The reality is that Christ had to come in fleshly form. The only way to really understand the manger is to look to the Cross. Grace appeared to all men. (Isaiah 9:6)
Speaker(s): Pastor John Love
Sermon # 11376
9:00 AM on 12/3/2017
The first service of the Christmas season. We’ll talk about the Incarnation. With each week there will be a new message. Isn’t it true, every day you and I are alive is Christmas? We know he has come and he’s living in our hearts.
Is. 7:14 this is prophecy regarding Christ. A virgin. That doesn’t happen all the time!
Mt. 1:18 before they came together means before they knew each other sexually. Luke’s gospel more carefully describes what happened to Mary. The Holy Spirit came and overshadowed her womb. Means the H.S impregnated her womb. Imagine. Now Joseph and Mary are engaged, going to be married but before it was consummated, she is pregnant. That presents a dilemma for Joseph. Church history teaches us he was a just man, a devout man and a member of the [?]. He’s about to put his reputation on the line. He’s about to turn his back on his reputation. Does he protect this woman he loves? He could have dragged her into a public forum, exposed her sin and she would have been put to death based on O.T. laws.
vs. 19. He was going to try and do this quietly. Nobody would know about it.
vs. 20. I get it now. You put all my worries to rest! It’s God inside. I got you. No problem! I think it had to be overwhelming.
vs. 21-25. We don’t read a lot about Joseph in the Bible. But he took his godly reputation and didn’t think it was worth holding onto because he knew God was involved in this. He said I’m not interested in preserving my reputation. God honored him this way, people will be talking about you and even years to come. We know from the Gospels when they talked about Jesus, they said he was born of fornication. God said Joseph I’ll give you the greatest privilege on the planet. You will be the first one to call him Jesus. That’s how we’ll know him in eternity. I was the first one to call him Jesus…wow, God when you do things you go way beyond. Why couldn’t you bring your Son in the world through any set of circumstances? Had Christ not been born of the virgin, he would be contaminated by the same OSN you and I were contaminated with when we came into the human race. Mary would provide a human body and a human nature and the man through his seed would typically bring the osn. When Christ came into the world, he did not get an osn. It was the work of God. Never contaminated by Adam’s sinful blood. Mary you will provide the body and I will provide the blood. That blood will have the power to save and redeem and change people’s lives. God knew what he was doing and sent his Son.
I read about an 87 year old man who lived outside of Rome, Italy. He decided he would put himself up for adoption. He was so lonely with his daughter in Afghanistan and his wife passed away 12 years earlier. He ran an ad and you can’t believe how many responses he got and a family adopted him. That’s our 87 year old son and he’s now part of our family! That’s how deep his loneliness was.
Now more than ever before we are experiencing loneliness in our world in an unparalleled way. There seems to be a rise in teen suicide. In California, one 13 and another 10 couldn’t deal with the loneliness and rejection and they took their lives. Lord, that’s why you had to come. You saw the loneliness in people’s hearts. You knew there would be a day young people couldn’t go another day or hour. No one there to love them or take care of them.
Jn 10:10 I’ve come that they might have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. When God made man and woman, what did he say? He said it’s not good for the man to be alone. We could say that’s still true. Too much loneliness in this world. People know my name but not my heart. Know my face but not my feelings. I have a social security number but not a soul mate. That’s what people are looking for. We hunger for physical contact in our culture. Two enterprising New Yorkers sell group hugs. You can buy embraces. We need to make a connection. We were made to make a difference. How do people deal with cries of their hearts? Some people just stay busy. They don’t have a moment in their lives. They don’t want any moments where the cries of loneliness can be heard. Others stay drunk. Other buy pets. A dog will do it. Others buy lovers. Some get therapy but glory to God some seek God. Only to discover he was the one looking for them. When you share the Gospel, sometimes people say it’s interesting you’re talking to me because I’ve been looking for God. Someone said to Moody did you find Jesus? He said I didn’t know he was lost. He’s not lost. We are. There was a time in my life when I said I’m looking for God. God had stirred my heart and he was looking for me. He found me.
Lk 19:10 that was us. God’s remedy for insignificance. Some say I don’t have anyone. I’m so lonely. If you feel insignificant, you’re not going to be led to a social club or online dating service. God will lead you to a manger. That’s where he will lead you. When you get there, you will know his name.
Is 7:14, Immanuel, God with us. That’s the answer. That’s the cure for loneliness. Knowing you never leave God’s mind. You never escape his thoughts. God thinks of you and a number of those thoughts is as the sand of the seashore. You never leave his mind. God is obsessed with you. It wouldn’t be enough if he just had his thoughts toward us. God said I got to go there, step into their world, take on a human nature, and thank God he did. They could have changed his name to God Above Us or God Somewhere in the Neighborhood. What’s his name? God with us. Ever ask someone in a moment of crisis, could you go with me? They find so much comfort in that.
