- Sermon Notes
Intro: Learning to lead.
In the beginning of Matthew chapter 2, we are introduced to the wise men, who saw a star in the sky and headed in the direction of it. They journeyed hundreds of miles because they knew that the star was a sign indicating that the Messiah, Jesus, had been born. After seeing the star, the wise men made their journey likely over 800 miles in order to get to Jesus. The journey initially took them to Jerusalem, and upon their arrival, they asked “where is the One, born King of the Jews.” Hearing this, Herod, the king of Judea and all Jerusalem was troubled.
Herod asked the wise men to go and find Jesus in Bethlehem which was five to six miles away, and then report back to him exactly where this child is. Herod told the wise men that he wanted to worship the child, however, his heart was to eliminate Jesus.
The wise men are led to the house where Jesus is, they bow in worship and give Him incredible gifts. They would not return to Herod; however, God alone would direct their next steps.
Read: Matthew 2:13-23
- As the Lord orchestrates the paths of the wise men, Joseph, and Mary; it is clear that the ultimate purpose of His divine orchestration is to make a way for Jesus on this earth.
- When you choose to live for Jesus, your life becomes centered around God leading in your life. He may orchestrate circumstances in your life whereby the ultimate purpose is to make a way for Jesus, into this world and into the hearts of those in it.
I. Don’t Leave the way You Came
- After seeing Jesus, the wise men “wisely” took an alternate route home. They had been warned by God to go a different way.
- This is the way it should be for us after seeing Jesus as well. Walking on a different path than the one which led us to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
- The picture painted by the journey of the wise men points us to the importance of coming to Jesus, worshipping, and allowing our path to be different after meeting Him.
- God had directed the Magi an alternate route, this would be a less direct route, so more miles would be walked, and additionally, they would avoid going back to see Herod.
- Herod was not the type of king you wanted to upset. Especially when he had given them specific instructions to return to him.
Illus – Some notes about Herod.
- The Magi were willing to travel a different path after meeting Jesus.
- After meeting Jesus, we too, have decisions to make and a journey marked out. May we place a priority in walking the path for Jesus; becoming different than before.
Illus. Feels like it isn’t on!
Proverbs 4:26-27, Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.
- After meeting Jesus, make your life a response to Him. Persist on a marked change in your course.
A.Go where He says “Go.”
- After the wise men had departed on their new course, Joseph is warned in a dream that he should immediately flee to Egypt.
- The wise men had arrived to the home of Jesus, likely after being in Bethlehem over a year.
- Joseph and Mary had gone from the stable, or cave used as a stable on the night of Jesus’ birth, to a house (Matthew 2:11).
- The Magi gave Jesus gifts, and then the angel of the Lord comes to Joseph in another dream and lets him know, it’s time to go!
John 10:27, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
Illus. The God who speaks: Through his word (2 Tim. 3:16-17), through dreams (Acts 2:17), through circumstances (Jonah, Romans 12:2, James 1:2-5), through others and godly counsel (James 3:17), through a song, through prayer, His still small voice (1 Kings 18:20-40). His voice is not a contradicting voice.
Isaiah 30:21, Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
- While He speaks in many ways, it is important that we listen for Him in many ways. Discerning His voice is important as well. Carefully consider what is of you and what is of the Lord.
- For Joseph, it is clear that the angel of the Lord has directed him.
- His life was now oriented around making a way for Jesus in this world.
- Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt, because that is where the Lord wanted Jesus taken.
- When you live your life for Jesus, the place the Lord sends you, like Mary and Joseph, is a place God wants Jesus to go.
Romans 10:14-15, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as is it written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
Illus. There are things we just don’t know, unless we are told!
- How will those who don’t know Jesus come to find out about him? By your beautiful feet bringing the good news!
- The Lord gives us the opportunity to be a part of His mission here on earth, going where He calls us to go.
A.Stay where He says “Stay.”
- Joseph was to take his family and leave Bethlehem because Herod, the king of Judea, was out to destroy Jesus.
- Joseph, Mary, and Jesus would remain in Egypt until the Lord directed them out.
- Their obedience to God’s will was evident in their willingness to stay in Egypt.
- There are seasons where the Lord would have us remain in a particular place and we are not certain why.
- Sometimes, we recognize that we were placed in a season of preparation, or a season of obvious protection; other times we may never fully understand or know the purpose.
Illus. Stuck in the airport.
Illus. My route to work.
Deuteronomy 5:33, Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
- The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.”
II.Journey with Jesus
- After Herod learned that the wise men had gone an alternate route, disregarding his instructions, he became enraged.
- Though Jesus had entered the world in the most non-threatening manner, as a baby, Herod’s begins to find a way to end Jesus’ life.
- Herod orders all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem to be murdered.
- Jesus was met with great opposition when he was born. This is the other, unfortunate side of the Christmas story. That not all accepted, received, or were peaceful regarding the birth of our savior.
Illus. Nobody was safe around Herod.
- Joseph, Mary and Jesus remained in Egypt until the death of Herod.
- An Angel of the Lord again guided Joseph’s steps as his family journeyed out of Egypt, back to Israel and specifically to the regions of Galilee.
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
A.He will sustain your path.
- Both Mary and Joseph believed and trusted the word of the Lord over their lives.
- They didn’t know how it would all happen, they just knew who was calling on them. If they had a five-year plan, it was lost in their taking on God’s plan for their lives.
- Their actions and steps would require a full reliance on the Lord to make a way, to provide in each moment, and to sustain their path.
Illus. How valuable were the gifts given to Jesus.
- When you step out as the Lord directs, He will sustain your path. Where He guides, He will provide.
Illus. Church planting.
- There are times like in the life of Moses, where faith means you follow as the Lord leads you down to the water and a clear path is made for you to cross on dry land.
- There are other times, like in the life of Joshua, where you are led down the water and God asks you to place your feet in the river by faith.
Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
- Joseph’s priorities completely changed when he placed his trust and faith in the Lord by going when and where the Lord directed.
- Joseph doesn’t question, he simply responds.
A.He will become your significance.
- When Jesus becomes the significance of your life, the markers of success only He can define.
- Last week, I mentioned that the little town of Bethlehem was small, but because Jesus was born there, it has become a very famous town and sought after travel destination.
- Chapter 2 ends by revealing that Jesus would grow up in Nazareth. And we know that He would live with the title, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
- The people of Nazareth were thought to be low, uncultured, or not-very-smart.
- John 1:46, Nathaniel said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
- Nobody would be intimidated by or expect much from a man of Nazareth. The tendency would be to immediately think of oneself better than a person who grew up there.
- Despite its reputation, it is the place chosen for Jesus to grow up. It is a place he would be identified with.
- He chose to be a Nazarene, He chose to be one of us.