IS GOD WITH US?
“God with us”
My question this morning is “Do you believe that?” Is God really with us? Because many would say “No”
Where was God when this happened?
A church pastor had an affair and left. A group was disgruntled and left. Those left behind are discouraged and weary. Where was God when that happened?
A couple weeping on the anniversary of their of their young daughter death from childhood cancer. Memories flood in of sweet beauty spoiled by agony, and now silence. Where was God when that happened?
A young couple exhausted after years of seemingly fruitless relief work after the aftermath of a terrible earthquake. So much distress, so many needs, so few resources, so little hope. Where was God when that happened?
Add your story there! Look back to these past weeks…..loved ones diagnosed with cancer, loved ones passing into eternity due to that terrible disease.
Real present struggles, with life choices, and decisions, that have long lasting effects.
Where is God in all of this? At times we think that God’s timing seems off. We start feeling alone, forgotten, defeated, and filling our mind and heart with doubt.
“If God was really with us, then why did that happen?”
“If God was really with us, then why hasn’t He come through?”
“If God was really with me, then why am I hurting?”
“God with us” doesn’t mean that we will not have struggles, trials, temptation and much, much sorrow. As much as we can wish it were so, God doesn't always take us around our troubles. Sometimes He leads us straight through and into the darkness, into the fire, into the deep. But understand! God is faithful...to carry us through no matter what happens. Because God is with us! How do we know that to be true? The Old Testament repeatedly promised that God is present with His people. In Exodus 6:7-8 we read “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.'"
How did God do that? The tabernacle and the Temple were intended to be symbols of that divine presence. The term “Tabernacle” means to “Dwell, rest or abide” it also refers to the presence of God’s glory. You could say that God showed His presence in His “Shekinah glory”……..Now, fast forward to the New Testament.We see that the child born (Jesus Christ) was to be the Shekinah, the true Tabernacle of God. John wrote “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14-15. The Word (Jesus Christ) became flesh and He dwelt amoung men in visible flesh. The Shekinah glory of God present with mankind. This is! More intimate and personal than the Tabernacle or temple in which Israel had worshipped.
We know this is true! Because we see our Lord has been given two names in this passage (Matt 1:21-23)
One describes His office and the other describes His nature. First name is “Jesus” which means Savior. A Savior from what? He saves people from their sins.
This is a special office that only Jesus has...
He saves us from the guilt of sin.
He saves them from the dominion of sin.
He saves them from the presence of sin.
He saves them from all the consequences of sin
This was all accomplished when He died and rose again through the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Second name is “Immaneul” this name is rarely used in the Scriptures. It is the name which is given to our Lord, it signifies His nature, as God-man, as ‘God manifest in the flesh’, it signifies “God with us”. See! Jesus was perfect man as well as perfect God,
and perfect God as well as perfect man. To separate the two, or to deny both, or one of them, is a dangerous road into heresies. R C Sproul said “Jesus is not a split personality. His two natures are united so perfectly that He can do things that only human beings do and things that only God does without changing the character of His divine nature or His human nature. Ultimately, we cannot fully explain this mystery, as there is nothing else like the hypostatic union in creation. But we do know that believing in Christ as both truly God and truly man is the most reasonable thing we could ever do.”
Paul said “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” Col 2:9
This foundational truth is vital for our understanding and comfort. That reveals to us that God is very personal and intimate with His children. And that’s been shown to us in the presence of God, seen in Christ alone. Spoken truth some 700 years ago spoken by the prophet Isaiah “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. Prophecy fulfilled! This promise from 700 years ago has now come to the ears of Joseph.
“…you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save
His people from their sins." (v21)
Jesus came to do what? Save us from our sins. [plural not singular] He just didn’t come to save a sin, but all your sins. That’s what it means when we read “God with us”.
“God with us” is a prime picture [a snap shot] of reconciliation. As Paul Tripp said “glory collided with tragedy” The glory of Christ came to die a tragic death on behalf of you and me. That’s how close God is with us., because we are the “Us”
Remember we are the ones who rebelled against God.
We offend Him, not the other way around. We believed we could determine right from wrong. We thought we knew what is best, and decided to do our own thing. We broke the relationship we had with God by our decisions and desires. And yet through Jesus Christ, God has provided the only way to reconcile “us” back to Him. “God with us” It’s the same reason why you and I can find comfort in whatever you’re facing at this moment. Let’s make it personal this morning! We need to understand who are the “us” because God is not with everyone in the sense of being friends with everyone. This “us” is referring to the redeemed, the ones who will respond in faith to the gospel of peace. This is how close God is with you and me (Christian, adopted child of God)!
“God with us” is with us………
In our nature….”His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
In our sorrows… "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matt 5:4
In our temptations…”No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 10:12-13
In our pains… Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.” 2 Cor 1:3-6
C S Lewis had tasted pain in ways that few can relate to. He lost his mother at an early age, saw his dad emotionally abandon him, suffered from a respiratory illness as a teenager, fought and was wounded in World War I, and finally had to bury his beloved wife. Through all of this, Lewis wrote about all of his heartache in his work “The Problem of Pain”. In this work, Lewis penned one of his most famous lines, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience,but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
“God with us” means that
we are now with Him……
In His death…”And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, Col 1:22
“God with us” means that we are now with Him……
In His resurrection…”We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:4-7
In His ascension…”Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Heb 4:14
In His triumph…”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39
Is God with us? Answer: Yes
He is…. in the person of the perfect incarnate Son of God, who is the greater Tabernacle and Temple.
God is everywhere
God is infinite
God is omniscient
God is omnipresent
God is omnipotent
God is sovereign
As the Psalmist wrote “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19
Job said “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10
Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
When you read the Scriptures that identify the greatness and vastness of God, you begin to realize how small you truly are in comparison. But understand the great vastness of God seems impossible to think that God would, or could, be near to us. But He is! And that has been revealed to us with three simple words that speak volumes of biblical truth into the hearts of those who listen.
“God with us”
Jesus was God with us, so we could be sons and daughters with Him. When Jesus came into this world, He was truly, literally “God with us.” Because God is with us, we know that we will never be separated from His love.
This is what captured the sanctified imagination of Charles Wesley when he composed the second stanza of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
"Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King”
Jesus’ heavenly pre-existence to His incarnation,
ending with the powerful name “Immanuel”
“God with us”