The Birth of Jesus
Let’s take a fresh look at the gospel story.  Let’s go back to the beginning.
(Matthew 1:18-23) “ This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to
Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public
disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord
appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as
your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you
are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to
fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a
son, and they will call him Immanuel"— which means, "God with us."”

Seven hundred (700) years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah, inspired by the Spirit of God,
said these words:

Isaiah 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give
birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The whole purpose of life – God’s plan in everything that he created – is to bring man into relationship
with God.  
We understand that man desires relationship with God.  Somehow, we think it is our idea.  
We must understand that God desires relationship with us, and that the whole thing is His idea.  In
fact, God desires this more than we do.

But God knew things about man.
Man is selfish by nature and will not pursue this relationship diligently.  
Also, man is sinful, and sin prevents relationship with God.  
What is sin?
§        Sin is breaking God’s laws.
§        Sin is disobeying God.
§        Sin is failing to believe God.
§        Sin is not doing what we know we should do.
These things hinder our relationship with God.

It was also the prophet who said:
Isaiah 59:2  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face
from you, so that he will not hear.

The thing we must understand here is that God really wants to have relationship with man.  He wanted
it so much that he made a plan.  The only way that relationship was possible was for the sin to be
removed.  Sin was the only thing in the way.

So, God made the most amazing plan.

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son…

A virgin will have a baby.  That is impossible.  How could it be?  Where does this child come from?  
The gospel story tells us that the Holy Spirit of God came upon Mary and miraculously put a child in
her womb.  This child was conceived by God Himself.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people
from their sins."

Jesus is the same as the name “Joshua”, which means “Savior”.  Joshua, in the Old Testament
history, led the people of Israel into the Promised Land.  
The angel told Joseph that this son, Jesus, would save his people from their sins.  How could he
possibly do that?

The prophet gives us the answer:
… and they will call him Immanuel"— which means, "God with us."”

Illus.  One day, a man found a bird flying around in his room.  He opened the window so the bird could
go free.  The bird could not seem to find the way out.  So the man said, “Hey bird, the window is over
here.”  And he pointed.  But the bird could not understand him and was afraid of him.  He tried and
tried but could not make the bird understand how to get free.  Finally, in desperation, he said, “If only I
could become a bird for a few minutes, I could communicate with this bird and help him get free.”

Of course, the man could not become a bird.  But God could, and did, become a man so he could
make a way of freedom for us.

There is only one way we can get free from our wrongdoing.  That is for someone else to remove it.

I had a splinter of wood in my finger.  I tried to remove it, but I needed two hands to do it.  Since one of
my hands had the splinter in it, I needed a hand from somewhere else.  So, I got Patti to remove it.

That is the way it is with sin.  We cannot remove it ourselves.  Only God can.  And this is how he does
it.

He became a man – “Immanuel – God with us” – and he paid the price of our disobedience.  The Bible
tells us that the price of sin – disobedience – is death.

When Jesus died on the cross, he took our sins upon himself and died for them.  Again, we hear from
the prophet Isaiah:
“ Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our
iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We
all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on
him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6 niv)

He took on himself our sins – our transgressions – our iniquities.  God put all of our wrongdoing on
him.  Jesus faced the judgment of God in our place.

I want you to understand something about Jesus.  He never sinned – never did anything wrong.  He
was perfect.  So why did he die for sins he did not commit?  For us.  God put our sin on Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become
the righteousness of God.

Jesus literally traded places with us.  Why?  In order to enable us to have a relationship with God.   If
he took our sin on himself so that he could put his righteousness on us, then we are now able to have
a close relationship with God.

The whole gospel story is contained in two simple verses from the Bible.

John 3:16  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world
through him.

I know of no greater truth.  I know of no more profound truth than this.

-        God so loved the world
-        that he gave his one and only Son
-        that whoever believes in him
-        shall not perish but have eternal life
-        God sent his Son
-        to save the world through him

We must understand this truth – Jesus is the only way to God.  
John 14:6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father
except through me.

Do you understand the significance of that?  You have friends, neighbors, relatives, who will die and
spend eternity without God.  They will live and die without hope.  Each person gets one life – one
chance – to find salvation.  And it only comes through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

Yet millions, billions will die without him and slip into eternity with no hope.

Is that God's fault?  Is God unjust to judge them because of what the didn’t know?  
No!  He sent His message thru prophets & apostles and gave the commission to believers.
In the days of Paul, Asia Minor was covered with the gospel.  Yet today, there is very little faith in
Jesus there. What happened?  
Believers did not stand strong for their faith and share it with others!  The churches lost their fire –
their passion for God – and the church disappeared.

Today, we are given the task of telling others about Jesus.  We have the message of hope.  

Do you believe it?  Do you have hope?

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”

Who is Jesus?
a.        The image of God – 1.15
b.        Firstborn of all creation – 1.15
c.        Before all things – 1.17
d.        Holds it all together – 1.17
e.        The head of the body of Christ (church) – 1.18
f.        The beginning – 1.18