Don't Move On From Christmas
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 10 months ago

Don't Move On From Christmas

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

It's the day after Christmas. Does life just move on? Or do we celebrate something so history shaking and life altering that our lives have to be different now as a result of Jesus' birth?

I know, I know, it's the day after Christmas. That was yesterday, right, like, why are we singing the Christmas songs? Why are we watching the Christmas story? There's a long build up to Christmas, isn't there? There's a there's an anticipation, there's a celebration, there's a it's coming, it's coming. I'm counting down and then it's the day and then it's the it's the day after, it's yesterday and now, like well, everything's a mess. You know, the tree is falling apart and my gifts are all unwrapped and the lights are falling off and it's back to life as usual. Right. It's new year's coming up. There's on to the next thing. There's lots of exciting things happening this New Year. But I want to tell you today, in the title of my message, is this is don't move on from Christmas. Don't move on from Christmas. Turned to the person next to you and tell them don't move on from Christmas ready. Don't move on from Christmas. And I want to tell you this today because the first century world tried to get back to normal, but something happened that night that made it impossible and I think what we should think about Christmas us this way, to like we shouldn't just celebrate Jesus's birthday and then move on with the rest of our life as usual. Mary and Joseph didn't do that, the shepherds didn't do that, the wise men didn't do that, King Herod didn't do that. But oftentimes that's exactly what we do, isn't it? We love the Christmas lights and then put them away for next year. We love to sing the Christmas songs and then we storm away and bring them out again next year. This whole season is just building and building and building and...

...building, and then it's here and then the next day is kind of like the pressing. Yeay, now, I got away. Three hundred and sixty four more days, you know again, and it's kind of like the movie that I showed you right. It just anticipation, building, building, building, building, the moment and then it's over. It's over. So, if you have your Bible, turn with me to the book of Matthew, Matthew, and I want us to look today at what happened after Christmas, after Jesus was born, and I want us to see today that the world tried to get back to normal, but they couldn't, and they didn't, or they couldn't get back to normal for a very important reason. And the reason wasn't because of random baby was born. I mean babies are born all of the time, right. It wasn't even because a kind gentle man, you know, who was born as a baby would grow up just be a kind gentle guy was born. It wasn't even because this baby would be a great teacher or even a great religious leader. This child that was born was a king, and when a king is born into a kingdom that already has a king, that causes some problems, like there is a war about to start, there is a war that needs to happen, and that this wasn't just any king. This was God, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, that entered into the stage and everything changed. Everything changed, and so I hope our time together will encourage you to believe that that God has...

...entered into your life and now everything has to change. My life from here on out has to be completely transformed because of what God has done for me. And so, Matthew, Chapter Two, I'm going to read the whole chapter. This is what Matthew writes about what happened after Christmas, and then afterwards we'll go through the the verses and so they'll see him on the screen behind me. But Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About the time some wise men from the eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem asking where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and we have come to worship him. And King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, and, as was everyone in Jerusalem, he called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of the religious law and asked where is the Messiah supposed to be born? In Bethlehem and Judea, they said, for this is what the Prophet wrote, and you will bethle him in the land of Judah. Are Not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people, Israel. And then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men and he learned from them that the time when the star first appeared, and then he told them go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child and when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him too. And after this interview, the wise men went their way. In the star they had seen in the East guided them to Bethle him. It went ahead of them and stopped at the place where the child was, and when they saw the star they were filled with joy and they entered the house and saw the child and his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chest and gave them gifts of gold, Frankensense and Murr and when it came time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. And after the wise men were gone, and Angel The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream,...

...saying get up, flee to Egypt with the child and his mother. The Angel said stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. And that night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and marry his mother, and they stayed there until Herod's death. And this fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the Prophet. I had called my son out of Egypt, and Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the Wise Men's report of the stars first appearance, and Herod's brutal action fulfilled what the God had spoken through the Prophet Jeremiah. A cry was heard in Rama, weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted for they are dead. And when Herod died and Angel of the Lord appeared in the dream that jop Joseph in Egypt get up, the angels said, take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead. And so Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was her Herod's son, Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said. He was to be called a Nazarene. And, Lord Jesus, we thank you for your word. We thank you that this story of your birth and what happened in the years following is recorded for us, that we can read it. Lord help us to understand what is happening, what is going on, how your entrance into this world as a baby rock the world and may it shake our lives. May we not leave here like normal, like nothing ever happened, but, God, you entered into our life,...

...you intersected with us, and may we leave changed, in different as a result of it. So thank you again for your word that we can read, that we can study, and Lord be with us now in Jesus name. Amen. So Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, and during the reign of King Herod, about that time, some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking where is the newborn king of the Jews. We saw his stars that rose. We've come to worship him. Just reading these words again and and meditating and thinking about this Christmas story, new this Christmas season has been really cool, really just fresh for me trying to get rid of all the distractions and all the things that are happening and just focus on the word of God and Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a real place, a small little town just outside of the big capital city of Jerusalem, during a real time in history, the reign of King Herod, and so you could go around, and people do this all the time. They they have archeological digs around and in Jerusalem and in these places in the Bible and they find things like this. That's King Herod's inscription, and it's like wow, there it is, you know, and you can date it, you can look at it, you can see what time period it's a part of, and guess what, it matches up. Amazing Right. You just dig around and you can find that this all happened during this particular time period. And what's amazing, though, is that King Herod, the King of this region, was a footnote in the story of a baby who was born in his kingdom, just a foot like. The books are supposed to be written about the king, the the rememories are supposed to be written about the king. Everybody's supposed to remember the king, not some random baby born in a stable to some peasants. But yet that's how it turned out. And then...

...some some wise men from the eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem asking where the newborn king of the Jews was, and they saw this star. You know, I was thinking there wasn't any news networks, there was no whitter. They just see the star and they go and then they just show up. It's like, what do they do? Like Bang on the door, like why are you here? What do you want? And notice it's some wise men, not three. Right, we always think of three because that's the Nativity. See, they think of gold, frank and sense and murder. There's three gifts. There's not three wise men. And they're really their royal astrologers, their Magi. They people that watch the stars. They probably worship the stars. They were looking to the stars that help them to determine decisions that needed to be made and they noticed something extraordinary one night and they knew. They knew a king was born. It's just really interesting to think about how the heavens declare the glory of God and out of all the people to be aware that a new king, the Messiah, the one who was promised from the beginning to come out. Of all the people, it wasn't the political rulers that knew about it, it wasn't the Jewish religious leaders that knew about it, it was random men who didn't even worship the Jewish God that were one of the first people that came to Jesus. Pretty Awesome. And while astrology and putting your trust in stars is very different than trusting and following Jesus, it's awesome to see how God is over and above everything and even using stars, that people worship the stars and God's like, I'm even bigger than that. I'm going to use this to bring glory and honor to myself.

I'm going to bring you to myself using this. It's just so cool. And so the newborn king of the Jews was born and these wise men, they knew it and they go to the big city, they go to the capital city, because if a king is born, certainly it's in the capital right. It's in where all the people that know what's going on in the in their town, that their big city. That's where they go. They go to the palace. That's where kings are, and I just wonder. It's a little bit of a strange point, but I just wonder, what length would you travel to worship Jesus, like these Magi, these these astrologers from the East saw a star, not knowing really anything else right, and they traveled many, many miles, many many days to go and find this king, and I just wonder, not necessarily, how far would you travel, like how many miles would you drive? I'm not really asking that question, I'm asking more like, to what length would you go, like when things get hard, when things get difficult, when things get maybe frustrating, or they change, when the music changes, when the styles change, when the method changes, when the location stages, like at what length are you going? What length are you going to worship Jesus? Because I think we all get kind of comfortable where we're at and we're like, I'm good, but just stay here. But like when we come to worship, we come for a purpose. We come to worship Jesus and give everything that we had. No matter where we are, we will worship, no matter what we're doing, we will worship and it will look different over time. It will look different depending on where we are and what we're doing, but we should be here to worship and maybe there's a better question. How desperate are we to worship like do you long for it? Do you need it? Do you wake up in the morning every single morning saying I am here to worship...

Jesus, not just on Sundays, although that's a very important time in the in the schedule and the routine of things, to do that at church and with everybody, with the body of Christ, but everywhere, every time, all the time. How much do you invest in it? How much would you travel for it? Because the Magi, they traveled from the East and they wanted to go find out what was happening in Jerusalem. And when they got there they realized that King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. And deeply disturbed is actually, I think, a very severe understatement, because history tells us this King Herod, who's inscription was on that stone I showed you a minute ago, he was crazy, like, he was paranoid, he was psychotic, like if there was a challenger to His throne, Aka his sons, he killed them. This dude was messed up. And so now there was a little baby who supposedly could a king. A king was born Oh man, watch out right, but it's interesting, like he has no clue. Right, Jesus enters this world with very minimal fanfare. Very little people know about Jesus being born. He was announced that he was born to the shepherds, the sinners in the field, and he was announced by a star to some astrologers in the east. That's about it. And now politics has entered into the scene and everything starts to get interesting. So what did Herod Do? He called a meeting of the leading priests and the teachers of the religious law and asked where is the Messiah supposed to be born? And you can tell King Herod really loved the Scriptures, can't you? He was really awaiting this. But Siah? I don't think so. Four Hundred Years God hadn't said anything, right, I'm...

...sure they just kind of moved on. So I hey, remember those scriptures, you know, the ones that we kind of think about, the ones where we get our laws from? Yeah, like those things. Do you think those say anything about what these random people from the east or to asking about? And it's interesting that King Heron knew that this wasn't just a king, it was the king right, it wasn't just a random king. Even it was the Messiah, the Chosen One, the anointed one, in the in the Hebrew it's Messiah, and in the Greek it's Christ, Jesus Christ. Did you know Christ wasn't, or isn't Jesus's last name? It's a title. Jesus Christ. Christ is the Messiah, the Chosen One, the anointed one. And so they found the scriptures, and this is what they found in Bethlehem, in Judea, they said, for this is what the Prophet wrote. And Oh, and you, oh Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you, who will be the shepherd for my people, Israel. It's like Good Bible study. Wow, you can read your Bible. You are very talented. You get paid the big bucks for that. Then King Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men and he learned from them that the time the star first appeared. And then he told them go to Bethlehem and search for carefully for the child, and when you find him, come back to me so that I can go and worship him to meeting, kill him, of course, and Herod needed to know when the star first appeared because he needed to know how old this baby was. Right, he was born. Now how much time had passed? Because now I'm going to find him and I'm going to get rid of him. And after...

...the interview with the wise men, went their way. The Star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem and it went ahead and it stopped over the place where the child was. And when they saw the star they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chest and gave him gold. Franken, sense and Mirr this was a supernatural star guiding the wise men. It was seemed to be moving. It wasn't just over the stable, and actually it wasn't ever over the stable, right, it was over the house. So this is some time later. They were spending time in Bethlehem, maybe one to two years later, and this is where the Magi came to find them and worship the little boy. Imagine if someone worshiped you. That'd be interesting. Went now imagine someone worshiping your children. That's weird right. That's strange and they brought gifts gold, frankinsense and Mirr, and they probably didn't know, but these gifts are very symbolic of who this baby was and what he was going to do. Maybe they were just bringing these gifts as practical gifts, like here's a lot of money, right, here's a lot of gold, here is some medicine or some things that you can use for healing in those types of things. But gold really represented deity, kingship, royalty. The frank and sense was was very fragrant when it was burned and it was used in worship. So it represents like righteousness and holiness and really giving yourself up as as an offering, and the Murr is a spice used in burial. So Jesus was going to die. It's represents bitterness, suffering, affliction. And when it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. I love this.

