The Sign | Christmas Sermon

Before we start I would like to ask, what could be the greatest sign of all “The sign”?

Well, Some say the first flight by the Wright brothers was one of the greatest inventions, while others say the invention of the computer and the internet revolutionized the world. But what I would say the greatest wonder in human history is the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And certainly, this is much beyond human comprehension. The virgin birth is so true that the sign and its message are written all through the Bible. So, today we are going to study some signs of Jesus’ birth from Isaiah 7.

Background

Here, Prophet Isaiah and his boy are out for a walk together. Daddies love to take their boys for a walk, We do not know the son’s age but with what the Bible says I feel he was a small little infant in the time of his innocence. So probably he is a toddler whom Isaiah is carrying in his arms.

Isaiah basically was a man who was well known in his home town and some scholars even believe that Isaiah’s father might have been King Uzziah’s brother. So Isaiah knew about the palace and the leaders of that day. As Isaiah was a well-known man in the city of Jerusalem and so, as he was walking he is greeted by people on the way.

However, it is not a typical father-son walk here. Isaiah is on a mission, so there is a tension in the air on this day. There is great fear in this city and furthermore, The king and the people are very concerned. Also, the events were like this: The land of Judah, the Southern Kingdom of Judah has been invaded and The enemy is within the land.

Isaiah 7

7:2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

This enemy is their brethren to the north and the people of Israel had been divided into two nations now and also there are the tribes to the north called Israel and 2 tribes to the south called Judah. So Judah had been invaded by their brethren from the north. But the worst thing is that the brethren to the north had made an alliance with the King of Syria, so two nations have come into the land of Judah. Then they intend to take this city.

And furthermore, they wanted to split this kingdom into 2 divisions and appoint one king to be the ruler of the 2 divisions. One part will belong to Syria and one will belong to Israel. So the enemy is marching in and the king and the people are greatly disturbed.

It seems like the spiritual condition of Judah at the moment wasn’t really fine and also the people of Judah had gone into sin and idolatry. And even more, Ahaz is not a good king, he has gone into idolatry, sacrificing his children to idols and now the whole land is in fear.

1. SIN BRINGS FEAR.

When the people of the land depart from God, when they leave God, the peace of that land will be replaced with fear. There is going to be fear in the hearts. Sin brings a person low. That is exactly what happened here and this happens with people today also. When things are not right with man and God there tends to be fear in the hearts. There is always that dark cloud, fear of God in one’s life.

Today I do not know how many of you are sitting with fear in your heart because of your sins. Now everything may be going out of control. The enemy is all around you. You do not know what to do but if you carefully listen, God loves you and he has a word for you today.

God is ever ready to Communicate:

Now Isaiah is walking with his son because God commanded him to do so. His son’s name is Shear-Jashub. The name means ‘a remnant shall return’. God is using Isaiah and his son as a sign here, God is trying to communicate to his people who are far from God, so He is using this father and son as a sign to reveal that God still has a word for them. God cares for them and Shear-Jashub means God will make a remnant remain out of this nation.

Even to this day God is looking for faithful people so that he can use our lives and our words as a message and sign to the people around us. How is our life and words today?

Isaiah 7:3 

Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. In the land of Judah was a laundryman who used to wash clothes and he owned a field. Near the field was this pool and there was a conduit, a channel of water which ran to it and apparently the king was out there with his engineers.

And this is a prominent place in the city. They must have been trying in some way to secure that conduit which would bring water into this pool so that with this invasion they would have water available within the city. So all are worried about supply, international relations, all concerned about what is happening.

So Isaiah comes with his son and meets Ahaz gives the king a message from the Lord. Remember this is a king which has turned his back on God but God has not turned his back on him. God is giving him a message.

