Immanuel (Matthew 23)
Text: Isaiah 7:14 – Matthew 1:23
Place Preached - (Mississauga International Baptist Church)
Date Preached - (12/15/02)
IMMANUEL, God with us!!!
It seems to be just the very thing that man has been feeling after in all ages.
First. They Want a God who can sympathize with them
“No One Cares!” - “No One Understands!” - “If God would just come down to our level!!” - “If God would only appear to us!”
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
And yet when God met this wish and actually came down as low as possible, even in the very form and nature of man, they turned away from Him with contempt.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Secondly. They Want a God whom they can SEE
Man in his weariness of worshiping an invisible Being, made for themselves graven images?
LOOK UP & READ Jeremiah 10:1-6
Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
But when Jesus Christ actually came to man, the EXPRESS IMAGE, the Living Form of God, they shut their eyes and refused to acknowledge the glory that shined in Him.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Thirdly. They Want a God to whom they can SPEAK
Did they not yearn after familiar conversation with God? Intimacy & relationship??
It was not enough to have images of their gods in their temples-they must have them in their houses; yea they would even carry them in their bosoms.
Now they looked for God in Creation. – PANTHEISM
They Look for a God within – NEW AGE
They did not look for the God ABOVE!!!
But that very thing, the thought of which they professed to love so much, they rejected when God sent His Son on purpose to be IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US.
GOD WITH US! How full of meaning is this Title!
Let us look into it a little further....
But First, by contrast let’s consider other designations of man’s relationship with God.
I. Without God
EXPLAIN – “Universal” Presence vs. “Special” Presence of God
The “Special” Presence of the Lord is that place in which He is acknowledged and honoured and glorified and exalted.
It is the that setting in which the Lord is active and working and His presence is perceived by His people.
Ephesians 2:11-12 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
To be "without God in the world," is to be in the most wretched state imaginable.
II. God Against Us
Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
To have God against us, is so terrible as not to be thought of without consternation.
ILLUS: Man who said “I hate God!”
III. God For Us
LOOK UP & READ Romans 8:25-38
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
IV. God With Us
But to have God with us, is to have everything that can insure our well-being in all conditions of life and death.
ILLUS: For an army in the thick of the fight, and just ready to give way at the fierce onset of the foe, to hear the sudden shout, "The general is come! the king is with us!" how inspiring!
ILLUS: Union Flag raised on confederate soil. “I’ll wait till 4:30 – that’s when my mother prays for me!!”
How much more must the Christian soldier, the Christian traveler, the Christian exile from his earthly father's house, feel the sweetness of that word IMMANUEL! GOD WITH US!
Whatever his circumstances, he has always with him the Captain of Salvation, the Everlasting Father, the Omnipresent Companion.
Is he in poverty or sickness? Is he lonely or deserted? Is he even just entering the valley of death?
He does not despise such a lowly one as I am.
He many a time wearied Himself with hard work and long journeys.
He was often hungry and thirsty, and thankful for a piece of bread or a broiled fish from the basket of some loving follower.
And was glad to sleep at night in a boat or a mountain crevice, or any place where He could lay His Head.
He, who once stooped to all the lowliness of such a life, is here now.
I can speak to Him. He hears my whispers. His name is GOD WITH US.
Drop the last letter, He is GOD WITH U!!!
Yes, He is God with me.
A. Acquaint yourself with Him
Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
and you shall be at peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
B. Walk with Him.
The commonest thing shall appear clothed with beauty and grace.
C. Thank Him & Praise Him
You will learn to take your morsel of bread as a blessing provided by Himself to lengthen life,
You will come to regard your neat little home as a shadow of His mansion in glory.
Remember then this lovely Title of our Lord, "IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US."
You may read it-GOD WITH US (laying the stress on the last word), and you will remember of the delightful fact that He is God INCARNATE, or made flesh.
God in our nature, not in the nature of angels.
Or read it-GOD WITH US; then you will be directed to the glorious truth that however great His condescension.
He is still the True God whose Name is I AM THAT I AM.
Or read it-GOD WITH US; then you will think of Him as God at our side to be an INTERPRETER or INSTRUCTOR.
And on our side to be an INTERCESSOR who ever liveth to plead on our behalf.
And if God be for us, who can be against us?