Universal

Do You Believe That Jesus Is The Universal Savior And King?

Dan Franklin
Feb 19, 2023    44m
favorite_border
FAVORITE
Do you believe that Jesus is the universal Savior and King? The Gospel of Matthew reminds us that Jesus came to save everyone who believes in him. The word universal here does not mean everybody will be saved through Jesus no matter what, but everyone who comes to know and believes in Jesus receives salvation. Video recorded at Upland, California.

More From This Message

Life Bible - Universal
Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] We thank you so much for Jesus, whose birth, his life, his resurrection, and his continued life has changed everything. This morning we read from Matthew 2 verses 1 through 12, "1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and 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.” 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6“ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." This is God's Word. You may be seated.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:24] Oh, well, good morning. Oh, I'm excited about this morning. It's exciting to see God already at work and our service. And I want to do something to get us warmed up for what we're going to get to do in this passage, because this passage is about strong reactions, and specifically about strong reactions to Jesus. And so I want to get us started by doing a little bit of an activity, it's going to be participatory, you're all going to be involved in this. It's going to be an activity to gauge where we stand on some different subjects that we have strong reactions to. And so here's what I'm going to ask you to do. I'm going to have five up here, I'm going to have five different things that I'm going to talk about. And with each one, what I'm going to ask you to do is I'm going to ask you to do a thumbs up, thumbs down vote. We'll do this, we're going to be very organized with this. So I'm going to bring up the subject, then I'll ask for everybody who's thumbs up to give a thumbs up, then I'll ask for everybody who gives a thumbs down, to give a thumbs down so that we can see where we stand with these very, very controversial subjects that people tend to have strong reactions about.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:32] So let's start, we'll get to the heavier-hitting stuff, but I'll start with something that might be a little bit lighter for us. Country music. All right, I didn't even ask for it, all right, we got the thumbs up. Okay, now let's see the thumbs down. All right, we've got some thumbs down going too. A lot of you love country music, my experience has tended to be if you don't love country music, you are not into it at all. Strong reactions. All right, let's get a second one up here, let's delve into the world of sports. New York Yankees. Some of you, now wait your turn. You guys are like, wait, all right, so let's see. I know we're in the Los Angeles area, but let's see who's got a thumbs up for the New York Yankees. All right, we have a couple. Let's see who's thumbs down for the New York Yankees. God bless you all, all right. There are obviously lots of rabid Yankee fans all over the place, if you're a baseball fan and you're not a Yankees fan, you're probably a Yankees hater, that's just sort of the way it goes. Let's go into the realm of food now, Hawaiian pizza. All right, we've got some thumbs up going. All right, let's see the thumbs down now. You are my people, I don't get it, I love pineapple, but I don't know why you have to put it on pizza. Have it as two separate meals, but all of you can have my Hawaiian pizza, you know, I won't take any of it away. All right, let's go, this one is very near and dear to my heart. Die Hard as a Christmas movie. All right, we've got some thumbs up. Do we have any thumbs down? God have mercy on your souls, it ends with let it snow, what more do you need? But people feel strongly about it. Bruce Willis even came out and said, it's not a Christmas movie, but what does he know? I don't know. All right, the final one that will go through, and this will probably be the most heated, hopefully, you can see this is. Is this the correct way to put on toilet paper? Thumbs up. Thumbs down. Okay, if we were going to be united in anything, that should have been the one that we were united in, I don't know how you live with yourself if you do this.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:51] So, once again, that was for a little bit of fun, that was also just to remind us of the fact that there are certain things that people don't tend to be neutral on. There are certain subjects that when they come up, we tend to either be all in or all against and we don't have a casual response to them. And what we get to see in this passage that you already heard Christie read, we get to see some extreme responses to Jesus. And the interesting thing is that as we're going through the gospel of Matthew, we're not even to the point in Matthew right now where Jesus is really an active agent. It's going to be three more weeks until we really see Jesus do or say anything, and yet his very presence is bringing in extreme reactions, we're going to see two extreme reactions in this passage. And one of the reasons why I really want us to lean into this is because I think in the United States, we have tried to cultivate the casual response to Jesus. We're not hostile towards him, but we're not all in with him, we're kind of okay with many of the things that he says, we're tepid about other things. And I think it even seeps, I'm not just talking about people outside the church, I'm saying many of us as believers, we still have this mindset where it's like, yeah, we're into Jesus, but let's not get extreme about this. We've tried to perfect the casual response to Jesus, and you're going to see this passage devoid of any casual response to Jesus. We're going to see two extremely strong reactions to him, and here's what we'll do as we walk through the two strong responses to Jesus, we're going to see two questions get answered for each of the responses. And these two questions are, what does this response tell us about Jesus? And then what does this response tell us about ourselves? So let's go through two strong responses to Jesus in Matthew chapter 1 verses 1 through 12.