‘Tis The Season To Worship Christ Matthew 2:1-2,11 Adapted from a Steve Shepherd sermonhttp://www.sermoncentral.com/print_friendly.asp?Con tributorID=&SermonID=129752
Matthew 2:1 NIV After Jesus was born inBethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened theirtreasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
A man said: In a small southern town there was a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it.One small feature bothered me. The threewise men were wearing fireman‟s helmets.Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.
At a "Quik Stop" on the edge of town, Iasked the lady behind the counter about thehelmets. She got upset, yelling at me, "You stupid Yankees never do read the Bible!" I assured her that I did, but simply couldn‟t recall anything about firemen in the Bible.She replied, “Don‟t you know the three wise man came from afar.”
The three wise men came from afar (the east), but to do what? They came toworship Christ. And it‟s been said that wise men still worship Jesus.It should be obvious to the whole world that it‟s time to worship the Christ!
But sadly, not everyone believes in Christ or acknowledges Christ as the Savior of the world. December 2008, Olympia, Washington An atheist group unveiled an anti-religion placard/sign in the state Capitol, joining a Christian Nativity scene and "holiday tree" on display during December.
The atheists‟ sign was installed byWashington members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national groupbased in Madison, Wis. The placard reads:"At this season of the WINTER SOLSTICEmay reason prevail. There are no gods, nodevils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
They also debuted a billboard in downtownOlympia that reads: "Reasons Greetings."The foundation‟s co-president, Dan Barker, said it was important for atheists to offer their viewpoint. He said, "Our members want equal time." Oh come on now! Get with the program! ‘Tis The Season to Worship Christ!
In the movie, "Four Christmases," there wasone scene where Vince Vaughn‟s character played the part of Joseph in a church play and Reese Witherspoon‟s character played the part of Mary. It is funny and yet not funny, because Vaughn‟s character, in his idiocy, over-played his part to the point where he got all the glory. All attention was given to him in that church play instead of pointing to the Christ child.
And that‟s the way it is in our world. People want to steal the glory of Christ for themselves. They are not the least bit interested in worshiping Him. BUT WE KNOW BETTER AND HOPEFULLY, WE DO BETTER! Wise men and women still worship Christ.
‘Tis the Season to worship Christ and in different ways. Worship Christ Secretly Worship Christ Sincerely Worship Christ Separately
‘Tis The Season To Worship Christ Secretly The teacher of the third-grade Sunday School class was planning to take her students on a "field trip" to the churchservice, so they could get an idea of what morning worship looked like. Before they left their classroom, shethought it would be a good idea to caution them against being nosey in those surroundings.
Attempting to engage their attention, sheasked, "And why do we need to be quiet in church?" One bright little boy replied, "Because people are sleeping in there."Would anyone ever go to sleep in a worship service? Or how about during a prayer meeting or private prayer time? Did you ever fall asleep while praying?
I believe it‟s the season to worship Christ secretly. Does that make sense? Secretly? Here is the idea.
Matthew 6:5 NIV “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love topray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell youthe truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father,who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I believe that every person who believes in Christ should have a private or secret prayer worship time. It may be in your house but it may be elsewhere, but I think it‟s a must for every Christian.
If those wise men from the East came to worship the Christ then what about us?How should we worship? What is meant by the word worship? In the verses we are reading today the word translated worship or worshipped is:G4352 ω proskuneōThayer Definition:1) to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
2) among the Orientals, especially the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence3) in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
3a) used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank 3a1) to the Jewish high priests 3a2) to God 3a3) to Christ 3a4) to heavenly beings 3a5) to demons Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer‟s/Strong‟s Number: from G4314 and a probablederivative of G2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master‟s hand)Doesn‟t this bring to mind bowing down in reverence & submission to pray? Todaylet‟s focus on us speaking words of praise to Him in prayer.
Our worship through prayer should start privately or secretly.Jesus said that the hypocrites of old loved to be seen praying in public. Personally,that‟s the last place I want to pray! I preferprivate prayer and praise so I can pour out my heart to God without any possible criticism or critique. We don‟t pray to be heard by others.
It‟s said that those who pray long in private will pray short prayers in public. And the reverse may be true. It‟s also said that the secret of power is the power of secret prayer. In praying, we praise the Lord and He blesses us with power for living eachday. There is power in prayer and power in praise!
Charles Simeon devoted the hours fromfour till eight in the morning to God. JohnWesley spent two hours daily in prayer. Hebegan at four in the morning. Of him, one who knew him well wrote: "He thought prayer to be more his business than anything else."
Martin Luther said: "If I fail to spend twohours in prayer each morning, the devil getsthe victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer." He had a motto: "He that has prayed well has studied well."
E. M. Bounds said, "The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who frittersaway the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking himthe rest of the day. If God is not first in ourthoughts and efforts in the morning, he will be in the last place the remainder of the day.”
It appears that we must first worship Christ privately, secretly in order to worship Him properly in public. Many people worshipHim in public but those who have been withHim in secret value public worship the most and would not want to miss it. The more you worship Him privately, the more you‟ll want to worship any time, Christmas or otherwise.
