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

FIVE CHRISTMASES

Herod: The False King

December 15, 2019 Wahiawa

Introduction:  Last week, as PLori’s braddah from anodda maddah, my sistah from another mister, spoke about Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, who so was a friend to Jesus, mother, Mary.  And how she had so much faith, seeing what others didn’t see.  

Just a review, Elizabeth was hapai with who?  Yes, John, and he’d later become John the Baptist, preparing people for the coming of Jesus.  Speaking about making preparations in our heart to receive Jesus, I hope all of you are pau with your Xmas preparations, decorations, Christmas shopping, I’m sure you still have plenny parties to attend.  But in all that, PLori and my prayer for you is that you can make room in your lives to appreciate Jesus.  

I’m not sure if you get this, but when I run into people and greet them, many people say, “Happy Holidays” I rarely hear people say, “Merry Christmas” anymore.  Can we practice this.  Can we stand up one more time and tell five people, “Have a merry Christ-mas”  Good let’s go out and remind people what Christmas is all about.  

In our series “Five Christmases” we see key people receiving the “good news” of the coming Messiah, da one who saves, and eventually they accept and celebrate, this history changing event — Joseph, the husband to Mary and future father of Jesus, Elizabeth, the Friend of Mary who as we learned last weekThe shepherds, Magi, as we’ll learn next week and for our Christmas eve service, we’ll look at Mary, who all rejoiced at the coming of the Messiah.

All except one…King Herod.

So in the Christmas story, King Herod is the Scrooge (whose heart never grew bigger).  He is the biblical times Grinch who wanted to steal Christmas.  You’ve heard of people who try to take the Christ out of Christmas?  Well, Herod literally tried to take Christ out –and I don’t mean on a date!  Like the Terminator who tries to kill John Conner before he’s born.

So who is Herod?  He had been King over the Jews for over 30 years.  And when appears in the bible, this is his last years of rule.  History tells us that he’s sickly and dying at this time, and has become insanely fearful, untrusting, paronoid against any attempts to overthrow him.  Herod is called Herod the Great, not because he was a great family man.  He killed his sons, his wife, all to stay on the throne.  So why is he great?  It’s  because of what he constructed.  He built these massive fortresses, outdoor theatres, aquaducts and palaces that 2000 years later.  You can still see the giant stone foundations and column ruins when you visit Israel.  

As a master builder, he improved the Second Temple!  People called it “Herod’s Temple.” 

Father, Herod Antipater, kissed okole to the Romans.  And the Herods are installed as the Kings of the Jews by the Romans who were the world leaders at that time.  So King Herod is actually “King-ish” Herod.  He betrayed his countrymen in order to be King over them.  

With this in mind, that we have this power trip King on the throne, now being visited by these non-warrior types.  So Herod’s part in the Christmas story begins when these highly distinguished VIPs–called Magi asking for the Messiah.  Where did they come from?  Matthew writes, “the East.”  And who were they?  Are they kings?  Wise men?  Sorcerers?  Astrologers? 

This is Matthews account of the interaction that the Magi had with King Herod.  

 “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).

Let’s read the rest of the interaction Herod had with the Magi.  

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling citiesof Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

Question:  Do you think Herod was excited to celebrate and worship this child Messiah?  Of course not!  

(Herod): What? The Messiah is coming?! Now?  No ways, 700 years since Isaiah and Micah prophesied about a coming Messiah being born of a virgin.  So Herod checked with his scribes and other prophets in his court.  “Where is the Messiah supposed to come?”  “Bethlehem?”  “Where are the Magi going?”  “Bethlehem!”  “What if it’s true!”  “No one is going to take my throne away!”  Watch this video

So he plans 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 Our heavenly Father’s plan is unstoppable. 

You heard last week that Elizabeth embraced her cousin Mary’s pregnancy and spoke out that her child will be our Lord.

Then, right when Herod was gonna have killed all the boys, God shows up and speaks through an angel to Joseph in a dream about this plan and tell him to escape with Mary and baby Jesus to where?  Yes Egypt and they stay there until Herod mahke, die dead. 