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:46] And the first response that we're going to see in this passage is hostile opposition. Response number one is hostile opposition, and the one who inhabits this is Herod. So let's look at verses 1 and 2, it says, "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi a from the east came to Jerusalem 2and 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.” Now there's a bunch of stuff here in verses 1 and 2 that I'm going to get more into later. So some of you might be like, who are the Magi? We're going to get to that. Some of you are like, what's with the star? We're going to get to that. But this first run through, we're really just going to focus on Herod, and here's the strangeness that I want you to focus on.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:36] These foreigners, these Magi come in, and they come to the capital of Jerusalem, and they come to King Herod. And you notice the question they asked King Herod, where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? Who are they asking about the King of the Jews? The King of the Jews? They go to the king of the Jews, and they're like we heard about a king of the Jews who has been born. This would be like if there is a company that you own, somebody coming up and saying, hey, I heard that there's a new owner about to take over. I'd be like somebody showed up to the office of a school and was like, hey, I hear there's a new principal coming, that probably would not be welcome news. They go to the king of the Jews, and they say, hey, we've heard about somebody who is about to be born king of the Jews.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:19] And so we get Herod's initial reaction in verse 3," When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him." Now, it's not hard to understand why King Herod was disturbed by this, if a king of the Jews has been born, that is a rival king. But we hear that not only Herod was disturbed, but all of Jerusalem with them. And I'll tell you, here's why that's weird. Here's why that's a little strange. Herod was not winning any popularity contests amongst the Jewish people. He certainly had a cluster of people that he had made rich and had made successful, but on the whole, Herod was only king because the Romans had put him as the king, so many of the Jews saw him as sort of a puppet king of the Romans. He was not winning popularity contests. But here's maybe why all of Jerusalem was disturbed when they heard this news about a potential rival, King Herod was not known for mild reactions to news like this. Herod was a paranoid and violent man, so violent and so paranoid that throughout his life he put to death at least one wife and at least two sons, along with many other political rivals. So it may have been that all the people in Jerusalem were thinking, oh, no, if there's a rival, if there's somebody to get Herod's blood boiling, who knows what violence might break out. And if you come back next week, we're going to see that, if that's what they were thinking, they were right, because violence does break out from Herod.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:58] But he's disturbed by this news, and so he sort of gets into information mode. He's like, I got to figure out what's going on here. So in verses 4 and 5 we read, "When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. " That's the king of the Jews that they're thinking about, the Messiah. And they say, in Bethlehem, in Judea, for this is what the prophet has written." And then they quote from Micah, chapter 5, verse 2. And the end of this is from Second Samuel, chapter 5, verse 2, which for the Jews was pretty normal, if there were passages that were thematically similar, sometimes they would just sort of quote them together. And so the quote reads like this, ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Dan Franklin: [00:11:52] Now, I can't resist, I got to tell you just one cool thing on this, especially if you go back and you read Micah 5:2, or if you're flipping there right now and you're reading how this goes along, Matthew, in the way he records this, changes something slightly about how it's recorded. If you go back to Micah 5:2, the first part is mostly the same, "But you, Bethlehem, in the Land of Judah." And the way it says in Micah, it says, even though you are small among the clans of Judah. So he's sort of saying like, all right, Bethlehem, a big thing is going to happen in you, even though you're considered to be kind of unimportant. And the way that Matthew quotes it here you can see is a little bit different, he says, "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah."

