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10 Kilometers From Christ

Benjamin Ng
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  • December 26, 2020
    11:30 AM
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Father in heaven thank you so much for this time thank you Lord for the blessed that Sabbath day as we come to worship you as we come to seek your word and seek your face Lord May you please speak so tenderly so clearly to each and every one of us help us to understand the message for this morning but more than that help us to understand how it applies to each and every one of our lives as well for we pray in Jesus' name amen you know the title of us on this morning is 10 kilometers from Christ and the question I have for you to start off is how long does it take for you to run 10 kilometer earth. I'm not a good runner My knees are bad I have flat feet and I run by a charity run that I did about 5 years ago we had to run 6 kilometers Ok 6 kilometers and it took me about 15 minutes I remember some people took about 2025 minutes and some can run 10 kilometers easily and an hour definitely not me but if you were to walk and the average person walks about 4 kilometers per hour if you were to walk just a fost war you would probably be able to walk 10 kilometers in about 2 hours and we can definitely do it in one day for sure and you know they say that the distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is approximately 10 kilometers and you got to be careful I looked this up in Google Maps and there are 2 Bethlehem's that you got to be careful of Ok there's one that's just south of Jerusalem which is where Jesus was born and there's one up in Galilee which is north and so you know Bethlehem it is about 10 kilometers from Jerusalem and it is a small town compared especially to the city of Jerusalem which is the center of the whole country back then but one of the most important events in human history took place about 2000 years ago surrounding these 2 cities and you know what I'm talking about it's the birth of Christ and even as we are in the Christmas season look friends I know that Christ was not born on December 25 we all know that but especially during this festive season where everybody is thinking about the birth of Christ it is a good time to reflect on this story to go back and look at a couple of stories surrounding this event and especially one that we're going to look at in Matthew Chapter 2 let's start there shall we Matthew Chapter 2 and starting in verse one. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of today in the days of Herod the king behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem saying where is he that is born King of the Jews for we have seen his star in the east and a come to worship Him when Herod the king had heard these things he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him and when he had gathered all the chief priest and scribes of the people together he demanded of them where Christ should be born and they said and to him in Bethlehem of Judeo for thus it is written by the prophets and I'll bet all of them in the land of Judah not the least among the princes of Judah for out of the shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel. In this story that we see leading up or surrounding the events of Christ's birth we see that there are 3 groups of people mentioned here 1st is the wise men and they came looking for the Redeemer the king of the Jews then the 2nd person we see there is Herod who is the current king of the Jews and thirdly we see the Pharaoh sees and the scribes and I want to look at these 3 groups this morning to see how it applies to us today to help us to understand even the situation that we're looking at as we are waiting not the 1st coming of Christ but the 2nd coming so let's start with the wise men look we don't know much about them at all we don't know where they came from but yet they were just following a star wherever it led them and they have been studying the stars and the writings of Baylen In fact he wrote about this in Numbers Chapter 24 and verse 17 when he was trying to curse the children of Israel and instead he uttered a blessing all together I shall see him but not now I shall behold him but not NY there shall come a star out of Jacob and his scepter shall rise of Israel and shall smite the corners of Moab and destroy all the children of Sheth so he gave this prophecy that there would a star come out of the children of Israel or the star of Jacob and so these wise men were looking at the stars they were astrologers they were looking at the heavens looking for something different and they saw a star that was not an ordinary star that was not part of the solar system they were used to seeing up there in the heavens and so they decided to follow the star as it began to move and look at what the pair of inspiration talks about this in the desire of ages 59 paragraph 3 the light of God is of a shining. Amid the darkness of heathenism as these magi studied the starry heavens and sort of fathom the mystery hidden in their bright paths they beheld the glory of the Creator seeking clearer knowledge they turned to the Hebrew Scriptures in their own land were treasured prophetic writings that predicted the coming of a Divine Teacher Baylen belonged to the magicians though at one point a prophet of God by the Holy Spirit he foretold the prosperity of Israel and the appearing of the Messiah and his prophecies had been handed down by tradition from century to century but in the Old Testament the Saviour's Advent was more clearly revealed the Magi learned with joy that his