Just two days ago, I got a call I listened in in the hospital room. And the doctor told my mother you only have a couple weeks to live. I know we’ve talked about it in the summer if it got to the point the cancer returned, we asked my father what do you want to do when mom passes? He said I don’t want to be alone. I can tell dad his name is Immanuel. He’ll be with you. We’ll be with you. That’s why you have eight kids so we could be with you. I’ll go see my mom tomorrow and remind her, he is with you. You might pass through the valley of the shadow of death but mom you don’t have to fear anything. God is with you. He said he would come. He said that’s his name.
To you and me he says not only am I with you but Mt 28:8 I’ll be with you always. There’s no restrictions to God being with us. You won’t find God saying I will be with you when you behave yourself. Then you’ll never be with me. Or I’ll be with you as long as you believe. No, even if you stop believing, I will still be with you. I abide faithful. I cannot deny the unconditional nature of my covenant. He doesn’t say I’ll be with you as long as you keep going to church. Or as long as you stop smoking or drinking. No withholding tax on the promise I am with you. It’s his name. During illness, you are with me. When you go to the emergency room, you are with me. When I get my pink slip, you are with me. It’s his name. God with us. I know I sent you prophets, apostles, angels, miracles and messages but they are never a substitute for himself.
John wrote in his Gospel in 1:14 there had to come a point where the word would become flesh and dwell among us. Do you know what it’s like to be tired? Yes, I do. Hungry? Yes, I do. Be rejected by people close to you? Yes, I do. Misunderstood by your family? Yes, I do. Some have said I’m so glad you can identify with me. Tempted in all points as we are yet without sin. I’m so glad you could identify with me from cradle to grave. If you could identify with me in my sin. I did when I went to the Cross and became sin for you. He knows. We have a Savior. We have a high priest touched with the feeling of our infirmity. He never sinned but took our sin on his own body on the tree and gave to us his perfect R. For thousands of years, God gave us his voice but in the manger he gave us himself. He came. He came because he knows our hearts, our hurts. He knows about exhaustion, betrayal. He knows about our sin, not his but ours. Every lie I’ve ever told and I told more than a few.
When I went in as a Catholic to confess my sin, I lied to the priest. I thought to myself I’m going in to confess my sin and I lied to him. That guy knows my mother! If I tell him the truth, and he tells her, I am no more!
Every lie we ever told and every person we’ve hurt and wounded, every dollar stolen, every promise broken, every opportunity wasted, every deed committed against God he knows. He knows the price of all those sins and he paid it. Only way he could pay it is if he would come.
1 Pet 3:18 just for the unjust. So he might bring us to God. He could never bring us to God unless God first sent him to us and said his name was Immanuel. He came so no one ever has to say no one knows me because God says I know you.
I have engraved your names on the palms of my hands, Is. 49:16. Yes, God has tattoos in his hands and they include your name and my name.
Ps 56:8 he bottles every tear.
Ps 56:9 God is for me. God so loved this world he sent his only Son into it. That would lead us into an understanding where God would say I want you to understand the rest of your life I am for you. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. Some things you discover about your own life may shock and surprise you but I knew about them before you were born. God is for you.
Rom 8; 31, his kingdom needs you. Every one of us. Those that are lonely need you. The world needs you. Talk about significance. We find it because of the one who came and whose name is God with us. Be reminded you are never alone. You’ll be tempted to think you are. You will never take a step in this world without Christ with you. Long before we knew we needed grace, God already provided for that grace.
Rom 5:8 while we were sinning Christ died for us. So many times and so many places and so many churches, we hear if you can clean yourself up you can come in. No, God says you come in and I’ll cleanse you. I’ll give you a new heart, a new way of choosing. While we were sinning, Christ died for us. Before we knew we needed a Savior we had one. Salvation is not an afterthought with God but the plan and purpose of God. Before we know we needed a Savior we had one. I love his name. Even before I asked for mercy, God said I already have given it to you.
Whoever may be lonely, I hope God will cause our lives to cross the young people who wonder if they matter and if their lives will ever count. Hoping someone will recognize they are created in the likeness of God. Hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth. That’s Christ. What is his name? Immanuel. And he is with you. He is present. You don’t have to be alone. You don’t have to put yourself up for adoption. He’s already done that. Signed sealed and someday soon to be delivered into his presence. His name is I am with you and I will never leave you or forsake you.
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