What gift will you bring to the king? Give a practical gift.

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What gift will you bring to the King?

            So what’s on your Christmas list?  A new car, a new tie, a new boyfriend?  Last December that question was asked to several celebrities.[i]  Here are two – Hulk Hogan & Susan Boyle.  Hulk Hogan answered, #1: Thirty years of life!  I want my youth back. I wouldn't change anything, though. I'd wrestle all over again. #2:  A 747 jet! I would like my own private jet plane again. I'd take all the wrestlers with me on the plane. I don't just want a little Learjet, I want a 747. That would be a wild plane.  #3:  Knee surgery!  I've had eight back surgeries, knee replacements, and both hip replacements. I only need one more surgery – to fix my right knee.  I want to be 59 years old and be the champion.  #4:  Hair!  I want a full head of hair!  Susan Boyle said My Christmas List?  #1:  An Electric keyboard!  I have a baby grand in my posh house. I'd like a smaller keyboard so I can keep up with my practice.  #2:  Two kittens - one black & one white!  Cats are better company than a man as they can't answer back!  #3:  A Porsche convertible and driving lessons.  I could see myself driving around in a sporty number with the roof down!

            So once again I ask, what’s on your Christmas list?  Does your list include hair, surgery, kittens or a Porsche?  May I make a suggestion?  Ask for something practical!  Today I begin a three week Christmas series called, “What gift will you bring to the King?”  Open up your Bibles to Matthew 2!  Do you need a Bible?  (Connect card)  For the past twelve weeks we’ve been reading The Story which of course is the Bible!  This is your story!  This is my story!  Most of all – this is God’s story!  Since its December on the calendar I’m going to move ahead in The Story and on January 11 & 12 we will pick up chapter 13 with the life of Solomon!  Speaking of December locate the CE invitation card on your chair.  We will once again have three services on Christmas Eve but the times have changed.  We are doing 3:00PM, 4:30PM and 6:00P.M.  Please come and bring someone with you!  Find verse 1 in Matthew 2.  Matthew tells us about Jesus through Joseph.  Luke tells us about Jesus through Mary. The Bible is made of people places and events.  We encounter all three in Matthew chapter 2.  (1) After Jesus was born in Bethlehem… Bethlehem is where Jacob buries Rachel and Ruth meets Boaz.  Bethlehem is the hometown of both David and Jesus.  Bethlehem is 6 miles south of Jerusalem.[ii] 

            (1)  After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem King Herod is Herod the Great.  What made him great were his grand building projects.  His most famous building project was the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.[iii]  Do you recognize these lyrics?  We three kings of Orient are / Bearing gifts we traverse afar.   The Bible does not call the Magi kings.  Historians did.  To be a bit more accurate the Magi were “wise men.”  After all they stopped for directions.  They were scholars who studied dreams, astrology, magic[iv] and Jewish teaching.  And as they studied Jewish teaching they became convinced a new king was on the horizon.  Let’s read verses 2-6.  Verse 6 is Jewish prophecy.  It’s a combination of Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2.  What king born in Bethlehem will shepherd the Israelites with integrity?  DAVID!   But who also will be born in Bethlehem and will become the King of ALL kings!  JESUS! 

            The Magi are looking for this new King!  Go back to verse 7.  (Read 7-8)  May I make three observations?  #1:  King Herod is a big fat liar!  He does not want to worship this new King of the Jews.  He wants to kill him!  Let me show you a really cool book.  It’s called the Big Book of History.  It’s a book but more than that it’s a timeline of history.  Bible history and world history!  I need help.  Let me unfold this.  Right here it says that King HEROD will die in 4BC.[v]  That’s this King Herod.  He’ll die because he’s sick.  Ray Vander Laan said, “Herod had gangrene, severe itching, convulsions and ulcers.  His feet were covered with tumors and he had constant fevers.”[vi]   Herod’s going to die and he knows it.  But despite how bad he feels he ruthlessly protects his throne.  He murdered his favorite wife and two sons.  He wanted no succession.  Not his sons and certainly not this Jewish child.  Observation should lead to application!  May I ask, do you think this world revolves around you?  Incessant picture taking can lead children to think that they are the center of the world.  Herod did and people despised him!  The Story of God is that He loves us!   He made us!  We’re here for Him!  Observation #2!  The Jews or the insiders should have been looking for Jesus the Messiah but were not.  The gentiles, the Magi or the outsiders should not have been looking for Jesus the Messiah but were.  Matthew wants us to know salvation is for everyone but especially for anyone who thinks they are far away from God!  Observation leads to application!  You are not too far away from God!  The reason God sent his son was not to condemn you but to save you!  I am an imperfect person trying to be like Jesus every day!  Go to Matthew 2:9!  Where the child was.  Matthew chapter 1 is about Jesus as a baby.  Matthew chapter 2 is about Jesus as a child.  Verse 16 tells us Jesus is around 2!  Do you think Jesus went through the terrible two’s?  He’s a holy terrorJ Back to verse 10.  Read 10-11. 