coming was near and the whole world was to be filled with a knowledge of the glory of the Lord and so these wise men took off following this star that appeared in the heavens and according to the star that we just read in Matthew Chapter 2 this star would lead them 1st to Jerusalem the question that I have as we pause here for a 2nd is why didn't the star lead them straight to Bethlehem Why did it have to lead them to Jerusalem 1st Jesus wasn't there and in fact there was more discouraging for them to go to Jerusalem something that the wise men didn't deserve because their enthusiasm for finding the king of the world was that was the bit and could have been brought death to die out. More than helping them in all outward appearances there was no benefit for the wise men to make a pit stop at Jerusalem before heading on to Bethlehem their experience was all negative you see many times friends when I have to make decisions I like to write on a whiteboard although piece of paper the pros and cons like coming back to Malaysia from Taiwan what were the pros of coming back here what were the cons of coming back here you know what was the pros of staying in Taiwan what were the cons of staying in Taiwan I'd like to write all these things down to make sure that you make a clear and informed decision logical decision the straightest parts of what you want to achieve choosing the best option and making the wisest decision for your life right well with the wise men when you write down the pros and the cons of why they followed the star to Jerusalem there was no advantage there was no pros it was all cons it was all negative it was all discouraging to them the more one Jesus wasn't there Number 2 know was no one was interested in what they were looking for and more than anything else they would find pretense and insincerity they're a sure way to make someone leave the church and leave Jesus all together we don't know how it really impacted them but what we do know is that the reason why God led the wise men to Jerusalem is he was trying to give the Jews a chance a chance to wake up from their slumber a chance to have their eyes opened that the Savior was born right down the road from where they were God was trying to witness to his own people and he was trying to save them you know sometimes you might reflect on your life or maybe even now you're in the midst of it you're looking at your life or you look back at your life and you look at this current situation it makes no sense why you're going through what you're going through and you're wondering why God is leading you down this path. You're trying to assess your situation and it just makes no sense and in fact it seems like an utter waste of time well you're in good company because that's exactly what happened to the wise men God made them take a detour for no apparent reason at all just down the road from Bethlehem and this is the 1st lesson that we can learn from the wise men here in Matthew that God doesn't always do things just for your benefit you know God is the rule of the world and he has in his hands 8000000000 lives and he has to make sure that every person has a chance to come to know God And so sometimes he allows you to take a detour from the aims the goals the processes of your life just so that you can help somebody else just so that you can give a chance for someone else to be saved and on top of that when we look at this picture in Matthew Chapter 2 Ok no one really is benefited by the visit of the wise men in Jerusalem there when they leave Jerusalem the people that they leave behind are in the same condition as when they 1st appeared or maybe even worse it seemed like as I said an utter waste of time there was no benefit what so ever. And this is just where we have to trust God friends and hold on because only when we see clearly in heaven where we understand the intricate workings and the mysteries of how God guides each and every person and now how he's giving chances for every person to be saved he sent the wise men to Jerusalem just simply to be a witness they were looking for someone and something but they didn't find him there and God knew that the star led them there just simply to be a witness so the next time you're in the midst of a situation in your life that you don't know what you're going through friends just hold on and trust God yet the wise men they didn't lose hope they would eventually leave that city and see the star in the sky again and it would lead them this time to the king of the Jews and the savior of the world so that's a 1st group the wise men. The 2nd group that we want to look at is King Herod he was the king at that time the king of the Jews and when the wise men came searching for Jesus they didn't ask for a savior actually what were they asking for look at this Matthew Chapter 2 and verse 2 saying where is he that is born what king of the Jews for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him they were looking for the king of the Jews and obviously they were looking for the King that was standing right there before them at that point to worship Him And so what happened what happened King Herod says in verse 3 Well this is what happens King Herod he heard all these things he was troubled and all Jerusalem was troubled with him why probably because he was a tyrant he was not just king and when the king is troubled people get in trouble you see and so he asks where this king would be born he turns to the pharaoh sees and the scribes and immediately they give an answer why of course in Bethlehem and they quoted Scripture right there and then to him they knew it off the top of their heads you