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Saturday, December 28, 2019

THREE GREATEST GIFTS from WISE MEN and THEIR DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE


We have something unique in this presentation of the Christmas Message as was taught at ETERNAL LIVING WORD Church on DEC 22nd 2019. Watch the Facebook video here.

We examine the gifts that the Wise men brought to the Christ child; three gifts, three messages by Albert Lopez (who will share his message about the first gift of gold), myself - James Fire (I'm sharing about the second gift of frankincense) and Sonny Islas (who shares on the third gift of myrrh). So let us begin and hear what our brother saint Albert has to share with us!
THE GREATEST GIFT FOR WISE MEN

1) GOLD

~~ By Albert Lopez

MATTHEW 2:11
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh

As we get closer to Christmas we get excited; like a little child knowing that this time of year and specifically on Christmas morning there will be a gift or several gifts for you that your loved ones have gifted you.
Church, I want you to know that the greatest gift that we can possibly imagine or want came to us from God and was, as scripture puts it, 


"You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

As we come to find out reading the Bible, that Babe was our Lord Jesus Christ. He came to this fallen world as a babe, lived a perfect life that neither you or me could live; died as the perfect Lamb for our sins to satisfy the wrath of God; a wrath that you and I deserved! 
Then He conquered death: He rose on the third day and is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Oh and He is coming back victorious as LORD of Lords and KING of Kings!

Returning to the verse notice that these were men and not just men but they were wise, that is, wise in their approach. They recognized the value of their find after they had been seeking The King. They didn’t see and just say 'Oh how nice, we found Him, now let’s go home and watch the ball game now or lets go feed the camels. NO! 

It says they fell down and worshiped. They worshiped! The word for worship in the Greek is (proskynéō)) which means, "to prostrate oneself in homage". Why would they want to prostrate in homage?
As we read in MATTHEW 2:2 they were looking for someone special: How special? King size special; these men were looking for a King, saying, 


“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 

When they found him, after worshiping, they presented gifts fit for a King. They presented Him with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. A lot of us probably read that and say, OK these are nice but what do these gifts mean? Great question! 

Let’s start with Gold. Also let us remember that these men knew that they were worshiping a King. In those days and before those days and even today Gold was the precious metal of Kings. By bringing gold these men showed that they believed that Jesus was King. This gift was suitable for a king. These men understood that this King was worthy and deserved the best.

A couple passages where we can see where Gold is suitable for kings. 

PSALM 72:15
And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him; Speaking of the Queen of Sheba brining gold to King Solomon
 


1 KINGS 10:2 (with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones), and in 2 CHRONICLES 9:24 (speaking of Kings each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold)

Secondly, Gold represents or symbolizes worldly power and Kingship of Jesus - We serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!

PSALM 72:8:
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, 

And from the River to the ends of the earth.

In JOB 38:33:
Also the Lord speaking to Job He asks him
 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion over the earth? 

PSALM 145:13
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, 
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations

Last Point regarding Gold and how it represents Jesus is that there is a connection with the temple of the Lord or the King:

1 KINGS 6:20:22 
The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high. He overlaid it with pure gold, and overlaid the altar of cedar. 21 So Solomon overlaid the inside of the temple with pure gold. He stretched gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold. 22 The whole temple he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the temple; also he overlaid with gold the entire altar that was by the inner sanctuary.

This was a physical structure and Solomon put nothing but the best in it. The question is are we doing the same with The Lord’s temple? 
Remember what we read in:

1 CORINTHIANS 3:16
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 


Also in:

2 CORINTHIANS 6:16
For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”


Are we a temple fit for a King? And not just a King but King of Kings! Is it possible we don’t see Jesus as King?

Ask yourself: Who is sitting on the throne of your heart? Is it you or is it The King?
Remember the wise men who brought the gift I’m sure didn’t say well I think there is a shiny rock over here I know it’s not Gold (the best) but it will do. No! they I’m sure were convinced that this King deserved nothing but the best.

Are we like the wise men seeking after the King of Kings and Lord of Lords expecting to present our very best gifts in a form of worship and to behold Him as our most precious gift? Many come to church almost every Sunday, but never commit to God or give Him the Glory. Let us be like the Wise men who sought after the greatest gift and found Him. 

C.S. Lewis said 
Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole World.”

One day the world will see that this is not just a story we read in a book called the bible. He is who says He is and will do, what He says He will do. He has written that He will return: As scripture says in the book of Revelation- And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!!

Our King Jesus Who deserves Glory Honor and Power and who owns all the Gold and everything else in this world!

2) FRANKINCENSE 

~~ by James Fire

This second gift to the Christ child, who at this time was not an infant as is so popularly represented in any manger scene you might see at this time of year, but probably a toddler approximately two years of age, this gift was also prophetic of another office that Christ would fulfill. Just as gold represented His kingly office, frankincense represented His high priestly office.