Dan Franklin: [00:12:34] And so here's what seems to be going on, and I just love this, Matthew seems to be quoting and giving commentary at the same time. And so on the one hand, he knows that back in Micah, the way that it's quoted is even though people consider you, Bethlehem, to be insignificant. And Matthew sort of updates it and he says, Bethlehem nobody is ever going to think you're insignificant again. Bethlehem, you may be considered to be small, but you're not going to be considered to be small anymore. And the reason why I wanted to just spend a minute on that is because, thematically, that is such a strong theme in Scripture, that God loves to do big things through people and places that seem to be small. Never forget that. If you feel like you're insignificant, if you're like, nobody knows my name, I'm kind of low status, I mean, we're in Upland, people have to ask what that's next to. If you're thinking, why would anything significant happen here? God loves to do significant, big things amongst people in places that are considered to be small, and that was the same with Bethlehem.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:38] So they quote this, so now he knows where the Messiah is supposed to be born. And so in verse 7, it says, "Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared." Once again, we'll talk a little bit more about the star later. Then in verse 8, it says,
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” What a guy. I mean, what a guy, I mean he is the king, and he wants to worship Jesus. I mean, you don't need to read the next part of the story to see through this. He is not asking them to find Jesus so that he can go and worship Jesus, he's asking them to do his dirty work to figure out where this rival King is so that he can go and take him out, and he sends the Magi on their way.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:27] In the second response, later on, we're going to get to see this story more from the perspective of the Magi, and we'll see more of what happened afterwards. But for now, we'll pause here, and we'll pause here because I want to take on those two questions that I said we're going to take on in each of these sections. In each of these responses, we get to see answers to these two questions. What does this response tell us about Jesus? And then what does this response tell us about ourselves?