see friends but instead of being excited about this new King what does Herod say to the wise men Matthew Chapter 2 in verse 8 and he sent them to Bethlehem and said Go and search diligently for the young child and when you have found him bring me word again that I may come and worship Him Also did he really want to worship the king of the Jews that was born in a manger and in a stable of course not he had an air of pretense about him a pretense that he actually wanted to go and worship this king but it was all fake his response does not reveal the true intent of his heart that he actually hates this new king and wants to go and kill him. King Herod he represents all those that are troubled by the News of the arrival of Jesus well Who Could That Be Well that's us friends our plans our lives that would be disturbed by the presence of Jesus the unwilling sacrifices that would have to be born plans that would have to be put aside to make room for this new king Jesus was coming in as King of the world but they already had this king King Herod and self is that King in our hearts today friends self is what takes supremacy in our own lives and in our own hearts self is that which had have to be rooted and supplanted if we are to make way for the king of the world Jesus Christ today self would have to be dethroned and removed from top priority just to make room for Jesus our Savior and it rightly represents us because we have this pretense about our relationship with Jesus sometimes do you know that we have this pretense sometimes that we actually love Christ we go to church we sing hymns we've sing these praise songs we greet each other happy Sabbath and we deceive ourselves because in fact many times self rules. We already have a king and that King is our self our life our studies our work our once our needs our money our hobbies the things that we like to do and when the Sabbath comes and tells us to put aside our pleasures and our work and our labor the things that we love to do it's difficult but many are pushed forward by tradition to spend those 2 hours on Sabbath in church and have a bit of a lunch and then right after that we run off back to our own lives we like to have our next we like to do the things that we like to do we like to have our social time and Sabbath becomes a drag because God says you cannot do these things and it's difficult because self the king is alive in our hearts you see many of us we don't realize that we have a King Herod in our hearts and that's why following Jesus is such a painful experience to us because the king that is there is unwilling to budge and these 2 kings are always at war with each other friends do you have a King Herod in your heart today during this Christmas season has it been this focus of self you know although I get. To be honest I get a bit worried sometimes wishing people Merry Christmas because I don't know which person is going to come come up to me and say Pastor Christmas is not biblical you know I don't have a problem with saying it but I want to make sure I don't want to be a stumbling block to anybody you know I don't think that there's anything wrong with having a Christmas tree I really don't. The pen of inspirational White talks about Christmas tree in the home it's all pagan and we like to quote Bible texts one found in Isaiah Jeremiah wherever it is but you know that doesn't talk about the Christmas Tree Friends we've got to be careful just having a Christmas tree in the home does not mean that you're making it an idol but the problem with the season of Christmas sometimes is it is all focused on self about the presents that I get to see either by the food that I'm going to eat the other vacation that I'm going to go on and so many times Christmas where we are meant to be reminded about Christ is not about self but about others that are less fortunate is there a King Herod in your heart this morning I want to go to Lot last group the priests and the scribes they were the ones at the counselor's of King Herod when he was troubled and said Tell me where is this king the king of the Jews meant to be bought born and this group is the most interesting of all why because they are the religious leaders of the city and of the church and when Herod is troubled and asks where this king should be without hesitation there are able to quote scripture in verses 5 and 6 they say to him in Bethlehem of today or for thus it is written by the prophets and well Bethlehem in the land of Judah not the least among the princes of Judah for out of these shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel it's really interesting that they know the prophecies and they are able to cordon off the top of their heads and yet they are never moved by them. The question that I really have in my mind is why didn't the priests and the scribes go to Bethlehem if they were able to quote it and they knew where Jesus was born they knew the location they knew the Scriptures why didn't the scriptures have the power to move them to go to Bethlehem for themselves why did they just stay there right there in Jerusalem I mean it's only 10 kilometers down the road you see that why is it that they didn't even want to go and look for themselves why didn't the even just walk a couple of hours to check if he had really been born why maybe they were thinking this friends I the religious leader I'm the one that should know I'm the scholars of prophecy and of scripture if and when the savior comes of this world surely he will come to us 1st right surely I will be the one that would know and leave the charge leave the whole city to come and worship this new king. So they're