Tag Archives: Isaiah

The Church and Salvation: The Teaching of God’s People

Today’s message summary of October 22, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

After the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, there was a period of 400 years where there was no prophet from God on the scene, and man was left to himself as to how he would practice his faith.  During this 400 years, you would see different things occur, but the pursuit of religion was left to man’s own accord.

The Sadducees relied upon natural law and not upon any teachings or writings.  Even today, the issue is the lack of good, sound teaching of God’s Word.  We are in a society that receives very little education, especially in reasoning and understanding.

The church originally started schools for the purpose of teaching people how to read and write.  It was to help people be able to read and understand what they were reading, and it was to be able to gain something from God’s Word.

Hosea 4:6 KJV

My people perish from a lack of knowledge.

How well are we being taught?  Do we believe what we are being taught?

Teaching should not be just a repetition of what the teacher has said, but to go further into seeking the information that has been presented.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Many people will sit in church and hear the Word, but if it is not taught and the people decide it is not to be believed or understood, then it is just a waste of time.

One of the obvious things that one can observe in a believer’s life is a lack of progression.  It is from a lack of faith.  It comes down to trusting God more than just trusting yourself.  The Word of God is to be taught to help to develop you more into the type of person that God wants you to be.

Acts 20:27

…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.

Why would one go to a doctor for advice and leave without taking it?  Paul was not holding back in any way his knowledge of God.  It is important that the people of God may grow and mature with the proper instruction of God’s Word.

What happened during those 400 years?  There were groups that emerged:

The Essenes followed Greek philosophies that existed two centuries before Christ emerged.  They were a Jewish sect.  Note that their belief in how souls were transported was void of God’s teaching.

The Scribes emerged as a continuation of the group that existed during David and Solomon’s time.  They were known for recording words and also for accounting.  They set forth and maintain order when it came to how things were to be accomplished, and yet there was no prophet that provided additional inspiration.

The Sadducees did not believe in death and resurrection of the dead, nor angels or spirits.  They only believed in the present life they were living.  (Much like those who lack belief are today.  There are many who believe that there is nothing after this life.)

Acts 23:8

For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and no angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.

The Pharisees are believed to have emerged from the Maccabeans, and they kept up with the writings of Moses, but they also infused a number of new rules within their way of living that ultimately became much more important than that of God’s Word.

Matthew 15:7-9

Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

Luke 11:42

“But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Luke 11:52

“Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.”

God desires for sincere worship and praise before Him.

There is something wrong with the number of churches that are existence today in that there is hardly any teaching.  Even worse, we are teaching the precepts of man rather than those from God.

The ministry of Jesus began with teaching.  Questions and answers follow this instruction.  There is learning that is taking place.

Luke 2:46

After three days, they found Him (Jesus at age 12) in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Matthew 4:17

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

Luke 4:14-15

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.

A good teacher must also be a good listener.  He or she will always listen to the students in order to know what needs to be imparted.

Note that there was a 400-year gap before Jesus was teaching the people.  Many people were hungry for His words of instruction.

The church, as a whole, must return to teaching.  Teaching will either draw your nearer to Jesus, or it will chase you away.  Either way, the truth of Jesus Christ and His Word must be shared.

Our churches should be overflowing–not because of preachers who entertain, but because God’s Word is being proclaimed.

If a person comes to church to do anything other than hear God’s Word, it becomes idolatry.

The Spirit must be present in order that the teacher can be used to advance the will of the Father.  A teacher must recognize the evidence of God’s presence in order to teach well.  Jesus’s own ministry was not independent of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16-17

After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!

John 4:34

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

John 5:19-20

Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works that these so that you will be amazed.

2 John 1:9

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

God is a teacher.  It is the very character and nature of God.

Deuteronomy 4:12-14

Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You kept hearing the sound of the words, but didn’t see a form; there was only a voice. He declared His covenant to you. He commanded you to follow the Ten Commandments, which He wrote on two stone tablets. At that time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to follow in the land you are about to cross into and possess.

Isaiah 48:17

This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.

Jeremiah 32:33

They have turned their backs to Me and not their faces. Though I taught them time and time again, they do not listen and receive discipline.

The instruction that we receive is to help us in obedience and to follow and live according to His will.  That, ultimately, is what is best for us.

Jesus’s teaching is to help us to see something far greater from His instruction than just mere words.

John 7:46

The police answered, “No man ever spoke like this!”

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Live for Jesus Christ with PASSION!