2. GOD IS MERCIFUL

I am so grateful for the mercy and longsuffering of God. Are you not? Where would we be today if it were not for the mercy of God that came into our lives? God is gracious, merciful and longsuffering. You might have sinned, you might have gone away from God, you are facing defeat and the enemy is all around you. Child of God our gracious God is reaching out to you. He is concerned about your situation. He loves you and He has a message for you.

See the message of the Lord: 

Isaiah 7:4

Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Smoldering means smoking wood but no fire. Stubb is the remains of a cigarette or wood after burning. In common English, the Lord is saying, “Do not be afraid of these enemies. They look full of fire, but they tails of stubs. There is no fire in them.

3. DO NOT BE AFRAID

God is telling, “Ahaz. Your enemy looks so fierce. They are full of words and hostile actions and you are afraid of them. You think they are firebrands, but they are nothing more than the tails of smoke. Their fire is out. They are smoking stubs of firewood. Do not be afraid.”

Maybe today some of you are sitting here facing the attack of the enemy. You feel everything is over. You are fearful, afraid, there is no joy. God is saying nothing is going to come of this, do not be afraid. I am going to take charge of this situation and take care of you. So the Lord says: Be quiet, be calm, do not be afraid.

But see what the enemy is saying: 

Isaiah 7:6

Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it. The enemy comes to tear, devour, destroy, and defeat but God is telling do not be afraid. Whose report do you believe today?

See what the Lord is saying: 

Isaiah 7:7-9

7Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘It will not take place, it will not happen, (Lord is saying nothing is going to come of this.) 8for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. 9The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’”

Aram is the king in Damascus. That is all he is going to be. The other man is the head of Samaria, the king of the northern tribes, that is all he is going to be. Your enemies are mere men but I am God, so nothing is going to come of this. I am going to take care of this situation. This is the message for many of you this yearend.

See how the message of the Lord ends:

Isaiah 7:9b

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

4. STAND FIRM IN FAITH

It is one thing to hear the word of God but it is altogether a different thing to trust and have faith in God. Circumstances may be against but stand firm in your faith. Today, will you look at your circumstances and stand firm in faith? Look at that sickness, your condition, look at what others are telling you and stand firm in faith. It is not over until God says it is over. Let people say anything about you, let people talk against you. God says I am in control over your life, so stand firm in faith.

Then the Lord says more.

Isaiah 7:10-11

10Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11“Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” 

The Lord knows Ahaz is a wicked king, he does not believe God. God is telling, “I do mean what I say; these kings will not be successful but you are in absolute disbelief, you are trying to make some backchannel, diplomatic settlements with your enemy Do not worry, nothing will happen, ask me for a sign. You pick a sign on the depths of the earth or the highest heavens and I will prove that my word is true.”

Ahaz’s response is very interesting:

Isaiah 7:12

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.” Actually asking sign is an indication of spiritual weakness. Gideon asked for a sign when God directed him to go for war against the Midianites. God obliged and Gideon asked for another sign in Judges 6 because his faith was weak. In the NT Jesus said, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign.” Asking sign is a hint of spiritual weakness.

God knows here that this king is very weak and away from him, so God invites the king to ask for a sign. He should have just asked, But Ahaz said, “I will not tempt the Lord.” Listen, he was not a spiritual man. He is in sin and wickedness. And he is already tempting the Lord’s longsuffering in his sin, but when he refuses to obey and ask for a sign he is tempting the Lord again.

See the Lord’s response:

Isaiah 7:13-14

13Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

God says to this king: I will give you a sign that this is not going to happen and my people are not going to be defeated. I am going to send the Messiah through these people. The Lord looked down the road well over 500 years, looks through all the history that is to come in these years and said: “You will not be wiped out; the Messiah Jesus will be born through this kingdom.” As he does so the Lord gives several signs about the coming Messiah.

Many of you are in the situation like king Ahaz, you feel everything is over but the coming of the Lord, his death, his resurrection is a sign that no evil will fall against you as long as you trust in Jesus as your Lord. Amen! Let’s talk about the sign now.

