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2012-01-08 The Return to Nazareth

Time: 2012-01-13 Click:

By Pastor Wu
8 Jan 2012 Sunday

 

 

Worship song: I Give You My Heart

Verse This is my desire to honor You !
Lord, with all my heart I worship You !
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore is in You
Chorus Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord, have Your way in me
Verse CN 这是我心愿 来荣耀你
Zhe shi wo xin yuan, lai rong yao ni
主我要尽心来敬拜你
Zhu wo yao jin xin lai jing bai ni
用我的身心灵来赞美你
Yong wo di shen xin ling lai zan mei ni
我全心爱慕是你,主!
Wo quan xin ai mu shi ni, zhu
Chorus CN 主,我 献 上 我 心
zhu, wo xian shang wo xin
我 献 上 我 灵
wo xian shang wo ling
我 单 单 为 你 活
wo dan dan wei ni huo
我 的 每 个 气 息
wo di mei ge qi xi
每 个 警 醒 时 刻
mei ge jing xing shi ke
主,你 来 掌 管 我
zhu, ni lai zhang guan wo

 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:13-23
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,
23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

 

 

Sermon:

Three Significant Places in Jesus’ Youth

 

Good morning and Happy New Year to everyone. Today is the second Sunday of 2012. Today is also the second Sunday after the Christmas of 2011. Let’s continue to focus next 20 minutes on the birth of the Jesus Christ. I’d like to focus next 20-30 minutes on the second chapter of Mathew, in which the birth of Jesus Christ is recorded. The reason why today I want to share with you the second chapter of Mathew is that in this chapter, not only the birth of Jesus Christ is recorded, but also in this chapter, three significant places are referred to. The first one is Bethlehem, in verse 6,

 

Mathew 2:6 "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 be the shepherd of my people Israel.”

 

 

The second one is in verse 13,

 

Mathew 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. (Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.)”

Egypt is the second significant place that is referred to in this chapter.

 

The third place is in verse 23;

 

Mathew 2:23 …and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

 

1. Contrast of peace and violence - Bethlehem

 

As all of you have already known, Jesus was born in a small town – Bethlehem, and Bethlehem is in fact not a city, it is just a small town. And compared to towns in China, it can only be considered as a small village. Bethlehem is just a small village, six miles away to west of Jerusalem. And Bethlehem was a small village of peace and tranquility, where people lived a very simple and plain life, where people were so easily physically satisfied. They do not need to eat lamb everyday. They do not drink qualify wine for every meal. They are so easily physically satisfied. In this town, Jesus was born. Why was Jesus born in this small town of tranquility, of peace, of quietness and simplicity? Because the birth of Jesus in this small town signifies our simplicity. And let us know the message from God, that “glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14). The reason why Jesus was born in this small town is that God wants us to know that He wants to bring peace to everyone. He wants to pass on a message to people of this world: Jesus is a King of peace, Jesus is a King of joy, Jesus is a King that people can come to Him and in Him, people can find joy and peace. That is one of the reasons why Jesus was born in this small quiet town.

 

Brothers and sisters, I have to tell you, the Bible also tells us,

 

Mathew 2:16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

 

Brothers and sisters, you see, all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under were all massacred, were all killed. Brothers and sisters, you see, King Herod of that world, of that period, turned this quiet small town / village into a killing field, a place of violence and murder. All the little young children were killed.

 

Brothers and sisters, let me ask you a question, when you are seeking the strength in Jesus Christ, when you are seeking baptism to become a Christian, to join Christian family, what is your hope? Your hope is only to join a family of happiness, of joy, of peace, of fun, of friendship, of fellowship? If that is all you have expected from being baptised into a Christian family, let me tell you, you are probably wrong.

 

Are we living in the world, as we become a Christian or after we became a Christian, are we living in the world of joy? Yes we are. We are always enjoying because of Jesus. We are always enjoying because our Lord triumphs over the world on behalf of us. Yes, we do have joy. But almost everyday, every single day, every single moment in our life on this world we have to face problems; we have to face difficulties; we have to face oppressions; we have to face suppressions; we have to face even, to some degree, persecutions. A few young people were planning to gather together in a small restaurant a few days before Christmas. But police came to them, preventing them from having this Christian fellowship in celebration of Christmas. And they were warned, “If you do that, something will happen to you.”

 

The King Herod turned that quiet, small, blessed place into a killing field. When we are baptized into Christ Jesus, and the people and the king of this world, king of this authority and the authority of this world wants to turn that place where we enjoy intimate relationship with Jesus Christ … into a killing field, a field of murder, a field of violence, a field of persecution, a field of oppression.

 

But brothers and sisters, before I go on I want to share a testimony with you. From Acts chapter 16, (Acts16:16) where the Bible tells us that one day Paul and Silas were on their way to a place of prayer, and they were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She was a fortune-teller. And because she had this kind of ability of fortune-telling, she made a lot of money for her owner and she followed Paul and Silas and Paul commanded the spirit out of her. So she lost that capability of doing fortune-telling, so the owner of her was so mad. The owner of this young little girl brought Paul and Silas to… the Bible tells us, see… “they were seized, Paul and Silas were seized and dragged into the market place to face the authority. Paul and Silas were brought before the magistrates.” And also in verse 22, “the crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas.” How many people, how many Christians today were, are and will be attacked?  and magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.” And how many Christians and very often, and how often we Christians in this world will face being stripped and beaten. Acts 16:23 “After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.” And how often, Christian brothers and sisters were, are and will be flogged and be thrown into prison and carefully guarded. Are you expecting after being baptized into Christian family, (there is) only joy, happiness, wealth, everything will be fine, everything will be OK. You are wrong. You will be facing a killing field.

