Christmas Names of God – Part 4

Merry Christmas! I pray that Jesus is your joy this holiday season. We praise God for how He worked through our Christmas Eve services as we finished the Christmas Names of God series. What a joy to preach on the name of Jesus on Christmas Eve! Jesus means “Jehovah saves” and the first place the name is found is in Matthew 1. In the context, we see the meaning even further:And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

Jesus is the Name of History

Jesus is the dividing point of history. It is interesting to note that by using AD and BC most everyone marks the date on the calendar by the (approximate) arrival of Jesus. It doesn’t matter if the person is an atheist or believer, the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are the “turning points” in history. Jesus Christ is the difference between the “old” and “new.” BC was “before Christ,” and since His birth, we have been living “in the year of our Lord.” Jesus is alive! 

Jesus is the Name of Honor

The Ten Commandments teach us not to take the Lord’s name in vain.  The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to hallow or honor His name. There are many famous names – Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Moses, David, Solomon, Abraham, Noah, etc.  But one name is above every name. Philippians 2:9-11 says, “For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus is the Name of Help

One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is The Preacher’s Wife. In it, Whitney Houston sings some of the most amazing songs. There is one scene where Whitney sings the little boy to sleep: Who made the mountains, who made the trees, who made the rivers flow to the sea, and who hung the moon in the starry sky, somebody bigger than you and I. What is it that you need help with? Our help comes from the Lord, bigger than you and I. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Prov. 18:10). Whatever problem you are facing, cry out to God for help in Jesus’ name.

Jesus is the Name of Hope

The message of the angels to the Shepherds was joy to the world.  Peace on earth.  Goodwill to men. Hope is what you are looking forward to. What is your mate, are your children, looking forward to? How can someone have joy at Christmas when they’ve experienced a tragedy this year? One name. Jesus! Christmas can be a hard time, but the message of Christmas is good news! It is about life, not death. Jesus is coming again to wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things will pass away. He makes all things new!

Jesus is the Name of Heaven

Joseph and Mary didn’t have to think of names for their baby. The angel told them to call him Jesus. Jesus was named by the Father because He is the only begotten Son of God.  He came from heaven, to do the work of heaven. He has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven, and one day He will come receive us.  No one can save themselves. Good works or religion won’t save. Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Jesus came into our world so one day we can come into His world.

I don’t know what you are going through in your health, finances, emotions, marriage, job, etc., but there is power in the name of Jesus!

Christmas Names of God – Part 3

Our Series this December is called Christmas Names of God. We can’t talk about those names, without talking about this verse: “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23). We know from this verse that Immanuel means “God with us.” In his dying words, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, said, “Best of all, God is with us.” Let’s unpack what those three words mean.

God – Providence

False teachers and false religions believe in Jesus, but they do not believe He is God. The core of Christianity is who Jesus is.  If He is not God, then His life and death were no different than any ordinary man. Jesus said, “Me and my Father are one” and “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” The skeptics say that the Hebrew word “virgin” simply means young maiden. Yes, but the context says it would be a sign (Matthew is quoting from Isaiah 7:14). A woman having a baby is amazing! I’ve seen Tammy do it three times. However, the stars did not change their course in the sky when we had our babies. Wise men did not follow a star and come bow down. Why? Our kids were not virgin born!  Isaiah’s point in this is that a cosmic sign is coming when a virgin will give birth to Immanuel, God with us. Jesus is God! Look at John 1:1, John 10:30, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, and 1 John 5:20 and you will see.

Jesus walked on water.  He told the storm and wind to stop and they did. He healed and forgave sins. God with us is present tense. God is present, so don’t be tense. Relax. He is ahead of you, behind you, above you, below you, and surrounding you. I don’t know what you are going through this Christmas or where you have been, but God is still God and God is with you!

With – Presence

Some people question if there is a God. Others question, if there is a God is He with us. There is a God and the greatest gift He can give to us is Himself. His presence. The greatest gift a spouse can give their mate is presence. The greatest gift parents can give their children is presence. God is with us. He is not just a Christmas and Easter God.  He is a 365-days-a-year God. He is not just a Sunday God, He is there every day of the week. God is with you in your relationships, your marriage, at your job, in your car, at the gym, and on the field. He is with you at the mall, grocery store, doctor’s office, hospital, ER, nursing home, and retirement center. His perpetual presence is with us all the time, in the good times and bad. This world can take a lot of things from you but it cannot take God from you. He tabernacles with us. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:16-17, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me… But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me….” God is with you, in you, through you and for you!

Us – People

“Us” is just ordinary people. Not the good people, not the people who have it all together, not the pretty people, not the people who get their act together, just people. There is no criteria. I don’t know if you are going to get what you want for Christmas this year, but you have the greatest gift, God with us. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. You are never going to see a day when you wake up and God does not show up. He will never leave you and will never forsake you. Immanuel is God with us.

In the parking lot of Wal-Mart, I talked to a guy who said he had backslidden and gotten away from God.  I told him, “All of us are just one step away from stupid!” He smiled. Then, I said, “But you are also just one step away from God.” We are all either going one direction or the other. Which way are you going? Towards God or away from Him? Immanuel God came into our world so one day we can come into His world.

