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DECEMBER 27 2015

Unto Us a Child is Born

Part Two

 

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)

 

Last week we considered the first name of Christ prophesied in this passage: Wonderful! The Lord Jesus is named Wonderful because He is wonderful! We saw that He is wonderful in:

 

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

 

We also began to consider His name Counselor. He was a Counselor with God the Father in both creation and salvation. Think of it! The Father honors the Son so highly that He enters into counsel with Him! It is another reason that he is Wonderful!

 

[I] Now we ought to see that He is a Counselor to us.

 

[A] First, Christ is a necessary Counselor. Most often, when we do things without asking counsel of God we fall into trouble. Israel, not long after they entered into the promised land, entered into a pact with the Gibeonites. But they did so without asking counsel of the Lord. As a result, they were deceived by them. Surely, if they had sought counsel from God first they would not have been.

 

Christ is a necessary Counselor to us as opposed to the council of others. It is good to get council from others is they are knowledgeable in the Scriptures and filled with the Holy Spirit. But, regarding those from whom we seek counsel, it is not always so. Often, we seek council from others not because we know them to be faithful, but because we suspect they will give us the answer we wish to hear. One of the reasons that King Saul dies was because he consulted a medium rather than the Lord (I Chron 10:13).

 

Did you ever seek the Lord’s advice on your knees about a difficulty and then go amiss? The answer is no. If you did go amiss it simply means that you did not discern His answer well. Our problem, far more often, is that we either do not seek the Lord’s council or we half-heartedly seek it merely going through the motions and end up doing what we wanted to do all along.

 

When we sincerely seek the counsel of the Lord Jesus we receive it and it is always the best course of action.

 

When we fail to seek His counsel we very often end up in regret. Sometimes, we make such foolish decisions that we look back on them and marvel that we could have done something so stupid.

 

The Lord Jesus is a necessary Counselor to us.

 

[B] He is a faithful Counselor. His counsel to you is always right. The Eastman Kodak company, at one time the largest camera and film company in the world, invented the digital camera in 1975. But someone in their corporate board advised them not to follow up on it because it would undercut their sales of film.  So, they just sat on their own invention for 15 years and other companies, like Fuji and Sony, invested in and promoted digital photography. When Kodak realized their mistake in the mid 1990’s it was too late. Film photography continued to wane and they were too far behind to catch up. They had to end up filing bankruptcy.

 

Poor advice can derail a business but it can also derail your individual life. People can give us the wrong advice in our seeking a job, our choice of a school, and in our personal relationships. As I have already said, others will often give us counsel because they want us to like them. So, they will tell us what we want to hear rather than what is true and right because we will like them for telling us what we want to hear and we will not often be pleased to hear what we do not want to hear.

 

However, Jesus will always counsel you in accordance to what is best for you. He is a faithful Counselor.

 

Because his counsel is earnest and faithful…

 

[C] He is a sweet Counselor.            

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,

and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

(Proverbs 27:9 ESV)

 

In this proverb Solomon begins with those things that please him and, probably, most people: oil and perfume. There were no deodorants back in his day, so perfume was a desired commodity. You could put anything in the place of oil and perfume. What makes your heart glad? If I were writing this proverb I would write, “Books and barbells make the heart glad.” Some of you might write, “Guns and golf clubs make the heart glad.” Or, “Fine china and recipe books make the heart glad.” Does it not manifest the goodness of God that He created a world with such a variety? It does! He is good and He is pleased when we are pleased with the good things that He created or has allowed us to create.

 

But better than all the variety of “things” that abound is the sweetness of a friend. The sweetness of a friend comes from the earnest counsel that they give. It is, of course, not only the counsel but the presence and love of a friend that makes them sweet.

 

When we come to the Lord Jesus for counsel in the secret place, our time with him is so sweet. We experience his presence and his favor in ways that cannot be explained to those who have never known it. He is a sweet Counselor.

 

His name will be called Counselor.  He is a:

 

  • Counselor with God
  • A necessary Counselor to us.
  • A faithful counselor to us.
  • And a sweet Counselor.

 

What a Counselor!

