Category Archives: Worship

Disciples, Fish & The Kitwe Church Music Ministry


The morning at practice I made mention of our service that we stand in and our responsibility as the Music Team of Kitwe Church.  I try to encourage all to understand our role to play in this and it took my mind back to the days that Jesus walked the earth and served everyone with His teachings around the sea of Galilee.  I would like to take you back to that and explain some of the circumstances and how it is relevant to our current Music Ministry.

Most of Jesus Teachings took place around the Sea of Galilee and He had all his Disciples with Him.  Today most of our time in music ministry would be in the church for congregation level of teachings and a smaller amount of outreach when we do special events outside the church walls, as we are to be disciples in our music ministry.

Disciples would serve the gathered for instance at the sea of Galilee, and try and organise the crowds and assist others to focus on Jesus.  We as the music team have similar responsibilities.  We gather the minds of those in the congregation to focus on the Word as from the onset when we start the service songs.  Our daily life need to be of such discipline to serve others, not to think of our needs but the needs of those out there.  The need that we essentially to cater for as the music team, is to direct everyone’s mind & heart to Jesus at time of the sermon.

As per Sunday morning discussion, remember the times the crowd have gathered to unexpected numbers and after they have spent time in listening to the teachings, they all were hungry and they collected the bread & the fish from the crowd.  They brought it to Jesus, he prayed and it was served to the people in multiplication and it fed all of them & they had left overs.

Our responsibility is to do what the disciples have done.  Gather the crowds to focus on Jesus (The Word of God) with our music.  In the beginning we have all the fellowship the gatherings in the church entrance & people happy to see each other.  There are excitement and laughter, just as in the days at Galilee.  Then the crowd gathered around and settled in.  For those days the people had a hunger for the Word of God, the Teaching of Jesus Himself.  Today we have all walks of life gathering, who also have the same hunger and it is not easy for each and every one to just shut down the doors of the world to concentrate on what is offered from the Word of God in the sermon.

This is where we as the music team need to lead the congregation to the place where they can focus on the Teaching to be offered.  We need to calm their thoughts and set their focus on Jesus with our music and singing.  You will note that our music would have a level of excitement and reflects similarities as to when the congregation settle’s in, talks around this I would think in Galilee at the time would have been on how great Jesus is, what they have learned & would like to receive more of His teachings.  We need to create this in our music and the flow of it has a number of similarities.

They would listen to the Teaching of Jesus, and the disciples then collected the bread & fish, gave it to Jesus, Jesus prayed and served the crowd.  We have to set the table for them to feast on the Word of God.  The Word to be presented is the bread & fish, for which we set the moods and the Pastor then will present it to the congregation.  Note that we also pray before the sermon.

A note that I make to myself:  Focus was on Jesus, disciples focus was on Jesus, disciples ushered & served the crowds, they didn’t get the glory, it all went to Jesus, for He has been the one feeding the crowds and they had left overs.  Today we sent leftovers after a meal home with friends or share with others.  You will not go empty handed, you will share in it all, but the Glory is to God.

A lot of times a song shared in the service would give people the connection to the Word and they would take it with them for the week ahead.  This would encourage them, strengthen them & lead them closer to Jesus through their own circumstances.  That is our music ministry.  The focus is not the stage, the time we can deliver/present the music, but rather we serve and stand in awe as He breaks the Word through the Pastor and we could send the congregation home with a connection to encourage them.

Derick Van Staden

Today Marks Two Years Of Ministry For Kitwe Church!


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Kitwe Church exists to glorify God by making gospel-centered, reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ.

Our identification as Christians is not national, ethnic or cultural, our identification is that we are children of the King. The church is the place where the world can see in microcosm what the Kingdom of God looks like.  People from every “tribe, tongue and nation” together in gospel unity for the purpose of bringing glory to God!

There are people in Kitwe and its environs who are not being targeted by any existing church. Some are Zambians who have been turned off by “the church” and have nothing to do with it. There are also people living in our city who are from Chinese, Indian, South American and European backgrounds who are effectively unreached by an intentional gospel witness.

Kitwe Church sprang from a burden to reach out to all of these groups with the gospel. In 2014 Philip Hunt family and the Nathan Washer family banded together with the blessings of Faith Baptist Church of Riverside to begin an evangelistic Bible study outreach. Kitwe Bible Study Fellowship held the first meeting on February 23, 2014 at the Polo Club next to the Agricultural Showgrounds in Kitwe. A small handful of unchurched people attended that first Bible study.

For the first three months an apologetics approach was taken that answered questions and arguments about Christianity. The remainder of the year was Bible studies from the Gospel of John explaining the deity of Christ and the need to submit to Him for salvation. During this same period the children were being taught a survey of the Bible using the various stories from Creation to the return of Christ.

A variety of people began to attend the study, and began to invite their friends and acquaintances. Visitors came to the study from Kitwe, Chingola, Mufulira and Chiliabombwe. Attendance grew during the first year from a handful to between 40-50 people each week.

In December 2014, the executive committee from the M.O.T.H.S Club in Parklands reached out and invited our Bible Study Fellowship to use their hall at no charge. The change in venue coincided with a spike in weekly attendance.

Jamie & Mandy Smith joined the leadership team in December 2014 and plans were made to transition the ministry from a Bible Study Fellowship to a church plant that would be known as Kitwe Church (www.kitwechurch.com). In early 2015 the Bible study transitioned from an informal Bible study to a more structured service format. A music team was organized and congregational singing was incorporated. Attendance continued to grow through the year with a high attendance in 2015 of 135 attendees. By the middle of 2015 Kitwe Church opened a bank account, began to collect offerings, instituted Small Group Bible Studies and began a monthly teen activity and Bible study.

Several people have professed faith in Jesus Christ, and in December 2015 the first baptism service was held with 9 persons following Christ in believer’s baptism. A series of messages were presented the second half of 2015 that dealt with all aspects of local church membership, structure and duties. During the last quarter of 2015 the Elders completed work on a doctrinal statement and adopted a Church Covenant, Mission Statement, Core Values and a Church Constitution.

The first Membership Orientation will be held the first three Sundays of March 2016 followed by a Chartering Service scheduled for Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016.

We are thankful for what God has done over the past two years and eagerly anticipate what He will continue to do in the years to come!  Our goal is to Know Truth, Love God & Serve Others! If you reside in the Kitwe area and do not have a church you call “home” please join us this Sunday!

Understanding Church Membership


Introduction:

We live in a country where it is fashionable and accepted to claim to be a Christian. Yet many who make that claim commit adultery, abandon their wives, get drunk, frequent the clubs, cheat their employers, engage in corrupt business, display out of control temper and  engage in slanderous speech.

Jesus warned that in the last days many would claim to be His followers. How does the world know who represents Jesus?  There is an abundance of false teachings in the name of Christ, there are many who live lives that do not match the holiness and character of God yet claim to be members of His body.

How does the world know who is true and who is false?  Who is really a Jesus follower.

There are many false religions teaching opposing things – How will the world know the truth, and how will they know who represents that truth to them?

The answer to these questions drives us to the heart of our topic for this evening: Understanding Church Membership

What is the church?

What the church is NOT: Popular misconceptions from our culture:

  1. The local church is not a club.  It is not a volunteer organization where membership is optional.
  2. The local church is not a service provider.  In a business the customer is always right. The church is not a service provider where the customer has all authority.
  3. The local church is not a support group. It is not just a friendly group of people who share an interest in Divine things and get together every week to talk about them.

What is the Church?

The church is referred to as a body (Ro12:4; ICo12:12-27), bride (2Co11:2; Eph5:24,32), building (1Co 3:9; 2Co6:16; Eph 2:20-22)

“A formally organized body of believers meeting to worship together.”

“A called out assembly of believers, meeting together in a particular location for the purpose of worship, and spiritual accountability.”

