Summary: The first of three sermons looking at how God used the gifts of the wise men to tell about Jesus and His life.
Who were the wise men? [not known, but likely Chinese astronomers or Iranian scholars]
How many wise men were there? [unknown, no names given]
When did they show up? [also unknown, could be later than Bethlehem, most say two years later]
What did they bring? [gold, frankincense and myrrh plus possibly other gifts]
-in the new Nativity Story movie, the wise men present Jesus with the gifts and say, “Gold, for the King of Kings, frankincense, for the Priest of Priests, and myrrh, for the sacrifice He will make.”
-so for the next three weeks, we’re going to look at the three gifts and what they mean. God does nothing by accident and there are many truths hidden here.
-to start out though, we’re going to give everyone some gold. [HAND OUT COINS]
-so why gold? Why was this gift given first?
1. GOLD REPRESENTS PURITY
-many times when the Bible or other ancient texts denote purity, they use two things, snow and gold.
**Mal. 3:3b -> 3bHe will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver… (NLT)
-it’s a prophecy of Jesus coming, that He will refine His people.
-what about the Jr. High’s theme verse?
**Zech 13:9a -> 9I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. (NLT)
-Jesus came to be that fire, to purify us.
-it’s one of the amazing qualities of gold. When it’s not pure, it is so easy to spot imperfections or dirt. It’s very easy to degrade the quality of gold.
-so how do they purify it? It’s pretty cool. They put the gold over a fire until it’s this shining yellow liquid. Then, gold is automatically heavier than any dirt or grime that is in it, so all the impurities just float to the top. The goldsmith skims all the crud and garbage off. They repeat this until all the dirt is gone.
-that’s one of the reasons people used gold and love it so much. It’s so easy to purify and it looks so good when it’s pure, but just like the gold, we have to let Jesus take our lives, get that stuff to the top, then let Him skim it off.
-but that’s why He came! The reason Jesus stepped out of heaven an onto earth was this.
**II Cor. 5:21 -> 21Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God. (NCV)
-Jesus was pure, pure as gold, but came so we could also be made pure.
-but that’s not the only reason He came.
2. GOLD REPRESENTS MARRIAGE
-I know, I broke with tradition, but originally wedding rings were primarily gold. This isn’t a new thing.
-in the Old Testament, there’s a story of Abraham trying to find a wife for his son, so he sends his servant to find him a wife. The servant meets a woman after praying at a well where his camels were drinking.
** Gen. 24:22 -> 22After the camels had finished drinking, he gave Rebekah a gold ring weighing one-fifth of an ounce and two gold arm bracelets weighing about four ounces each. (NCV)
-bam! She’s engaged. Mind you, the difference is that in those days the ring was put in your nose, not on your finger. Ladies, you know you want that tradition back. But that’s the first instance of someone getting engaged in the Bible. Everyone else we meet is either already married or somebody’s rib.
-just as they did back then, gold rings were used to represent engagement and marriage.
-guess what? Christ came to be married to us, to have a relationship with us that is much like a married relationship, where you are committed to each other, you love each other, you are honest with each other, where you build each other up.
-the church is the Bride of Christ.
**Luke 5:33-35 -> 33Some people said to Jesus, “The disciples of John fast frequently and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but your disciples eat and drink.” 34Jesus answered, “Do you think you can make the guests at a wedding party go without food as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not! 35But the day will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (GNT)
** Eph. 5:27 -> 27He died so that he could give the church to Himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it. (NCV)
-God wants to love us as His bride, He wants us to love Him the same way.