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A Promise Given

What Christmas Is All About  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:11
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Learn about the incredible person God promised to send to set creation right again.

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Well, it’s officially Christmas time!
Intro
· Well, it’s Christmas time!
I know we began our Christmas series last week, but now that we are through Thanksgiving, we are officially into the Christmas season.
You’ve probably been busy shopping, decorating, maybe even beginning to bake.
The ladies have been here this week doing some tremendous work to make our Sanctuary and building look festive and beautiful. Didn’t they do a great job?!
I imagine many of your houses are decorated, presents are being bought, and the calendar is filling up.
In the midst of it all, it’s easy to lose our focus, isn’t it?
We know that all this activity can make it hard to remember what Christmas is all about, which is why we are taking some time on Sunday in December to step back from the busyness and remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Last week, we started at the very beginning and saw that Christmas was about a broken world. We saw that God made us for a relationship with him, but we chose to disobey God and that drove us away from him.
Maybe you feel a little like Charlie Brown…
What was one of the worst things about Christmas growing up? For me, it was the WAITING. It felt like the weeks after Thanksgiving were the most painful, slowest weeks in the history of the world.
· CUE VIDEO
At the same time, we saw a hint that God was going to one day send someone to set things right. We didn’t get many details, but we saw shadows of what was coming.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to see the true meaning of Christmas come into focus as we see more and more detail about what this promise would really mean.
This is what we want to do this year—regain our focus on what really matters.
As we pick back up this morning, I would encourage you to turn in your Bible to .
We are just going to look at one verse this morning that is packed with information about the one God promised to send.
While you’re turning there, let me ask you: what was one of the worst things about Christmas growing up? Not as an adult with all the responsibilities, but as a kid who was wide-eyed with wonder about all Christmas would hold.
Linus got it right, didn’t he?
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at different aspects of the Christmas story, examining exactly what makes it so special.
For me, it was the WAITING. It felt like the weeks after Thanksgiving were the most painful, slowest weeks in the history of the world.
What was one of the worst things about Christmas growing up? For me, it was the WAITING. It felt like the weeks after Thanksgiving were the most painful, slowest weeks in the history of the world.
Waiting on your dream to be fulfilled can be extremely hard. It’s draining, difficult, and disappointing.
When we make it to this morning, we will see God’s people still waiting for him to fulfill the promise he made back in .
You know that the scenes in Bethlehem and even in Nazareth before the birth of Christ aren’t the beginning of the story; they are the culmination of the promise made thousands of years before.
We see this throughout other places in the Old Testament, but I want us to look this morning at one in particular.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see God explaining to his people that he will be sending the Messiah, which means “anointed one”. This man would be set apart in a unique way to deliver God’s people.
We see this throughout other places in the Old Testament, but I want us to look this morning at one in particular.
Perhaps one of the greatest places we find this promise of God is in .
It’s here, some 700 years before the Messiah is born that God, through Isaiah, beautifully explains some of the picture of who this man would be.
God’s people have been judged for the way they rebelled against him time and time again, and they are discouraged.
Now, God is pointing them to what he will do in the future on their behalf.
As we walk through this passage this morning, I want you to see at least three different characteristics of the Messiah God was promising to send.
One over-archinYou should see through this, first of all, that God keeps his promises.
Secondly, you should see who this Child was, is, and will be in the future.
Read with me.
What does Isaiah tell us here about the Messiah who is to come? We’ll see three major facets of this individual in this passage.
· What does Isaiah tell us here about the Messiah who is to come? We’ll see three major facets of this individual in this passage.
The first we’ll see is that..

1) The Messiah will be a person.

