Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Matthew 1:18–1:25, Isaiah 9:1–9:7, Matthew 4:13–4:17, 2 Corinthians 1:20
Matthew 1:18-25 NIV
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us"). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
We Want to Believe in Promises
Promises offer hope. It's hope that comes from trust that's based upon a promise. But as we go through life, broken promises cause us to lose hope. The result is not just the devastation of external consequences, but it's also the internal impact where we become hardened and protective, unable and unwilling to trust again. When this happens, we lose faith in promises.
The Nature of Promises
A promise is only as good as the one who makes it. People break their promises either out of an inability to keep them (we're not smart or strong enough to carry it out) or an intention to deceive (where we had never planned on honoring our word in the first place). So for promises to be made and kept, we need both ability (wisdom and strength) and intention (goodness and love) to do what we said we would.
Isaiah 9:1-7 NIV
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the lord Almighty will accomplish this.
A Word about Prophets
As spokesmen for the Lord, the prophets' job was to be faithful to proclaim what God had given them. They were speak those words, even if they didn’t understand all that they said or how it would come to pass. As a result, their prophecies often found both immediate fulfillment in contemporary history, but then there was also ultimate fulfillment to their prophecies in the person of Jesus.
Matthew 4:13-17 NIV
Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.
Hope in Promises Made
Where do you need some hope today? Where do you need to trust in God’s promises? Where do you need to wait on God’s timing? Where do you need to submit to God’s ways?
As we continue our “Promise” Christmas series, Pastor Dan will walk through some lesser known stories about Jesus. We’ll encounter the promise-keeping character of God and how that should encourage our faith today.