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M: 12/15/19: Herod: The False King

FIVE CHRISTMASES

Herod: The False King

In our series “Five Christmases” we see people receiving the “good news” of the coming Messiah, and eventually they rejoice and embrace the idea–Joseph, Elizabeth (John the Baptist inside Elizabeth), shepherds, Magi, Mary, all rejoicing at the coming of the Messiah.

All except one…King Herod.

So in the Christmas story King Herod is the heavy, the big bad.

He’s the Scrooge (whose heart never grew bigger).

You’ve heard of people who try to take the Christ out of Christmas?

Well, Herod literally tried to take out Christ–and I don’t mean on a date!

Like the Terminator who tries to kill John Conner before he’s born. (show Arnold Terminator)

Introduction

Who is Herod?

A master builder!

Vastly improved the Second Temple! People called it “Herod’s Temple.” (Photo)

Built a personal palace for himself on the rock fortress called “Masada.” (Photo)

Father, Herod Antipater, cozied up to the Romans.

Opposite of the Maccabees who fought their oppressors.

The Herods compromised.

So King Herod is actually “King-ish” Herod.

He betrayed his countrymen in order to be lord over them (show slide of Robert the Bruce)

The steward of the throne (show slide of Denethor)

So Herod’s part in the story begins when these highly distinguished VIPs–called Magi (more on them later)–came asking for the Messiah.

 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2 NLT).

Herod: What? The Messiah is coming?! Now?

After all, it had been 700 years since Isaiah and Micah prophesied about a coming Messiah being born of a virgin.

But Zechariah said he would land on the Mount of Olives!

“What’s going on?”

So Herod checked with his scribes and any prophets in his court.

“Where is the Messiah supposed to come?”

“Bethlehem?”

“Where are the Magi going?”

“Bethlehem!”

“What if it’s true!”

“No usurper is going to take my throne away!”

So he plots to TERMINATE the Messiah before he grows up to take the thrown.

But here’s Herod’s BIG problem:

As Kanye would say…

1. JESUS IS KING.

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:16-18 NLT).

How did Peter know this? Jesus said that flesh and blood did not reveal that to Peter, it was a REVELATION from the Father.

I LOVE knowing that something is the WILL of the Father! Why? Because He is unstoppable.

Earlier we saw the God encouraged Joseph in a dream to take Mary as his wife.

Now watch this:

“When it was time to leave, they (the Magi) returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod” (Matthew 2:12 NLT).

Herod devised a plot to have the Magi come back and tell him where to find Jesus so he could terminate him, but God tells the Magi to take an alternate route and not return to Herod.

So Herod is trying to hang on to his power–his “king-ish” life.

Mike & Mona at Caesarea Philippi

Here at Caesarea Philippi they not only worshipped their emperor of choice (Caesar, Philipp of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great), they also worshipped the god Pan and Zeus.

Well, as we stood on that spot 2000 years later there are no worshippers of Caesar, Philipp, Pan, or Zeus, but there sure were a lot of worshippers of Christ! The gates of hell did not prevail against the Church built by Jesus, exactly as He prophesied!

So when Herod hears the Messiah-King had come into the world and fails to honor Him, He doesn’t realize that He’s up against an unstoppable Kingdom.

Before Kanye recognized Jesus is King he tried to fight it…and he went insance.

Herod thought he was smart to back Caesar and the rule of the Romans.

He thought he would not only survive, but thrive and get stinking rich under them.

When he heard that the King of kings was coming, he should’ve backed Jesus, the true King of the Jews.

So this Christmas don’t make the same mistake as Herod and recognize that JESUS IS KING.

This means…

2. HEROD AND YOU ARE NOT.

“King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:3 NLT).

People love control.  Control is an illusion.

16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16 NLT).

Ironic by trying to keep his own reign, Herod was actually doing whose bidding? The Devil.

Herod slaughtered every boy in Bethlehem up to 2 years old.

Does anyone remember the last time this happened in the Bible?

Pharaoh.

Pharaoh slaughtered the Hebrew children trying to kill who? Moses.

But how did baby Moses escape? In a basket.

Jesus and the Holy Family fled to Egypt until Herod was dead.

Why does the devil do this? To prevent the SAVIO from coming.

To stop Jesus, stop Moses before he can grow up and fulfill their divine destinies.

Isn’t that unthinkable that the government would legalize the slaughter of children?

But it’s happening again. 1 million unborn are slaughtered in this country every year.

Why? To prevent the coming of the greatest generation of evangelists, missionaries, and ministers the world has ever seen!

To stop this generation from being born. But the devil is too late…again!

Our sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters will do greater works than us!

So what is the right response when you get a revelation that JESUS IS KING?

Freedom is not getting to do what we want, but the grace to do what we should.

Jesus is King, Herod and we are not.

So what SHOULD our response be?

3. WORSHIP THE KING.

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2 NLT).

How did the Magi know about the coming of Jesus? “The saw his star as it rose”

In short, they got a REVELATION from the heavens!

When people listen, God speaks.

When we seek Him, He will be found by us.

The Magi got a revelation that Jesus is born!

Then, they came to worship.

Worship is so much more than singing songs on Sunday.

Herod wanted to hold on to his kingdom.

But when we worship Jesus it means we are establishing HIS Kingdom not ours.

Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father in Heaven holy is Your Name” (worship).

Here’s what happens when we worship Him…

“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NIV).

Kingdom come into our families.

Kingdom come into our finances.

Kingdom come into our work and school.

What is the KINGDOM version of your life?

Any part of your life NOT in the Kingdom?

Ask the Spirit, “Is this the Kingdom version of my life?”

Worshipping the King means: preferring His will over our own, His opinion over our own.

Personal illustration of preferring His will over ours.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

The world is after money, clothes, houses, cars–worries over these things!

Jesus says: Seek God first? Of course. But specifically see the KINGDOM first (Kingdom values, Kingdom mission, Kingdom purpose, Kingdom lifestyle)

Seek first the Kingdom! All these things will be provided.

Want money? Seek Kingdom first.

Want health? Seek Kingdom first.

“Lordship” may be legalistic. We worship Jesus is King.

Worship the Mandalorian? Mandalorian costumes (with Baby Yoda)!

Here’s what happened to Herod…

“Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:23 NIV).

So this Christmas: Jesus is King, Herod and you are not. Let us worship Him.

Questions for Meditation & Discussion

1. How would you summarize the main point of this message?

2. Who was Herod the Great and what was his attitude toward the Magi’s question?

3. What does it mean that Jesus is King? How would you characterize His rulership?

4. What does it mean that Herod and we are NOT king?

5. Why did Herod–like pharaoh–try to slaughter all the children? Why does the devil do this?

6. What does it mean to worship the King and seek first His Kingdom?

7. How will you live in obedience to what God is saying to you today?

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