PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Advent – Immanuel

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111218_advent-immanuel.mp3

12/18 Advent – Immanuel – God With Us

Jesus is Immanuel – God With Us

Christmas is one week away! In this advent season, I want us to turn our eyes to Jesus. Today, I want to reflect on one of the names given to Jesus. That name is Immanuel. It comes from Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew quotes this prophecy as being fulfilled in Jesus.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Jesus’ conception was supernatural. Jesus had no human father. Mary was a virgin. “That which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” And Matthew tells us that the Hebrew name Immanuel means God with us. Jesus is Immanuel; God with us.

The implications of this stagger the imagination! God with us. God the Creator of the universe, born of a virgin. God in human flesh. Luke puts it this way:

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy––the Son of God.

Overshadowed by the power of the Most High – God the Father; and God the Holy Spirit – so that the child to be born will be the Son of God. John puts it this way:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

John tells us that ‘the Word’ was in the beginning. ‘The Word’ existed before all creation. ‘The Word was with God’ – distinct from God the Father – a perfect companion of the Father. ‘The Word’ was with God, and ‘The Word’ was God – fully divine, sharing all the attributes and characteristics of God. ‘The Word’ was distinct from the Father, and yet fully divine. John continues by saying that ‘the Word’ became something he was not before.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

‘The Word’ became flesh. ‘The Word’ became tissue, bone and blood. He who existed from eternity with God and as God, now took on a human body. God became flesh. God dwelt among us, or literally ‘pitched his tent with us’. Immanuel – God with us. John goes on to say:

No One Has Ever Seen God

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father‘s side, he has made him known.

This is an absolute statement. No one has ever seen God. Period. Paul tells us of the Father:

1 Timothy 6:15 …he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

No one has ever seen or can see God, because he dwells in unapproachable light. No one can see God the Father, because, as Jesus tells us, “God is Spirit” (Jn.4:24; cf. Jn.5:37, 6:46). No one can see the Father because, as Paul tells us in Colossians, God is invisible. But he says of Jesus, God the Son, that:

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Jesus, the only God who is at the Father’s side has made know to us the Father. The word John uses is interesting. Jesus has made known or literally exegeted the Father. We usually use this word exegete in reference to a biblical text. It is a Greek word that means ‘to lead out’. You take a biblical passage and study it carefully so that you can lead out to make known or put on display the truth that is in it. Jesus exegetes the Father. He puts on display what the invisible God is like. The author of Hebrews says that God’s fullest revelation of himself is in his Son, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb.1:3).

Jesus is God. He is fully God. He was with God and he was God. But Jesus is God with us. He became human so that he could make know to us what God is like. Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God.” He is the shining forth of the excellencies of God. He puts his Father on display. He is the exact imprint of the nature of the Father. Jesus tells us as much in John:

John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

John 14:7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” …9 …Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father‘?

Jesus puts the Father’s nature on display so precisely that he can say “whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” To know Jesus is to know God.

So in the time we have left, let’s turn our eyes to our Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, to get a clearer picture of what God is like. Understand, that studying the gospels and the other New Testament documents to see Jesus, to get to know him, to deepen affection and admiration of him, to enjoy relationship with him, is a lifetime project. We will only be able barely to scratch the surface in a broad overview sort of way.

Triune

As we have seen in the verses we have looked at so far, Jesus reveals to us that God, in his very nature and essence, is triune. Jesus speaks of his Father, and the coming Holy Spirit. God is Father, Son, and Spirit, in eternal relationship and fellowship. Three distinct persons, each fully divine, constitute the one sovereign being we refer to as ‘God’.

Omnipotent

Mark 4:39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

One thing we learn about God through Jesus is that he is omnipotent, or all-powerful. He is the one who has absolute control over all things. He is the sovereign supreme ruler. All created things must obey him.

Omnipresent

John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

Another thing Jesus teaches us about God is that he is omnipresent, or everywhere present. He is not confined to be only in one place at a time. God, who is spirit, fills time and space. There is nowhere that he is not. This is how Jesus can say to twelve men and their followers who would scatter across the globe:

Matthew 28:20 … And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Omniscient

John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

Jesus teaches us that God is omniscient. He knows everything. He knows what will happen in the distant future. He knows what is in the hearts of men.

Eternal

John 10:17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Jesus teaches that God is the Living One. He is eternal. As we saw in the earlier verses, he eternally existed. He has no beginning and will have no end. He is. Jesus said “I AM” (Jn.8:24, 58).

Life Giver

John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

Not only is God the eternal Living One, he is the Life Giver. He gives life to whom he will. He is the fountain and source of life. All life comes from him.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Holy

Mark 1:24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are––the Holy One of God.”

Jesus taught that God is holy, distinct, separate, set apart, totally other, one-of-a-kind. Even the demons recognized in Jesus a uniqueness – he is in a category by himself.

Perfect

Mark 7:37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Jesus showed us that God is perfect. He lacks no good quality. He is not deficient in any way.

True

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus teaches us that God is truth. God is entirely trustworthy. He never lies. His word is true. He will keep his promises.

Jealous

John 2:15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money–changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Jesus demonstrates that God is passionate about his own glory. He zealously defends the honor of his own name. He will tolerate no rivals. For the good of his people, he will violently take action against those who misrepresent him.

Wrath

Mark 3:5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Jesus teaches us that God is a God of anger and wrath. But God is not capricious or volatile. He is slow to anger, and his anger is righteous anger, mixed with compassionate sorrow over the effects of sin.

In the well known passage describing the love of God, Jesus also warns of the wrath of God.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

God intensely hates sin. God is to be feared, his wrath is terrifying, but his wrath can be escaped. He has provided a way.

Just

When the religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus for judgment,

John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Jesus taught that God is just. He does not show favoritism. His judgments are true and righteous.

Mercy

But he also taught that God is merciful and compassionate, eager to forgive. To this woman who was clearly guilty, he said:

John 8:11 …And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Love

John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Jesus taught us that God is love. Before the world was created, God, Father, Son and Spirit, lived in an eternal relationship of genuine love. Jesus also teaches us what love is.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God’s love is not a romantic feeling of attraction, but self-sacrificial action for the good of the one loved, regardless of how little they deserve it.

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Jesus went to the cross to demonstrate God’s self-giving love.

Response:

We have merely scratched the surface of what God is like as revealed in the person of Jesus, or Immanuel, God with us. I invite you to make it your life-long pursuit to deepen your affection and devotion for God by becoming a disciple, a follower of Jesus

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

Advertisements

December 18, 2011 - Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: