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DECEMBER 20 2015

Unto Us a Child is Born

Part One

 

Our Scripture reading is Isaiah 9:6.            For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(NKJV)

 

Before the Savior came into the world, there were many prophecies concerning him written in the Scriptures. Indeed, the prophetic accuracies found in the Bible are what distinguishes it from all other so-called holy books. The Koran has no prophecies at all. The Book of Mormon has a few prophecies about Jesus that were supposedly fulfilled. But these are the same prophecies that are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon cannot be dated earlier than 1829.  The few prophecies in the Hindu book, the Bhagavad Gita, are so general and vague (about moral decline on the earth) that it takes no divine guidance to write them. The Bible is the only book on earth that contains detailed and specific prophecies known to have been written hundreds of years before the events they prophecy and then those events happen as they were foreseen.

 

The most numerous and clear prophecies concerning the Savior are found in the book of Isaiah and the most clear verse is Isaiah 9:6. It is a marvelous passage. Isaiah wrote his book about 735 BC meaning, of course, that he wrote the passage we read 735 years before Jesus was born.

 

“Unto us a child is born.” The birth of Jesus Christ was for us! When the Son of God was incarnated it was for us! It was for all those who would recognize their need of a Savior. Do you recognize your need of a Savior? If you do, then his birth is for you.

 

“Unto us a Son is given.” God the Father gave His Son for us. This Son that was given would not only be the son of a human family but he is the son of God Himself. He was given to us. One of the strongest loves on earth is the love a father has for his son or daughter. Because men have difficulty expressing their feelings at times, it is not always that evident. But there is seldom a father who would not give his life for his son or daughter. It is the strongest of loves. This is the relationship that the Scriptures portray as the relationship between God and Jesus Christ. He is precious beyond words to the Father and, yet, he was given to us. Do you see him as precious? If you do, then he was given to you.

 

“And the government will be upon His shoulder.” Jesus came to save us from both the consequences of our sins – eternal separation from God – and from the power of sin. But that is not the only reason he was given. He came to establish a government. Jesus is the head of this new government. The fullness of his kingly rule will not be seen and known by all until he returns again. But it has already begun and the church is the hidden form of his government and his kingdom. One cannot participate in the fullness of the kingdom coming unless one participates in the kingdom now. Those who reject his hidden rule in the church will themselves be rejected in his kingdom that is coming. The government is “upon His shoulder” now and that ruling is taking place in the church. It is already growing and will one day cover the whole earth.

 

[I] His name shall be called Wonderful. Jesus has many names in the Bible but this is my favorite. We know what wonder is. It is to be filled with admiration and awe. For something to be wonder-full means that it fills you full of wonder, admiration, awe. I experience wonder when I gaze upon the beauty of God’s creation. This past Wednesday morning I was driving during the early hours down Hwy 79. As I looked to my left the sun was rising and hidden by a few clouds. The clouds were few. So the rays of the sun came through between the clouds and the clouds were framed in a glowing outline of light. It was simply beautiful and I thanked God for His creation of the sky. I experienced wonder.

 

That is what Jesus does for those with perception. When you see him you experience wonder.

 

[A] He is wonderful in his moral glory. We are so used to the sin and moral failure that we see all around us. It can be disheartening and discouraging. What is more discouraging than the moral failures of those around us is our own. We are infected with selfishness. But Jesus was not and is not. He was the only person to ever live who never sinned.

 

            He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

(1 Peter 2:22 ESV)

 

            For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

(Hebrews 4:15 ESV)

 

            You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

(1 John 3:5 ESV)

 

He is wonderful in his sinlessness and moral glory! He not only always does the right thing but he thinks the right things. He not only thinks the right things but he feels the right things. His heart towards his own is always good and kind. This shows that…

 

[B] He is wonderful in his love.  I continue to be amazed that he loves me. When I think of all the vile sins that I committed as a youth and a young man I cannot understand his mercy and love towards me. If another person defied me the way I defied the Living God I would have nothing to do with them. But Jesus took me as his own, forgiving me, and expressed his love towards me in a multitude of ways. And, though I may be sanctified to a degree – forsaking many of the transgressions I once did – I know that I still do things that displease him. But his love is persistent and tender. Have you experienced his love and his mercy? Does He continue to forgive you? Then you know that he is wonderful in his love.

 

[C] He is wonderful in his care. He is the Great Shepherd. He is called the Great Shepherd because a shepherd cares for his sheep. No one cares for you like Jesus does. He is looking out for your welfare moreso than any other person does, would, or even could. He protects you from famine, from danger, from wolves. No danger and no predator is able to overcome the care and protection that he provides. The greatest protection that He affords is the protection you need from yourself! Your desires are not always in line with His. If the Lord Jesus left you to yourself, even as a Christian, you would go astray! Just like sheep tend to wander away, so do we. When a sheep wanders away from the fold it does not realize that it is doing so. It is just seeking grass to eat. Neither does it realize the danger that exists in being away from the fold. We are like sheep in this respect. All Christians start out strong. When they first come to the Lord, they are enthusiastic, they read their Bibles, they attend all the meetings of the church. What sometimes happens is that they get drawn away, slowly, to other things. They wander away. But, as the Great Shepherd, He goes and brings them back. He is wonderful in his care. He is the Great Shepherd.

 

[D] He is wonderful in his unchangeableness. Everything around us changes. The towns that we grew up in change. Governments change. Societies change. People change. Some of the people we love the most change. Friends that we once had sometimes change for the worse. Promises that were made to us are broken. People that we admired disappoint us. But there is one person:

 

  • who does not change,
  • who will always keep his promises,
  • who is always for us.
  • That is Jesus.

