All right, let's take the Word of God back to the old part of the book, to Isaiah chapter 9, as we have our second installment of Isaiah chapter 9, verses 6 and 7. A child will be born to us.
The Son will be given to us. Let me ask you this morning, what is the greatest commandment? What is the greatest commandment? Well, the Bible makes it very, very clear.
The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. That's what God's after. He wants you to love Him, to treasure Him above all others. And out of that flows your service and your obedience and your work for Him.
That's what He's after. And I think that's a foundational truth of why God came to us the way He came to us. On October the 10th of this year, my youngest daughter, Anna Claire, brought into this world my sixth grandchild, a baby girl named Georgiana Bell Taylor. Isn't that a good southern name? And Georgiana Bell is a precious gift to our family. She is a deep, sweet gift of love. After she was born, her mom put on social media that Sam and I are in love.
Of course they are. Sam and I were riding down the road the other day, I don't know where we were going, but he said, you know, it's amazing how much you can love that little thing. Yes, it's amazing. There's just something amazing. There is a deep, sweet love for a baby that is the gift and the design of our Heavenly Father. All babies are sweet, aren't they? All babies are precious.
I understand they sometimes get the devil in them, don't they? But they're still sweet and precious. But you know what makes a baby precious? I mean, really the deep, sweet preciousness is they're yours.
It's when they're your own, that makes it richer and deeper and sweeter than anything else. Let's review for a moment the historical context here. You remember King Ahaz, king of tiny, remnant Judah that represents the true people of God? And how King Ahaz and all of tiny Judah are terrified that the northern kingdom, generally called Israel now, which represents the apostate church.
The northern kingdom has made an alliance with Syria to invade tiny Judah, occupy her, remove King Ahaz and put a puppet king in his place. So they're terrified. And in this terrified condition, God keeps sending to King Ahaz and to the nation as a whole, encouragement. And he's basically saying this, you're mine. I've chosen you and I am with you. Remember, that's what Emmanuel means. God is with us. I'm with you. Do not trust in anything else or anyone else. Trust in me. I'm your salvation.
I am God with you. Well, we know the story. Ahaz didn't trust.
But the thing I want to bring out this morning is the primary means. Maybe the primary vehicle God used to keep telling Judah and King Ahaz to trust me, I'm with you, was the Emmanuel child. The Emmanuel child. And we saw how, at least I think it's very obvious, that for those people of that day, those were the two boys born to Isaiah.
And everywhere Isaiah went, those two boys, their very names made statements to the people that God is with you. He's going to destroy your enemy. He's going to save you.
Trust him. He's Emmanuel. God is with us. But then we come to our text that we're looking at. And all of a sudden, the Emmanuel child prophecy advances.
It amplifies. And the prophet writes a statement here that in no way could be referring to Isaiah's two mortal boys. In no way it could be referring to anyone other than Jesus Christ himself.
Let's look at it together again this morning. Isaiah Chapter nine, beginning in verse six, to encourage them to trust God that he was with them. The text says, very amazingly says, for a child will be born to us. A son will be given to us and the government will rest on his shoulders. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. Can't wait till next time we look at this to preach on this last phrase. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
Well, how's that going to happen? The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. I've entitled this second message, The Deep Sweet Wonder of the Emmanuel Child's Love. I'm convinced that's what God is getting at. If I could just get you church, get all of us to marvel, to be taken back by the deep, sweet love of the Emmanuel Child. Three thoughts here, Roman numeral one, notice he came in an unexpected manner. Here, King Ahaz and Judah are terrified there's impending doom on the border.
There's no way they can defend themselves against the alliance of Syria in the northern kingdom. And God to assure them, said, a child is born to us. Well, that's a delightful paradox, is it not? Now, first of all, let's remind ourselves that we see a child as an emblem of hope. When a baby is born, it's a day of hope, is it not?
It's a day of joy and it's a day of promise. I remember when I was in high school, one of my best friend's older brother was married and he had his first child and it was a baby boy. I remember seeing that baby boy right after they brought him home from the hospital. They had him in a crib there in the bedroom and he'd put a piece of paper on that little baby boy laying there. And on that piece of paper, it said, future All-American.