Today’s message of April 9, 2017 from Melvin Gaines:

There are plenty of messages that reach out to those who do not have a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.  I sense that there is a great need, however, to encourage believers to get better and stronger in their own faith.  It is too often that believers in Jesus Christ have poor growth and development, or even irregular or inconsistent growth spurts that may build up in one area but remain inadequate in others.  If we can show and help people, including non-believers, to see that being a believer in Jesus Christ is attractive and an admirable attribute, then we can leave it up to the Holy Spirit to prick the hearts, minds and souls of those who are on the fence to get off and declare Christ as Lord in their lives.

This past weekend, we explored how believers can take the necessary steps to live for Jesus Christ with PASSION.  It involved self-examination and self-evaluation, and it gives recognition that you are a special creation in God’s eyes—He knew of you and all about you before you were even conceived—and that you have your own uniqueness with God-given talents, gifts and abilities.  When you recognize your true purpose in Jesus Christ, you are on your way to serving Him and glorifying Him with your greatest potential being realized!  He wants you to be successful in your efforts to move people to see the grace and glory of Christ in everything you do!  This PASSION is the realization that you are truly living according to His purpose, and you are unstoppable!  Satan can try to slow you down, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, He sustains you, protects you, and gives you the ability to overcome adversity and shine before others.

So what is this PASSION?  It is the realization of a fulfilling life in Christ.  It is the ongoing effort to be the best that you can be in Christ.  He wants you to grow and learn through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.  All of this, however, begins with you:

Your desire to live for Christ.

Your desire to learn more about Christ and your relationship with Him.

Your desire to get involved in this thing called the Great Commission, and even if it means doing things outside of the box or challenging yourself to move out of your comfort zone at the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Passion describes the height of emotion, and it reflects a powerful emotional connection to Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit facilitates this connection with encouragement, reinforcement and guidance.  A passion-filled believer serves Jesus Christ with the confidence of one who knows who he or she is in Christ, and is readily available.  When Isaiah received the call and prompting from the Lord, his response was “Here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).  A passion-filled believer accepts the call and goes forth to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Do you have the passion for Jesus Christ that He really desires for you to have?  If you are confident in your abilities and are aware of the talents and gifts that God has given you, then you are certainly on your way.  If you lack the drive and energy that it takes to truly shine before others as you live your ministry, consider that you can find this passion if you truly seek the Lord and consider the following requisites of being a passion-filled believer.

The P in PASSION represents principled.

Principled believers adhere to a lifestyle that honors God and keeps His commands.

They rely upon the wisdom and words of God for daily living.

James 1:5

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

The A in PASSION represents the abundant life.

The ultimate goal of every person, believer or not, is to live an abundant life.  A life of abundance has nothing to do with money.  It has everything to do with living in Christ’s power and energy as you serve him each and every day, and the joy that you experience knowing that you are living life to the fullest for Him!

John 10:10 ESV

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

What is the abundant life?  It depends on how you look at it.  The non-believer, or even some believers, may associate abundance with wealth or riches.  That is not God’s definition of abundance.  He wants you to have a life that overflows with God’s presence in every aspect of your existence.  He wants you to experience the completeness of life according to His will and purpose for you.  The effect of an abundant life will be the blessings of life that God will show you because of your faithfulness to Him.

When you get right down to it, the only thing that keep us from living the abundant life is our lack of faith in the power of Jesus Christ over the enemy.  The enemy is Satan, who is described in John 10:10 as the one who seeks to kill and destroy, but God’s power and ability overcomes anything and everything that Satan can do.  The key to living the abundant life is to resist Satan and to seek and remain in fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.

James 4:7 NIV

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

You are worth so much more in your relationship with Jesus Christ!  In order to experience the abundant life, you will have to throw caution to the wind and life a life of faithfulness in trusting the words of Jesus Christ.  He wants so much more for you!  A passion-filled believer lives with purpose, and experiences the abundant life in Christ!

The first S in PASSION represents Spirit-filled.

The true abundant life can only be achieved by the believer in Jesus Christ.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the catalyst that enables you to achieve this abundance and live a passion-filled existence!

Ephesians 5:18

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is instantaneous upon accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, but the Spirit does not turn the believer into a mind-numbed robot.  You have to allow the Spirit to be in control in order to offset your own fleshly nature.

Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Being Spirit-filled means successful living in reverence and service for Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The Holy Spirit teaches believers how to live a Christlike existence, and His lessons are invaluable as He sanctifies with His presence.