 

[II] His name will be called The Mighty God. This child that would be born, this Son that would be given would not just be any child. He would be more. So much more! He would be the Mighty God! There are some so-called Christian groups that deny that Jesus is God. There is a cultic group from the Philippines that is quite popular there. By popular I mean that in almost any town that you go to you will find a Catholic church there and you will also find a congregation of Iglesia Ni Christo. That name translates to The Church of Christ but they are not affiliated in any way with that denomination here in the U.S. The Church of Christ here at least recognizes the Deity of the Lord Jesus. Iglesia Ni Christo denies it. They have about 200 churches in the U.S. including one in St. Louis. Only two hundred churches in the whole U.S. may not be much, but they have a fair amount of influence in the Filipino community because they become centers of cultural and ethnic companionship as well.

 

The largest of the groups that deny that Jesus is God are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Make no mistake, to deny that Jesus is God is a heresy. It was declared to be a heresy by the early church and one cannot be under the favor of God and believe it.

 

In defending this essential truth, one could cite verses that out right call Jesus God, such as our passage this morning.

 

We could reference Isaiah 7:14, “…His name will be called Immanuel, God with us.”

 

Or,       waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

(Titus 2:13-14 ESV)

 

            Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

            To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:  (2 Peter 1:1 ESV)

 

            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

(John 1:1 ESV)

 

            For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

(Colossians 2:9 ESV)

 

            But of the Son he says,

            “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

             the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

(Hebrews 1:8 ESV)

 

All of these verses are unambiguous and clear. Yet, groups like the JW’s and InC  have creative ways of “explaining away” the truth found in these verses. For example, with regard to our passage this morning, Isaiah 9:6, they will say that the title “God”  comes from the Hebrew word El which just means “mighty one” or “great one.” They will point out that the term El is sometimes applied to mere men. So, here it just means “Mighty great one” or “mighty, mighty one,” referring to Jesus but as a created being, not God. These groups have similar sounding explanations for all the verses we just cited.

 

Rather than getting bogged down in the details of the original language, which can be confusing, there is a better approach. Rather than looking at minutia, we can look at the big picture. The big picture is powerfully persuasive. One can miss the beautiful forest my examining one branch of one tree.

 

The Bible was meant to be understood by the common person, not just by those who think themselves learned in the original languages. (Ironically, the translators of the New World Translation [The JW Bible] knew neither Hebrew nor Greek and had to admit as much in a court case!)

 

What is the overarching message of who Christ is in the New Testament? What is the big picture?

 

[A] The first thing that we may observe is his manner of speech. It is so very, very different than any other prophet of God. Whenever prophets in the OT spoke they would often say, “Thus saith the Lord,…” In fact, it appears 420 times in the Old Testament! You would think that, when we come to the NT, the prophets would continue this manner of speaking. And they do! In Acts 21:11 the prophet Agabus speaks this way: “Thus says the Holy Spirit…”

 

However, Jesus, in the sermon on the mount and elsewhere, says “I say to you…”      “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you….”

            (Matthew 5:21-22 ESV)

 

Over and over again, one hundred thirty-five times in the four gospels, Jesus says “I say to you.” He never says, “Thus saith the Lord.” Isn’t that interesting? The prophets of the OT say “Thus saith the Lord” but Jesus says “ I say to you.”

 

[B] The second thing to take note of is what he actually said. No man of God ever spoke as He did. And, if they did, we would surmise that something was terribly wrong. The sheer volume of certain things that he said is such that I am not going to give every verse citation. I wish for you to feel the impact of what he said, so I am just going to repeat them from Scripture.

 