5. THE SIGN

a. The virgin will conceive.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Who has heard of such a thing? That is not the way children are born into this world even in this day with modern technology. No virgin has ever or can ever give birth to a child.

Now the virgin birth is important because the sin has passed down through the centuries from the seed of Adam, man. Back in the Garden of Eden God gave this promise that the seed of woman would come and he would defeat the devil and cleanse our sins.

Genesis 3:14-15

14So the LORD God said to the serpent, “……15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

When the Lord Jesus Christ came to this world 2000 years ago the Lord Jesus Christ came born of a virgin. He is not the son of Adam or a man. He was given a body as Mary the virgin was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in a miraculous way. 

Matthew 1:18

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

The book of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 10:5

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me. You see God prepared Jesus’ body.

So Jesus Christ came with no sin. The Bible tells us that he knew no sin. He was the perfectly sinless Son of God born of a virgin and because of this he could take mine and your sins upon his. This is an OT prophesy over 500 years in advance that a virgin would conceive.

b. Give birth to a Son.\

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

God announced through Isaiah that the child would be a boy. When the announcement was made to Mary, it was that the baby is a boy and shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:28

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Luke 1:31-32

31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

This son would be none other than the Son of God, second person of Trinity, the eternal God, Jesus Christ.

c. His name shall be Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

In the NT that word Immanuel is translated for us. 

Matthew 1:23

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means ( “God with us” ).

When Jesus walked the hills of Judea and the shores of the Sea of Galilee and ministered to people that was none other than God walking with the people of the world. That was Immanuel – God with us. That means God stepped into your place and died for you and for the sins of the whole world.

Isaiah 7:15

He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.

Curd or butter and honey were the food of the common people of the land. People ate the cattle and from the fields. Jesus eating curds and honey means Jesus was simple and led a poor man’s lifestyle.

Jesus has great love for us as he went through the process of life just like you. Jesus experienced what you experience. He lived the life of the poor people. He grew up in the house of a carpenter in Nazareth of a city which was not of great reputation.

Isaiah 7:15

He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right .

Jesus chose the right and rejected the wrong. What does that mean? Jesus thought he was eternal God chose to learn obedience. He made decisions based on right and wrong not on influence and political system like in the king’s palace. When you see Jesus someday in the judgment seat of God, his decisions regarding you will be made on the basis of good and evil and knowledge of that, not on the basis of emotions or politics or pride.

Coming back, this wicked king God said, I will give you a sign, you are not going to be extinguished but I will bring the Messiah through this kingdom, these are the signs. After speaking to the king Isaiah turns to the son and said to the king:

Isaiah 7:16

For before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

In the next 3-4 years Oh! Ahaz your enemy will be without a king and they will be overpowered and removed. Ahaz believe me, my words are true.

6. WHAT GOD SAYS IS TRUE.

About 500 years later an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Mary was engaged to him, not come in the intimacy of marriage. She was with a child. Joseph did not know what to do, the penalty was stoning to death. But Joseph was a just man and there was another option under the law, divorce. So Joseph thought he should privately put Mary away, write a bill of divorce. The angel of the Lord comforted Joseph told him that this child is with the Holy Spirit and the angel of the Lord quoted this prophecy from Isaiah and said this is that prophesy which will come to pass.

Dear friend, the prophesy fulfilled in its entirety. What God says is true. If God has promised anything, sure it will come to pass, wait for it.

CONCLUSION:

That sign of the virgin birth is not only a sign for the people of Jesus’ time. It is also a sign for us that Jesus is the only God.

Romans 6:23

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” You see Jesus is the gift of God. It is free for those who trust in Him. If you just believe and give your heart to him you can receive this gift.

To everyone here let me ask you: Do you believe in the sign that God has given to you – Jesus Christ? If so, you need not be afraid of what the enemy is up to. God is saying belief in me. I will lead you and protect you. I will not let the enemy succeed over you. Do not be afraid, just stand firm in faith.