- Sermon Notes
God with Us
ILLUS – What do you think of when you think of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus?
1. Though surrounded by conflict today, over 2,000 years ago a miraculous event occurred there which changed the landscape of human history forever.
2. Around 700 BC, the prophet Micah prophesied about this little town and the One who would be born within its borders….
Micah 5:2, But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
3. Who is this One who came forth from God to be ruler in Israel?
4. Let’s turn to Matthew 1:18-25 to discover what the Apostle Matthew wholeheartedly believed, that Jesus, King of the Jews, is also God with Us!
1. Last week, we noted that Matthew began his Gospel with a genealogy because the first thing a Jew would say in response to the claim that Jesus is the Messiah is, “Prove it! Prove Jesus is qualified to be Messiah!” The genealogy of Jesus is the first step in doing just that!
2. The genealogy of Jesus confirms that He is qualified to be Messiah because He is the fulfillment of the covenants that God made with Abraham (Genesis 15) and David (2 Samuel 7).
3.But in verse 16, there is a significant change to the genealogical pattern in Matthew’s Gospel. Notice the differences between verse 5 and verse 16:
Matthew 1:5, “and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth;”
Matthew 1:16, “and to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”
4. By changing the pattern Matthew was declaring that Joseph was the legal father, but he was not the biological father of Jesus.
5. In fact, the pronoun “whom” in the Greek is feminine not masculine. Matthew used a feminine pronoun to make it clear the conception of Jesus was not only unique but supernatural!
Transition – Now in verses 18-25, Matthew recounts the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus to show how it was prophetically predicted and fulfilled.
I. The Virgin Shall be with Child (18-23)
A. Messiah must be from the seed of woman
1. Verse 18 makes it clear that Mary’s pregnancy was not due to adultery but was an Immaculate Conception. In fact, she was still a virgin!
2. But one can only imagine how Joseph must have felt after word got back to him that his wife, Mary, was pregnant.
3. Wedding customs in that day were very different from today.
a. Often Jewish marriages were arranged by the parents before their children were born.
b. When a coupled got engaged, they were legally considered married and were called husband and wife.
c. But the moment the “engagement” began, the husband would go away for one year to prepare a dwelling for his wife while she lived with her parents.
d. After one year, the husband would come for his wife. There would be a large public ceremony followed by the husband and wife consummating their marriage.
e. During that year apart, if the wife was found to be unfaithful, the Law of Moses permitted the husband to publicly humiliate his wife and have her put to death in accordance with Deuteronomy 22:20-21…
Deuteronomy 22:20-21, But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel, by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
f. But some husbands opted to write a certificate of divorce instead in accordance with Deuteronomy 24:1.
4. It was during that one-year period of separation that Joseph learned Mary was pregnant. What was he going to do?
5. Joseph was a “righteous man” who loved Mary. Being slow to anger and quick to protect her reputation, he decided to go with the Deuteronomy 24 option and secretly divorce Mary (19).
6. After he had made up his mind, an angel appeared to him in a dream to set the record straight and shed light on the child’s role in God’s redemptive plan (20-21).
a. Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.
b. The child in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
c. You shall call Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
7. Then Matthew links the angel’s words to the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, showing that Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied over 700 years earlier (22-23).
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Key Point – Isaiah’s prophecy is consistent with God’s judgment against Satan after the fall of Adam and Eve.
Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
ILLUS – Discussion about Genesis 3 with Rabbi’s family during a Shabbat dinner…
Observe – God declared that there would be enmity between “her seed” and Satan and that “her seed”, He, would bruise or crush the serpent, Satan’s head, while Satan would bruise “her seed” on the heel!
APPL – Literally, the seed of woman would crush or defeat Satan! When did this happen? At the cross!
Colossians 2:15, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (NIV)
Question: Why must God’s redemptive plan include the seed of woman, a virgin bearing a Son, and not the seed of man?
Answer: Because, according to the Bible, the sin nature is passed from one generation to the next through the father!
