Summary: The real Christmas Story is a love Story. This final sermon focuses on how God's love won out.
I. I saw a Christmas cartoon this week which places one the wise men on his camel heading to Bethlehem and the caption depicts some of our concerns in this season."I hope I took the price tag off the frankincense before I wrapped it.”
A. The real Christmas story is a love story.
1. It is God’s love for all human kind displayed openly for the entire world to see.
a. Christmas is more than wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree.
b. It is more than mistletoe, Christmas Carols and Cards to all the friends and family.
2. Christmas is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
3. Christmas is about God’s love which came to rescue us from ourselves.
4. It is also a story of how far God’s love will go and how powerful His love is to overcome even the most diabolical plans.
5. The Christmas story is a story of God’s love making sure His plan of salvation would work out perfectly.
II. 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
A. There is great mystery involved with the live and origin of the magi. Numerous fables and legends have evolved from these few short verses of Holy Writ.
1. "magi" These wise men from the east were experts in the study of the stars.
a. Tradition says that there were three and they were kings, but we do not know for certain.
b. They are called Wisemen and Kings.
c. Come from the east means they did not come from the religion nor the tradition of the Jews.
d. They were the first non-Jews to recognize Jesus as Lord. This was a clear sign that Jesus came not to save the Jews but all people.
2. The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the fifth century B. C., identified the Magi as a caste of Medes who had a priestly function in the Persian Empire.
3. In the Book of Daniel the "astrologers" (magoi) are grouped with magicians, sorcerers, and Chaldeans as advisers to the court of Babylon with responsibility for interpreting dreams.
B. 2 "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him."
1. These Kings had kept track of the Old Testament Prophesies.
2. They read very carefully the Jewish Bible and they also saw a star which meant royalty.
3. The role of the star in <Matthew 2> suggests a connection with astrology.
a. These astrologers, pursuing their observations of the stars in the heavens, encountered a sign of God
b. God broke through their misguided system to make the great event known.
III. 3 And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
A. When Herod was trouble all of Jerusalem was troubled for He was a mean and ruthless despot.
1. Satan meant to thwart god’s Love Story.
2. Satan uses people and things to defeat God and His loving plan of Salvation.
B. Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
7 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."
8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing?
10 "Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
11 "But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face."
C. Gen 50:19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place?
20 "And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.(NAS)
IV. Satan tries to use Herod the Great (37--4 B. C.) to thwart God’s Love Story.
A. The title Herod the Great refers not so much to Herod's greatness as to the fact that he was the eldest son of Antipater.
1. Nevertheless, Herod did show some unusual abilities.