Sermon = Light. Do you (see-hear-speak-follow) it? (Matthew 2)

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Sermon = Light. Do you (see-hear-speak-follow) it?
Text = Matthew 2
Sunday = Epiphany (B) or EpiphanyB

Presentation_Matthew2_EpiphanyB_20180106

Introduction

  • For the first time the universe has spoken to us
    • Two years ago press conference by LIGO
    • ***Careful not to say what they will announce
    • We think we know
    • After a short speech by head of National Science Foundation
    • Director of LIGO finally says
  • We did it! We detected gravitational waves
    • Next speaker physicist now at Louisiana State University
  • For the first time the universe has spoken to us
  • I do not know her religious beliefs or relationship with God who made heavens + earth
  • Probably she is not talking about God
  • How does God show himself and speak to people who do not know him
  • Are looking for God and do not know it
  • We who do know God + Scripture + gospel
  • How do we respond?
  • Today is Epiphany Sunday
  • We know about Christmas. What is Epiphany?
  • *** Quick history lesson to understand better
  • What is the Feast of the Epiphany
  • How do we experience + participate in it?
  • Word itself = appearing or showing
  • Yes Christmas
  • Feast of the Nativity
  • Son of God became human through Mary under power of the Holy Spirit
  • And is born
  • Epiphany emphasizes appearing or showing of Jesus Christ to the world
  • Coming of God into world is understood as brilliant light
  • And now light shines forth in ways others can see + know + and are drawn to it
  • In a way Christmas is the baby is born!
  • Now we go see the baby and rejoice
  • Have studied the history of Christian worship + Christian calendar
  • Now clear which comes first
  • Probably celebration of Epiphany before Christmas
  • *** Coming of God as brilliant light
  • Shines forth from divine infant
  • Shines forth from small province Judea
  • Others are drawn to it
  • Who is drawn to salvation of God in Christ?

  • Those outside people of Israel
  • *** Gentiles… the nations
  • Here represented by the Magi
  • Can mean magicians, priests of Persia, astrologers
  • Who do not know one true God
  • Do not have the Scriptures
  • Are not believers
  • Yet God speaks to them
  • Brings them to Christ
  • They see a star
  • Much debate about what this is
  • One star? Gathering of stars? Star + two bright planets?
  • Their tablets that interpret stars say
  • A king… in Judea
  • Astrology is un-biblical even anti-biblical
  • Jean Bottero
  • Ancient astrology = first attempts at science
  • Trying to connect astronomical with historical events
  • However we understand star… astrology… ancient science
  • God speaks to people in language they understand
  • God speaks to those near and far away
  • *** Who do not know God
  • Do not have Scripture
  • Are not Christian believers
  • Yet they long for something
  • For hope… meaning… community
  • Longings and desires of human heart
  • Fulfilled in act of God in Bethlehem
  • Hope and dreams of all the years are met in thee tonight
  • Note the star brings them close
  • To find the Christ child they also need Scripture
  • And God speaks to them in a dream when they return
  • There are magi among and around us today
  • See uncreated light and are looking for what they do not know
  • Light – do you see it?
  • Listen to neighbors + friends + strangers
  • Light – do you speak it?
  • Are we ready to bear witness + invite
  • Means we watch + listen to language of our culture
  • Do not change Christian faith
  • Do not change the gospel
  • Rather we listen with compassion to needs + hurts + longings of others
  • “Task of the church is often to discern the ultimate quest expressed in non-biblical and non-theistic ways in contemporary life, yearnings even of those who do not know fully what they seek” are met in the appearing of Jesus Christ son of God (Eugene Boring, 144)
  • Can we speak the light
  • Express good news of God in Christ
  • In ways others can begin to understand
  • Early church leader Justin Martyr
  • Argued traces of Christian truth found in non-Christian writers
  • God prepared final revelation in Christ through hints of its truth in classic philosophy
  • Glimmers of light of the gospel can be found everywhere
  • Light – do we see it… hear it… speak it
  • Last part
  • *** How do different people respond to appearing of Christ
  • Some outside people of God without Scriptures… they journey at great sacrifice
  • They ask… go… worship… give… return
  • King Herod reacts with anger + jealousy
  • A new king? Threat to his status + power
  • Even religious leaders
  • Have Scripture… they know… and do not act
  • Theme in Scripture we see sometimes
  • Non-believers more faithful + obedience
  • Then those who know + claim they believe
  • Forces me to ask who am I in this story
  • Herod? Hate or resist the gospel?
  • Priests + scribes? Know yet do nothing
  • Magi? Do not know yet see the light and follow
  • Christ is born… glorify him!
  • Arise and shine! Your light has come!
  • Do we see it?
  • Do we hear it? Speak it?
  • Do we follow ***
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About Rickwright67

I am the pastor of a Methodist church, spent 18 years ministering with internationals, as an adjunct taught Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew, husband and dad, love astronomy, space exploration, science-fiction, computers, animals, cinema, and more.
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