A Child Is Born
Christmas • Sermon • Submitted
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To us a child is born
To us a child is born
First, let us not gloss over what is being said here. Listen closely to what is being done with this short statement. A child is born. Knowing what we know now - it is clear that this statement is referring to the birth of Christ. I am afraid that because we have been so saturated with this truth our entire lives that we have been to look upon this great and divine topic with a sense of normalcy as it if it no big deal. We look upon the most important event that has ever happened and ever will happen in the history of mankind as if it is simply a given. Of course a child was born, we all know that. We have heard it our entire lives.
How very dangerous that mentality can be. This child was no ordinary child. The child is the person responsible for creating everything in the universe. The oxygen you breath? Jesus. The car you drive? Yes, Ford might be on the car but ultimately Jesus created the materials that humans used to put it together. Every little thing we take for granted while we moan about how hard we have it or how bad the democrats are - Jesus created all of it and all of it has, ultimately, one purpose. To show -us- God’s glory.
Contrary to popular opinion - God did not send this child to be born because he needed you or me. God was not lonely. God was not desperately seeking someone to worship him - even the rocks can do that. No. God send a child to demonstrate to us His glory. Okay, okay. You are probably thinking what is God’s glory? I have heard so many people throw out this term with no explanation whatsoever and expect everyone to simply role with it. I, however, will define it this way - God’s glory is that which makes him God. In other words, God’s glory consists of his divine attributes.
Lucky for you, this sermon is not about God’s attributes and so I will spare you my 4 hour dissertation about the matter but there are two that we must be aware of to properly appreciate this passage. First is God’s power or omnipotence. I have already touched upon this briefly in that Jesus together with the entirety of the Godhead created everything. Second is God’s unchanging nature or his immutability. God is not like man, God does not change. Ps 33 tells us that God’s counsel stands forever and the plans of his heart remain the same to all generations. This is immensely important. It was just as important to the original audience of Isaiah as it is to us today. Listen to me when I say this. God does not change and neither does his promises.
Just in case you did not get it the first two times, I’ll say it in a different way. Because God does not change, that means that the prophecy we read in this text that a child will be born came true. Jesus really was born. A son really was given. And because God does not change - that same son, this Jesus of Nazareth - all of those promises HE made - will definitely come true.
Suppose that Jesus was more human than God. Jesus has promised to deliver you from your sins. He has promised to take your burden and give you an easy yoke. He has promised to cast down death and to raise us into ever lasting life. This is amazing news. Life changing news. But what if Jesus was more like you and I than he was like his father? What do you think would happen if Jesus was prone to changing his mind? Instead of hearing “Well done my good and faithful servant” We might hear something more akin to “Remember all of those times you took my name in vain? Remember how you told no one about me? What about those many, many years you couldn’t even be bothered to go to church? I was going to save you - but I’ve decided against it. If you are not faithful, then why should I be faithful?”
This is why it is so desperately important that we understand something of God’s unchanging nature. That we truly and seriously believe it. If God changed - then we could do nothing except live in absolute fear. Fear that any moment could be our last. Sure, God promised Noah that he would never flood the earth again - but he could change his mind. Afterall, what makes us any less sinful than the people Noah had to deal with? Do not be mistaken - apart from Christ you and I are no better than those that God destroyed in the flood. But grace has been given to us, and a child has been born.
The government shall be upon his shoulder
The government shall be upon his shoulder
There is much and more to unpack here. Last time I was here I preached on the Great Commission and how Christ has all authority on heaven and on earth. This is the prophecy of that statement. God promised that the child that was to be born would have authority on the earth and Jesus affirmed that this was the case. The government has been placed upon his shoulders - we simply do not understand all of what that means.
As we make our way through this Christmas season - if you watch the news you know that the government is telling us to be careful about meeting with our families due to Covid or telling us that we shouldn’t meet at all. Having church is a bad idea etc etc. As you hear all of that I want you to remember that the government shall rest upon the shoulder of Jesus. This can mean a number of things - but the thing I want to stress to us today is this. The government exists today to bear the law and rule of Christ and will be held responsible on judgement day for that. Will they be judged harshly because they governed their people poorly? Or will they be looked upon with grace because they tried to govern compassionately and Biblically. I will not state which I think our government will get but let me just say that I am going to have Christmas with my family. I’m going to get a lot of food, and I am going to continue attending church and worshipping God with my brothers and sisters.
As we move a little further into this passage we learn some of the names of Jesus. Most theologians and preachers have typically seen four names here, though some have seen five. I see four, and so those are what we will spend the rest of our time looking at today.
“His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor.”
