God With Us (Matthew 1:18-25)
I.) Embrace the Truths of Old
With Christmas happening this week we will take a brief break from Mark in order to reminisce on the gracious gift God has offered. Eternal life through faith in Christ alone.
My aim is not to offer you a new spin on Christmas, but rather to beckon us to recall and embrace the truths of old. After all our duty as Christians is to:
a.) Devoted to these truths.
b.) Retain these truths.
c.) Guard these truths.
d.) Contend for these truths.
e.) Entrust these truths.
May our embracing of the unchanging truths of God bring not only joy this season, but through the years.
II.) The Significance of Christmas
Let us fist consider some questions:
Q.) Are we commanded to observe a day commemorating the birth of Christ?
A.) No, we are not.
Q.) Should we therefore refrain from celebrating it if it is not commanded?
A.) Certainly not!
The event we are commanded to remember is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the pinnacle of the faith. The faith, mind you, we are to be devoted to, retain, guard, contend for and entrust. The resurrection is the culmination of our faith, because the gracious gift of eternal life can only be possible in a living Savior.
Now, we may not be commanded to observe the birth of Christ, but His incarnation is a critical matter to the resurrection.
Q.) Why is this?
A.) In order for a resurrection to occur an incarnation must first take place.
In other words, we cannot celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ without ever acknowledging He became flesh.
a.) In order for Jesus to be resurrected, He had to be buried.
b.) In order for Jesus to be buried, He had to be killed.
c.) In order for Jesus to be killed, He had to be crucified.
d.) In order for Jesus to be crucified, He had to be a Man.
e.) In order for Jesus to be a Man, He had to humble Himself in becoming one. God the Son, the Eternal One, clothing Himself in humanity; Emmanuel, God with us!
Q.) Why is Christmas significant?
A.) It demonstrates God’s love.
It was God’s love for the already condemned world that moved Him to give His only Son. It was God’s love for ungodly sinners that drove Him to the cross. It was God’s unadulterated love for justice that deemed the Incarnate Christ on the cross the only way to be saved. The cross is able to provide grace to repentant sinners because it first demonstrates God’s righteousness.
Q.) How do we know God is both completely loving and just without compromise?
A.) He became flesh in order to die.
This is exactly what we see unfolding in the beginning pages of Matthew; the Pre-existent Christ taking on human form within a virgin:
1.) A Child will be born of a virgin.
2.) His name will be Jesus, which means “Jehovah is salvation.”
3.) Through Jesus people will be saved from:
a.) Sins penalty (Justification)
b.) Sins power (Sanctification)
c.) Sins presence (Glorification)
4.) This fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy and emphasizes that God will be the very One born.
III.) Where Do We Find Christmas
A.) As we look to the bibles teaching on the Incarnation; the day God put on flesh with the intent of being born and the purpose to die:
I do not want us to look to a manger in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago.
I do not want us to look to the prophet of Israel some 2,600 years ago.
Q.) Why is this?
A.) I want us to see the Incarnation of Christ in the womb of a virgin was not an afterthought in God’s redeeming plan.
It was the plan from the beginning. Assured in Eden, yet contrived in the everlasting.
Look to a garden some 6,000 years ago where a promise is given that: Finds clarity in the prophet. Fulfillment in the manger. Execution on the cross.
IV.) The Shadow of Christmas
Please turn to Genesis 3, and understand at this point in the text:
1.) God has created mankind in His image.
2.) God has commanded man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil. Death being the very penalty.
3.) Satan, knowing God is just and desiring to see those made in God’s image eternally destroyed, murderously deceives Eve. He purposed to use the one Adam was to lovingly cleave to, and care for, in order to bring death into humanity. Satan was successful!
4.) Adam disobeys God’s word, and sins by eating that which he was commanded not to. It is because of this disobedient act sin entered humanity, and is passed down through the seed of man. Mankind is born in sin, which makes us inherently evil and deserving of sins penalty.
5.) Satan watches to see God’s goodness crush sinful Adam and Eve who are now separated from their Creator, but he does not see it.
He sees God pursuing after man. The Holy One seeking out the unholy. The Perfect in pursuit of the corrupt. The Just One in search of the unjust.
It is imperative I ask this question:
Q.) What charge can Satan bring against God?
A.) “You truly are not just; you are not a righteous God at all! Where is the death You said you would deliver? Adam is not dead! He lives and hides from You under trees and concealed by fig leaves. How can You, being just, allow him to live?”
He will soon observe God kill an innocent lamb, and cloth Adam and Eve with its skin. He sees God permitting the lambs death to be a substitutionary death in the place of man. The innocent dies for the guilty.
Before Satan sees this God makes this promise to him:
Q.) Do we see the shadow of the incarnation here, with its substance being Jesus Christ?
This promise tells us several things:
God will oppose the work of Satan by sending a Person who will destroy Him. This Person will be born through the seed of a woman, which means: He will not have an earthly father, indicating a virgin birth. Since He will not have an earthly father He will be completely without sin. Since He will be without sin He will be Holy and Perfect. Since He is Holy and Perfect there is only one solution; it will be God Himself.
“For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us…and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God with us).”
Q.) What will Emmanuel do to deliver man?
A.) He will crush Satan’s head, and He will be crushed through the process.
Q.) What did God do in the garden to foreshadow what this process would look like?
A.) He killed an innocent lamb in the place of guilty humanity, and graciously clothed them in its skin. Foreshadowing that Sinless and Perfect Emmanuel would be the very Lamb to take upon Himself the sins of mankind: He will bear their penalty to satisfy God’s justice and appease His wrath. He will cloth them with His life, and impute His righteousness to them.
Paul declares in Galatians:
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 tell us what He did with His Son, Who willing humbled Himself by becoming a Man obedient unto death:
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Paul shows the righteousness of God was proven by His Incarnate Son’s bloody substitutionary work on the cross:
“This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Q.) Did God cease being just in the garden?
A.) No! He forbore man’s sin with the purpose of putting it on His Son, the God-man, and nailing Him to the cross.
Q.) What did God do with His Son after He rendered Himself as an offering for our sin?
A.) He raised Him from the dead!
V.) The Substance of Christmas
As we celebrate Christmas let us always find joy in the fact God has offered forgiveness of sins and eternal life: By grace, through faith, in Christ alone! The only reason this is possible is because He became flesh.
Remember the day our Savior was born. A child was born to us. A Son was given to us. He is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. They call Him, Emmanuel, God with us! They named him Jesus. Jehovah is Salvation!
 Romans 6:23
 Acts 2:42
 2 Timothy 1:13
 2 Timothy 1:14
 Jude 3
 2 Timothy 2:2
 John 1:1,14
 John 3:16-18
 Romans 5:1-11
 Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42; Galatians 2:21
 Romans 3:24-26
 John 1:1,14; Philippians 2:5-8
 Matthew 1:18-2:12; Luke 2
 Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2
 Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20-21; 13:8
 Genesis 1:26-27
 Genesis 2:16-17
 Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19
 Genesis 3:1-6
 Genesis 2:21-25
 Genesis 3:6b,17
 Genesis 5:1-3; 6:5; 8:21; Romans 5:12-19
 Genesis 3:7-13
 Genesis 3:21
 Isaiah 7:14; 9:6
 Galatians 4:4-5
 2 Corinthians 5:21
 Romans 3:25-26
 Luke 2:11