Summary: Simple observations about worship from the wise men. What does true worship require?

Christmas Worship

Several years ago, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.

Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky--smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country.

Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:

"Were you scared?"


"Would you do it again?"


"Why did you do it?"

"Because," he said, "you can’t just sit there."

Christmas calls for a response--or reaction--from its participants. When it comes to God’s intervention in our lives, we can’t just sit there. -- Gary Gonzales

Matthew 2:1-12

Simple observations about worship from the wise men.

What does true worship require? - PLANNING!

I. Plan to worship v1-3

A. Plan to travel v1 special events & regular services / God will show you- didn’t just sit there!

B. Plan to ask questions - when where, how, - shows a desire to really worship

1. Wise because they learned - astrologers / mazoroth /or taught by

2. Studied to find Him / possibly Zoroastrian from the time of Daniel in Persia

C. Plan to look for His presence - star = shekinah glory. = brilliance of God

D. Plan to bring gifts - plan to give, tithe, sacrifice

(John 4:23 KJV) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

(John 4:24 KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

There has always been and will always be ...

II. False Worship v3-8

A. Some People are jealous of worship - troubled v3 self absorbed

B. Some people are unaware of true worship v4 - need to be told

C. Some people lack the faith to really worship v5 church kids - but unbelievers

ILL>>> How often Christians assume they have worshiped God simply because they have been in church! We are told that the church building is "God’s house" (an inaccurate designation borrowed from the Old Testament temple) and conclude that worship must take place there! Not necessarily. God was not pleased with the worship at Jerusalem (the Holy City). Nor is he impressed with beautiful cathedrals.

Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- )

D. Some people lie about worship 7-8 (Herod did)

New studies are challenging conventional thought on how Americans practice their faith. Gallup, for instance, reports that 45 percent of Protestants and 51 percent of Catholics attend services weekly.

But the American Sociological Review (December, 1993) suggests that many people stretch the truth when answering pollsters about their church attendance habits. Studies of actual head counts in selected churches found that only 20 percent of Protestants and 28 percent of Catholics are in church each week.

Another study measured four religious areas besides church attendance, revealing varying levels of commitment: 19 percent of Americans are religiously committed (practicing their religion regularly); 22 percent are modestly religious; 29 percent are barely or nominally religious.

-- Newsweek, 11/21/93. "To Verify," Leadership.

Keys to ...

III. Real Worship

A. Led by the star of God - the Holy Spirit v 9 led to GO!

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Anyone here visited lately?

B. Joyful anticipation of worship v 10 joy in church

C. Came into the house of God v 11

D. FELL DOWN AND WORSHIPPED - have you really worshipped lately?

(John 4:24 KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Worship isn’t listening to a sermon, appreciating the harmony of the choir, and joining in singing hymns! It isn’t even prayer, for prayer can be the selfish expression of an unbroken spirit. Worship goes deeper. Since God is spirit, we fellowship with him with our spirit; that is, the immortal and invisible part of us meets with God, who is immortal and invisible.

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