Gold, Frankincense, & Myrrh

“Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh” is a sermon I gave a few years ago, but it has proven to be popular. Therefore, I offer it again for those who are interested in delving a little deeper into the significance of these gifts given to the Christ Child.

The Christmas season is upon us again. Therefore, it is fitting for us to turn our attention to the biblical narrative of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Part of that narrative is found in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 2 verses 1-12. Near the end of that narrative we are told that the Wise Men, when they saw the Christ Child…

“fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2-11 ESV).

It’s a very familiar story, so familiar in fact, that it’s easy to just read the words without giving much thought to them. But when we do that we miss important truths the Lord can teach us. Three of those truths are revealed to us when we ask:

“Why did the Wise Men give the Christ Child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh?”

I can tell you that each of these gifts hold special, specific meanings, meanings that deepen not only our understanding of who Jesus is, but our understanding of who we are in Him.

So, grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, sit back, turn up the volume and listen to the sermon “Gold Frankincense & Myrrh”. It is my Christmas gift to each of you.

Merry Christmas!

The Sin of Achan

In the 7th chapter of the Book of Joshua we are introduced to a man named Achan. At the time we meet him the city of Jericho had just been conquered by the Israelite army under the command of Joshua after God had caused the walls of Jericho to miraculously fall down. But with the victory came a command from the Lord that the Israelites were to take nothing from the city for themselves. Everything in Jericho was said to be “devoted to destruction” by God. In essence, Jericho was to be a whole burnt offering unto the Lord. It was to be burned with fire and those things that the fire couldn’t destroy – gold, silver, bronze, iron – were to be placed in Lord’s treasury. And if anyone dared to disobey the Lord’s command to not take anything from Jericho for themselves the consequences were death.
That’s where Achan comes in. Though the Lord’s command concerning taking things from Jericho was clear he took three things from Jericho – a cloak from Shinar, 200 shekels of silver, and a 50 shekel bar of gold.

At first his disobedience to God was hidden from Joshua and the Israelites. But when the Israelite army was badly defeated when they went up against the small town of Ai after their stunning victory over Jericho Joshua knew something was wrong.

God revealed to Joshua that they couldn’t stand before their enemies because someone in their midst had disobeyed Him by taking things from Jericho. Then God revealed who that someone was – Achan. He was subsequently executed.
Does that seem harsh? Perhaps. But appearances can be deceiving. Once one understands the significance of the things he took – the cloak, the silver, and the gold – we understand why Achan had to die. But with that understanding comes knowledge that we too are guilty of Achan’s sin and deserve to share his fate.

“But”, you say, “I’m not guilty of Achan’s sin. I’m not a thief. And I’ve certainly never taken anyone’s cloak or silver or gold.”

Really? I humbly suggest you have – and so have I. Don’t believe it? Then I invite you to listen to the sermon, “Achan’s Sin”. You may be surprised at what you learn.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Depending how old you are, you have likely read, recited, prayed, or sung a portion of Scripture commonly referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer” since it is the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray. It is one of the most well-known portions of Scripture, even by those who rarely read the Bible. This prayer is found in the Gospel of Matthew. It says…

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV).

But for all the dozens of times, perhaps hundreds of times, you have read, said, or sung these words, have you ever really deeply thought about what it means and how it applies to you? The danger of a portion of Scripture becoming so well-known is we can often mouth the words without even thinking. Satan has no problem with you mouthing the words in this prayer. What he does have a problem with is you understanding them and putting them into practice in your life.

Many years ago as I began to mediate upon this prayer the phrase that continued to come back to my mind was…

“Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9c KJV).

I kept thinking: “What does it mean to ‘hallow’ God’s name, the heavenly Father’s name?”

As I began to seek the answer to my question one of the Ten Commandments came to my mind. It was the 3rd Commandment…

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 ESV).

At first I didn’t get the connection between hallowing God’s name and not taking His name in vain. I couldn’t “hear” what the Holy Spirit was trying to teach me. But eventually the connection became clear. It became clear when I learned what the word “hallowed” means and what it means to take God’s name.

The word “hallowed” means “to be made holy”. Holiness is separation from something or someone unto something or someone. For a Christian to be holy means separating one’s self from everything in this fallen world that is contrary to the Truth as revealed to us in the Bible and joining one’s self unto the Lord, Yahweh, forsaking all other “gods” and submitting to His will for us.

When I put that understanding of “hallowed” next to the 3rd Commandment…

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 ESV)…

it was like a ray of light penetrated the darkness within my spirit. I then knew what it meant to not only take God’s name, but to take His name in vain.

It has everything to do with the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. It also explains why Satan hates marriage with such ferocity and is doing everything in his power to destroy it, significantly, not by outlawing traditional marriage, but by diluting it with unions composed persons who practice sexual perversion.

What I mean is this. When we choose to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are in essence accepting Jesus’ marriage proposal; we are accepting Him as our Husband, spiritually speaking. And when we do that we take His name in the same way a woman takes her husband’s name. The taking of the man’s name signifies the joining together of the two into one. Jesus said…

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh[.] So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:5-6 ESV).

Then Paul, writing to the Corinthians said…

“The who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Corinthians 6:17 ESV).

The concept between joining one’s self in physical marriage and joining one’s self in spiritual marriage is the same. When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we take the name “Christian” and whatever we do or say when we bear that name reflects upon our “Husband”, Jesus Christ, for good or evil just like the actions of a wife bearing her husband’s name reflects upon him.

There is much here that speaks to the truth of marriage being “holy matrimony” and to fully unpack this truth would consume of the pages of an entire book. But my point right now is for us to understand what we are really saying when we pray the words…

“Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9c KJV).

and what it means to take Jesus’ name in vain.

I have done this in a book I wrote several years ago now entitled: “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. In this book I explain in detail what it means to take God’s name and what it means to take His name in vain; thus, not hallowing His name. Then I write about ten different biblical characters, some well-known – Cain, Judas Iscariot, etc – and some less known – Diotrephes, Elkanah, etc – to use as examples of hallowing God’s name, taking it in holiness, and not hallowing God’s name, taking it in vain.

If this is something you think you may want to know more about or study, may I humbly suggest getting a copy of my book: “Hallowed By Thy Name”. It is available in paperback or in E-Book format from Authorhouse or from Amazon

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV).

Blessings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.