Summary: The lengths to which God the Father would go in order to redeem and reconcile fallen humanity is a unfathomable testimony to His unrivaled position as God and Father of all. God the Son was indeed in a manger; fully God and fully the God-Man. Emmanuel!
Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25 (Please open your Bibles to this text)
When a man fathers a child and then leaves he abandons his child. The father might live in the same town as the child but if he only ever observes the child then he is a biological father but not a father in the true sense of the word.
Fathers are supposed to love their children, provide for their children, teach their children, guide their children, discipline their children; that’s what fathers do!
If God the Father had created us and then just sat back to see how we would do He would indeed be a mighty God but He would not be a loving God. He would not be a loving Father.
However, God the Father is the best example of a father caring for His children, His creation. That’s us!
Because God did NOT create the world and just sit back to watch what would happen.
We can see the Lord interacting with humanity throughout the entire Bible.
We see Him interacting through the prophets and priests and through direct intervention on behalf of His children.
The Lord was, is and always will be a loving, providing, teaching, guiding, disciplining God and those of us who belong to Him know this to be true.
And, here at Christmas, we see the God the Father sending His One and Only Son. This is the greatest act of Fatherhood ever; the sending of the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us!
So, let’s go ahead and read the Scripture for this morning. Matthew 1:18-25
(At this time briefly explain the following)
Verse 18 - The relationship between Joseph and Mary in that culture
Pregnant through the Holy Spirit (Suggest that they read Luke 1)
What could have happened to Mary
Why Joseph was required to break the betrothal if Mary had indeed
Joseph did not hesitate to obey what the angel of the Lord had
instructed him to do
By obeying the instructions from the angel to marry Mary immediately
he was opening himself up to suspicion and ridicule
In spite of this he did the honorable thing and preserved Mary’s purity
until after Jesus had been born.
Emmanuel – God with us
Jesus – the Greek version of Joshua meaning “the LORD saves”
Messiah (Hebrew) / Christ (Greek) – Anointed One
But, let’s think about Emmanuel, God with us. What a wonderful thing!
As we think about Emmanuel, God with us and try to comprehend the immensity of this act of God let’s take a look at a comparison in another religion.
This other religion is the Mormon religion and their beliefs about Jesus are totally different from what the Bible teaches.
Let me try to explain this:
We believe that God the Father, sent God the Son, a person of the Triune Godhead to earth for the purpose of reconciling spiritually lost humanity to Himself.
God the Son came from heaven, was born as a human in an event we call the Incarnation, lived a sinless life, voluntarily put Himself into the position of being tortured and crucified for our sins, was resurrected from the dead and has returned to God the Father.
Simply put, God became Man. That’s what the Bible teaches.
That’s what we believe.
Mormons however teach something radically different.
Consequently, the Mormon Jesus (and the Father) had to learn also how to become a God “the same as all Gods have done before.”
LDS Apostle Lorenzo Snow (who became the fifth President of the LDS Church), sums up the LDS man-to-God doctrine in a short, but most quoted, couplet:
“As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.”
Why do I bring this up? We can’t miss this distinction; this is awesome!
According to the Bible the Son of God took on flesh, became a human.
According to the Mormons the only thing in the manger in Bethlehem was another little baby who would one day become a god.
So, in the manger in the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus, God Himself is in the manger! God Himself!
Of course, the Mormons say that the baby in the manger would one day learn to become a god and so could we, but at birth he was just another little baby!
So, I have to ask; if the Mormons are right and if he was just another ordinary human at birth, why the angels, why the shepherds, why the virgin birth, why the lineage of King David, why the wise men, why anything?
Why would we celebrate anything about this man until he became a god?
On the other hand, because w know and believe the Bible, we KNOW why the angels, why the shepherds, why the virgin birth, why the lineage of King David, why the wise men! We know why! Because it was nothing less than God Himself in that manger! God on a rescue mission! Praise be to God forever!