Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The King is Here Mat 1:18-24

More sermon notes.

(OT reading 1Sam8)

Do you ever have funny dreams? Lions. Queen coming to tea is very common. Doesn't really happen. But this amazing story is true. the King of Kings comes to earth, to a dirty stable in the Middle East.

A teenage unmarried mother is going to have a baby. She was probably under 16. She was engaged to be married to an honest carpenter who was probably 20 or so. When he found out she was going to have a baby and he was definitely not the father, well, he decided the marriage was off. He would not take her to court. That would be a public humiliation to get a divorce in court. Would just write a letter of divorce with no fuss. So he slept on these plans, no doubt a very sad man.

Then he had the most amazing dream. An angel, messenger from God, told him to scrap his plan to divorce young Mary. No, God, wanted them to marry. Mary had not been messing around with another man. It was not any man, but God himself who was responsible for Mary's pregnancy. The Holy Spirit of God had made this baby grow within her. It was to be a boy. One who had to be given a special name, Jesus. It means God saves or God will save, God is salvation. He is going to come to save his people from their sins. He is Emmanuel, God coming to be with his people.

Our sermon today is entitled, The King is Here. Who was king where Jesus was born? Herod, a half Jew. Real rulers? Romans. Under European domination and wanted to be free with their own king. But they had not had a proper king for nearly 600 years. 597 BC Jehoiachin their last king went into exile in Babylon. They had only had kings since 1043, less than 450 years. For 400 years before that they had been a nation with no human king. Why? Well God was their only king. First reference to a king in Israel is during their conquest of Canaan.

Num. 23:21 "No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The LORD their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them.

They had no human king. Joshua was their leader, later to be called a judge of Israel, their first. This nation with no human king was to have a king greater than a human one.

Num. 24:7 Water will flow from their buckets; their seed will have abundant water. "Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be exalted.

God was their only king.

Deut. 33:5 He was king over Jeshurun when the leaders of the people assembled, along with the tribes of Israel.

God knew that one day they would want a human king.

Deut. 17:14,15 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us," be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite.

200 years after Moses they asked Gideon to be king but he refused.

Judg. 8:22-23 The Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us --you, your son and your grandson --because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian." But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you."

400 years after they left Egypt as a nation, Israel wanted a human king. 1Sam 8 tells the story. Everybody else has a king they said. We want one too. Old Samuel has been our last judge. he is getting on. His sons are covered with sleaze, not fit to be in charge. Give us a king. Old Sam was not happy, not because his sons wouldn't get the family business either. God told Sam he was right to be sad. These people were not just rejecting Samuel's advice, they were rejecting God himself. They wanted to have a king just like every other nation. But the point was that they were not meant to be like every other nation, not even like any other nation. They were to be holy, separate, different because they had a holy, separate, different god.

You shall be holy for I am Holy.

1 Sam. 8:7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

God says that this is just one more example of their sin in rejecting Him. They have always done it. But all actions have consequences. God tells Sam to let the Israelites know what will happen when they have a human king just like other nations.

He will force your children to be his slaves.

Sons will be conscripted as soldiers.

Sons will be slave labour in his arms factories.

Sons will slave on his farms.

Daughters will slave in his kitchens.

He'll take the best of your land.

Every year he'll tax your income and your capital

You will not like it at all but there will be no relief.

Great, its a deal said the people of Israel. Yes they had gone mad. Sin does that to people. It clouds the judgement so we don't consider the consequences of our foolish choices.

They said they wanted a king because he would lead them and fight their battles. Now we have it. God wasn't good enough to lead them. No a man must fight and save them.

However, they had got one thing right. A king is responsible for the defence of his realm. To fight for his people. To save them from their enemies. The duty of a king is the defence of his realm and the establishment of justice for his subjects according to God's law. As Queen of Sheba said to Solomon

2Chr. 9:8 Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness."

But kings like their subjects are sinners. From Saul onwards all the kings of Israel failed in some measure to rule righteously and defend God's people. God pronounced his judgement on Israel and their king when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took them into exile.

Now, with the birth of baby Jesus God has sent his King, to save his people from their real enemy. Not from Rome but from sin.

When Jesus was born people thought their real problem was a political one. get rid of European domination, rule from Rome, and all will be well. But their problem was much greater. Their real problem was not their visible submission to Rome, but their unseen and unrecognised subjection to sin, to their rebellion against God. Jesus came to save them from their sin, from themselves. The real enemy is within. It is sin. Jesus came to save us from our enemy, sin, and to establish justice over us, the righteous rule of God's law over our lives.

How does he do this. God himself comes in human flesh, born of the Virgin, to live, die as the sacrifice for our sin, to rise in resurrection triumph. Jesus, born in Bethlehem is alive today , as perfect man he reigns with God in heaven to establish his law as people by faith submit to his rule. Human government, human salvation is a failure. Ask any politician if you can find one to give an honest answer. It doesn't work because it is tainted by sin. Sin is much worse than sleaze. Their are not ultimate political solutions to the problems of this world. Ultimate solutions are found only in the infinite God. he became man in Jesus for our salvation. The king is here in Bethlehem. The king of kings. Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man. He laid his glory by, he wrapped him in our clay, unseen by human eye the latent godhead lay. Infant of days he here became and bore the mild Emmanuel's name. That is how Charles Wesley put it. In our century The maker of the stars and sea become on earth a child for me.



Trust Him to defend and keep you


Ps. 149:1-5 Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honour and sing for joy on their beds.

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