Being Spirit-filled gives you the ability to live a life a passion for Jesus Christ:

Colossians 3:12-17 HCSB

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.  And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.  Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

The second S in PASSION stands for sanctified.

The Holy Spirit’s presence in the believer is a sanctifying presence.  Sanctification is the combination of the believer’s growth in the likeness of Christ. It is the accumulation and application of God’s wisdom and knowledge from none other than Jesus Christ, who A. B. Simpson refers to as “The Sanctifier.”  Jesus Christ proclaimed that the Holy Spirit is the One who will teach and remind believers of the words of Jesus Christ.

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit works within you from the moment of your conversion in recognition that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.  It is best described as an ongoing cleansing process as you put off the old and grow in your new life in Jesus Christ.

Sanctification is what God desires for your life.  You cannot live a life of passion in Christ without sanctification, because it is the essence of an obedient lifestyle.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NIV

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Sanctification does not mean a life of perfection, but it does mean that you desire to be holy as the Lord is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  It means that the believer desires a greater faith walk and a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, and both of these requires a humble, teachable role within the presence of the Spirit.

The I in PASSION represents being an influencer.

Sharing your faith, in the leading of the Holy Spirit, is influential.  The words spoken are given with conviction and in righteousness to those who hear them.  A passion-filled believer is speaking in accord with the will of God, who desires for every person to enter into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 HCSB

This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

There is a difference between an influencer and a coercer.  An influencer shows the love of Christ in their speech to others.  One who coerces is not really allowing the Spirit to work in the life of the hearer.  The words spoken are to reflect the love and concern of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:13-16 ESV

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

An influencer provides words of wisdom and knowledge about not just the gospel, but everything that is beneficial.

Proverbs 9:9 ESV

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

The O in PASSION represents being obedient to God and His Word.

Being obedient to God means loving Him with all of your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37), and it includes an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:15 ESV

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

1 John 5:3 ESV  

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

Loving God and obedience to Him are synonymous.  You cannot do one without the other.  A passion-filled believer strives to live in faithfulness and trust in the Word each day.

And finally, the N in PASSION represents being a new creation in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ’s sanctifying power through the Holy Spirit transforms you as a new creation each day.  Your actions of reading, studying, meditating on His Word and living out a faithful life in Jesus Christ is a constant life transition that will also show the growth and development as a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 HCSB

From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

This ongoing “newness” in Jesus Christ is an ongoing development.  Our challenge is to remain close to Him, and in our closeness, obedience and service to Him, He will continue to renew us as we strive for holiness.  He continues to provide us with the ability to resist sin and those things that block our ongoing transformation to a place of freedom and righteousness in His name.  We are being made new every day in Jesus Christ!  A passion-filled believer puts nothing above the importance of fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Principled.

Abundant Life.

Spirit-filled.

Sanctified.

Influencer.

Obedient to God and His Word.

New Creation.

Each of these requisites will lead to a believer truly living a passion-filled, abundant life in service for Jesus Christ.  If you are ready to take your relationship with Jesus Christ to the next level, He only wants you to take steps of faith towards Him, and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit will continue to work in you and sanctify you in your efforts to serve Him.  He will affirm you with blessings and enable you to endure any opposition.  You will become a positive influence before others as a light in a dark world, and an encourager to those who need it most.  As the Holy Spirit fills and sanctifies you, it is only a matter of time before you can live a passion-filled life in Jesus Christ!

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Move Beyond Your Circumstances In Christ

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
How do we get beyond our difficulties? How do we move forward? Many of us are still tripping up over old baggage–things that happened to us many years ago. If at the end of the day you can say you are successful, then you can claim victory.
2 Chronicles 32:30b
Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did.While you are not a failure, you can be a failure if you choose to do things your way and fail to be obedient to God. God’s way is really the only way. It applies to everyone and to every generation. What made Hezekiah successful in everything that he did? Here are some points of application for you to reference in the same ways that Hezekiah experienced in his successes:1. You are the only one that can make your life better. You need to be the better judge of character in those people you choose to surround you.2. You are not to feel sorry for yourself. Don’t dwell on matters that keep you on the sidelines.

3. You are to look for the open door, and, by faith, be willing to step through it.

4. You are to remain courageous. Don’t allow difficulty to cause you to lose courage. Press on, and don’t stop living in a positive way. You are to strive for the best in life.

5. You are to direct your thoughts to move you to act. Your thoughts are not to direct you or dictate to you what you are to do.