Each of these names could be their own sermon and many have done that, but I am going to do more of a flyover look at them this morning. First, Jesus shall be called Wonderful Counselor. I am afraid that many Christians look at the title of counselor in a negative light because of all of the hooplah surrounding secular ones. There are, after-all, opinions from counselor’s are crooks to they are life savers. Regardless of what your thoughts on the matter are I can assure you that Jesus is in the latter of those two. He is surely no crook, and to those who place their hope and faith in him he is most definitely a life saver. Not only is Jesus a counselor, he is a wonderful counselor. Whenever I hear the word wonderful, I can’t help but think about Christ and how he has existed for all of eternity. Though born a child, he is far more than that. Many people enjoy listening to the counsel of an older person and the stories they can tell. How much a person who is well along in their years can teach us about life and love we think. How wonderful they are. How wonderful is their counsel.
If we think so highly of a mere human being, how much more highly we ought to think of Christ who far exceeds the wisdom and experience of any such person. How wonderful the stories Christ has told us and will tell us when we meet him again in death. How wonderful will his counsel is when we are hurting and how wonderful his salvation is to those souls still perishing.
Next, Jesus shall be called “Mighty God.” Like I have already said - God and therefore Jesus is all powerful. He created the world and everything in it. Jesus is so mighty that one day he will put all enemies under his foot - the last of which is death. I ask you - how could a weak god that was so desperate for attention defeat death? No.. only a God without the need of anything at all could defeat death. Only a Mighty God can put all of his enemies under his foot. Only the God that created everything has the authority to forgive sins and grant forgiveness.
How reassuring that Jesus is so mighty. The savior of our sins is a mighty God indeed, for how else could he guarantee our salvation? And not only our salvation, but that we would not lose our salvation. Jesus promises that those of us that are in his hand - nothing can pluck us from it. If you are truly saved, if you have truly believed and repented - then nothing came remove you from the hand of Jesus. No sin or mistake you make. Nothing. You have obtained salvation and will have it forevermore.
This next one is a bit confusing I must confess. Jesus shall be called Everlasting Father. I say confusing because we always relate the term Father in regards to the Godhead to God the father, not to Jesus the son. If you would, turn in your Bibles to John 14, verse 18. This is Jesus speaking to his Disciples about how he will send them the Holy Spirit when he departs from them. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
The clue I hope you picked up on is the word orphans. Jesus promises that he will not leave us as orphans. Though he will leave the world for a little while, we will see him because he lives forever. He will be like our everlasting father. If you had a father that abandoned you - Christ will not do that. If your father abused you physically or mentally - Jesus will not do that. Even better, Jesus will save your soul for all of eternity. When times are hard and we feel as if everyone and everything has let us down and disappointed us - we should find solace in the fact that God has promised that Jesus will be our everlasting father.
Next, Jesus will be called Prince of Peace. When I first read this my minds immediately jumped to Philippians 4. do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This verse was one I held onto closely after my mom passed away. For many of you, this Christmas season will serve as painful reminders of loved ones who have gone before you. It is in seasons such as these that we must always be mindful that Jesus is the prince of peace. When things are hard.. pray to God and let your requests be made known so that you might find peace.
Finally, I want to urge us all to think deeply on something for a moment. This verse opens by saying unto “us” a child is born. Who is the us in view? Isaiah would have had in mind Israel, and while that is true we now have the more full picture of what is at stake here. It is not only Israel that the child is given to - it is God’s chosen people. And now, in the year 2021, that means the church. If you have confessed with your mouth and believed in your heart that Jesus is Lord - then you are within those that the child was given to.
However - if you have not done that, or if you are placing your hope on something else, then that child was not given to you - at least not as a savior. Please do not look back to forty years ago when you repeated a prayer after someone and think that is what saved you. There is nothing wrong with that method - but that is not enough. If there was never any heart change that took place inside of you then that prayer was simply empty words. Maybe you even walked an isle and were baptized - but if that never changed anything in you then those were baseless actions.
I do not want us to look upon salvation as a given. Yes, while salvation is free to those who would believe in the name of Jesus - it had a cost. An incredibly high cost. It was bought and paid for with the life of Christ. That should move us to something - to repentance. Action. Something. I want you to try to put yourself into the shows of the Jews when Jesus was born. They had been looking forward to a savior since Genesis 3 when God promised the woman’s seed would crush the head of the serpent. Far from viewing Jesus coming and being their savior being a given - this was something they were incredibly thankful for. Let us not take for granted our salvation this Christmas. Let us not put more attention on Santa Claus than Christ. Let us remember tomorrow and always that a child was given to save us from our sins.