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God With Us

Christmas 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Work of God With Us Has Been Handed Off To The Holy Spirit

Notes
Transcript
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Immanuel: The Back Story

The year was 734 BC. The nation of Judah was about to face a joint attack from the nation of Ephraim… (which represented the 10 northern tribes of Israel).. … -And, the Syrians.
-Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah was king in Jerusalem… and he was scared.
… -And, the Syrians.
-In fact, the description in tells us that the heart of Azaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.
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In verse three of this chapter, God sent Isaiah and his son to deliver a message to scared, King Ahaz
-AND ISAIAH TOLD HIM…
Be careful
Be quiet
Do not fear
It shall not stand
It shall not come to pass.
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These people that you fear… will come to nothing. Their land, which is rich now… will become barren.
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Then, in vs. 10, the Lord spoke again to Ahaz… either directly , or through the prophet… AND TOLD HIM.. TO ASK FOR A SIGN.
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Ahaz refused to ask… but God promised a sign none the less.. - A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall be called Immanuel.
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BASED ON THE TERMS OF THIS PROPHECY… It’s likely that a contemporary version of this prophecy may have been fulfilled in the time of Ahaz. -
-Before this child named Immanuel would reach a certain age.. the lands of Ephraim and Syria would be deserted.
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God already told Ahaz in verse 8, that Ephraim will be shattered from being a people within 65 years… Which means, the Immanuel that God gave Ahaz as a sign, would have been born within that time frame.
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Since Hezekiah was born in this time frame, it is a common belief in Jewish doctrine, to consider him the fulfillment of the sign… even as it gives no explanation to the virgin mother.
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So now… we jump ahead… -seven centuries later, an angel appears to Joseph… and gives new meaning to this old prophecy.
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Matthew 1:19–25 ESV
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
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This is not an uncommon method for God.
-There are many things that we read of in the OT that stand as a prophetic reflection of something bigger.
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Did Jonah really spend 3 days in the belly of a fish? Yes, I believe he did. Why was it three days? Because God was reserving these small facts… these tiny details… BECAUSE HE INTENDED TO USE THEM AS A SIGN WHEN JESUS WOULD BE IN THE TOMB.
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Was Melchizedek really a priest and a king? Yes he was.
-When we read , we lean that his past reality was a prophetic type, of whom Jesus would be…
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Hebrews 5:6 ESV
as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
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King David was a real king… but the OT goes on to use King David in a prophetic sense, even after King David is no longer on the scene. Why? Because Jesus is the final and eternal king in The Davidic line.
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Did the Hebrew people really remember Passover on a yearly basis? Yes they did… and as it looked back, it also looked forward… for says, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
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Was there an Immanuel born in Ezra’s life time? - MOST LIKELY. BUT, THAT WAS HIS SIGN. IF THAT HAPPENED, IT WAS FOR HIM AND HIM ALONE..
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When the Angel spoke to Joseph… he discovered, that there was yet a greater fulfillment to come.
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GOD WITH US… was coming. NOT AS A SIGN TO SIMPLY BRING VALIDATION TO A SPOKEN PROPHECY…
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BUT FOR US… Immanuel would truly be:
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GOD WITH US.

So… starting in ....
A prophecy of a sign...
Became a prophecy of a messiah..
Which was fulfilled, in the birth of The Messiah…
A Messiah who provided the presence of God in Israel.. for just a few decades…
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BUT WHAT ABOUT NOW?
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It’s been a couple centuries since Jesus went back to Heaven and sat down at the right hand of The Father…
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What does GOD WITH US mean now?
=FOR THE PAST FEW WEEKS, I’VE BEEN COMING AT THESE CHRISTMAS THEMED TOPICS FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE.
Two weeks ago we opened with that epic Messianic passage from
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Isaiah 9:6 ESV
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
-We looked at it in context. We talked about the significance of the land to which Jesus first came… and how that in itself was an amazing message of grace…
-More than anything, we talked about Hope… a hope that looks back… a hope that looks forward… and a hope that sustains us now.
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LAST WEEK… We talked about the KINGDOM OF GOD.
-Why would we talk about the Kingdom Of God in the season of Advent?
-Because, it is a topic of many of the songs we sing.
-Jesus is repeatedly referred to… AS A KING.
-AND IF HE IS A KING… then there must be a Kingdom..
-And if there is a Kingdom… then there must be citizens..
-And if we call HIM King… then we must be those citizens…
-THEREFORE… CHRISTMAS IS THE APPROPRIATE TIME TO CONSIDER AGAIN… OUR PLACE IN HIS KINGDOM.
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This week is no exception…
-The Christmas theme will take us again… to places we don’t normally go this time of year.
++ We sing of Immanuel… we read the passages which reference Immanuel…
-We recognize… that there in that barn… Mary and Joseph experienced the reality of God with Them… in human flesh…
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BUT THAT WAS THEIR REALITY....
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If Jesus is still Immanuel… then how is He truly, God With Us, right now?