Future road scholar, future president of the United States. I remember thinking, how does he know that? Well, yeah, he was an egomaniac, but nevertheless, a child brings a day of hope, does it not? Promise and joy. You know, a new child, a new baby in the household changes everything.
I mean, it's a new day. It's just an aroma that permeates the house of a new, deep, sweet love. It does something to us men to hold our new babies, our grandbabies. And surely that's a foundational part of God's message to Judah. That I'm a God of a deep, sweet love for my own. Of course, the final fulfillment and the message of Christmas morning is that God's plan birthed out of his infinite wisdom and love was to step out of eternity and into time, into this world. God stepped into this world to be with us. He comes in the form of a man, even a tiny baby, and nothing can stop him and his divine mission to seek and secure his own.
But in this immediate context. For the prophet to say a child will be born to us, that's a real paradox, perhaps leave a real troubling. That their deliverance is a baby, their salvation is the baby.
Here King Ahaz and Judah are terrified of this physical invasion of the nations to north. And God does not give a message of a new military commanders coming on the scene. God does not give the announcement of a new king that will bring them victory and salvation.
Nothing like that. In that context, God gives a baby announcement. You know why? At least part of the reason is that God does not deliver us. God does not save us from war and oppression by bringing greater war and oppression.
No, as the prophet comes to the heart of God's message of salvation, a baby's face appears. Because God is not like us. He's holy.
He's superior to us. First Corinthians 1 21 reminds us that since in the wisdom of God, the world through it's, and you could say so-called wisdom, did not know, did not come to God. The world can take all of her wisdom, but she will never find God with it. God's wisdom is not like our wisdom.
He's different than us. And interestingly in this text, as the prophet is giving them an assurance that a deliverer, a savior, a salvation for them is coming. They could trust in God. He doesn't ever mention that this one coming and this child coming that he's a king. We don't know exactly why, but perhaps that's because when you consider the kings of this age, they were all such vile creatures.
They had so corrupted the term. It wasn't fit to use it for God's Messiah. It just says a child will be born.
A delightful paradox. But more, it's a note of the deep sweetness of God's salvation so that he comes to us as a precious baby. This is expressing the sweetness of God's love toward his children to come to them, to come as a man, to come as a precious baby. All the wonder of the deep, sweet love of the Emmanuel child. I don't think we get that enough. If I could, if I could just infuse into the bone marrow of every choir member the glories of the deep, sweet love of God for you. You would sing like you've never sung before. I can take you to a million seminars and I can give you dozens of three points and eight points and six steps and five steps to do this and be better at that. But none of that matters until we are apprehended by the deep, sweet love of God.
I think that's much of what God's telling to Ahaz and to Judah. Don't you know how deeply I love you? I love you have no comprehension, but maybe the closest you'll ever come is when you. Embrace one of your own babies.
Number two. Not only did he come in a manner we just never would have realized, secondly, he came to a particular people. He came to a particular people. The prophet simply says in nine, six, a child will be born to us.
Don't miss that pronoun there. Not a child will be born. The child will be born to us.
George Annabelle was so precious to us, largely because she was born to us. Last week, we looked at the Emmanuel prophecy and noted that part of it again was for Judah's day and it was for King Ahaz's day to encourage them that God was with them. And they were to trust in God against the northern kingdom and Assyria or rather Syria and later Assyria. But now when we get to Chapter nine, verses six and seven, remember the prophecy expands and amplifies until it's such that it can only be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate fulfillment of the Emmanuel prophecy. He is the embodiment of God with us.
Look at it again in Chapter six and seven, the middle chapters of verse six. The government will rest on his shoulders. He's wonderful counselor.
And I've got notes on all of this already. I just don't have time to preach it all this morning. But if you were to speak to a man on the streets after Christ takes the government of the world on his shoulders and they would say, what do you think about the wisdom of your new king and leader?
