Summary: The Mission of God: God is Radically Committed to Winning People’s Hearts
The Mission of God:
God is Radically Committed to Winning People’s Hearts
God is on a mission to win the hearts of people. The coming of Jesus is about God taking the initiative to overcome the infinite chasm between us and him by coming to dwell among us, identifying with our struggles, our pain, and to point us to the One who has the solution. As we look at the incarnation of Christ these next few weeks, I believe God is calling us to partner with Him to be a community sent by him to win the world.
This is not a new idea for CCC. This church started sixty years ago as a mission to Homer. I believe God is once again calling us to this great adventure. His desire for us as a mission minded church is not to look so far to the horizon that we lose site of those in front of us. He is calling us to look across the street, to look at our neighbors, to look at our co-workers as people that God has sent us to, as our mission field. He is calling us to change our mindset from going to church to being the church. As we look to the future, I believe God is calling us back to see ourselves as a missional people. Missional being something we are rather than something we do. I want to focus on two truths in this passage: Gods heart is to reveal himself to all people as represented by the Magi and God great power is radically committed to winning people.
1. God’s Heart is to Reveal himself to all People Groups (v.1-2)
We see here that the Magi came from the east looking for one born king of Jews. How did they know that the star referred to a foreign-born king? First, we know from Old Testament history that when the Babylonians conquered Judah and Jerusalem, they deported the majority of the population to Babylon. The Jews lived in exile for 70 years, until the Medes and Persians conquered the Babylonians. Then the Persian kings allowed the Jews to return to Israel to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem and so many returned. But many Jews continued to live in the Persian Empire. So by the time of Christ's birth, centuries later, the Jewish religion would have long existed in the "east." In all likelihood the Hebrew Scriptures were known and so they knew of the coming of the Messiah. Daniel was also prominent in Babylon and among the Medes, and the book he authored has several Messianic prophecies. This may explain how they knew of the king of the Jews.
They came to worship the king. In verse two Jesus is identified as king of the Jews and then in verse four as the Messiah. Herod was looking to kill him; the chief priests and scribes were indifferent but those God prepared were searching for him. The Magi were looking because God had prepared their hearts and was drawing them to himself. It was the unlikely people who embraced God, the Magi not the Jewish leaders. The people we overlook as unlikely to embrace God are the very ones that embrace God and his purposes! The Jewish leaders tell Herod where the king would be born but they do not seek him themselves.
You never know whose heart God is preparing. It may be your neighbor, it may be someone you are serving at the food bank, it may be one of your co-workers. But you will never know unless you have a meaningful relationship with them. And that is only going to happen as we cultivate God’s compassion for lost people, especially those who are not like us, the unlikely ones. God desires for us to go to them because rarely will they come to us. That is what the incarnation is all about, God coming to us. God is calling us to do the same, live incarnational lives by reaching outside ourselves bringing Christ to others.
2. God’s Power is radically committed to win People
The Magi were pagan astrologers, probably from Babylon. They got there because His star guided them. We do not know how they knew this was ‘his star’ but God revealed it to them. So not only did God prepare them for this centuries earlier with the deportation of the Jews but he also made them aware of something special about this star to lead them to the King!
God wields the universe to make followers of Christ.
Look at verse two – ‘we saw his star’ and then verse nine, ‘the star went ahead of them until it stopped over the place the child was.’ The point is that this is not something that the star did on its own. God was guiding the Magi through the star to lead them to worship King Jesus. Only one person was behind that star. The universe is made up of billions of stars, and those stars have been in motion from the creation of the world orbiting planets through gravity and motion and the forces of space. God is using his omnipotent power and wisdom to orchestrate the movement of planets and stars and solar systems so that this star would be at the right place and at the right time and directed in the right direction to lead these Magi to Jesus. Not only does God use his omnipotent power and wisdom with the universe he is also using these same powers to orchestrate history and cultures and governments and the lives of individuals to bring about the worship of Jesus.