Messed Up Christmas Week 3: Messed up Counsel

Exploring the importance of seeking wise counsel in our lives.

James Greer
Dec 15, 2019    27m
In this sermon Pastor James Greer uses the story of the wise men to illustrate the importance of seeking wise counsel in our lives. Because they sought counsel from King Herod about where to find Jesus, the wise men inadvertently caused Herod to be alerted to the news of a new King, this lead to terribly evil actions on the part of King Herod. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: 00:01 Good Morning Journey Church Pineville, and good morning Journey Church Alexandria. Amen? Man. Alexandria's going to be over here Wednesday night. Is that going to be fantastic? Amen? All right, Alexandria, we're excited about you all being here, it's going to be a great time of worship. What you saw Micah doing is just a glimpse of what will be going on Wednesday night. The kids will be here, both teams will be coming together, you don't want to miss it.

James Greer: 00:29 Well, the series is called Messed up Christmas. Last week we talked about messed up relationships, it was Joseph and Mary, and how God supernaturally turned it around and caused it to be a miracle.

James Greer: 00:43 And we're going to talk about how listening to the wrong people, the wrong counsel, the wrong advice, can really cause you to be in a mess. See, sometimes the person we listen to is ourselves, and I can't even get across the danger of listening to the wrong advice, the wrong counsel, the wrong method. But what I am here, I love Christmas, because no matter what the mess is you're in in your life, I believe that Christmas is the time that God likes to take whatever it is and turn it around to some of the greatest miracles there ever was. See that's what the birth of Christ was about, it's about how Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin. So the point of the message is this, the danger of going to the wrong person or the wrong people, and getting the wrong counsel, and the wrong advice, and sometimes that person is you. You might even be trying to do it for the right reason, but you end up with the wrong results.

James Greer: 02:00 The first dangerous result that you can see in the wrong advice and the wrong counsel was found in Matthew chapter 2 verse 6 through 18. I want to read it for you, "Then Herod," He was already known as a bad King. Herod had killed some of his sons because he thought that they might want his position, he was hard-hearted. But when he saw that he had been deceived by the wise men, he had asked the wise men, where Jesus is going to be born? And he said, when you find out, you come back and tell me. He was exceedingly angry, he was prideful ,and he had had a hard-heart. And the wise men who had gone to him. "And he sent forth, and he put to death, all the male children." Why did he put forth all the male children? Because he was afraid one of them was Jesus, and they were to become the ruler, and they might take his position. It's a terrible place for a leader to get into the position that he's so afraid that somebody's going to take their position, that they'll do anything to destroy the people underneath them. "So he sent forth and he put to death all the males who were in Bethlehem and in that district, from two years old and under according, to the time which had been determined from the wise men." Where did he determine the time from? The wise men. He determined it from the wise men.

James Greer: 03:41 But it also had to be fulfilled, because it had already been prophesied by Jeremiah the prophet. And the prophet said this, he said, "Saying," In 18, it said that, "“A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.” There was no comfort. It was roughly said that there was between 14 and 64 thousand babies killed. That's some wailing. Amen? That's not counting the husbands, which would be 128,000, not counting the grandmothers and the children and the other parents that were there. I mean there's 64,000 babies that were slaughtered, all because this king was worried about somebody taking his position. That's a lot of innocent babies, because possibly, the king heard from the wise men, because he had a hard-heart, because of his pride.

James Greer: 04:55 Can I tell you, there's still a lot of innocent babies killed every year, approximately 800,000 a year. A lot of those innocent babies are killed because they go to the wrong people to get it wrong advice. Are you ready? And because we still have a lot of the wrong people in power today, so things have not changed. I want you to know how important it is that you go to the right people when you need advice. The right people have wisdom, not worldly wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, "Wisdom is the main thing in life, it's the main principle; therefore get wisdom. And with all that getting, get understanding." Not only get the mind of God, but learn how to apply it to your life.

James Greer: 05:41 Second, let's see what was behind the counsel, let's see what's really going on in Matthew 2:1-12. It's kind of telling us what's leading up to the birth of Christ. "After Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, the murderer. The wise men from the East, they came to Jerusalem saying, where is he, who has been born the King of the Jews? We have seen his star." Who star was it? Jesus' star. The star is a type of the Holy Spirit, which you need to understand. "And we've come to worship him. As soon as Herod heard that there might be a King, and what they want to do is worship him." At that moment he was hot, prideful, angry. Somebody wanted to worship somebody, he wanted to be worshiped. They saw the star, but they wanted to go to an earthly king, when the star is a type of a Holy Spirit wanted to lead them to the King of Kings. You've got go be careful who you go to. See, I'm not sure if the wise men...listen, this is very important, I'm not sure if the wise men were saved yet, of if the star of the Holy Spirit was drawing them to the savior.

