Our Christmas theme this year is a very exciting and important emphasis in the Bible!
Jesus showed himself to himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved him, followed by special instructions to feed his lambs and sheep. Each time Peter told him, “yes, lord; you know that I love you…
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following…21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
In this story of Jesus talking to Peter in John 21 I would like to emphasize the importance of:
1) Individual responsibility. Sometimes we are too concerned about what others are doing or not doing. Jesus wants us to take care of our own individual responsibility to obediently serve Him. That needs to be our primary concern. Some people tend to make excuses for not doing what Jesus is calling them to do because of what another person may or may not be doing… “I don’t want to – because the church is like this…“; or “I don’t want to – because that person is this or that…“, etc. There are many alibi’s that will not stand before the Lord, some day. He wants us to obey Him, no matter what!
2) Our love for Jesus seen by our decisions, actions, and service. Jesus is looking for an expression of love that goes beyond just the words that we say. He wants us to show our love by our actions, and following His example of being a servant of all. One of the ways we can show our love to Him is by obediently being a channel of His Word to others. Feeding His sheep and lambs is a high calling, and He wants us to do that faithfully, as unto Him.
THE WISE MEN
We want to “SEEK CHRIST THIS CHRISTMAS”, like the wise men did!
DETERMINATION AND DEDICATION
Their decision to seek Jesus was with determination and whole-hearted dedication! They didn’t stop until they found Him!
PASSIONATE PURSUIT OF JESUS
They demonstrated an enthusiasm, passion, and zeal in SEEKING FOR JESUS! Let’s be reminded of how we should also whole-heartedly SEEK FOR OUR KING, not just during Christmas – but every day of our lives! Let’s seek Jesus not only this Christmas, but may it be our passionate pursuit throughout this coming year, and for the rest of our lives!
WILLINGNESS TO WORSHIP
They made a journey to come see and to worship a newly born king based on the STAR they saw and their interpretation of its significance.
Numbers 24:17 – “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A STAR shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel…
This interpretation they most likely determined by knowledge obtained through studies of ancient writings and the Scriptures they had in their possession that were available to them. We are also on a life-time journey. Like the wise-men – let’s whole-heartedly pursue King Jesus! Let’s be whole-hearted, true worshipers of Jesus! We need to be WISE! IT IS WISE TO SEEK JESUS! It is very foolish not to seek Him!
The Bible says these men were from the “EAST”. There in the “EAST” they were STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES to learn about the King of the Jews who was to be born.The wise men saw the staR and being “wise men” they investigated its appearance.They recognized its significance and realized that the one responsible for its appearance deserved to be WORSHIPED.
How did they know who He was and that it was in Israel they would find the King? It is likely that they were familiar with the prophecies and writings of a great wise man we find in the book of Daniel. The Hebrew prophet Daniel spent his life in captivity in service to the Babylonian and Persian monarchs. It is thought that Daniel’s precise prophecies and teachings concerning the Messiah (Christ) were probably studied intensively by these Magi. These probably influenced them in their decision to pay homage to this remarkable king whose BIRTH WAS SIGNIFIED BY A PECULIAR, SPECIAL STAR. These magi were WISE! They had no doubt gained their wisdom by diligently studying the Scriptures. They knew that the sign indicating the appearing of the Messiah would be a STAR. When that STAR appeared to them where they were there in the east, they were willing to go on mission, intentionally seeking out the new King – our Savior, JESUS.
REFLECTION (Personal application)
What about US? Do you find yourself TOO BUSY to study the Scriptures, looking for signs of King Jesus, our Savior?
Sometimes we tend to let life dictate our schedules, and overlook the disciplines of prayer and Scripture reading and study. Why? Often it is because of all the things we think we need to do on our long “to-do-lists”… May we BE DILIGENT in searching out the things of God as our priority in life! We need to be willing to HUMBLY REPENT of any unwise usage of our time.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – IF My people who are called by My name will HUMBLE THEMSELVES, and PRAY and SEEK MY FACE, and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Ephesians 5:15-16 See then that you walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools but AS WISE, 16 REDEEMING THE TIME, because the days are evil.
Let’s determine to diligently seek the Lord – like the WISE MEN! Let’s be reminded that Jesus said – “those who seek…. FIND!” The wise are willing to SEEK WHAT MATTERS THE MOST! Let’s not be “as fools”! It is a foolish not to pursue wisdom, and to be good stewards of our time!
Matthew 7:7,8; Luke 11;9-10 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; SEEK, AND YOU WILL FIND; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and HE WHO SEEKS FINDS, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
WHOLE-HEARTEDLY SEEK THE LORD!
SEEK HIM FIRST – Pursue Him above all else!
Matthew 6:33 – But SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Psalm 27:4 – ONE THING I have desired of the Lord, THAT WILL I SEEK: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.
- Special note: David had a singleness of heart-felt desire. He was determined to seek an abiding relationship with the Lord.
Philippians 3:13,14 – Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah 29:13 – And you will SEEK ME AND FIND ME, when you search for Me WITH ALL YOUR HEART.
Deuteronomy 4:29; I Chronicles 16:10-11 – But from there you will SEEK the Lord your God, and you will find Him IF you SEEK HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL.
- Special note: Notice the conditional promise in the above verses. We have a personal responsibility to fulfill! We must be willing to whole-heartedly seek and to search for the Lord!