Dan Franklin: [00:14:54] So let's just start with that question. What does this response from Herod tell us about Jesus? And here's what it tells us, it tells us that Jesus is a threat to our power. Herod was disturbed, and he was disturbed because suddenly there was a rival king, and if there was a rival King, Herod's power, Herod's control, Herod's autonomy might be under threat. He sees Jesus as a threat. And here's what I want to make sure we all understand, Herod was absolutely evil in his response, but Herod was not incorrect about Jesus being a threat. He was evil, but he wasn't incorrect. Jesus absolutely was a threat to Herod's rule, even if not in the way that Herod might have thought because Jesus is a threat to every power that exists. We talk about Jesus, the way that we're couching the series, through the Book of Matthew is through the Kingship of Jesus. Because Matthew really highlights that theme, Jesus has come to be the king. If Jesus has come to be the king, that means nobody else ultimately gets to be the king. Jesus was a threat to Herod's power, and he is a threat to your power also.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:09] And so that's where we get into the second question, if that's what this tells us about Jesus, what does this tell us about ourselves? And what it tells us about ourselves is similar to Herod, our desire for power will make us hostile to God. Let me say it again, our desire to keep, to gain, to maintain, power, control, or autonomy, will make us hostile to God. And this is true not just of the hardened unbeliever, this is true of those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus. We'll talk about this more later on, but there are certain areas of our life where if we really were to pause and look at them, we'd realize I'm hostile to Jesus' rule in that area of my life, and it's hard to see because it could be simple.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:06] I'll give you some examples. It could be as simple as this, last week I was up here talking about this, and then Kevin, when he preached, he talked about it also. But we're excited about what God is doing at this church, and one of the things we're excited about is that our two services have been getting more full. And so starting on Easter, starting on April 9th, we're moving to three services, which if you didn't hear that last week, that's coming, and we're excited about that because we're excited any time God is bringing around people that get to hear the gospel and get to be a part of this church family. But what we also talked about is if we're going to do that well, if we're going to do that well and do what God has called us to do as a church, we need more people who are using their spiritual gifts to serve on Sunday mornings. So we need we already know this, even apart from the three services thing, we need more people serving in life, kids so that the Gospel and the light of Jesus spreads like wildfire among our kids. We need more people as ushers and greeters, so that especially when people come in new and they don't know the lay of the land they're being welcomed in, in a way that really makes them feel like a part of the family. We talked about, we're going to have a parking crew, we need people serving in that way. We have people serving on the tech team, and on the worship team, and in the coffeehouse, and all over the place on Sunday mornings. So one of the things that I said last week if you were here, is I said, there's going to be a lot of us if we're committed to this church, here's how we're going to have to shift in thinking about Sundays. We're going to need to shift to thinking about Sundays, for those of us that are committed to Life Bible Fellowship Church, to us coming to two services. Come in once to worship, because none of us is better than that, none of us are like, I'll leave that to other people, and I'll go and just serve during it. One to come and worship with our church family, and one to serve in one way as part of our church family. And last week when I said it, it got about as quiet as it just got right now when I said it. Now some of you are already doing this, some of you are like, aren't we all doing this? I've been doing this. For some of you, this just feels like a bizarre idea.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:09] And here's why I want to bring this up right now, for some of you, you're looking at Sunday and you're like, I've already given you an hour, like I've already given you a service, the rest is mine. And the question is this, in something as simple as that, in something as simple as saying, all right, is God going to call me to use more of my Sunday to be a part of the work of Jesus through this church? Is your response that you're saying, nope, that's mine? Are you hostile to Jesus being king even over how you spend your Sunday morning? Let alone are some of us hostile to the idea of Jesus being king over how we spend our money? You may be you might be like 10%, that's gods. Some of you are like 10%, wow. But some of you are like this amount of money that I give, that's God's, the rest is mine. Or is Jesus really going to be king over all your money? Is Jesus going to be king over your friendships? Is Jesus going to be king over the words that you use? Is Jesus going to be king over your sex life and over your identity? Is Jesus going to be king over your social media? Or is there an area where you're like, hey, I want Jesus to be king over a lot, but not that, that's mine? When we look to maintain or grab a hold of power, control, or autonomy, we are hostile to the rule of Jesus, even if we call ourselves Christians. We're not that different than Herod who is willing to root out any threat against him.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:42] I know this is serious, and we'll talk more about this later, this is a point for many of us of repentance. We need to come to a point of saying, man, there are whole areas of my life where I'm not welcoming the rule of Jesus. And beyond that, there's also a cost here that's worth us all taking in. If Jesus is going to be king over every area of our lives, that means that we are yielding power, control, and autonomy. But I want to make sure that you remember something, and what I want you to remember is that any loss that we suffer for Jesus is nothing more than a temporary loss. Later on, we're in Matthew 2 right now, and later on, will be in Matthew chapter 6. And when we get to Matthew chapter 6, we're going to get to hear Jesus talk about treasures. Here's what he says about treasures. He says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." When we are yielding to Jesus as our king, there might be some treasures that were given up, but those are the treasures that are going to fade and come to nothing. And when we follow Jesus, we are storing up the treasures that no one will ever be able to take away from us. But we all have to pause and come to grips with the reality that for some of you in here, you may be not a Christian, and this is why. You're like, I'm not giving up control of my life. Some of us in here are Christians and we're still saying this is connecting with me more than I'd like to admit because I am hostile to God taking over that area of my life.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:30] One of our responses to the kingship of Jesus is hostile opposition, but good news, that's not the only response. We get a second response in this, we get the hostile opposition of Herod, but we get the humble adoration of the Magi. So let's go all the way back to the beginning of this passage, let's go all the way back to verses one and two and look at these again and talk about the Magi. It says, "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and 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.”