James Greer: 07:12 See, you could be here today, and you might not know Jesus Christ as your personal savior yet, but there's a Holy Spirit is drawing you. You don't know what's going on, you know that you're missing something. And it's almost like a being engaged and you know there's a love and there's something drawing you to each other, but you're, you're not married yet. And the Holy Spirit's drawing you, and you know you're missing something, and then you step across the line. I don't know if the Holy Spirit was drawing them, because see, once you're saved, once you get saved, the Holy Spirit at the moment you're saved lives in you, and then guides you and direct you, and you don't need some earthly King. You don't need some other power to guide you and direct you, it always directs you and matches up with God's word.

James Greer: 08:01 Man, I can't wait. December the 29th we're going to begin to kick off our new year, and the series going to be Follow the filling of the Holy Spirit. God, it's so exciting, I cannot wait. See, the number one problem in America today is we're following our feelings, instead of the filling. You're going to want to be here. If you miss everything else, you're going to want to be here for the 29th through the 19th. You want to start your new year off, you don't want to be following the wrong star, you don't want to be following your feelings, you don't want to go to the wrong counsel. John 14:26 puts it this way, Jesus said, "But the helper, the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit is a helper for me and you. If you are saying you have a helper whom the father will send in Jesus' name. When do they send him? When you get saved. And he is to teach you all things, he's the help you, and he is to teach you all things, he's to guide you, he is to direct you, he's the bring things into your remembrance all things which he has said. The only way he can bring it into your remembrance, is if you're in the word, and you're under the word. That's why it's so important to be at church. That's why it's so important to be under the word. I'm with people all the time, and when we're talking about something, and they'll say, yeah, I remember you preached that. I don't even remember it sometimes, a lot of times. But it comes back to their memory, and then they can apply the word. Guess where that came from? They thought they were intellectually sharp, they weren't, the Holy Spirit brought it back to their memory.

James Greer: 09:54 So verse 3, it says this, "Herod the king, he heard this. He heard what the wise man said, and it really troubled him and all of Jerusalem with him." Let me tell you something right now. When you hear God's word, it'll do one or two things. It will trouble you, or it will transform you. See, everybody here, the Holy Spirit's even drawing you here, and he wants you to make the next step. He wants to live in you, where he can help you and guide and direct you. Or you're here today, and God's word is troubling you. Are you wanting to be transformed? You have to make the decision. "Herod said, it's troubling him and so when he had gathered all the chief priests, the religious people, and the scribes, people together, the religious people." Sometimes to me the worst people in the world to be around is religious people. I go on trips sometimes, and they finally find out I'm a preacher, I try to hide it. I always try to hide it, because they don't want to be around you. So you're religious? I'm not religious at all. They say, thank God. Now, I do believe in relationships, but I'm not religious. These guys were religious, but they were inquiring, where's this Christ? And where's he going to be born? See, these were religious people, they knew, so they said to them in Bethlehem of Judea for as written in the prophecy. See, they knew their Bible, they knew all about him. That's what scares me, there's people that come to church every single Sunday. They know about Jesus, but they don't know Jesus. See, these people knew about Jesus, they knew where he was going to be born, but they had never surrendered to Jesus, they never worshipped Jesus. They didn't want to follow the wise man, they didn't want to go where he was, they just wanted to know about him.

James Greer: 12:12 How many people come to church that know about him, but don't know him? How many people hear about him, but don't worship him. Man, I'm going to tell you, worshiping Christ is the greatest weapon of warfare that you could ever have. You're going to have problems in your life, I've got problems, you've got problems, we've all got problems. But until you learn to worship the King of Kings, you'll never have victory. It's not knowing about him, it is knowing him. Be very careful about going to the wrong counsel, even if they're religious. Most of the time, people's past well tell their future. Apart from transformation, the Bible says you'll know them by their fruit. God's word can bring transformation to anybody's life. Do you know that I believe even Herod, after he killed 64,000 babies, if he were to surrendered his life to Jesus Christ, God would have saved him. That's how powerful I believe God's word is, that's how powerful I believe the transformation process is.

