Summary: What I’m asking you to do is this: Imagine that the barrier has been removed, and that Jesus has come to be with us today in the flesh. We can see Him, & walk up to Him, & look in His eyes. (Powerpoints available - #114)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(The Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at email@example.com and request #114.)
Today is Dec. 24th, & tomorrow is Christmas Day. And for most of us this has been a very busy Christmas Season.
But right now I would like for you to forget all that & consider with me the real meaning of Christmas.
Now to help us do that I need your cooperation. I want you to imagine that just a few minutes ago Jesus Christ walked through those doors & took a seat in this room. Can you do that? Can you imagine that with me?
That shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for us because we know that He has promised to be present whenever even 2 or 3 gather together in His name. That means that He is here with us this morning.
But since He is a Spirit, we can’t see Him. So even though He is here, there is still somewhat of a barrier to our being able to see Him.
But what I’m asking you to do is this: Imagine that the barrier has been removed, & that He has come to be with us today in the flesh. We can see Him, & walk up to Him, & look in His eyes.
We can talk to Him, shake His hand, or bow down if we want. We can hear Him & listen as He speaks. Imagine that He is here in the flesh.
Now as I said, that shouldn’t be too difficult because, after all, that is what Christmas is all about. And there is one word that expresses the essence, the message of Christmas. It is a word used only a few times in the Bible.
It is found first of all in Isaiah 7:14, & repeated in chapter 8. And finally, it is quoted in Matthew 1:23. “The virgin will be with child & will give birth to a son, & they will call Him Immanuel.” Then Matthew adds these words, “which means, ‘God with us.’”
So God has come to be with us. When you come & when you go, God is with you.
He’ll be with you as you do your work. He’ll be with you as you wrestle with your checkbook & try to pay your bills.
He’ll be with you when you’re well. He’ll be with you when you’re sick. He’ll be with you through all the experiences of life. That’s the essence, the message of Christmas!
Some religious leaders, called Deists, used to say, “God created the world & then He left it & went someplace else. Now He is just watching us from a distance, & we’ve been left here all alone to fend for ourselves.”
But the Bible says, “God didn’t just create the world & then walk away from it. He cares about us, so He came to live in it with us. And He promises us, ‘I’ll never leave you, nor will I ever abandon you. I’ll be with you always.’”
So this morning, let’s remove that barrier & welcome Jesus in the flesh. “Immanuel - God with us.”
Now, if you saw Jesus here this morning, what would you say to Him? If he were sitting next to you, what would you do?
If you suddenly turned & saw Jesus, would you embrace Him? Or turn your back on Him? Or would you fall on your knees & worship Him? What would you do?
If I were up here behind the pulpit & I suddenly saw Him sitting here among us, I might say something like this:
“Lord, please forgive me, but I didn’t see you come in. I try to get around & greet most of the people, but you must have come in while I was talking to someone, & I didn’t notice you.
“I don’t think the greeters realized who you are, & the people sitting next to you don’t know either. Maybe it’s because at this time of the year we’re so focused on seeing you as a baby, lying in a manger.
“Or maybe it’s because all the pictures of you really don’t show you the way you are. We’re so used to seeing paintings of you in a long robe with a beard. But you kind of blend into the crowd this morning. You look just like all the rest of us.
“I must admit that seeing you sit there is a bit of a shock to me. Really, I’m overwhelmed with the fact that you’re here.
"Suddenly I’m more sensitive about what we have been doing this morning. The songs we sang seem so much more personal now. And our prayers – why, Lord, we were talking directly to you! You were here, & we didn’t realize it!