Summary: The first of a four part series that focuses on the birth of Christ


John Maxwell


Please turn with me to Matthew, Chapter 2 for the reading of the story. It’s one that we’ve read and heard hundreds of times. And yet true to not only the story of the spirit of Christmas, but to the tradition that I think we’ve had at Skyline for the last few years, these messages will be very simple.

The beauty of Christmas is that it’s a profound message, yet so simply given. And I’ve always felt that the best way to preach a Christmas message is to take the obvious and then pull truths for daily living out of it. And in the story of the wise men in Matthew, Chapter 2, I think the Lord will help us do that.

Let’s stand this morning for the reading of God’s Word. Matthew, chapter 2, beginning with verse 1. "Now, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold Maji from the East arrived in Jerusalem saying, `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.’ And when Herod, the King, heard it, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born. And they said to him, `In Bethlehem, of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet, and you, Bethlehem, land of Judith, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel.’ Then Herod secretly called the Maji and ascertained from them the time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and he said, `Go and make careful search for the child and when you have found him, report to me that I too may come and worship him.’ And having heard the King, they went their way. And lo, the star, which they had seen in the East went on before them until it came and stood over where the child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And they came into the house and saw the child with Mary, His mother, and they fell down and worshiped him and opened their treasure. They presented to him gifts of gold and Frankincense and Myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way." You may be seated.

The wise men started it all. When I talk about starting it all, I’m talking about gifts. Giving gifts, receiving gifts. In fact, I would like you to note a couple things about this simple story just as a way of introduction. I guess I’m impressed by the fact, first of all, that their gift was personally given. These were wealthy people. They were from another country. In fact, they were from Iraq. They could have sent the gift. I guess I’m impressed by the fact that they really felt that they were on a mission and they personally wanted to bring these gifts to the Christ child. In fact, when you read this story, the personal part kind of pops out at you. Look at verse 2, "We saw His star in the East and have come to worship Him." Look at verse 9, "They went their way." Look at verse 10, "And when they saw the star, they rejoiced." Verse 11, "They came into the house. Opening their treasures, they fell down and worshiped Him. Opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts." It personally was given.

The second thing I notice is that it was properly given. When I say, "it was properly given," it was more than a gift and I think that’s probably what I want to talk to you about this morning. More than just gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. But it was a gift with worship and adoration and glory, and honor and praise to Jesus.

Now, there are three kinds of gifts we give at Christmas time. I got to thinking about gifts and I wrote down three different kinds of gifts that you and I give at Christmas or can give at Christmas.

1. The gift for a gift, gift. You know what I’m talking about. Every one of us has done this before. It’s the gift for a gift, gift. And, basically, what the gift for a gift, gift is that we get a gift from somebody and so we kind of figure out how much it was and so we go down to the May Company or somewhere and we buy a gift of about the same kind of a price and it’s a gift for a gift, gift. And every one of us has given a gift for a gift, gift, gift.

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Roger Head

commented on Nov 15, 2006

Very practical. Useful not just for a service, but also a SS class

Tom Speight

commented on Dec 1, 2008

John''s illustrations are priceless & grabs the heart of all generations. What a message in these tough times to give personal, heartfelt, grace gifts.

Lanel Guyton

commented on Dec 4, 2010

Great careful with illustrations that single out persons based on color.

David Buffaloe

commented on Dec 5, 2011

Not to be critical, but the sermon was more focused on gifts than on the Christ. The wise men were focused on the Lord, and gave appropriate gifts that equated to His calling.

Troy George Ii

commented on Dec 17, 2011

What a great reminder of how to show Christ, through our gift giving. In tough financial times, these gifts and ideas can really make a difference. Thanks...

Bumble Ho

commented on Dec 22, 2013

Very relevant sermon. But I would conclude a bit differently at the end to draw attention to the gift that God gave us through Jesus. That was the gift that started the wisemen's gifts. That was the gift that last forever which we can give others when we introduce them to Christ.

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