Immanuel (Christmas 2014)
Matthew 1:23, 28:18-20 (Pastor Heo)
23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The key message of Christmas is “God With Us”. How is this possible? By nature, we have no right/authority for God to be with us.
- God is spirit, we are physical.
- God is Creator, we are his Creations.
- God is in heaven and heavenly, we are on the earth and earthly.
- God is absolutely pure and holy, all human beings are totally unclean and sinful.
- By nature, God is unreachable, unapproachable. Then how is it possible that God is with us, among us, and IN us?
That became possible by the Christmas story, by Jesus coming into the world as a FULL man, as a person.
John 1:14 “God became man and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory. The glory of his one and only Son.”
- Q: Do you recognize, enjoy, experience that God is with you wherever you are and whatever you do?
- Q: If “yes”, how much does this fact affect you and your daily life?
In the Bible, the word Immanuel has different meanings – there are 5 levels in the Bible.
Let me share with you these 5 kinds of Immanuel in the Bible.
#1: Level 1 – one-dimensional Immanuel (“God with us”) – applied to ALL Creation.
God is with ALL things – living and unliving, all his things and Creations, he is “with” them.
God is with men, bad men, women, trees, stars, the sun, moon, birds, mountains, fish, everything, everywhere, God is “with” those BECAUSE God is Creator, Sustainer, Ruler, Governor over all things.
- Eph 4:6 “There is only One God, the Father of all who is above all, and in all, and through all.”
- Heb 1:3 “The Son, Jesus, is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s being, and is sustaining ALL things with his powerful Word.”
#2: Level 2 – two-dimensional Immanuel
Applied to only human beings – ALL human beings. Yes, God is with ALL human beings, believers and non-, good and bad, the saved, the lost, ALL men.
There’s no place we can be hidden from God. We cannot flee from the presence of God.
Unbelievers do not know/recognize God’s being “with” them BUT regardless of their ignorance that God is with them, he IS with them.
“God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain and snow on the righteous and unrighteous – and causes money and blessings to come to the believers and unbelievers alike.” (Proverbs?)
This unlimited favor to ALL human beings = “General Grace”
#3: Level 3 – three-dimensional Immanuel
Applied only to believers – those who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, Lord, and God.
This Immanuel guarantees no penalty for sin, and guarantees special freedom in Truth. And absolute heavenly peace and joy and intimate relationship and fellowship with God and the right to pray (directly to him) anytime, everytime. We have access to God with confidence and assurance to get help in our time of need.
- Jesus says, “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish. No one can snatch you out of my hand.” (John’s gospel)
- Jesus says, “My Father who has given you to me is greater than ALL so that no one can snatch you out of my hand.”
- Immanuel God promised, “I will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you.” This promise given only to believers is called “Special Grace.”
#4: Level 4 – four-dimensional Immanuel
The BEST/highest Immanuel that we, true Christians can experience in this world.
This Immanuel is applied to only evangelists, preachers of the gospel – to make disciples of ALL nations.
Matthew 28:18-20 = The “Great Commission” for world salvation and evanglization.
“All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go, baptizing all men in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you, and surely I am with you always until the very end of the age.”
“…to the very end of the age.” = There is a limitation in time – ONLY until the end of this “age.”
It means, this kind of Immanuel is applied ONLY in this “age” and it means that this Immanuel will be no more after the end of this age.
This kind of Immanuel is applied only (1) in this age, (2) to true believers who (3) go and preach the Word to all nations.
Q: What is the effect of this 4-dimensional Immanuel? This is where the power and authority of Jesus Christ is revealed through the people who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- God called Moses and said, “Go to Pharaoh and save my people out of Egypt.” This means (today) “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
- God gave him a promise – the best promise he could give him that “I will be WITH you always.”
This promise was a 4-dimensional Immanuel promise. This means, Moses became LIKE God before Pharaoh, before the people, before his brother Aaron.
Moses performed 10 miracles before Pharaoh. After coming out of Egypt, in front of the Red Sea, Moses raised his staff and stretched out his hand and the Red Sea was divided and they crossed by walking on foot.
Later, Moses made drinking water out of the rock. Moses performed many miracles. God’s promise “I will be WITH you” meant “my power will be done/manifested through you as long as you DO the mission I gave you.”
Today, in our time, this is the same.
Jesus says, “All authority is mine… Therefore, GO, and make disciples of all nations… Surely I am always WITH you to the very end of the age.”
This means, whenever you “go and make disciples” Jesus authority will be manifested through YOU who preach the gospel of salvation.
#5: Level 5 – five-dimensional Immanuel
Applied in the LITERAL heaven – in the world to come after this world. This means the redemption of our bodies. We will be LIKE Jesus – seeing him face-to-face – in heaven forever and ever.
At that time, we will receive spiritual, heavenly, immortal, glorious, radiant, REAL, recognizable as the SAME person – bodies.
1 Thess 16:17 “The Lord (Jesus) will come back again from heaven with a loud command with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God, and then the dead in Christ will be raised first. And we who are alive in Christ will be caught up in the air to receive him in the air, and we will be caught up to heaven and be with him forever and ever.”
May God bless all of us with Immanuel God.
“God be WITH us.”
Remember and enjoy abundantly this last sentence: God is WITH you IN Christ Jesus who was
- born for us,
- died for us,
- was raised for us, and
- will come back for us, and
- live with us forever and ever Amen.