 

 

2. Comfort of a hiding place - Egypt

 

But brothers and sisters, do not be in despair. Do not be desperate. Do not be in despair because our Lord loves us. God loves us that He not only already prepared the salvation long time ago, but also He always, He always prepares a way out for His followers, for His children, for us, for our Christians. In Matthew 2:13, the Bible tells us “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. ” So you see Egypt was a hiding place, was a hiding place for little baby Jesus, for Joseph and little baby Jesus’ mother Mary. And our Lord also has a hiding place for us. He always has a way out for us. In Psalms 59, the author calls out to God, “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” (Psalms 59:16) Brothers and sisters, in Psalms 91:2, the Bible also tells us, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." In Jesus Christ, we can find refuge. In our prayer, we can find the strength from the Lord Jesus Christ. In our fellowship of 2 or 3, we can find help from our Heavenly Father. So brothers and sisters, if you are facing unbearable situation, come back into Jesus, come back into Jesus through prayer, through fellowship of 2 or 3 people, through Christian brothers and sisters’ fellowship where you can find the strength and people will walk along side you and God will walk along side you. Not only so but also He will prepare a banquet in the presence of our enemy to humiliate our enemy.

 

So Egypt was a hiding place for Jesus, for Jesus’ family. And we also have a hiding place. Do you very often come back to the church to worship him? Do you often a few times a day pray to God? Do you regularly join a Christian fellowship, a Bible study? If you join a fellowship of 2 to 3 people, the Lord will be with you, because in Him we can find asylum, a hiding place.

 

 

3. Come back for faith and growth - Nazareth

 

The Bible also tells us in Matthew 2:23,

 

“…and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: He will be called a Nazarene.”

 

Nazareth is referred to in this chapter. Nazareth was a place where Jesus was brought up. Nazareth was a place where Jesus was physically nurtured and spiritually nourished. He grew up there. And He took the root of His faith in that place. He grew up in physical body and also in faith in that place. So brothers and sisters, I want to ask you again, where is your Nazareth? When will you be back to your Nazareth? Where is your Nazareth where you can take the root of your faith, upward to the glory of the Lord, downward in the rock of Jesus Christ? Where is your Nazareth? Let me tell you. Do you very often come back to the church to worship the Lord? Do you often or regularly join Christian fellowship to nourish your soul, to share your witnesses with other people, to grow with others, upward to the glory of the Lord, and downward in the rock of Jesus Christ? Do you do that? Do pray very often so that your prayer can come to the presence of the Lord and your faith will be nourished and your soul will be nurtured?

 

Brothers and sisters, as we have our faith growing deeper and deeper in the Lord, we will understand the world we are living in, (even though in this church we became Christians, or wherever it was, wherever you were baptized,) may not be something you expected. It may not be a place of joyfulness. It may not be a place of quiet, tranquility, peace, health or wealth. It may not be something like that, but something of persecution and oppression. Your faith needs to grow stronger to face this so that you can grow closer to the Lord. On the other hand, believe and trust that our Lord always have a way out for you that you can have a hiding place. Meanwhile, you can always come back to Nazareth where Jesus grew up, where you can also grow up alongside Jesus. If you can do that, you will flourish. You will yield a lot of fruits. In Jesus name, Amen!

 

 

MC’s introduction to the Holy Communion:

Because today is the second Sunday of this month, we are going to have Holy Communion. Our volunteers, please be ready to help. As for us, please prepare our hearts, give thanks to God and pray to Him.

 

Pastor Wu:

For many people, New Year’s Day is the time to make New Year’s resolution. But for us Christians, New Year’s Day is always the time for us to come to the presence of the Lord, not only in celebration of Jesus Christ, but also to commemorate His death and His salvation. All rise please! Let us pray before the Lord.

 

Heavenly Father, we thank you! We thank you for this fellowship. We thank you for the salvation that you prepared for us. You have your only begotten son crucified on the cross so that each one of us can have hope for eternal life. Dear Heavenly Father, today, your children of this church come to your presence so that they can not only be cleansed, but also grow stronger into the rock of Jesus Christ. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blood and body of Jesus Christ that you set before us. We just pray that through the blood and the body of Jesus Christ the intimate relationship of Christian brothers and sisters of this church can be re-established. We pray all of this in Jesus name. Amen!

 

In 1 Corinthians chapter 11, the Bible tells us through the disciples of Jesus,

 

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”

 

Amen!

Holy Communion proceeds…

 

Transcribed and edited by Christine, Church, and Franz with help and patience from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

 

Media Resources:

Sermon: The Return to Nazareth video   doc
Worship song: Mighty to Save video audio lyric
Worship song: I Give You My Heart video audio lyric
Worship song: Everlasting God video audio lyric

  

 

 

 

 
 

 

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