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The Story of Jesus (According to Matthew) - Is it Time to Come Home? (Jesus Early Years - Matthew 2:19-23) (4 of 16)

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The Story of Jesus (According to Matthew) - Is it Time to Come Home? (Jesus Early Years - Matthew 2:19-23) (4 of 16) INTRODUCTION: Me Coming home can be awkward right? Especially if you haven t been there
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The Story of Jesus (According to Matthew) - Is it Time to Come Home? (Jesus Early Years - Matthew 2:19-23) (4 of 16) INTRODUCTION: Me Coming home can be awkward right? Especially if you haven t been there in awhile. I do this thing, maybe you do it too. If I haven t seen you in awhile, I assume you haven t aged or changed at all. Now I know that s not fair, and I know it s not true. I realize that just because I m not around doesn t mean you re still eating Lucky Charms and watching Sponge-Bob. Maybe you are, as my friend Steve says, I m not judging, I m just judging. For example, I haven t lived in the same city as my sister in 12 years. I realize she has changed and grown. She isn t still in middle school. My goodness, she is married now, and when I left she wasn t even in high school! A lot can happen while you re gone. Sometimes you just need to leave though right? For me, I left, not because things were terrible, but because it was time to go to college. But when Jesus left His hometown, the story was different. We We have begun a journey through Matthew s Gospel to tell the story of Jesus. We ve looked at Jesus family and discovered His family looks a lot like ours. We talked about Joseph and his faithfulness to Mary and Jesus even after he found out he was not the father awkward. Last week we shared about Jesus birth and the visit from the magi. Today, our time will be spent talking about coming home. If you missed one of the other ones, please take some time and catch up, you can find all of the messages on itunes. If you subscribe to the podcast, they will automatically download every week! You can also find them on our website God Today we pick up the story in Matthew 2: The magi s visit has come and gone. King Herod now knows he has been tricked by the wisemen. They were not coming back to tell him where the new King had been born. The truth was he didn t want to worship Him anyway, but to murder Him. But the magi were warned in a dream to go home another way, and so they did. When Herod figured it out he was mad. However, God had already protected His Son, Jesus, and his family. God had sent an angel to appear in a dream to Joseph. (This was not the first time!) Joseph was told to get up and take his family, Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod s search for the child and the murderous rampage that was coming. Joseph got up, right then, (how could you sleep after that?) and they left for Egypt during the night. They stayed in Egypt until Herod died. Good idea right? 1 of 6 It s a good thing they left too, because just after Joseph had escaped to Egypt, Herod gave orders for all the boys living in Bethlehem and the surrounding area two years and younger to be killed. This was in fulfillment of a prophecy spoken of by Jeremiah, hundreds of years before it happened. After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him it was safe to return. So he got up, took Jesus and Mary, and went to the land of Israel, to the city of Nazareth. This was a fulfillment of two prophecies spoken hundreds of years before that God would call His Son out of Egypt and that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. You So Jesus left his hometown to escape being murdered. Seems like a pretty good reason to skip town. I don t know what your childhood was like. Maybe you weren t safe. Maybe you faced abuse, maybe there were times you thought you were going to die. You re not alone. There are people in this room who can relate, and Jesus can relate as well. Maybe you still don t feel safe. If that s the case, don t leave here today without talking to someone. We want to help you. We can help you. In just a little bit, we re going to have a chance to come forward, and I want you to do it. We won t embarrass you, we want to help you. You don t have to be afraid anymore. Understand this, you aren t here by accident this morning. This is a safe place. I believe God brought us all here together this morning. I also believe 1. The safest place to be is where God LEADS you. Mary was told by Gabriel she was going to have a baby even though she was a virgin. Joseph was told by an angel not to be afraid to bring Mary home as his wife. The wisemen followed a star that led them to the Christ child. The wisemen followed God s instructions in a dream and they escaped Herod s wrath. Joseph followed the angel s instruction in a dream and escaped to Egypt. Joseph followed the angel s instruction in a dream and came back to Israel. Again and again we see it displayed in Scripture and in our own lives. The safest place we can be is in the will of God. That being said, it doesn t mean we won t face danger. It just means we won t have to face it alone. Wherever you go in life, whether you are traveling away from home or towards home, God knows where the path leads. How much better it is to follow the path that He has laid out for us to follow. You can breath a little easier knowing the God Who created the universe is with you and cares about you. I believe all of that is true. But I want you to understand something: 2. Being a Christian does not exempt us from CHALLENGING CHRISTMASES. Pain doesn t take a holiday. Christmas time has been full of hurt ever since Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary have to leave Bethlehem for fear of Herod killing them. They escaped, but there were a lot of people who didn t. Can you imagine the pain of the families as soldiers entered the town with swords drawn and the killings began? Can you imagine the questions that 2 of 6 would linger for the rest of their lives? Why? What just happened? They may not have even known that Jesus escaped or He was the reason why they lost their sons Why didn t God just get rid of king Herod instead? It s a fair question. But