The Amazing Obedience of the Wise Men, Joseph, and Mary (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 39 / Day 406 since Jan. 1, 2016)

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TEXT: Matthew 2:11-15:

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

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Kenneth Latourette said, “One of the most amazing and significant facts of history is that within five centuries of its birth, Christianity won the professed allegiance of the overwhelming majority of the Roman Empire and even the support of the Roman state. Beginning as a seemingly obscure sect of Judaism, one of the scores, even hundreds of religions and religious groups which were competing within the realm, revering as its central figure one who had been put to death by the machinery of Rome.”

After the wise men met Jesus, they receive a message from God in a dream telling them not to go back to Herod with the news that they had found the Child. They obeyed this message and returned to their own land by another route. The obedience of the pagan astrologers to the divine message is yet more evidence that they understood that they were not dealing just with the arrival of human royalty, but with the long-awaited bursting forth of divinity upon mankind.

Previously, the wise men were beholden to human rulers, including Herod. But now that Jesus had arrived, they recognized that a higher authority was in control and that this higher authority was working in the earth to bring about His will. The wise men knew that they owed their allegiance to Him. Everyone who met Jesus during His earthly ministry was confronted with the same reality. Everyone had to pay allegiance to the secular Roman government or to the religious Jewish government. But Jesus claimed authority that was even higher. People had to decide if they would turn their allegiance to Jesus or continue following earthly authorities.

Craig S. Keener said, “That the Magi needed a supernatural revelation to warn them not to return by way of Jerusalem suggests their innocent naiveté. Even without Herod’s unadmirable character, few kings would be ready to surrender their own rule to a nonrelative some foreigners hailed as king! (For that matter, not only powerful people in society but many others today seem reluctant to acknowledge Jesus’ right to direct their lives.) The Magi’s innocence compared to Herod’s murderous shrewdness again reminds Matthew’s readers not to prejudge the appropriate recipients of the gospel. Jesus is for all who will receive him, and God may provide Jesus’ servants with allies in unexpected places if we have the wisdom to recognize them.”

The wise men, however, were not the only ones who received a warning from God on the night of their visit to the house of the Child Jesus. Joseph also received a warning that Herod would seek to “destroy” the “young child.” The angel of the Lord told Jesus’ earthly parents to take Him to Egypt in order to avoid the coming bloodbath. God could have protected His Son through supernatural means, but it is interesting that He chose to use human ones. Sending the Child to Egypt would have put Him out of Herod’s jurisdiction; it would have also fulfilled Hosea’s prophecy that the Messiah would be called “out of Egypt.”

The obedience of the wise men, and of Joseph and Mary, is an example for us today. We may not understand the mysterious ways in which God chooses to work, but we ought to choose to obey nevertheless. The wise men also faced a choice — whether to continue with their allegiance to earthly kings or to shift their allegiance to the King of Kings whom God had revealed to them in the Child Jesus. The eyes and minds of these pagans had been opened to the truth via the little that they had learned about Jesus. Our minds possess an even greater enlightenment regarding who God is through the complete revelation of Jesus Christ. Will we obey as the wise men did? Will we obey as Mary and Joseph did? Will we obey God? That is the question.

God made sure to preserve His Son’s life so that He could die as a sacrifice in order to save your soul. Here is how you can take advantage of His sacrifice today by believing in Him:

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

The Arrival of the Lamb

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/231693-the-arrival-of-the-lamb.mp3]

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TEXT: Matthew 1:19-21

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

The Arrival of the Lamb

Many names and titles are used to describe Jesus Christ throughout the Christmas season. he is our Lord, our Savior, our King. He is Immanuel, God With Us. In the traditional Christmas hymns, He is the newborn King, the everlasting Lord, the everlasting light, the incarnate Deity, the holy child of Bethlehem, and the offspring of the Virgin’s womb. What beautiful names; what beautiful titles. But, perhaps, the description of most consequence to us as sinful, humans is found in the hymn, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” The hymn says:

Mild He lays His glory by
born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth
born to give them second birth.

These few words give us not another name for Jesus, but a description of the effect of His actions on Earth. He laid aside His own rights and came to this earth to die for our sins, that those who trust in Him might not die in their sins, and have eternal life. He was born that we might be born again. As John the Baptist famously put it, He is the “lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.” Continue reading “The Arrival of the Lamb”

The Amazing Three-Fold Message of Christmas

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #89

TEXT: Matthew 1:18-25

During the Christmas season, there is so much going on that it is easy for many people to lose sight of the real reason for the holiday. There is the so-called “war on Christmas”, the pressure of trying to pick the right present to give to a hard-to-please family member, the preparation to receive family members coming over for the holiday, or last-minute traveling to get to a certain destination. It has gotten so bad, that last year, when Christmas fell on a Sunday, some churches raised the question of whether or not they should even have services.

The glamour and false glory of commercialism abounds during this time of the year, and so many people get caught up in the distractions rather than in the reason for the season. It is disappointing to see so many folks miss the meaning behind this holiday.

In its very essence, Christmas is a holiday that brings with it a message of salvation and deliverance for all people. We must remember that the first people who received this message were not middle class citizens who had extra spending money and time to shop for presents to give to each other. Rather, they were poor shepherds spending the night outdoors watching over their sheep. They were an old husband and wife — John and Elizabeth — who didn’t have any children. They were a young woman named Mary and a young man named Joseph; Mary risked being ostracized, ridiculed, and publicly humiliated and Joseph’s life was turned upside down when he found out that the girl he was about to marry was already pregnant.

The Jewish people of first century Palestine lived under the rule of an occupational Roman government. Mary likely grew up somewhere near the city of Nazareth. From the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, we learn that Nazareth was no more than a small peasant village of 200 to 300 people. Ninety-five percent of the people living in Palestine at that time were somewhere between the middle class and the bottom, and they were overtaxed, not only by the Romans, but by Jewish tax collectors who were infamous for their extortionary practices. Dr. George Shillington, a former biblical and theological professor who has written several books on the New Testament, states that it is unlikely that Mary could even read or write.

Joseph was not very well-off either. We know that his family was from Bethlehem and that he was a carpenter. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, a carpenter “only held a very humble position, and secured a very moderate income.” John Broadus writes in his commentary that Joseph was mostly engaged in the making of plows and yokes for farmers because the society in which he lived was heavily dependent on farming for sustenance and income.

So, Jesus Christ came at a time when the people of Palestine were looking for deliverance and salvation. They wanted deliverance from an oppressive government. They wanted deliverance from a religious system which treated them as outcasts and people to be looked down upon. They wanted deliverance from poverty and a life of difficulty. They were looking for a hero. They were looking for a Saviour. They were looking for a Deliverer.

Today, I want to share with you the true message of Christmas — for it is a message of deliverance and salvation, not only for the people of the first century Roman world, but for each and every one of us today. This message is embodied in the words of the angel to Joseph which we just read. This is the true message of Christmas.

+ Plus, listen to The Georgia Mass Choir as they sing “Joy To The World” and Rebecca St. James singing “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”