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A Divine Accomplishment

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1)  AM…..12-9-07….SBC    2)

“A Divine Accomplishment”

Isaiah 7:1-17; Matthew 1:23

Introduction:

            Genre of Prophecy

1-      The great prediction which runs like a golden thread through the whole contents of the Old Testament is that regarding the coming and work of the Messiah[1]

2-      The responsibility of the Old Testament prophets was not principally to predict the future in the modern sense of the word prophesy, but rather to tell forth the will of God which He had communicated by revelation.[2]

3-      the prophet was not to be regarded as a self-appointed professional whose purpose was to convince others of his own opinions, but rather he was one called by God to proclaim as a herald from the court of heaven the message to be transmitted from God to man.[3]

4-      The Prophets are seen functioning in three primary ways:[4]

a.       They were Covenant reinforcers – through Prophets God announced His intentions in enforcing the covenant for blessing or for cursing depending on the faithfulness of Israel

b.      Their message was not their own – they were like heavenly ambassadors who announced and reminded God’s people of what was expected of them.

c.       Their message was unoriginal – Their messages were reinforcements and reminders of God’s original requirements for the life of faith

-          Messianic prophecies are not new

-          The details might be more revealing than earlier periods of history

-          The Bible spoke of a Messiah back in the law of Moses

John 1:44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” [5]

5-      1. The prophet had the responsibility of encouraging God’s people to trust only in Yahweh’s mercy and redemptive power, rather than in their own merits or strength[6]

Ø      among these thoughts of prophecy comes the Prophet Isaiah

Isaiah the Prophet

1-      THE HEBREW NAME of this prophet means “Yahweh is salvation.”[7]

 

2-      the basic theme of Isaiah’s message is that salvation is bestowed only by grace, by the power of God, the Redeemer, rather than by the strength of man or the good works of the flesh. [8]

3-      Isaiah sets forth the doctrine of Christ in such full detail that he has rightly been described as “the evangelical prophet.”[9]

4-      Deeper Christological insights are to be found in his work than anywhere else in the Old Testament.[10]

-          this is most likely reason for the love addiction so many scholars have with Isaiah

-          this ancient text teaches of our Savior

Transition:  In this genre of writing called prophecy we find very familiar words from the prophet Isaiah.

Proposition:               Our challenge this morning is to not trivialize these familiar details during the rush of the

Christmas season, but to internalize these familiar events in order to better understand Immanuel, God with us.

 

Transition:       To better set ourselves up for the Messianic prophecy contained in this narrative story we must first of all understand…

1) The Role of Ahaz               v1-17

A-    The Scenario

1-      In Chapters 7-9 a lesson of trust in the face of superior enemies is taught.

2-      The time of these events is during the time of the divided Kingdom

3-      the situation is a desperate bid by Israel (the northern Kingdom) and Syria to unite their neighbors against the all-conquering Assyria.[11]

4-      On Judah’s refusal to cooperate, they have arrived in force to replace her king with their own man, the son of Tabeel [12]

5-      The prophecy was simple enough: Syria and Israel, the two smoldering stubs…would soon be snuffed out. [13]

a-      Syria was crushed around 732bc and Israel (c. 722) lost her national identity and became “too shattered to be a people.” (NIV)

6-      The Challenge to King Ahaz is to trust in God and to stand firm in his faith while facing the enemy.

7-      The Lord commanded Ahaz to ask for a supernatural sign that God would accomplish the deliverance promised (7:11). Ahaz had already made up his mind to appeal to Assyria for help rather than trusting God.[14]

8-      A sign in general of his good-will to Israel and to the house of David. You may conclude that the sign shows he has mercy in store for them, and that they are not forsaken of their God, no matter how great your present distress and danger are; for of your nation, of your family, the Messiah is to be born, and you cannot be destroyed while that blessing is in you, which shall be introduced,’’[15]

Transition to Point #2:            From this backdrop we have that great and precious prophecy of the coming Messiah and God’s revealed plan for his entrance into the world.

2) The Virgin Birth Prophecy             v14

Ø      When Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets [the Old Testament]; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill" (Matt. 5:17), He was affirming that Scripture progressed from promise to fulfillment, from partial to complete.

