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Author:Rev. Todd Bordow
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Congregation:Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church
 Fort Worth, Texas
Title:Son of David, Son of God
Text:Matthew 1:18-25 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God The Son

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Todd Bordow, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Last week we began our series in the book of Matthew by considering the genealogy in the first seventeen verses. The main point of the genealogy was that Jesus Christ is the one who fulfills all of the Old Testament.

Now even though we saw that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT, we are still left with a question. The question is, how does Jesus fulfill the Old Testament? The people of Matthew's day would look around; outwardly things seem the same as before Jesus came. How is it possible that we are living in a time of fulfillment? How is Jesus Christ the answer to all of God's promises in the Old Testament?

Matthew writes his gospel to answer that exact question. In the well-known account of Jesus' birth, Matthew shows us how this baby fulfills all the Old Testament promises of a savior.

Jesus can be the promised savior for two reasons. First, in his humanity Jesus can be the savior because as the son of Joseph he is in the promised line of David. The Old Testament promised that the savior would be born from David's royal line.

But secondly, Jesus is qualified to be our savior because he is more than just a man. In the birth story Matthew begins to unveil the reality that Jesus is not only a man; he is divine. He is the Son of God.

Let us briefly consider Jesus' qualifications as a man to be our savior. The genealogy left us with a question about Jesus' connection with Joseph. How is Jesus legally connected to Joseph, if Joseph really wasn't his biological father?

In his birth account Matthew connects Jesus to the genealogy of vv. 1-17. When Mary was found to be with child she was already engaged to Joseph. As you might be aware, engagement in those days was binding. Even though the marriage was not consummated until the wedding night, a betrothal was a legal contract.

Joseph was a righteous man, so he decided to divorce his wife who seemed to have committed adultery. But the angel intervenes in a dream and informs Joseph that the Holy Spirit conceived the baby in Mary's womb. Joseph listens to the angel and marries his wife, and then names the baby Jesus.

The fact that Joseph named the baby displays his legal right as father. Jesus was adopted by Joseph, and so Jesus was legally a member of Joseph's line. Jesus can trace his lineage back to David and claim to be the rightful ancestor of David.

Matthew brings out another qualification of Jesus as a man. The Old Testament promised that the savior would be born from a faithful line of God's people. By highlighting Joseph's character, Matthew shows us that Jesus was born to a godly line. Even though the focus on the passage is on the baby, we cannot help but be impressed by Joseph.

Matthew calls Joseph a righteous man. Joseph must have been devastated to learn that his bride-to-be was pregnant. How hard it would be to believe that no man had touched her. How easy it would have been to protect his reputation by publicly accusing Mary of adultery and divorcing her. At least everyone would know he did not commit fornication.

And yet as Joseph pondered his response, he decides not to shame Mary publicly. He does what is best for Mary, desiring to arrange a private divorce, which was done in the presence of two or three witnesses and was perfectly legal.

Joseph was a righteous man, choosing his finance's well being over his own. The point is that as a man Jesus was not only a true legal son in the line of David, but he was a son of the faithful covenant line, just as the Old Testament promised.

But Matthew moves on from Jesus' humanity to his divinity. This is the first time in Matthew that we get a hint at the divinity of Christ. You see, there are aspects of the Old Testament promises that could not be fulfilled simply by a man, even a man in the line of David. So Jesus' qualifications as the son of David fade into the background, and his qualifications as the Son of God come to the forefront.

Jesus' birth was not like our birth. His birth was unique. He was born by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was born from another world, another realm. He was not formed from man's seed; the Holy Spirit conceived him. We often send out birth announcements when a baby is born. Well, this baby's birth is so important and so unique that God breaks open the heavens and sends down the angels with a birth announcement.

Jesus can be our savior, not only because he is the son of David, but because he is the Son of God. He is divine. Why does Jesus need to be divine? Well, a mere man could not fulfill the mission of the coming king described in v. 21. The angel instructs Joseph, "you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

This is the reason the Son of God was born onto this world. He came to save his people from their sins. Only God can save sinners. This is what Christianity is all about. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came down to save sinners. Now Matthew can show us that as both God and man Jesus is qualified to fulfill all the Old Testament promises of the savior. He begins in v. 22 by showing how Jesus fulfills the prophecy in Isaiah 7.

In Isaiah 7 Isaiah is prophesying to Ahaz, king of Judah. King Ahaz was worried about an attack from invaders. Yet Ahaz and the people of Judah were unfaithful to God. So Isaiah prophesied to King Ahaz that a special son would be to him from of a young maiden. In the days of this son God would judge the nation of Judah for her sin. But as we read on in Isaiah we see God would also use this son to save Judah. So in the Old Testament this son would bring about both judgment and salvation for Judah. (The word in the Hebrew translated "virgin" in Isaiah 7 was also used for young maidens, so in the Old Testament we did not have a virgin birth.)

Now in one sense the Isaiah prophecy was fulfilled in Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz. In Hezekiah's day Assyria invaded Judah and took away many captives. Also in Hezekiah's day God rescued Judah from the Assyria army when they came to destroy Jerusalem. So we saw both judgment and salvation in the day of Hezekiah, just like Isaiah predicted.

Do you understand then what Matthew is doing? Matthew wants you to see that the salvation and judgments of Old Testament Israel were only temporary pictures calling for a greater fulfillment. Matthew is telling us that Jesus is the fulfillment to the prophecy in Isaiah. A child has been born to us to bring both judgment and salvation. This time it is eternal judgment and salvation.

