Sermons

Worship: Giving not Receiving

Jul 26, 2020

Worship: Giving not Receiving

Passage: Matthew 2:7-12

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: We Need a King

Category: Sunday Morning

Detail

Matthew 2:7-12 Worship: Giving not Receiving

One of the key questions in our current culture – “Is church attendance essential?” 

  • The short answer - the Bible says it is.
  • Commanded to gather, to “assemble” – “not forsaking the assembly” – not gathering is disobedience.

ESV  Hebrews 10:25 anot neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and ball the more as you see cthe Day drawing near.

  • Not gathering or assembling leads to “drift” that is detrimental to your spiritual growth and threatens the ones you love.

A trend this pandemic has stripped to the core in the church is consumerism – what has “Quenched the Spirit” for the past 30 years. 

  • The sin of “what have you done for me lately” consumer-mindedness where someone’s heart comes to church to take not give.
    • I should not be too hard on this culture growing up in the mega-church “Heyday.”
    • Churches built on pragmatics and gimmicks to draw customers completely obliterating the Bible’s reason for church.

Church the ekklessia – the called out people who come to gather to worship Christ. 

  • Worship is a term used a couple of times in our text (vv. 2, 8) has in the English derivation, the word, “worth.”
    • Worship attributes value to the object it focuses on.
    • Ironically, when someone comes to gather at church for the express purpose of worship, you are blessed.

 

  • Worship is giving.
    • Giving an offering in the Old Testament is reflected in the sacrifices of praise given in the New Testament church.
    • We are living sacrifices and we offer ourselves.
    • When you come to give then and only then you are blessed.

 

  • Jesus’ principled teaching, “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Act 20:35).

ESV  Acts 20:35 In all things aI have shown you that bby working hard in this way we must chelp the weak and dremember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed eto give than to receive.'"

Everything in life reflects this. 

  • Yesterday I made a conscious decision to take the posture of giving rather than taking while driving through the Fred Myer parking lot.
  • I just starting waving masked customers across from their cars to their destination. People are shocked.    They start running. 
  • Jogging nervously as if they are putting me out.
  • My heart was glad.

The virus culture as whittled down programs and expectations. 

  • So what is left?
  • Either you come or you do not.
  • In addition, when you come you either give in worship or come out empty.
  • There is nothing left to jazz things up here.
  • Nothing to judge but yourselves!

 

The wise men if they are known for anything at all they are known as worshippers. 

  • First Gentile-worshippers.
  • Chief expression of worship was giving.
    • Wherever the Bible is read the conduct of these wise men is known, and told as a memorial of them.

Matthew’s account with Luke’s scene around Christ comes off like a scandal. 

A teenage mother, child conceived out of wedlock, lowly dirty irreligious shepherds (along with their animals) and then the magi the “Star-led Wizards” we learned about last week. 

Magicians, Persian-Parthians, formerly Babylon, modern-day Bagdad.

  • Gentiles coming to worship.
  • Representatives of every category of humanity that ventures to Christ.

Samaritan adulterers, prostitutes, greasy tax collectors on the take, Roman soldiers, ostracized lepers, and you and me! 

  • Jesus welcomes all-comers who come to bow to his Lordship.
  • First, to give then to receive.

Matthew 2 introduces not three kings but two. 

  • The Magi [Magoi] is plural meaning many – at least two – probably many more.
    • From enemy territory as a cohort, perhaps a small army, looking for a king.
    • They were not three, not named, not kings.
  • They came to find One.

Someone guessed that in light of the political climate the wise-men could have come in the role of “king-makers.” 

For Rome, it was political tense. 

  • The ruling body in the Parthian-Persian Empire, at this time was much like the Roman Senate.
    • The Parthians discontent with their weak king, searching for capable leadership to campaign against Rome.
    • Caesar Augustus was old and feeble.
    • Tiberius their Roman commander had retired.

 

  • The time may have been right for the east to make its move against Rome.

 

God used a star to summon this unique and unlikely envoy to make the 500-mile trek into hostile territory. 

  • Initially coming with political motivations but now seeing the sign of the star and the confirmation of Hebrew Scripture their hearts begin to change.

Two very different kings are present. 

  • A homicidal king, insanely paranoid and suspicious of losing his power and the true King, thereby divine right and purpose.
  • Life-taker verses life-giver.
  • Threat verse hope.
  • Dark versus light.
  • Death versus hope.
  • Anti-Christ versus Christ.    

Three reactions flow from the King who is Christ. 

 

Prop:  Two Kings make for three reactions
     1.Hatred (vv. 1-3)
     2. Indifference (vv. 4-6)
     3. Worship (vv. 7-12)
           a. False worship takes (vv. 7-8)

Herod is the figurehead of false worship. 

