Monday, December 19, 2011

God With Us (Emmanuel)

Matt. 1:23

We know God has always been with His people. Because He's A) omnipresent - everywhere at once - and B) He's faithful to His promises.

There for the Old Testament is full of "God With Us" episodes and promises.

BUT NOW - He's come physically! John 1:1, 14 - incarnation (took on flesh) - lived as a man, died as a man. That's what Christmas is about.

Could argue "what new developments?" - concerning "with us".
But all agree the Incarnation led to new insights and better understanding.

Because of the Incarnation we know God is with us......
AND with us in new and different and fuller ways.

#1. Actually (in reality, in fact, in truth) - this is more than theory or supposition.
1 John 1:1-3 (a) - He came and resided with us to show that He is truly with us!!!!

#2. Personally (in other words, with me, not just us, corporately) - John 15:15 Eph. 1:17
This is not uncommon in the Old Testament.
However, it is emphasized in the New Testament.

#3. Constantly - John 14:16 Matt. 28:20 (b) Heb. 13:5 (b)
Old Testament - argument if Holy Spirit can come and go.
BUT, New Testament - promises constancy and Holy Spirit stays with us.

#4. Internally ( definition? meaning?)
Col. 1:27 Eph. 3:16-17 (a) - feel at home in heart

#5. Equally (no preference based on race, sex, social standing, etc.)
Jesus' ministry was to any and all who would come and receive. Gal. 3:28
"the ground is level at the foot of the cross." This does not mean all are saved. It is through Christ we are saved, and Christ alone.

So, on one hand we know God is transcendent (untouchable, incomprehensible, beyond us...)
but, in the Incarnation we learn He is also close by, within reach, "with us!!" (whether perceived or not)

Because we are confident of His Presence, we can also be confident of.....

#1. His Assistance (ie: help in daily life, daily struggle(s)
Isa. 41:8-10 Haggai 2:4-5
Note: presence does not mean a pain-free path!! Isa. 43:1-3 (a), Isa. 43:5 (a)
His presence means we're never alone, without His Presence and Assistance. Psalm 23:4

#2. His guidance (ie: insight, directing, attempt to steer you...)
Psalm 139:7-10
Isa. 30:20-21
John 16:13 (A) - He wants to guide us.
We may not always be aware of His guiding hand, But it's always there!!!

#3. His goodwill (ie: "God with us" is synonymous with "God for us")
He wants and desires best for you. Jer. 29:11 (more pointedly - Rom. 8:31)

Point: whether you perceive His assistance, guidance, goodwill because of the Incarnation,
you can be sure of these things....

This is called Faith, confidence, certainty, and He desires it for you.

Whether you experience it or not, (ie the presence, assistance, guidance, goodwill), because of the Incarnation, you can 1) know it and 2) act on it.

So, the challenge for the day, season - do you know this to be true? And then, what do you need to do? Receive Christ, reconnect, confess, return, etc.

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