Summary: There is much excess and waste in the church especially in the west. It is time for us to be excessive in worship, forgiveness, caring for others, self-control, stewardship and thankfulness. Learn the difference between sinful excess and righteous exces
Intro: A woman bought an extravagant dress, and the husband asked why did it have to be so expensive, She said the devil made me buy it, The husband asked, why didn’t you say get behind me Satan?, The woman said, I did and he said it looked as good in the front as it did in the back, so I bought it. Sermon illustration shared by Martin Albanese on sermoncentral.com
We don’t believe that we are extravagant here in the U.S. or even in AR. Let’s take a look at a definition of extravagance. Webster-Miriam defines it as an “instance of excess or wastefulness.”
If you do a google search of Osceola McCarty you will find that she was a normal lady born in March of 1908. After her aunt was hospitalized and came home in need of home care, Osceola quit the sixth grade and started washing others laundry. She had learned to be frugal from an early age and saved all the extra money she earned. She saw washing machines, cable TV, and an automobile as items of extravagance. When she retired at the age of 85 all of the coins and dollar bills she deposited had grown to $280,000.00 of which she gave 10% to the Lord, 10% to her remaining family and 150,000.00 to the University of Southern Mississippi. She lived a life of modest appetites and self-control. Osceola said her secret was contentment and starting everyday on her knees praying to the Lord.
We don’t think we are extravagant in our lives, However, compared to Ms. McCarty we are overly excessive.
What we will learn this morning is that there is sinful extravagance and there is righteous extravagance. We are going to examine the Wise Men from the birth story of Jesus to see just exactly why “Tis the Seasons to be Extravagant.”
Before we do that we need to see what the Bible says about sinful extravagance.
I. Be cautious of falling into unrighteous (sinful) extravagance
You can usually identify sinful extravagance in your life because it is selfish in nature. Ask yourself this question, “If God asked me to give up ____________ would I let it go?” Would I let someone else have it? Would I simply get rid of it?
Sinful extravagance is exaggerated, excessive or immoderate behaviour often linked with wastefulness which may result in personal harm.
Bad habits, addictions, bad attitudes, over exaggerated dependence or desire for people or things. These are also known as idolatry.
A) Some biblical examples
1) Wastefulness (Proverbs 21:20, 29:3, Luke15:13)
Proverbs 29:3 “A person who loves wisdom makes his father happy, but one who pays prostitutes wastes his wealth.”
Luke 15:13 ““After a few days, the younger son gathered his possessions and left for a country far away from home. There he wasted everything he had on a wild lifestyle.”
GWT does an excellent job of showing the wasteful wild lifestyle.
B) Some destructive results
1) Wastefulness leads to poverty (Proverbs 13:18; 22:16, 23:21)
2) Extravagant living leads to spiritual complacency (Luke 12:16-21)
Luke 12:21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
II. Be careful to follow righteous (relational) extravagance
A) The example of the Wise men
1) They were worshippers willing to go to any length to seek Jesus
We don’t know exactly how far the wise men traveled to get there. Some think they came from China, some Persia (modern day Iran), some even from Sheba (modern day Yemen). What we know is they were willing to go any length to seek Jesus.
When they arrived in Jerusalem they were asking everywhere if anyone knew where the king of the Jews had been born. They were under the assumption that the Jewish people would be aware of the special baby’s birth. Can you imagine them going person to person asking and what the response would be?
Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this 2:3. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes. They made clear that Micah had prophesied where it would be. Micah 5:2
This journey and investigation on the part of the wise men is a clear illustration of what it means to seek for God with all you heart. If you are seeking God with your heart it will involve your head, hands and feet.
Proverbs 21:21 “The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
After meeting with Herod the star reappeared and led them to Jesus! We don’t know exactly what the star was. Some say Jupiter, the conjoining of Jupiter and Regulus, some a comet. It led them directly to Jesus. If you seek God He will give you light to find Him!!