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Honor Him or "Bah! Humbug!"? (Matthew 2)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 08 December 2013 00:00

On Sunday we considered Matthew 2 and the contrasting responses to the news of the arrival of the newborn King of the Jews.
Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. Why was Herod troubled? Because he was Herod the king! He was the king, wanted to remain the king and would tolerate no threat to his throne!
Standing only 4’4” tall, Herod set out to prove he was a big man! He was a short man with a tall ego! He built himself palaces, fortresses, and entire cities.
He made monuments of grandeur to his name and his legacy.
However, he was a cruel, ruthless and vicious individual who had his wife, Meriamne, murdered.
Also, his own mother, Alexandria! His oldest son, Antipater; and also his sons Alexander and Aristobulus. His paranoia caused Roman emperor Augustus Caesar to make this famous statement about Herod: “It would be safer to Herod’s hus (sow) than to be Herod’s huios (son).”
That’s because Herod was less likely to kill his sow/pig than his son because he tried to keep pretenses as to observing some of the customs of the Jews, and to deal with a pig isn’t Kosher!
Years later, when dying, Herod did not want the people to be rejoicing over the death of this tyrant, so he ordered that upon his death 300 prominent Jews were to be executed because in that way even though the populace would not mourn his own death, there would be mourning and his death would be no cause for rejoicing. We do not know whether that command was carried out but it gives us insight into the thinking of this wicked, would-be king of the Jews.
Herod had connived politically and in 40 BC, at the urging of Marc Antony and Octavian, the Roman senate had proclaimed Herod the Great, “King of the Jews.”
Herod, however, was an Idumean, an Edomite, a descendant of Esau, who had been at odds with his brother, Jacob. This was just one reason why Herod was disliked in Judea. Herod knew that the Jews would not be satisfied until one of their own was seated on the throne bearing the title he had worked so hard politically to obtain from Rome. Herod had “bought” the title, but here came an entourage seeking One “born” King of the Jews! That spelled BIG trouble!

On the other hand we observe the response of the wise men (Greek magoi translates a Persian word meaning those who studied the stars), who from the writings of Daniel five centuries earlier were aware of a coming King of the Jews. No doubt these men had heard about the coming Savior-King, the Jewish Messiah (Christ) who guaranteed everlasting life to those who were believers in Him. As Old Testament believers, their faith was in the Coming One whereas our faith today is in the One who has come, whom we know now to be the Lord Jesus Christ. These wise men had received the greatest gift (eternal life) from this Coming One and now it had been revealed to them that they would actually find the King of the Jews by following His star! So they came many miles with valuable gifts to worship this divine King of the Jews.

We applied the message as follows:
In essence, Herod is saying, “Bah! Humbug!” to Christmas! I want to be king! And I am suggesting that every one of us has some of that “Bah! Humbug!” in us. Everyone!
To be fair, I don’t think your “Bah! Humbug!” would compare to Herod’s, but it’s a “Bah! Humbug!” that says, “I want to be king!” At times when Jesus is saying to us, “I want to be your King.” And we respond, “No, I want to be king!”
When would you say that? When would you do that? Well, there are many, many examples, but let me just give a few:
Jesus is saying to you every day, “I want to be your King. I want to be King over your spiritual life. I want you to spend time talking to Me. I want you to come to Me in prayer. Spend time with Me. Talk to Me. I want to grow in our relationship with one another by having fellowship with you every day. I want to be King over your spiritual life.”
“And I want you to come and worship Me at church with other believers to grow in your relationship with Me. I want you to be connected and involved in church. I want to be King over your spiritual life.”
And there’s something in us that says, “Naw, I want to be king. I’m not going to take time today to pray. I’m not going to make church a priority because I want to be king.”

And then Jesus is saying, “I want to be King over your family life. I want you to humble yourself and put the needs of others ahead of your own. I want you to put your wife’s needs ahead of yours. I want you to put your husband’s needs ahead of yours. I want you to put your child’s needs ahead of yours. I want to be King over your family life.”
And sometimes there’s something in us that responds, “No, I want to be king! I want it my way. I’m digging my heels in. I want others to put my needs first.”

And then Jesus is saying every day, “I want to be King over your relationships with other people. When somebody does you wrong, I want you to forgive. I want to be king over your relationships. I want you to forgive when you suffer wrong.”
And there’s something in us that says, “No, I want to be king. I don’t want to forgive. I want to hold onto that.”

Jesus says, “I want to be King over your moral life. I want you to save and keep sex for marriage.” And someone might respond, “I don’t want to do that. I want to be king.”

And Jesus says, “I want to be King over your financial life. I want you to be responsible with the money that I put in your hands. It is the money that you may work for, but that I allowed you to gain through your work. I want you to be responsible with it and to be generous with it.” And you say, “No. When it comes to my money I want to be king.”