Dan Franklin: [00:23:12] So first things first, who are the Magi? Let's talk about that. Some of you are like, I know who the Magi are, We Three Kings of Orient are. This is great, we've got them in our nativity sets, we've got them on our Christmas cards, and we've seen passion play. We've seen all those things; we know about the Magi. We got warm feelings when we talk about the Magi. Well, a couple of things, and I don't want to ruin Christmas, but I'm going to let you know a couple of things about this passage. The first is this, there's no indication there were three, so maybe there were three, maybe there were two, maybe there were dozens, we know that there's more than one. I think the reason we get the number three into our heads is because later on they open up their treasures and there's gold and there's myrrh and there's frankincense, and we're like one each, there's no reason to believe that's the case. So, you know what, if in your mind there are three, that's fine, just know that's not what the passage says.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:05] Secondly, they weren't kings in the way that we think of kings, they were sort of important persons from foreign nations, and they were coming to pay homage, but they're not kings in the way that we think of kings. And then here's the third one, here's the hardest one to swallow, this almost certainly didn't take place at Christmas time. This most likely by the indications in this passage, and even by the word that's used to describe the child, Jesus, took place somewhere around two years afterwards. So if you've got your nativity set and the wise men are in there, the Magi are in there, that's fine. You don't have to go through, and you're like, throw this away, these guys don't belong. How did I get fooled? We can still celebrate that that is a part of the story, and that is a part of the infancy story of Jesus, but probably they weren't there at that time.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:54] All right, now let's get into the question, well, who were they? Well, we get a little bit of an indication because this is something we've got to grasp, we hear Magi, and most of us, we feel very positive associations because we know the Christmas story. The Jews would not have had those same associations. In fact, just look at the word magi and think, what would happen if you added one letter to the end of that, the letter c, it goes from Magi to magic. Now, the reason that's significant is because that is the association with the word.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:29] And in fact, quick thing, so the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, and the New Testament is written in Greek. So what we're reading here is a translation from the Greek, but there is a Greek translation of the Old Testament. So it was translated from Hebrew to Greek in something called the Septuagint, and that's helpful because that means we can take words used here and sort of cross-reference them with the Septuagint. So all this is building to this, the word magi used here in Matthew two to describe these visitors is used throughout the Book of Daniel, and it's used throughout the book of Daniel to describe the Babylonian astrologers and magicians and sorcerers who were the opponents of Daniel and the opponents of God. We hear Magi, and we are like the Magi, the wise men, the kings. These were sorcerers, these were pagans, I mean, they got their following a star.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:22] Which, by the way, we'll spend a minute on the star now, because this is the weirdest star ever. We are hearing about the star, and we're like, well, the star rose, and then they followed it, and then eventually it parks itself, it just stops. And people have tried to look at this, just, you know, all right, is this a comet that was going, and they called it a star, but it was really a comet because it was on a move. Others are like maybe it was a constellation or a couple of planets got lined up in a specific way.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:22] Here's what I want us to notice, I want us to notice how disinterested Matthew is in explaining this star to us. He's just like, yep, they followed a star, that's how they got there. The star did this, and then it parked. It's actually, in the way Matthew describes it, it's similar if you've read the Old Testament, to the Pillar of Light leading the Israelites, it may be an intentional reference to that idea. It also may have to do with the prophecy that was given in Numbers chapter 24, verse 17, when it says, "A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel." So maybe that's a reference to that future ruler who was going to come, and that future ruler, of course, is Jesus. But I think it's just striking, we hear this and we're like, I got to know, I got to know about the star, I got to know the history and we got to look back and see when comets were where and at what point, and when stars were lined up at one point, but Matthew is totally disinterested in this. This is a miraculous move, a way that God has led pagans to Jesus, and Matthew wants us to receive this as a miracle from God.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:54] As a quick side note, don't get caught being distracted from the King because of something that isn't the point of the story. If we are missing, the point is not the star, the point is what the star is pointing at, and the star is directing them to Jesus. So we've got these foreign pagans with bad religious associations, they've done things that the Israelites weren't allowed to do in terms of trying to contact the divine, and here they are asking about the king of the Jews.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:29] Now, we've gone through the other parts of the story, the ins, and outs of what happens when Herod sends them on their way. So let's pick up now later on in verse 9, it says, "After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.", and I just love that Matthew puts that in there. Do you remember what Herod was when he heard about this? He was disturbed. The Magi get here, and they are overjoyed. And just think of the contrast, it's not just a contrast between two different people, it is the Jews, Herod, and Jerusalem, who should have been ready to receive this king. And we've got pagans from the East, from Babylon or Persia or Arabia or somewhere like that, and they are overjoyed. This isn't an accident that Matthew is showing us.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:27] I mentioned earlier God loves to do things through unexpected people. The king of the Jews is hostile, and the pagans from the East are humble, adorers of Jesus. And then we get to verse 11 with the encounter, "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary", we don't know where Joseph is, we're like, sorry, Joseph, not a part of this story, once again, don't get distracted by that "and they bowed down and worshiped him." And Matthew intentionally could have used other words if this was just sort of, they paid him homage. I think one of the reasons why he uses this word is because this is right towards the beginning of Jesus' story, right at the first part of Jesus' story, we get Jesus being worshiped.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:13] And once, in like six years when we finished the Gospel of Matthew, just kidding, it won't be that long, but it'll be a while when we finish the gospel of Matthew. The very last passage, probably that we'll go through right after Jesus says, "Go and make disciples of all nations." The verse right before that, Matthew chapter 28, verse 17, The disciples come to the mountain, and it says, "When they saw him, they worshiped him." Jesus gets worshiped at the beginning of his story before he's even an active agent, and he gets worshiped at the end of his story after his resurrection. And it says, "They opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

