21 December 2014 pm – Matthew 2:2,11 – Scott Childs
Introduction: This Christmas season, many people are travelling long distances. I would guess that most of them are going mainly for their own benefit. They want to have a good time. They want to visit relatives or friends. They want to see new things. They want to get away from the busy life and relax. Very few would be travelling a long way just to be a blessing to another.
Many years ago, the wise men from the east took a long journey for the sole reason of worshipping the newborn King. As I thought on that, I realized how little I really know about worship.
Transition: This evening I want us to focus our attention on three aspects of worshipping Christ.
1. Worshipping Christ is an Action
The wise men fell down and worshipped Christ, v.11.
a. It is a bowing action.
1) The word translated “worship” means “to kiss, to bow, to serve, to worship.” It is an expression of love, respect, or honour. TDNT
2) In the NT, worship means kneeling or prostration to do homage. It is used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank. Thayer
b. It is a voluntary action.
1) While one may be forced to bow before a king or an idol, the outward action alone is not true worship.
2) True worship must be voluntary. It must be an action motivated by the heart.
² The wise men made their long journey so that they could worship Christ. When they found Him, they fell down and worshipped Him (v.11). Think of that. These wise wealthy men fell down on the floor of the house and worshipped this Baby.
O If we are going to worship Christ as they did, one of the things we must do is to bow before him. At the least this means to bow our head when we approach Him in prayer. It also suggests that we often kneel or bow down before Him when we talk to Him. If you never kneel when you talk to the Lord, your worship is not as complete as it could be. Kneeling before our Creator is an outward expression of the heart.
2. Worshipping Christ is an Attitude
Anyone can bow or kneel during prayer as part of a ritual or habit, but true worship is bowing in the heart as well as with the body. Worship is an attitude.
V (John 4:24) “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
a. It is a respectful attitude.
1) True worship shows respect to the Lord. It is seeing the Lord as our Sovereign and Master. It is respecting Him as our Creator and Judge.
a) We ought to teach our children to bow, close their eyes, and quietly listen when others are praying.
b) If we enter a room or the church when someone is praying, we ought to bow our heads and keep still until the prayer is complete.
c) During the offering prayer, we should never find money for the offering or pass money to the children.
2) True worship expresses awe or fear, recognizing that Christ is the Almighty God of the universe who is holy. It causes one to tremble when in God’s presence as Isaiah did because His holiness exposes our sinfulness.
V (Isaiah 6:5) “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
V (Hebrews 4:13) “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
b. It is a humble attitude.
1) To worship the Lord, we must humble ourselves before Him. Bowing before the Lord is humbling because our selfishness and pride clash with true worship.
2) A humble attitude includes submission to the Lord. When we kneel before Him in genuine worship, we yield our rights to his wishes. We allow Him to lead and we willingly follow. We must stop trying to control our own lives and fully submit to His will.
² The respected, honourable, wealthy, wise men had reverent, humble attitudes. They gave of their time, energy, and wealth to worship the infant Christ child. They kneeled on the house floor, in the presence of this poor couple and worshipped their tiny baby.
O If you struggle to kneel respectfully and humbly before the Lord, you have an inflated opinion of yourself and a deflated opinion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Worshipping Christ is an Appreciation
True worship also includes appreciation for the one worshipped. The wise men expressed their appreciation with valuable gifts.
a. It is a heartfelt appreciation.
1) The appreciation expressed by the wise men was truly from their hearts. No one commanded them to bow before Christ. No one forced them to give Him gifts. They kneeled before Christ out of genuine respect and honour for Him.
2) Any worship that does not come from the heart is nothing but a showy ritual.
b. It may be a verbal appreciation.
1) We are not told that the wise men said anything in honour of the Christ child, but they must have explained their coming, the guiding star, and their gifts to Joseph and Mary. It is likely they also gave thanks to God.
2) Worship may be connected with singing praise to the Lord.
V (Psalms 66:4) “All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.”
O Many people today think that worship is connected with music that sounds like the world, sung in a sensual tone like the world, by singers wearing immodest clothing of the world, who are themselves worshipped by their audiences. However, any action or song that does not highlight the holiness of God and give him 100% of the glory cannot be true worship.
c. It can also be a financial appreciation.
1) The wise men expressed their appreciation as they worshipped Christ by giving him costly treasures.
2) We too can worship the Lord by giving Him our tithes and offerings.
a) As we look at giving in the O.T., we find that tithes and offerings were to be brought to the tabernacle, or temple, which was the storehouse. In the N.T., the local church is the “storehouse”.
V (1 Corinthians 16:2) “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
b) Many Christians give to organizations and causes outside the local church. While giving above and beyond your tithe to outside causes may be okay, you will not find Bible support for giving your tithes in that way. God ordained the tithe to support His work in the O.T. and there is nothing in the N.T. saying that He changed that. Remember, we are to prove all things with the Bible (1Th 5:21-22).
Conclusion: This message has challenged me to evaluate my worship. I would encourage you to do the same. Do you often voluntarily bow or kneel before the Lord? Do you always approach the Lord with a respectful and humble attitude? Do you regularly express heartfelt appreciation to the Lord?
The Psalmist wrote, (Psalm 29:2) “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Let’s ask God to forgive our carelessness and to improve our worship.
Song: O Worship the King, 1