And that person on the street would only be able to say, I have no words. It's wonderful. That's what that means. Who but Jesus could be that king, the eternal father, only Jesus, the prince of peace, only Jesus. There will be no end to the increase of his government or peace, only Jesus on the throne of David. He came at the lineage of David to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness. Boy, wouldn't be nice if we had more justice and righteousness in our government today.
Then it's going to last forevermore. No one but Jesus could be referred to here. Only Christ could fulfill this. Now, the ancient Jewish translators and Bible interpreters don't want to admit it's Jesus. So they said it was King Hezekiah. How in the world could King Hezekiah fulfill those prophecies? Certainly, it's not Isaiah's two boys. Mayher, Shaddai, El-Hasbaz and Shere-Jeshub.
A remnant will remain and speedily God's going to destroy your enemy and give you the spoils. That was what those two boys' names meant. No, they were, they were emblems. They were a faint representations of the real Emmanuel child who would come and that's Jesus Christ. So we do have, always remember the historical context when interpreting a prophecy of Christ. It has both.
It always should have both. So remember in the immediate context, this is deliverance for Judah being promised. But when you get to chapter nine, verses six and seven, there is a statement for all of God's true children in every age, all the way down through today, the church age up until the glorified state begins that we are all to look to Christ. We are all to trust in Him, for He is God.
He is with us. And remember, like I said last week, He's God with us, not for wrath and judgment and condemnation and retribution. He's with us in this deep, sweet love personified in the infant to save us, to bring us that deliverance.
All who look to Christ and trust in Him, know Him this way. The deep sweetness of the Father's covenant love is not seen in temporal deliverance. Now for this day, this was a temporal deliverance as God would save them from Syria and the Northern Kingdom. You and I, as we live our lives, God intervenes often and He delivers us from a disease or a calamity or a financial ruin or a thousand things.
He does do those temporal deliverances. But the deep sweetness of the Father's love is not seen in these temporal deliverances like King Ahaz and Judah experience. No, every temporal deliverance, listen to me church, every temporal deliverance, every time God steps in and blesses you, that's just a faint reminder of the great, unspeakable wonder of the salvation He's going to bring you in Christ. Every time you pray for a meal and thank God for that blessing, you can say, Oh Father, this is but to remind us of the blessing of salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So starting in Isaiah chapter nine, verse six, the prophet cast the eyes of the people of Judah and all of us to a future greater, even eternal deliverance that is only possible through the coming Holy Child, the divine Savior, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The great marvel and blessedness and deep sweetness of the Father's love is fully realized when we remember the free election of God and the full deliverance which is secured by Christ. So the prophet moves King Ahaz and Judah to look to the future, even to the end and see the salvation and the preservation of God's people, even forward from this day, this historical day through the church age again, and all the way to the end of the age. Listen to me, God will deliver us. You look at the present condition of the United States of America and you say, we've gone in such a vile, decrepit hole. We're on a vicious downward spiral.
What's going to happen? I don't know, but I do know this, God will save his church through that child, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the ground of all of our hope and he is the perfection of all of our joy. We're to look to him. That's what the prophet's telling these folks to do. At this point, he's saying, yes, God's going to save you from Syria and the northern kingdom. But more than that, look at the one who's coming.
That ought to give you real encouragement. The writer of the book of Hebrews says, looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Look at him. Fall in love with him. Are you listening to me? He's already fallen in love with you.
He's waiting on you to fall more deeply in love with him. Then you will obey. Then you will honor his word. Then you'll serve and support his church. Too many of you, it's just religion. But too many of you, it's just the southern culture. Trying to do right, not do wrong.
No, no. It's being captivated by the deep, sweet wonder of the Immanuel child's love. That's what God wants out of us. Now, in talking about a child is born to us, our point here is this is for a particular people, and there's no other way you can interpret this text. When the prophet gave this to Ahaz and to Judah, he was saying, I'm with you to save you from Syria, from the northern kingdom, and eventually from us, Syria. This was not a blanket word for all the people of all the nations of this day. This was a word to tiny, remnant Judah, because those other nations are the very people God's promising to save them from.