A local church is a group of Christians who regularly gather in Christ’s name to officially affirm and oversee one another’s membership in Jesus Christ and His kingdom through gospel preaching and gospel ordinances.” – Leehman

Wrong thinking about the church:

  • Christians can think it’s fine to attend a church indefinitely without joining;
  • Christians think of getting baptized apart from joining;
  • Christians take the Lord’s Supper without joining;
  • Christians view the Lord’s Supper as their own private, mystical experience for Christians and not as an activity for church members who are incorporated into body life together;
  • Christians don’t integrate their Monday-to-Saturday lives with the lives of other saints (p. 23).

Cause of wrong thinking about the church:

We assume that we have the autonomy and authority to conduct our Christian lives on our own.  We can include the church piece when and how we want.

The Authority of the local church

“The local church is the authority on earth that Jesus has instituted to officially affirm and give shape to my Christian life and yours.”  (p. 24).

The church is added to: Repent, Baptized.  Salvation and Identification with Christ. The place that this takes places is in the local church.

  1. Accept God’s grace in forgiving your sin by faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. Identify with & Submit to the body of Christ through baptism.

All Christians are to identify with and submit to a local church:

  1. Christians are commanded to submit to those in church leadership because they must give an account. (Heb 13:17)
  2. God calls specific elders to care for specific people (1Pt.5:1-5, Acts 20:29-30)
  3. Church is called to discipline sinning Christians. (1Co5:1-12).  Church discipline cannot work if local church membership doesn’t exist.  How do you put someone “out” if they were never “in”?

Just as the Bible establishes the government of your nation as your highest authority on earth when it comes to your citizenship in that nation, so the Bible establishes the local church as your highest authority on earth when it comes to your discipleship to Christ and your citizenship in Christ’s present and promised nation. (p. 25).

There is no example in Scripture of someone who truly believes yet does not identify with the body of Christ.  There is no spiritual free-agent unaccountable to a local church.

  1. It is through the church that the Christian lives out his faith by sharing Christ with others.
  2. Sacrificially giving to God through the church.
  3. The proclamation of the truth was entrusted to the local church
  4. The discipling and equipping of saints was entrusted to the local church.
  5. Providing accountability and discipline is entrusted to the church.

Membership In The Local Church

Definition of Church Membership:

“A formal relationship between a church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church.”  – Leehman

Notice the elements that are present:

  1. A church body formally affirms an individual’s profession of faith and baptism as credible.
  2. It promises to give oversight to that individual’s discipleship.
  3. The individual formally submits his or her discipleship to the service and authority of this body and its leaders.

The church body says to the individual, “We recognize your profession of faith, baptism, and discipleship to Christ as valid. Therefore, we publicly affirm and acknowledge you as belonging to Christ and the oversight of our fellowship.” 

Principally, the individual says to the church body, “Insofar as I recognize you as a faithful, gospel-declaring church, I submit my presence and my discipleship to your love and oversight.” (pp. 64-65).

To not be a member of a church is like enjoying the benefits of a physical relationship without any of the commitments or responsibilities of marriage.  It is called adultery or prostitution.

Takers not givers – we are to be productive within the church giving our talents, skills, gifts so that the body will grow strong… too many people approach the church like a mosquito looking for something to take.

“When people ask, “Where is membership in the Bible?” the problem is they’re looking for something like a club to join, because the word membership is a club word. Clubs and political parties and labor unions have memberships. But you don’t often use the word membership in relation to governments and the citizens of nations. You don’t say, “So how’s the membership of the British nation doing? Aren’t you guys running, like, sixty million members these days?” 

The Church as an Embassy

Leeman suggests that the church can be viewed as an Embassy – you may go to the one in Lusaka or in South Africa but they each do the same thing – they affirm that you are a citizen of the USA.  I affirm the authority and responsibility to the one in Zambia and my friend might do the same with the one in RSA.  This is an example of my relationship with a member of the body of Christ who is joined to another church of life faith and practice.

Embassy represents one nation to another.  It represents the interests of it’s homeland to another nation and it affirms and protects its citizens living in that foreign land.

