Immanuel God Is With Us
Story: A submarine was rammed by another ship – sinks - crew trapped & clings to oxygen. One diver listens & hears various tapping noises - tapping Morse code – Q: “Is there any hope?”.
Background of Is 7:14: Turned from God & worshipped false gods. Hoarded wealth & mistreated one another; made up own rules & rejected the Word of God. But God still loved Judah. They were his people and he was their God.
Read: Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (NAS)
What about us today? We don’t often hear angels speaking to us!
Is God really with us?
People indulge their lives in many activities: sports, movies, shopping, computers, computers, drugs, alcohol. They want to feel something!
Is God really with us?
Marriages dissipate; children starve; people lose homes to natural disasters; war kills.
Is God really with us today? Yes!
Hebrew: “Immanuel” = “God is with us.” Prophecy in Is. is fulfilled in birth of Jesus.
Read: Matthew 1:22-23: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-- which means, "God with us.’”
Two ideas in the word “Immanuel” = 1) Jesus is God; 2) Jesus identifies with us.
In Christ’s birth, God’s presence is found. God has come to His people in a little Child, that very Child whom Isaiah later names ‘Mighty God . . .’”
Though Christ was existing as God, it was the divine plan that He become human.
Read: Galatians 4:4: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law.”
Read: Romans 8:3: “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man.”
Read: Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-- yet was without sin.”
Jesus loves you & knows what it means to be tempted. He has provided a way to be forgiven.
Why did Jesus come? Answer: So that He may die for us. Immortality dying for mortality.
A comfort to us = Jesus came & died in our place! = Free us.
So he is able to deal compassionately and justly with those whom he is not ashamed to call his brethren (cf. Heb. 2:11,17; 4:15).
In Genesis 22, God gives us a living picture of the sacrifice of His Son Jesus – by asking Abraham to offer up his son Issac; but providing a ram in his place. Their would be no ram in place of Jesus. He was the living sacrifice.
God is with us in the death of Jesus. The identification of God the Son with us in his death is vividly stressed in Isaiah 53.
Read: Isaiah 53: 4-5: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows...he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed”.
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:3 that Christ died for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21 reads: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Death of Christ is mentioned more than 175 times in NT. Very prominent & important.
Jesus died, but Acts 10:41 & other passages tells us that He rose from the dead!
Do you daily thank God for saving you through Jesus?
Immanuel is with us. In fact, the Bible is filled with promises that God will be with His saints on a daily basis, as He was with: Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel, Elijah, etc.
The Psalmist could confidently claim: “Jehovah of hosts is with us” (Psa. 46:7).
Similarly, Jesus says in Matthew 28:20: “Lo, I am with you always - day by day - even unto the end of the world.”
Matthew 10:29-30: God knows when sparrow fall - hairs of our head are numbered.
Be assured that the Lord watches over us & protects us.
God is watching over you. Immanuel – He is with you! You are not alone!
Immanuel promises to be with those who are courageous enough to carry out His will – even in times of suffering!
Be courageous, as it will establish who you are in the Lord & bring you victory.
Have courage to say NO! to sin; stand in Christ & be willing to suffer for Christ.
Matthew 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
2 Timothy 3:12: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
James 1:2-3: ”Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
Example: Christians in China by the thousands are willing to stand firm in Christ, even if it means being arrested & going to prison.
Where is our hope in the midst of suffering in a fallen world?
God promises to be with us for an eternity.
Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
However, the hope begins when God told Mary & Joseph that He would be with them in a special way through the birth of His Son Jesus.
Born in Bethlehem in a very humble situation. Only some shepherds were aware; like most today, most people weren’t even aware that the King had arrived in Bethlehem.
Jesus was willing to come to earth so that we can live with Him forever!
This is why we celebrate Christmas! And this is why we have hope, because we’ll spend eternity with Jesus Christ!
Immanuel … God is with us! We see His presence displayed through His creation, through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, through other people.
But what about the evil I mentioned?
Man is the source of evil, not God. God is perfect and does not sin. God hates sin, but loves the sinner! God will punish sin.
So, evil gives birth in mans’ wicked heart.
Jesus came to remove sin and to set the captives free by taking the punishment we deserve upon Himself.
What is Christmas all about? Luke 4:18-19 tells us in these words that Jesus speaks: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
This is truly Good News! And God wants us to do the same! He wants us to proclaim this Good News to others so that they may be free.
God uses your life to introduce Jesus’ presence to others.
Example: In taxi; man says son dies – end of his karma. Do I believe in karma?
God is in the teacher who finds worth in the student no one else has cared about.
God is in the man who prays for those who don't know Jesus, in the woman who gives sacrificially of her time, in the youth who chooses right over popularity, and in the boy who shares his favorite toy with his brother, in the carpenter who doesn’t cut corners.
Immanuel is with us in the beauty of friendship, the wonder of worship, the craftsmanship of the teakwood, and the laughter of loved ones?
Immanuel: God with us. In everything beautiful, He is with us.
Jesus uses us to bear witness to Immanuel. Do others see Jesus in you?
Story: Pastor who’s dad (a minister) is dying of cancer. Father gets up and says, “I have to save one more person for Jesus.” He repeats this over & over & then tells his son to do so.
In Luke 19:10, Jesus said that He came to seek & save the lost.
Do you have a heart for the lost? Do others see your love & compassion – that Jesus is in you?
Yes, people will see God in nature, but they should also see God displayed in your life.
Story: Brother Yun & other Christians in prison minister to murderer Huang & express God’s love to him before he’s executed.
Even when love seems so far: in war, disasters, or in prison & filth, God is still with us
A situation like hell can turn into more like heaven, as we see with brother Yun in prison.
Once a little baby lying in a manger, now, our friend, King, Lord & Savior. Our King calls us to bring His presence to people wherever we go.
God doesn’t distance Himself from us; rather, we distance ourselves from God when we choose to sin.
God is not distant, detached, nor indifferent from our pain & suffering & troubles in this world.
Rather, we have a God who knows what it’s like to be born in poverty, to be terrorized, to be despised and rejected, betrayed and abandoned, to be beat up and to suffer and even to die.
For God, himself was the victim of the greatest tragedy this world has ever witnessed, the brutal crucifixion of the perfect Son of God.
And because He is with us and was one of us, when we hurt, he hurts. When we weep, he weeps.
God was crying in prison with brother Yun & the other prisoners.
He’s been crying all week with those who’ve lost loved ones.
In a world filled with pain, like ours, how could we possibly run to a God for comfort who was untouched by it?
Yes. He is not some distant, haughty, punishing God but the servant, the lover, and the resurrected Savior come to be God with us.
Amid all of life's ups and downs, we -- with men of old -- shall call Him Immanuel. God is with us!
In Isaiah , the name “Immanuel” signified the hope of Israel is Isaiah, and signified judgement on their enemies, and deliverance and grace.
With the birth of Christ, He would be the Immanuel, signifying deliverance & God's saving act among His people. He would signify God's presence is with His people.
The coming of Jesus into the world means:
· God is not our enemy He wants to be our friend
· God is not detached and distant but is involved in our lives
· God cares about us and stands with us in the tough times of life.
· God wants you to be “God with us” among others so they will also become Christians.