Dan Franklin: [00:30:49] And some people have made a sort of symbolic connection between these, about what these might mean for Jesus' later life. And it's possible there is some sort of loaded symbolic significance to the gifts that they bring. But at a base level, these gifts simply represent royal gifts, this is what you bring to a king. And again, you've got to wonder at some point what was going through the minds of the Magi, where they start at the palace and then they end up in a home in Bethlehem with a mother and a child, simple Jewish people, and they are pouring out royal gifts to him, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The pagans are paying homage, while the Jews are plotting an assassination.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:34] And finally, verse 12 wraps up our story and even gives us a preview of what's to come next week says, "And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." They get led there by a star, they get warned back by a dream, and they end up being led by God in unexpected ways.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:54] Now, let's do the same thing now that we did with the first response. We talked about Herod's response of hostile opposition, and we talked about the idea that that reveals that we sometimes are hostile to Jesus and his kingship because it is a threat to our autonomy. Let's look at what the humble adoration of the Magi, first of all, tells us about Jesus. And what it tells us about Jesus is this beautiful truth that Jesus is a universal Savior and King.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:22] Now, just to clarify and be 100% clear with what I'm saying, the word universal here does not mean everybody's just going to be saved through Jesus no matter what they do. What it means is that everyone who comes to Jesus is saved, regardless of what happened in their past. We have these pagans, we have these sorcerers, we have people that for the Jews, they would have thought these are the villains of the story. They're from the wrong country, from the wrong family, from the wrong profession, from the wrong religion, they are led to Jesus, and they are welcomed. Jesus is a universal Savior and King; he didn't come just as the king of the Jews. He came as the King of the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:08] In fact, a little over a month ago when we celebrated Epiphany, this is sort of what's celebrated, this is the story that's celebrated in the holiday of Epiphany, that the Kingship of Jesus goes out to all the nations, not just the Jewish nation. It tells us that Jesus is a universal savior and King, and what does this tell us about ourselves? It tells us that we are all welcome to come to Jesus. I don't care what your background is. I don't care what failures you've experienced. I don't care if you're listening to this and you're like, I was involved in some other religious stuff and it was not Christian religious stuff, it was some dark stuff, it was some sort of like black magic, cultish type stuff, and so I don't know if I can be welcomed by Jesus. The Magi were welcomed by Jesus, you can be welcomed by Jesus. I don't care if you're looking at it. You're like, if people here heard some of the things that I've done, it would make the hair on the back of their neck stand up. I can't possibly come to Jesus. First of all, if people around here all heard the worst thing that you did, they probably wouldn't even hear it because they would be so concerned that everybody was about to hear the worst thing they did. You are not as spectacular a sinner as you think you are, probably. You are amongst fellow sinners, saved by God's grace. And it doesn't matter what you've done in the past, Jesus welcomes all who come to Him. And if you're like so many times I'm half-hearted, and so many times I want to be in control over the areas of my life. Welcome to the club, Jesus welcomes you. But I have divorce and failure, I have prison in my past, and I've done shameful things. Come to Jesus, he welcomes you. Jesus has come as a universal savior and king.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:53] And it's striking that Matthew most likely knew the story of the shepherds coming and being the first worshipers, but he doesn't record them as the first worshipers in his gospel, in his gospel, he gives that honor to foreigners to remind us that Jesus is the universal savior and King.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:16] Now I want to do something that ties into what we did before. I want to talk about our response to this. I did that thumbs up, thumbs down thing at the beginning. We're going to do that in a different way right now. I'm not going to ask you actually to do it physically, if you do, that's up to you, but I'm asking you to do this more internally with the statement I'm going to put up on the screen. I'm going to put up a statement on the screen and here's what I'll warn you about it. Every one of us, especially because we're in church, we're going to be like, I know the right answer to this, I should be given a thumbs up. That's the way you're going to feel when you look at it. But what I want you to do in your heart is I want you to respond honestly with how your gut really responds to this because it might be a true statement, but it's not necessarily a welcome statement. So once again, you don't have to do anything physically. In fact, I'll ask you, don't do anything physically, but sort of determine in your heart, am I a thumbs up or I'm a thumbs down in all honesty to this statement, The statement is, I want Jesus to be king over every area of my life. That is the proper response to what we're reading about today, that Jesus would be king over every area of our lives. And just ask yourself right now, if you're really being real, if you're really being honest, are you a thumbs up or are you a thumbs down to this?