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One of the attributes of God is:
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Omnipresence

This means… that God is ever present. There is no where that God is NOT. He is everywhere, across time and space, all at the same time.
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We acknowledge this by faith… and it inspires awe. It fuels our thoughts on worship… it reminds us that our God is greater and mightier than we could ever imagine.
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On that first Christmas day… there was wonder and awe for Mary and Joseph… there was wonder and awe for the shepherds who saw and heard the invitation of angels..
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Months later… there was awe and wonder for the wise men who came from the East… because they knew what they were coming to see.
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There was awe and wonder for the disciples over and over again… and for the masses that followed Jesus.
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There was awe and wonder for the hundreds of believers who experienced the presence of the resurrected Lord after he had spent 3 days in the tomb...
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But… at the end of His earthly ministry… -JESUS HANDED OFF THE ROLE OF “GOD WITH US”…
-Those daily experiences of awe and wonder with the physical Jesus ended..
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But they didn’t end all together.
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The believers in Jesus… still had an IMMANUEL EXPERIENCE… god was still with them… - And He was still working powerfully in their midst.
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John 14:15–18 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Jn 14:
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Jesus told His disciples.... that He was leaving: Immanuel was leaving… God with us… was no longer going to be with us.
-but fear not… Jesus promises to send another Helper.
-That word ‘another’ literally means: “ANOTHER OF THE SAME KIND” -
-Jesus is telling them… that the Spirit of Truth… the Holy Spirit… who will dwell with them, and will be in them… - is not a demoted replacement…
-The HS is not a lesser option..
_In fact, according to Jesus… the HS is an upgrade:
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John 16:7–15 ESV
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
John 16:7-
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Jesus told His disciples: IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE THAT I GO AWAY…
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WHY? Because the Holy Spirit.. who is of the same kind as Jesus… whom Jesus refers to with real personal pronouns in this very passage… is a real personal deity… WHO WILL BE WITH THEM in ways that Jesus, in the flesh… could not be with them.
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Jesus’ final words in the flesh… as He was about to join His Father… were in fact… Immanuel words..
IN he said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He still sees us… He still intercedes on our behalf… He is still present in the scriptures we read… He is interactive in our prayers…
-But the presence.... the God With Us… the Immanuel aspect… has been handed off the HOLY SPIRIT.
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JESUS PROMISED: That the HS will bring conviction. If you believe in Jesus, and if you have committed your life to Him by faith… Then it’s not because you intellectually were convinced: -No, if you truly believe, it’s because the HS enabled you to believe.
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It’s not the job of any human to convict another… This is solely the work of the HS.
-So, when we come to that place where we realize that we need Jesus… we are having an Immanuel experience… we are experiencing… ‘God With Us.”
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JESUS DECLARES… that the Spirit guides us in all truth. So, when we are bringing our own intellect… our agendas… our politics… our social views.. our emotions… our sympathies… our feelings… our opinions… - to the Word… and we try to interpret the scriptures through these filters…
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THEN, WE ARE ON OUR OWN. And the outcome, will probably not be something that we could call truth.
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Yes, we are pulling information from the scriptures… but we are defiling that information by dragging it through all our our mental and emotional and short-sighted brokeness.
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It is not our job… to guide the truth..
IT IS HOWEVER, OUR JOB, TO BE LED IN THE TRUTH.
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When we humble ourselves, and allow the Holy Spirit to give us understanding… when we take ourselves out of the way, and give Him the lead…
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Then, in our interaction with the truth of the Word.. we are experiencing ‘God With Us’.
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Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
-When we share the good news with people… when we declare, in word and deed, the truth of God to others…
-We experience, ‘God with Us’.
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According to and … as we grow in our faith towards a greater experience of holiness and obedience… as we manifest our regeneration and our justification through the progressive work of sanctification..
-We do this, with the help of the Holy Spirit..
Therefore as we are being sanctified…
…we experience...’God with Us’.
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Romans 8:14–17 ESV
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
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God wants to be with us… as a Father is to a child. Some of us grew up with at lease one absent parent… I could say, as a child, that my dad was never with me..
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But as a Christian, because of the work of the HS… I can say that I am a child of God…
-And when I claim this truth, and walk in this truth… I do it because of the work and interaction of the Spirit..
…so, as a child of God… I experience, “God with us”.
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According to and … when I use the gifts and callings that the Spirit gives me… and I use them for the building up of the church…
I WILL BE EXPERIENCING… God with us.
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I could go on and on…
WHEN THE SPIRIT REVEALS CHRIST TO US..
WHEN THE SPIRIT LEADS US..
WHEN THE SPIRIT EMPOWERS US WITH GIFTS OF KNOWLEDGE, TONGUES, PROPHECY, HEALING AND MIRACLES..
WHEN THE SPIRIT BRINGS UNITY TO THE BODY..
WHEN THE SPIRIT BAPTIZES US INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST..
WHEN JESUS BAPTIZES US WITH THE POWER OF THE HS
WHEN THE SPIRIT REVEALS THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD
WHEN THE SPIRIT SEALS US FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION..
WHEN THE SPIRIT DOES… WHATEVER IT IS, THAT THE SPIRIT DOES....
-We experience… God With Us.
CLOSING:
-At Christmas time… we remember the Messiah who came to us.
-And, in many traditions… this time of year is to be one of anticipation..
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The liturgy of the traditional churches has designated messages for the church to follow… leading up to Christmas..
-Many people have advent calendars…
-and they light advent candles..
-and it’s all supposed to be a practice of anticipation.
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BUT WHAT ARE WE ANTICIPATING?
-An event that came and went from our planet 2000 years ago?
-Yes, we rejoice in the reality of Jesus’ advent..
-But He has not left us lacking for anticipation…
-He told us… -IT IS TO HIS ADVANTAGE THAT HE GO… Because He has sent us another helper…
-And This Holy Spirit… who is God in the same way that Jesus is God… IS WITH US… AND IS IN US.
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-IMMANUEL STILL HAPPENS, DAY IN AND DAY OUT FOR THE CHRISTIAN..
-And that leaves us, hopefully, with a sense of excitement for what the HS might do next in our lives..
-The experience of Immanuel continues..
Pray.
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