Seasonal Teaching: Emmanuel
Message – …and the Word became Flesh
…and the Word became Flesh
“14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ “
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
“1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
The miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus… God coming in flesh is the bedrock reality of our faith. Without it, the rest is insignificant rubbish. It was the first promise.. the first revelation God made to fallen man “the seed of the woman”.
It is in areas like this that people lose their faith, their journey with God gets derailed. Sometimes it’s not the actual little foxes that spoil the Vine, it is things we mistakenly believe are little or of small consequence that muddied our belief and compromised our walk of faith.
This truth of the incarnation is something the early church was ready to die for… It is one of the immovable pillar truths of “the way”… Of Christianity.
Now, I wanted to address here a question which was asked only about 13 minutes into the message. I had just mentioned how the Virgin birth spoke to the potential of Christ being the spotless lamb since the sin nature in the blood of man was not passed on to Christ from his natural father since Joseph did not participate in His inception. At this point I made mention of the 5 days of testing for purity lambs went through in Jewish homes prior to their being offered up as a sacrifice. Now, the question was about the reason why the inspection of the sacrificial lamb under the old covenant lasted for 5 days? In other words…if the lamb had a physical blemish would it not have been evident almost immediately? So why 5 days?
I did not have a complete answer to this at the time, though I did offer a rather simple one on the fly, which I knew to be true but I also knew it fell short of really satisfying the question. Several days later as I was reading a book called, A Shepherd’s look at Psalm 23, by W. Phillip Keller, he addressed this question indirectly. In the eighth chapter titled, “Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me“, Mr. Keller talked about one of the purposes of the the rod is to examine the sheep. This of course caused me ears to perk up!
Mr. Keller describes a process of examining the sheep which ALL good shepherds practice all over the world regardless of their location or breed of sheep. It is called, “passing under the rod” and is a phrase used also in Ezekiel 20:37. This process of passing under the rod is one in which a shepherd, skilled in the instruments of his trade, uses the rod to part the thick wool of his sheep to get a good look at the skin of the animal. It allows him to search the animal for flaws, sicknesses or diseases….blemishes as it were, so as to keep them safe and healthy. This is a very bonding time for both sheep and shepherd. As the shepherd examines the sheep, his hands reach every part of the animal leaving nothing to chance. This intimate contact shows concern and actually transfers to the sheep a sense of protection and care in a way little else does.
In the above mentioned passage in Ezekiel God promises the same to Israel as their Shepherd by saying,
“(35) I will lead you into the wilderness of the peoples and enter into judgment with you there face to face. (36) Just as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. (37) “I will make you pass under the rod and will bring you into the bond of the covenant. (38) And I will also purge you of those who rebel and transgress against Me. I will bring them out of the land where they live as foreign residents, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD. (39) “As for you, house of Israel, this is what the Lord GOD says: Go and serve your idols, each of you. But afterwards you will surely listen to Me, and you will no longer defile My holy name with your gifts and idols.” – Ezek. 20:35-39
Now a skillful shepherd could in short order detect any real signs of blemish in one of his sheep, but not all in Israel were Shepherds and so a protracted time of “judging the sheep” or causing them to “pass under the rod” of inspection would have proved prudent. In fact, Mr. Keller said that sheep can be groomed and shaped to look outwardly as a very health and prime specimen to the untrained ey, which has been done in shows where sheep are judged (like goats or cattle at a fair). Very little however, will get past the skillful examination of a shepherd-judge. What might be missed by the untrained eye upon first examination will be immediately evident to a shepherd.
It is this type of examination David cried out for to God his Shepherd. Psa. 139:23-24,
“(23) Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. (24) See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
A virgin shall conceive
Now, the classic biblical prophecy concerning this is found in Isa. 7 during a very dark time in Israel’s history.
By this time the nation of Israel was divided. The northern kingdom and Judah.
- Neither kingdom was being faithful to God.
- The northern kingdom was making an alliance with Syria to attack Jerusalem.
- Shazam, king of Judah was easily the most wicked King Judah had ever had. Even sacrificing his own son to Molech
- Is it over to Ben prophesied that this attack would take place but be unsuccessful and God I come to a has giving him an opportunity to trust or deliverance but Ahaz refused.
- Instead a has soften ungodly Alliance with the king of Assyria and in seeking His protection he even went so far as to take gold from the tabernacle as a gift to that came and a pain returning to Judah took some of the designs of the pagan temples of Assyria and implemented them on the temple of God
- It was into this situation that God spoke the prophecy concerning this son coming in flesh.
God through Isaiah calls Ahaz to trust in His promise.
- “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established” Here is the challenge to Ahaz. God has promised, now the king of Judah must believe. If he will not believe, it will not affect the outcome of the attack against Jerusalem. God has already decreed that their attack would not succeed. But it would affect the course of Ahaz’s life and reign as king (surely you shall not be established).
- As it happened, Ahaz did not believe. He did not put his trust in the Lord.
- Why did Isaiah bring his son Shear-Jashub to the meeting with Ahaz? Because his name meant A Remnant Shall Return, and God wanted Ahaz to know that because of the kind of ungodly trust he put in the king of Assyria, Judah would eventually be taken into captivity, and only a remnant would return.
- God tells Ahaz to request a sign… Ahaz refuses, for was sounds like good reasons, but it was actually further rebellion
- God offers the sign of Immanuel… Isa. 7:13-16,
“13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.
16 For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.”
The attack on Jerusalem was ultimately unsuccessful, but the war against Judah took a great toll against the southern kingdom. 2Ch 28:6 documents the damage: For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. 2Ch 28:5 says that the Syrian army carried away a great multitude of them as captives. The king of Israel also captured 200,000 men, women and children as captives, but sent them back to Judah at the command of the prophet Oded (2Ch 28:8-15).
Why did God choose THIS time for such a prophecy? It’s as if God were saying, “ENOUGH!” You are my people but you act like men of this world who do not know me I was unashamed to be called Abraham’s God, because he learned to draw his help and his hope from above… you think your issues are all political you think your troubles are all horizontal you think that amassing land and conquering enemies is your only protection, you think you’re problems are all natural and that you’re solutions will come from the flesh and so that is precisely how it’s going to come… Behold a Virgin will conceive…
The incarnation of Christ is the most significant event in human history!
- One mediator between God and man… The Man Christ Jesus.
- Sin entered the world through one man
- Through one man deliverance & righteousness through redeeming grace had come to all men.
Through His incarnation He Not only is He our redeemer… But our example.
“5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,
15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
We then read Hebrews 2.
This service had no notes since it was an open discussion…Blessings!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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