Mathew 2:1-12: Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when all of you have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
First of all, notice that the wise men came from ‘the east.’ Tradition holds that this means the Orient. There is a song that says “We three kings of Orient are…” and it’s referring to the Wise men. Many commentators say that it could be either Arabia or Persia. Either way, it is not in Israel. Whether that’s the Orient, Persia, Arabia, or somewhere else that we can’t specify, they traveled some distance to worship Jesus. They saw ‘his star’ in the sky, and traveled to worship him. Their arrival in Jerusalem was two years after His birth (Verse 16). It is likely that the wise men traveled to Jerusalem a major portion of that two years…just to worship Jesus. Do we have that kind of dedication?
Why do some people think that it’s too far to go worship Jesus with the saints on the appointed times? Are we as dedicated as the wise men?
Hebrews 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
We as Christians need to be assembling together every opportunity we have! And we need to not be neglecting the worship assembly! Let’s look at the instructions from the Hebrew writer to us as Christians that are found in this verse:
1. We are not to forsake ‘the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.’ The writer is encouraging the Christians to keep coming together to worship, and then goes on to show that he knows some people are doing just that (as the manner of some is). To put it in modern-day language, he’s saying, “Quit skipping services! And I know that some of you are doing just that!”
2. We are to exhort one another, encourage one another! If you notice that someone isn’t at services, call them! Visit them! Let them know that they’re missed! Find out what’s caused their absence and encourage them to be here the next time we come together! It’s OUR job to help the other members! All of us! It’s not just the preacher’s job, or the Elder’s job. The instruction was to all the Christians!
Acts 8:27 "… behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship."
Here, we see another man who had great dedication! He traveled from Ethiopia all the way to Jerusalem to worship. Oh, that we had the dedication of this man! Notice later on in Acts chapter 8 that he was meditating on God’s word while he was on his way! Do we think about God’s Word before and after services? Or does our mind switch to ‘regular life’ things after the last ‘amen’?
Matthew 6:33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Colossians 3:2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
The early Christians made no separation from their religious life and their secular life. Look at Ephesians 5:19: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Now, we use that verse many times to show that God approves of singing, and the only instrument involved to accompany our singing is supposed to be the heart! And we do this rightly so. Now, we all can see and understand that this verse can be applied to our worship to God. No one would argue to the contrary. No one would say that the verse does NOT apply to our worship. What is the point here? Verse 19 is the second part of a sentence that began in verse 18: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;"
If there is supposed to be a distinction between our religious life and our secular life, then verse 18 only applies to our worship as well. Don’t be drunk during worship, but you can be drunk the rest of the time. We know better than that! We are to be Christians, devoted to God, and devoted to his service all the time!
Have you followed the example of the wise men? Are you devoted to worshipping Jesus, even if the road there is inconvenient? Are you, like the Ethiopian eunuch, meditating on God’s Word even before and after the worship period? Are you following God‘s word and encouraging those who are absent to be with us at the next appointed time? Are you setting your sights on Godly things all the time? If you seek God’s Kingdom first, then the rest of your needs will be provided.
Let us be fully dedicated at all times!
By Bradley S. Cobb
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