Romans 5:12, 19, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men,because all sinned – For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…”
Transition – Not only is the Messiah the seed of woman…
B. The Messiah must be God’s Son
1. The angel declared, “for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (20).
2. By being conceived by the Holy Spirit…
a. No sin nature was transmitted to Jesus.
b. He who is eternal, can be identified with the people He came to save from their sins (21).
c. This is called the hypostatic union. The Apostle Paul sheds light on this important doctrine of the Christian faith.
Philippians 2:5-8, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did
not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even on a cross.”
d. Jesus “emptied” Himself by adding a human nature to His divine nature. Jesus’ deity was not diminished with the addition of a human nature. Therefore,
Jesus is fully God and fully man.
4. The angel’s words to Joseph are consistent with Old Testament Messianic prophesies.
a. Messiah will reign on David’s throne forever.
2 Samuel 7:12-13, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
b. Messiah is greater than David
Psalm 110:1, The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
c. Messiah is God’s Son
Psalm 2:7, I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.”
d. Messiah is God
Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
APPL – The name “Jesus” means “Yahweh is salvation” and is our Savior’s personal name, a name which reveals His mission to save His people from their sins.
APPL – The word “Christ” is the official title of Jesus because He is the One anointed to save His people from their sins and reign forever on David’s throne.
APPL – The name “Immanuel” reveals how all of this is possible, by God becoming man and bridging the gap between sinful humanity and a holy God!
APPL – If God is with us, then we have hope that there is more to this life then what we see. We have hope that our sin truly is forgiven and when this life is over we will be with God forever. We have hope that while we dwell in a fallen world, God is with us, and He is all we need!
Transition – If you want to have God with you, a choice is required, a decision must be made…
II. Immanuel Demands a Decision (24-25)
A. Faith always obeys God commands
1. After Joseph woke up from his dream, Matthew records that he did all that “the angel of the Lord commanded him to do” (24).
2. Joseph took Mary as his wife, brought her into his home, breaking all cultural norms, in order to protect her and the divine child in her womb.
3.Joseph kept her a virgin until after the child was born to nullify any claim that the divine child was his biological son (25).
APPL – Does this mean that Mary remained a virgin all her life, as the Roman Catholic Church claims?
ILLUS – My conversation with a Roman Catholic priest about this topic when I was a youth…
4. Joseph named the Child, Jesus (25).
APPL – Joseph is a great example of faith for us. He was the right man for the job. Can you imagine the pressure? Raising Messiah, God’s
APPL – Jesus was asked about faith and gave insights to the relationship between our faith and our choices in John 6:28….
John 6:28-29, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
APPL – Once a person decides to place his or her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, they are forever changed by God’s love and His love motivates them to keep God’s Word.
John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
APPL – Joseph answered the high calling of God even though it also meant facing rumors and ridicule his whole life. You see the enemy of our souls, Satan, has been warring against the doctrine of the virgin birth from the beginning with attacks against the character of Mary and the deity of Jesus. Listen to the words of Jesus’ accusers…
John 8:41, They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”
APPL – The former persecutor of the early church who became the Apostle Paul was forever changed by Immanuel, God with us, to the point that he said,
Read Philippians 3:7-11
B. You’re either for Jesus or against Him
Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
1. Our choices reveal where we stand.
2. We either believe Jesus is the Christ or we deny He is the Christ. There is no middle ground.
IILUS – A frequent joke in Israel
Problem – To delay is to decide.No decision really is a decision and after this life is over there’s no chance for a do-over!
Hebrews 9:27, “…it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment”
APPL – If we deny He is the Christ now, He will deny us when we stand before Him and the Father.
Matthew 10:33, “But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
APPL – But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so that we might have God with Us and all the blessings that brings for this life and the life to come…
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
APPL – Jesus asked His disciples a question that everyone must answer…
Matthew 16:15-16, He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
APPL – Who do you say Jesus is? If you say, with Peter, Jesus is the Christ, then you can find comfort in His words…
Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 1:18-25 NASB
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of 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 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 "behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us." 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.