Ø      We call that progressive revelation.

Ø      Progressive revelation doesn't at all imply that the Old Testament is inaccurate. The distinction isn't in the rightness or wrongness of the revelation, but in its completeness.

Ø      The Old Testament had given divine revelation in bits and pieces. Every piece was true, yet incomplete

Ø      When Jesus came, the whole picture became clear, and though rejected by His own people, He was, in fact, the fulfillment of the messianic hope they had cherished for so many centuries.

Ø      The Old Testament isn't all of God's truth, but all of it is true. And as you progress from the Old to the New, you see God's character and redemptive plan unfolding in greater detail.

Transition:       Isaiah’s prophecy fits the mold of progressive revelation…an announcement that might not have been fully understood at the time of its proclamation, but one that was no doubt fulfilled later in Jesus’ birth.

We see first of all …

A-    The Importance of the Virgin Birth

1-      On the surface the sign seems to be that before a child conceived at the same time as the saying is 12 years old, the two nations that so frighten the house of David will be destroyed (7:16)[16]

 

2-      With Matthew’s identification of the fulfillment of this prophecy in Christ we see there is a lot more being said here then what is just on the surface.

3-      Without Matthew 1:23, under normal reading circumstances we would have to conclude that there was going to be a child born by a virgin woman who, before he was of a discernment age, would see the destruction of both Syria and Israel.

Example:        Paul’s use of Rock in 1 Corinthians 10:4 to refer to Christ

1 Cor 10:3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.[17] (sensus plenior meaning of Ex 17)

-          In the OT narrative story there is no mention that the rock is anything more than just a rock

-          Paul under inspiration used that analogy to speak of the Corinthians salvation

-          We, as modern readers, would most likely have never made that connection with the fuller meaning (sensus plenior)

-          The fuller meaning of OT passages like Ex 17 and Matt 1 can only be given by those under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit

4-      Matthew’s fuller meaning of Isaiah 7:14 shows us that this message had relevance initially to Ahaz and later in fulfillment of Christ to the entire Christian community

Application:               What does all this mean?  What is the importance of this prophecy to today?

1-      The prophets called the people of Israel and Judah to right belief and right action.  Correct orthodoxy and right orthopraxy.

a-      Is the belief you have in Christ leading you to Christ-like actions?

b-      At this busy Christmas time is it all about you and your family or are you looking for ways to share the love that Christ showed all year round?

2-      No other fact in the Christmas story is more important than the virgin birth.[18]

a-      The virgin birth must have happened exactly the way Scripture says or Christmas has no point at all

b-      If Jesus is the illegitimate child of Mary’s infidelity, or if He is simply the child of Joseph and Mary than He is not God

c-      If He is not God then all His claims to be God are lies

d-     If His claims are lies then the salvation He proclaimed is a hoax

e-      If His salvation is a hoax then we are all doomed

3-      You cannot deny the virgin birth and still be a Christian, it is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith

4-      Unsaved Application

-          If anyone rejects Jesus’ Deity (Jesus was God) then they reject Jesus Christ absolutely.

-          To reject Him absolutely is to reject the free gift of salvation that He offers to

-          To reject Him is to put yourself on a collision course for Hell

-          Christ offers to fill that void that you have been missing for so long in your life

-          Through his sacrificial death He now offers to you freedom from sin

-          Will you trust Him?

     5- Most of would reject any form of a Christless Christmas

-          While we deny the things that push Christ out of Christmas the real question is what are you doing to teach others that Christmas is all about Christ? (kids, family, friends, strangers)

-          In what ways are you putting Christ back in to Christmas?

Transition:  Not only is the Virgin Birth fundamental to the Christian faith, but the Virgin Birth also shows us that…

2) Salvation only comes from God[19]

A-    The Virgin Birth is an unmistakable reminder that salvation can never come through human effort

1-      Our salvation only comes through the supernatural work of God

2-      Jesus did not descend from Adam like every other man and this helps us understand how the line of sin through Adam was interrupted

a.       God used the Virgin Birth to bring about Jesus as fully human yet did not share in the inherited sin from Adam

b.      this does not mean that sin is only inherited through the Father because Mary was had a sin nature as much as Adam did

c.       the Virgin Birth, although never fully comprehended, was the method that God used to provide you and I with a perfect, sinless sacrifice for our sins

? – Have you accepted His sacrifice on behalf of you sins?  Would you today?

