Sermons

Summary: Your Christmas can be counter-cultural; not by turning away from something but by turning to someone.

ADVENT CONSPIRACY*

FOUR WORDS THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR CHRISTMAS: REBEL

Matthew 2:1-15

Big Idea: Your Christmas can be counter-cultural; not by turning away from something but by turning to someone.

Supporting Scripture: Isaiah 55:2, Mark 12:29-31; Acts 4:12; Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15

SERMON INTRO

Good morning. I want to begin today with a pop quiz. I am going to give you a sentence or phrase and ask you to fill in the missing words. Just shout them out if you know them.

• Every kiss begins with {Kay}.

• Drive it away. Take time to pay … {Time Buyer!}

• Fall into the {Gap}.

• When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight { Fed EX}

• Save Money. Low prices. Live better. {Wal Mart}

• Takes a licking but keeps on ticking. {Timex}

• Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. {M & Ms}

• We bring good things to life {G.E.}

• Please don’t squeeze the {Charmin}.

• Pardon me, do you have any {Grey Poupon}.

Well they have us don’t they? They have branded their products very effectively; they are embedded within us. Some of those slogans are decades old but we still remember the product.

That’s not inherently evil by any means; but it is anecdotal evidence to me that as the people of God who wish to do Christmas different this year we may need to push back. As Romans 12:2 reminds us: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Pushing back is not new to the Christian. In fact, it is part of our DNA as God’s people. 1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

It is not only part of our DNA as the people of God – it is part of the DNA of the Christmas story. Listen to this passage from Matthew 2.

MATTHEW 2:1-15

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

SERMON

It’s easy to miss but I want to suggest to you today that rebelling (pushing back) is a part of the story that is often overlooked by us. I do think, however that those who were part of it knew it was happening and I am certain the writers of the Gospels (years later) knew what their writings were counter-cultural, dangerous and even treasonous.

I know we often think of “rebellion” as a negative thing. But for the believer it is a holy calling. It is positive and proactive.

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