Immanuel“God with us” … the name given to the Savior of Mankind

When Jesus was conceived and destined to be born through Mary, He was given this name

 

(Matthew 1:23)

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

 

This is the hope the whole nation of Israel was looking forward to, but …

 

God have a bigger plan.

 

This hope of salvation is extended to people all over the world.

 

Jesus is God’s salvation plan to the nations, races and tribes

 

The Gospel would never have been written without Jesus.

The Gospel of Jesus is about God’s salvation plan for Man.

 

In our times and generation, there are many who think “what does God have to do with people?” And there are many who don’t bother if there is a God.

 

Man was a deliberate creation of God.

We were created to worship God and to fellowship with God.

We should never forget our roots and our history because it reminds us of two important life issues –

 

1) How we had fallen away from our Creator, and our human need for salvation.

2) How God provided for our redemption through Jesus.

 

The first important issue is factual about our past and the second important issue reveals how God can change our future

 

God created us but He will not leave us alone to perish in our sins without hope.

 

We have sinned against God, we deserved to die, we deserved judgement and hell, but God have provided a way of escape.

However, there is a clear different between

 

“God will save us”

 and

“God’s salvation plan”

 

“God will save us” – God is sovereign and almighty, He have the power to save.

“God’s salvation plan” – means we need to response according to His plan as we are able to, because God cannot save those who refused to obey and act in faith.

 

I know there has been a lot of argument about infants and people who died without the abilities to response, and all these I will refer to the sovereignty of God.

Means to say, I believe and acknowledge God is almighty and sovereign and He alone knows who is able to response and who is not able to response. I believe and am fully convinced God will act for those who are not able to.

But for the rest of us who have the ability to response, and we know ourselves we have the abilities to response, we definitely need to response, because God will hold us accountable.

So how will God save us through Jesus? And how should we response through God’s salvation plan?

 

(Psalm 23)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

The message in Psalm 23 is well-known across the world.

It is comforting, encouraging, and it has a good ending.

Even non-believers across the world who don’t attend Christian fellowship know about it.

 

Well, Psalm 23 is not just talking about sheep. Although it refers to “sheep”, it is talking about relationship between God and man.

The “Lord” here refers to God.

The “shepherd” here refers to Jesus.

 

Oh yes!

Jesus is God and Lord and Shepherd of our souls.

And so how will God save us through Jesus?

 

Step ONE ….

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 

Have we acknowledged Jesus as our Lord and Savior?

This is the most fundamental foundational truth of Christianity; no one can start his Christian life without this!

Every person need to take responsibility and take that step of faith and acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior!

Many have heard the Gospel of Jesus but have yet to make a personal response to confess and acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior.

 

Non-believers can argue “why do we need a savior”.

Therefore earlier I mentioned we must not forget our own human history and roots.

Human was a deliberate creation of God.

We were created to worship God and to fellowship with God.

But we have sinned against God through disobedience and went astray.

We can be here alive in body and moving, but we are spiritually dead without fellowship and communion with God, and we are all awaiting our physical death.

To receive Jesus as Lord and Savior is to let God renew and restore our soul.

To receive Jesus as Lord and Savior is to repent and turn away from our sins and disobedience –

 

(Ephesians 2:1-7)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

So this is it.

We were dead, destined to die physically death, and we were spiritually dead as we had no fellowship with God due to sins and disobedience.

We need to response by turning away from sins and disobedience against God.

And when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, God make us alive through Jesus.

Only through Jesus we are able to engage in lively meaningful fellowship with God.

 

What do we do next after we received our new life in Jesus?

Step TWO.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 

Walk with God and continue in this fellowship with God and worship God through Jesus.

 

Our Christian life is a journey of faith and obedience.

 

We need to do our due diligence to protect and guard this relationship we have with Jesus, till we meet Him in person.

It does not make sense to turn away from our sins and disobedience to receive new life from Jesus and still continue in our old ways which does not work for good!

 

(2 Corinthians 5:7) – for we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

The Apostle Paul’s instruction for the church does not means we walk blindly not knowing where we are going! No!

To live by faith is to live in obedience as according to Jesus teachings and commandments.

To live by faith is to trust in the promises of God.

Jesus was crucified on the crossed and died, but on the third day raised from the dead as according to the promises and word of God!

 

(Acts 2:23-28)

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.

For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.

You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

 

This same Jesus who was crucified and died and being resurrected from the dead, is God’s chosen Messiah.

This same Jesus will return again to Earth in person to judge the world.

Yes we will all be judged as according to the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ. Therefore we are called to live in obedience to Jesus Christ.

Remember the two important life issues I shared earlier –

 

1) How we had fallen away from our Creator, and our human need for salvation.

2) How God provided for our redemption through Jesus.

 

The first important issue deals with our past and the second important issue deals with our future.

It is very easy for us to read history and blame it on Adam and Eve.

But if we ourselves don’t continue to live in obedience, we risk falling away from God and going astray.

Now I want to bring your attention to the last ending verse of Psalm 23

 

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

That is the ultimate destination of Psalm 23, and this is where Jesus our Lord and Savior wants to bring us to.

 

Eternal fellowship with Jesus, to be in the kingdom of God forever

 

Our whole life here on Earth is our journey of faith with Jesus.

When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need to stand firm with Jesus.

When we are faced with all sorts of distractions and diversion that promised fake salvation and fake promises of hope, we must stand firm with Jesus.

 

(John 14: 6)Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified on the cross by order of Pontius Pilate is God’s appointed Messiah. I repeat and emphasis that!

This same Jesus who was born through the virgin-birth of Mary, of the seed of Abraham and of the house of David, who went through water-baptism under John the Baptist and preached repentance for the kingdom of God, is our Lord and Savior.

This same Jesus who was betrayed and crucified on the cross but on the third day rose from the dead by the power and authority of God to resurrect the dead and never to die again, is God’s salvation plan for man.

This same Jesus is the source of eternal life, none other.

 

I would like to end this message with

 

(Mark 10:51)

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

 

Jesus asked What do you want me to do for you?because God needed a response from us as we are able to.

In the days of the Gospel, people who knew Jesus in person they know Jesus have the power to work wonders and to save. In fact the Pharisees were so convinced Jesus can save people’s life that they threaten Jesus not to heal on the Sabbath and those who agree with Jesus were excommunicated from the synagogue.

So why would God bother to ask when He have the sovereign power to do so?

 

so that we know for sure what we want in life, both now and the future.

 

Imagine today Jesus asking you What do you want me to do for you?

What would you ask for?

 

Immanuel“God with us”

 

The best thing in life, both now and the future is eternal fellowship with God through Jesus.

 

In-His-Service

David Z