What the Church Does For A Christian:

We are pilgrims and sojourners on our way to Heaven.  Our identification is not national, ethnic or cultural, our identification is we are children of the King.  The church is the place where the world can see in microcosm what the Kingdom of God looks like – it is not that kingdom, but it represents and reveals it.  The citizens of Heaven live differently, look different and are passionately committed to spreading the good news about their loving Father King who will welcome all into His kingdom.

  1. The church affirms the citizens of Christ’s kingdom.
  2. The church protects the citizens of Christ’s kingdom.
  3. The church proclaims the laws of Christ’s kingdom.
  4. The church invites all peoples to come to bow and worship the king..

To be a church member is to be the church, at least a part of it. A church member, therefore, is someone who is formally recognized as a Christian and a part of Christ’s universal body. That’s not to say that churches always get it right, but it’s their job to identify and affirm who belongs to the kingdom and who does not.

A church member is a person who has been officially and publicly recognized as a Christian before the nations, as well as someone who shares in the same authority of officially affirming and overseeing other Christians in his or her church. (p. 29).

Conclusion

Christians don’t join churches; they submit to them. (p. 30).

Once you choose Christ, you must choose his people, too. It’s a package deal. Choose the Father and the Son and you have to choose the whole family—which you do through a local church.  (p. 31).

It’s true that a Christian must choose to join a church, but that does not make it a voluntary organization. We are, in fact, obligated to choose a local church just as we are obligated to choose Christ. Having chosen Christ, a Christian has no choice but to choose a church to join.  (p. 66).

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1. This study is based upon the book: Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Leeman Published by Crossway 1300 Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187.  Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

2. http://www.brainyquote.com/words/ch/church143947.html

Back to the Beginning: Meet Our Personal God


Back To the Beginning Gen 2.001

In Genesis 1:26-2:17 we meet the personal God of Creation.

The Book of Genesis gives us the beginning: Universe, world, home, family, marriage, sin, and redemption.  Right at the beginning we are given the answers to life’s greatest questions:

  • Where did I come from?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going?

Genesis written by Moses @ 1446-1406 for the purpose of explaining to the Jews where they came from and how God chose them.

The Story of Genesis unfolds in two parts. The first section focuses on four great events (ch. 1-11) spanning a total of 2000+ years from 4000+BC – 2090 BC. These four great events are:

  • Creation (1-2)
  • Fall (3-4)
  • Flood (5-10)
  • Nations (11)

The second section focuses on four great people (ch. 12-50).  These people are:

  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob – Ch. 12-36 – 193 years from2090 BC – 1897 BC.
  • Joseph – Ch. 37-50 – 93 years from 1897 BC – 1804 BC.

Here is how God reveals Himself in Creation

  • Chapter 1 – six days of creation – God reveals Himself as a powerful God.
  • Chapter 2 – sixth day of creation – God reveals Himself as a personal God.

We have already seen that:

  1. Creation reveals Proof of God (1:1-2)
  2. Creation reveals the Power of God (1:3-26)

From this we made several concluding applications:

  1. If God is powerful enough to create the world, He is powerful enough to take care of the problem I am facing in my life today
  2. If God is powerful enough to create the world, He is powerful enough to help me when I call
  3. If God is powerful and wise enough to create the world, I can trust He knows best in my life.

Now we will to see how creation reveals the Personal God of Creation (2:4-17).

CREATION OF MAN REVEALS THE PERSON OF GOD (1:27-2:17)

Chapter 1 introduces us to God by the name Elohim. This name refers to God as the Creator of the Universe. Now in chapter 2:4 the name Yaweh Elohim is used for the first time. Yahweh is the personal covenant name God takes when he relates to and redeems His people.

Desire (26)

Desire of the Godhead – Trinity to create man.  “Let us” (3:22, 11:7; I Jn 5:7). God’s will fulfilled in the creation of man.

“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”” Isaiah 43:7

You are special! You are wanted! Your are loved! God desired for you to exist and live in this generation!

““For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep…;” Acts 13:36

Design (26b-27, 2:7)

God formed man. The term formed speaks of “careful design”.  Man was designed after God! When the Great Architect of the universe wanted to make his highest creation, He used Himself as the design.