standing there looking at these wise men people of different religion announcing that they're coming to look for the king of the Jews they must have been thinking of scribes in the 1st year they must been thinking these men they're mistaken they're just on a wild goose chase for them there was no announcement there was no special time given and there was no angel that came to vent to let them know about the Savior's birth so maybe these people from different religion they were just barking up the wrong tree they were just confused about the Scriptures surely very themselves would know when and where the so you would be born they had a location they knew the Scripture they were just waiting for announcement from heaven so them. And so they did not go anyone else coming in that would know especially from different religion they must be mistaken right and so that was really the problem friends it was a matter of pride the Redeemer of this world would not pass us by right we wouldn't be the 1st to know surely these heathen men from a different country and apos take religion all together they would not be the 1st ones to know so they're pomp and the prophet but their pride prevented them from even just going to Bethel him just to check and it was just 10 kilometers down the road friends 10 kilometers we need to be careful that we don't become puffed up like the wise men part of me like the scribes and the Pharaoh sees we've got to be careful that we don't get all prideful because we have some sort of religious knowledge we are summons the Adventist Church born out of the pages of prophecy we are the ones with the truth we are the ones that have the 3 angels messages we are the ones that are preaching the gospel to the whole world we are one of the biggest churches in the whole world we are a global church we are the ones with the true interpretation of Daniel and Revelation we are a people of the book we are the ones that have a prophet in our midst that is a true prophet that tells us about the end times surely we can't learn anything from anyone else can we all friends it's easy to get puffed up it's easy to be proud that you think you're in the right church worshipping on the right day doing what God wants and here comes a heathen person trying to teach you something about the Scriptures that you ought to know already it's possible friends that we can be like the Pharisees and the scribes look. I'm not saying that we should go to other religions and go learn from them we should focus our attention on the Bible and the Bible only you remember as we studied last night the Farriss they want really searching the scriptures they were repeating and quoting tradition all the time but we should be going to the other religions of of Buddhism or or Muslim or whatever other religions are out there to go study their theory of the their books and their writings thinking that there is some wisdom in them no friends we got to make sure that we are focusing on the Bible and the Bible only but we are not the only ones being guided by God The wise men turned their attention to the Bible to read it and to study it even though they were from other religion and so this group of scribes and Pharisees got puffed up in their own estimation of themselves allowed pride to get in the way of them even going down the road to check if truly the Messiah had been born today that time in Bethlehem. If we are modern Israel could it be that Jesus has passed by the interest church to bring light to someone else who is hungering and thirsting after the truth more than those that were in the church itself it's possible the other people that are worried more about the state of the world than the administration most likely other people out there that care more for the homeless and the sick than the some They've been a search probably other people out there that could be known as the a that are studying the scriptures more intensely than those themselves that call themselves Christians Absolutely and this group is represented by the scribes and the fairest sees who had a lot of knowledge but yet never moved on. The wise men came in with a little They came in they were not Christian they were not people of the book and yet God was guiding them the Bible scholars of that time knew the answer to the question they knew that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem but their knowledge condemned them all the more because they did nothing about the truth that they knew friends what are you doing about the truth that you know today has God given you light has God given you guidance or is it just had knowledge and not transforming knowledge do you have faith that is simple enough to move you forward even though you don't see 100 percent clearly for everyone that is too busy to join the search for Jesus c.s. Lewis wrote these words look at us look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred loneliness despair rage ruin and decay but look for Christ and you will find him with and with him everything else thrown in you know friends Jesus stands at the end of life's road for all of us there's no such thing as middle ground to ignore him is the same as hating him because you end up without him either way Herod hated him the priests and the scribes they ignored him and perhaps hating Jesus is better because at least you have to pay attention to the object of your hatred and that that attention may lead you one day to end up loving him instead but to ignore Jesus altogether means to live life as if he does not exist. You know in Hebrews chapter 2 in verse 4 the bible asks this question that only we can answer how shall we