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The Glory of Christmas // The Star // Week 5

CityRise December 28, 2020 sermons, christmas, Roger Patterson, sermon, The Glory of Christmas, West U Baptist,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Roger Patterson on Sunday December 27 at our West U Baptist Church campus. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTube page.

I hope that you have enjoyed the series, The Glory of Christmas. It’s been a joy to engage with the Skit Guys and be reminded of these beautiful truths.  We have looked at all of these characters who have been a part of these vinettes and today, we are looking at the character of the director. The man named Joel. 

Joel, the director, show us something profound. He shows us the intentionality it takes to bring people to Jesus.  In some ways, Joel is like the star in the Christmas story.  Let’s once again look at Matthew 2:1-2 and 9-11 and see the impact this star had on these wise men.

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Think about this with me for a moment.  An aspect of the glory of Christmas is that everybody can be the star in the Christmas story by doing what the star in the Christmas story did: shining bright in a dark setting and pointing people to the Savior.  So, how do we do this? How do we influence others toward Jesus?

To Influence others to Jesus I must…

  1. Recognize that I am called to Shine for Him
  2. Live a consistent life before them
  3. Serve and share until another’s path crosses with Jesus

To Influence others to Jesus I must…

I. Recognize that I am called to Shine for Him

I love that phrase in Matthew 2:2 where it says, “…For we saw his star when it rose…”

Matthew 2:2

“…For we saw his star when it rose…”

This is the description of the star—HIS STAR and it was used to point others to the Savior.

Application:  Are you known as His?  Are you known as one who lights the way for others to know Jesus?  Is it clear that you are set apart unto him?

If not, why not? 

In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus proclaims that his followers are the light of the world. 

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so thatthey may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We are called to let our light shine before others that they may see our good deeds and give glory to the Father in heaven. We are called to shine forth the light of truth.

Our task, like the director, is to give direction…it’s to influence…in such a way that everyone will know that we belong to him and that we long for them to know Him as well. 

You see, Joel, the director, did what the Christmas star is meant to do. He did what he could to put everything and everybody in the story in their places that it caused the focus to shine on the Savior in a way that everybody saw Jesus.

Some have asked why we only see this star in the book of Matthew.  I think it is because Matthew had a tender heart for his Jewish audience.  You see, the Gospel of Matthew is the bridge between the Old and New Testaments.  The genealogy that Matthew gives us focuses on King David.  The account of the children in Bethlehem being murdered by King Herod’s men in search for the Christ child would probably only have been known to his Jewish audience and Matthew was seeking to show them the Messiah.  He himself is seeking to make it abundantly clear that Jesus is the Messiah.  He is lighting the way.

Illustration: There is a Christmas custom that some in the Latin Cultures participate in. It’s called the lighting of the Luminarias.  The Luminarias are a paper sack, weighed down with sand and set on a sidewalk in front of a house.  Then votive candles are placed in these paper sacks so that they can be protected from the elements and also give off light.  One Luminaria doesn’t give off much light, but when hundreds are combined, on a city or suburb street, it creates a pathway for others.

In many ways, we, together are like these Luminarias, helping others on the path to knowing the true light of men, the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we follow Christ, we are called to light the way for others to come to know him!

Transition: To light this way, we must understand this second principle I want to share with you today.

To Influence others to Jesus I must…

  1. Recognize that I am called to Shine for Him
  2. Live a consistent life before them
  3. Serve and share until another’s path crosses with Jesus

To Influence others to Jesus I must…

II. Live a consistent life before them

So many people are looking at our lives to see if what we profess is how we really live.  In some ways, they are seeking to see if we are being consistent.  If we aren’t, then it’s easy to say, “Well, those Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.”  And if we are, then our lives are a compelling testimony to the grace and love of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul challenges the Philippian church to be consistent in their walk before others and to pursues holiness.  Look at Philippians 2 with me.

Philippians 2:12-15

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 

The Apostle instructs us in a few very clear ways.  The first here is vertical.  It’s in verse 12 and 13.