  • The core of false worship is hypocrisy.
  • Satan, God’s enemy wanting to be like God, to be worshipped, disguising himself as God.
  • The originator of false worship.
  • False religions.

Satan’s version of worship is hypocrisy – claiming to worship the true Christ. 

  • Worship driven by the Pharisees.

ESV  Matthew 15:1-9 abThen Pharisees and bscribes came to Jesus bfrom Jerusalem and said, 2 a"Why do your disciples break bthe tradition of the elders? dFor they do not wash their hands when they eat."3 He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?4 For God commanded, ab'Honor your father and your mother,' and, b'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'5 But you say, 'If anyone tells his father or his mother, "What you would have gained from me is given to God,"16 he need not honor his father.' So for the sake of your tradition you have amade void the word1 of God.7 aYou hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:8 a"'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as adoctrines the commandments of men.'"

 

Herod’s plan began with a meeting held in secret. 

 

  • Wise men had stirred him up and in turn, he had stirred up Jerusalem.
    • He got Intel from “the chief priests and scribes” as to where this would-be king would be born.
    • All that was left for Herod’s plan was to initiate timing.

 

  • Ascertaining the time the star had appeared would tip off the age of the newborn king.
    • He wanted to know Jesus’ age to make for an effective slaughter as necessary.
    • Herod was a Hitler! 

 

  • He had already schemed out the real potential of killing the small boys of Bethlehem.

 

ESV  Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

 

So jiving together the star’s first appearance with Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2 (prophecies) meant Jesus was now likely not older than two. 

  • Herod’s schemes all meant to protect his reputation dripping with hypocrisy.
    • Kept his slaughter plan as a last resort to ensure this child would die.
    • Herod would wipeout who he had to, no more no less.
    • Contain the slaughter and use as necessary.
    • Protect his reputation.

Once he had the newborn’s age, he felt he could profile a location for a direct strike. 

  • This plan hung on Herod’s ability to deceive the Magi.
  • Conscious of his success, Herod sent no escort with them.
    • Not absurdly trusting them, he believed they were convinced and he had won their trust.
    • He probably had, so he stays undercover. A coward.     

Herod is in the lead and the Magi are following him.

  • Rung true they had come this far to find the new king and the old king shared their enthusiasm and purpose.
    • “Go and search diligently for the child” (v. 8).
    • Verse 2 shows the Magi had been out-loud searching throughout Jerusalem.
    • “Where is he born king of the Jews” – “We saw his star” – “We have come to worship him!”

 

  • Herod reloads this passion five miles south in Bethlehem to find Jesus.
  • It would not have worked to send soldiers as this would expose the hunt not a locate.

To seal the deal Herod saying, “…when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him” (v. 8). 

  • The Magi always intended to “worship” Jesus (v. 2) and Herod never did.

“Worship” is to bow, to pay homage, to kiss toward. 

  • Herod was not capable of true worship however; the wise men were.  
           b. True worship gives (vv. 9-12)

Worship that gives begins with the Holy Spirit. 

Verse 9 begins with a transference of leadership. 

  • The wise men were “listening to the king” – the wrong king – the anti-Christ king and then God intervened with a star.
    • They made their way down to Bethlehem, “listening” to Herod and God interrupts their plan appearing as the Shekinah.
    • Not a literal star, God’s presence reappeared.
    • The star had lead them 500 miles from East to West – to Jerusalem.
      • Then this supernatural star went away.
      • Then suddenly reappeared to direct them right to the child.
    • All the work of investigating, awkwardly and publically, down twisty streets, knocking on doors of homes was solved.
    • The star took them to the house – “the place where the child was” (v. 9).
    • There is personification here.
    • The “star” – “stood over where the child was” (v. 9).
    • This reads with concrete – “Jesus is right here!”

This is the providence of God, how God interrupts a plan put in play by secular means.  The influence of unbelieving friends or family. 

Walking a direction that perhaps you do not even realize is part of a bad motive, even satanic strategy that would hurt people and God interrupts it! 

God shines light on the subject, usually with his Word and suddenly you see the real reason you are there. 

Verse 10 shows that this is an epiphany for the wise men! 

  • This is the fourth reference to the “star” (v. 9).
    • When they saw this familiar star, “…they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (v. 10).
    • The language describes the wise men’s reaction with stacked up superlatives.

 

  • I cannot say with certainty that this marks the wise men’s conversion!
    • Their motive before was “worship” (v. 2) but as you know, often our testimonies from personal experience feel less precise!
    • This is a moment. They are delirious with joy! 
    • They are confirmed that God is leading them!

 

  • All the way to Jesus! They have come 500 walking miles!  And now 5 miles more! 
    • What! God is real.  Jesus is real. 
    • In addition, they are now out from under satanic Herod’s leadership!
    • Now free.

They knew the exact house where Jesus was and this was now their mission, not Herod’s. 

