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Christmas War

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Christmas War

Matthew 2:13–23 (NIV) 13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” 19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

What does this story tell us?

Christianity is a fight.

The coming of Christ not only solves problems, but it also creates problems.

Luke 2:30-32, 34-35 (NIV) 30For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Acts 9:16 (NIV) “And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

You find life really isn’t about you.

You find people don’t like your message.

You find a new struggle inside yourself.

Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV) Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Christianity is a claim.

Matthew 2:3 (NIV) When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Matthew 2:11 (NIV) On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

Christianity is a status change.

Mark 3:32-35 (NIV) 32A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Philippians 3:20 (NIV) But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV) In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Christianity is surprising.

Christmas turns the world’s idea of success upside down.


Growing Deeper Together (Small Group Discussion Questions)

Use these points throughout the week as part of your quiet time, in your small group, or over coffee with a friend to help you apply what you learned in today’s message.

Reread our primary scripture for today. -What is Matthew’s point in emphasizing God’s watchfulness over Jesus? In fulfillment of Hosea’s and Jeremiah’s prophecies (vv.17-18, 23)?
-What relocation options face Joseph? How did God use prophecy, dreams, faith, and circumstances to guide him?
-When, like Herod, have you felt threatened by Jesus’ Kingship? How do you react? -From Joseph’s responsiveness, what do you learn about faith and obedience? How long would it take you to say “yes” if God asked you to relocate?

In point #1, what problems have you seen solved or created because of Christ? Drill down into your personal life and experience – share with a friend or write in your journal about how a relationship with Jesus has impacted your life for the good. In what ways have you personally experienced the “fight” of Christianity?

Pastoral study references, attributions, & recommendations: Holiness, by J.C. Ryle