Subject 13 : The Gospel According to MATTHEW

[Chapter 1-2] Let’s Give Thanks to Our Lord Jesus Who Came to Save Us (Matthew 1:18-25)

Let’s Give Thanks to Our Lord Jesus Who Came to Save Us
(Matthew 1:18-25)
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.”
We greet Christmas. It seems like it is going to be a silent night and a holy night this year. The city has become quiet and still. It is hard to see Christmas lights or decorations on the street as we face an economic downturn. This must be a reflection of the bad economy these days. This reminds us of how we should keep our faith as we have another Christmas this year. Let’s look a New Testament passage from Matthew.
Verse 21 says, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Our Lord was born into this world through a virgin and was called Jesus. The name “Jesus” means that it is the One who will save His people from their sins.
We, who have already met Jesus, are joyful as we greet Christmas. However, Christmas means nothing unless we understand the meaning of this day. If we do not greet Christmas in the Lord, what would this Christmas mean to you? If we greet the Christmas in the Lord, we can see that the love of the Lord for you is abundant. Christmas signifies that God, the King of kings, who made the universe sent His only Son to this world to save His people from their sins. When we are in Him, Christmas is the most joyful and thankful day.
This is why we designate a day as Christmas to thank God. Of course, this cannot be the exact date that was described in the Bible. Some people are arguing that this is the day of worship for the sun god. However, we should not diminish the meaning of Christmas. Some people believe that we have a wrong date as the day that Jesus was born. Regardless of when the exact date was, we should celebrate Christmas to remember why He came to this world. As we celebrate Christmas, we should think deeply in the Lord about His love and the salvation we have received from Him. In Christ, we need to celebrate the Lord’s coming and thank Him by believing that He saved us from all our sins. For us to be able to truly celebrate Christmas, we need to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
We are giving Sunday worship service. It’s 11:12 a.m. There was 11:12 a.m. yesterday and there will be 11:12 a.m. tomorrow. This means that the world will go on until our Lord comes back. This world will exist until God ends it. However, if we do not understand the true meaning of Christmas in the Lord, what does this special worship service have anything to do with us? December 25th, 11:12 a.m. means nothing more than another hour that passes by in a year. As we approach the end of the year, we should re-examine our faith in the Lord. I mean, we need to remember the love Jesus has given us, and the salvation we have received. Everything in this world, even the life itself, and the time that passes has no meaning without Jesus.
On the other hand, Christmas has so much meaning when we greet it in the Lord. We were saved from all our sins because He came to save us. If He had not come to save us, we surely would have been destined for destruction, but Jesus was baptized and crucified because of us. He came to this world through the Virgin Mary to save His people from their sins. Therefore, as Christians, Christmas is a truly holy day.
Therefore, the birth of our Lord has something to do with us when we see it in the Lord, who created and controls the entire universe and oversees the beginning and the end. Therefore, we need to see the work of His true love, through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This world exists because God created the universe. God said He would destroy this world as He has done once before. We can see that the end is near. Just as we can feel and understand “Oh, this is the work of God!” as we watch in the Lord the cycle of seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter, we can also feel that He is creating a new world as He saves us from all our sins.
He has shown us His Creation, so that we know that this universe is going around because the Capable One has the control over this universe. Humans believe when they see it for themselves with their human eyes. When we are in God, we can understand clearly how He works. However, when we watch the four seasons in the Lord, we can see God’s providence most clearly. If we look at our lives in God, we can also see our lives clearly. When we look at it in the Lord, common people live 70 or 80 years of a miserable life until they die. We were destined to live in misery and die in misery. We can see that our Lord came to this world, was baptized, crucified, and rose from the dead to save us, who were destined for destruction because of our sins, all at once. In Christ, we were saved from all our sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and taken out of destruction and the curse. Therefore, we must look at all things through the eyes of faith in Christ.
