Fourth Sunday in Advent

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We often live our lives with little awareness of how close God really is to us. It may be the weekly worship service or a tragedy in our lives that sensitizes us to God’s nearness or the need for Him to be near.
As we ponder this wonderful text it may be helpful to first dive into the history of what has taken place. Today’s first reading is the Old Testament prophecy quoted in the gospel from Isaiah 7. Proud King Ahaz was in a world of hurt. Aram and Ephraim stacked against him, both of whom had already defeated his army previously individually and now they were aligned. He stood no chance until God stepped in and made a promise. God told Ahaz, “name your sign” and he has didn't want his help he refuse. But God gave a sign anyway— not just of israel's deliverance in battle but the deliverance of humankind from sin and death. The sign was a virgin with child—Emmanuel, God would take flesh God with us.
Sometimes times feel defeated by our enemies — at times by the devil to be sure, but also by the trials and tribulations of life. Perhaps a wayward adult child is making your life miserable. Maybe you’re dealing with a spouse who has been unfaithful. Or, perhaps health concerns and their treatments are burdensome. We may wonder during times like this if God is with us, or not.
Well, this morning’s text reiterates this reality of our Christian existence:

He is with us as the God-Man

He who is with is is true God.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin — Matt. 1:18, 1:20
He is without sin —
Heb. 4:15 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
He is not merely godly but actually and fully God — Matt 1:23;
Col. 2:9 “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;”
He was, is, and remains God —
Heb. 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Essential for us to remember when life presses in on us.
He who is with us is true man.
He was born of a woman — Matt. 1:25
He assumed a human body, with wants and feelings.
He lived in the real world, experiencing joy and sorrow, acceptance and rejection.
Jesus, the God-Man, is with us still—Matt. 28:20. Since He put on our human nature, He will never cease being a man.

He is with us with His Salvation

He came to save from sin—Matt. 1:21
Sin is a terrible reality.
It corrupts.
It separates from God.
It condemns.
This created world is even corrupted by the reality of sin. Romans 8:19-21 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Only God and Mary’s Son can saves us —
Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
As man He kept the Law and died in our place.
As God, He was able to bear the suffering and to rise from the dead.
Let Him be your Savior.
Do not make prayer, faith, piety, science, or politics your Savior.
Jesus alone saves from the guilt, punishment, and power and effects of Sin.
His salvation is a daily reality—Psalm 85:9; 27:11.
Man can do nothing to shake off the burden and effects of sin. Therefore, the Church prays that God would come in power to remove that burden for us.
Since our ancestors in the Garden of Eden, there has been only one plan to remove this burden of sin for us— God would become man, actually take on flesh and blood, as was promised in Genesis 3:15.
Then He will do what mankind could not do—remove all the burdens of sin. This is only possible when God became man.
So, when you look into the manger, what do you see? A baby? Yes. But, so much more.
What you see is Immanuel, “God-with-us.” The Son of God so that He could do for us what we could not do for ourselves.
And because God has done this great thing for us, how much more will he concern Himself with the results of sin. So, whatever you are going through right now know that God is with you! In fact, as that story called “Footprints in the Sand” reminds us, God is so close to you that He is actually carrying you through the ordeals of your life.
How close God is to us!
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