“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us...”
This may seem weird to bring up, but this is one of the most crucial truths of Christmas.
Isaiah tells us that there will be a child born, a son.
This baby will be a real human child.
Why does this matter? Because it tells us that God hasn’t completely abandoned humanity.
Remember how the world got in the mess it was in?
There was a problem created by sin, and He was the only one who could truly do something about it.
If you missed last week’s message, I would encourage you to go back and listen to it online, because it is critical for us as we understand Christmas.
When God first made the world, everything was just like it should have been. However, we chose to push God away by disobeying him, thinking we knew better than he did.
Our choice to push him away broke everything as sin and death became the normal realities of life.
Now, put yourself in God’s shoes. You took great care and concern to shape man from the dust, give him life, and walk with him. Yet, in spite of everything you had done, he pushes you away, ruining everything you had made.
What would you have done? Most of us would have either destroyed Adam and Eve or, at the very least, turned our back on them and left them alone to figure things out on our own.
However, with the promise God is making, he is showing us that he isn’t going to just leave humanity alone.
Instead, as we hinted at last week, God is becoming humanity for us!
Just a few pages before this promise, we see Isaiah saying this:
Isaiah 7:14 CSB
Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
“Immanuel” means “God with us”.
We know that God is present everywhere, but when Jesus came and was born as a baby, he was uniting God and man like never before in history.
Instead of leaving us all to wallow in our own filth, He came as a person to wallow in it with us!
Philippians 2:6–7 CSB
who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man,
“who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (, NASB95)
Philippians 2:6–7 CSB
who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man,
Let’s talk about that passage, because it can be confusing.
- He Himself came, born as a child, to help us, even though it was our fault!
The first part of that says that Jesus existed in the form of God, meaning he is the exact same in character and nature as God the Father. It isn’t wrong for him to claim to be equal with God because he is.
Yet, the second part says he himself came, born as a child, to help us, even though it was our fault!
John, referring to Jesus as “the Word”, says it this way:
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (, NASB95)
John 1:14 CSB
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
- It is incredibly important that the Messiah be a person.
It is incredibly important that the Messiah be a person.
God wasn’t sending us a standard we couldn’t uphold; we failed that test under the Law.
He wasn’t calling us to a better life; He was coming to give himself on our behalf.
What an incredible truth! This is what makes Christmas worth celebrating—that the just, holy, righteous God of the universe would come as an actual human being to live among us.
By the way, I don’t understand how it worked, but I know what God’s Word says. He did come, and when He did, He was fully God and fully man.
So Christmas is about a promise that God would send a child, a real human being, to rescue us.
That person was more than just a normal person, though. The next thing we see is that…

2) He will be powerful.

“...and the government will be on his shoulders...”
Anybody else having a hard time not reading this with the meter of Handel’s Messiah?
What does this mean?
One commentator notes that this phrase paints a beautiful picture, that it “figuratively refers to the kingly robe to be worn by the Messiah[1].”
Although we see that Jesus was born, and he lived and died, we don’t actually see him as king during the Christmas story!
This is what confused the Jews so much about the first coming of Christ. They anticipated that He would come in power and majesty and establish his kingdom on earth, and instead, he came and died.
We have hints to His coming kingdom throughout the New Testament.
Mark says this was Jesus’ message from early on in his public ministry:
Mark 1:15 CSB
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Lord-willing, we will be looking at , the Sermon on the Mount, next year. That passage details the rules and expectations of citizens of his kingdom.
For example: , the Sermon on the Mount, details the rules of His Kingdom.
We see hints of his power throughout his ministry, but he still died!
Yet He still died!
What is this talking about, then? When will he come in power and majesty? When does he take the rule and reign over the governments of the earth?
Revelation 19:11–16 CSB
Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and he judges and makes war with justice. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written that no one knows except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from his mouth, so that he might strike the nations with it. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”” (, NASB95)
This part of Isaiah’s prophecy was only hinted at the first time around, and when Christ comes again, all the nations will bow before Him and the authority to reign over them will be draped over Him like a robe on His shoulders.
Man, what great news! As long as the people of God waited for the first coming, we too wait for the second coming of Christ, when He will come and take all the earthly government upon Himself.
Although this aspect is still future, we celebrate it at Christmas, because His rule and reign would not come until He had reconciled the world to Himself through His own death.
Are you starting to see what an incredible promise God is making? He came as a child, and he will come again as a king.
Okay, so we know that the Messiah is coming as an actual human being, and we know that he is going to be a king, but is he going to be good? That is what the remainder of this passage teaches us about the promised Messiah.
The third aspect of the one who was to come presented here by Isaiah is…

3) He will be perfect.

In case you are concerned about the one who is to come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, remember here what Isaiah says about Him.
He will not be like any earthly king and dictator, but will be an incredible ruler unlike the world as ever seen.
Look at how Isaiah describes his character:
This morning, we will look at them as Isaiah describes here. First we see that He is:

A) Perfectly Wise

Isaiah describes the Messiah here as “Wonderful Counselor.”
Think about what it means to be a wonderful counselor.
The sense here is political: he is the authoritative king who will rule with wisdom and strength.
Let’s bring it down a level, though. At different times, many of us have sought advice from someone else. What do you look for in a counselor?
You could list off a lot of traits like good listener, able empathize yet stay detached, etc., but it really doesn’t matter if they aren’t wise.
In a sense, you could say that wisdom is the ability to see life as it really is and know what to do about it.
Wisdom is knowing what, when, why, and how to approach a given issue.
Have you ever read through the Gospels and just listened to the wisdom that exudes from what Jesus says?
That’s what leads so many to look on Jesus as a great teacher and leader. As you look through passages such as the Sermon on the Mount, what He said just made sense.
In the context of Isaiah’s prophecy, this would have been a breath of fresh air. The Jews in Judah were living under the rule of King Ahaz, who was a fool, seeking help from nations that couldn’t provide the help God could have and humiliating his people. Not only that, he brought in wicked customs from the idolatrous nations around Him. Ahaz was so wicked that the Bible tells us he was not even buried with the rest of the kings of Judah.[2]
In contrast, the Messiah would be and is an incredible counselor, full of wisdom and understanding.
That makes sense, though, since He is God in the flesh! We would expect nothing less!
Yet this should be comforting to you today. The promise God made is that the one He would send would be an incredible counselor—one who rules with great wisdom.
That means that the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus—whom you have believed in—is a wise counselor for your life. You can trust what He is doing because He is wise.
It is one thing to know what to do, but it is another thing to actually be able to do it.
That’s why we see that the Messiah is also...

