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Christmas Sunday – Isaiah 7:14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 23, 2018

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 boys…

Play: 2018 December Mexico Video

Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve service will run from 6-7pm and will be a blessing for kids and adults alike. Bring the whole family. 

Worship/prayer night

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.

(2 Chronicles 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 prophet Isaiah.

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 wilderness:

(Matthew 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 doesn’t believe.

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 tough.
God spoke through Haggai (520 BC):

(Haggai 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:

(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”.  Gulp.

If a stranger came in and audited your finances, they should be able to tell that you are a believer.

Jesus said,

(Matthew 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 comes through.

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 fulfillment.
There would be a fulfillment in the days of Ahaz.
There would also be a fulfillment at the birth of Jesus Christ.

virginalmah 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 second fulfillment.

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).
(Matthew 1:22–23 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 daughter
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 got pregnant.

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…

(Luke 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)

(Hebrews 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.

Fully Human

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.

Fully God

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 them.
Jesus said,
(Matthew 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.
(John 14:16–17 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, loneliness.
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 as uncomfortable.
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 himself.
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…
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 love her.”
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 thinks.
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.