So this is for a particular people. There's a sweetness in that. God is saying to you, Judah, a child will be born. A child is born to us particular group.
That's when you begin to see the deep sweetness of this special love. So this was a particular distinct promise for a particular distinct people. Now we do know, use your mind, use your mind for a lot of things. You need to use your mind on Sunday morning.
I've used mine a lot, even if you can't tell it to get us here. That's why one message has turned into three. So you've got to use your mind now as progressive revelation unfolds. That is, as we go through the chronology of the Bible, when we get through to the New Testament, God unfolds more and more and more of his plan.
So as the scripture unfolds, we learn primarily through the New Testament, and we get a clear understanding of God's purpose. And that his ultimate purpose was not just delivering tiny remnant Judah, but his ultimate purpose is to liver and save for himself a people who will come from all the nations of the world. Remember, this is difficult for the Jews.
You never had to convince a Jew about the doctrine of election. They said, we're God's elect people. God called our father Abraham. God said, that's true, but mainly just in a type and in a figure because you were a picture of the church. But my true elect people will come from all peoples, all tongues and all tribes in all nations.
Yet don't forget, they're still a particular distinct group. Do you understand, dear Christian, that Christian salvation is not just this sloppy thing that's cast abroad, it's a specific, deep, abiding love God has for you personally. And a child was given to us out of that love. If we go back to our chapter here, chapter nine, look at verse one there, chapter nine, verse one. As he alludes to this fact that this election of God extends to all the nations of the earth, but there'll be no more gloom for her who was in anguish in earlier times.
He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt. But later on, he shall make it glorious by the way of the sea on the other side of the Jordan. That's non-Jewish, that Gentile side, Galilee of the Gentiles. Now the Jews knew this, but they greatly ignored it. That God's going to save people for himself from all the nations of the earth? Remember when the Apostle Paul finished his first missionary journey, and he begins to preach outside the environs of Israel? And non-Jews are starting to believe on Christ? And there was a great uproar among the converted Jews?
Wait a minute! Wait a minute, God has his elect children and that's Israel? God has his Messiah, the Messiah comes from Israel?
And Paul in effect says, time out. Yes, God has his elect children, but now God has chosen that they will come from all peoples, tongues, tribes, and nations. Acts 11, 18. When they heard this, they quietened down and glorified God saying, well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life. In Revelation chapter 5, verse 9, as we see that end time scene of God's angels and the host of heaven glorified God.
It says, and they sang a new song saying, worthy are you to take the book and to break its seals, for you were slain and purchased for God with your blood, men from, not all men, men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. What drives us in missions? What compels us to preach the gospel and plant churches to the ends of the earth? Because God's got his people among every people, tongue, tribe, and nation now. We're trying to find them.
How do you find them? You preach the gospel and they respond. Now, if you want to go to the man's side of it, some of you have been on man's side so long you can't even think from God's side. Shame on you, study your Bibles. The Bible makes you, it forces us to think from God's perspective often. But if you want to look from man's perspective, it's whosoever will may come. If you want to look from God's perspective, it's those that I've chosen before the foundation of the world.
Same people. So we preach to all everywhere to repent and believe. And if any will, they're God's. But for our purposes, and remember this was written to Judah in this context. So let's take it in the context it was written.
And let's refresh ourselves. I'd rather realize afresh the crushing joy and wondrous sweetness when we consider that Jesus came, our text, to us. He came to us. He came to a particular group. And that group somehow in grace and mercy included me. The Christmas story is not that God came into the world.
It's true, but it's much, much, much more than that. The Bible says he came to us. In the context, that means a particular distinct group. He came for us. The text does not say here a child is born.
The text says a child is born to us. It wouldn't have been any encouragement to Ahaz and Judah. If the prophet said a great deliverance and salvation is coming for you and your enemies. They'd say, wait a minute, God, that's what we're trying to be saved from.