                Now what did this scene look like?  The Bible says something like this?  They fell down – that’s what it means to bow!  This is an act of reverence.  Then they worshipped Jesus.  Where are the Magi from?  The Bible says “from the east”[vii] - most likely Persia.  They “fall upon their knees and touch the ground with their foreheads as an expression of profound reverence.”[viii]  Worship is much more than sitting in a chair and singing songs!  Worship is active, aerobic like.  Worship is an act of reverence!  It’s a humbling place to be!  Verse 11 tells us they give Jesus three gifts!  What are the gifts?  Gold, frankincense and myrrh!  Gold today, frankincense next week and myrrh the week after!Again I’ll ask you, just like the Magi, what gift will you bring to the King this Christmas? 

I am reading a book right now by Michael Slaughter called Christmas is Not your birthday!  Tell me what do Annie Lennox, Jimmy Buffet and Sir Isaac Newton[ix] all have in common?  They were all born on December 25.  If your birthday is December 25 that’s special, HB to you, but please know the world is not celebrating your birthday.  The day is Christ Mass not Jimmy, Annie or Isaac Mass.  The reason we give gifts at Christmas is because the Magi gave gifts.  Here’s a third observation!  The Magi brought gifts to Jesus but Jesus didn’t know they were for him.  Tell me again the first gift they gave Jesus!  Gold!  Solid gold coins and not chocolate gold coins!  Why gold?  I spoke with my friend Dr. Mark Scott and he said, The gifts represent affluence --gold, then as now, is a symbol of ultimate value.”  Gold is a very valuable commodity. The gift of gold is practical.  Look at verses 12 & 13.  Egypt is 75 miles from Bethlehem.[x]  Are Mary & Joseph wealthy?  NO, they are young and poor.  This gift is practical.  The gold will help them get to Egypt. 

What practical gift will we bring to the king this Christmas?  Do you know what I mean by practical?  Something useful.  Who has a smart phone?  Have you noticed the cases for smart phones are typically slick.  Two friends of mine noticed that in our small group.  Our phones were falling off our laps so they brought us these – egrips!  You peel it off here and place it here.  I have three egrips.  Who needs one? 

My wife Tricia bought me a digital voice recorder for Christmas years ago.  This is my third one.  I literally use it every day!  When I say practical I’m not suggesting you buy your wife a blender or your husband a rake for Christmas.  Have them sign off in triplicate before buying that gift.  But what practical gift could you buy this Christmas for Jesus?  I don’t know how to answer that for you.  But know this – there’s someone in this world who needs a practical gift from you!  We have to call on God for wisdom!  Can we do this like the Magi did?  I’ll get on my knees.  I am going to give you a minute to ask the HS to make this practical gift obvious in your life.  You now have a minute to pray! 

May I remind you?  Christmas is not your birthday.  It’s Jesus’ birthday!  Christmas is about the child Jesus and about children everywhere!  At this church we help children!  If you are simply baffled – what practical gift should I bring to the king?  Here are two suggestions one from me and one from Becky Medley!  My suggestion is the Gift Shop.  The Gift Shop is next Friday!  We need just a few gifts!  $25 gift cards to Wal-Mart, Kohl’s or Target!  We need PG and G rated DVD’s and Board games like Would You Rather or Taboo plus Puzzles for all ages.  Here’s Becky’s suggestion!  (Child Sponsorship Video)  I have right here 50 children who live in Haiti and all 50 need basic child sponsorship.  What does that mean?  You pay and pray!  $35.00 month or $420.00 per year covers #1:  Christian Education, #2 Nutritious Food & #3:  Health Care.  You pray for that person every day!  Wouldn’t it be just like God to lead you to love on some child you don’t even know? 

One more fact about gold!  Gold is a symbol of divinity.  The temple was covered in gold.  The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold. So the Magi giving gold to Jesus shows us that Jesus is no ordinary child.  He is God in the flesh and he deserves our worship.  Wouldn’t the most practical gift we can bring to the King be our worship!  He is after all the Son of the Living God! 


I need you to start worship this weekend right after the Welcome and before we start singing “I am free” by reading these verses from Matthew 2: 1-2.

Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV2011) (1)  After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem (2)  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

I bet you get the connection already.  Say, we have also come today to worship him! 


For communion I need you to read these two same verses again.

Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV2011) (1)  After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem (2)  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

But then also read this

Matthew 27:32-37 (NIV2011) (32)

 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. (33)  They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). (34)  There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. (35)  When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (36)  And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. (37)  Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Did you notice that the same title is used for both verses?  Jesus was born King of the Jews.  He died King of the Jews, but He will reign as the King of all kings.  Jesus was born into this world to die!  Why?  So we might be free from sin to live for God!  Let’s thank Him as we remember Him together.


[i] http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2012/dec/21/celebrity-christmas-wish-lists

[ii] http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/distances.html?n=110

[iii] John MacArthur, MacArthur Bible Commentary, 1121

[iv] EBC, 11

[v] Big Book of History, Herod dies in 4 BC

[vi] Ray Vander Laan, That the World May Know, The Herod Family

[vii] Matthew 2:1 (NIV)

[viii] Logos Bible Software, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, Matthew 2:11

[ix] http://www.famousbirthdays.com/december25.html

[x] EBC, 13

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