  1. He often said, “Follow Me.” Follow Me! Did Moses ever say, “Follow me?” Did Michael the archangel ever say “Follow me?” No, they did not. Jesus says, “Follow Me” 19 times.
  2. He said, “Pray in my name.” Did Moses or any other prophet ever say, “Pray in my name?” Of course not! Can you imagine an angel saying, “Pray in my name?” If they did, we would think that they were a fallen angel, not an angel of God.
  3. He said that the Holy Spirit would “come in my name.” The phrase “in my name” means “by the authority of.” The Holy Spirit is God.  Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would come by His authority! What prophet ever said anything like that? Would an angel say that the Holy Spirit comes in his name? No!
  4. He said, “Believe in Me.” Would an angel ever say, “Believe in me?” Dod Moses ever say, “Believe in me?” No prophet ever said “Believe in me” and we cannot imagine that they would. They pointed people to believe in the Lord, not themselves. You see, the way that Jesus spoke about Himself was egocentric. So much so, that if He were not God we would have to conclude that he is quite inappropriately taken up with himself! Only God can be excused for talking about Himself so much. If a created being spoke as He spoke we would think that they were in sin.
  5. He said, “Abide in Me.” That means live in him! What angel or any created being ever said, “Abide in me?”
  6. He said, “I will abide in you.” Who can abide in you except God?
  7. He said to lose your life for “my sake.” Can you imagine an angel saying, “Lose your life for my sake?”
  8. He said, “Confess Me.”
  9. He said, “Love Me.”
  10. He said, “Love Me more than your family.”
  11. He said, “Be worthy of Me.”
  12. He said, “Come to Me.” Did Moses or Isaiah ever say, “Come to me?” Can you imagine an angel saying “Come to Me?”
  13. He said, “I am greater than Jonah, the temple, greater than Solomon.”
  14. The angels are called “His angels” meaning Jesus’s angels.
  15. He spoke about “My kingdom.”
  16. He calls the church of the Living God, “My church!”
  17. He calls the apostle Paul “a vessel of mine.”
  18. He says, “Keep My commandments.” What prophet or what angel ever called the commandments “my commandments?”
  19. He said, “Receive Me.”
  20. He said, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name there I am in the midst of them.” This shows omnipresence. Only God possesses omnipresence. Could Michael the angel say that?
  21. He said, “Hear my sayings and do them.”
  22. He said, “If no one praised me then even the stones would praise me.” Can you imagine a created being making that statement?
  23. He said, “I shall send the Holy Spirit.” (John 15:16) Is God at the bidding of a creature?
  24. He said, “The Holy Spirit will testify of Me.”
  25. In speaking of Himself in the third person he says, “He gives life to whom he wills.” Does a creature give eternal life to whom he wills?
  26. He said, “All should honor the Son (Himself) just as they honor the Father.”
  27. “I am the Bread of life.” What if I were counseling you in my office and said to you, “I am the Bread of life?” I hope you would find another church. No human and no angel can say that.
  28. He said, “By seeing me you believe in God.”
  29. He said that by knowing him you will have eternal life.
  30. He said, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day.” And, “before Abraham was I AM.”
  31. “I give them eternal life.”
  32. I am the resurrection and the life.” Did Moses or Jeremiah or Samuel or anyone ever say, could they say, “I am the resurrection and the life?”
  33. He said, “Serve Me.” If Jesus were not God he was an egotistical maniac.
  34. He said, “I will draw all people to Myself.”
  35. He said, “I am the Truth.”
  36. He said, “I am the Life.”
  37. “Without Me you can do nothing.”
  38. “He said, “The Spirit will glorify Me.”

 

We could also, if we wished, show how Jesus places Himself in passages of the OT that specifically refer to Yahweh, the one true God of the Scriptures. We could also, if we wished, show how the attributes that he displayed are only possessed by God Himself. But, doing neither of those things, looking only the manner of his speech and what he said, anyone who is not deceived by some man-made organization can easily see that only God could speak in this way without being either deluded or egotistically sinful. This is why C.S. Lewis said that there are only three possibilities concerning Jesus. He is either liar, lunatic, or Lord (Lord meaning God.). If one knows what he actually said then talk of him being just a good teacher or just a prophet is nonsensical.

 

His name will be called Mighty God! He is the Mighty God!

 

[III. Conclusion & Application] He is our necessary, faithful, and sweet Counselor. He is God Himself come in the flesh.

 

What are we to do?

 

[A.] Go to Him for counsel. Do not make decisions either on your own or by simply using some rational decision-making process. Yes, do consider the pros and cons of every prospective decision. Never make decisions based merely on desires or emotions. Use your mental faculties and attempt to make wise decisions. But never rationality alone. Go to the Lord Jesus for counsel. Practically, this means to seek His will through prayer and the Scriptures.

 

[B] Honor Him as the Mighty God. He who honors the Son honors the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father. Jews and Muslims dishonor the Father because they do not honor the Son. Although, at least the Jews have the true God in mind while the Muslims have a different God altogether.

 

As you honor Jesus as the Mighty God be prepared to defend his deity. Be able to show those who are deceived Who He is by reviewing the overarching revelation that Jesus Himself has shown us. Avoid the details even if you are versed in the original languages (which most of us are not.)

 

What a wonderful Savior we have! He is Wonderful! He is Counselor! He is the Mighty God!