God formed man in His Image. This means we share in God’s attributes: life, personality, truth, wisdom, love, holiness, justice. Because to this we have the capacity for spiritual fellowship with Him. God is a spirit, does not have a body. We were created in His image:

  • Man has a conscience – ability to know right from wrong
  • Man has a mind – ability to reason
  • Man has a will – ability to choose to carry out his desires
  • Man has emotions – ability to feel joy, pin, remorse, excitement etc.

God breathed into Adam.  This breathing speaks of intimacy.  Adam was kissed by God and he became a living being. He breathes like all the other creatures, but he is different from them because God breathed into Him His life making him unlike all the animals. Man is immortal – he has been given the eternal life of God.

  • Man has immense capacities
  • Man is responsible
  • Man has great potential for glory and for disaster

In this we are vastly different from the animals. An ape has never composed a song, sang a song, played a musical instrument, never written a book or read one, never driven a nail or treated someone who is sick. No animal can think about eternity or salvation in God. We can for we are designed in His image!

You are of GREAT VALUE – created in the image of God!

Destiny (28)

What is the destiny of man? To obey God! (Eph. 2:10; I Jn. 5:3).  God said, “Be fruitful and multiply “(28; Ps. 127:3-5). God said, “Subdue the earth” which means to tend it (28, 2:15).

“When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.” Psalms 128:2.

Purpose (15) – man was created to work, work was instituted prior to the fall of man into sin. Have dominion over all created things – to rule, exert leadership as God’s representative.
Follow God’s instructions – do not eat of the tree (2:16-17).

Person – Adam (7). God’s commands are God’s blessings. Commands obeyed lead to blessings enjoyed.  Love is demonstrated by obedience ““If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15

Place – Eden (8).  When we live in obedience it will result in blessings, disobedience brings a curse. When Adam rebelled he lost Eden!

Provision (9-14)

  • Pleasant to the eyes – God is a God of beauty
  • Pleasant to the taste – Good for food, water

We take so much for granted. Only a child of God can stop and really appreciate the blessings of God’s creation.

LESSONS FROM CREATION

We were created by God.

I know where I came from. I am not an accident. I am not here by mistake or chance, I’m not the result of some evolutionary process.

“But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”” Romans 9:20.

Life Lesson: God cares especially for me. He knows all about me and desires my good.

““But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30

We were created in the image of God

I was created with an inner spiritual nature that enables me to know God and worship Him.
I am different from the animals with privileges, cares and responsibilities.

Life Lesson: I must seek by His power to be like Him, conformed to His image – to love like Him, give like Him, be holy like Him, forgive like Him.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

We were created to have dominion over the world (1:26,28)

Law, courts, justice etc.

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1.

We were created to worship, praise and obey our wonderful Creator (1:31; Rev. 4:11)

God saw that it was “very good” – Creation is not evil. As we see God’s work in creation we are filled with awe and worship… Not the creation, but the Creator!

Why am I here? The chief purpose of man: To glorify God and worship Him forever. If we are worshippers of God, we will be obedient! We were created to be good stewards of God’s creation.

Because everyone is created in God’s image, we should respect our fellow human beings who are also created in the image of God (Gen. 9:6).

“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” 1 Cor 4:7

  • No tribalism
  • No superiority complex
  • No prejudice because of race or position
  • No ill-treatment of our fellow mankind
  • We should appreciate the gifts we of God’s creation and not waste or exploit them.  We should not throw garbage everywhere
  • We should not carelessly, needlessly destroy or trash things
  • We should not in greed destroy animal life – killing animals for food and needs is acceptable, but hunting rhino to extinction for their horn is wrong.
  • We should not abuse animals

“A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10.

Word of warning: God will destroy those who destroy the earth.  We cannot honor the God of creation if we dishonor his creation.

“The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”” Revelation 11:18

Here are two questions to consider as we conclude:

  1. Do you know the Personal God of Creation? He wants you to know Him. He desires a relationship with you!
  2. Are you honoring God by honoring His creation. Are you treating others with respect and love?

