CHRISTMAS DAY 1993.
“Immanuel” – God with us
ILLUST: Five years ago no one here at Binscombe knew who I was. Imagine if ,one day, I had written you a letter. You received and read the letter. Would you know me? NO You would know a little bit about me but you wouldn’t know me.
After a number of letters I sent you a photograph of myself. Would you know me then? NO, you would now know what I looked like but you still wouldn”t know me.
If after that a very close friend of mine came to live in Godaliming and he told you more about me. All the naughty things I did when I was boy etc… Would you know me then? NO, you still would not know me.
BUT you do know me, WHY? Because I came to Godalming myself with my wife and children and now you know me and I know you.
You know me because I came to live amongst you. That in a small way illustrates what God did. There was a time in the OT when God, through the Propets, told people about himself and they knew something about God and what he was like.
But then one day God came himself. That day was Christmas 2000 years ago. Jesus came to live where we live. He came to be a human like you and me.
“And Christ became a human being
and lived here on earth among us
and was full of grace and truth”
“Long ago God spoke in many different ways
to our fathers through the prophets, ..
But now … he has spoken to us through his Son”
Jesus came to live where we live and to be like us in every way. The only difference between him and us, and it is a big difference, there was no sin in Jesus. We, however, are born sinners and it was for that very reason that Jesus came. To save us, to rescue us from our sin.
Jesus is just like us but with no sin in him. He is also like someone else.
ILLUST: There was a Nativity play at a school one evening. There was Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds and the angels…. Then came the wise men and as they each knelt to give their gifts one of them forgot his lines. The teacher urged him to say something, to say anything. Eventually he blurted out, “Eeh, He’s just like his Dad, isn’t he?” [From tract “The Nativity Play” -Topical Christian Tracts, Horsforth ,Leeds]
The little boy was right, Jesus is just like his Dad. His father is God himself. Jesus is just like God; in fact Jesus is God. His “name is called Immanuel – God with us” Here was the Creator of the universe himself become a creature.
Listen to the words of one of Charles Wesley’s hymns;
“.. Our God contracted to a span,
In comprehensibly made man.
He deigns in flesh to appear,
Widest extremes to join;
[God and man joined together in one]
To bring our vileness near,
and make us all divine:
And we the life of God shall know,
For God is manifest below.
Jesus who was like God became like us so that we could become like God. Doesn’t this boggle your mind. God wants us to be like him. Not that we can be God that is blasphemous but that we can reflect his image and be what He made us to be before sin entered the world.
But it is precisely because sin entered the world that Jesus came. By coming to earth and going to the cross and dying Jesus took upon his shoulders all the sin of all the people in all the world for all time.
He paid the price so that we could be forgiven and be given new life.
But in order to receive this new life we need to respond to him.
ILLUST: [From tract “The Nativity Play” -Topical Christian Tracts, Horsforth ,Leeds]
“In another nativity play a boy whose nickname was ‘Wally’ was chosen to be the inn-keeper The crowd was enthralled by watching the childern act. Eventually Joseph and Mary knocked at the inn door, “Sorry … we have no room .. go away!”
Joseph asked again,”Are you sure? We have travelled a long way and Mary is due to have a aby at any time.” It seemed ages before Wally replied, “Sorry but there is no room.”
Joseph and Mary slowly turn to go their way. Wally watched. Then he shouted, “Joseph, come back you can use my bedroom!”
Another navivity play ruined! But a truth Told.
Is there room in Your life for Christ? Or are you saying to Him, “Go away there is no room for you.” Jesus’ coming to Earth and dying for us on the cross to take away the sin of the world remains meaningless until we respond to his offer of salvation. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. If we could have saved ourselves there would have been no need for Christ to come and die.
But it is precisely because we cannot save ourselves that he did come and he died for YOU and for ME. If we have responded to his offer of salvation then he has become our Immanuel – God lives in us and we in Him. If you haven’t responded to Him yet, then he remains distant and you remain cut off from God. Why not respond to his this Christmas and really come to know him as “Immanuel – God with us”?