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Summary: A thematic approach to the birth of Christ in Matthew 2:1-12

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Matthew 2:1-12

Responding to God’s Promise

Introduction – Promises1

The kids had talked Mom into getting a hamster. They promised to take care of their pet, which they named “Danny.” Within two months, though, Mom was taking care of Danny. One day Mom decided enough was enough; Danny would be given to a new owner. She called the kids together to tell them. One child said, “I’ll miss him. He’s been around here a long time.” The other child remarked, “Maybe he could stay if he ate less and wasn’t so messy.” Mom was firm, “It is time to take Danny to a new home.” “Danny?” the kids wailed, “We thought you said Daddy.”

Three kinds of people who know about Jesus

There are those who ABHOR Him

Herod the Great

He was a Clever orator, diplomat, warrior

He was a Crafty politician

Supported Antony & Cleopatra until Octavian “Caesar Augustus” was crowned. His full support went to him.

He had a Calculating mind –25 b.c. melted gold in palace to buy food for poor during great famine; built fortress Masada; Caesarea by the Sea; theaters, race tracks& Temple

He also possessed a Cruel heart – bro-in-law & high priest Aristobulus drowned, Mariamne executed,

her mother & 2 of his sons were murdered; 2 days before Herod’s death he had a 3rd son executed

Illustration – Nativity in Athens Texas

ATHENS, Texas - The signs of Christmas are everywhere in downtown Athens.

Lights, trees, and Santa and his reindeer line the streets. But it's the nativity scene on the lawn at the county courthouse that has caused concern. "I just don't understand it, to be honest with you," said Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders. "I'm just confused about it." Sander’s says residents haven't complained. The issues were brought up by the Freedom from Religion foundation, a Wisconsin non-profit group who sent a letter to the county this week, calling the display unconstitutional and demanding it come down. "I'm an old country boy, you come to my house looking for a fight, you're going to get one," said County Commissioner Joe Hall. "That's from the bottom of my heart." There's no confusing how Hall feels. He says the county isn't budging. "We'll remove it when hell freezes over," Hall said. "It's not going to happen."

Henderson County doesn't own the nativity scene. It has been put up for more than a decade by volunteers from the Keep Athens Beautiful group. Commissioners say they wouldn't object to other religious displays being put up on county property, but they've never been asked. If it is open to all faiths, then the Freedom from Religion foundation tells News 8 it wants to put it's own sign at the courthouse. One that reads, in part, "That there is no God, no devils, no angels or heaven" and that, "Religion hardens the heart and enslaves minds." It's happened before.

The same sign was put up at the capital building in Washington state back in 2008. The same group, the Freedom From Religion foundation, got it posted right next to another nativity scene. The sign brought out angry protesters there, and county officials believe it would bring out the same anger, having an outsider forcing their hand.


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