Christmas IMPLICATIONS for the Rest of the Year


Christmas Implications for Year.001

We have gazed at the angels on the hills outside Bethlehem.  We have have rushed with he shepherds to visit the manger with our mind’s eye we have gazed at the Christ-child.

We have spent precious time with family and friends.  The gifts have been opened, the meals have been prepared and consumed.

Christmas is over, now what?

The first twelve verses of Matthew chapter two provide two soul-searching implications for the rest of the year!

As you read these verses – and I hope you will pause right now to read them – there is a word that you can’t miss – worship.  Early in the text the Wise Men arrive in Jerusalem and announce that they have come to worship the newborn King.  Herod secretly call them aside with instructions to find the King and call him so he too can come and worship.  Finally we see the Wise Men enter the house with joy and fall down to worship.

  • Adam & Eve were created worshippers! Worship was what they enjoyed before the fall in Genesis chapter 3.
  • Worship is what God demands of His creation.
  • True worship was what was lost, and what Jesus came to restore.
  • Worship is the centerpiece of eternity – God is gathering a great number from all tribes tongues and nations who will worship Him eternally.

Someone has said, “All men worship someone, if only themselves.”  In the final analysis, the acid test of wisdom and foolishness is how a person responds to Jesus Christ.

IMPLICATION #1 – THE CHRISTMAS RESPONSE OF WISE MEN: WORSHIP

These wise men were the outsiders! They were Gentiles from the East – region of Persia and perhaps from the city of Babylon itself.

There are many Christmas traditions surrounding these men.   The Wise Men are always pictured as being three in number – we know there were three gifts given to Christ, but the text doesn’t tell us how many Wise Men there were.

We often see the Wise Men in the Nativity Scenes bowing with the shepherds at the manger. Our text makes it clear that Jesus was a small child by the time the Wise Men visited under the age of two, but no longer a newborn baby, and verse 11 tells us that they entered the house of Joseph and Mary in order to worship him.

We sing the familiar Christmas Carol “We Three Kings”, but these men were not kings.  They were astronomers, scientists of their day who practiced the ancient art of Astrology.  They were wealthy, well respected in society and highly educated… but they were not royalty.

There are some important lessons we learn from these men however:

First, Wise men seek Jesus at all costs

In Jeremiah 29:13 God told the nation of Israel:

And you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart”

They seek Him! (1)  They had to use their energy.  They were required to reason and make decisions.  God miraculously opens our minds to Christ – but He expects us to diligently seek Him if He is to be found by you!

They unashamedly acknowledge Him (2)

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Mt. 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

They know His true identity (2). He is born king… not born to be a king.

Phil. 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Second, Wise men submit to Jesus in great personal humility (10-11)

They joyfully bowed before Him! These were important, respected men yet they joyfully humbled themselves and bowed before this child king.

Ps. 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Worship involves the whole of our being!

Ro. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Third, Wise men serve Jesus at great personal cost (11b-12)

They brought valuable gifts.  Christian tradition suggests that gold was given to because he was royalty.  Frankincense was given and pointed to His Deity.  Myrrh was a common spice used to anent a dead body prior to wrapping it in death cloths, therefore the gift of Myrrh points to His suffering and death.  Whether this is what the Wise Men had in mind when they gave these gifts we don’t know, but we do know that each of these gifts was extremely costly.

They also offered unfaltering obedience. They departed another way as per instructions (12).

Note the order that this story unfolds: First they seek for Jesus, they find Him, they worship Him, and they obey Him.

So what have you brought to Jesus this Christmas? As we head into a new year, what will you offer Him?  You may not have gold, frankincense or myrrh, but you can give him priority in your time, your talents, and your treasures.

What has God said to you that you have determined by His grace that you will obey? In John 14:15 we are reminded that “if you love me, keep my commandments.”  What are some of the commands that God has revealed to you so far this year?

First He commands you to believe & receive His Son.

Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

He commands those who believe in Jesus to publicly identify themselves as His followers through believer’s baptism.

Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (See also Acts 8:12, Matthew 28:18-20)

God commands His children to be committed to a local church.

Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

We are commanded to share our faith by telling others about Christ (Mt. 28:18, Ro. 10:17).  And we are commanded to put Christ and His kingdom first.

Mt. 6:33 seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

Warren Wiersbe suggest that the Wise Men provide us three lessons for finding God’s will:

  • They followed the light God gave to them.
  • They confirmed their steps by the Word of God
  • They obeyed God without question and He led them each step of the way.

The Implication we draw from visiting with the Wise Men in this text is that Wise Men & Women acknowledge Jesus Christ and worship Him!

IMPLICATION #2 – THE CHRISTMAS RESPONSE OF FOOLISH MEN: REJECTION

Foolish people reject Jesus in two ways: Apathy or Opposition

The Insiders – Apathy (4-6)

Apathy is a self-satisfied state of indifference. This is the “whatever” attitude.

Bethlehem was only 8km from Jerusalem! This is the distance our orphan children from Faith Children’s Village travel to secondary school everyday.  Anyone could walk this distance with ease and yet these religious men were indifferent to the news of the newly born King.

These were religious fools, these high priests and scribes. They knew about Messiah in their head, They even knew the Scriptures that prophesied where He would be born, but they did not believe it in their heart.

Rom. 3:11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

Mt. 15:8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (Quote from Is. 29:13)

2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.

Never forget this reality: You LIVE what you BELIEVE!

These religious Insiders were indifferent to this new King.  Indifference to God is simply hatred that is concealed and rejection that is delayed.

Luke 19:14 “We will not have this man to reign over us!”

Prov 1:32 And the complacency of fools will destroy them;

The Placed & Powerful – Opposition (7-8)

By the time the Wise Men arrived in Jerusalem it is likely that Herod was sick.  He would soon die at the age of 70.

Herod was a wicked and hated Edomite king.  In fact five days before he died he killed his own son and ordered that all the leaders of the Jews assemble at his palace and then he incarcerated them. He issued an order was that when he died these Jewish leaders were to be executed so that the Jews would weep instead of rejoice at the news of his death.

King Herod saw Christ as a threat to his ambitions, to his dreams, his position, and his power so he tried to eliminate him. Herod secretly called the wise men to assure them that he too wanted to worship this newly born King of the Jews – Devious, pretense. He would call for the execution of all baby boys in the region from 2yrs old and under. (see v16)

Perhaps you are like the Priests and Scribes – you too are a religious Insider.  You have grown up in the church, you have attended Sunday School, you enrolled in Religious Education, you may have been baptized.  You know about God and the Bible but you like them are apathetic!  Be warned!  There is coming a day of judgement, listen to what Jesus said to the religious Insiders in Matthew 7:22-23:  “depart from me, I never knew you!”

Or perhaps you are like Herod – you are positioned and powerful.  You are a high-stakes man or woman, a mover and a shaker in society.  People know you, fear you, admire you!  To you Christ’s demands are a threat to your agenda, to your dreams to your position and power.  There was a man like this in Luke 16:19-31 who died.  In hell he was in torment and cried out for someone to go to his five surviving brothers to warn them not to come to such an awful place.  Abraham answered “they have Moses and the Prophets let them hear them.”

Here is the bottom line: everybody makes individual decisions about what they will do with Christ after Christmas: The Outsiders, The Insiders, and The Placed & Powerful.

Jesus gives us an insider glimpse of how it ends for Wise Men and for Foolish Men:

Mt. 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

The house symbolizes our lives.  The rain, wind and flood is the judgement that is coming.

The Wise Man builds His life upon the rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.  When the wind and rain and flood of judgement comes His life stands firm.

But not so with the foolish man.  You see He has built his life on the sands of his own desires and human wisdom.  When the storm of judgment comes everything he has worked for, invested in – his life is destroyed.  He has nothing to show for all his life efforts.

None of us want to be numbered with the foolish this Christmas! Be a Wise Man, be a Wise Woman – search for Jesus, find Him, worship Him and obey Him!  Build your life this coming year on the Rock – the Lord Jesus Christ!

You can download the pdf version of Christmas IMPLICATIONS for the Rest of the Year