scape if we neglect so great salvation which at the 1st began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed on to us by them that heard him you see that word neglect their friends of underlined it's the same as ignore They say that majority of marriages that break up the end up in divorce is not because the husband is beating the wife or because of fornication or infidelity or or you know adultery it's because of ignoring there in the same house together they're there sharing the same room in the same bed but they're ignoring each other they have their own lives and many of us we have Christ in our life he's right there he has a room in our hearts we have the Bible in our home but yet many of us are going through our life as if he does not exist and friends you can only ignore him for so long because we will all have an appointment with Christ sooner or later all of us will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and so the ultimate question is not how someone else responds to you but the question that I have this morning to you is how are you responding to Jesus Christ our King our Lord and our savior that's the only thing that really matters are you with Herod or the Pharaoh seasoned scribes or are you with the Wise Men are you hostile to Jesus like Herod or are you too busy or proud to get involved like the scribes in the Pharaoh seas or are you coming to worship Him as your Savior and Lord of life today. Is Jesus you're all in or is he the apple of your eye is he the fairest of 10000 is he the Rose of Sharon is he the 1st the last and the best is he the object of all your affection and if not then I want you to pray this prayer with me this Christmas season I want you to pray the simple prayer especially during this time a simple prayer to simply say what oh lord make my heart a manger where the Christ child can be born you know friends many of us we need this prayer today perhaps we've been very religious and no doubt many do believe in Jesus but for some of us that belief has never led to a moment of personal commitment and full surrender he's just part of what you do he's not your all in all he's not living your life he's just a part of your life and it's possible that even doing this festive time where we're meant to celebrate the birth of Christ and be reminded of life and self that self is alive that self is king that we're all thinking about all that we're thinking about doing this time is self my presence my food my time my holiday my travels and so friends today I want you to pause and this is an invitation from the Lord to you to open up your heart to let go of your doubts and your fears to give up your anger or bitterness to let go of the things that chain you to this world your life your work your games your money your career your studies that's just too much friends and all I want you to say is the simple prayer. Oh Lord make my heart a manger where the Christ child can be born friends those words will change your life today Christ never turns away from any heart that is open to him he's the one that's knocking on the door of our hearts in Revelation Chapter 3 saying let me in I want to come and sup with you he's the one that's walking with us on the road to the mayor's without us even realizing it and he pretends to go on to see if we want him to actually stay are not he's waiting for you and me he's the one that seeking after us but he's not going to force himself upon us except that we're willing to say that prayer oh lord make my heart a manger where the Christ child can be born Yes a manger a manger that seems such a nice word but it was just a feeding trough for animals dirty despised hardly thought off and never maintained that our lives friends but Christ was born in the manger and he was to be born in you today but we've got to be willing to say that preference we've got to be willing to give him a chance we've got to be willing to test him to taste them. To be willing to let him to come in and may that be your experience during these festive times that during these holidays we would be found drawing still closer and closer to Christ you know the holidays too often are those times where we let go of our routine then we let go of our habits and especially one of the 1st habits to go is our personal devotion and walk with Christ I pray that in this coming week between Christmas and New Year us we would have an even deeper relationship with Christ that would be willing to say oh lord make my heart a manger where the tryst child can be born let's pray shall we Father in Heaven Lord even this festive season where it's meant to be all about you we still focus on ourselves we still focus on our own lives and I pray that you would please help us just to turn our gaze away from our own self that we won't be proud in our own estimation even of the truth that we know but that we would be willing to be guided by you that would look to you that we would follow that star that we would allow you to be born in each and every one of us Lord help us just to pause today and not think about ourselves but how we can be of lusting to others because Heaven is so busy even on the Sabbath when we are meant to be resting your busy ministering to us your busy pouring out your blessings upon us Father please help us even then to be a blessing as well. Guide us Lord fill us with your spirits and Lord help us that our hearts would be a manger where the Christ child can be born today this is our earnestly and print brain Jesus in. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons pleaded visit w w w audio verse or.

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