Summary: This sermon looks at the promises held in the name Immanuel. God is with us.
Immanuel ¡V God With Us!
Well, Christmas is over. For some of you that¡¦s a happy thing ¡V your house will start getting back in order ¡V life will begin to slow down into winter mode, the stress of family, food, and parties is over. For others it¡¦s a sad time ¡V the magic is ended ¡V the anticipation fulfilled. The tree is getting dry and the needles will begin to fall. We have to take down all the decorations we just put up and Santa goes back into the attic until next November. For those of you who are in the latter category I just have three words ¡V Late Archery Season. But before we put the wraps on Christmas this year ¡V I want to take the time this morning to share with you a beautiful promise that makes Christmas last all year long.
Let¡¦s look together again at this passage in Matthew¡¦s Gospel.
Joseph is an integral part of this unfolding story of the birth of the Messiah. One of the things I love about Joseph¡¦s story is that it really speaks to who we are. Let¡¦s look at this man for just a minute. A man who has seemingly in a moment lost everything he ever dreamed of. We talked about this at the beginning of Advent. Joseph and Son¡¦s carpentry business is on the ropes.
What do you think Joseph is feeling at this moment?
Angry, betrayed, afraid, confused, hurt, alone, wounded ¡V maybe even guilty ( I must have done something wrong).
Life has a way through unexpected events, daily pressure, twists and turns, and ongoing trials to leave us feeling like Joseph. Let¡¦s face it Life is Hard. When Adam sinned Paradise was lost ¡V God said to Adam ¡§Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. ¡§Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground,¡¨ We live in a fallen world and life is hard. Boy this is turning into a depressing sermon isn¡¦t it? Well let¡¦s get to the rest of the story. Life is hard but God is good ¡V Here is the promise of Christmas ¡V the promise that makes hard living ¡V doable.
His name shall be called Immanuel. ¡V ¡§God with us¡¨, just a few short words but words that contain a promise for the ages. A promise for us.
1) A Promise that We are Never Alone ¡V God is with us. To this point in history God had always been God ¡V remote and removed from man. Always watching, always intervening, but always separated from his creation by sin and its consequences. This good news of a great Joy ¡V would forever change mans relationship with God. This is the miracle of Christmas. On that quiet night in Bethlehem where the shepherds were sleeping - the skies could have been ripped apart- Jesus coming forth on clouds of glory. Preparing the way a Heavenly host blowing trumpets and fanfare as He rode at the head of an invading army to destroy iniquity and restore dominion over His creation. Meting out justice as He rode. But instead He came in Human flesh - No Fanfare- No frills - just a baby born in a quiet stable in Bethlehem and laid in a manger. A baby called ¡§God with us¡¨. God had invaded the world of His creation and He would never again depart. Hebrew 13:5 - ¡§I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you¡¨ that is the promise of God - we will never be alone, never fight alone, never cry alone, never suffer alone, never face life alone. God is with us. Jesus said to us ¡§In the world you will face tribulation, but fear not for I have overcome the world.¡¨ The one who has overcome the world is with us. The Holy Spirit is called in the Greek Parkletos ¡§Comforter¡¨ ¡§One who comes alongside¡¨. Imagine the comfort this must have been for Joseph ¡V now let God comfort you with the same promise. I am with you.
2) Promise that we are Loved by God ¡V He is with us. I am convinced Paul says in Romans chapter 8 ¡V that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Some of the most beautiful words ever written ¡V For God so Loved the world that He gave ¡V He didn¡¦t do it from obligation, or sympathy, or guilt ¡V Love started it and love finished it. Paul says that God demonstrated that love ¡V in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us ¡V not when we had it all together, not when we loved Him, He loved us first. Listen to what Paul says about God¡¦s love for us in Romans chapter 8 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.