December 21, 2014

God with Us Transforms Us

Passage: Luke 2 and Isaiah 7
Service Type:

Bible Text: Luke 2 and Isaiah 7 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: Abiding in the Lord, Transformed by Christmas
Luke 2:1-7 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
Matthew 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means, God with us.
Genesis 21:22‑24 At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, God is with you in everything you do. Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you are living as an alien the same kindness I have shown to you. Abraham said, I swear it.
Abraham, you are UNBEATABLE AND FORMIDABLE because this God of yours is EVERYWHERE and He is ALL POWERFUL.
Isaiah 7:13‑14 Then Isaiah said, Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
God told Isaiah to go with his son (Shear-Jashub which means a remnant will return) … to meet King Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool; the place of Ahaz’s greatest achievement; God’s purpose was to make a statement against Ahaz’s pride (aqueduct)
God addresses us where our pride is the strongest.
God spoke to Ahaz and essentially said two things would happen because of his decision:
The nation of Israel, all his work, would be destroyed.
His alliance, cleverness, political diplomacy, and intelligence would not help.
Isaiah 7:13-15 Then Isaiah said, Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means God is with us).
The message is: GOD IS WITH US!
Isaiah 8:9‑17 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered…Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us…The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare…I will put my trust in him.
1 Peter 2:6‑10 …I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced. Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, the stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. And, He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.  They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.
Dear friends, I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
God is always on time.
Expect God to do the unexpected.
God is always with us in the battles.
Our part is simple:
Trust God – Turn to God and trust in Him.
Obey God – Ask God, What do You want me to do? And then do what God tells you to do.
We have choices:
To believe in JESUS or not;
to receive Him as SAVIOR or not;
to trust Him as LORD or not.
No other God demands so much and yet gives so much.
Jesus offers to us a personal relationship; an intimate, emotional, intellectual, spiritual relationship with the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Immanuel, God with us.
John 12:35‑36 Then Jesus told them, you are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.

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