Right, here are some pagan, not Jewish, these people do not believe in God, traveling a very long distance to worship Jesus. That's incredible, right. They're following a star and God is using what they know to draw him to himself and they they learn to listen to God. It's amazing and like, why did they listen to him? Right in this he told him to go home, don't go back to Herod. Why did they listen to him? Why did they believe him? Why did they trust God in a dream? They hardly even knew him, but they obeyed. God is sovereign, he is in control of all of these things, and I wonder, when is the last time you changed your plans because of God's direction? When's the last time God warned you about something and you change your plans? Maybe you were preserving pursuing a certain career field. You thought this was going to be what I was going to do, and God entered in and he was like no, I got something different for you. Did you listen? Or what about? Like me, I was really into sports. Sports was my thing and that's what I lived for, that's what I went to college for. I was going to play sports, and God showed up and was like, I got a new direction for you to take. Or maybe he direct redirected the way you were leading your family or leading your business. We all go into all of these things. With our own plans, no matter how well thought out we think it is. And yet God is the one who's leading and guiding, and I just wonder, are we listening? Are we humble enough to change our plans when we realize that God has something different for us? So look, look what happens next. The Magi plans change,...

...and so too do Joseph and Mary's plans. And after the wise men were gone, and Angel, the Lord, appeared to Joseph in a dream. Look, Joseph gets so many dreams, he gets so many times the angel talks to him. Just look like this man must have been for it just crazy, like every time I go to sleep, the angel is going to talk to me. GET UP, flee to Egypt with the child and his mother. The Angel said, stay there until you return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. And that night Joseph left for Egypt and the child and marry his mother, and they stay there until Herod's death. And this the filled with the Lord has spoken through the Prophet. I called my son out of Egypt, and Herod was furious when he realized that the wise man had I witted him, and he sent his soldiers to kill all the baby boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the Wiseman's report of the stars first appearance and Harod's brutal action, fulfilled with God had spoken through the Prophet Jeremiah. Then he quotes Jeremiah cry was heard in Rama, weeping in great morning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted for they are dead. Yea, what a messed up Christmas sermon, but it's true. Like that's what happened. The Herod was very mad, very mad that the Madgi left him hanging, and he did what only he could do. He killed all the boys in and around Bethlehem who would have maybe been born around the time, the Magi said, just in case. Right in Bethlehem was not a huge place. There probably wasn't more than a thousand baby boys, probably even just a couple hundred boys. It wasn't a lot of people there, so there wasn't a lot of kids killed. But I mean, of course it's still very sad and very sick and very evil. But why would this happen right...

...like why would God allow innocent children to be slaughtered like this? It's a good question, but I think the quick answer. We can talk about this more in our next step groups because it's a great question. But a quick answer is well, okay, the worst possible thing happened to the best possible person. Right, Jesus was crucified and Jesus was perfect. And so if the worst possible thing happened to the best possible person, well then maybe there's something evil in this world. There's and Jesus came to take care of it. He came to do something about it. He came to save the world so that the people in this world could live a different way, so that we could live for a different kingdom. And believers in Jesus aren't afraid of evil. We understand it and we hurt for it and we realize that God loves the world so much that he came to this world to do something about it. And so that's what happened. But Matthew then takes us and says this all fulfilled prophecy, and one of the prophecies that have fulfilled. If you go back to verse fourteen or fifteen, they stayed there where in Egypt? This is crazy Egypt. Okay, out of all the places they could go. They went to Egypt and Joseph got a dream to go and tell him to go to Egypt. Remind me what happened in Egypt. The Jews, what were they? They were slaves in Egypt for over four hundred years. They were experiencing bondage and slavery. And God takes his people and says, go back there. This is my Messiah, go back to where I brought you out from. God is coming for your bondage places. He free.

He fleed there. Jesus fleed there, but he did not stay there and in our flash and sinful nature, we turned to certain things. We go there for comfort, we go there for pleasure, we go there to feel good about ourselves and we might want to get away from it. And wouldn't it be great if we could? Right, let's just get away from it, let's just live in freedom, let's just be free. But Jesus Fleas to that place and we want to run on from it. Jesus flees to it and we want to run from it, run from the hurt, run from the disappointment and the regret. But God has so much to teach us in those Egypt places and oftentimes, the very same forces that drive us to addiction, to bondage, to slavery, to sin and Sinful Habits, are the very same forces that draw us to accomplish God's amazing purpose in our life too. And we need to allow God to change the object of this thing that draws us there, to change the focus, to change the worship. Let God transform it and we just have to let God lead us out of Egypt, like God wants to lead you out of that place, out of that thing. He wants to lead you there, but you have to go there in order to be led out of it. Like there is something powerful about recognizing that you are stuck and that you need Jesus to lead you out. Like if you can recognize that, if you can see that and feel it, there's a good chance that your might be on your path to God leading you out, because that's exactly where he wants to do so that's...

...where Jesus goes. He goes to Egypt. And when Herod died and Angel The Lord, appeared in a dream to Joseph. There's them right, there's another jeam. Get up, the angel said, take the channel and his mother back to land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead. And so Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod's son, Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left the region of Galilee so that the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. And this fulfill the prophets had said. He will be called a Nazarene. All these dreams, all these fulfilled prophecies, Nazareth. Nazareth was in the middle of nowhere. It was a good for nothing place. One of the disciples in the first century said Nazareth, what good can come from Nazareth? And Paul says the Apostle. Paul says when I am weak, then I am strong, because God oftentimes want to use the weak places for his great glory. Those Nazareth places, the really that thing, that place. No, nothing good comes from there. Nothing good comes from that. God wants to use those places for his honor and his glory. God wants to use those people like you and me for those great purposes. He wants to use these places, those Nazareth places, and so don't move on from Christmas. That's my challenge to you. Don't move on from Christmas. Something happened two thousand years ago that shook the world to the cores. The Magi they saw the star and they worshiped a new king. King Herod responded by trying to kill the challenger, Mary and Joseph. They moved around to protect Jesus's life, and life was just crazy. They even went to Egypt. They settled in Nazareth,...

...from which nothing good could come from Nazareth, but it's from which Jesus would shake the entire world and turn history on its head. So we might be quick to get back to normal. We want to celebrate the New Year, we want to put the Christmas tree away, we want to throw all the presents away, to take the lights off and all this stuff. But those that were alive when Jesus was born, their life was never the same and I don't want ours to be either. We need to do something with this, with this news, and I hope, I hope we don't get angry and defensive and rage like Herod did. All the it's a response people have, but maybe I hope that we respond more like the Magi where we see the star. Okay, for whatever you're seeing right now, you're at least here. You're at least tuned in to some degree you or another. You've seen something. Now follow it, follow the star. It's moving, it's leading you. Don't listen to the enemy, he's going to try to distract you. He's going to try to crush your plans. Stay in tune with the word of God. Let him speak to you, let him lead you, direct you, and when he says go, you go, and when he says stay, you stay. And if we do this, I think God has some incredible, special things planned for us. What good can come from Nazareth, the savior of the world, can and whatever you're looking at in your life right now, that isn't what you thought it would be. It's there for a reason and it's developing into something that God wants to use in such a powerful way. So Watch out. Lord Jesus, we...

...love you and we realize that you are at work in our life, in our world, in our church, and for whatever reason, I think there's a good reason, but for whatever reason, the world kind of pauses over these days and we recognize and celebrate the birth of a baby, and for many people on this earth it's it might pass by and it might pass us by, who might be a little bit even more familiar with the story, and I just pray that as we studied your scriptures, as we look at this first Christmas, that we would see with fresh eyes that the thing that we celebrate and are celebrating literally change the world forever. And so, God, if it did, then I just pray that it would do that for us today. Like may we just leave this place different. May We never move on from Christmas and look on to the next thing and wonder and what's next and what's better, what's new? And God, you came to this earth as a baby. Wow, maybe we worship you, may we follow you. Help us to do that in Jesus name and.

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