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Epiphany Sunday 2000 - Searching, Finding, Worshiping

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Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
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 and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2:11 (NIV)

I.   Look for the King

     A.  The Magi Search out a new King

           1.  The shepherds found him, but after no one paid much attention.

                 a.  Isn’t that strange?

                 b.  Did they not believe the shepherds?

           2.  Pagans, seeking God, find a revelation in their forbidden arts.

                 a.  Not “wise men” but astrologers!

                 b.  Astrology was forbidden in the OT.

                 c.  God pursues them in their “language.”

           3.  They resolve to find him.

                 a.  Not just a note in their journal.

                 b.  The sign required action.

     B.  Herod and Jerusalem are Disturbed

           1.  Herod was a foreign King.

                 a.  He was an Edomite, hated cousins

                 b.  While he was a good politician, the Jews didn’t like him.

           2.  Instead of celebration, fear.

                 a.  Herod knew of the prophecies.

                 b.  “All Jerusalem” echoed his fear.

           3.  The Messiah was a threat to their power.

                 a.  “All Jerusalem” was disturbed – perhaps “everyone who was someone”

                 b.  A Messiah would overthrow the powers

     C.  Bible scholars give Directions

           1.  The star alone wasn’t enough?

                 a.  It’s possible they saw star only once.

                 b.  Or it wasn’t that easy to follow.

           2.  God’s word clarifies His sign.

                 a.  A sign alone isn’t enough.

                 b.  God’s Word helps us understand.

           3.  The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

                 a.  Nobody questioned where.

II.  Follow God’s Sign

     A.  Herod plots to Undo God’s plan

           1.  Herod wants protection from God’s plan.

                 a.  If this is God’s plan, Herod wants to stop it.

                 b.  The signs point the wrong direction.

           2.  Folks respond differently to the Good News

                 a.  The Good News doesn’t seem good to everyone!

                 b.  A part of all of us prefers to hang on to our rebellion.

           3.  Not even the Bible Scholars go with them.

                 a.  Those who knew what this meant, didn’t bother!

                 b.  Those who didn’t know all, knew enough to travel hundreds of miles!

     B.  The Star leads them Again

           1.  Had the star appeared only briefly?

                 a.  Had it come to announce and then left, like the angels?

                 b.  Did it just reappear now.

           2.  Did the Bible clarify how to follow?

                 a.  Was it just hard for them to follow?

                 b.  Did they have to “fill in the blanks?”

           3.  Did the star lead the to Jerusalem 1st?

                 a.  Yes or no, God did.

                 b.  Through them God tells “all Jerusalem” about Jesus’ birth.

     C.  They are Overjoyed

           1.  RSV: They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy

                 a.  Lit: they rejoiced a great joy very much!

                 b.  When God leads, those who follow celebrate!

           2.  God confirms that He is leading them still.

                 a.  They got it right!

                 b.  God found them again!

                 c.  And God is still showing them the way.

           3.  They really want to worship the King!

                 a.  Not just confirm their opinions of him.

                 b.  Their whole purpose is to worship Him!

III. Worship the One born King

     A.  They Humble themselves

           1.  The arrive in humble surroundings.

                 a.  Probably not the stable: “the house.”

                 b.  Jesus isn’t a newborn, but a child.

                 c.  But Jesus’ parents are poor (Lk.2)

           2.  They see a mere child.

                 a.  A child with his mother.

                 b.  He doesn’t look much like a king!

           3.  They bow down and worship him.

                 a.  They trust the sign and the Scriptures.

                 b.  They humble themselves before him.

                 c.  They worship: acknowledge He is God.

     B.  They give him their Best

           1.  “They open their treasures.”

                 a.  What was most precious to them.

                 b.  They hid nothing from Him.

                 c.  Are your treasures open to Him?

           2.  The give Him offerings.

                 a.  “To present” is to give an offering or sacrifice.

                 b.  They give not because the child needs, but because they have an obligation.

                 c.  They worshiped though they didn’t know what we know! (And yet. . .)

           3.  They give the best they had to offer.

                 a.  Not the leftovers, the extra, what they could no longer use.

                 b.  They give what merchants traveled miles to get: Gold, Incense, Myrrh.

                 c.  What of your best do you withhold?

     C.  They follow God Home too

           1.  Their attention to God doesn’t end when worship is over!

                 a.  It’s not done after the last “Amen!”

                 b.  Their obligation to God isn’t completed with an “installment!”

           2.  God doesn’t expect them to stay.

                 a.  Life isn’t supposed to be just one really long worship service.

                 b.  We seek, find and worship God so that He goes home with us!

                 c.  After a genuine experience of God, the most important part is “going home.”

           3.  I wonder where God led them?

                 a.  Home, sure. But was it ever the same?

                 b.  Were they changed, or just tired out?

The Bottom Line:

Seek Him Who Pursues you, find Him Who Has Found you, Worship Him who Loves you.

R#451 Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts v.4

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