Friday, December 22, 2006

God’s Plan: Immanuel!

I’m posting a small excerpt from my upcoming Sunday sermon (Christmas Eve, 12/24/06)

During the Christmas season we celebrate the fulfillment of God's intimate plan to be visibly present among us (Matthew 1.21-23). God’s Immanuel! The promise to become evident to His people given some 730 years before its time (Isaiah 7.14). Today we celebrate the birth of the "Immanuel"; we celebrate the birth of "God with us."

So the meaning of Christmas is that God’s intimate, visible presence with fallen mankind has been reestablished. God is now with us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The question is: “What does it mean for you and me that the Immanuel has been born?” Three things!

First, it means salvation. The Immanuel is a sign of God's visible saving presence. The Immanuel is a sign that God will deliver His people. Remember what the angel said to Joseph, the husband of Mary! (Matthew 1.21) The Savior is the Immanuel and the Immanuel is the Savior!

The birth of the Immanuel means salvation from sin for everyone who believes (Rom 1:16), for everyone who repents of their sin and exercises faith in the powerful presence of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah.

Second, the birth of the Immanuel means that God will not leave, forsake, or fail His people. The name "Immanuel" is a watchword among God's people; it is a word of hope. No matter how desperate conditions become we know that God is with us (Romans 8. 38-39).

Third, the birth of the Immanuel means we have no reason for ungodly fear. "If God is for us and with us, who can be against us?" asks Paul (Rom 8:31)? We know that no evil, no world, no flesh, no devil is so great that the actual presence of God in Christ Jesus and in our lives is not more than able to overcome it.

enjoy, ron

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