Matt2_1B - Why Jerusalem is troubled
(Click to read the earlier Message: <War on Christmas - First Blood>)
Last week – Herod had no room for another King
- No one would rule his life
- No one would rob him of the souls he claimed – (Note the King of Sodom – Gen 14:21 – “Give me the persons” = Give me the souls)
Herod was AGITATED –
- Used to describe still waters that are violently disturbed – Like a Jacuzzi today (John 5:4, 7)
- People who are supposed to be calm lose it –
- The disciples of Jesus Christ experienced this when He came walking on the water. – Matt 14:26
- Trouble makers incite riots. – Acts 17:8, Gal 1:7
I can understand Herod’s agitation
The Puzzle – Why was Jerusalem Troubled?
!! Why would the Joyous Message of Jesus’ Birth cause enslaved people to become agitated?
People are agitated because …
I. Contentment Is Denied
Ignorance is Bliss & Unto whom much is given
--A. A Promise Given – Micah 5:2
- Micah preached against the materialism / idolatry and the deadening affect it was having on the soul of Judah
- Each proclamation of judgment is balanced by hope.
----2. God promised a King who would deliver
- He is a Prince, not a tyrant
1) We are forced to do the will of tyrants.
2) We are free to serve our Prince.
___ (a) David wished for a drink from a well in Bethlehem – 2Sam 23:13-17
___ (b) Soldiers risked their lives to get it
If serving Jesus is drudgery __inconvenient __ a joyless duty, you are not serving Jesus.
- He is a Shepherd, not a Hired hand – John 10:11-12
1) A Hired hand cares only for what he gets out of shepherding
2) The Shepherd Gives His life for the sheep
He will never be your Shepherd if you refuse to hear His voice. – John 10:27-29
--B. A Sign Given – Luke’s Gospel
----1. A Priest by the name of Zechariah – Luke 1
- Made Silent in Jerusalem
- Prophesied of soon appearance of Messiah / His son the fore-runner
- His wife met the mother of Messiah
----2. A band of Bethlehem’s Shepherds – Luke 2:-20
- They told what they had experienced
- They invited others to come and see
----3. A man name Simeon – Luke 2:25-35
- Told people of promise that he would see Messiah before he died
- One day, his expectation was replaced with joy.
- Then he died
----4. The Men from the East reaffirmed the message, Messiah is born.
--C. What more did Jerusalem need?
----1. What more do you need?
----2. This world can give you temporary escape from its disappointment
- Amusement Park Ride
- Hollywood produced joy ride
----3. This world cannot give you lasting joy and true peace – Temporary peace and happiness is the opiate of Satan
--D. The Waters of your Soul will be agitated by the invitation of Jesus to receive Him for who He is.
----1. You may wish that you never knew
----2. “Ignorance, when it is voluntary, is criminal.” – Samuel Johnson
II. Compromise is Impossible
No man can serve two masters
--A. In search of Moderation
----1. In politics, the moderate maintains the status quo
The world’s shortest book, “The Great Achievements of Moderate Politics”
----2. In the Bible, moderation tries to harvest the best of both the sacred and the profane.
- I am a Worldly Christian
- I am a Religious Secular Man
--B. It was impossible to have split loyalties.
----1. Herod controlled the religion of Jerusalem.
- It was Herod’s temple – They would lose their building
- Rome set up the priests, who did the bidding of the state
----2. What would they lose if Herod refused to share power?
--C. Why is it that those who claim to be God’s people insist that He take the back seat in a conflict?
----1. God, I want you to be longsuffering and patient because those who deny you are not.
----2. My peers will not understand if I stand up for you, but you will understand if I stand up for them.
--D. The Waters of your Soul will be agitated by the inability to hold on to two opposing masters at the same time.
----1. Elijah asked, “How long will you halt between two opinions?”
----2. When will you stop saying, “Tomorrow I will serve God.”?
III. Cruelty Is Unleashed
Satan does not give up without a fight
--A. It is time to face Reality
----1. We are enslaved to Herod
- There are tyrants who want the souls of people
- Entertainers who want more than your money
- Educators who want more than your time
----2. We hate our circumstance
--B. Many are waiting for the tyrant to yield or go away first
----1. Women who have been abused by their “boy-friends”
----2. You can be free. “I know, but at what cost?”
----3. Do you know what he is like when he is angry?
--C. The Pharaoh did not give up without a fight
----1. Moses came with the answer – Exo 5:1-2
----2. Pharaoh’s response – more misery – Exo 5:4-19
----3. The people’s response – Give it up, Moses! – Exo 5:20-23
--D. What happens when the tyrant attempts to crush your Savior?
----1. Herod gathered the experts
----2. He demanded of them
- Greek hints that he did so repeatedly (Imperfect tense verb - iterative?)
- They did not surrender the information immediately
- Yet none had the spine to say, “We will not betray our Messiah.”
--E. The Waters of your Soul will be agitated by the fact that the tyrant will not hear the words, “Let my people go, that they may serve me!”
----1. Do you need you pastor to intervene? I cannot promise that negative consequences will go away.
----2. Maybe you need to stand as one teen did this week.
- The public school will not allow Christianity in, but it will allow New Age practices in the door.
- I cannot participate. I am a born-again Christian.”
IV. Choice Is Immediate
Opportunity is not a Lengthy Visitor
Today, if you will hear His voice
--A. The Seeker-friendly environment
----1. Meeting God on your terms and in your time
----2. Problem – Today is the day of Salvation – 2Cor 6:2
--B. There were some in Jerusalem who waited for a better time?
----1. Following the Shepherds was a prime time - but who listens to shepherds?
----2. The testimony from a godly old man was a prime time – but who listens to godly old men?
--C. They waited for the Wise man’s report, but that was too late.
----1. The Messengers were redirected by God to go another way.
----2. The couple in Bethlehem fled into Egypt. Bethlehem never again saw Jesus.
----3. Herod did his best to ensure that Messiah did not survive
----4. Joseph and his family never returned to Bethlehem
--D. The Waters of your Soul will be agitated by the fear that one day, the opportunity for grace will pass
----1. If that day passes, what then? – Rev 21:8 – “The Fearful …” leads the list.
- These believe the answer is real, but they will not take it for fear of persecution or alienation.
- Matt 13:5-6, 20-21
----2. Fearful people are troubled when …
- The Reality of their Peace is Challenged
- Their Ability to Walk in the Middle of the road is denied
- The Terrors they see threaten them.
- The Time to act never seems to come