Dan Franklin: [00:36:37] And let me say this, if you're a thumbs up to this, I'm going to guess why you're a thumbs up to this. If you really, in the joy of your heart are like, yeah, I get it, Dan, I get what you're saying, that there are stakes to this, but man, I'm a big thumbs up. I want Jesus to be king over every area of my life because I am still in disbelief that Jesus welcomed me, that Jesus came not just to be the savior of others, but He came to be my savior and my king. I'm in constant disbelief that God loves me, that Jesus died for me, despite all of the reasons why He should have cast me aside. So, man, when I see this, I'm working on it and I'm struggling through it, and I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm rejoicing in this and I want my life to reflect the idea that Jesus is king over my words, that Jesus is king over my online activity, that Jesus is king, over my friendships, and over my money, and over my Sunday mornings. I want Jesus as king, over all of it. And in your heart, if genuinely you're like, man, I'm imperfect, but that's my heart. I'm a big thumbs up to this. What I want to say is, praise God, lean into that, and be ready to be on the defensive for attacks from the enemy. Because if you right now are at a point that you're like, I so want Jesus to take over everything, the enemy is going to see you as a threat and he's going to bring up every reason, every loss you will suffer in the quest to make Jesus as king. So rejoice, lean in, and be ready for a fight.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:15] Now, let me talk to any of you who in your heart were honest enough to say, I don't like saying it, but I'm a thumbs down to this. And maybe it's not, maybe you're saying I am a Christian. Maybe some of you are not Christians, and you're like, I'm a thumbs down to this because really, the way that I've lived my life, I've said, nope, Jesus doesn't get to be king of me. And some of you are Christians, but you're like if I'm going to be honest, this doesn't feel like great news to me. It doesn't feel like great news to me that Jesus gets to have sway over every area of my life. I want at least some control. I want to say, all right, Jesus gets a lot of things, but when it comes to my money, that's mine. I worked for that, I worked hard for that, with all the strength and skills that God gave me. But still, I worked hard for that, that's mine, I deafdcide. Some of you right now are saying with others, some of you are even saying with Sunday mornings you're like, that's nice, Dan, you can get up here as many times as you want and talk about two services, I'm not doing it. I'm coming, I don't even care that football season's over, still, Sundays are mine. Sundays are God's for an hour, then Sundays are mine. Some of you are looking at friendships or relationships right now, and you know how God is leading you to behave in them and you're saying, you know what? I've got to have something that's just mine. Some of you right now are looking at an area of sexuality or identity, and you're like, yeah, Jesus can have a lot, but not that, that's who I am, don't you dare touch that. Do you see how we can very quickly get hostile to Jesus' reign? Even those of us who consider ourselves to be Christians.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:49] And so if this is you, if you are vulnerable and honest enough in your heart to be like, gosh, I don't like to admit it, but that's me right now. I don't consider myself hostile to Jesus, but in this area, I am, I am hostile to him having reign over here. The call for all of us who are in this second category who say, I have to be honest enough to say that this is a thumbs down for me, our call is to repent. Our call is to repent before Jesus, to say, I don't want you to be king right now, but I know you are king whether I accept you or not, and I'm going to bow the knee to you in this area. God, I need you to reign over my words. I need you to reign over my habits. I need you to reign over my money. I need you to reign over my sexuality. I need you to reign over all the areas of my life. I want Jesus as King.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:36] And if right now you're like, I want to want Jesus as king, I don't know if I want him as king, I want to want him as king. I want you just to remember back to what we got to do earlier, earlier in this service when we took the bread and took the cup and remembered Jesus. And I want you to remember that the king we're talking about is a king who died for you, a king who died in your place for your sins. A King who, when he was given a chance for a crown, took a crown of thorns. A king who, when given a chance to be lifted up, was lifted up on a cross. Jesus is not going to take an area of your life and screw it up so that you end up worse than you did before. You're probably going to take some temporary losses and you're going to have some temporary pain, but you are entrusting yourself to the king who was willing to die in your place.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:40] Here's what I want to do. When we were getting ready for the service, it seemed appropriate for us to have some time at the end for a response. And if you're like, oh, we're adding on to the service. No, we're not, we're still within our time, don't even worry about it, don't get distracted by the star, and don't get distracted by the time. In a minute the band is going to come back out and they're going to lead us in a song that really just points toward that idea of how we respond to dwelling with God and drawing near to him. And so during this time, I'm going to invite pastors, elders, and prayer team members, to go ahead and come to the front during this time.