maybe that s not the question you really want answered. Maybe it sounds more like, Why would God let us go through a miscarriage? Why would God let me be abused? Why would God let my mom die? Why didn t God stop the accident? Why won t God help me get a job? The pain is real. Maybe you ve noticed, the question of why doesn t always have a satisfactory answer. Many times we re left wondering why for the rest of our lives. Can we be real for a second though? The truth is, even if we got an answer, it wouldn t take away the pain. The good news is we know that God is present our pain and with us through the challenges we face. Psalm 34:18-19 states: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Just because we follow Jesus doesn t mean we re exempt from pain. Jesus Himself wasn t. In fact, the reason He came was to endure unimaginable pain to make a way for us to be with the One Who can heal our pain. You might not get the answer to your question. So what do you do? Remember this: You are not alone. When you re going through the darkest time of your life, don t shut people out. It s tempting, especially if your pain is the result of being close with people. But listen, this is one of the biggest reasons the church exists. We need each other, we re better together. I love what Perry Nobel says, It s ok to not be ok, but it s not ok to stay that way. You don t have to fake it here. It s one of the many reasons I love the Cove. You can just be real. Odd are, there is someone in this room who has been through what you re going through. That doesn t make it hurt any less in this moment, but talking with them can give you hope that the pain won t last forever. You are loved. You know that right? John 3:16 says that Jesus came because God loved the world. Jesus came because God loves you. When the time comes and you feel unloved, remember God loved you enough to send His Son. That s a big deal. Christmas is when we celebrate the fact that Jesus came. But we ve lived long enough to realize Christmas doesn t promise no hassles or no hurt. In the midst of all of this, we have to remember 3. God is in CHARGE and brings HOPE. 3 of 6 Some of us have been living without hope for awhile now. Christmas can be one of the most depressing times of the year. It can be a time totally devoid of hope. Maybe you re carrying years of guilt and shame, maybe you just hurt so bad there seems like there is no hope. Millions of people live this way, but not a single person has to live without hope. Why? The baby who was born in Bethlehem to Mary, the boy who escaped to Egypt and was called back and lived in Nazareth, the One who was snatched from the evil clutches and murderous plans of Herod, offers you hope. Because He lives, you and I can have hope today. We can always feel safe when we are living in God s plan. That s not to say that bad things won t happen to us, but God is in charge and He has a plan and He is working His plan.and His plan includes HOPE for you and me! You see, Jesus outlives Herod, the one who tried to kill him. History tells us that Herod s kingdom was divided up among his heirs. The angel tells Joseph to come back home. So once again the family packs up and hits the road. But Joseph is uneasy returning to Bethlehem under the reign of Herod s son. His fears are confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus: He was as bloodthirsty as his father. He began his reign by slaughtering 3000 leading men of Israel. So after praying Joseph and his family go to Nazareth, where Jesus spends the rest of His growing up years, waiting for the day He will fulfill His mission. Jesus didn t die in Bethlehem as a baby because God wasn t finished. Jesus time would not come until many years later, when Jesus would willingly and purposefully lay down His life on the Cross to offer us hope. That Baby in the manger grew up to be the Man on the Cross, and it was this sacrifice of perfection that brings hope to the world. God doesn t offer us a hassle free or hurt free life, but He does offer us a hope-filled life through Jesus Christ. We CONCLUSION: God isn t done with us either. You ll know God is finished when you stop breathing or Jesus comes back. Until then, there is hope and there is work to do! God has big plans for your life. Maybe you ve have spent many years away from home now is the time to come home - today. God isn t going to kick you out. You haven t gone too far. He isn t going to make you stay outside. Today is the day to embrace the hope that Jesus provides and stop running, stop wandering, stop drifting and just come home. Jesus would later tell a story about a young man who left home. He wasted his money and his life and found himself wasting away, starving to death. In that moment he made a decision to go home. Sure, coming home could be awkward, but he knew his father loved him. He just didn t know how much. He thought his dad would make him a servant, but at least he would have food and a bed right? Instead his father was waiting and watching for him to come home. His dad threw a huge party and celebrated the return of his son. They say you can never go home again. They re wrong. You can always come home. Now is the time. Your Father loves you more than you can imagine. He is waiting with open arms, not with judgment or guilt or shame. 4 of 6 Your best days are not behind you. God hasn t given up on you. God wants to lead you into a future so great you wouldn t believe me if I told you. So just come home. Jesus came and made His home among us so we could have a home with God. Here in just a second we are going to sing a song, and I want you to come. If you need prayer, come let us pray for you. If you feel unsafe, come let us help you. If ready to stop running from home and come back to God, come. 5 of 6 The Story of Jesus (According to Matthew) - Is it Time to Come Home? (Jesus Early Years - Matthew 2:19-23) (4 of 16) Today, let s explore this event and bring to light some simple life applicable truths. 1. The safest place to be is where God you. 2. Being a Christian does not exempt us from. Psalm 34:18-19 (NLT) states: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. You are not. You are. 3. God is in and brings. 6 of 6
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