Christmas is coming! And lest we miss the full impact of what happened, we have started four weeks of contemplation! Our target this Sunday is to see the third glorious wonder of Christmas which is:
God with us!
C. H. Spurgeon preached one Advent Sunday:
“It must ever remain to us the mystery of mysteries that God Himself was manifest in the flesh.
God the invisible was manifest;
God the spiritual dwelt in mortal flesh;
God the infinite, uncontained, boundless, was manifest in the flesh.
What infinite leagues our thought must traverse between Godhead self-existent, and, therefore, full of power and self-sufficiency, before we have descended to the far-down level of poor human flesh, which is, at its best, but as grass, and, in its essence, only so much animated dust! Where can we find so great a contrast man between God and flesh!
And to that we say yes and to the incomprehensibleness of that moment at the manger when we see:
• The heir of all things — yet appearing as Joseph’s poor, despised step-son, a carpenter
• The infinite one — yet an infant
• He who upholds all things by the word of His power — yet held in His mother’s arms.
• God with us: Immanuel is truly:
An awesome thing!
To experience this wonder we need to hear God speak.
Please read God’s Word in Matthew 1:18-23. And learn – what does God with us mean?
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man,
and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, ” God with us.”
What is God’s incredible plan of the incarnation? The glory of Christmas is the moving to earth in human flesh of the second person of the Trinity. God the Son came to live with us His creation!
But even more, this is the realization of God’s marvelous plan. Join me in Eden as we see God inaugurating His presence with man. Conclude with me in eternity future as God consummates His presence forever with us. God with us: Genesis 3:8a
First God with us means
God himself sharing with us:
Genesis 3:8a And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
God started with us in creation and Eden see Him “walking in the garden”. Let’s call that God sharing. From creation onward He has sought to share:
His creative genius
His infinite power
His incredible presence
Out of all the measureless expanse of the universe, where do we find God? Sharing with Adam and Eve.
Secondly, God with us means
God himself seeking for us:
Genesis 3:8-9 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
God is now seen as He sought out fallen man. We can see that aspect of God with us. God seeking: 100 years ago God raised up a voice – D. L. Moody
“WHERE ART THOU(7) ?”
The very first thing that happened after the news reached Heaven of the fall of man, was that God came straight down to seek out the lost one. As He walks through the garden in the cool of the day, you can hear Him calling–
“‘Adam! Adam! Where art thou?”
It is the voice of grace, of mercy, and of love. Adam ought to have taken the seeker’s place, for he was the transgressor. He had fallen, and he ought to have gone up and down Eden crying,
“‘My God! My God! Where art Thou?”
But God left Heaven to grope through the dark world for the rebel who had fallen–not to hurl him from the face of the earth, but to plan for him an escape from the misery of his sin. And He finds him–where? Hiding from his Creator among the bushes of the garden.
The moment a man is out of communion with God, even the professed child of God, he wants to hide away from Him. When God left Adam in the garden, he was in communion with his Creator, and God talked with him; but now he has fallen, he has no desire to see his Creator, he has lost communion with his God. He cannot bear to see Him, even to think of Him, and he runs to hide from God. But to his hiding-place his Maker follows him. ‘Where art thou, Adam? Where art thou?'”
Thirdly, God with us means
God himself saving us:
Let me hasten to add that our third portrait of God with us is also in Genesis 3, v. 15-24. As God begins the process of declaring how man can be restored we can call this God forgiving.
The first hint of the gospel – v. 15
The first hint of sacrificial death – v. 21
The first hint of being clothed by God!
• His birth would be divine: The seed of a woman.
• His sacrifice would destroy Satan’s power: He would crush the serpent’s head.
• His life would be painful: Satan would bruise His heel.
God with us means Jesus leads us all through life and feeds us daily:Genesis 48:15-16 And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads;
God with us means Jesus becomes sin for us and bears God’s wrath:Numbers 21:9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
God with us means Jesus Leads, Feeds and Redeems: Deuteronomy 18:15-18 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,16 “according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’17 “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good.’ 18 “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.”
God with us means Jesus becomes our strength: Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
God with us means Jesus becomes our shepherd:
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Sheep are the dirtiest of all farm animals and the only domesticated farm animal that can’t clean itself. Sheep are unable to find their own way and their plaintiff bleating is a reminder of their constant suffering from scrapes and bumps. How perfectly sheep mirror us who are lost and wandering!
God with us means Jesus is our exceeding (full and running over) joy: Psalm 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.
God with us means Jesus helps our faces to smile with his love and joy and peace: Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
God with us means Jesus is our refuge we flee to when life troubles us:Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
God with us means Jesus keeps us hopeful from start to finish (no need to live in the dark valley of depression): Psalm 71:5 For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth.
God with us means Jesus is all we need: Psalm 119:57 You are my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Your words.
God with us means Jesus refreshes every day of our life (Shall never thirst he said!): Jeremiah 17:13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the Lord, The fountain of living waters.”
Fourthly, God with us means God
himself saving us from our sins
Look back at Mt. 1:21 because God with us: Immanuel was revealed as Jesus. And what will He be doing? “For it is He who will save His people from their sins”
Jn. 1:29 “behold the lamb that (ranges along side to bear away) the sin of the world”
Finally, God with us means
God himself dwelling with us forever
Revelation 21:1-3 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.” God Himself will be with them and be their God.
Finally, Rev. 21:3 – here we see God consummating His plan for us. God with us forever.
– God shared in Eden
– God sought fallen mankind
– God opened forgiveness
– God stood with the righteous
– God revealed His way of access
– God delivered those who came His way
– and now God completes it all the end of time eternity starts God is with us. Will you be there? Only if you meet Jesus now will God be with you then!!
Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
First God with us means – God himself sharing with us:
Secondly, God with us means God himself seeking for us:
Thirdly, God with us means God himself saving us:
Fourthly, God with us means God himself saving us from our sins
Finally, God with us means God himself dwelling with us forever
1. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace
2. Sauer, p.
3. See Tacitus Hist. V, 13, and Suetonius, Vesp. 4.
4. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace
5. A. P. Gibbs, Worship, p. 45
6. ©1996 Daniel B. Wallace
7. Moody sermon book
8. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.
9. I am indebted for this comparison to a small tract written years ago by Joseph Hoffrnan Cohn for the American Board of Missions to the Jews, entitled “The Man from Petra,” No. 65 in the series “What Every Christian Should Know About the Jews” (revised 1961, no original date of publication).
10. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.
11. III, pp. 394ff.