idolaters worshipped the stars as the /host of heaven,/ especially the /eastern/ nations, whence the planets have the names of their idol-gods; we read of a particular /star/ they had in veneration, Amos 5:26.
Thus the stars that had been misused came to be put to the right use, to lead men to Christ; the gods of the heathen became his servants.
Some think this star put them in mind of Balaam’s prophecy, that a star should come out of Jacob, pointing at a /sceptre,/ that shall /rise out of Israel;/ see Num. 24:17.
Balaam came from the /mountains of the east,/ and was one of their /wise men./
Others impute their enquiry to the general expectation entertained at that time, in those /eastern/ parts, of some great prince to appear.
Tacitus, in his history ( /lib./ 5), takes notice of it; /Pluribus persuasio inerat, antiquis sacerdotum literis contineri, eo ipso tempore fore, ut valesceret oriens, profectique Judaea rerum potirentur—A persuasion existed in the minds of many that some ancient writings of the priests contained a prediction that about that time an eastern power would prevail, and that persons proceeding from Judea would obtain dominion.
Suetonius/ also, in the life of /Vespasian,/ speaks of it; so that this extraordinary phenomenon was construed as pointing to /that king;/ and we may suppose a divine impression made upon their minds, enabling them to interpret this star as a signal given by Heaven of the birth of Christ.
IV.
How they prosecuted this enquiry.
/They came from the/ east to Jerusalem, in further quest of this prince.
Wither shall they come to enquire for the king of the Jews, but to Jerusalem, the mother-city, /whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord?/
They might have said, "If such a prince be born, we shall hear of him shortly in our own country, and it will be time enough then to pay our homage to him.’’
But so impatient were they to be better acquainted with him, that they took a long journey on purpose to enquire after him.
Note, Those who truly desire to know Christ, and find him, will not regard pains or perils in seeking after him.
/Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord./
Their question is, /Where is he that is born king of the Jews?/
They do not ask, /whether there were such a one born?/
(they are sure of that, and speak of it with assurance, so strongly was it set home upon their hearts); but, /Where is he born?/
Note, Those who know /something/ of Christ cannot but covet to /know more/ of him.
They call Christ the /King of the Jews,/ for so the Messiah was expected to be: and he is Protector and Ruler of all the spiritual Israel, he is /born a King./
To this question they doubted not but to have a ready answer, and to find all Jerusalem worshipping at the feet of this new king; but they come from door to door with this question, and no man can give them any information.
Note, There is more gross ignorance in the world, and in the church too, than we are aware of.
Many that we think should direct us to Christ are themselves strangers to him.
They ask, as the spouse of the daughters of Jerusalem, /Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?/
But they are never the wiser.
However, like the spouse, they pursue the enquiry, /Where is he that is born king of the Jews?/ Are they asked, "Why do ye make this enquiry?’’
It is because they have /seen his star in the east./
Are they asked, "What business have ye with him?
What have the men of the /east/ to do with the /King of the Jews?’’/
They have their answer ready, /We are come to worship him./
They conclude he will, in process of time, be /their king,/ and therefore they will betimes ingratiate themselves with him and with those about him.
Note, Those in whose hearts the day-star is risen, to give them any thing of the knowledge of Christ, must make it their business to worship him.
Have we seen Christ’s star?
Let us study to give him honour.
V. How this enquiry was treated at Jerusalem.
News of it at last came to court; and /when Herod heard it he was troubled,/ v. 3.
He could not be a stranger to the prophecies of the /Old Testament,/ concerning the Messiah and his kingdom, and the times fixed for his appearing by Daniel’s weeks; but, having himself reigned so long and so successfully, he began to hope that those promises would for ever fail, and that his kingdom would be established and perpetuated in spite of them.
What a damp therefore must it needs be upon him, to hear talk of this King being born, now, when the time fixed for his appearing had come!
Note, Carnal wicked hearts dread nothing so much as the fulfilling of the scriptures.
But though Herod, an Edomite, was troubled, one would have thought Jerusalem should rejoice greatly to hear that her King comes; yet, it seems, /all Jerusalem,/ except the few there that /waited for the consolation of Israel, were troubled with/ Herod, and were apprehensive of I know not what ill consequences of the birth of this new king, that it would involve them in war, or restrain their lusts; they, for their parts, desired no king but Herod; no, not the Messiah himself.
Note, The slavery of sin is foolishly preferred by many to the glorious liberty of the children of God, only because they apprehend some present difficulties attending that necessary revolution of the government in the soul.
Herod and Jerusalem were thus troubled, from a mistaken notion that the kingdom of the Messiah would clash and interfere with the secular powers; whereas the star that proclaimed him king plainly intimated that his kingdom was heavenly, and not of this lower world.
Note, The reason why the kings of the earth, and the people, oppose the kingdom of Christ, is because they do not know it, but err concerning it.
VI.
What assistance they met with in this enquiry from the scribes and the priests, v. 4-6.
Nobody can pretend to tell where the King of the Jews is, but Herod enquires where it was expected /he should be born./
The persons he consults are, the chief priests, who were teachers by office; and the scribes, who made it their business to study the law; their /lips must keep knowledge,/ but then the people must /enquire the law at their mouth,/ Mal.
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