Summary: Explaination of what it means to have God with us.
Immanuel: God With Us
Rev. Rick Pendleton
GOD WITH US
Two days from now will be Christmas.
Today I have a message of hope… two actually.
To those of you who are procrastinators my message of hope is… you have 1 shopping day left if you don’t want to be in the dog house.
For those of you who are not procrastinators… my message this morning is also a message of hope.
I believe the greatest source of hope is the Bible.
And…I believe that the greatest message of hope to be found in all of scripture is one that is first stated in the Old Testament and then echoed in the New Testament.
Basically the greatest message of hope in the whole world can be summed up in three little words...
GOD WITH US
Today, I want us to take each of those three words and dig down to grasp the riches in each.
In those three little words are some big promises for us and I want us to pull them out where we can hold onto them.
You say… "I think I’ll go get a steak."
And I say… "I’ll go with you.
You say… “I feel like a failure.”
And I say… "I am with you."
In both cases I used the word "with. What was the difference?
If you don’t see a difference then
1. You are probably a man, and
2. You won’t get excited when you read Matthew 1:23.
If you DO understand the difference, then you can join me in getting excited by the verse.
The scripture says… "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call his name Immanuel" which means "God with us."
Some of you are thinking, "What is so exciting about that verse."
It is the last part, the definition, the interpretation of the name, Immanuel.
And it is mainly that one word stuck right in the middle of the verse………………….God WITH us.
What is so exciting about one word... Especially such an insignificant word as WITH?
Well, lets look at the definition of the word.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as: Accompanying 1 went with him,: Having possession of, "A man with a mustache": By means of: eat with a spoon: opposition to, to wrestle with.
Webster defines it as "denoting nearness or connection."
That is the way that most of us would define the word.
When we use with it usually means close to.
When I think of the verse from Matthew… I don’t get excited by the thought that God is close to me.
Now I’ve really lost you. Some are thinking "Is he crazy?"
I can clear it up with one question...
Ladies... Has your husband ever been WITH you,
Physically, bodily he was with you, in the same room, on the same couch, in the same car
Physically close to you…
but not WITH you… emotionally, spiritually, mentally he was in another area code!
Even when you try to tell him how you feel and why you feel that way... he is not really WITH you.
You tell him... "I feel so lonely"
What is his response?
"Lonely, how can you be lonely? You are with the kids all day long!"
Is he WITH you?
Right now my wife is wondering who’s sermon I’m preaching because this could not be my own...
I am the world’s worst about being near her but not WITH her.
I want you to think for a moment about what it would be like to have God near you.... but not WITH you.
If God was in the same room physically but not in the same county emotionally or spiritually
Would that thrill you?
What if God was there but only half listening to you while he watched TV." Would that thrill you?
What if you took the time and effort to pour out your heart to God, lay your soul bear about a problem you had and as soon as you stopped, God responded with "Have you seen my socks?"
Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to be sacrilegious... or make fun of God.
I just want to make the point ..... being WITH does not necessarily mean being close to.
And being close to does not necessarily mean being WITH.
So what does the verse from Matthew mean when it says His name is Immanuel... God with us. ???????
I think Paul told us in Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. "
The joy, the hope, the strength, the solace that comes from Matthew 1 :23 is not just that God came to earth and dwelt in a flesh body and was close to man for a while... it is not even the great promise that in the Holy Spirit, God is present with us today.