PROVISION IS PROMISED FOR THOSE WHO SEEK THE LORD
Psalm 34:10 – The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who SEEK THE LORD shall NOT LACK ANY GOOD THING.
Lamentations 3:25 – The Lord is GOOD to those who wait for Him, to the soul who SEEKS HIM.
Romans 2:7 – …eternal life (promised) to those who by patient continuance in doing good SEEK for glory, honor, and immortality.
- Special note: Notice that “continuance in doing good” is part of the definition of “SEEKING”! Seeking requires action – actively doing good, not pursuing bad…
Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently SEEK HIM.
- Special notes: Those that diligently seek the Lord can expect rewards from the Lord, according to His promise! Also, it is noteworthy in this verse that we are not just instructed to seek the Lord, but to DILIGENTLY seek Him!
- What happens if we don’t seek Him? Can we expect the same rewards? The consequences of not seeking Him are dreadful!
John 5:30 – I DO NOT SEEK MY OWN WILL but the will of the Father who sent Me.
- Special note: Jesus is our pattern. We are follow in HIs steps! (I Peter 2:21) He was not selfishly seeking to do only what He wanted to do, but seeking His Father’s will above all!
Set your heart to SEEK THE LORD!
I Chronicles 22:19; 28:8 – Now SET YOUR HEART and your soul to SEEK THE LORD your God… be careful to SEEK OUT ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD your God… serve Him with a LOYAL heart and with a WILLING mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. IF YOU SEEK HIM, He will be found by you; BUT IF you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.
- Special notes: Notice the special emphasis to “SET YOUR HEART” to seek the Lord! It needs to be something that is done willingly, from the Heart!
- When our hearts are “set” upon something, that helps us to accomplish that goal. Here is an illustrations about how important it is to “set” our hearts. On our flight here to the PI recently our goal and destination was “SET”. En-route, one of our flights was a long, approximately 14 hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Taipei. The pilot had a “SET” COURSE. If it had not been “SET” in place according to the flight plan, there could have been dreadful consequences! We would not have been certain of our destination! After 14 hours we could have arrived who knows where out in the ocean somewhere, and not made it here safe and sound!
- The consequences of not seeking the Lord are dreadful. If we forsake seeking Him we will be cast (rejected) off FOREVER!
SEEKING THE LORD IS A VALUABLE INVESTMENT OF TIME AND EFFORT
Proverbs 2:4-5 – If you SEEK her (wisdom) as SILVER, And search for her as for HIDDEN TREASURES;5 THEN you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.
- Special note: There are many who seek monetary things primarily. Their job and livelihood projects consume most if not all of their time. They become ‘workaholics’, with little time for anything else, and do not make SEEKING THE LORD a high schedule priority. Jesus is made unto us WISDOM (I Corinthians 1:30). We need to SEEK FOR HIS WISDOM above all else. It is more valuable than silver, gold, precious stones, or anything that can be desired (Proverbs 2:1-5; 3:13-18).
- Consider the illustration of a pinada being hit and broken at a party, and desirable prizes spilling out. There is quite the excited scramble to gather them up quickly, while you can. How much more valuable are the things of God, that are available to us. We need to value the riches of His Word more than silver, gold, or anything…
- Psalm 19:7-11 – The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; … 10 More to be desired are than gold,Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.
It is evil, wicked, prideful and rebellious NOT TO SEEK THE LORD
2 Chronicles 12:14 – And he (King Rehoboam) did EVIL, BECAUSE he did not prepare his heart to SEEK THE LORD.
Psalm 10:4 – The WICKED in his PROUD countenance DOES NOT SEEK GOD; God is in none of his thoughts.
Proverbs 17:11 – An EVIL MAN SEEKS ONLY REBELLION; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
SEEKING THE LORD IS THE WAY OF LIFE
Psalm 69:32 – …you who SEEK GOD, your hearts SHALL LIVE.
- Special note: SEEKING THE LORD is the way of life! Those who are not willing to SEEK THE LORD are on the pathway of death and destruction!
SEEK THE LORD NOW
Isaiah 55:6-7 – SEEK THE LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.7 Let the WICKED FORSAKE HIS WAY, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him RETURN to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 – We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Hosea 10:12 – Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD, TILL He comes and rains righteousness on you.
- Special note: We need to see hard hearts that have been inactive in seeking and serving the Lord to become broken, soft and pliable before the Lord. We need to be willing to wait patiently upon the Lord UNTIL He comes upon us and overflows us with His goodness, love, and righteousness. Don’t give up before seeing his precious promises fulfilled, even if it takes some time!
What is your Response?
We need to search our hearts, and be willing to Repent for anything in our life that has been displeasing to the Lord, a distraction, or waste of our precious time here on earth! Let’s decide to re-dedicate our lives, and steadfastly be committed to SEEK THE LORD WHOLE-HEARTEDLY, like the Wise men!
Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart;Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the WAY EVERLASTING.Lamentations 3:40-42 – Let us SEARCH OUT and EXAMINE OUR WAYS, and TURN BACK TO THE LORD; 41 Let us lift our hearts and hands (with our hands) to God in heaven. 42 We have transgressed and rebelled…
Psalm 27:8 – When You said, “SEEK MY FACE,” My HEART said to You, “Your face, Lord, I WILL SEEK.”
- Special note: David was a man after God’s own heart! He was willing to obediently respond to God’s call to SEEK HIM! Let’s also willingly be obedient to the Lord’s call to SEEK HIM WITH OUR WHOLE HEART!