The Names of Christmas – Message 2
December 5, 2021
Prayer: Jesus is our Mighty God. He possesses the power to complete His plan in our world, our church and community, and in each of our lives. As we worship in song and through our generosity, ask Him to demonstrate His strength in our lives.
Introduction: We continue our series called, Names of Christmas.
A. Like the Dutch, Germans associated Christmas with Saint Nicholas.
- To emphasize Jesus instead of Catholic saints, Protestant reformerMartin Luther, began a tradition in the 15th century of children receiving gifts on Christmas Eve from Christkind (literally "the Christ child"); origin of the name, Kris Kringle.
- People had a hard time imagining a baby traveling around leaving gifts, so Christ- kind became represented by an angelic girl who possessed Christ-like qualities.
B. More important than Santa’s names are the names of our Savior, the Messiah.
- Almost 800 years before Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, King Ahaz of Judah feared defeat and oppression by Assyria; Isaiah encouraged him with a prophesy about a king from David’s line who would arise like a light in darkness.
- Isaiah 9:2,6-7 (NLT)—2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. … 6For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David for all eternity.
- This future king would not reestablish the earthly kingdoms of Judah or Israel; instead, He would establish the kingdom of God on earth! [Matthew 4:17]
- Each of the Messiah-king’s names, or titles, reveals ways He will function in the lives of His children; today, we will focus on the name, Mighty God.
II. Our Mighty God
A. #1 - Created and controls the world. (Numbers 24:17; Isaiah 40:26; Matthew 2:9-12; Colossians 1:15-17)
- Isaiah 40:26 (NLT)—Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of His great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. [Our Mighty God knows all of Creation—and every star—personally.]
- The pagan religion of Isaiah’s time worshiped the sun, moon, planets and stars which revealed God’s eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:19), but they rejected Him, choosing to worship the creation instead of the Creator. (Romans 1:25)
- Our Mighty God, who controls this universe, used a star to call Gentile scholars to where Jesus could be found that first Christmas.
- Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT)—Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men [magi] from eastern lands [Persia (Iran) or Babylon (Iraq)] arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him.”
- Why did God use a star? It was a sign the wise men, who were also astronomers, would recognize, because they systematically searched the sky.
- They noticed when a new star appeared, but how did they know what it meant?
- They may have learned about the expected Messiah-king from descendants of Jews, taken to Babylon as captives over 500 years before the birth of Jesus.
- Perhaps, from these Jews, they learned the prophecy at Numbers 24:17 (NLT)—I see Him, but not in the present time. I perceive Him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. [See God’s hand?]
- Scholars debate whether the star was it a conjunction of two planets (Jupiter and Saturn), a comet passing close to earth (Halley’s?), or a supernova (a star that violently explodes and gives off light for weeks or months).
- We don’t need to devise a natural explanation for a supernatural occurrence.
- Our Mighty God was the source of the sign that alerted these wise men to the Messiah’s birth; they traveled to Jerusalem, the city where a king would live.
- The arrival of the wise men alarmed King Herod, so he summoned them.
- Matthew 2:9-11 (NLT)—9After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. [6 mi. south] It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11They entered the house and saw the child with His mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. …
- This obviously wasn’t a star; Our Mighty God created a light the wise men followed to guide them to a specific house where the Savior could be found.
- Our Mighty God created and He continues to maintain and sustain this world.
- Trust God to continue to control this world He created; resist panic from threats of global destruction from methane, carbon, or aliens, climate change (which was global warming), recognizing these perils are more political than scientific.
- We are responsible for caring the earth (Genesis 1:26,28-29; 2:15), but rely on Jesus, who holds all creation together. (Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3)
Our Mighty God…
B. #2 - Directs people according to His plan. (Proverbs 21:1; Matthew 1:18-23; 2:3-8 Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4)
- Our Mighty God exercises authority over all people, including even unbelievers.
- Luke 2:1–7 (NLT)—At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. [Galatians 4:4]
- The decree of a Roman king led to the fulfillment of a prophecy about the birth of a Messiah-king issued by the prophet Micah over seven centuries before.
- Matthew 2:3-6 (NLT)—3King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this [arrival of the wise men looking for a new king of the Jews], as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for My people Israel.’” [prophesy from Micah 5:2]
- The Jewish leaders knew where the Messiah was to be born, but didn’t go; they were disinterested in confirming the birth of the promised Messiah-king.
- Herod provided information to the magi about the location of the Messiah’s birth.
- Matthew 2:8 (NLT)—Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find Him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship Him, too!” [kill Him; fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah 60:3]
- Isaiah 60:3 (NLT)—All nations will come to Your light; mighty kings will come to see Your radiance.
- Our Mighty God is sovereign over people and their plans; He used unbelieving rulers, wise men, and religious leaders to carry out His purposes. [Proverbs 21:1]
- APP.: Are you encountering a difficult or threatening situation from a person you can’t control? God can! Pray!
Our Mighty God…
C. #3 - Saves through supernatural means. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35; John 5:24–28; 1 John 3:8-9)
- Our salvation is a completely supernatural manifestation of God’s might.
Matthew 1:18–21 (NLT)—18This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus [means the LORD saves], for He will save His people from their sins.”
- Let’s look at Luke’s version: Luke 1:34-35,37 (NLT)—34Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God. … 37For nothing is impossible with God.”
- Mary was supernaturally impregnated by the Holy Spirit, so the child would be holy, set-apart for God, without a sin nature, so He could live a sinless life, and die as a substitute for sinners, destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8-9).
- Whoever believes in Jesus, passes from death to life (John 3:16; 5:24-26).
- APP.: Do you need Jesus to intervene in your life with His mighty power? Ask!