This is my Christmas themed sermon for Sunday, December 21st, 2008.
A hallelujah offering
Let us read from our text this morning.
Matthew 2:1-11 ISV – 1 After Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who was born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was troubled, and all the people of Jerusalem with him. 4 He called together all the high priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea. For that is what was written by the prophet:
6 ‘O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
you are by no means least among the rulers of Judah.
For from you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod secretly called together the wise men and found out from them the time the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “As you go, search carefully for the child. When you find him, tell me so that I, too, may go and worship him.”
9 After listening to the king, they set out, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were ecstatic with joy. 11 After they went into the house and saw the child with his mother Mary, they fell down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure sacks and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
This morning we are going to have our Christmas meal as a congregation together. Then this week is about to get very busy for many of us. Some may travel and visit family, or have family travel to visit them. And let’s not forget about the last minute shopping that will be taking place as well. By giving and receiving gifts we are essentially giving and receiving offerings to one another.
This morning I want us to think about us giving and being a hallelujah offering to Christ our Savior and King. What do I mean by that statement? Well, let me explain in a short, true story.
We all remember how Hurricane Katrina displaced many people from their New Orleans homes. Many evacuated to Texas and some even decided to continue to live in Texas. During this time, I was away from home, visiting my parents. Laura and the kids were at home, which was Victoria Texas at the time. They went to church that Sunday morning, and decided to go to Pizza Hut for lunch that afternoon. When Laura woke up, she did not realize that she was both going to be giving someone an offering, as well as she was going to become an offering. You see, amongst all those people present in Pizza Hut was a mother with two small children, who was displaced from New Orleans. They didn’t have much money, but the mother wanted to feed them. Laura could overhear the mother telling her two children that we don’t have much money, that she needed to look for a job, and that they were going to live in Victoria and she was going to put them into the School system that week. She said that it was all a big change, and she didn’t know how anything was going to work out, but she felt like it would. While this was taking place, Laura heard every word. You see, God Sovereignly placed Laura in that Pizza Hut at the right time and the right table to overhear what the lady was saying. Laura’s heart was stirred. She called the waitress to her table and told her to give her their check and she would pay, and not let them know. Laura paid for their meal and her and the kids quickly went to leave, as they did, they must have told the mother because the whole family was looking out the window with shock and joy on their faces.
You see, Laura didn’t have much money that Sunday, but what she had she gave to the Lord as a hallelujah offering by paying for this displaced a families meal, and by her being obedient to the Lord, she also became a hallelujah offering as well.
This morning, does God have something to say to us about being a Hallelujah offering to Him? I believe He does in the story of the Magi that we’ve read this morning.
Let’s begin looking into our text this morning, and we will see that it is the privilege of all believers to not only give an offering to the Lord in various ways, but to become a Hallelujah offering to Him.
The Magi was searching for the Christ child so that they might worship Him.
Matthew 2:1-2 ISV – 1 After Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who was born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
The Magi were basically Astrologers. Not necessarily in the sense of modern occultic one’s today – but there were people who looked at the stars and if they saw something unusual, they would determine that it was specific. They saw this star shining brightly in the east, where they were from, and they knew that it was significant. Somehow, I believe they must have had the Hebrew Scriptures, they determined that this sign was the sign that the king of the Jews, their Messiah, had been born. So they set out and followed the star and came to King Herod, searching for the child born King of the Jews.
What can we learn from the Magi here?
• In order to be a Hallelujah offering for Christ during this Holiday season, search for ways to give your life to Him. This could be either giving to someone in need, paying for someone’s meal, giving a little extra in the offering, sharing your faith with someone, whatever it might be, go above and beyond yourself and try to become a Hallelujah offering.
When the Magi saw that the star had stopped over the house of the Christ child, they were ecstatic with joy.
Matthew 2:10 ISV – When they saw the star, they were ecstatic with joy.
Why were they joyful? Because the one they was looking for they found.
What can we learn from the Magi here?
• When God reveals to us how we can be used as a Hallelujah offering – be ecstatic about it; be joyful that God is going to use to you bring Him glory.
The Magi brought offerings of worship to the Christ child.
Matthew 2:11 ISV – After they went into the house and saw the child with his mother Mary, they fell down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure sacks and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
When they entered the house and saw the baby Jesus, they fell down and worshipped Him gave Him costly gifts.
What was the significance of their gifts?
• Gold – This was a gift for a king. This gift was prophetic.
Psalm 72:15 ESV – Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!
• Frankincense – This was a gift for diety. This was a gift that was to bring praises to the Lord.
Isaiah 60:6 ESV – A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
• Myrrh – This was a gift signifying an upcoming death. Myrrh was used to embalm.
John 19:39-40 ESV – 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
What can we learn from the gifts of worship offered by the Magi?
• Worship Christ as your King.
• Worship Christ as your Savior and God.
• Worship Christ because He died and rose from the dead for us.
Instead of us just giving offerings of worship to Christ Jesus through song and prayers, let’s become a Hallelujah offering for Him.
Ask the Lord in what way can you be poured out to Him, and then be obedient.
Let’s give to God our desire to please Him as our Christmas gift to Him this year.