James Greer: 13:33 See, God's counsel should always do two things. It should always line up with God's word, the Holy Spirit will never lead you to do something contrary to God's word. Okay? And if you go to counsel, it should be somebody that cares most about your interest, not theirs. It's important, because there's a lot of deceiving counsel, and people, and spirits, that know God's word that would give you advice, but it's not for the right reasons. I mean, Second Peter talks about it, it talks about especially in the days that we live in, many will follow their evil ways and they'll say evil things about the way of truth, talking about God's word. Those false teachers only want your money, and that way of money means they only want their own way. They only want their lust. They only want their greed. They only want what they could get out of you, so they'll use you by telling you lies. There are judgments spoken against them, long ago, is still coming, and their ruin is certain. Their time is coming, but in the meantime, they're trying to deceive you and exploit you and use you to get what they want. So, you've got to be insightful when you're listening to your counsel, or the counsel somebody else. Never underestimate the price of listening to wrong counsel, it's got to match up with God's word. Do you understand? Listen to this, "The scribes and counsel didn't match up with God's word." They said, where is he born? They told him. The second part of their counsel didn't. They didn't want what's best for or Herod, they didn't want what was best for the wise man, they only wanted what was best for them. So it was wrong.

James Greer: 15:35 You've got to be careful about deceiving yourselves, and deceiving counsels, because they said it's going to get worse and worse towards the end. Second Timothy 3:13 says, "But there's going to be evil imposters, and it's going to grow worse and worse, and deceiving and being deceived." Some of them have deceived their own selves. You're going to know people today, that actually believe their selves. They'll tell you a lie, they're living a lie, they're doing wrong things, they believe it their selves. And the Bible says in the last days, which we're beginning to live in, there will be those type of people. But then James 1 warns us was about it, he says, "But be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving your own self." Don't just talk about the word, like the scribes and the Pharisees, don't even just know the word, but do the word. Are you doing the word? See the scribes and the Pharisees, they knew the word, but they weren't doing the word. That's how you know if you're deceiving yourselves, are you practicing what I'm preaching? Are you trying to take at least one principal every Sunday, and you say, man, I need to practice that in my life. I don't need to come to church and just hear the word, I need to leave the church and do the word. Amen? That's good, Brother James.

James Greer: 16:59 The wonderful thing is God can take very little things and do great things. Verse 6 says, "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel." I love this, because the Bible says it doesn't matter where you came from. Like me, I came from Dixie Garden. In Shreveport, that's the part where Hamill's amusement park is now, that was the part that was out of the city limit. It didn't matter if that's where I came, or I came from the city, the nicer part. That doesn't matter, he said. It doesn't matter what you have, it doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter what your education, it doesn't matter who your parents were, it doesn't matter if you're black, it doesn't matter if you...But what does matter, is where you're at and where you want to go and how you'll let Jesus use you. Amen? And that's what's so great, that's what's so great about this church, this church was such a little thing and God's used it to do such great things, where God will get the honor and the glory. Jesus came from humble, humble beginnings. Do you know why? Where he could understand what we're going through, and help us get through it. He went from a crib, to a cross. From a stable, to a King. Never despise small beginnings.

James Greer: 18:27 Fourth, don't always believe what other people tell you, even if they're in power, whether it's political or religious. Don't always believe what somebody else tells you, whether it's political or religious. Are you all ready? God's word is the only ultimate authority, not some man, I don't care who he is. If you don't do that, you'll get discouraged and you'll get defeated. Your face should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. Amen? All right.

James Greer: 19:10 Then Herod, verse 7, "Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared." The only one that didn't lie in the whole Bible was the stars. The stars always appeared, and they always went to the right place, and they always did the right thing. "And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” He didn't want to worship him, he wanted to kill him. As Christians, we need to learn to be wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. Amen? Herod, with all his power, he meant to kill Jesus. He would have probably killed him, but what he meant for evil, God turned it around and protected them and use it for good.

James Greer: 20:05 Verse 9, here comes a star again, "When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them," You all, the Holy Spirit will guide you. Man, you want to be here December, the end of the December. I think it's the 19th or whatever it is, the last Sunday in December, that might not be the date, the 29th. Because you're going to learn how to follow the filling of the Holy Spirit. Amen? That's what they did, they were following the star. Where did the star lead the men? He stood right over the young child, Jesus Christ. Man, wouldn't it be great to learn to follow the feeling, to where you ended up right where Jesus Christ wanted you to be. That's what we're going to be learning about. So listen, the Holy Spirit will always lead you to the right direction.

