2014 Christmas Series, Part 1
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: or that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1.18-25be
What a glorious day this is. What a glorious time of the year. If there was ever a time when the body of Christ needed to be vocal about their faith in Christ, it is today.
The verse that prompted the theme for this series this year is Matthew 1.23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
The primary message of Christmas is this: God is with us. Isaiah 7:14 tells us, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel means, “God is with us.”
Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. If God be for you, who can be against you?
Jesus in Hebrew is pronounced Yeshua, meaning “Jehovah is salvation”.
The Christmas message is the message of the Incarnation of God in human form, The Lord Jesus Christ. God was manifest in the flesh.
And The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. John 1.14
Immanuel: God is with us—God came to us. What a staggering thought. It is really the essence of the Christian faith and the Christian life. The message of Christmas is God with us. That is important to know, especially during those times when we are going through great difficulty. The psalmist said, “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:9–10). It is great to know that Emmanuel, Jesus Christ is with you wherever you go.
We see in verse 21 that the purpose of Jesus Christ coming into this world is a redemptive, rescue mission that is a spiritual one. Matthew writes that Jesus came to save His people from their sins. Jesus Christ came to save us from sins debt, the destruction of sins power and ultimately from sins presence in the new heaven and new earth wherein dwells righteousness.
Luke would tell us that Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Jesus came to save us from a life that lacked a Godward direction and real purpose.
In 1 John 3.5,10, the apostle John wrote, for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might take away our sin and that He might destroy the works of the devil. Jesus came to save us from the works of the devil.
Christmas is the message of the sin-deleting and devil-defeating joy for those who believe in Jesus Christ. This is good news indeed.
Today I would like us to take a look at a very familiar section of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2.8-11
Please note that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ IS the good tidings of great joy to all people. Jesus Christ IS the gospel. Jesus Christ IS the source of good tidings and great joy.
The biblical focus of the Christmas message is Godward, not manward. It is heavenly, not earthly. The gospel is a message that is meant to set our affection on things above.
Luke views salvation and redemption through the lens of great joy.
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10.17-20
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Luke 15.3-7
And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen Luke 24.51-53
My prayer today is that God would realign and readjust our thinking according to the truth of the gospel.
Isaiah 40.12 tells us that God measures the waters in the hollow of His hand, and metes out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills is a balance.
Each of these statements highlights the immensity of God, to Whom the universe is a small thing. Big God, small universe.
Beloved, if you are in Christ Jesus, this God, Emmauel is with you. Your times are in His hands.
May we lift our eyes this advent season to The One Who is greater than all of our sorrows, al of our pain and even death itself, Emmanuel, Jesus Christ.
Emmanuel, Jesus Christ is the source of our joy. So many people are drinking the worlds kool-aid of happiness. They are looking for good things in the wrong places. Happiness depends upon the chances and changes of life. And the problem with seeking happiness is that is that NOTHING that is temporal can satisfy the deepest longings of the soul.
The Bible teaches us to rejoice in The Lord always, and again I say rejoice. Not once does God tell us to look for joy in our circumstances. God has so much more than happiness for His children.
What Jesus Christ gives to us is superior to the fleeting and changing pleasures of happiness.
We come to Jesus Christ as sinner’s needing Savior and as a moral rebel needing a Lord, with the result being a joy unspeakable and full of glory. A joy that Jesus said no man taketh from you. Jesus has come to give us a joy that is our strength, even in the midst of the trials of life.
I am asking God to open our eyes this advent season that we might see that the real source of great joy is Christ Himself. Yes, life is hard. Yes, we shed tears of sorrow and pain and seeing loved ones die. But Emmanuel is our joy that is greater than our sorrows, greater than our pain, greater than death itself.
As we abide in Jesus through prayer, reading His Word, worship and obedience, the fruit of that fellowship is joy.
In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16.11
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 1 John 1.3,4
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15.11
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17.13
Jesus spoke these words of joy to men that would be martyred for their faith in Him
John wrote these words of fullness of joy to the church that was going through a very intense time of persecution by the Roman Emperor.
Beloved, joy is not absence of trouble or sorrow or pain, that’s happiness. Joy is the gift of God, Emmanuel. Joy is in the Name of The One Who said to us who trust Him as Lord that I will never leave you nor forsake you.
The Bible never teaches that we will have problem-free lives as followers of Christ. But the Bible does teach that we never will be alone. And because of that, we don’t have to be afraid. As Ray Stedman said, “The chief mark of the Christian ought to be the absence of fear and the presence of joy.”
The joy of Christmas IS Christ.
That is the message that this sin-sick world needs to hear: Immanuel—God is with us.
If you would like prayer to receive Christ as Lord, we would love to pray with you and give you a bible. We are here to serve you and pray with you and for you.
The message of the season is not, “Let it snow” or even, “Let us shop.” The real message of Christmas is, “Emanuel is come and is coming again, let us worship.” That is what the wise men came to do. And that is what we should be doing as well.