Gold is something buried in the earth, that is brought up and revealed for its beauty, just as Christ was raised up from the earth, from the tomb, revealed in the beauty of His resurrection. Gold, as we have heard represents Christ’s Kingship as well as His Deity. Who can pray to GOD as perfectly as GOD Himself?

That’s what Christ, GOD the Son does when He prays to the LORD, GOD The Father. 
Frankincense and myrrh come not from the ground like gold does, but from the sap of certain trees: 
Frankincense comes from the deciduous trees of the genus Boswellia, and myrrh from some species in the genus commiphora, all of which are found on the Horn of Africa and the coastal countries of the Arabian Peninsula.

The resinous sap is acquired by piercing and cutting away the bark from these trees and allowed to bleed out. This is a tremendous insight for those of us who are followers of the LORD Jesus Christ, Who was pierced on Calvary’s tree and He was bled out, and we receive from His atonement, our salvation!

The sap from the deciduous tree when dried becomes milky white recognized as frankincense. The whiteness of this dried sap speaks of the righteousness of the Righteous One, the Messiah of Israel, Who alone possesses the purity and the required righteousness to pray to GOD and intercede for us sinners. 

This very same sap was used in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple as the priests ministered to the LORD before the altar of incense, offering their prayers on behalf of the people of Israel. 
Likewise, because of Christ’s atonement, we are made righteous in Christ (ROM 5:17; 3:22), having the robes of righteousness, the garment of salvation (ISAIAH 61:10), the fine linen granted to us, which is “the righteousness of the saints: (REV 19:8). 

Frankincense is fragrant enough all on its own, but if you grind it, its aroma is even more powerful, and if you burn it, even more so!
Let us be mindful that if we as followers of Jesus feel as though life is grinding us down, we have only to surrender and like crushed frankincense we are a sweet aroma to the LORD. And if in the fire of affliction, we will remain submitted to the LORD, the sweetness of the prayers we offer in such suffering is all the greater a blessing to His heart.

Getting back to the LORD’s high priestly office and His ministry of prayer for us: 

In HEBREWS 7 we read about this:

HEBREWS 7:17-28
This is a unique priesthood, something like the Levitical priesthood but in other ways, not at all like it.
For example, the priesthood in Israel came from the tribe of Levi, and those elite priests from the house of Aaron that continued from one generation to the next.  But there were never any kings of Israel from the tribe of Levi; the kings came from the tribe of Judah, of the house of David – and you never saw any of the tribe of Judah becoming priests. In this way, the royalty of Israel in the lineage of her generations of kings, and the priesthood of Israel in the lineage of the priests were kept separate and distinct.

Not so with Melchizedek however; he was both king and priest, and he was without father and mother as a type of Christ our High Priest, and without descendant – in fact he was a king of righteousness and of peace (HEB 7:2); and we know Who the LORD Jesus is: The absolute King of Righteousness and Peace, as well as our Great High Priest who needs no ancestors or descendants, because He is eternal. This is a new priesthood not after Levi, but after Melchizedek (and we the church of the LORD Jesus Christ, are made kings and priests as well (REV 1:6; 5:10; 1 PET 2:9). This priesthood is not based on the Law which made nothing concerning our spirituality complete, but it did point to a better hope (HEB 7:19). 

That is, the better testament based on the atonement of Jesus Christ (HEB 5:9), the foundation of the new testament, and fills the office of High Priest permanently and forever (HEB 7:24). 

He is Holy and able to stand before GOD the Father righteously and is heard of the Father because of His undefiled holiness and will always as High Priest pray in perfect obedience to the perfect will of GOD; utterly sanctified from sinners having nothing in common with their sinful nature. He is harmless in that we never need fear being condemned by Him Who is also the Holy Judge that presides over the Holy Law (HEB 7:26).

Because of the fact that He was born in the flesh, made like unto sinful flesh (yet without sin) and was tested in all points and found flawless (HEB 4:15), but is a compassionate High Priest, who ever lives now in the hallowed halls of heaven and intercedes in His prayers for you! And me! For all believers everywhere all over this planet (HEB 7:25)!

CHRIST Who is GOD: the perfect representation of the Father to us, and also the perfect man to represent us, in our place.
Just as He is the perfect and holy High Priest, He is also the perfect role model of a prayerful intercessor; His disciples didn’t ask Him to teach them how to preach, how to teach, how to share the ‘Four Spiritual Laws’, how to grow a big church – they asked Him to teach them how to pray and He gave us the framework of prayer, template or a model of how to pray in MATTHEW 6:9-13

We begin, according to this passage with worship of the Holy God our Father; we seek His kingdom to come and for His will to be done in this fallen, sinful world; once we seek and pray for these kingdom of GOD priorities, we then pray for our own needs, such as food and shelter (1 TIM 6:8). We seek for the LORD’s forgiveness of our trespasses and sins and likewise forgive any that have sinned or trespassed against us. We also pray for the LORD to deliver us from all the power of the enemy.

