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Summary: Christmas Message looking at the names of Jesus Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

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Isaiah 9:1-7 JESUS - GOD’S ANSWER TO OUR NEED

Basingstoke 16th December 2001

Are you ready for Christmas?

A Californian doctor has given a health warning about stress it causes!

"The Christmas Season is marked by more emotional stress and more acts of violence than any other season of the year!"

Christmas is an excuse to get drunk, have a party, get something, give a little, leave work, get out of school spend money over eat, and all kinds of other excesses.

For the Christian, Christmas is an excuse to exalt Jesus Christ in the face of a world that is at least for a while tuned in to His name.

Let’s Exalt the NAMES OF JESUS given in Isaiah 9:6

"For unto us a Child is born unto us a Son is given and the Government shall be upon, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God Everlasting Father Prince of Peace."

Isaiah wrote a few hundred years before Jesus, but he had every detail right!

He Wrote in the present tense- He was so certain. The Coming of this child brought tremendous Hope

Jesus is God’s Answer to our need. He meets us in our darkness and confusion with light!

1. GOD’S LIGHT IN OUR DARKNESS

One of the things we enjoy at Christmas is light.

Gloomy streets transformed, trees are lit up, Houses competing with each other.

v2 People walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Not a literal darkness like groping round for the light switch.

But a Moral darkness - people are walking in it - Habitually living in it.

Everything about their behaviour is wrong.

i) Darkness was seen in wrong attitudes and behaviour in Isaiah 5.

v8 Materialism - joined house to house, join field to field, extending improving building, adding to their wealth.

v11 Partying enjoying life without any regard for God

v21f Wise in own eyes, full of pride, heroes at drinking and mixing drinks, given to bribery corruption perverting justice.

v20 Values all upside down. Call good evil and evil good. Everything is relative no absolute ethics.

Walking in darkness alone alienated from God!

ii) Darkness was seen in their refusal to trust God or believe Him.

King Ahaz (Chap7) surrounded by enemy armies looking all directions for help except from God. Even though Ahaz was promised a sign of God’s help. 7:14 “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call His name Emmanuel. God with us”. Before child was weaned God would use the Assyrians to remove their enemies. “God with us” was no word of comfort- but God with us in judgement!!!

iii) Darkness was seen in looking for guidance in the wrong directions.

8:19 Men were consulting mediums and spiritists who whisper and mutter. Should not a people inquire of their God?

Q? I ask the question are things any different today? The darkness is in our Society!

·Wrong Attitudes & behaviour, No trust in God, looking in all the wrong directions.

·Darkness expressed in interest in the occult, astrology, and spiritualism. Whether Harry Potter stories are themselves harmful or not Christians differ but they reflection of interest in occult among people in our society.

·Can’t pick up paper without being confronted with your stars!

·Darkness expressed in violence in our streets, where people can’t feel safe, murder become an everyday event.

·Darkness in many towns – Oldham, Leeds struggling with racial separation prejudice and fear. · Children (often victims of violence and abuse) now in the case of the Jamie Bulger killers have even become abusers and murderers.

·Darkness in the absence of absolute standards of right and wrong.

What’s happened to us? Marriage no longer regarded as lifelong commitment

Where its normal for couples to live together?

Not unusual for children to be brought up with just one parent?

Divorce has become so easy. Abortion so widely accepted.

Relationships between two men or two women no longer viewed as wrong.

Darkness where money and profit are motivating factors - the means for valuing things in life. Rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

· Darkness ignores the need for a day of rest - passes laws undermining society and threatens further family life.

Darkness not just in Society but in our own individual lives!

Darkness where God’s been left out of the reckoning. Marginalized!

Q? How much of King Ahaz is in you? Where’s your security and your help?

Q? How much are you trusting God for guidance and direction?

Q? When did you last talk to Him about things going on in your life?

We were made for God - to live for Him to reflect His character but instead of choosing light we so often have chosen to live in the darkness without Him!

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