Matthew 6:7 NIV And when you pray, donot keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of theirmany words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. The fewer the words, the better the prayer. (Martin Luther)
And when you pray/worship don‟t babble. To me, this says that when we worshipand/or pray we must be sincere, not wordy. No one impresses God with many words.God hears our words but he also sees the heart. I‟ve heard more wordy prayers from preachers than anybody else. Most of us feel like we‟re being preached to in those prayers. Sincere prayers are needed. Sincerity in life is needed.
Golf pro Lee Trevino met a fan in a coffee shop. The woman asked him to sign a napkin, but Trevino refused, saying heknew she wouldn‟t keep it. “So she pulled out a $5 bill.” He said, “I wrote a nice little note in the margin and signed it. Thanking me profusely, she said, „I‟ll treasure it for the rest of my life.‟ ”
But later, he said, "Paying my tab with a twenty, I got that five back in change.” That lady talked like she was sincere, but her actions betrayed her. Our actionssometimes betray us or perhaps portray us as not what we say we are.
If I said I was an OU Sooners fan. Someone might say, “OH YEAH, PROVE IT!” Nothingin my life would back up my words. There is no doubt some of my friends areRazorback, Sooners or Cowboy fans. Why? Because every day it seems like that‟s all some of them talk about on Facebook.Posting stats, pictures at a game or of them with players or a coach.
WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT OUR FAITH? Is our devotion and sincerity evident to others? When David Hume, the infidel, wascriticized for going to listen to John Brown, the godly Scotch minister, he replied: “Idon‟t believe all that he says, but he does, and once a week I like to hear a man whobelieves what he says. That man preachesas though he thought the Lord Jesus Christ was at his elbow!”
THAT‟S SINCERITY! Do we live the Christian life in such a way as to be believable? What is there aboutour faith that is sincere and believable? Our prayer life? Church attendance? Giving? Christian service? Is there any evidence of sincere Christian faith and worship?If you were arrested & charged with being a Christian, would there be enough proof to convict you?
There was once a godless seaman who was in a boat fishing with his godless companions when a storm came up whichthreatened to sink the ship. His companions begged him to offer a prayer; but he hesitated, saying it was years since he had prayed or even gone to church.
Finally, upon their insistence, he offered this prayer: “O Lord, I have not asked You foranything for fifteen years, and if You deliver us out of this storm and bring us safe to land again, I promise that I will not bother You again for another fifteen years.”
That‟s not sincerity. Many people only call on God in times of difficulty and then whenthe difficulty has passed, they tend to forget God. As it‟s been said: Danger past. God forgotten. Danger present. God remembered. Our faith must be sincere and genuine if God is to be honored and glorified. ‘Tis the season to worship Christ sincerely.
Matthew 4:1 NIV Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and fortynights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter cameto him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: „Man doesnot live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.‟‟” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.
For it is written: “ „He will command hisangels concerning you, and they will lift youup in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.‟‟” (Psa 91:11,12) 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written:„Do not put the Lord your God to the test.‟‟” (Deu 6:16) 8 Again, the devil took him to avery high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: „Worship the Lord your God, andserve him only.‟‟” (Deu 6:13) 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. The Lord alone is God. He is to be worshiped separately, set apart from everything else in this life.
Many years ago, Thomas K. Beecher once substituted for his famous brother, Henry Ward Beecher, at the Plymouth Church inBrooklyn, New York. Many curiosity seekers had come to hear the renowned Henry Ward Beecher speak. But when Thomas Beecher appeared in the pulpit instead, some people got up and started for the doors.
Sensing that they were disappointedbecause he was substituting for his brother, Thomas raised his hand for silence and announced, “All those who came here this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher may leave the church; all who came to worship God may remain.” We are to worship the Lord only!
Have you ever heard of Pantheism? Theword derives from the Greek (pan) meaning"all" and the Greek (theos) meaning "God". Pantheism means that God is everything and everything is God. We, however,believe that God created everything in this world but we don‟t believe that God is IN everything. That would be worshiping thecreature rather than the creator. And this is a problem that many people have today.
THEY WORSHIP WHAT HAS BEEN CREATED RATHER THAN THE CREATOR. This is why people are so devoted to material things, sports, hobbies, play and pleasure, etc. They worship these thingsrather than God who is the creator and hasblessed us with every good and perfect gift.
Someone wrote: WHAT IS YOUR GOD?"Whatever you love most, serve most, seek out most, give to the most, worship themost, and care about the most is your god. Your “god” can be your career, your bank account, the way you look, a particular position or degree, influence, power, or physical pleasure.
Your “god” is whatever you allow to control you, to be the ultimate guide to decisionmaking, the place of your supreme loyalty, and the source of your self-worth." ‘Tis the season to worship the Lord God only!
A family celebrated Christmas every year with a birthday party for Jesus. An extra chair of honor at the table became the family‟s reminder of Jesus‟ presence. Acake with candles, along with the singing of"Happy Birthday" expressed the family‟s joy in Jesus‟ presence.
One year on Christmas afternoon a visitor to the home asked the five-year-old girl, "Did you get everything you wanted forChristmas?" After a moment‟s hesitation, she answered, "No, but then it‟s not my birthday!" ‘Tis the season to worship Christ and Him only!