The Tale of Three Kings

Week 3

Sometimes, it’s difficult to enjoy Christmas when we’re too busy to stop and savor the holiday. For most of us, it feels like the Christmas season gets shorter and shorter each year.  This sermon series takes you back to the foundation of the Christmas story, revealing the joy and celebration it brings to all those who place their faith in Christ.  Christmas changes everything.  God has come to us in the form of Jesus!  He is literally “God with us.”

Read the Sermon Summary below

The Tale of Three Kings

Wisely choosing who you trust is a must

“All the Christmas presents in the world or worth nothing without the presence of Christ” ~ David Jeremiah

Always expect the unexpected.  Life is unpredictable and people love to be comfortable.  That’s doesn’t bode well for you and me.  Even if you planned for the worst and hoped for the best, it wouldn’t be enough because it’s hard to prepare appropriately when you can’t see beyond today.  This is when we should praise God that we are not left alone and without answers.  The reason being is that He is with us and He is our answer.

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  Matthew 1:22-23 (ESV)

Mary was not the first to receive this prophecy, hear the name “Immanuel” and perceive it’s importance.  The first to receive this prophecy was King Ahaz by the prophet Isaiah.  About 800 years before Jesus’ birth, the nation of Judah had found themselves under difficult circumstances.  They refused to join Syria, Israel, and other nations in an anti-Assyrian alliance, and because of this, those nations threatened to attach Judah (2 Kings 15:29-37, 2 Chronicles 28:1-19).  Isaiah was not afraid because He knew His God.  This is why he encouraged King Ahaz of Judah not to fear man but rather to truth in God’s power.  Instead, King Ahaz chose to trust in the power of man and made an alliance with Assyria.

While knowing full well of this lack of faith in God, Isaiah proclaimed the word of the Lord and that a child would be born to a virgin and before the child could say “mama” or “dada” the surrounding nations that threatened Judah would be destroyed by Assyria.  After this, Isaiah remarries a virgin and conceives a child through her, and before the baby could form words, Judah was rescued and her enemies defeated by Assyria.  This was a sign to King Ahaz that nothing could stand against them as long as God was with them.  The celebration was short lived because within a few years, Assyria attacked Judah as well and decimated it’s population.  Yes God was with them, but the king and the people were not with God (2 Kings 16:7-9).

Fast forward and we see another king found in the context of this famous prophecy.  His name was King Herod the Great.  He was a productive and prosperous king, building great cities, palaces, fortresses, harbors, even restoring the Temple in Jerusalem.  Yet King Herod had also committed great sins, having his wife, sons, and other relatives murdered in order to preserve his throne from any plotters.  He even gave the order to kill every child two years and younger in the town of Bethlehem because of the rumor that there was a child who would be the King of the Jews!  To Herod, he was the rightful ruler of the Jews.  He worked too hard not to enjoy his efforts.  He placed his faith in his own power which eventually failed him, much like King Ahaz’s trust in Assyria.  Herod died ravaged by disease.

God was with both kings spiritually, and in Herod’s case literally, yet both Ahaz and Herod were not with God.  They had chosen a different side.  The name Immanuel is more than just a statement that God is merely with us.  It is a declaration that He desires to actively guide you and help you in fulfilling His calling for your life!  For this to happen, we must be with God, placing our trust, confidence, and faith in Him and in no where else.  Mary and Joseph saw God actively guide, provide, and assist them along their journeys and through the process of raising the Promised Messiah and Son of God.  They chose wisely, following the example of one of Israel’s greatest kings that happened to be a descendent of Joseph.  King David.

14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.  16 The face of the Lord IS AGAINST those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord IS NEAR to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Psalms 34:14-18 (ESV)

David was not perfect, but his heart pursued the only One who could perfect him through the power of His love and presence.  He came to learn that God wasn’t satisfied being passive in his life but passionately desired to be active.  He was so grateful to know that God was still close, even when times were the toughest or when his failures were the greatest.  He is near to ALL who don’t have all of the answers, strength, or hope to go on another day!  David famously captured this in probably his most well known song.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalms 23 (ESV)

David paints a vivid picture of how active God is while He is with Him, even despite all that is against Him!  The difference between David and the other two previously mentioned kings is found in the last verse of Psalms 23.  David chose to be with and dwell in the presence of the God who was with him.

It doesn’t matter what may come against you as long as God is with you. But for you to see the Lord actively guide and help you to fulfill His calling in your life requires you to be with Him.  To place your faith in Him.  To have a heart that is after Him.  When you open the door to the Lord in this way, you too will see like Mary, Joseph, and David did.  An active God who stands against those who stand against you!  Open your heart to Jesus, the King of Kings, and you too will discover the presents of joy and peace that can only be found in His presence.