Are you going to help them? No, that would have made no sense. It was for Judah. And I think the point for us is that there is a precious note of deep, deep, sweet love in that message. That a precious, precious baby who they don't understand it, but in their minds they must have wondered, somehow he's going to save us. And he's come particularly for us. I don't know how God's wondrous grace to me he hath made known. I don't know how that happens. That's what the songwriter said.
We sing it all the time. Why did God make his grace known to you and to you and to you and to you and to you? He's got a particular people. The child was born to them. A child was born to us.
Roman three. He didn't come in a matter we would expect it in. He came for a distinct or particular group. But thirdly, he came on a distinct mission. And this this comes out in the next phrase.
Now, if you're just casually reading your say, well, God just repeated himself with different words. A child is born to us. A son is given to us.
No, no, no, no. There's more here. The son is given to us means this child has a distinct mission. He is a son. First of all, he's a special son. He's a unique and one and only son. This is referring to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is strikingly unique.
He is distinguished from all the rest of mankind. The Jews were well-grounded in the theology of the Messiah. They knew the Messiah had to be a divine person. So they knew what it meant when this child was born and this son was given. The divine one has come. And again, that could only be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. I thought about it.
You know, it's impossible. A child's born into your family, grandchild, maybe a great grandchild or just your child. And you don't know what he's going to be or she's going to be. A homemaker. We need more of those. A preacher. An architect. A business entrepreneur. An engineer. A laborer.
We just don't know. Now in this day, it was real easy to know because almost without exception, a boy grew up to the trade of his father. If your father was a blacksmith, you became a blacksmith. If your father was a farmer, you became a farmer. Or like Jesus.
If your father was a carpenter, you became a carpenter. But this son here, he's special and he's unique. He's the unique one and only son given to us. He's a particular son given to a particular people for a particular mission. His mission, or you might even say his vocation, is his office of the Christ. Christ is not his last name.
It's the office, he feels, the office of the anointed one or the Messiah, depending on which language group you're coming from. That was his mission. That mission included death on a cross. And I'm convinced with many scholars that that's why the phrase is written, a son is given. He was given over to the cross.
For us. Yeah, your Armenian pride. Your Armenian pride would love to rise up and say, but I made this wise and virtuous decision to look to Jesus. God ought to judge you into hell. You will not boast before God.
You're running around terrified like a has making the wrong decisions, trusting the wrong things. And in the midst of that context, God said, tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to let you know how deep and sweet my love is for you. In your condition, I'm going to send a child born to you, even a son given for you. Church, that ought to encourage you. That ought to invigorate you, that ought to strengthen your resolve to live for God and to serve God faithfully. Well, that was his mission. To come and to save us and to save us, the son had to be given. To be the sacrifice. Again, as a child is born, he brings hope, he brings joy and promise. And when the prophet wrote a child is born, they're saying, hey, that does denote a sweet love and a hope and a promise for the future. And then he said, the son is given for us. This means he's going to procure, he's going to effectually establish, work out the salvation we all must have and we all need.
You put those two together. A child is born again, the text says to us, a son is given to us. And is this not the foundational doctrine of our faith? That our God and Father cast his eyes of grace and compassion on us from eternity past. Jeremiah 1, verse 5, God told the prophet, before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Whoa, whoa, whoa, not I knew you in the womb. Before you had a physical substance, I knew you. And for his children, Jeremiah 31, 3 says, I've loved you with an everlasting love. Before you became a one-celled human being in the womb of your mom, I cast a deep sweet love on you. And by the way, the Bible says, God changes not.
I'm with you. I guess the point would be, Judah, if you grasp any of this, how can you doubt he's not going to take care of you? How can you doubt that he's not going to save you and be with you? And he cast all this love toward us in what we call unmerited favor. God didn't look down through history and say, now, boy, that one right there is special. Boy, now, she, whoa, boy, now, she's really something. And this guy over here, man, he'll make such good grades in school.
I think I'll choose them. And that's not what he did. He looked down and said, everything about them, every molecule of their existence is offensive to me and violates my holy standards. But I choose to cast a deep, sweet love on them for my own glory and for their own good. Don't tell me that God looked down and was pretty impressed with us, so he sent Jesus to die. Jesus didn't have to die for pretty impressive people in the eyes of God. Jesus has to die for riches. Jesus has to die for lawbreakers and rebels and vile, corrupt ones.
