Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The lesson of the wise men shows us that seeking Jesus first is always the best choice.

Seek Jesus

Matthew 2:1-12

Did you have a good Christmas? Did you get everything you wanted? Did it make you happy?

It is interesting as one grows older, you begin to see more and more that the things of this earth provide no lasting joy or happiness. So many of the toys and trinkets that we found under our trees last weekend, are now put away in a closet, or broken, or exchanged. And most of us have experienced a little of the Christmas blues that come from all the activity and hub-bub finally being over. And what was it all for?

Jesus in all of His wisdom told His disciples: Why do you chase after things which will be destroyed by moth or rust, or which will be stolen or wear out? Why do you worry and fret about food, clothing, and other material things. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. He’ll take care of the other things you need.

The end of one year and the beginning of another year is a good time for taking inventory. This morning I don’t want you to take inventory on whether or not you are wealthier or thinner or happier today. I want you to take inventory or whether or not your are closer to Jesus. How did you do in 2005 in seeking Him first? What grade would you give to yourself? Passing? Failing? Not sure?

Will you commit with me this morning that 2006 will be different? Will you make a new priority to seek Him first in your life?

This morning I want to look at an example of some men who did just that. We call them wise because they sought Jesus Christ at a tremendous cost.

The story of the wise men can be found in Matthew 1:1-12.

1. Wise men and women put a high priority on finding Jesus.

2. Wise men and women will obey the voice of God.

3. Wise men and women desire to worship Christ with all they have.

1. Wise men and women put a high priority on finding Jesus.

These wise men from the east were seekers of truth. They had the goal of coming and worshipping the new-born King of the Jews. (See Matt 2: 1-2) Who were they? And Why was this their goal?

The term Magi first came into use in the 7th century BC to refer to a tribe of priests in the Midian Empire - This priestly tribe served a religion very similar to Judaism in it’s worship of one God and in the understanding of the problem of sin in humanity. This group of wise men became the advisors to the kings during the Babylonian and Persian Empires.

Their religion was a strange mix of magic (from which the term Magi is a root), and astrology which was more like an early version of astronomy rather than what we characterize as astrology today. They also had a strong belief in the ability to interpret dreams. You may recall from the book of Daniel - Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being included in this group of advisors to the King of Babylon.

At this point let me clearly state what scripture has to say about the practice of astrology and the usage of psychics. Scripture clearly warns against the usage of any form of occultic practices - the Jewish people avoided this practices - and we can see in Leviticus 19:31 - God said:

“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them, I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD”

Seeking anything other than the Lord to guide and direct our paths - is equivalent to idol worship - those that consult mediums, or psychics or astrology are not looking to the Lord alone to direct their path, and in fact have turned their back on God, either consciously, or unknowingly.

Isaiah records these words of the Lord to the Babylonian people who did depend on these occultic practices in Isaiah 47:12-ff.:

“Keep on then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up.”

All around us we see more and more the interest in the occult. People are seeking psychics and horoscopes and spiritists in increasing amounts. What before our society understood as evil, it now is accepting as normal and OK. We need to make sure that we are educated and understand the warnings in scripture against such practices.

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