Oil & Water – Choosing a King

What we can’t do is mix his kingdom and ours. Some things, like oil and water, don’t mix.

The Object Lesson – Oil and Water

You’ve surely heard the phrase “oil and water don’t mix.” It’s true. When you put oil and water into the same container, they will always separate with the oil floating on top of the water. This happens because water is held together with hydrogen bonds that the oil cannot attach to or break apart. Because oil has less density, it floats to the top and the water rests on the bottom.

In this demonstration I added food coloring to the two elements in order to further highlight the point. When dying the oil, you will need to use a powdered food coloring because most liquid food colors are water based and won’t mix with the oil. I used red and blue as my two primary colors.

Typically, mixing a red liquid with a blue liquid will create a new purple liquid as the two elements mix together. That doesn’t happen with oil and water. When you pour the two liquids together they remain separated and stacked on top of each other. Some things just aren’t meant to mix.

The Bible Connection – Responding to the King (A Christmas Lesson)

The Christmas account contains several different responses to the birth of Christ. . In Matthew 1, Jesus is announced as the newborn king. In Matthew 2 we get to see how two sets of powerful men respond to this news. First, was King Herod. Herod had been appointed by Rome, and he functioned as the King of Jews. What we know about Herod from history is that was powerful, paranoid, and violent. He would do whatever it took (including killing his own songs) to protect his throne.

The story also includes the presence of the Magi (who also appear to be wealthy important men). These Magi traveled from the east because they saw a star appear in the sky. They are intelligent, persistent, and humble. The difference between the Magi and Herod is most evident in their response to the news that a new king has been born.

Herod feels threatened. He is afraid this new king will steal his throne and his power, se he starts slaughtering babies in Bethlehem. His logic? If I kill this new king before he grows up, then he can’t be a threat to me. Herod wanted to destroy God’s king before he even got started. When he was faced with the news that a new king had been born, Herod chooses to protect his own kingdom.

The Magi, on the other hand, heard about the new king and came to worship him. They brought gifts and fell on their knees. They were not interested in maintaining their own sovereignty, so they chose to honor Christ as the new king.

Many of us attempt to walk a third road. We try to mix our kingdom with God’s kingdom. We want to have Christ as king while still living however we choose. We want heaven, but we don’t necessarily holiness. So sometimes we bow in worship, and sometimes we fight to protect our own little kingdom. We want to mix the two responses.

What the Bible consistently teaches, however, is this not a realistic option. Following Jesus means making him King of our lives. We can either fight Jesus like Herod, or we can worship him like the Magi. What we can’t do is mix his kingdom and ours. Some things, like oil and water, don’t mix.

Scriptures to Study and Use

While the Christmas story is one way to emphasize the all-in nature of discipleship, there are several other passages you can study as well.

Joshua 24:14-15

Even in the Old Testament, God required a choice to be made. You couldn’t serve two masters. God’s kingdom doesn’t mix with others.

Matthew 2:1-17

This is the entire Magi & Herod story that highlights the two responses to the newborn king.

Matthew 6:24

In an updated take on the Old Testament forbiddance of idolatry, Jesus tells us we cannot worship God and something else.

Luke 9:23-26

The repeated call to take up our cross and follow Jesus is a reminder that following Jesus requires us to deny ourselves for his glory.

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