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EMMANUEL - GOD IS WITH US

Date: 
December 4, 2016
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Matthew 1:18-23

ADVENT                                             DECEMBER 4, 2016                         MATTHEW 1:18-23

EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US

THEME: God has always been Emmanuel – God has always been with us…

 

INTRODUCTION

  • It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
  • Today is the second Sunday of Advent…
    • Advent is the season of anticipation and preparation leading to Christmas…
    • Advent is the season of hope, peace, joy and love…
  • We cannot begin to know what Christmas is all about without knowing who Jesus is…

 

EMMANUEL

  • There are many names given to Jesus in the Bible… each name gives us a fuller and clearer picture of who he is and what he means for us… (question: by what names was Jesus known in the Bible?)
  • This morning we are going to focus on the name Emmanuel – the Hebrew word meaning “God is with us…”
    • No one ever called Jesus Emmanuel… it was not a name he used
    • the name Emmanuel describes his role…
    • Jesus’ role was to bring God’s presence to God’s people…
    • Jesus is Emmanuel – the fulfillment of God’s promise to be with his people, a promise that is repeated over and over again scripture…
  • Jesus is God incarnate = God in the flesh… God with skin on…
  • “The story of Joseph, Mary, Bethlehem and the baby Jesus is the story of God choosing to come and live with us. Eugene Peterson in his paraphrase of John 1:14 put it this way: ‘The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.’  While that might be quite an understatement, that’s what God did! God chose to move in next door… The gospel is the story of God, loving us so much, that He became one of us… He came to live among us so that we might one day live with Him.”  <Black>
  • Our greatest hope is tied into the name Emmanuel – God is with us!

 

THE PROMISE OF GOD

  • The promise that we find repeated over and over again in scripture is the promise that God will always be with us… in both the old and the new testaments we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to this promise…
    • Do you remember God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:1) – “Do not be afraid, Abram. I will be with you, and I will bless you?”
    • Do you remember God’s promise to Jacob – “I am with you and I will be with you wherever you go?”
    • When Moses doubted his ability to be the leader of God’s people, God said to Moses, “I will be with you.”  (Exodus 3:12)
    • When Joshua was replacing Moses as Israel’s leader, he had his work cut out for him. But God said to him, “Be strong and courageous because I myself will be with you.” (Deuteronomy 31:23)  “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
    • To His people, Israel, God spoke these words through Isaiah the prophet: “Do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
    • Do you remember Jesus’ promise to his disciples when he was sending them out in pairs to baptize and to teach? Jesus said to them, “I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
  • Do you hear the refrain that is echoed over and over again? When God is with us we have nothing to fear!
  • The baby Jesus is Emmanuel… Jesus is God with us… what does this mean for you and for me?

 

GOD IS WITH US…

  • When there were no Bruins’ or Celtics’ games on television, I used to watch RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE on the Food Network… Robert Irvine, a master chef, rescued failing restaurants in just 48 hours… he revamped the dining room, the kitchen, the menu, the staff, and the defeated attitudes of the restaurant owners… it was an interesting show, and I liked it because Tanya Nayak, a former Youth Group member, was frequently the designer that worked with Robert Irvine…. I remember one particular episode from several years ago – it was a Wednesday night – the night before Thanksgiving – instead of showing up at the door of a failing restaurant, Robert Irvine showed up at the door of a struggling soup kitchen in New Jersey where Georgina, an 80 year-old volunteer with one arm in a cast, was responsible for preparing a daily meal for 150 hungry people with a single basin sink, a small gas range, a broken oven and a fryer that had been discarded by a restaurant… the food came from the Community Food Bank… the soup kitchen was in deplorable shape, but it still managed to serve its purpose – hungry people were being fed, but it would only be a matter of time before the kitchen would have to close its doors… the other soup kitchens in the area had already closed their doors… when Robert Irvine came to the door, the manager of the soup kitchen said, “Now that you are here, we have hope!”
  • “Now that you are here, we have hope!”  “Now that you are here, we have hope!”
    • That is the message of Christmas –
    • “Now that you are here, we have hope!”  
    • Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us – and because God is with us we have hope!
  • “Jesus is God’s living promise that we have reason for hope!
    • We are not alone in this universe…
    • God is with us in the big moments, and the bad moments, and the every day moments, for that is God’s very name: Emmanuel.”  <Marquart>
  • God is no longer with us in the flesh, but God is with us through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives with us, and within us, and will always remain with us forever…
  • I believe God’s promise and that is why I have hope.

 

LIFE IS MESSY

  • Like the soup kitchen in New Jersey, life is often “messy” and we may wonder if God is truly with us?
  • We know that there is a God, but is God here with us? That’s the big question…
  • God is with us when life is “messy” – when life is complicated – when life is challenging - when life is tough – when life is not what we would like it to be…
  • When we struggle, God is right by our side… we never face life, or life’s challenges alone – God is with us… Emmanuel…
  •  “Jesus is God’s living promise that we are not alone in this universe, but that God is with us in the big moments, and the bad moments, and the every day moments, for that is God’s very name: Emmanuel.”  <Marquart>  Yes, I know I said that before, but it’s worth repeating.
  • God is with us in our mess, and because God is with us, we have hope.
  • “God is still Emmanuel. God is still with us, giving us strength and understanding and wisdom to live in this messed up world inside us and around us.”  <Marquart>

 

CONCLUSION

  • Let me conclude with a card sent to me entitled, “Why Jesus is better than Santa Claus.”  <Dieleman>
  • Santa lives at the North Pole // Jesus is everywhere…
  • Santa rides in a sleigh // Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water…
  • Santa comes but once a year // Jesus is our ever present help…
  • Santa fills your stockings with goodies // Jesus supplies all your needs…
  • You have to wait in line to see Santa // Jesus is as close as the mention of his name…
  • Santa lets you sit on his lap // Jesus lets you rest in his arms…
  • Santa doesn’t know your name – all he can say is, “Hi, little boy or girl, what’s your name?//
  • Jesus knew our names even before we were born… he even knows how many hairs are on our heads…
  • Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly // Jesus has a heart full of love…
  • All Santa can offer is, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” // Jesus offers health, help and hope…
  • Santa says, “You better not cry.” // Jesus says, “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”
  • Santa may make you chuckle // Jesus gives you joy that is your strength.
  • While Santa puts gifts under your tree // Jesus became our gift and He died on a tree – the cross.
  • When it comes right down to it, why is Jesus better than Santa? Jesus is better because he is Emmanuel… he is God with us.” All of God’s fullness dwells in him. The baby Jesus is God with skin on.

 

Sermon Seeds:

  • Advent Services – David G. Rogne – Abingdon – Nashville – 2007
  • Life Application Bible Commentary – Matthew – published by Tyndale
  • Emmanuel: God Is With Us – a sermon by Edward F. Markquart – www.sermonsfromseattle
  • He Is Coming: As God – a sermon by Rev. Adrian Dieleman – www.trinitycrc
  • Name Above All Names: Immanuel – a sermon by Jim Black – www.sermoncentral.com
  • Immanuel – God With Us – a sermon by Mark Roper – www.sermoncentral.com

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