B-    The Virgin Birth shouts the message that Jesus, the baby, is Deity, God’s Son              7:14

 

1-      The name Immanuel is at the heart of the Christmas story

a-      the Hebrew name means “God with us”

b-      this baby who was to be born would be God Himself in human form

c-      all the truths of Christmas can be condensed to these three truths

2-      During the Christmas Season we tend to focus on the infancy of Christ, but the greater truth of the holiday is His Deity.

3-      Immanuel who was infinitely rich became pour

a-      He assumed our nature

b-      Entered our sin

c-      Too our guilt on Himself

d-     Was wounded for our transgressions

e-      Bruised for our iniquities

f-       All of that is wrapped up in “God with us”

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.[20]

4-      The immeasurable gift of Christmas is that God’s own Son, Jesus, gave up His wealth and privilege to live as “God with us” so that He might save us from our sins and that through His poverty we might become rich.

Conclusion:

The conclusion is simple…

1-      Have you tasted of the riches that Christ offers freely to you?.........Is God with you?

–              Has there been time when you have recognized Him as your Lord and Savior and repented of your sins and turned to Him for salvation

–              If not…Why not now

2-      Are you shouting the same “God with us message” like the angels did?

Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all zthe people. 11 For aunto you is born this day in bthe city of David ca Savior, who is dChrist ethe Lord. 12 And fthis will be a sign for you: you will find a baby gwrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel ha multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14                     “Glory to God jin the highest, and on earth kpeace lamong those with whom he is pleased!” [21]

This Christmas, look for ways to internalize these familiar events and then to share them with others.


----

[1]M.G. Easton, Easton's Bible Dictionary (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996, c1897).

[2]Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 329.

[3]Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 329.

[4] Fee, Steward: How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, 165-186.

[5]The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Jn 1:44-45.

[6]Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 330.

[7]Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 363.

[8]Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 363.

[9]Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 363.

[10]Gleason Leonard Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed.]. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1994), 363.

[11]D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, Rev. Ed. of: The New Bible Commentary. 3rd Ed. / Edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Is 7:1.

[12]D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, Rev. Ed. of: The New Bible Commentary. 3rd Ed. / Edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Is 7:1.

[13]D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, Rev. Ed. of: The New Bible Commentary. 3rd Ed. / Edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Is 7:1.

[14]Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, Rev. Ed. of: New Bible Companion. 1990.; Includes Index., The Tyndale reference library (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 261.

[15]Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991), Is 7:10.

[16] The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah, p139.

[17]The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), 1 Co 10:3-4.

[18] MacArthur: God’s Gift of Christmas, 36.

[19] Sysematic Theology: Grudem, p529.

[20]The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), 2 Co 8:8-9.

z ver. 32; John 11:50; [Zech. 9:9]

a Isai. 9:6

b ver. 4

c Matt. 1:21; John 4:42

d Acts 2:36; 10:36; [ch. 23:2]; See Matt. 1:17

e [ch. 1:43]

f 1 Sam. 2:34; 2 Kin. 19:29; 20:8, 9; Isai. 7:11, 14

g ver. 7

h Gen. 28:12; 32:1, 2; 1 Kin. 22:19; 2 Chr. 18:18; Ps. 103:21; 148:2; Dan. 7:10; Rev. 5:11

j [ch. 10:21; Matt. 6:10; 28:18; John 17:4; Acts 7:49; Eph. 3:15; Col. 1:16, 20; Rev. 5:13]

k ch. 1:79; Ps. 85:10; Isai. 9:6, 7; Hag. 2:9; Acts 10:36; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:14, 17; Col. 1:20

l [ch. 3:22; 12:32; Eph. 1:5, 9; Phil. 2:13]

[21]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Lk 2:10-14.

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