B) Perfectly Powerful

The next attribute covered is that He will be the mighty God.
Like we talked about earlier, we only saw glimpses of this in his first coming. We see his power to heal and raise the dead and command demons to obey. We see his power over nature itself as he calms the storms.
Remember, though, that He never lost that.
When he returns, he will clearly demonstrate this for all the world to see.
What does that mean for us living now in the in-between?
John 13:3 CSB
Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into his hands, that he had come from God, and that he was going back to God.
He was fully aware of the power He had, yet He controlled it to allow the purpose of the Father to stand.
He was fully aware of the power He had, yet He controlled it to allow the purpose of the Father to stand.
It means that the baby you focus on at Christmas is actually the majestic and powerful God of the universe!
For you this morning, though, that means that the baby you focus on at Christmas is actually the majestic and powerful God of the universe!
Andrew Peterson wrote this about Mary in his song Labor of Love:
For the baby in her womb He was the maker of the moon He was the author of the faith That could make the mountains move
Stop and think about that for a minute: This baby that God had promised was also the one who made the moon and the stars and all of creation!
As you look at the baby lying in the manger this Christmas, remember that the baby was the powerful God who is able to do anything and everything to accomplish his purpose and plan.
That means he is powerful enough to see you through everything you face.
Not only is He wise and powerful, He is also…

C) Perfectly Eternal

Here, Isaiah points to the eternality of the Messiah.
This is a crucial point for us to look at, because it deals directly with the error in some of the major cults of Christianity.
Many teach that Jesus is a created being, yet He cannot be!
He is referred to here as the Eternal Father, which points to the fact that He has existed forever.
As an aside, “Father” here does not refer to His relationship to the Trinity. It rather deals with His relationship to creation, as pointed out – that He was the creator of all things.
Not only that, but His rule will never end. This is shown in verse 7
Where is the comfort in this?
No matter your situation, he existed before it and will continue to rule and reign after it. It has not caught God off guard, and he knows exactly what his plan is for getting you through it.
Isn’t that great as you look at the busyness of the next few weeks and the uncertainty of life in general? There is a consistent, constant plan being woven by the Eternal Father of us all.
That should lead you to the final aspect of His character that we see in this passage:

D) Perfectly Peaceful

In a comforting title, He is now revealed as the “Prince of Peace”.
This name means more to me as they years go by.
There is so much that can unsettle me, so much that I can get overwhelmed by, yet the one God sent at Christmas is the Prince of Peace.
For the Jews to whom Isaiah spoke, this would point to the peace they would one day experience through His earthly reign.
Although the sin in our own hearts and the difficulties of life keep us from realizing this fully, we as believers experience this aspect of His nature now:
Matthew 11:28–30 CSB
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
o “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (, NASB95)
Philippians 4:6–7 CSB
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6–7 CSB
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
o “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (, NASB95)
Have you experienced that peace?
Have you experienced that peace?
Have you experienced that peace?
In the midst of the stress of the baking, the shopping, for some the loneliness and heartache, why not take some time to reflect on the one who is the Prince of Peace.
One day, he will return to bring peace to every corner of the world.
Right now, though, you can know the peace your heart desperately longs for.
It is what drives you to want more, what fuels your drive to satisfy yourself somehow, and it is underneath your desire to be loved by someone.
You feel that way because you need peace with God that only the Messiah can give you.
He was born, just like God promised. He grew up and gave us glimpses of the goodness and power of God. We got a peek at what life in his kingdom would be like.
However, we could not come into his kingdom on our own.
So, the Prince of Peace died in our place so that we could have peace with God through his death, burial, and resurrection.
What are you finding your peace in today?
It can only be found in the perfect, powerful person we celebrate at Christmas.
Find peace through surrendering to him today.
That, my friends, is what Christmas is all about.
Conclusion
· Those who heard Isaiah’s words had to wait on this promise to be fulfilled. Generations came and went, yet God seemed to forget the promise He made.
· Yet, on that day we celebrate at Christmas, He fulfilled the first portion this promise.
· Although some of this promise is still yet to come to pass, there is enough here to help us focus and celebrate this morning.
[1] John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-), .
[2] Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Ahaz.
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