Some people doubt that Mary, being a virgin, could really have a child. As a matter of fact, even some pastors doubt that Jesus was born through the Virgin Mary. As they preach and pretend to celebrate His incarnation, in reality, they do not believe that Jesus was miraculously conceived and born by the Virgin Mary. Such people show their stupidity like this. When we do not see the works of God through the eyes of faith in the Lord, we can believe none of them. The passage tells us that Jesus was born after being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and before He was born God said to name the baby Jesus. All this was done to fulfill what had been said.
Over 700 years before Jesus was born, God prophesied through the prophet Isaiah that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). This was a prophecy that God would come to this world in a human body to save humans. When we look at it in the Lord, We can see that this is the work of God to deliver people from their sins. This is so that we can see and believe that God created the people and He had saved us from our sins.
This is, however, impossible to believe if we only see it with human eyes and try to understand by human logic. As a result, some people say that not only God enjoys His creation of humans, but also the suffering of humans by eating from the good and evil tree. As a result, sometimes, some people say this: God enjoys His creation of humans. And He also thinks it is very funny to watch humans suffer from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But, fellow Christians, the fact that the earth and all the other planets go around in their designated orbit, that there is the Milky Way, that this earth has the perfect conditions for human life, that there is day and night, and all the mysterious works and miracles of life with the precision that modern science cannot comprehend tell us that there is a God of goodness.
When the Lord came to this world, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born, and became “Immanuel” to fulfill His covenant. In other words, He set His Providence of salvation before the creation of the universe, and promised it to us humans and fulfilled it as it is. Just the fact that He came through a virgin alone is a blessing to us and we thank God for it.
When we put our trust in Jesus, we should not have a doubtful attitude. When we doubt, everything looks doubtful. That is because, when we are blinded by our sins and we become doubtful and our faith is incomplete, we cannot see the absolutely good works of God to the full extent. But, when we trust God completely, our eyes are open by the Holy Spirit, and we are able to accept Jesus to be saved from our sins. We, who believe in the righteousness of God, were saved from our sins by believing in Jesus Christ because we actually look at His works in the righteousness of the Lord. We benefited because we looked at it in the righteousness of the Lord. But those who do not believe in the righteousness of God cannot greet Christmas with any meaning.
Jesus came to this world as Immanuel to be with us. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born as the baby Jesus. And He took away the sins of all humans by being baptized at the age of 30, was crucified carrying all the sins of the world, rose again from death and became the Immanuel God, who is to come again. And it is our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born as the baby Jesus and grew up to take on our sins by being baptized, and saved us by the blood of the Cross, who resides and works in our hearts now as the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit, who dwells in our hearts of faith that believes the righteousness of God, gives us the grace of salvation, peace, and blessings, and let`s believe the fact that Jesus has become our everlasting Savior.
Regardless, December 25th is a day that we remember the birth of our Lord Jesus to celebrate and give thanks to God. We thank God for being able to celebrate this day. If there were no Christmas on December 25th, the earth would be a gloomy place. Then mankind would have to live in despair without Jesus. There would be nothing joyful. Mankind receives a new hope by one fact that the Savior of mankind, the Savior of the sinners, the Savior of the people heading for destruction came to this world. Regardless of how miserable it was in the past, we have hope for the future in the Lord.
What hope would we have in this world if Jesus had not come? What have the so-called “sages” and the “holy men” in this world such as Socrates, Sakyamuni, and Confucius done for us? They gave us nothing more than moral teachings. Who in this world does not want to lead a good life? They could not give us the salvation from our sins, the Judgment, and destruction.
Jesus is the only One who has saved you and me from all our sins: He came to this world to blot out all our sins by His baptism and crucifixion. Only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, that is the righteousness of God get saved from their sins. Those who do not believe in the righteousness of God cannot be born again. From that point of view, we receive the true remission of sin by believing that the Lord is the King of all kings, and by the faith that believes He came to this world, and was baptized and died on the Cross and resurrected from the dead and became our Savior. We have new life and became God’s people who can enter Heaven because the Lord has come to this world to save us.
It is the history of mankind that leads to self-destruction when we gnaw and swallow up each other. Until now, we only have had the history of gnawing, biting, and killing of each other. The sin of killing each other was transferred to our Lord at the Jordan River as the greatest man in the history of mankind was baptizing Him, and we are saved from our sin at once as He was crucified for our sins. But Jesus came to this world, and took on all the sins of the sinners that gnawed and killed each other by getting baptized at the Jordan River by the greatest man in human history, and saved us from all the sins of the world at once by giving up Himself and dying on the Cross. We must believe this truth at once. This is how the Lord gives us the hope of salvation.
We should not renounce our faith that believes and trusts Jesus Christ out of our personal lives or the entire human history. There could be no history of mankind without Jesus Christ. There could be no true family value without Jesus in this world. There could be no true faith or true salvation without Jesus. You could say, “That is what you say since you are a preacher.” However, that is not so. I would like to give you an example. I just said that there could be no history of mankind without Jesus. Let us examine whether this claim is true or not.
Great Britain, in the past, had conquered many countries, and hence the phrase goes “the Sun never sets on the British Empire.” There were no hours of the day in Great Britain that the sun set. As the sun was setting in one country that was a British colony, the sun was rising in another British colony. Therefore, the sun never set on the British Empire. This is how powerful Great Britain was in the world and they conquered the world with the power. There were many puritans in Great Britain at that time. These puritans who believed in Jesus as their Lord and Savior escaped Great Britain and went to America. They could not live in the country that was persecuting them for their faith. As the puritans left Great Britain, the reputation that the sun never sets also faded away. The prosperity and the power they had in the world died out and the only reputation they have left today is in the country of gentlemen.
The puritans who went over to America spread their gospel, whether it was right or not, to the rest of the world. As this happens, America rose up as the new power in the world. Do you not think it is mysterious? The Americans spread the gospel to Korea. Now, Korea’s economy rose up, and we are now called “the dragon in Asia.” The symbol dragon, of course, is not a spiritually good symbol. However, to the unbelievers, a dragon is a strong figure that they would even serve it as their god. This is why the economic development of Korea is phrased as “dragon of Asia” or “the tiger of Asia.”
When we look at the world history, we can see that the countries that serve Jesus and spread the gospel somehow had economic revival. When the country drifts away from Jesus, and persecutes the believers, their economy dies down too. The prosperity of a country almost depends on the spread of the gospel from that country.
As we can see, Jesus is the center of the world history. Jesus is the most blessed Lord and Savior in the history of mankind. This world cannot be blessed without Jesus. Jesus is still alive and rules over the universe and the lives of you and me, and gives us the peace in our hearts. We must look up to Him, worship Him and thank Him in His abundant grace. As we live our lives in this world, we must look at everything in the Lord, and live with the faith in the Lord. In the Lord, I say! In this world, we need to look at the incidents of human history and even the changes of economic status through the lens of faith. We can see everything correctly only when we see things through the lens of Jesus Christ. This is also the only way to be saved from our sins.
Who is Jesus Christ to us? He is the King of kings. We should be thankful just by the fact that the King has come to this world to save His people. Your King has come to save you from your sins. Do you thank Him who came in the same flesh of a lowly human as you?
