Summary: Our beliefs extend way back before Jesus was born. Most of the elements and theology of Christmas were prophesied in one form or another by Isaiah 700 years before Jesus was born.
Isaiah Anticipates Christmas
(Isaiah 7:14, 9:2,6-7, 60:5-7)
1. A small boy was writing a letter to Jesus about the Christmas presents he badly wanted. “I’ve been good for six months now,” he wrote. But after a moment’s reflection he crossed out “six months” and wrote “three.” After a pause that was crossed out and he put “two weeks.” There was another pause and that was crossed out too. He got up from the table and went over to the little crib scene that had the figures of Mary and Joseph. He picked up the figure of Mary and went back to his writing and started again: “Dear Jesus, if ever you want to see your mother again…!”
[Jon Erls, Sermon Central, altered]
2. Although presents and material things are a big part of our celebrations, there is a movement this time of year to love others.
3. It’s Christmas time, & Lucy comes in where Charlie Brown is standing & says, "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. `Tis the season of peace on earth & good will toward men. Therefore, I suggest we forget all our differences & love one another."
Charlie Brown, whose face lights up at this, says, "That’s wonderful, Lucy. I’m so glad you said that. But tell me, do we have to love each other only at this season of the year? Why can’t we love each other all year long?" Lucy retorts, "What are you, a fanatic or something?" [Melvin Newland, Sermon Central]
4. The idea of focusing upon loving others at Christmas is a good focus, but it should be a renewal and re-energizing of a commitment we have year round.
5. But there is a logical progression of thought we need to highlight.
• We love others because God commands us in His Word.
• We have the power to obey God’s command because we have been brought to spiritual life by faith in Jesus Christ.
• We know Jesus is the promised messiah in many ways, but a main way is fulfilled Bible prophecy.
Main Idea:. Our beliefs extend way back before Jesus was born. Most of the elements and theology of Christmas were prophesied in one form or another by Isaiah 700 years before Jesus was born
I. Messiah to Be Born of a VIRGIN (Isaiah 7:14)
A. A less literal NEAR fulfillments in Isaiah’s day
B. The near SUBSTITUTION: Maher-shalal-hash-baz (8:3) instead of Immanuel
C. LITERALLY fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-25, 700 years later
1. Sometimes things are not done with good reasoning: One mother blogged, “Today, I found out that there is literally a giant hole in my son's bedroom because my son wanted to build a ‘secret entrance.’"
2. Why the fuss about a virgin birth? Sin inherited from the man…
3. Curse on the line of Coniah
4. There are lots of things God does that seem random — but God is meticulous in His plans — we just obliviously experience things, not knowing why
D. Jesus is literally EMMANUEL (God with us).
Application: There is a difference between saying God is present everywhere and sees all and saying “God is with us.” This is an expression for “God’s favor is upon us, and God’s grace is specially available to us.”
A. He comes to DISPEL darkness (9:2).
1. Because God hates darkness, He is disappointed when we walk in darkness.
2. People seeking the Lord should be drawn to us because our lives testify we know God and have the light. We should not dabble in darkness.
B. The Son is given by Whom? The FATHER (9:6)
The value of an object is often determined by who gives it; Marylu was cleaning out a folder of recipes she had collected — my mom’s recipe for mushroom soup…
C. The Son is given to whom? ISRAEL and we discover later all MANKIND
D. His TITLES describe His Person.
1. Wonderful COUNSELOR
2. Mighty GOD
3. Everlasting FATHER (to His people)
4. PRINCE of peace
E. His REIGN on earth, which is yet future (7).
F. Notice the similarity to this verse and GABRIEL’S announcement.
Luke 1:31-33 (Gabriel speaking to Mary), “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
III. Royal Representatives HONOR the Messiah-King (Isaiah 60:5-7)
A. Once again, we see a less-literal substitution with the MAGI.
B. Who were the MAGI?
C. When Jesus reigns on earth, He will be HONORED