Summary: We must put an end to self-sovereignty.
HOLDING ON WHEN YOU SHOULD BE LETTING GO:
A COMMUNITY OF FEAR
C: A Fearful Community
Pr: WE MUST PUT AN END TO SELF-SOVEREIGNTY.
TS: We will find in our study of Matthew 2 an example of a man who would not let go of his self-importance.
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Die to self-rule
• Embrace Jesus as Savior and Lord
RMBC 10 December 06 AM
1. How are you responding to the Christmas season this year?
ILL Christmas (H)
Here are some ways that show that you just might not be responding to Christmas properly . . .
• If you turn on the lawn sprinklers on to keep carolers away.
• If you get your Christmas tree at a rest stop at night.
• If your favorite Christmas movie is Jurassic Park.
• If your best Christmas tradition involves a fire and reindeer meat.
• If your favorite pastime is putting defective bulbs in your neighbors’ string of Christmas lights.
• If your only holiday decoration is a rotting pumpkin.
• If you buy all of your Christmas gifts at a store that also sells gas.
• And finally, if you give fruitcake as a present (a very serious offense!).
Well, if any of these are true, I think it is safe to say that you need help!!!
We need to work on your Christmas spirit.
But there is an even more important question today…
2. More importantly, how are you responding to Jesus this year?
Lest we forget, Christmas is not about family and friends getting together, as great as that might be.
And Christmas is not about getting and receiving gifts, as fun as that might be.
Christmas is also not about cakes, cookies and candy, as filling as they might be.
Christmas is about Jesus, and unless we learn to respond to that joyfully and worshipfully, we are really missing the whole purpose of the celebration.
3. Most of the Christmas story is celebrative.
It is neat to see that Jesus fulfilled the Scripture that was written years before His coming.
We marvel about the stories of angels appearing to Zechariah, Mary and Joseph.
The event of the angel host coming to the lowly shepherds must have been one of the greatest scenes in all of history.
The fact of God becoming man, appearing as a tiny baby, should fill us with joyful awe and bring us to our knees.
But note this…
4. Even this story, though, has a dark side.
Within the texts that we usually enjoy during the Christmas season, there is a singularly horrifying, brutal and tragic story.
The crime is so unspeakable, so heinous, that the details are hard to contemplate, much less describe.
It is an act centered around a man called Herod.
5. We will find in our study of Matthew 2 an example of a man who would not let go of his self-importance.
With Rome’s permission, Herod was a self-proclaimed King of the Jews.
That was trouble right there, because Herod was not Jewish.
He was, instead, an Edomite, a descendant of Esau.
To make himself more acceptable to the Jews, he did marry a Jewess, but it had little effect to how the people felt about him.
This was despite the fact that Herod was clever.
He was a capable warrior, orator, and diplomat.
The people still felt ill will against him, even though during a time of severe economic hardship, he returned tax money to help the poor.
At another time, he also melted gold from the palace during a famine to buy food for the people.
They still felt the same way.
He built theaters, race tracks, other entertainment structures, but nevertheless, he was still despised.
He even began reconstruction of the Temple, and though it was greatly appreciated, he was still disliked.
It would have been extremely difficult for any man to be Rome’s representative and be appreciated, that is for sure.
But the real problem was Herod himself.
He was a cruel and merciless man, and was extremely jealous regarding competition for the throne.
This was seen over and over.
For instance, he had his wife’s brother, the current Jewish high priest, drowned.
He then pretended to weep at his funeral.
Later, he would have his wife killed, along with her mother.
Eventually, he was so concerned to lose his throne that he had three of his sons executed.
This was, in essence, a mad and evil man.
So, as we come to today’s text, which has already been read, we see that there is…
6. When Herod hears of competition, he begins to plot.