Summary: We are to imitate God and follow the example of the Wise Men from the East and give gifts for the right reasons.
What does our society call the Friday after Thanksgiving??
We think about giving gifts at least one month ahead of when we plan to give the gifts on Christmas Day. Some think of Christmas gifts one year ahead; have you seen the newspaper for today? Do we really think about the people to give gifts to or are we just looking for good deals?
Is it wrong to give gifts?
Last week, we noted that God gave us a spiritual gift through Jesus Christ and this gift is true everlasting joy! And just like any gift to be meaningful, Jesus Christ has to be received, opened, and experienced. We receive Jesus Christ by believing in everything about Him. We open the Gift of God by reading His Word daily; and we experience Jesus Christ by doing what He tells us.
Today, let’s learn some biblical principles about gift giving.
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2.
Read along with me verses 1-13……..
Is it wrong to give gifts? Obviously not! God gave us the gift of Jesus Christ, His Word, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. And we just read the wonderful story of the gifts of the Magi.
We are to imitate God and follow the example of the Wise Men from the East and give gifts for the right reasons.
It is clear that God gave us the gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ because He loves us! Why did the Magi (Wise Men) give gifts?
We read at the end of v2 of Matthew 2 the reason why the Magi looked for Jesus Christ; The Magi came to worship Him! The Magi gave gifts to worship God!
Not only did the Magi proclaimed their intent to worship, they gave gifts which has the meaning of worship. Each item, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, were very valuable at the time. Gold of course is still very valuable today. I weigh about 190 pounds; what is the gold worth of my weight do you think??? – almost $4 million!!!
Now, frankincense and myrrh may not be as valuable as gold today; but consider what God says about these materials. Turn briefly with me to Revelation 18:11-13….
Frankincense and myrrh are considered as valuable as gold by God!
And so, the Wise Men gave very valuable gifts worthy of worshiping their new found King! There are 2 immediate applications for us today from this truth:
Look at what your bulletin states regarding our Offerings......
What is our attitude when we give to God’s Church?
This is one of the reasons we pray before our Offerings. We are to have the right hearts when we give to the church. As we pray before our Offering today, seriously humble yourself before your God and worship Him before giving. We really should do this every time we give an Offering to our God. Remember the woman in the Gospels who just gave 2 cents to God? She was commended by Jesus Christ not because of the amount gave but her attitude towards God!
And remember the motto we learned a few weeks ago? Don’t be a Christian Zombie, be a WAMB! Worship God always with our Attitudes, Minds, and Bodies! In other words, worship God with everything! This means that even when we give presents or receive them, we are to worship God! And so the 2nd application for us in relation to the Magi giving gifts to worship is: Glorify God with your gift giving and receiving! We all have to work on this don’t we? Many times I neglect to pray about my giving and receiving. Let us commit to talking to God about our giving and receiving!
There are at least 2 other reasons why the Wise Men gave gifts. They gave gifts to worship God and 2ndly, they gave gifts because there was a need! Where was Joseph, Mary, and Jesus when the Wisemen found them??
Look again at v8-10 of Matthew 2………
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were in a house, likely still in Bethlehem.
Remember that Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem because of the Roman Census. Mary just had a baby and Joseph likely did not have a job in Bethlehem, because he was just visiting; and of course, Joseph was on paternity leave! Joseph and Mary probably just had enough money to stay for a little while in Bethlehem. When the Magi gave them the valuable gifts, Joseph the man probably thought “Wow! Let’s just retire here in Bethlehem!” And Mary the woman of course said “Wow! We can now buy that dreamhouse I’ve always wanted complete with a nursery and a big kitchen!”
What happened? Look again at v13………….
Of all places, God told Joseph and Mary to go to expensive Egypt with a baby!!