In this sermon, Pastor Neil talks examines the name Jesus– the meaning of His names– what His presence means to us. Here are some excerpts:
How is He with us always? Since His ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, He is with us in the person of God the Holy Spirit, who is God-with-us forever.
Which means that wherever you go, to Iraq or Afghanistan or Haiti or anywhere else, God is with you. Immanuel.
Whatever heartaches or hardships or disappointments you may face, God is with you. Immanuel.
When your health is threatened, cancer or other illness invades, you’re having a hard time making ends meet, things are not going well at work or home or school, remember: Immanuel.
And when you feel close to God and you feel as though God is absent, remember: Immanuel.
When life throws at you more than you can handle, remember: Immanuel. In the best of times and in the worst of times, remember: Immanuel.
Christmas means that God is with us. It also means that God is for us. That is Paul’striumphant testimony in Romans 8. How do we know that God is for us? Look to the stable where Jesus was born, to the birth of the One who came to save us from our sins, to the cross, where the love of God for you and me and the whole world is expressed in suffering and sacrifice. Look to the empty tomb. Jesus is the sign – more than that, He is the proof – that God is for us. And His love will never let us go.
The name Jesus expresses the essence of the purpose of His coming to us: He came to save His people form their sins. From our sins.
The name Immanuel expresses the essence of His identity. He was and is nothing less than God with us.
Rejoice in the wonder of who He is and what He has done this Christmas and always.
If you have never done so, there is no better time than right now – right this moment – to get right with God, stop running from Jesus, swallow your pride, trust Him to take away your sins, open your heart to receive Him as your Savior and King. If you have drifted in your faith, wandered from the path of following Jesus, if you’re not as close toGod as you once were, now is the time to come back to the Savior and let Him have His way in your life.
You will receive the best Christmas gift ever if you do. And this will be a Christmas you never forget.