Volume. XXVIII, No. 28
Sunday, 12 January 2014


The Wise Men and The Birth of Jesus - Part 3


This edited message was delivered on Christmas Day 2013.

…...continued from last week.

 

There are five indisputable facts in Matthew 2: 1-12.

1. The Declaration by the Wise men that Jesus is the Messiah and King of the Jews.

2. The Worship of Jesus by both Jews and Gentiles.

3. The Decrees of God that Jesus is to be known and worshipped.

4. Jesus causes difficulty to those who do not want to worship Him.

5. Worshipping Jesus attributes authority and dignity to Him with sacrificial gifts.     

 

2. The Worship of Jesus by both Jews and Gentiles

 

Matthew did not tell us about the shepherds coming to visit the infant Jesus in the stable. That was mentioned in Luke’s Gospel. Here, Matthew focussed on foreigners who came from the east to worship Jesus.

 

Verses 1 and 2 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

 

Matthew describes Jesus at the beginning and ending of the Gospel as a universal Messiah for all nations and not just for the Jews. The first worshippers in Matthew’s Gospel were the “wise men from the east to Jerusalem.” These wise men or magi were not from within Israel but from the East, from Parthia, where Babylon used to be. They were not Jews. They were Gentiles, considered unclean by Jews. They did not follow Old Testament law and rituals, and yet they came to worship the child Jesus. We do not really know how they knew that this infant child Jesus was worthy of worship. They knew that, as mentioned earlier, a Messiah was coming most probably through the influence of Daniel in years gone by and the exiled Jews who were in their lands.

 

At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, the last words of our Lord Jesus known as The Great Commission was recorded in 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” The Good News is now opened to all nations, all races, all tribes, all cultures, all classes and all languages. It is no longer confined to the Jews.

 

The fact that the door is opened to Gentiles adds proof that this child Jesus, whom the wise men from the East sought, is the promised Christ or Messiah. It had been prophesied that Gentile nations and kings would come to Him as ruler of the world.  Isaiah 60:3, “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Matthew adds weight to the Messiahship of Jesus and shows that He is the Messiah, King, and Promise-Fulfiller for all nations, and not just Israel.

 

3. The Decrees of God that Jesus is to be known and worshipped

 

The Great objective or decree of God the Father is for the whole world to know His Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus, and to Worship Him.

When the time came for His Son to come to earth, He decreed events to happen so that certain people knew of His Son’s coming.

 

God decreed this ‘star’ to direct the wise men to come all the way from the East in Parthia to Palestine. Verse 2 of our text said these wise men saw “his star in the east.” It was God’s special star – “his star.” It did not say this star led them or went before them from the East. It was assumed that this star directed them. This star in verse 9 did lead them from Jerusalem to Bethlehem the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.” What was this star? How did it lead them from the East to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem? How was it that this star “stood over where the young child was?" There have been many explanations and theories, but none were able to explain this phenomenon. God decreed this “star” to make known of our Lord Jesus by bringing the Gentile wise men from the East to worship the child Jesus.

 

Luke, in his Gospel, shows how God decreed that His Son should come into the world when the Roman Empire was at her zenith. Luke 2:1-7 “1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Through the intervention and decree of God, the Emperor Augustus “decreed” a census of the Roman Empire that occurred at God’s appointed time to get the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem so that our Lord Jesus came into this world fulfilling prophecy with her delivery.

 

Soon after Christ’s birth God sent his angel to announce His birth to the “country shepherds abiding in the field” (Luke 2:8). Luke 2: 8-12 “8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The shepherds were then led to worship Jesus in the stable.

 

God decreed “his star” to bring the magi to Jesus. He decreed the Roman Emperor Augustus to issue a “decree” for a census to direct the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem to deliver Jesus. He decreed the angel to announce the arrival of Jesus to the shepherds. These are God’s ways. He is still doing it now. He decrees all nations to worship His Son. He wants all nations to come to Him. Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Elder Michael D Lee

 

…….to be continued.


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Volunteer. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Boong Atijatuporn.

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm. Good Bibles (English & Mandarin) available.

*Congratulations - Yr 12 & IB students on passing their exams.

*Sanctuary Flowers Roster: Volunteers needed. There are still many dates available.

*Church activities (AFG, Adult Sunday School, Ladies’ Fellowship, Men’s Fellowship, Neighbourhood Bible Study, & Teens) will commence soon. Please make an effort to attend at least one of these.

*Drivers needed to help with transporting worshippers to and back from church on Sundays.

  

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bro Yung & Sis Nita Chong & family (KL); Sis Natalie Cheng (Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations. 

2. Church activities in past week.

3. God’s protection: Sis Xandrea Cai

4. Success in Exams - Year 12 & IB students.

5. PR visa granted - Sis Sharon Ying (Perth).

6. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

7. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Ruth Ngoma, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi & Sis Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Bro Sis Nita Chong’s cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing) & Sis Iris Surman’s brother (healing).

3. God’s comfort & strength: Sis Julie Tan & family, & relatives; Mrs Helen Jenkins & family.

4. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

5. Cambodia Missions - Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Khmer pastors & families; Life University (Sihanoukville) - students to receive Christ.

6. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam, family & Ministry.

7. New Life BPC (London) - God’s encouragement & guidance; Congregation to remain stedfast in the faith; Rev Colin Wong’s visa application.

8. Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng. 

9. Journey mercies: Sis Mary Ting & family (Adl); & others travelling.

10. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

11. Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Yashu Qin (Adl) & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.

12. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Kerrie Lam & Monica Tan

13. Hopefuls away in different countries: safety, health & protection.

14. Godly Wisdom - those in authority in Government.

15. Recovery from Caesarean section: Sis Susan Weng;  Development & health: Caleb Weng.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063