James Greer: 21:01 In Hebrews 13:5 and 6, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For Jesus himself said one, he's never going to leave you, he's never going to forsake you." Do you know why? So you can boldly say, no matter what you're going through today, I don't care what's happened to you. The Lord is my... And what did he tell you about over in John? He said, "I'm going to send you a helper." "The Lord is my helper. I will not fear." Whatever you're going through today, guess what God says, you do not have to what? Fear. "And you don't have to fear what man will do to me." I love it. The Lord said, I'm going to be your helper, I'm going to guide you, I'm going to protect you. The Lord said, I don't care. I hope you're here today, there's somebody that needs to know that God is going to help you, he's going to guide you, he's going to direct you no matter what it is. I don't even care, listen, even if you made bad decisions in the past. Let's say the shepherds were saved, I don't know if the Holy Spirit was drawing them. Or what if they were saved, and they still went to the wrong king, and let's say 64,000 babies were killed.

James Greer: 22:14 I'm going to read Hebrews 4:12 says this, " For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow." Why? "To discern the thoughts and the intents of the heart." This is so important. See, what God is looking at, and what God judges, he judges the intent of our heart. There's no way that those wise men went to the king with the wrong intent of their heart. They went to the King, with their heart right. Their hearts were, man, I'm trying to find Jesus Christ, we're trying to worship the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. And Romans, also, 5:13 says, "That sin is not imputed unto you until you know it's sin." Praise God, your children are under God's grace until they know it sin. So hey, God knows the intent of your heart, he knows if you are doing it for the right reasons. And even if you did it for the wrong reasons, if you'll come and you'll ask God to forgive you, he'll forgive you and give you a brand new start.

James Greer: 23:21 And then lastly, God can turn any mess into a miracle. Verse 10, they had all this going on, then they, that's the wise men, they saw the? That star, man, he was rocking the house. Amen? I should've called this superstar. The star was a superstar. What did they do? They rejoiced. I'm going to tell you what, when you're following the star, you will rejoice. Guess what else? With exceedingly great joy. You know what else? After the exceedingly great joy, verse 11, "And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, with his mother. They fell down, they got to worship him. And when they had opened up their treasures, they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Well, that wasn't the end, "They were divinely warned in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod, they departed a different way." The Holy Spirit directed the men, and God supernaturally protected them to go back the other way. I love it.

James Greer: 24:36 See, they got to experience a great joy, they got to experience the birth of Christ, they got to give Christ some of the greatest gifts his family needed financially, and they provided for him financially. He was going to later need some physical oil to take care of him. They took care of him fiscally, they took care of him spiritually, they got to experience to trust in the star like never before. And we're going to get to learn about doing that. They got to see God turn whatever could have been a mess, into a miracle They got to see next to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, one of the greatest miracles that ever happened, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

James Greer: 25:21 So in closing, I'm going to ask you, you can still experience the miracle of a birth. See, the Holy Spirit may have called you here, and you've never stepped across the line, you may want to accept Christ today as your personal savior. That's a miracle birth. You've been born one time, but you've got go be born a second time. The second time is when you acknowledge your sin and you acknowledge that Christ was born for you. You might need a miracle in your circumstances, in situations, and you need God to turn it around. And God can, and he will, do that. Maybe you've made some bad decisions, maybe you've taken some wrong advice, and God knows the intent of your heart today, he searches the heart and he knows the intent. And he'd like for you to come today, and he'd like to guide, and he'd like to direct you. And we know that Proverbs 28:13 says, "He that covers sin will not prosper." But He says today, those people that confess it and forsake it, are going to find mercy. You just need to come and confess it and forsake it, where you can find the mercy of God. So whether it's come to church, or take care of a sin, or to experience a miracle, I pray that you'd stand right now, you'd let God have his will and his way in your life like never before.

James Greer: 26:51 God, you're a great God. I thank you for this time of season. I thank you for the birth. I thank you for the resurrection. I thank you for the people at Journey Church. I thank you for the people online. God, I pray today that you would move. I pray like the star, he was a hero. But the Holy Spirit, God, you moved today, you draw God. Have your way in our life. It's in the precious name of Jesus' I pray. Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360