This holy and high priestly office that Christ continues was awesomely demonstrated in the Garden of Gethsemane where His prayer was so intense, so powerful, so earnest that He sweat drops of blood. 
What’s our prayer life like? Do we have room to grow in how we pray; what we pray?

While GOD welcomes our prayers for our pains, our problems, our parents, peers and pets, I’m convinced that He awaits the sort of prayer that will profoundly impact our lives in transforming us, that will impact and challenge the church to go deeper in prayerful worship of GOD, that will impact this fallen world with the power behind our prayers: the very Spirit of GOD Whose mission is to lead sinners to Christ.

As the royal priesthood we intercede as our LORD does, for the needs of the saints, and Scripture abounds with examples of this.

EPHESIANS 6:18
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Yet like the Levitical priesthood, whose duties were to pray for the people, we have our Great High Priest doing likewise. The Levitical priesthood was also to make offerings and sacrifices for their own sins (which Christ never, ever needed to do!), and then for the people – but those offerings and sacrifices were of animals: sheep, goats and bulls; whereas in the Melchizekian priesthood, that is the priesthood of Christ, the sacrifice was made with the High Priest Himself, The Lamb of GOD, the Supreme Sacrifice of sacrifices.

HEBREWS 9:22-24
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

 And this sacrifice Christ made on our behalf leads us to the next gift given to the Christ child, the gift of myrrh!

THREE GIFTS AND THEIR DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE 

3) MYRRH

~~ by Sonny Islas                                               

My job this morning is to point you to the significance of THE GIFT OF MYRRH

MATTHEW 2:11
“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Myrrh is a natural resin extracted from a thorny tree named Commiphora and myrrh was mainly used for perfume, incense and medicine.

In PROVERBS 7:17 we find that prostitutes used myrrh to perfume their beds and arouse sexual desires “I have perfumed my (death) bed (I mean bed) with myrrh…”

In ESTHER 2:12, myrrh was used as a beauty product, where Queen to be Esther used the oil of myrrh for six months before she can see the king.

In EXODUS 30:22-25 myrrh was used in worship in the Tabernacle, as a mixture for “a holy anointing oil.”

SONG of SOLOMON 1:12-13a says, 
“While the king is at his table, My spikenard sends forth its fragrance. A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me…” Myrrh then was a fragrance fit for a king – in Jesus’ case, the King of kings – crowned with many crowns.

MARK 15:23 (while Jesus was on the cross) says, “they gave Him wine mixed with myrrh to drink but he didn’t take it.” Myrrh/a numbing medicine. Jesus refused to minimize or numb the pain even one bit. He was to endure it’s full physical and spiritual pain for us.

But in Jesus’ time myrrh was mainly used for burial in order to minimize the stench of death and a rotting corpse. JOHN 19:38-40 says, “After this (the cross), Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.”

The significance of the myrrh presented to Jesus as a child represents The Cross (remember, myrrh came from a tree (the cross) with thorns (the crown of thorns). Myrrh was a symbol of Jesus’ death, burial, suffering, BUT above all, myrrh represents Jesus Christ as being the only suitable sacrifice for sin and sinners “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (JOHN 1:29).

We find then that Myrrh was present at Jesus’ birth, at Jesus’ cross and at Jesus burial.
It was God the Father who offered up God the Son as a perfect sacrifice for sin.

ISAIAH 53:10 says, 
“Yet it pleased the Lord (Yahweh the Father) to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed (us – His children!), He shall prolong His days (resurrection!), And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

The conclusion: Jesus, the eternal Son of God came from heaven to earth to wrap Himself in human flesh in order to die in our place and save us from hell. Jesus is the divine King of kings, the divine High Priest and the divine sacrificial lamb!

This is what Christmas is all about! 

Last words: 
The wise men were known as intelligent men but what real makes anyone truly wise is that they bowed down to Jesus and God and King. They worshiped (Greek: proskuneo – prostrated themselves) – they bowed to the point where their foreheads touched the floor. These men where connected to the Prophet Daniel and His witness (they are mentioned in DAN 2). They were powerful men of great esteem and authority. They were known to make kings, crown kings and recognize kings – in Jesus’ case they recognized Him as the God King because He has always been King. 

And it wasn’t just three wise men it was most likely a great crowd in the hundreds – because “King Herod was troubled.” Not only at the fact that another king was born but that these powerful men came from afar to worship Him. 
They said, 
“Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” 

There question also pointed to the cross where obey Jesus’ head it read 
“This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” And it was written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek – pointing to Him being the King and Savior of both Jew and Gentile! He truly is the Savor of the world! The title that the hated Samaritans gave Him. So don’t just hear about Jesus, bow your whole heart and will – to be saved!

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