Michael Youssef - Only One Star Speaks
You know, the world over is looking for the lining up of the stars, and the horoscope, and fortune telling. But, you know, there is only one star that you need to look to, and it may be a family friend or a family member or a neighbor or a coworker. That star is leading you to the Christ of Christmas, where salvation, grace, and mercy is found. Stay tuned.
The word "astrology" comes from two Greek words: "aster" means "star", and "logos," which means "word". So, it is, "The words of the stars". That's what it literally means, "The words of the stars". Astrology claims that the stars actually want to speak to us individually. Now, some of you who might belong to my generation remember some years back those type of folks used to be called, "Space cadets, stargazers," but no more. Here, we find that so many people would rather believe in the so-called "lining of the stars" and the stars speaking to them rather than believe in the God who lined all the stars in their orbit, who named them by name, who set them in their orbits. But be that as it may, the sad truth is this. Their predictions almost always wrong.
If you follow it, you'll know what I'm talking about. But people still consult astrology for whatever reason, fortune tellers, horoscopes. Why? By nature, we want to know what the future hold. The problem with astrology and those who follow it is it's addictive. It really is, it hooks you in, and you become addicted to it. And what it does, it deprives you from free will. And yet, some still believe that the stars can protect 'em, that the stars will actually bring them success, that the stars will help them understand themselves and that, yes, the stars can help them talk to the dead. I know many of you know the difference between astrology and astronomy, and by the way, it's a world of difference, just in case you did not know, but I know you do. Because astronomy is a science. It's the science of studying the movements of the galaxies and the planets.
In fact, the Bible tells us about some of these original scientists. They lived in Persia, modern-day Iran. As a matter of fact, that science began in Persia several hundred years before Jesus was born of a virgin in Bethlehem of Judea. These scientists, these astronomers were the most powerful people. In fact, the Persian king, any Persian king, cannot become a king without the approval of these scientists. In fact, they were very, very powerful people. And that is why these scientists, these astronomers were astonished when God supernaturally gave power to Daniel the Prophet to solve the problem and tell the king what the dream was or what the interpretation was. They were astounded.
When the Prophet Daniel in the Book of Daniel, who was a Jew that was taken captive first into Babylonia, and later became Persia, when God revealed to him, it gave him certain revelation that, to this day nobody could refute it. He told him the precise time in which the Messiah, the Savior will be born. And not only where, but when. And if you go back and you do the calculation, and many people have done that, it's exactly, precisely the date that Daniel predicted 400 years before the birth of Christ, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. So much so that astronomers in Persia, at the strength of Daniel's prophecy, at the strength of what Daniel told them about this coming King from heaven, they began to look at the galaxies, they began to look at the planets in anticipation, but then they passed that knowledge and that expectation and that anticipation to the next generation and the next generation and the next generation.
For 400 years they were anticipating of the appearance of the King's star. They were anticipating the birth of the heavenly Visitor. As a matter of fact, new computer models have revealed that Jupiter became extremely close to earth around 2 BC. These Persian scientists, who, for generations, had been studying astronomy and anticipating the appearance of this bright planet, they were ecstatic. The moment they saw it, they said, "Our ancestors looked forward to it, didn't have the chance to see it. But now, we are the generation who are watching this bright star". And when they saw that bright star, they knew that the time has come for them to worship Jesus. They knew that Daniel's prophecy 400 years earlier is now being fulfilled. They knew that the God of heaven had come to earth.
And so, they come to Bethlehem to worship Jesus, to bow. Remember, these were pagan people, but they came to bow to Jesus the Christ. Sometime these scientists are referred to as "magi". Other times, they are referred to as "wise men". And you say, "Why are they called 'wise men'"? Because only the wise worships Jesus. Because only the wise are recognizing their need for the Savior. Because only the wise seek after the one true God. Because only the wise want to know personally and have a relationship with that one true God. Because only the wise would not waste their lives running after false gods, running after mirages, running after empty promises, and running after dead-end roads. And I pray today, God, please, that everyone at the sound of my voice who had not yet to worship Jesus alone to be the Lord of your life and the Savior of your soul, tonight will be the night, amen.
The God who left the splendor of heaven to come to earth, who humbled himself to become an embryo in a virgin's womb, the God who lived in poverty, the God who died gruesome death on the cross, the God who experienced the powerful Resurrection on the third day, that God is telling us that he and he alone is the way to the Father and to heaven. The reason God became man 2,000 years ago is that he may deliver anyone, anyone, anyone who would come to him to worship him alone, to surrender to him alone, to deliver us both from fear and hopelessness. And that is why God announced the birth of his one and only Son in variety of ways. He announced to the shepherds through an angel. And then he announced to these scientists through the star. Because to the shepherds, if they saw the star, they wouldn't understand it.
They were the lowest class of people. They will understand what an angel is. And when an angel appeared to them, they knew right away, and they went straight to worship Jesus. But for the Gentile scientists, God sent a star so that they understand that this is something extraordinary, that this is something unique, that never before, the King of heaven have come to earth. But here is the magnificent message that these wise, powerful scientists of Persia teach us. Listen carefully, please. When they saw and heard the message, they immediately responded to that message. They did not shrug their shoulders, said, "Yes, in the by and by, I will come to that decision". They did not ignore the message of the star. They did not waste their time deliberating on, "What should it be? How could it be"?
