Sermon:God With Us Matthew 1:18-25

God With Us

Matthew 1:18-25

Jesus is Immanuel, God for us, God present with us, and God dying to save us from our sin.

Introduction

Last week we heard of the adventures of Judah as she received a sign from God. If you remember, King Ahaz of Judah was scared to death that the two kingdoms from the north, Syria and Israel were about to annihilate Judah. Remember the passage that told us Syria was in league with Ephraim (Ephraim being another name for Israel) that the people of Judah shook with fear. Judah was terrified because they knew there was no way they could stand should Syria and Israel decide to attack.

So God speaks to King Ahaz to tell him that He will, in fact, be with Judah. God even asks Ahaz to request from Him a sign as proof that He will be with Judah. Ahaz refuses out of some kind false humility so God tells him that He will then give him a sign. God goes on to explain that a virgin/young maiden will conceive and bear a son. Many believe it was Isaiah’s wife who was a virgin at the time of the announcement soon to marry Isaiah and within two years she would bear a son. What’s remarkable is that by giving Ahaz this sign God was basically telling him that there would be a baby born because your people will still be here. Syria and Israel will not destroy you and the coming baby will be proof of that promise.

So we read the statement…

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The birth of little Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz was proof that God was with Judah or in this case for them or on their side.

In that first fulfillment God told Judah that the baby would be a sign of Immanuel, God with Judah. God told Judah that every time you look at this baby remember that I’ve told you that before he grows to about age 12, the two enemies you fear, Syria and Israel will be destroyed and their land will be deserted.

As I began studying this passage in Matthew 1, I started thinking about the Isaiah text and then about all the times God was with His people in the OT. Every time God shows up in the OT it is in a form that brings fear and trembling to all.

Remember the Book of Job? God revealed Himself to Job as a whirlwind. Tornados are something that brings fear to us.

What about the Exodus when the Israelites approached Mount Sinai and witnessed God’s presence in the thunder, lightning, and earthquakes that surrounded the mountain? Remember also that the people were so afraid that they went to Moses and said, you must go to God for us because we cannot endure His presence.

You may think of the Prophet Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and lifted up in a vision and fell and said woe is me. You might think of others, but the point is that the presence of God in the OT is a dreadful thing, one that evokes fear, trembling, and sometimes even brought the witness close to death.

Can you imagine for a moment that Moses, Isaiah or Job were seated here today and would hear the NT words of Matthew? They would immediately connect the name Immanuel to fear, dread, and trembling. Then they would discover that God came and was with His people and it wasn’t in the form of a tornado, lightning and thunder, or a bright and dreadful vision, or even a pillar of fire but He came in the form of a baby…a human baby.

Pray…

Matthew 1:18–25 (ESV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23    “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Y

ou Shall Call His Name, Jesus

21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

The name, Jesus means The Lord is salvation. It is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua. Someone’s name in ancient Israel means everything. It is who the person is; it is his character and purpose. You will call Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sin. The angel was given this message from God to deliver. Call Him Jesus because He will!!! There was never the smallest shred of doubt in God’s mind that His Son would fail in His mission to save His people.

John 10:10 (ESV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Luke 19:10 (ESV)

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

The sin that Jesus saves His people from is not only sin as we think of it, evil or wrongdoing but we must remember that sin is also against a holy God. When we sin it is offending a holy God. Not only that, but Jesus saves His people not only from sin but even from the guilt, penalty, and the power sin holds in our lives. So, Jesus saves us from every aspect of sin’s dominion in our lives.

Verse 21 also has a part we should look at briefly, His people.

Notice, this verse is very clear who the saved are. The entire world is not saved from sin. Those of other religions are not saved from sin. Extremely nice moral people are not saved from sin. Star athletes, singers, movie stars are not saved from sin. There is an exclusiveness here that the world struggles with but it’s true just the same…Only those who come to Jesus seeking repentance and forgiveness are saved from sin and no one else.

One other piece here we must not leave out is the absoluteness of the angel’s message, He will save…He will save His people from their sin.

His people are all that the Father gave Him. His people are those chosen before the foundation of the world. His people are those whom God has called to be conformed to the image of His Son. Every single one of the people God called has been or will be saved from their sin through the death of Jesus. Through the cross, Jesus saves His people. The cross saves, it doesn’t make salvation possible, and something left up to us. God is not in heaven saying, I hope they choose Jesus…This is why the angel could say, Name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sin.

Y

ou Shall Call His Name, Immanuel

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23    “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Matthew declares very pointedly and clearly when he applies the Isaiah prophecy to Jesus that Jesus is God with us. In order to be God with us, Jesus has to be God.

In Jesus, God meets with His people not as a vicious tornado or a freighting earthquake, but as a human infant meek and mild at first and then as a sinless redeemer later. When God took on human flesh He came not to judge His people but to save His people.

If God meets with His people and the encounter is not terrifying then it means that sin has been dealt with. God deals with sin as He takes on flesh and dies on the cross. It had to be Immanuel who died and no one else. So in Jesus God just isn’t for us and He just isn’t physically present but in Jesus He dies for His people, thus paying the sin debt we owe Him and so saving us from our sin. The covenant is kept God keeps His part and God keeps our part.

I want to speak just for a moment about something we sometimes hear. God saves us from hell. In a sense that may have truth to it but the more biblical model is that He saves us from our sin. He pays the sin debt we owe and could never pay. So, the real meaning of Christmas is that God came and tabernacled with His people for a time, lived a sinless life, so, fulfilling the covenant agreement we broke and then died a horrific death on the cross to pay our sin debt and to also save us from sin’s power and hold on us so that we are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to God. This work had to be accomplished by the Human Son of God Jesus our Lord.

Jesus is 100% God and 100% man while on the earth.

God forgave sin and build His church by dying on the cross…

Acts 20:28 (ESV)

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Only God can forgive sin…

Luke 5:22–25 (ESV)

22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.

Only God should be worshipped…

John 20:28–29 (ESV)

28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

So, imagine Moses, Isaiah, and Job hearing these truths. That God has met with us in the person of Jesus. His presence was not terrifying but redemptive. I’m sure there mouths would hang open in amazement. They also might wonder why we are not more moved by this tremendous truth than we are. God is with us and it is not terrifying because our sin debt has been paid by Jesus Christ.

G

od’s Sovereignty Over History

You may be wondering why I would even bring this point up. Matthew, in writing his Gospel, makes this point over and over. He is the one more than any of the Gospels that shows the birth of Jesus fulfills multiple OT predictions and the ones left unfulfilled will come to pass when Jesus returns.

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23    “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

All this took place…what does all this refer to? The birth of Jesus took place like it did to prove that God had planned this event from long ago. We know that the event was planned even before time or the creation of the universe.

While Matthew correctly sees the incarnation as the culmination of the Isaiah prophecy it also works backwards as well. What I mean is that in order for Jesus to fulfill the Isaiah prophecy there had to be a King Ahaz who would refuse to ask God for a sign. There had to be Syria and Israel posing a threat to Judah. There had to be Isaiah the prophet. There had to be their parents there had to be a divided Kingdom…Do you see that what the phrase literally means…22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

God has orchestrated all of history, biblically recorded and unrecorded to fulfill what He promised to His Son in the Eternal Covenant. If You go and redeem those sinners, I will give them to You as an inheritance. The meaning of Christmas is not just peace on earth and goodwill toward men but also peace with God through Jesus, His Son and the God who is with us.

 

Matthew 1:18–25 (ESV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23    “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Declaration of Grace

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