True worship is overjoyed with the assurance that God made you alive.  -- He brought you to Jesus and he brings you to Jesus to give him the glory due to his name! 

They went right “…into the house” boldly? 

  • The first thing they see is “Jesus.”
  • By the way, Matthew loves to use the words, “Behold” and “See” [idou, eidov] (vv. 2, 9, 10, 11).
  • The wise men were “seeing” Jesus through the eyes of faith.
  • The “child with Mary” is purposely phrased this way, Jesus before Mary.
    • The focus is always Jesus.
    • Worship is directly toward Jesus, not Mary. “…and they fell down and worshiped him” (v. 11). 
    • Not Mary as a co-redemtrix (Roman Catholic Church).

John in Revelation was rebuked by an angel to not worship it. 

Cornelius was rebuked for worshipping Peter. 

The crowd at Lystra tried to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas.

ESV  Acts 10:25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and afell down at his feet and bworshiped him.

ESV  Acts 14:11-13 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, a"The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" 12 Barnabas they called aZeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.13 And the priest of aZeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and bwanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.

 

I am concerned not to bow and worship anyone but Christ. 

  • I am cautious to whom I would ever pay homage to.

 

  • One page over in your bible takes you 28 years later when Jesus was 30.

 

  • Jesus begins his ministry, fighting Satan, fighting satanic ideologies.

ESV  Matthew 4:8-10 aAgain, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."10 Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, aSatan! For bit is written, c"'You shall worship the Lord your God and dhim only shall you serve.'"

 

The same words for “fall down” [piptw] and “worship” [proscuvew]. 

  • We do not know the social position of the magi – they felt appropriate to visit a newborn king – they had the audience with Herod.
  • Foreign dignitaries doing homage!

Why? 

An extreme contrast with how Jesus is largely rejected throughout Matthew. 

  • The Jews send Jesus to the Cross.
  • Reversal of the world’s values!
  • Unlikely conduct from unlikely dignitaries.
  • This is the culmination of a pilgrimage from Babylon.
    • A pilgrimage of the nations/gentiles (cff. Is. 2:2-3; 60:1-5; Mic. 4:1,2).
    • Magi being from Babylon ironically brings the exile of Jerusalem full circle.

 

  • Not Jews, not religious people.
  • The Gentiles find Jesus and worship Jesus!
  • Converts from the Occult. Why?  Grace through faith!

They saw a little baby on Mary’s lap. 

  • They worshipped. By faith.  No miracles.  No teaching.  No signs of divinity. 
  • Nothing but a newborn/toddler?
  • In need of a mother’s care.
  • They believed he was the Savior of the world!

 

Charles Wesley’s Christmas hymn: “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate deity; pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel!”

True worship gives! 

  • Expressed in their three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.    
    • Instead of spiritualizing these gifts.
    • Better to see them as expressions toward royalty!

As it was when the Queen of Sheba presented gifts to Solomon. 

ESV  1 Kings 10:1-10 aNow when bthe queen of cSheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came dto test him with hard questions.2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels abearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind.3 And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.

 

ESV  1 Kings 10:10 aThen she gave the king 120 talents1 of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

 

ESV  Isaiah 60:5-6 Then you shall see and abe radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult,1 because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, bthe wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of aMidian and bEphah; all those from cSheba shall come. dThey shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.

 

Certainly, gold, frankincense, and myrrh could be allusions to Jesus. 

  • He is King, worthy of Gold. He is God,
  • Worthy to be worshipped with Incense.
  • Old Testament offerings separate from sin offerings.
    • He is sinless, worthy of Myrrh.
    • He who while dying rejected wine mixed with myrrh (Mk. 15:23) to feel the full force of suffering for our sins.

 

  • Myrrh which is used to embalm Christ as our sacrifice.

 

Lordship, Deity, Humanity?  All true.  Perhaps implied.  Not the point! 

 

Point:  The most unlikely worshippers in the entire world at the time – Got – it - right! 

The church needs people who gather to give!  Worship not consume! 

The church has been stripped down to its fundamental core. 

What is truly all about. 

Coming to the house, where Jesus lives, falling down to worship just Him, holding nothing back, give him everything!      

 

“What happened to the wise men?” 

  • In short, they fell off the grid into obscurity.
    • But they were not off of God’s grid.
    • We have a window into their newfound relationship with the Lord.

 

  • Their public mission done - forever remembered mission was done.
    • They now meld back into their world, back to Bagdad/Babylon.
    • Out from under Herod’s leadership, now firmly under the Lord’s leadership.

“…they departed to their own country by another way” (v. 12). 

Give do not take. 

Worship do not consume. 

Worshipping with a heart to Give not Take – ends what God’ hates - faking it – in a foreign land – where we step inside Jesus’ home and fall down before His face!        

 

 

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