Now catch 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.

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.

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.

Key:  So this Christmas don’t make the same mistake as Herod.  Recognize, accept, and embrace that JESUS IS KING.  Yes, Jesus is our savior, yes, he is our shepherd, yes, he is our friend, but Remember he is our KING!  That means would you allow him to rule, reign over your life!  

This means…  #2. . . 

2. HEROD AND YOU ARE NOT. (King)

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

People love control.  

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).

Herod slaughtered every boy in Bethlehem up to 2 years old.  Do you remember the last time this happened in the Bible?  The King of Egypt, Pharaoh, slaughtered the Hebrew children trying to kill who?  Moses.

But how did baby Moses escape?  In a basket.  And now Jesus, 1500 years after Moses, his Family escapes to Egypt until Herod mahke die dead.  

Why does the devil do this? To prevent the SAVIOR from coming. To stop Jesus, stop Moses before he can grow up and fulfill their divine destinies.

But the devil is too late…again!  So what is the right response when you get a revelation that JESUS IS KING?  

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!  God shows up.  

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.

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

I first heard these words from Jesus at U.H when I was studying to become an English teacher.  I know that’s hard to believe.  I became a Christian then from a non Christian home, so all this ChristianKingdom stuff was new to me.  I remember as I was involved and growing in my relationship with Jesus in this Christian group, one of the leaders took my aside and spoke to me about my relationship with my then girlfriend.  He asked me if I knew Matthew 6:33.  No, so we turned there in my new bible.  And he said read it, so I did.  And he said, are you seeking Jesus kingdom and his ways first in your relationship with your girlfriend?  I said, huh?  I’ve been with her since H.S.  He asked, “Are you putting God first in that relationship?”  I don’t think so.  I was 19 years old and dorming at the U.H, and I wanted to follow God, and honestly, there were many other nice looking girls at U.H, so I called my then girlfriend and told her, “since we not putting God first in our relationship, I gotta breakup with you”  No joke!  That’s what I did.  I figured, this is my chance to find a Christian girl to seek God together!  Yeah!  That girlfriend came to know Jesus too like me same time at U.H, but cuz I broke up with her, she decided to join another Christian group to grow there.  After getting to know other girls, nothing became serious with them.  But God had a plan cuz I met this amazing Christian girl later as she started coming out to my Christian group.  And that’s the girl I’m with today as my wife.  Just so happens to be my H.S sweetheart.  We both became different people because we decided to put Jesus first and make him King over our lives  

God was faithful in his promise when we put him first and all these things would be added to me. 

And I could tell you stories after stories of when I put Jesus first, made him king over my life, in my future goals, finances, he has always showed up.  

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? Put His Kingdom first.

Want health? Put His Kingdom first.

Want a good relationshp?  Put His Kingdom first.  

The term “Lordship” may be a Christianese, and one legalistic term.  Who is Lord of your life?  We worship Jesus is King.  Do you know how the Good an Spesho Book, The Hawaii Pidgin Bible, translate “Lord”  This is how we wen translate “Lord”. (in keynote)

Main ting, make God Da One In Charge a you, cuz he da King. Do da right ting jalike he do, an you guys goin get all da stuffs you need” (Matthew 6:33 DGSB)

 “Da one in charge a you”  So let me ask you, “Who da one in charge of your money, your relationships, your health?, your future?  Gotta make Jesus in charge of erything cuz he da King.  And he promise, garans, God goin give you all da stuff you need!  For shua dass he goin do dat!  But when Herod didn’t acknowledge Jesus as the King.  

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).

How many of you wanna be struck down, and mahke and be worm food this Christmas?  I’m sure our King Jesus won’t do that.  But we have a chance to put Jesus in Charge of our lives, especially as we approach Christmas.  What is Jesus asking you to place at the alter this season to put him and his kingdom in charge of.  Is your finances, your relationships, your future?  

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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