Merry & Bright
A Christmas Sermon Series
I love the Christmas season. I love going to the tree farm with the kids and cutting down the tree, having an open house for friends, seeing the kids open their gifts. Having a candlelight service on Christmas Eve – one thing in particular I enjoy about Christmas is getting Christmas cards. They are often very pretty and we use them to decorate our home.
It is a way that people say what’s going on in their lives or just to say, “We are thinking about you this year.” Did you know that God wrote the very first Christmas Card to you and to me in the Bible – but he sent it early, in fact it came hundreds and hundreds of years early. Let’s see what He wrote in His card.
Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ—the promised Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, a prophet greater than Moses, the Son of David, who will rule forever, He is the Righteous One, the King-Priest, the suffering savior, he is the babe born of a virgin who will be born in Bethlehem. He is Immanuel – We celebrate the birth of the Son of God who dwelt among us.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Isaiah prophesied, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanu means “with us,” and El means God.
This promised child would be the “with-us God.” Just as God was with Israel in the wilderness, so also Jesus Christ, as God-with-us, saves us, guides us, protects us, and provides for us. Because God is with us in Jesus Christ, we can always be triumphant and rejoice.
We can do all things through Christ! We can resist temptation and cause the devil to flee. In Christ we have all that we need. We can rejoice in tribulations and be fearless in the face of death.
725 BC N. Assyrian evil empires are poised to attack the morally bankrupt Jews. There is darkness and despair all around them. They about to be crushed from all sides, there seems to be no hope. It is at that moment that now they have a word from God.
This morning, you may feel completely surrounded by a dark world, and you feel crushed, and you have come here maybe, just maybe for a word from the Lord. Let’s see what He wants to tell you.
“But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.3 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as son the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
The gloom of verse 1 turns to brightness in verse 3. The darkness is turned to rejoicing. The perfect tense is used when referring to these various things, therefore it is so certain to happen that it as if they already have happened.
Many years before the wise men came, centuries before the shepherd’s bent a knee a king is foretold of coming who will be marvelous, a king is coming who is majestic, watchful and wonderful. We are told in Isaiah 11:1 that this king is the stem of Jesse, and in v. 53 he will be the suffering Savior.
He is Marvelous in How He Came
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”
This king came in earthy humanity “a child is born” – child is emphasized. In the Hebrew text the emphasis is on “child.” Children represent newness and change. There is a new day coming, a new day is born. This king will bring about a change in the lives of His people. Thank God that he is a king of change who does not change. I thank my king that he changed my life!
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” God does not change, His word does not change, but when this king comes He changes you.
A child is born for us! That is speaking about the human nature of Jesus Christ. Then we read, “to us a son is given.” This is emphasizing the divine nature of Jesus Christ. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.
A change is coming “for us,” it was for us that he was born. Gal. 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
He came in heavenly diety – “a son is given” – son is emphasized; an eternal being, the God of Glory. Given not born, a son not child – John. 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.”
There was never a time when “the Son” has not existed. Hebrews 1:1-2 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but bin these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed ethe heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
God translated deity into humanity – a perfect wedding of the two. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
He is Majestic in Who He Is
Matthew 1:23 says “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.” A Jewish name described both character and activity. There are four names given to describe the character and activity of this king who was given to us.
(v. 6) “. . . his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
He is a Wonderful Counselor who soothes my conscience
In Isaiah 9 we are told, “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor.” In the Hebrew text we read, “He is” Jesus Christ is the greatest wonder imaginable because his very person is wonder: As God/man, there is no one else like him.
Is Jesus a wonder to you? Have your eyes been opened to the person of Jesus Christ? He is wonder, especially to his people. He is Wonder of wonders.
As the Wonderful Counselor the war boots and bloody blankets are used not for battle but for fire, the forces of evil will be over. This king will defeat the Enemy, and he brings peace to our hearts.
Counselor – solves my confusion, he is glorious, unfailing in His wisdom. He is our advisor and teacher – Hebrews 4:1-2 “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” The Counselor makes salvation very easy to understand. As we have seen this morning, even young children can grasp sin and forgiveness of that sin.
Joshua failed to seek God’s counsel and was deceived by the Gibeonites. Saul, after being abandoned by God, sought the counsel of a witch. The people of the world seek the counsel of mediums, spiritists, and so called “experts” who whisper and mutter nonsense: Isaiah 8:19 says, “And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?” But God has given us the counsel of his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Bible.
He is a Worthy Defender who fights before me – Mighty God ; warrior God (El Gabor), the child was nothing less than God.
He fought a battle far greater than Gettysburg, he fought a battle far more strategic than D-Day, he fought a battle far more crucial than any battle waged in Iraq. He fought the ultimate battle on the battleground called Calvary – where He conquered death, hell, and the grave – the empty tomb stood open as a memorial of this great battle.
He is a Watchful Father who showers me with affection, Jesus is the
Everlasting Father, it is a title, who he is to us:
He is the Father of Eternity – the source and origin of order, he is Alpha and Omega. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Hebrews 1:8 tells us that His thrown is forever and ever “But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.”
As a Father he is compassionate, a provider, a protector, and it is forever. He is always faithful and He will never leave. He is with us every step of the way. Think about the father of the prodigal son, waiting for his child to return. He received him with great joy, saying, “Let’s celebrate! This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Jesus Christ is such a Father to us.
He is a Prince of Peace who calms my storms
Isaiah 66:12 “For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” When this king comes we have peace.
Peace with God as in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
And we have the peace of God as in Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
He is Mighty With What He Will Do
II Sam. 7:12-13 “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
This king will rule completely and the rule of all of creation will be on “his shoulders” – no one will vote him into office no one will ever vote him out of office. And his rule will be for all of eternity “there will be no end”
There will be peace from peacelessness, justice from injustice – He will rule powerfully, the Father will see that the Son will reign. In fact, it says that he is zealous to make it happen.
In heaven there is no confusion about Christmas— God has burned for the glory of His Son. – in whom he takes delight.”
This One is the prince who brings peace, not by negotiation, but by the conquest of all his enemies. Peace comes to us from the cross of Jesus Christ: Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
Ultimately nothing else matters except what we think about Jesus and God will never be able to give a greater gift then His Son. The first Christmas Card was telling us of a Savior for all of mankind, but as with any Christmas Card you have to do something with it.
You can place it on a shelf and treasure it, or you can toss it in the trash. This morning what will you do with Jesus? Will you become his disciple and allow Him to become your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your Everlasting Father, and your Prince of Peace? Not only is He mighty in what He will do in the world, but it also true of what a mighty work he can do in your heart.
“Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins, I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior.” In Jesus’ Name.