The Isaiah prophecy states that this child's name shall be called Immanuel, which is Hebrew for "God with us." This doesn't mean they will call him by that name, but that this is who he will be recognized as - Immanuel - God with us. The true church understands Jesus' true identity. Jesus is God with us.

Now in one sense God was with Hezekiah to save Judah. We use the phrase "he is with us" in different ways. I might say to you, "I may be out of town but I am with you in spirit." Or I may say, "I am on your side, I am with you."

This is not what Matthew means by writing that God is now with us. In Jesus Christ God has really come down to be with his people. Not symbolically, not temporarily, not with us in the sense of working through another person; but with Jesus God himself has truly come down to be with us. This is the goal to which the entire Old Testament was aiming. God desired to be with his people.

You saw this in the creation account. After God created the heavens and the earth, he rested in heaven. After creating the world he sat down on his throne in heaven. Heaven is where he dwelt. But earth was where man dwelt. But God created man to dwell with man. God was in heaven and Adam on the earth. So how would man be with God?

Well, God gave Adam a test of obedience. If Adam passed the test, Adam and his descendants would one day enter into God's rest and be with God in heaven forever. This was the goal of creation from the very beginning. Until Adam passed the test God created a temporary dwelling place to be with man. God formed the Garden of Eden where he would dwell with man until Adam and his race entered the heavenly rest.

Eden was God's holy sanctuary before the fall. Because God is holy no evil can exist in his dwelling place, so when Adam and Eve rebelled they were kicked out Eden.

But God desired to dwell with man. God would have his way. So after the fall, God made a promise to raise up a deliver who would enable sinful man to dwell with God forever.

This promise runs throughout the Old Testament. God promises throughout the Old Testament that he would one day come down himself and establish a kingdom where he would dwell with his people forever.

While the promise waited to be fulfilled, God made a temporary provision to dwell with his people. He set apart a special piece of land called Canaan, and he made that land a picture of heaven. There he would place his Old Covenant people Israel and dwell with them. This temporary arrangement was to prepare the people for the reality coming in Christ.

But like the Garden of Eden, God's dwelling place must be holy, so he instructs the Israelites to drive out all the idolaters from the land of Canaan. But there was still a problem. Even though the Israelites drove out the idolaters, the people of Israel were themselves sinners. The dilemma was so great that even the best of the Israelites were driven out of the land. As might be expected God exiled the whole nation out of his presence, like he did Adam and Eve.

How then could God dwell with sinful man? Even though Adam failed, and even though Israel failed, God did not give up on his plan. Even as the prophets spoke of Israel's exile out of God's presence, the prophets spoke of a new covenant God would make with his people. They spoke of a time when God himself would come down to save his people and permanently dwell with them. This is what needs to be fulfilled from the OT.

Now do you see the glory of v. 23? Matthew is showing us that Jesus fulfills this key promise of the Old Testament. "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means, `God with us.'"

Joseph is about to divorce Mary because she is with child before their marriage. But the angel from heaven intervenes and comforts Joseph. Mary will bear the one who fulfills all the promises in the Old Testament. With Jesus God will finally be with us.

With the birth of Christ God has come down from his heavenly temple not to give us a picture or symbol of his presence. With the birth of Jesus God has finally come down himself to dwell with his people permanently. This is the glory of the incarnation. The infinite, eternal, self-existing God has come down to live with you; to give himself to you forever.

Now somewhat might object by saying; God did not really come to be with us permanently. After all, Jesus rose again and left for heaven. He is back there just like before he came down. How is he with us?

But Matthew assures you that because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross it is not the same as before. When Jesus rose again he sent his Holy Spirit to dwell in his people. Through the Holy Spirit, God is with you like never before.

The theme of God being with us forms a bracket around the whole book. At the end of this gospel when Jesus gives his great commission; he says to his disciples; "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." God is with us now in a much greater way than he was with Israel in the cloud, or in the temple. God is with us in that His Spirit lives inside of us. The Spirit is permanent. We cannot be cast out of his presence anymore.

But God could not come down and dwell with you without cost. Remember how great the dilemma was. How can a holy God dwell forever with sinful man? God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. To be "God with us" he had to become Jesus, our savior.

For God to be Immanuel; he had to save us from our sins. That is why his name must be Jesus, which means savior. After the fall the only way for Adam and Eve to go back into God's presence was to go through the flaming sword at the entrance of the garden. Because of sin you were driven out of the presence of God. But God himself would come down in Christ and bear his neck to receive the blow of that sword. God would suffer hell's punishment in the place of his people so he could dwell with them forever.

The birth of Jesus assures you that Jesus is the only one qualified to be your savior. He is the true Son of David, and as a man he can represent you before God.

And he is the true Son of God, as God he can forgive your sin and take on your eternal punishment.

Is this just a nice Christmas story? No, this affects your whole life as a true believer in Christ. You have received an inheritance by his grace; that inheritance is nothing less than the eternal Creator himself. The God who made you has given himself to you in Jesus. He paid the heavy price so he could be with you forever. He only awaits the time when he returns so we can to enjoy the fullness of his presence.

Let this one thought of God with you motivate all you do. Let it be at the forefront of your mind in all your labor. Let it be the reason you get up and work every day. Let it be the motivation behind your love for one another in the family of God. Let the reality of God with you in Jesus be your highest treasure.

How can it be otherwise? How can you value anything else on this earth more than God himself as our Immanuel? In the gospel, God himself is our inheritance. He is the reason we live, and he is our hope when we die. In Christ he has come to dwell with you and to give himself to you. He is your Emmanuel. He deserves all your loyalty and devotion. Give him your complete loyalty. How can you not? Amen.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Todd Bordow, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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