Christmas Names of God – Part 2

Last week, we began a series on the Christmas Names of God. We looked at the names Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Our theme verse for this week is Luke 2:11, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

 His Name is Savior

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That is His mission and that is our mission. The title or name Savior belongs to God alone. “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior” (Is. 43:11). Hosea 13:4 says the same thing, “Yet I am the Lord your God…and you shall know no God but Me; For there is no savior besides Me.” His name, Savior, tells us who He is and who we are. He is Savior. We are sinners.  Only sinners need a Savior. We can’t save ourselves! Only God can save. Long ago, an unnamed source said it like this:

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.

If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.

If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

His Name is Christ

Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Messiah. Christ means Messiah or Anointed One. Acts 10:38 tells us God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power. In Luke 4, Jesus Himself testifies, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (v. 18-19). Jesus fulfilled every Old Testament Messianic prophecy. He is the Messiah of the Jews!

John 1:41-42 says that Andrew “first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” Andrew knew that Jesus was the One they had been waiting for and he brought Simon to Jesus. Who do you need to bring to the Lord? Who needs to know that Jesus can heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free?

 His Name is Lord

The baby born in Bethlehem, lying in a manger, was not just Savior, but Lord. Philippians 2 says every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is not a matter of if, but when. He is the head of the church.  He rules in heaven. He is at the right hand of the Father. You cannot make Jesus Lord. He already is Lord! All you can do is surrender to His Lordship.

In Luke 6:46 Jesus says, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”  If Jesus is not your Lord, He is not your Savior.  If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.  You can’t say, “Come in Savior and stay out Lord.” I love how the book of Jude ends, “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” He is able. He always has been able in the past, will be able in the future, and IS able in the present!  Whatever your problem, need, or hurt, no matter how great or small, God IS able! So many are falling. Is there any hope? Man will disappoint you, but our hope is in Heaven. Jesus is not just Lord. He is Lord of Lords! He is not just King. He is King of Kings! He is in a class all by Himself!  Jesus is the Savior of the World, the Christ, the Messiah of the Jews, and the Lord of the universe!

Has Jesus saved you?  If not, today you can receive the greatest Christmas present of all.

Christmas Names of God – Part 1

Seven-hundred years before Christ was born, Isaiah wrote about his birth, life, and death. Isaiah tells us the place, Galilee (9:1). Jesus performed most of his miracles around the sea of Galilee.  He tells us Jesus would come as a baby and would have four names. “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). The verses surrounding these names unpack them for us. We don’t just need temporary fixes in life, we need eternal solutions. That’s what Jesus is!

Wonderful Counselor – His Name for Our Guidance

Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” Jesus is the Light of the World.  He is the Way. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, but for many it is a time of sadness and depression. Even though December is not really the birthday of Christ, I think God had the church to celebrate Jesus’ birth during one of the darkest seasons. His name means the difference between darkness and light. Dark times come into your life, but He has a way of turning your darkness into light if you will only trust Him. Did you notice the phrase “shadow of death”? His name means the difference between death and life. 

Mighty God – His Name for our Gladness

Isaiah 9:3-4 says, “You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; They rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.” Mighty God has a military overtone. Verse 5 is a graphic battle scene. Life is filled with battles. Jesus won the battle over sin at the cross. Midian refers to the story of Gideon. The same God who fought for and delivered Gideon, fights for and delivers us. His name means the difference between sorrow and joy and bondage and freedom. Some of you are in bondage to a stronghold in your life. Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee and set the captives free! Jesus defeated disease, demons, disaster, and death. As the Mighty God, Jesus is still mighty to save! No problem is too difficult for Him.

Everlasting Father – His Name for our Grace

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…” (9:6). God gave His Son. Jesus gave His life. You may be wondering, why is the Son called the Father?  He is not saying the Father is the Son and the Son is the Father. He is saying that Jesus is the Father of everlasting life. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  The disciples said, “Show us the Father,” and Jesus said, “My Father and I are one.”  There is only ONE God.  A founder is often referred to as a father. George Washington is the father of our country. It means originator. Jesus’ name is the difference between heaven and hell. He is the way into the family of God. What we need comes not from the earth, but from heaven. His name is the difference between deity and humanity. A Child was born to live in us. A Son was given to die for us.

Prince of Peace – His Name for our Government 

“…and the government will be upon His shoulder…  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever” (9:6-7). His name is the difference between peace and conflict. One day there will be peace on earth. When the Prince of Peace rules and reigns on David’s throne, the lion will lie down with the lamb, the child play with the cobra, and men will study war no more. Jesus came to give peace with God and the peace of God! The government is on His shoulders. You can cry on His shoulder! God has it all under control. Whatever burden you are carrying, He can carry you. His shoulder carried the cross. When the Shepherd left the 99 and went after the one lost lamb, he carried it on his shoulders. His name is the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Jesus did not get voted into office and He can’t be voted out! Whatever you are facing, Jesus – the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace – is the answer!