They did not spend time doubting it. They did not spend time philosophizing about it. They did not even just sit there and admiring it. No, they dropped everything and came to worship Jesus decisively, definitively. They responded to the star. They immediately obeyed the message of the star. They went where the star had led them. They responded to the invitation of the star. Perhaps God has placed a star in your life, I don't know, you do, who's trying to lead you to the wisest decision you could ever make in your life. There is no other decision that could be more serious than this one. Because your eternity and where you'll spend eternity hangs on the balance of where, where, whom you worship.
Will you respond to that star? Will you respond to this message? Possibly this message you're hearing today is one of those opportunities that God had brought you. I don't believe in coincidence. I don't believe in happenstance. I believe in the sovereign God who brought you here. He brought you for a purpose. He brought you to hear this message, maybe for some of you for the first time. For others of you, have been ignoring it for a long time and God said, "Enough is enough, now you need to respond to this message". I pray to God. As the Scripture said, "When you hear his voice, harden not your heart". Come and worship Jesus. Surrender your life to him. There's a whole lot of deception disseminating in our culture today, lots of deceptions. Deceptions in the airwaves and television and magazines and in the media, everywhere, and including some churches.
It goes something like this: "All ways lead to God. All religions will take you to the same place. All the founders of all the religions want us to do the same thing. Everyone is gonna make it to heaven when they die". I like this one: "Everyone becomes an angel when they die". I don't know where they get this cockamamie idea, but I guess makes people feel good. But the problem is, I would rather have you feel bad now and then bless me for eternity than make you feel good now and curse me for eternity, amen? You see, the one true God declared, "There is only one way". There is not one and a half ways. There are not two ways. There are not two and a half ways. There's only way, and one way to come to him, and that one way to escape from the judgment that is coming upon the world, and it is through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ who came from heaven for you on that first Christmas. Why? Because if you're a person who's in debt and there is no way of paying your debt, another person who's equally in debt cannot help you. It's gonna take somebody who's wealthy and willing to sacrifice in order to pay your debt.
Now, I know this is, all human illustrations are flawed and not perfect, but all of the founders of these religions, they were sinners. They admitted they were sinners. Buddha never claimed to know the truth. He said, "I'm searching for it". And then, when he died, said, "You keep searching". Confucius, Krishna, my goodness gracious me, they were in worse shape than me. They were in worse shape than all of us. That's why they can't help you. This fallacy and this deception that all religions are the same, and people are going all over India, trying to find a guru that can help them, they can't help you. And that is why only God's Son, who is eternal, who is sinless, who is perfect, who lived for 33 and 1/3 of a year without committing sin, only he can save you, he can save me, he can save us. He and he alone, amen, amen. Give God praise.
And that is why Jesus died on that cross, because it takes a perfect, sinless person to carry on his sinless body the sins and the consequences and the wages and the punishment of sin of everyone who would come to him, everyone who would surrender to him, everyone who would worship him. Please listen very carefully. Why did he come and lived in utter poverty, poverty that none of us will ever even know? Why did he hang on a cross? Why did he rise again on the third day? Could be another way that God would have devised for people to come to him? I already told you, someone in debt cannot help you get out of debt. And therefore, only the sinless God-Man can truly redeem you, can take that sin, can take that wages of sin, can then take the punishment of that sin on himself so you be set free. Please hear me right. By nature, God is perfect, and therefore, heaven, his dwelling place, is perfect place. He is perfect.
Where he dwells is a perfect place, but we're not. None of us are. None of us could ever be in this life, so we've got a dilemma, right? We've got a dilemma, a dilemma that only God can solve, a dilemma that only God can bring solution to it. And God, therefore, is the one who found the solution. God is the one who bridged that gap and came to earth, and that is why you and I can only be accepted in heaven because of his perfection when we surrender to him. I really don't know about you, but for some of you, it may be the last time you're gonna have an opportunity to respond to his loving call, to his loving invitation. It's the only way to God. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," eternal life. The Bible said, "There is no name under heaven is given to men by which they can be saved, except the name of Jesus".
When you commit your life to Christ, it does not mean that you will never have a problem in life. Anybody tells you that is not telling you the truth. In fact, when I came to Christ, my problems compounded because my former friends began to persecute me. The friends that I was... or so-called "friends" in my pre-Christ life made life hell for me, and problems expanded, not decreased. So I'm telling you this because we have no small prints in the Christian faith. We tell you the truth, and the truth is the Word of God. Oh, but listen to me. You can be absolutely sure that he and he alone can lift you high, high above your circumstances, high above your problems, high above your difficulties of life, high above the pain that you may have been experiencing in life. He will lift you so high, all the way to eternity. And when you're so high, you look down, your problems look so insecure in comparison.
Will you trust him to lead you and guide you and comfort you and walk with you? When Christ becomes the only object of your worship, the object of your adoration, he not only forgive all of your sins, but he will bless you as you walk with him and as you obey him. He will empower you. He will give you hope above all. Above everything else that is great in the Christian life, he will give you assurance of eternity with him in heaven. To these wise men, when they arrived to see Jesus, the newborn King, all of their perplexities became history. All of the anxieties and the fears have disappeared. All of the emptiness that they ever felt through the years were gone. All of their search was over. In the same way, that can happen to some people here today if you come to him in faith, in repentance. Will you make the celebration of this Christmas to be a celebration of your rebirth? He can be born in you today, and you will literally never be the same again.