 

            Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

(Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

 

Because he never changes he is called the Rock. He was a rock for the Israelites. He was a rock for the apostles. He was a rock for the early church. He was a rock for the Pilgrims. He is a Rock for every age. This is why he is called the Rock of Ages. He is a rock for you. He never changes!

 

  • His moral glory was seen by his disciples, is seen in the pages of the New Testament, and will be seen forever because he never changes.
  • He loved you when you surrendered your heart to him, he loves you now, and he will love you forever because he never changes.
  • He cared for you when you were a baby. He cared for you when you were in your sins. He cares for you now and he will care for you forever because he never changes.

 

He is the Rock of Ages. He is wonderful in his unchangeableness.

 

His name is Wonderful!

 

[II] His name shall be called Counselor. The human race was ruined by a counselor, who gave the worst advice to Eve, and our lives will be restored by a Counselor. Why is He given the title of Counselor?

 

[A] First, Christ is a Counselor with God. The Scriptures say very little about His role in this respect. But it does reveal it. Before the world was, before God made the stars, even before space was created, Almighty God held a conclave with Himself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit held a mystic counsel with one another. The council was not held in order to gain knowledge, for God knows all things and has always known all things. We cannot say why it was held. Possibly, it was held for each Person of the Trinity to voluntarily subscribe to their roles in what would take place, to show the unanimity and cooperation of the Sacred Persons. God the Father has done nothing alone in either creation nor salvation. Christ does nothing alone. The Spirit does nothing alone. The Three always work together in love and harmony.

 

What were the topics deliberated upon at that first council and why was Christ Counselor?

 

[1] Christ was Counselor at creation.          Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (ESV)

 

“Let us” is plural. One great man of God has said about this passage:  “this is the language of one apparently deliberating. Hitherto God has been introduced simply as commanding; now, when he approaches the most excellent of all his works, he enters into consultation. God certainly might here command by his bare word what he wished to be done: but he chose to give this tribute to the excellency of man, that he would, in a manner, enter into consultation concerning his creation.”[1]

 

To whom is God speaking? There are only two possibilities. He is either speaking to the angels or He is speaking to the other members of the Godhead. It cannot be the angels for the following reasons:

 

  • God does not need any advisor in the angels. To ascribe so exquisite a work to the angels is never even hinted at anywhere else in Scripture. Creation is solely and completely the work of God.
  • Second, we are never told anywhere in Scripture that we were made after the image of angels.
  • Third, the very next verse provides the context of how we are to understand verse 26.       So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them. (ESV) It does not say “…in the image of God and the angels he created him.” It says, “…in the image of God he created him.” The context is solely the image of God.

 

Therefore, since the Lord needs no other counselor, there can be no doubt that he consulted with himself. The Lord Jesus was one of the counselors. He was a Counselor with the Father.

 

Not only was he a Counselor in creation but he Himself effected creation. All things were made BY Him (Col. 1:16). He is both the Counselor for creation and the Creator! Oh, what a Wonderful Person he is!

 

[2] Christ was also Counselor for salvation. There was a council before time about how to save mankind before mankind was even created. One of the things that had to be considered was how God could be just and merciful at the same time. How could He justify the ungodly rebel and not do violence to His own holy, just, and pure nature? How could His love be expressed without denying justice?

 

Both the Father and the Son must agree that:

 

  • the Son must suffer.
  • He must be the Substitute.
  • He must bear His people’s sins.
  • He must be punished in their place.

 

And, the Father must be willing to:

 

  • Give up his beloved Son, and
  • Accept the Son’s substitution.

 

The Spirit would then draw the elect and effectuate belief in their hearts and apply the merits of Christ’s sacrifice to their souls.

 

What a marvelous cooperation among the Trinity to enable the salvation of helpless sinners! Christ was a Counselor with God in all this! In John 10:18 Jesus says concerning the sacrifice of his own life: 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.

 

Let me ask this. He is saying that he agrees to lay down his life. Did he agree to lay it down only if the Father demanded that He do it? Or, did he agree to lay it down in counsel with the Father. Surely, in counsel! What father would demand that his son give up his life without asking him? No earthly father would. And, neither does God the Father.

 

Christ was a Counselor with God in the plan of salvation.

 

We see, the, that Christ was a Counselor with God in both creation and redemption. This brings admiration for His Person. But the sweeter and more dear thought is that he is also Counselor to us.  To this, if the Lord permits, we will turn next week to consider.

 

[III Conclusion and Application to Part One] “His name shall be called Wonderful.” Jesus is wonderful in:

 

  • His moral glory
  • In his love
  • In his care, and in his
  • Unchangeableness.

 

There is no other like Him in all the universe! Oh, he is Wonderful!

 

“His name shall be called Counselor.” He is both a Counselor with God and a Counselor to us. Oh, what a Savior we have!

 

Do you see Him as Wonderful and Counselor? If you have not then understand that He was given for you. He is understood and experienced as Wonderful and Counselor by those who see Him as Savior and Lord. If you have not, this very day bow to Him as Savior and Lord. What a great time of year to do that!

 

Have you seen Him as Wonderful and Counselor, but He no longer seems as Wonderful and as the Great Counselor as He once did? Then take the prayer of David in Psalm 51:12 and simply change the words a little. (Did you know the best prayers are those found in the Bible?) The Psalm reads:

 

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

 

Take that prayer and make it:

Lord, restore to me the wonder of Jesus. Restore Him to me as the Great Counselor and uphold me with a willing spirit. Amen.

 

[1] Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 1, p. 91). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.