Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
12 December 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
The Christmas Day Service this year will be on Zoom at 10.30 a.m.
Wendy came across these words spoken by Jesus:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:43).
She realised she needed to forgive someone, pray for them, and leave them in the Lord’s hands. A great weight lifted when she did so, Amen!
Read: Matt. 1:18-25
they will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).Matt 1:23
There is no conflict with, “you are to give Him the name Jesus” (cf. Boris is his name, yet they call him ‘Prime Minister’). Jesus is ‘Immanuel, God with us’, (prophesied 700 years previous in Isaiah 7:14) but unlike the title, Prime Minister, it refers to the very essence of His being, “God with us”.
Whereas Joseph named Him Jesus – “you are to give Him the name Jesus”, Matthew’s plural, “they will call Him Immanuel” looks ahead to those whom He will save from their sins, because only God can forgive sins (cf. Mark 2:7). Such is hugely significant, and in a passage in which the Trinity is very much involved:
- the Holy Spirit brings about the birth (Matt 1:18)
- the Lord God, the Father, speaks through the prophet about His Son (Matt 1:22-23)
- the Son of God became flesh (Matt 1:23).
The assurance of God’s Presence was vitally important in the OT e.g. commissioning a new leader, Moses,
“I will be with you”Exodus 3:12
“I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you … the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”Joshua 1:5, 9
“I will be with you..”Judges 6:16
“I am with you …”Jeremiah 1:8
See how Moses would not continue on his mission to lead Israel to the promised land until he had the assurance of God’s Presence with them, (Exodus 33:12-17),
The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’.Exodus 33:14
Such was necessary as His servants felt inadequate to complete the task they had been assigned. Jesus promises that He, God, will be ever present with His disciples and mentions two occasions in particular:
- When they gather for prayer (or any other business) in His name, Matt. 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’”, and
- When witnessing, Matt. 28:18-20: “… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,”
Possibly the two areas of ministry we feel most inadequate for.
Questions for Discussion
- How important is it to you to know the Lord is with you?
- What are some of the implications of Jesus Christ, Immanuel?
Quote of the week
“Always in all circumstances we have the assurance of ‘Immanuel’ … God with us”
Verse of the week
“I will ask the Father…He will give you another advocate….to be with you for ever -the Spirit”John 14:16
Heavenly Father, reveal the glory of Your Son in the power of Your Spirit through Your Church, at this Christmas-time. We especially pray for Your favour on those who are lost, lonely, in prison, in hospital, unwell, bereaved, depressed and downcast. We pray for all those working in front-line services. May this prove to be a most significant time as they experience, even for the first time, Your Presence with them through Jesus Christ, Amen.