“JESUS” – GOD IS SALVATION
Matthew 1v21 “…give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
ILLUST: Something that many new parents have difficulty deciding is what name to give to their new baby. Names are important because the name you are given as a baby you have to live with for the rest of your life. Maybe you don’t like your name.
My name is different! Usually a surname not a first name. I often have to explain that it is not Ray, Graham or Gary.
We generally give our children names because we simply like the name or because it was our parents or Grand parents name. Does not usually mean anything to us, it is just a label.. Even if the name actually has a meaning.
Do you know what your name means? Andrew – manly; Jane, Janet, Jeannette means God is Gracious
ILLUST: Lindewe – name of daughter of friends of ours. They waited for a long time to have a baby and the name means “The long awaited one”
Another friend with a big beard. given a Zulu name meaning – “The one who speaks from the forest.
When Jesus was born 2000 years ago name were very important. They told you something about the person.
Joseph and Mary didn’t have any difficulty deciding what to call their new baby. The angel had told he was to be called “Jesus”.
He was given the name Jesus because it described who he was and what he was going to do.
His name means “‘Yahweh’ God is Salvation”. [v21…because he will save his people from their sins.”
We have to ask the question, “Save from what?” Well from sin that is what v21 tells us. Society doesn’t like to talk about sin anymore. People do evil thing because they are socially deprived or had bad parents etc…. Now these things may be contributing factors but they are not the root cause.
By nature all men and women, boys and girls have a bent/bias towards sin.
ILLUST: Any one ever told a lie or stolen something [sweets from brother or sister; ever cheated at school by copying someone else’s work].
Who told you that you should do that? Did your Mum or Dad ever sit you down in a chair and say, “Now listen Johnny this is how you are to tell a lie.” NO! we just do it. It seems to just come from inside us. That is because of sin.
Death is because of sin. People don’t like to talk about death but it happens every day and it will happen to every one of us. When we are young and healthy death seems far away but in less than 100 years no one in the room will be alive on this earth.
Many people spend their whole life looking for ways to make life secure. Influential positions, insurance policies, health insurance. Ultimately however life ends and all these things come to an end. Many spend great amounts of money and energy pursuing happiness and pleasure but the more it is pursued the more illusive it seems to become.
Why? — why do things go wrong? Because the world is not perfect and it is not perfect because of sin. Sin polluted the world and came under the judgement of God.
ILLUST: Society is becoming very GREEN in trying to deal with water, air and others kinds of pollution. And that is good as we are responsible before God to care for the environment.
But what is the point of having a GREEN world when people’s hearts are black with sin pollution.
I thought Christmas was supposed to be a happy time. This is all a bit gloomy, isn’t it?
Yes Christmas is mean to be a time of rejoicing but only if we see it in its right perspective.
Let me read to you what Christmas means to most people in the Western World.
READ: “Joy to the Mall” An alternative version of Luke 2v1-20 [Baptist Times Nov.26,1992]
JOY TO THE MALL!
An Alternative Version of Luke 2:1-20
|And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that all Britain should go shopping.
2. [And this decree was first made when leading economic indicators dipped to their lowest point].
3. And all went out to shop, each to his own mall.
4. And a Christian also went up from his suburban home to the city with all its shopping malls because he wanted to prove that he was from the household of prosperity.
5. And with him was his wife, who was great with economic worry.
6. And so it was that while they were there, they found many expensive presents, pudgy-faced dolls, trucks that turn into robots, and a various assortment of video games.
7. And the woman wrote cheques for those they could afford and charged the rest to many different kinds of plastic cards; she wrapped the presents in bright paper and laid them in the garage because there was no room for them in the bedroom.
8. And there were in the same country children keeping watch over their stocking by night.
9. And, lo, Father Christmas came upon them; and the were sore afraid [expecting to see the special effects they had seen in the movies],
10. And he said to them, “Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people who can afford this Christmas break.
|11. “For unto you will be given this day, in your suburban home, great feasts of turkey, stuffing and Christmas pudding – and many presents.
12. “And this will be a sign to you: you shall find the presents, wrapped in bright paper, lying beneath an artificial tree adorned with tinsel, coloured balls and lights.”
13. And suddenly there was with Father Christmas a multitude of relatives and friends, praising one another and saying,
14. “Glory to you for getting me this gift; it was just what I wanted”.
15. And it came to pass as the friends and relatives were gone away into their own homes, the parents said to one another,
16. “I’m glad that’s over. What a mess! I’m too tired to clear up now let’s go to bed and clear up tomorrow.”
17. And when they had said this, they remembered the statement that had been told them by the shopkeepers: “Christmas comes but once a year”
18. And they that heard it wondered at those things told to them by the shopkeepers,
19. But the children treasured their things in their hearts, hoarding their toys from each another.
20. And the parents, after a drink, went to bed, glorifying and praising each other for all the bargains they had found in the shops.
[“Baptist Times” November 26, 1992. Adapted from an original script by Chris Dolan, Pastor of Shreveport Bible Church, Shreveport, Louisianna, U.S.A. which appeared in “Christianity Today”]
If this is what your Christmas means then it is a false Christmas and a spurious happiness.
We can only know the true meaning of Christmas when we see why Jesus came and respond to Him. The Banner with the manager in the shadow of the cross is a true picture of what Christmas means.
With the coming of sin into the world through Adam in the Garden of Eden there came guilt, bondage to sin, alienation from God and the punishment of God. It was for this that Jesus came, to rescue us.
Mild he lays his glory by.
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Jesus came to save us from our sin. But there is no point in being saved from one mess and landing in another mess. He doesn’t only save us from something he also saves us for something.
Sin put a wall between us and God. Jesus breaks that down and restores the relationship.
Sin holds in bondage from which we can not escape. Jesus can free us from that.
Peace is something that every one talks about and longs for but who has it. Political peace is freedom from trouble and war. God’s peace is peace in spite of and even in the midst of trouble and war.
Sin brought death. Physical death but ultimately spiritual death and eternal seperation from God. Jesus destroyed death and sin and hell by his death on the cross and can thus offer us eternal life. Not just life that continues for ever but a new quality of life. Life that is live by the power of God.
Without the baby and the manger Jesus wouldn’t have come and there would be no Christmas but Christmas has no meaning if there is no cross. But Christmas remains meaningless for us as individuals unless and until we respond to what Jesus has done for us. That means tat we must repent of our sin and respond to Christ’s offer of salvation.
“.. you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from there sins.”
May we all know and thus be able to rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas!