Fourth Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

Christ has come. Christ is coming again.
Isaiah looked ahead to the coming of ‘Immanuel’ – ‘God with us’ (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
We look forward to the Second Coming of Immanuel: ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God’ (Revelation 21:3).
The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ presents us with a challenge: ‘When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?’(Luke 18:8). He calls us to ‘stand firm in our faith’.
We must not ‘shrink back ‘from Him. We must ‘believe and be saved’ (Isaiah 7:9; Hebrews 10:37-39).
Jesus says, ‘I am coming soon’. Let us pray, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’.
Let us pray that our ‘love’ for Him will not ‘grow cold’. Let us pray for strength to ‘stand firm to the end and be saved’ (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20; Matthew 24:12-13).
Christ has come as our Saviour. Let Him be your Saviour.
‘Restore us, O God, make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved’ (Psalm 80:3).
This prayer for salvation is repeated with a growing sense of God’s greatness – ‘O God Almighty’ (Psalm 80:7), ‘O Lord God Almighty’(Psalm 80:19).
To those who are asking the question of salvation – ‘What must I do to be saved?’- , God gives His answer – ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:30-31).
What does the Lord say to those who look to Christ for salvation? – ‘The Lord will bless you and watch over you. The Lord will smile on you and be kind to you. The Lord will look on you with favour and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26).
Let us worship Him: ‘Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer’ (Ephesians 1:3).
Looking back and looking forward, let us live for Christ now.
‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith’(Romans 1:16).
Do you think it was easy for Paul to maintain such commitment to Christ, such confidence in Christ?
What kind of world did he live in? – A world of ‘ungodliness and wickedness’(Romans 1:18-31).
Many times, Paul could have given up in despair – ‘There is too much ungodliness and wickedness all around me.
How can I go on?’. When you feel like giving up, when everything seems to be so difficult, remember Paul.
Remember his longing to ‘impart some spiritual gift’, his desire to ‘reap some harvest’his eagerness to ‘preach the gospel’(Romans 1:12-15).
Let us say, with Paul, ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’(Galatians 6:14).
Let us be ‘set apart for the gospel of God’(Romans 1:1).
As we remember Christ’s supernatural birth, let us live the power of the Spirit.
The birth of Christ is a fulfilment of prophecy: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel’(Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). Christ is ‘God with us’. He was born through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18, 20). He is still ‘God with us’, when we are ‘born of the Spirit’(John 3:5).
Some people do not believe what the Bible says here. They do not like the idea of a ‘virgin birth’. The Bible gives no encouragement to such unbelief. Matthew simply says, ‘This is the way it happened’(Matthew 1:18).
In view of the amazing thing God was doing – sending His Son to be the Saviour of the World – why should we doubt that God took things out of man’s hands and worked in His own miraculous way? We rejoice not only in the miracle but also in its saving purpose: ‘He will save His people from their sins’(Matthew 1:21).

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