Vertical – the Upward walk

  1. God works in you…to will and to work for his good pleasure.  This picks up on the principle we just examined, that we are called to shine for him.  God works in us for the Father’s glory.  He works in us for that which pleases him…and that which pleases him is a people set apart for service unto him. 
  2. Fear and Trembling…Since God is at work in us for his pleasure, we are to walk well.  We are to walk with fear and trembling that we would be that conduit, that influencer, that one who is used of God.  We walk in reverence because we long for God to work in and through us.

As a result, we have the…

Horizontal – the Outward walk

  1. Our Conduct matters – do all things without grumbling or arguing or complaining…How we engage with others affects our witness.  When we engage in ways that are aggressive, unforgiving, confrontational and harsh, we diminish our witness.
  2. But when we do what we do, without grumbling or complaining, we are seeking to live blameless lives in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

AND WHEN WE COMBINE THESE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL WALKS BEFORE GOD AND MANKIND, WE DO WHAT?

WE SHINE LIKE STARS…WE SHINE AS LIGHTS TO THE WORLD!

The Apostle Paul demonstrates this very thing in Thessalonika where he ministered and led people to Christ. In recounting his ministry to them, and their acceptance of the good news of Jesus, Paul points to how he lived among them. 

Again, the principle here is that we must be consistent. 

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

Verse 10 picks up on this horizontal and vertical walk…

1 Thessalonians 2:10

 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 

Paul is saying, “Our walk and our message were consistent! You and God are witnesses to this!”

My friends, if we ever want those who are close to us to come to know the Lord, we must seek to walk well before them.  We must seek to live the integrated life before them. We must seek to pour ourselves out to them, believing that God is at work in us to reach them and see them come into the kingdom of light.

But you may say, “I’ve lived that consistent life before them and I am tired. I am tempted to give up on them.”

Let’s look at this last principle today.

To Influence others to Jesus I must…

  1. Recognize that I am called to Shine for Him
  2. Live a consistent life before them
  3. Serve and share until another’s path crosses with Jesus

To Influence others to Jesus I must…

III. Serve and share until another’s path crosses with Jesus

Matthew 2:9-11

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

The Lord’s star didn’t stop with King Herod. The star went before them until it came to rest over the place where Jesus was.  This star was a personal escort to Jesus.

Illus: Have you ever had a personal escort? We have some friends who had the ability to do Disney different than the rest of us.  You see, you may not know this, but you can hire your own personal Disney World Escort.  I’m sure that you pay a handsome sum to do this, but when you do, there are no lines. 

That’s right…the Fast Pass system is slow, compared to having a personal escort.  With the Personal Escort at Disney World:

  • you don’t waddle through the park like the rest of us. 
  • You don’t wait in a single line. 
  • You don’t even use the entrance that everyone else uses. 
  • No, you get behind the scenes treatment and special entrances.  You get led to every single attraction and get right on, bypassing everyone else.

Well, this star was the personal escort for these wise men, all the way to Jesus.  And you and I can play this role too. 

So, how do we do it?  How can we be a personal escort to Jesus?

Let me give you three steps.

  1.  We pray.  We pray for souls.  We plead to God for souls. We ask him to break us for souls.  We tell him that we want what he wants…souls to be saved…lives to come into his kingdom.
  2. We serve. We serve and we serve and we serve. 
    1. We seek to be generous.
    1. We take the high road when offended.
    1. We repay evil with good. 
    1. We serve and serve and serve. 
    1. We consider others better than ourselves.
  3. We share. We openly speak of Jesus and his love for us. We openly share the good news. We openly seek to share our testimony, and bring people to Christ.

And then we repeat.  As a personal escort to Jesus, we pray…we serve…we share.  We pray…we serve…we share. We pray…we serve…we share.  Over and over again.

And we do this because we have been tasked to do this by our Lord himself. We do this because we know that Jesus is our only lasting hope.  We do this because we want to please our Lord.

Are you burdened for people to come to know Jesus?  If not, why not? What’s in the way of living out the mission that God has given you?

Are you investing in others and seeking to live a consistent life before them? I didn’t say a perfect life, but a consistent life?

Are you staying at it…praying…serving…sharing?

Let me close with these words from the book of Daniel.

Daniel 12:3

And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

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