Christmas Sunday – Isaiah 7:14
Morning Bible Study
If you have the CCF app, would you open it please? Then go to “Media” and
then “Study notes”, and look for today’s message
titles “Christmas Sunday”. Open it and look at the spot at the top of the notes
titled “Today I met…” Did you introduce yourself to someone today? Write their
name in that spot to help you remember their name…
We have a treat for you – back on Dec. 1 we were concerned about the
closures at the Mexico Border. We cut the Mexico team down to three brave men
who headed south despite the closures and gave gifts to a great group of orphan
Play: 2018 December Mexico Video
Our Christmas Eve service will run from 6-7pm and will be a blessing for
kids and adults alike. Bring the whole family.
Come and start your year right on Thursday Dec. 27 – we will spend our
evening in worship and prayer.
The year was 735BC. Israel had long split into two competing nations, Judah
in the south and the northern tribes were known as “Israel” or “Ephraim”.
The southern kingdom was being ruled by King Ahaz.
Ahaz was not a good king.
28:2–4 NLT) —2 Instead, he followed the example of
the kings of Israel. He cast metal images for the worship of Baal. 3 He offered sacrifices in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, even sacrificing
his own sons in the fire. In this way, he followed the detestable practices of
the pagan nations the Lord had
driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 4 He offered
sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under
every green tree.
The southern kingdom of Judah had all sorts of enemies.
The northern kingdom of Israel had allied itself with the kingdom of Syria.
Together, these enemies were threatening to sweep through Judah and even to
take the capital Jerusalem.
It’s under these circumstances that God sends Ahaz a message through the
It was a message of grace. Ahaz didn’t deserve what was going to happen.
God was going to promise to deliver the nation.
The promise would come with a “sign” to show Ahaz that God was going to
keep His word.
Isaiah 7:10-13 – The Test
:10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
:11 “Ask a sign for
yourself from the Lord your God;
ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”
:12 But Ahaz said, “I
will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”
: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?
:12 nor will I test the Lord!
Put God to the Test
It may sound as if Ahaz is being “spiritual” in refusing to ask for a sign.
After all, the nation Israel had been rebuked for “testing” God while Moses
led them through the wilderness.
Jesus had even quoted Deut. 6:16 when He was being tempted by Satan in the
4:7 ESV) Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the
Lord your God to the test.’ ”
Yet this is a different kind of “testing” God. Those wilderness kinds of
testing have to do with trying God’s patience. They come from a heart that
An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into
mischief, finally asked him, “How do you expect to get into heaven?” The boy
thought it over and said, “Well, I’ll just run in and out and in and out and
keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, ‘For heaven’s sake, Jimmy, come in
or stay out.’”
I only know of one other Scripture where God asks His people to “test” Him.
This is not a “test” that a person should try who is unwilling to trust
their life to God.
But if you have been learning to walk by faith, this is a “test” God would
challenge you to take.
In the days after the people of Judah returned from Babylon, life was
God spoke through Haggai (520 BC):
1:6 NKJV) “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but
do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe
yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
God spoke this challenge through the prophet Malachi:
3:10 ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in
my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for
you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
God promised His people that if they would learn to give a
full tithe, that He would respond by overflowing them with blessings.
A “tithe” means a “tenth”.
If a stranger came in and audited your finances, they
should be able to tell that you are a believer.
6:21 NKJV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Do your “treasures” reflect where your heart is at?
Some of you might say to me, “But finances are tight, I
can’t afford to give.”
Pay attention to what God challenges you to do. Put Him to the test. This is an act of “faith”. I don’t know how
He does it, but I know plenty of people who have tested God on this, and He
Isaiah 7:14 - Immanuel
: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.
:14 the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son
For you Bible scholars, this Scripture is one of many examples of what we
call “double fulfillment”.
There are quite a few Old Testament scriptures that had more than one
There would be a fulfillment in the days of Ahaz.
There would also be a fulfillment at the birth of Jesus Christ.
virgin – ‘almah – virgin, a young woman of
marriageable age who was a virgin.
For King Ahaz, the prophecy was about timing.
The idea was that a young woman who was still a virgin during the days the
prophecy came would become pregnant in the normal way and give birth.
The prophecy would go on to say that this child would be about 12 years old
when the two enemies of Ahaz would be gone.
In vs. 16, the child will be old enough to “know to refuse evil”, or at the
age of accountability, at his bar mitzvah,
or … 12 years old.
In other words, in 13 years Ahaz would see victory over his enemies.
The prophecy came around 735 BC.
The Syrian enemy would be crushed by the Assyrians in 732 BC, and the
northern kingdom of Israel would be conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC.
Both enemies would be gone thirteen years after the prophecy.
Regarding Jesus, Matthew connects the dots for us for this prophecy’s
We read in our Scripture reading how Joseph was afraid of marrying Mary
when it was found that she was pregnant even though he had never had sex with
her. (Mat. 1:18-25).
NKJV) —22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by
the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the
virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name
Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
The Son of God
Some people would like to have you think that it’s not that important for
you to believe in the virgin birth.
The OT and NT words for “virgin” could simply mean a young gal.