6. You choose to believe that God works everything together for good–to build you and shape your character.

Hezekiah could have made excuses for getting a raw deal out of life. He did not have a good household situation.
Hezekiah’s father Ahaz was not a godly man. He acted in regular disobedience to God.

2 Chronicles 28:1-5, 23-25
1 Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king and reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the Lord’s sight like his ancestor David, 2 for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and made cast images of the Baals. 3 He burned incense in the Valley of Hinnom and burned his children in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. 4 He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

5 So the Lord his God handed Ahaz over to the king of Aram. He attacked him and took many captives to Damascus.

Ahaz was also handed over to the king of Israel, who struck him with great force.

23 He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him; he said, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram are helping them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.” But they were the downfall of him and of all Israel.

24 Then Ahaz gathered up the utensils of God’s temple, cut them into pieces, shut the doors of the Lord’s temple, and made himself altars on every street corner in Jerusalem. 25 He made high places in every city of Judah to offer incense to other gods, and he provoked the Lord, the God of his ancestors.

Ahaz was evil, and his actions caused his family and his people to suffer. Hezekiah was raised in this environment. How did Hezekiah overcome this? In the same way, each one of us has to do what Hezekiah did…to remain faithful to God in spite of what you see around you. A pebble thrown into the water has a ripple effect that travels out from it. Our faith has a similar effect on those around us.

Isaiah had influence on Ahaz during his lifetime, and Hezekiah likely heard it (Isaiah 7:9 below).

Isaiah 7:3-13
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Fuller’s Field. 4 Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering stubs of firebrands, the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah. 5 For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say, 6 ‘Let us go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.’”

7 This is what the Lord God says:

It will not happen; it will not occur.
8 The head of Aram is Damascus,
the head of Damascus is Rezin
(within 65 years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people),
9 the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
then you will not stand at all.

10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—from the depths of Sheol to the heights of heaven.”

12 But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.”

13 Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God?

Hezekiah became king at age 25 after Ahaz died. Note that the influence on Hezekiah’s life was not a reference to his natural father, Ahaz.

2 Chronicles 29:1-11
1 Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done.

3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the Lord’s temple and repaired them. 4 Then he brought in the priests and Levites and gathered them in the eastern public square. 5 He said to them, “Hear me, Levites. Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of Yahweh, the God of your ancestors. Remove everything impure from the holy place. 6 For our fathers were unfaithful and did what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They abandoned Him, turned their faces away from the Lord’s tabernacle, and turned their backs on Him.[b] 7 They also closed the doors of the portico, extinguished the lamps, did not burn incense, and did not offer burnt offerings in the holy place of the God of Israel. 8 Therefore, the wrath of the Lord was on Judah and Jerusalem, and He made them an object of terror, horror, and mockery,[c] as you see with your own eyes. 9 Our fathers fell by the sword, and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity because of this. 10 It is in my heart now to make a covenant with Yahweh, the God of Israel so that His burning anger may turn away from us. 11 My sons, don’t be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to serve Him, and to be His ministers and burners of incense.”

Hezekiah did not do what his father did–he did what was right before God as David, his grandfather, had done. First, he opened the doors to the house of worship for his people. He wanted a relationship with God and knew that the same approach would be best for his people. He wanted to get people involved with this work…he wanted others–godly people–to help him to learn and grow in faith and worship together. It was a rebuilding process. Hezekiah had to gather the people willing to help clean out all of the things that defiled the temple.

There are times when you need to go back and evaluate the family in order to know what to avoid and to move away from those practices. You must acknowledge what was wrong in order to change the wrong patterns of family behavior from one generation to another. There are blessings in your obedience to God’s Word and in your resistance of those things that are outside of your obedience to Him.

When you praise and worship God, you build in yourself the character that will renew and reinforce your relationship with God. It is not about dwelling on the past or the tough times. It is about truly seeking Him as opposed to just acting it out and not just going through the motions. Is your heart willing to dedicate yourself to The Lord?

2 Chronicles 29:27-30; 30:1, 6
29:27 Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. When the burnt offerings began, the song of the Lord and the trumpets began, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 The whole assembly was worshiping, singing the song, and blowing the trumpets—all of this continued until the burnt offering was completed. 29 When the burnt offerings were completed, the king and all those present with him bowed down and worshiped. 30 Then King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to sing praise to the Lord in the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with rejoicing and bowed down and worshiped.