That's the only kind there is since sin entered the world. So he has justly reconciled us through being given for us, and that was his mission. That's what he was about. So we marvel afresh in the glorious truth that on that Christmas morning, God didn't just come into the world, but more much more, a child was born to us and a son was being given to us. Thus, he is our own. Please don't just hear those words. He's our own.
Do you get that? Like he's our family. He's one of us. John Calvin, in his commentary on this text, writes, It would have been of little avail to us that Christ was born if he had not likewise been our own. You're holding that newborn baby that your wife has just delivered, and the sweet, deep preciousness is that she is our own. He's one of us.
There's a deep, deep sweetness in that. A child was born to us. A son was given to us.
And this child and this son is the Immanuel. He is God with us. Thus, our salvation is a God's salvation.
Did you hear that? God's message of the Gospel is not that, Hey, I've got a deal, folks. I'm God and I'll do this part, and you've got to do that part, and we'll get together and just make a deal. Hogwash, rubbish, unbiblical. That's not God's message. That's not the Gospel. The Gospel is that God came to us and God saved us.
Ours is a God's salvation. That's why Paul would write in Colossians 2, 9, For in him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form. Paul is saying, why would you turn back to the law? Why would you turn back to church rituals and rites and priestcraft?
And going through the motions? When it is God who became man who came to save us. Ours is a God's salvation. And in Romans 8, 31, If God is for us, who is against us? The point is, if God came down to save you, then who could possibly stop that? If God came and saved you, it doesn't matter who's against it.
They're going to fail. So God is with us. He will keep us.
He will save us. Meditating on all these things to do with babies. I thought about adoption. I thought, you know, adoption is one of the most wonderful things in the whole world. And the deep sweet love of an adopted baby is perhaps the greatest miracle of the natural realm. To take a baby into your arms and experience that deep sweet love that only babies give, but for this baby that was not originally of you, but now it is of you. But through adoption, they become as if they always were yours.
Perhaps in a special way, the adopted child is the object of a deeper, sweeter love, because you marvel at the miracle that God plucked them out of their natural place and gave them to you. You took them to your home. You gave them your name. You put them in your family. You took them in your arms. And most importantly, they were put in your heart.
And quickly they're blossoms. But this one that is not naturally yours, but now it really is a deep, sweet love. In Ephesians 1, verse 5, the apostle wrote that he predestined us, God's word, past tense, to be adopted as sons. Because we were naturally the enemies of God. We were naturally of our father, the devil.
But God has chosen and loved to adopt us as his own. And marvel of marvels, he loves us as if we were always his own. And miracle of miracles, he loves us as the father loves his own son with a deep, deep, sweet love. And he cast this love toward us when we were yet sinners and offensive to him in every conceivable way. That's what John would write in 1 John 4, 10. Not that we love God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation of our sins.
John says, wait a minute, wait a minute. You didn't take off with this deep love for God. And then God said, oh, okay, I'll die for you and I'll save you.
No, no, no, no. No, you are headlong in your own world, in your own life, in your own thing with hardly a thought of God. And God, while you're in that context and condition, came after you with a deep, sweet, unquenchable love to save you. The miracle of all miracles, God has adopted us as if we were always his. He plucked us out of our natural place. He took us into his place. He gave us his name. He put us in his kingdom. He's put us in his family. He takes us in his arms and most importantly, he puts a love for him in our hearts. A deep, sweet love for him.
The Christmas child, the Emmanuel child, lavishly exudes the deep, sweet love of God. A love for us. And we, as we learn more and more of his love, we learn that until from our hearts, we return a deep, sweet love back to him. Has he won your hearts?
Have you lost your first love? That's what God wants. That's why the chief commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. If you're like your pastor, you would say this morning, Oh, Christ, I love you. Oh, Christ, I love you. Oh, Christ, help me love you more. That's the Christmas message.
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