Dan Franklin: [00:42:11] And for all of us, here's what I'm going to invite you to do during this next song. If nothing else, we get to respond in worship. We get to respond to the reality that Jesus came to be king overall. And so I'm going to invite you, during the song, if you feel like God is moving in you to raise your hands, raise your hands. If your feel like God is moving in you just right where you are to bow on your knees, bow on your knees. If God is calling you to step forward and talk to one of these prayer team members because there's an area where you need to repent, an area where you need help, an area where you need prayer, or just an area where you want to rejoice that Jesus came to be your king, I'm going to invite you not to let the moment get away from you, but to come and take advantage of the moment and draw near to Jesus through drawing near to one another.

Dan Franklin: [00:43:01] The people who are up here, they would love nothing more than to be a part of what God is doing in your story. So for those of us that are saying there's an area where I've got to repent, there's an area where I need to relinquish. It's not that you can't do that in your seat by yourself, but it might end up feeling a lot more real to you if you do that with someone else. And the people up here will not judge you, they will welcome you and love you.

Dan Franklin: [00:43:26] So I'm going to ask you to go ahead and stand and I'm going to pray over us as we move into this time right now. Father, I thank you so much for sending Jesus for us. Thank you, that even when he's an infant, we still get to see that he's a king, he still receives gifts, he still receives homage, and he still receives worship. Father, thank you for the miracles that we will see him do as we read this book, thank you for his sacrificial death, and thank you for his triumphant resurrection. Father, help us to welcome Jesus as King and help us to repent and relinquish the areas that we are white knuckling right now. I pray that you do a move right now as we respond to you and worship, I pray that you do a move in our hearts, bring us joy, bring us repentance, bring us a sense of relief, of letting go of something that we've held on to so tightly. Bring us access to the joy of closeness with you that we miss out on when we choose to be our own. King. And Father, may Jesus’ reign in our church, in our households, in our hearts, and in our families. I pray this in the name of our King Jesus. Amen.



Recorded in Upland, California.
Read More

Next in this Series

View all in this series
Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848