30:1 Then Hezekiah sent word throughout all Israel and Judah, and he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem to observe the Passover of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

6 So the couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the hand of the king and his officials, and according to the king’s command, saying, “Israelites, return to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel so that He may return to those of you who remain, who have escaped from the grasp of the kings of Assyria.

If you see there are problems in your life, and even in your past, how will you choose to respond to them? Are you willing to humble yourself, acknowledge sin in your own life and repent of it, and make changes for the better? Are you willing to seek God, pray in earnest and continue to grow and build your relationship with Jesus Christ and serve Him? All of these are choices that you must make.


God With Us

Matthew 1:18-25
The Nativity of the Messiah
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant

and give birth to a son,

and they will name Him Immanuel,

which is translated “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her 25 but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.

When we look at the story of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, we find that it is more than just a baby boy’s birth–it is, in fact, seeing God at work. It is the story of God being among His creation. God’s plan was to have Immanuel dwell with us. Even though He came to be with us, He did so as God in the flesh.

Why did God choose to be among us and leave His kingdom? The short answer is that we could not go to Him in our sin. He is a holy and righteous God that would never allow sin to enter His domain. As a result, God, who is holy, righteous and just, came to us to do the work that would make us righteous before Him. God loves us so much that He desires to be present with us. We are reminded, even in the very beginning, that God walked with Adam. This was before the fall of man. His desire was to dwell and walk with man, but He does not excuse the sin that we possess, which calls for the need for a Savior.

Why didn’t God use a great person of faith to do this work? While people like Mother Teresa and Gandhi were great people indeed, none of these great people could do the work that God was to do. God did not have a fear of man, while Abraham, a great man of God, was unable to take on such a burden where a sacrifice needed to be made.

Genesis 12:12-13
12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ They will kill me but let you live. 13 Please say you’re my sister so it will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared on your account.”

Jesus was willing to come to earth to dwell among us to give His life for us on the cross. God is life in Himself. Without God, there is no life. He came into the world to save us, not Himself.

What about Moses, a great man of faith?

Numbers 11:10-12
10 Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents. The LORD was very angry; Moses was also provoked. 11 So Moses asked the LORD, “Why have You brought such trouble on Your servant? Why are You angry with me, and why do You burden me with all these people? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so You should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing woman carries a baby,’ to the land that You swore to [give] their fathers?

How would Moses bear the burden of the entire world? He couldn’t do it. Only God Himself could bear the burden of the entire world.

The name of Immanuel…God with us. The name of Jesus…because He will save everyone from their sin.

What about David? Read the account of the sin of David and misuse of his power and authority in 2 Samuel 11:14-27. More than just the adultery that David committed, he demonstrated that he could not be trusted with the power and authority. Jesus declared that He was the One who was given all power and authority, but He never abused that power.

John 8:3:11
3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” 6 They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him.

Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. 7 When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

8 Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. 9 When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. 10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, ” Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”]

God made the choice to come to earth to forgive…not to condemn.

What about Isaiah? All he could do was confess his unrighteousness in the midst of a holy God:

Isaiah 6:1-5
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe [a] filled the temple. 2 Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another:
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Hosts;
His glory fills the whole earth.
4 The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 Then I said:
Woe is me, for I am ruined,
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
[and] because my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of Hosts.

What about Jeremiah?

Jeremiah 20:7-9
7 You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived.
You seized me and prevailed.
I am a laughingstock all the time;
everyone ridicules me.
8 For whenever I speak, I cry out—
I proclaim: Violence and destruction!
because the word of the LORD has become for me
constant disgrace and derision.

9 If I say: I won’t mention Him
or speak any longer in His name,
His message becomes a fire burning in my heart,
shut up in my bones.
I become tired of holding it in,
and I cannot prevail.

God loved His people so much that He readily proclaimed the truth from His father, and no one would keep Him from proclaiming the message of His Father.

John 17:4-5
4 I have glorified You on the earth

by completing the work You gave Me to do.

5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence

with that glory I had with You

before the world existed.

Jesus was born in order to carry out the message of truth and would not be deterred. His message was one that no one else could deliver.

John 8:26
“I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the One who sent Me is true, and what I have heard from Him—these things I tell the world.”

He loves us and cares for us in a very personal way. When Jesus spoke, we were able to see His heart for His people and His love for us.

Romans 8:3-4
3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

There is no one on earth that could carry out the message that God can. Let’s remember that the Christmas that we celebrate was indeed God Himself coming to us to do His work. He came to save His people and deliver them from their sins.