NT “virgin” – parthenos – a virgin; a marriageable maiden; a
woman who has never had sexual intercourse with a man; one’s marriageable
Why is it important that Jesus be born from a virgin? I’ll just give you a couple of reasons…
From the earliest days of church history, the church has held that Jesus
was born from a virgin – that His mother had never had sex with a man.
The Bible says so
The Scriptures are clear that Mary was a virgin when she
When Mary herself is visited by the angel Gabriel and told
that she was going to have a baby, she wondered how that could happen…
1:34–35 NKJV) —34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How
can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to
her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest
will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be
called the Son of God.
The Sinless One
It’s possible that this might be the key to how Jesus
could be human and yet not have a sin nature (Heb. 7:26)
7:26 NKJV) —26 For such a High Priest was fitting
for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has
become higher than the heavens;
The theory is that the sin nature is passed down through
the father, not the mother. (Rom. 5:12)
(Romans 5:12 NKJV) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and
thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
It was important for Jesus to be without sin, so that He
could be the perfect sacrifice for us.
Peter wrote that we were redeemed …
(1 Peter 1:19 NKJV) …with the precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
His human nature came from his mother Mary.
Because He was fully human, He knows what it’s like for us
to struggle with temptation.
(Hebrews 4:15 NKJV) For we do not have a High Priest who
cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we
are, yet without sin.
His divine nature came through his Father, God.
Because He is God, He can do anything.
(John 14:14 NKJV) If you ask anything in My name, I
will do it.
Because Jesus was fully God, when He laid down His life as
a substitute for us, He was able to lay down an infinite life, able to pay for all of our sins.
Fully man, He understands us. Fully God, there’s nothing He can’t do.
All of this is wrapped up in the virgin birth.
He is the Son of God.
He’s not the Son of God in the same aspect that we are all
“sons of God”.
He is THE unique Son of God.
God was literally His Father.
:14 and shall call His name Immanuel
Immanuel = “God with us”
For King Ahaz, the birth of this child would be a reminder that God was
with them, that God hadn’t forsaken them.
For us, Jesus is a reminder that God is with us.
I’m not alone
There are those who believe in a God who created everything, but He is
referred to as the clockmaker who built the clock, wound it up, and then let it
go and walked away. They believe God is
no longer involved in the things of the world.
The Bible tells us that God is very involved in our lives.
For Ahaz, the Immanuel child would be a reminder that God was still with
28:20b NKJV) …”and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age.”
Paul said He’s not just “with” us, He’s on our side,
(Romans 8:31 NKJV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us,
who can be against us?
He is with us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
NKJV) —16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may abide with you forever—17 the Spirit
of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows
Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
There is one difficult condition that just about all of us struggle with,
We can be in a room filled with people and still feel alone.
We can be surrounded by our family on the holidays and still feel alone.
What can we do about loneliness?
I’m going to read to you a story…
One gal writes,
I travel a lot in my work, and one of the things I dislike about this part
of my job is eating alone. It always makes me feel lonely to see others
laughing and talking, and sometimes I have the uncomfortable feeling that I
look like I am waiting to be “picked up” by someone. So, I usually order room
service for several nights to avoid that discomfort. However, sooner or later,
I feel a need to get out of my room. My strategy is to go down to the hotel
restaurant the moment it opens, as it is not very crowded then and I don’t feel
After having room service three nights in a row at a Wyndham Hotel in
Houston, I needed to get out. Although the restaurant opened at 6:30, I arrived
at 6:25. The Maître D’ met me at the front and made a comment about my “really
being there early.” I explained my dislike of eating alone in restaurants. He
then took me back and seated me at a lovely table. “You know,” he said, “I am
all caught up with my work, and people don’t usually start coming to our
restaurant until after seven o’clock. I wondered if you’d mind if I sat down
with you for a while.”
I was delighted! He sat and talked with me about his career goals, his
hobbies, the challenges of balancing a restaurant career with a family, and the
difficulty of being at work on nights, weekends and holidays. He showed me
pictures of his children and his wife - even his dog! After about 15 minutes,
he spotted some customers at the front desk and excused himself. I noticed out
of the corner of my eye that before he went to the front, he stopped in the
kitchen for a moment.
As my new friend proceeded to seat the arriving party, one of the waiters
came out of the kitchen and over to my table. “My station is way in the back
tonight, and I’m sure no one will be seated there for a while,” he said. “I’m
not really busy. Do you mind if I sit down with you for a while?” We had a
wonderful chat, until someone was seated in his station and he needed to excuse
Soon after, out came one of the young busboys. He, too, asked if he could
sit down with me for a few minutes. He hardly spoke any English, but I had
taught English as a second language, so we had great fun talking about his
experiences in coming to America. He shared with me all the expressions they
had taught him in the kitchen when he first arrived in this country (you can
imagine!). As the restaurant got busier, he finally excused himself to attend
to his work. But before I left that night, even the chef had come out of the
kitchen and sat with me!
When I asked for my check (about one and a half hours later), there was an
almost audible pause in the restaurant. All the people who had sat down with me
came over in a big group to my table. They presented me with a long-stemmed red
rose and said, “This was the nicest night we’ve ever had in our restaurant.”
