During December leading up to Christmas we are setting our focus on the written accounts seen in two of the four Gospels about the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. It will take us back to the foundation of the Christmas story, revealing the joy and celebration it brings to all who place their faith in Christ.
The sermon series is titled “With Us” taken from the words Matthew used to prove that what happened to Mary and Joseph was a clear demonstration of God’s plan revealed. Matthew said “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23
This was originally spoken prophetically through Isaiah regarding a sign from God. “Then Isaiah said… Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:13-14
Matthew had given us a literal meaning of the name Immanuel to reveal the significance of this event, that Jesus whose name means salvation: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Is actually “God with us”.
Sometimes I get the feeling when I look around in shops, street displays and talking with people that Christmas is celebrated because of a story. For many people, it becomes a cute story that justifies the day to stop and celebrate with family and friends exchanging gifts and conversation of the year we had.
God’s plan to send Jesus is for the very reason His name implies, ‘he will save his people from their sins.’ There is nothing cute about the story, only the revealing of an undeniable truth that is life-changing when we hand over our lives to His purpose and direction.
The Gospel of Mark makes no mention about the events that took place during the miraculous birth of Jesus. But the way he started his account regarding the life of Jesus could not be summarised any better. He wrote: “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,” Mark 1:1
I understand the importance of retelling the story as it reveals God’s plan in the way nobody expected the Messiah would come. It was truly a miracle only God Almighty could make happen. But we must be careful that the story does not dilute the truth.
Matthew’s translation “God with us” is captured in Mark’s words “The beginning of the good news about Jesus” says it all for me. Christmas is not about the story – it’s all about the good news.
I am referring the good news to the ‘Gospel’ – He will save His people from their sins. This is God coming down to earth incarnated with only one purpose. To redeem mankind and open a way into a new life of victory and fellowship with God.
When we live with a conviction of the Gospel, everything changes for us. It is no longer a story we retell in December every year, rather it’s the good news we are compelled to tell people about every day.
This Christmas let’s make a decision together to tell the good news to anyone who will listen. Showing them that God is with us and He came for them as Jesus – to save them from all their sins.
In March 2018, I have planned a sermon series called “What is the Gospel?” We are going to learn together the importance of having a conviction of the Gospel and what to say, so when anyone asks you or questions about the good news – you can tell them.
Have a great Christmas as we celebrate together “God with us”.