I could go on and on with many more examples. You let this apply wherever it needs to apply in your life. And frankly, it’s every area of life. I every area of life, Jesus is saying to you and me every day, “I want to be your King!” You’re going to be happier if you let Me be King because I have nothing but the best for you if you let Me be your King.”
And we’re going to be a lot happier if we let go of that “Bah! Humbug!” in our lives that says, “I want to be king over that.”
And we have a perfect example that God can use in our lives to get rid of that “Bah! Humbug! I want to be king,” attitude in our lives. And that perfect example is found in the wise men that we’ve just been looking at in this story.
Let’s review what we saw in them.
Three things that they did, and we can all do these three things that we find in Matt. 2:11
(1) They rejoiced with exceedingly great joy to be in the presence of the King.
We can rejoice in His presence every day. Lord, I’m so glad that I have a relationship with You, that I’m Your child and You’ll never let me go and I can fellowship with You today!
(2) They fell down and worshiped Him as their King.
Every day we can fall down in our hearts and minds and worship Him. Every day and every week as we gather together we can offer up our praise and worship to Him as our King!
(3) They presented gifts to Him.
We can give gifts to Him still today. The gift of our obedience and submission. The gift of our prayer and service. The gift of our financial means in response to what He has given to us. What He is looking for in us is what He saw in the wise men, who said in their actions and words, “Jesus, You are my King!”
I hope the desire of your heart in response to what we have seen in God’s Word today is just that to Him.
I hope the desire of your heart is to tell Him, “Lord, You’ve really spoken to me through Your Word today! I don’t want to be like Herod. I don’t want to have this “Bah! Humbug!” in me that says, “I want to be king,” when You’re calling me to let You be King.
Lord, there’s something in me that wants to be like the wise men that says to You every day, “Lord, Jesus, You are my King, and I submit to Your kingship in my life.”

“BONUS MATERIAL”
Some of the men may remember from our study of Noah (at Men’s Breakfast) that the Bible teaches that there are two words for worship that picture two concepts of worship in the Bible, especially as they are distinguished in two New Testament words.
(1st word for worship} PROSKUNEO = “to kiss toward, or to bow down”
When you worship God with this kind of worship, you’re offering up to God your love as if you’re kissing God. You’re offering up your love and gratitude and praise and thanks to Him. You are bowing down before Him to express that.
This is what the wise men did in Matthew 2:11a ~ And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him (PROSKUNEO).

But there’s another word for worship in the New Testament.
(2nd word for worship} LATREUO = “to serve.” When you serve God and serve others as an expression of your love for God, that is called LATREUO worship.

Let’s look where these two words are used in the New Testament:
(1st} John 4:23 The true worshipers [proskuneo] will worship [proskuneo] the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship [proskuneo] Him.
So Jesus said that God is seeking people who will do what the wise men did when they sought out Jesus, found Him and then fell down to worship Him. In doing so, they were submitting to His authority as King. Picture that! Grown men of authority bowing down on their knees and faces, worshiping Him!
No doubt saying things like, “You are God come to earth! You are the Giver of everlasting life! You are our King, who is come to earth!” God is seeking people that will lift up their praise and thanks and love, and show their gratitude toward Him.

But here’s the other word:
(2nd} Romans 12:1 Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship [latreuo].
That is pictured by the wise men’s actions in Matthew 2:11b ~ And when they had opened their treasures, they presented [prosphero] their gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I want you to superimpose in your mind Romans 12:1 onto the picture of these wise men opening their treasures and presenting their gifts to Jesus.
When these magoi fell down and worshiped the Christ Child, they were worshiping God in the
PROSKUNEO sense of worship. When they opened their treasures and gave gifts to Jesus they were worshiping Him in the LATREUO sense of worship. They were serving God. They were giving of themselves in a practical way. They were valuing Him by giving to Him that which cost them something.

Do you see the distinction between two different expressions of worship toward God?
(1) Worship in offering praise and thanks.
(2) Worship in doing what God wants you to do in service.
Here’s another passage that distinguishes these two forms of worship:
Hebrews 13:15 Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
This verse is pictured by the worshiping wise men in Matthew 2:11a.
But now look at Hebrews 13:16
16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Notice the “doing good” and the “sharing.”
Whenever you do good things God wants you to do and you serve others out of obedience to God, when you serve others in your family, work, church, community, that’s a form of worship!
Then there is sharing. Did you ever stop to think that every time you give, financially, and you share financially, that’s a form of worship, LATREUO worship?!

May we, as those who have received God’s greatest gift of everlasting life, live our lives in daily worship of our Savior and King! He is our Savior who came and our King who is coming!

 

 

 

 

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