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Summary: THE SEASON OF ADVENT IS WITH US AGAIN. IT IS ABOUT THE CELEBRATION OF OUR HOPE IN JESUS CHRIST. HE CAME INTO THIS WORLD TO FULFILL THE PLAN OF SALVATION FOR THOSE WHO WILL PUT THEIR FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM.

THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME EMMANUEL

MATTHEW 1:18-25

THE SEASON OF ADVENT IS WITH US AGAIN, AND WHAT BLESSED CHANGES IT HAS BROUGHT INTO OUR LIVES BOTH GOOD AND CHALLENGING SINCE LAST YEAR. OUR CHURCH FAMILY HAS EXPANDED TO INCLUDE SOME VERY WONDERFUL PEOPLE, AND NEWLY WEDS. ON THE MORE SENSITIVE SIDE WE’VE BEEN SADDENED BY THE DEATHS OF SOME VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE, WHOM WE MISS DEARLY.

THAT I BELIEVE IS WHY THE CELEBRATION OF ADVENT IS SO SPECIAL. IT IS REALLY ABOUT THE CELEBRATION OF OUR HOPE IN JESUS CHRIST. GOD LOVED US SO MUCH THAT IN THE FULLNESS OF HIS TIMING, HIS SON CAME INTO THIS WORLD. HE CAME INTO THIS WORLD TO FULFILL THE PLAN OF SALVATION FOR THOSE WHO WILL PUT THEIR FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM.

ADVENT IS A TIME OF CELEBRATION IN THE CHURCH, AND IF WE LOOK AROUND OUR WORLD TODAY, WE CERTAINLY NEED A REASON TO CELEBRATE. IT IS A TIME TO CELEBRATE IN GOD’S HONOR.

WHEN WE CELEBRATE A BIRTHDAY, WE DO ALL KINDS OF THINGS FOR THE PERSON CELEBRATING THE BIRTHDAY. WE DECORATE THE HOUSE, ARRANGE SPECIAL PARTIES, HAVE GIFTS AND CAKE AND SPECIAL MEALS, AND THE THING THAT IS ON OUR MIND MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, IS TO TRY TO PLEASE THE PERSON CELEBRATING THE BIRTHDAY.

WE SHOULD DO ANYTHING LESS FOR OUR LORD. I WANT TO THANK OUR DECORATING COMMITTEE OF THE CHURCH AND THOSE WHO HELPED THEM FOR THEIR WONDERFUL TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SANCTUARY. EVERYONE HAS BEEN SO GOOD IN PREPARING FOR OUR DINNER TONIGHT, AND I KNOW IT WILL BE A SPECIAL TIME.

THIS YEAR WE ARE GOING TO SING CAROLS, FEAST ON THE BLESSINGS OF GOD, HEAR THE WONDERFUL PASSAGES THAT DESCRIBE HIS BIRTH, AND HOPEFULLY COME TO A NEW AND DEEPER REALIZATION OF THE REASON WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. MAY WE BE CHALLENGED IN THE MIDST OF OUR CELEBRATION TO CONSIDER THE GIFTS OF THE WISE MEN, AND ASK THE QUESTION, “WHAT GIFTS WILL WE BRING TO JESUS?”

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED IN THE OFFERING PRAYER, THAT I SPOKE OF THE NAMES OF CHRIST. NAMES CAN MAKE US FEEL A NUMBER OF EMOTIONS AS THEY STAND FOR VARIOUS THINGS. WHEN WE THINK OF HEROD, WE MIGHT THINK OF HIS CRUELTY, BING CROSBY MAKES US THINK OF MUSIC, JUDAS STANDS FOR TREACHERY. EACH OF THES NAMES WHEN THEY ARE MENTIONED CAN MAKE US FEEL VERY DIFFERENT EMOTIONS.

WHAT EMOTIONS DOES THE NAME JESUS’ BRING UP IN YOU. THOSE WHO DON’T BELIEVE, IDENTIFY HIM AS JUST A PERSON NOTED IN HISTORY, BUT OF NO SIGNIFICANCE. THEY COMPLETELY IGNORE THE FACT, THAT, EVEN IF THIS WERE TRUE, WHICH IT ISN’T, THAT OUR WORLD WAS CHANGED FOREVER ON THE BASIS OF THE BIRTH OF THIS HISTORICAL FIGURE.

BUT THE NAME JESUS IS A CONTRACTION OF WORDS MEANING “JEHOVAH IS HELPER.” HIS NAME IS CHRIST WHICH MEANS “THE ANOINTED ONE.”, BUT ANOINTED TO DO WHAT? ISRAEL’S KINGS WERE ANOINTED BY THE PROPHETS TO BE KING, AND JESUS WAS ANOINTED TO BE OUR KING. HE IS OUR SAVIOR, REDEEMER, COMFORTER AND FRIEND.

HIS NAME MEANS MANY THINGS TO VARIOUS PEOPLE. HIS NAME IS TEACHER WHICH SUGGESTS TRUTH. HIS NAME IS FRIEND, AND THIS SUGGESTS HE IS A COMFORTER AND CLOSER THAN A BROTHER.

I WANT TO FOCUS ON A VERY SPECIAL NAME OF CHRIST TODAY, AND THAT NAME IS IMMANUEL. THIS WAS THE NAME GIVEN TO JESUS BY THE ANGEL AT THE TIME OF HIS APPEARING TO JOSEPH IN MATTHEW, AND PROPHECIED IN ISAIAH 7:14.

ISAIAH 7:14: “THEREFORE THE LORD HIMSELF WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN: THE VIRGIN WILL BE WITH CHILD AND WILL GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL.”

THE NAME “IMMANUEL”, MEANS “GOD WITH US.” WHAT A WONDERFUL PROMISE THIS IS. THIS IS A PROMISE THAT APPLIES TO OUR LIVES TODAY, AND I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU SOME WAYS THAT JESUS IS WITH US TODAY.

POINT ONE: GOD WITH US – IS THE WAY GOD SAVES SINNERS:

THE BIBLE IS VERY CLEAR ABOUT OUR SINFUL STATE. WE ARE TOLD THAT ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. PAUL ALSO TEACHES THAT THE WAGES OF BEING IN THIS SINFUL STATE IS DEATH. IT WAS BECAUSE OF SIN THAT PHYSICAL DEATH ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, AND IT IS BECAUSE OF OUR SINFUL NATURE, THAT, IF IT IS NOT TRANSFORMED, WILL CAUSE US TO SPEND AN ETERNITY APART FROM GOD IN A PLACE CALLED HELL.

BECAUSE THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, SOMEONE HAS TO DIE BECAUSE OF OUR SINFUL NATURE. THIS DEATH IS NOT ONLY PHYSICAL, BUT SPIRITUAL AS WELL. WHILE SPIRITUALLY WE DO NOT DIE, TO SPEND AN ETERNITY SEPARATED FROM CHRIST IS WHAT WE SOMETIMES CALL “THE SECOND DEATH.” THIS IS THE BURDEN THAT EACH OF US BEAR. THIS IS ALSO THE REASON FOR THE PLAN OF SALVATION.

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