Summary: Advent 4(A) - Immanuel, who is God with us, has come miraculously and prophetically.
IMMANUEL HAS COME (Outline)
December 24, 2006 - ADVENT 4 - Matthew 1:18-25
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INTRO: We are soon to celebrate one of the greatest mysteries of Christianity. God takes on human flesh by being born in a stable in Bethlehem. Our Creator takes on human flesh and blood in order to save the very creatures that ruined his perfect world. Would seem improbable that such an even would ever happen. It does. Seems impossible for God to become human. This, too, happens. Humanly speaking God becoming flesh is still a mystery. "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: ’He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory’"(1 TIMOTHY 3:16). We cannot explain all of God’s technical details of this miraculous birth. Such is the nature of miracles. Thankfully scriptures detail the facts essential to our Christian faith.
IMMANUEL HAS COME. Miraculously. Prophetically.
I. IMMANUEL COMES MIRACULOUSLY
A. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth is shorter than Luke’s account.
1. Verse 18a goes straight to the point. Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married.
2. Engagement was a very serious matter. It was a solemn promise not to be broken.
B. But now, something happened. Verse 18b. Joseph finds his future wife is expecting. Shocking.
1. What was Joseph to do? Verse 19. Joseph knew the law as a righteous man.
2. By law, Mary could be divorced and even stoned to death. Engagement would take divorce.
C. Joseph struggles, prays, tosses and turns in his bed. The answer for Joseph is in verse 20.
1. God’s angel comes to give Joseph direction. Do not worry – this is of God’s doing.
2. God sends his angel to protect Jesus already even before both.
D. We do not want to overlook this life lesson in these verses. Today many wonder just when does life begin. Many feel that a baby in the womb is only a fetus. God looks at life as beginning at the very moment of conception. God values the life of his creation before birth. Who can deny this living, loving ex-ample of God protecting unborn Jesus? "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well"(PSALM 139:13,14). The moment of conception is just as miraculous as a birth.
E. What might have happened today? Sadly, very sadly, in our nation the number of abortions is more than the number of live births. An unwanted or unexpected pregnancy is considered an inconvenience to be taken care of in the easiest, possible way. Not so at the time of Joseph and Mary. Life was sacred. No wonder scripture declares: "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons"(GALATIANS 4:4,5). There was no better time in the history of the world for the Savior, Jesus to be born. Miraculous. Jesus is God’s own Son. Now by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection we also receive the full rights of sons.
F. You and I cannot earn heaven. You and I do not even deserve eternal. We sin daily and we sin much. Thankfully with praise we rejoice at God’s miraculous plan of salvation for mankind. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich"(2 CORINTHIANS 8:9). Jesus had everything in heaven. Jesus gave up everything in heaven so that you and I who have nothing would be blessed with everything.
Immanuel has come and God is with us. Miraculous.
II. IMMANUEL COMES PROPHETICALLY
A. How come all of these things happened the way they happened? Chance? Luck?
1. Verse 22 reveals that all these things happened to fulfill God’s promises and prophecies.
2. Isaiah told of the sign of the virgin to give birth to a child. Verse 23.
3. One purpose of Jesus’ birth is seen in his name. Immanuel = God with us.
B. The angel had reassured Joseph that God’s prophecies would be fulfilled through Jesus.
1. Joseph knew those prophecies of old. Jesus believed God’s promises of old.
2. Verse 24 states how Joseph did exactly as the Lord wanted. Joseph takes Mary as his wife.
3. Verse 25a. There would be no mistake Jesus was from above. Joseph was a stepfather.
C. Joseph names his son Jesus. Verse 25b. It was the angel’s message and promise from verse 21.