Someone might say, “What is there to thank? On a day like this, it would be nice to eat some rice cake soup, have a drink, and hang out. If someone would invite me for a drink and pay for it, then maybe I would thank him…what is there to thank?” This is because the person looks at it with human eyes. Dear fellow Christians, the true joy is not in trivial matters, but rather, in the knowledge that the Lord came as the King and saved you from your sins that we are thankful. The King came and has saved us. And that is what we should be grateful for. We should be thankful just by the fact that the King of kings came to save us, and just by the fact that He saved us. With human eyes, we may be thankful if someone gave us enough monetary material that will pay back all of our life’s worth of debt, but in fact, what we should really be thankful for is that the King of kings came to save us, who were destined to go to hell. Dear fellow Christians, is this so or not? —It is exactly so.—
We are thankful when we truly look at ourselves in the Lord. I preach the gospel by looking at everything in the Lord, and believing the blessings of the Lord and with thanks. Because I see everything in the Lord, I am thankful and content even though I do not have anything. When I look at it in the Lord, that the Lord came to save me is what makes me content. If we do not look at it in the Lord, but look at it outside the Lord with our human eyes, nothing makes us content. We have to look at the salvation that the Lord has given us and be thankful in the Lord. We have to look at everything in the Lord. We need to interact with others with our faith, examine the history with our faith; everything should be faced with our faith. We have to see other people in the Lord, we have to see the world history in the Lord, and we have to see everything in the Lord. When we face the world with our faith, we have true peace and blessings in our hearts. When we do that, there is truly life, peace, and blessings in the Lord. This is why we are thankful.
Anytime we see in the Lord, we can be faithful to the command “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything, give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). When we do not see it in the Lord, we cannot but “weep always, weep without ceasing, in everything, weep.” You and I must see everything in the Lord. As we greet this Christmas, we need to be thankful that the King of kings came to save you and saved you, and that He saved me, and that He wiped out all the sins of mankind. We need to greet this Christmas with that kind of faith and be thankful.
Dear fellow Christians, should we be thankful for this or not? We are thankful. Is this a fairy tale or the truth? It is the truth. The Scripture says, “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’” (Matthew 1:22-23).
Can an unmarried woman bear a child on this earth? Well, unmarried woman can have a child in advance before her wedding. Many women have children out of wedlock. This is evidenced when we visit an orphanage. Many children are abandoned at the orphanage by their unmarried mothers. Families in foreign countries adopt some of the children out of wedlock. Of course, there are cases where unmarried women have a child. However, that is different from a virgin giving birth to a child since it is possible for an unmarried woman to know a man.
There is no virgin on earth who has not had any relationship with a man that gave birth to a child. You might say, “Couldn’t there be if she has artificial insemination?” A woman is a man with womb, in other words, the womb-man, so she is called woman. Woman, who has a womb, gives birth to a child. But a man is inevitably needed for a woman to give birth to a baby, because only man has the seeds of babies for her womb. Mary also was a woman who had a womb. However, there was no man. Mary conceived a child solely by the Holy Spirit. This was prophesized over 700 years before the birth of Jesus, “Behold, the virgin should be with child, and bear a Son and they shall call his name Immanuel.” The angel Gabriel appeared to deliver the message from God that Mary will be pregnant with Jesus.
The angel said, “Blessed woman, the grace of God will be with you. You will bear a great Man.” Then, Mary asked, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34)
“Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age” (Luke 1:36). The fact that Zachariah’s wife, Elizabeth was with a child in her old age, or the fact that a virgin conceived a child are done by the fulfillment of the prophecy through God’s special Providence. 
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38), and accepted the message that the angel brought, and the baby grew in her womb. This is Jesus Christ. Because this is no lie, but the truth, we are thankful and those who believe this are blessed. We, who are in Christ, cannot thank God enough for giving us His only Son.
However, for those who do not believe in this truth, Christmas is nothing more than a day for Christmas tithing to meet the church budget. Several hundreds of thousands of dollars could be budgeted through “the special offerings for Christmas” under the pretense of Christmas. Many people turn in their names as someone who gave the special offering, but God is not happy with that. We should be thankful that our worship is not a gathering of pretense, but of truth to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to thank God.
We thank the Lord for coming to save us from the destruction and sin and saving us from all our sins. Of the days of the year we spend, Christmas is the day that we commemorate to receive the most blessed news within the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should be thankful by truly believing in the Gospel of the water and the Spirit with our hearts and the salvation in the Lord. We should also believe and judge everything with the faith and eyes that see in the Lord and follow with the faith in the next year as well.
Are you all thankful to God? Our Lord has given us truly amazing grace. Now the Lord is with us, we are so thankful that we cannot even begin to thank Him. We give glory to our God.
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