And I cried! What had begun as a lonely night ended as a beautiful experience -
for both employees and customer.
By Barbara Glanz
from Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work
Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Maida
Rogerson, Martin Rutte & Tim Clauss
I think that during the holidays, it would be a cool thing if we all kept
our eyes open for those who might feel alone.
But there’s something else that impacts our loneliness…
TABLE FOR TWO
by Kirsten Burgess
He sits by himself at a table for two. The uniformed waiter returns to his
side and asks, “Would you like to go ahead and order, sir?” The man has, after
all, been waiting since seven o’clock—almost half an hour.
“No, thank you,” the man smiles. “I’ll wait for her a while longer. How about
some more coffee?” “Certainly, sir.”
The man sits, his clear blue eyes gazing straight through the flowered
centerpiece. He fingers his napkin, allowing the sounds of light chatter,
tinkling silverware, and mellow music to fill his mind. He is dressed in sport
coat and tie. His dark brown hair is neatly combed, but one stray lock insists
on dropping to his forehead. The scent of his cologne adds to his clean-cut
image. He is dressed up enough to make a companion feel important, respected,
loved. Yet he is not so formal as to make one uncomfortable. It seems that he
has taken every precaution to make others feel at ease with him.
Still, he sits alone.
The waiter returns to fill the man’s coffee cup. “Is there anything else I
can get for you, sir?” “No, thank you.”
The waiter remains standing at the table. Something tugs at his curiosity. “I
don’t mean to pry, but...” His voice trails off. This line of conversation
could jeopardize his tip. “Go ahead,” the man encourages. His is strong, yet
sensitive, inviting conversation.
“Why do you bother waiting for her?” the waiter finally blurts out. This
man has been at the restaurant other evenings, always patiently alone.
Says the man quietly, “Because she needs me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Well, sir, no offense, but assuming that she
needs you, she sure isn’t acting much like it. She’s stood you up three times
just this week.” The man winces and looks down at the table. “Yes, I know.” “Then
why do you still come here and wait?”
“Cassie said that she would be here.”
“She’s said that before,” the waiter protests. “I wouldn’t put up with it.
Why do you?”
Now the man looks up, smiles at the waiter, and says simply, “Because I
The waiter walks away, wondering how one could love a girl who stands him
up three times a week. The man must be crazy, he decides. Across the room, he
turns to look at the man again. The man slowly pours cream into his coffee. He
twirls his spoon between his fingers a few times before stirring sweetener into
his cup. After staring for a moment into the liquid, the man brings the cup to
his mouth and sips, silently watching those around him. He doesn’t look crazy,
the waiter admits. Maybe the girl has qualities that I don’t know about. Or
maybe the man’s love is stronger than most. The waiter shakes himself out of
his musings to take an order from a party of five.
The man watches the waiter, wonders if he’s ever been stood up. The man
has, many times. But he still can’t get used to it. Each time, it hurts. He’s
looked forward to this evening all day. He has many things, exciting things, to
tell Cassie. But, more importantly, he wants to hear Cassie’s voice. He wants
her to tell him all about her day, her triumphs, her defeats …anything, really.
He has tried so many times to show Cassie how much he loves her. He’d just like
to know that she cares for him, too. He sips sporadically at the coffee, and
loses himself in thought, knowing that Cassie is late, but still hoping that
she will arrive.
The clock says nine-thirty when the waiter returns to the man’s table. “Is
there anything I can get for you?” The still empty chair stabs at the man. “No,
I think that will be all for tonight. May I have the check please?” “Yes, sir.”
When the waiter leaves, the man picks up the check. He pulls out his wallet
and signs. He has enough money to have given Cassie a feast. But he takes out
only enough to pay for his five cups of coffee and the tip. Why do you do this,
Cassie, his mind cries as he gets up from the table.
“Good-bye,” the waiter says, as the man walks towards the door. “Good
night. Thank you for your service.” “You’re welcome, sir,” says the waiter
softly, for he sees the hurt in the man’s eyes that his smile doesn’t hide.
The man passes a laughing young couple on his way out, and his eyes glisten
as he thinks of the good time he and Cassie could have had. He stops at the front
and makes reservations for tomorrow. Maybe Cassie will be able to make it, he
As the man turns toward home, Cassie turns into bed. She is tired after an
evening out with friends. As she reaches toward her night stand to set the
alarm, she sees the note that she scribbled to herself last night. ‘7:00,’ it
says. ‘Spend some time in prayer.’ Darn, she thinks. She forgot again. She
feels a twinge of guilt, but quickly pushes it aside. She needed that time with
her friends. And now she needs her sleep. She can pray tomorrow night. Jesus
will forgive her.
And she’s sure he doesn’t mind.
Let me say that there is an answer to your deepest loneliness.
The answer is Jesus. He is
Immanuel. He is “God with us”.
He wants you to know Him.
He wants to spend time with you.
The Bible says,
(James 4:8 NKJV) Draw near to God and He will draw
near to you.
Two thousand years ago, a tiny baby was born in a Bethlehem manger.
God was breaking into our world.
He came to be with us.