Sermon Notes December 17, 2011
Everlasting Father: The Promises of Jesus for Now and Forever
In times of trouble, IS THERE a FUTURE? Can things ever be restored? Two weeks ago, my wife’s cousin told about a tragedy that occurred in Lancaster County. Her friend, Marilyn Martin and her husband Mark have ten children. Their twin boys, Kyle and Jordan, along with their 9 year old sister were killed as one of the boys was driving them home from an activity. The funeral service was held last week at Ephrata Community Church.
What can one say to a family so devastated? How does the “good plan of God” that we often talk of apply to Mark and Marilyn, and their 7 living children? Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The answer to this devastating question, and infinitely other devastating trials is found in knowing that Jesus promised us more than applies just to this life. The promises of Christ are revealed in the prophesy given to Judah in their darkest moment.
Isaiah’s prophesy provides The PROMISE of a Deliverer, given in four specific details:
First, A Child is born. This is the promise that God would deliver us from our problems, and that his deliverance would come in the form of a child.
Next, A SON is given. The child would be a MALE CHILD. The Child would be a GIFT.2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
Third, The GOVERNMENT will be upon his shoulders. The idea expresses the AUTHORITY of the Messiah. He will provide justice on earth. The picture is that of a scepter being in his shoulder, just like those pictures we see of an Egyptian ruler with his arms crossed, a scepter in one arm and a whip in the other. The scepter on his shoulder represents his complete authority.
Finally, His NAME. God’s blessings will be poured out through a PERSON of CHARACTER
Following the four fold promises, comes a four fold DESCRIPTION of the Deliverer
Wonderful Counselor – the PERSON of Christ
Mighty God – the POWER of Christ
Everlasting Father – the PROMISES of Christ
Prince of Peace – the PEACE of Christ
The names “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God” tell us what Jesus can do for us HERE
The final two names, “Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” tell us what Jesus can do for us HEREAFTER.
The Promises concerning Messiah are EVERLASTING. Mark and Marilyn can find comfort because there is more to the story of our lives than just the momentary. There is eternal reward and hope that we will be with our loved ones again.
Because these promises are ascribed to Jesus, it also reveals that the Messiah possesses all of the attributes of deity.
Only GOD is everlasting!
Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Psalm 103:17 “But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,”
Habakkuk 1:12 “Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.”
Isaiah 9:6 is accompanied by other OT and NT passages that reveal the Eternal nature of Jesus, the Messiah. This attestation to the quality of eternal existence reveal that JESUS is GOD.
John 8:58 “I Am”
Micah 5:2 “Coming forth is from old, from ancient of days”
Daniel 7 “Ancient of Days”
Colossians 1:17 “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Hebrews 1:12 “(heavens) like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
Rev. 1:17 “I am the FIRST and the LAST”
Rev 1:8; 22:13 “I am the ALPHA and OMEGA”
Heb. 13:8 “The same yesterday, Today, and Forever”
Jesus has an ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP with us. Ephesians 1:4 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ…
Take Comfort in the ETERNAL PROMISES of JESUS
Give you PEACE. John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
You will KNOW the TRUTH. John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Give you LIGHT. John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””
Give you POWER. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
With you ALWAYS. Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Not only does Jesus possess the POWER of Eternity, The phrase “Eternal Father” demonstrates that He also cares for us in a FATHERLY way.
He SHOWED US the FATHER. John 14:8-11. Everything that the FATHER IS, the SON is also. If you have SEEN JESUS, you have SEEN the FATHER. He is ONE WITH the Father.
Many of us have a NEGATIVE VIEW of Fathers. This is sometimes because of our own fathers. And even if the Lord blesses us with wonderful fathers, our culture makes a laughing-stock out of fathers. Gone are the days of Ozzie and Harriet. I love the scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where young George Baily doesn’t know what to do. In his grief, Mr. Gower has put poison in a child’s medicine. George didn’t’ know what to do. As he contemplates his dilemma, his eye catches a sign in the store, “Ask Dad, he knows.” George then runs into his father’s business and finds the answer from his father.
We’ve gone from “Father Knows Best” to “$*#! My Dad Says”
The Bible does not give us such a negative view of fatherhood. Biblical View of Fatherhood:
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.”
Hebrews 12:9 “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”
Mark Twain said, “When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to the 21, I was astonished at how much the old man learned in 7 years.”
It’s difficult to LOSE YOUR FATHER. Even if you were not close, you know he’s gone. It is especially hard for men. The popular series, “The Cake Boss” centers around an insanely motivated baker named Buddy who is motivated by the desire to keep a promise to his father. Sadly, Buddy’s father died. But Jesus, the EVERLASTING FATHER will never leave us!
The PROMISES of JESUS bring COMFORT in uncertainty
What did this promise mean to the PEOPLE WALKING in DARKNESS? It meant that their darkness would be dispelled by a deliverer! Stephen Todd writes, “What would it mean to have an Everlasting Father? Protection and Provision forever, not just until the next bad king came along.” (Stephen Todd, “Everlasting Father,” 12/23/2001, Sermoncentral.com)
Jesus is the EVERLASTING FATHER – “Father from Eternity.” This title describes his power and his compassion. His promises are eternal. His compassion is sincere.
The following story was reported by Dr. Curtis Alexander, in the Petoskeynews. http://articles.petoskeynews.com/2011-12-02/manger_30470056
In 1994 two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on Biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments, and a large orphanage.
It was nearing the holiday season for the orphans to hear for the first time the traditional Christmas story. They told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem and finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where Jesus was born and placed in the manger.
the children,“sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.”
As a follow-up activity to the story, each child was given three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manager. Each child was also given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins which the children tore into strips the paper and carefully laid them in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel from a thrown away nightgown were used for the baby’s blanket. From pieces of tan felt a doll-like baby was made.
As they made their way around the room to observe the children this is what one of the Americans noted, “All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project.
As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was startled to see, not one but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger.”
The observer goes on to note that Misha very accurately recalled the story that had been told until he came to the part where Mary put Jesus in the manger. “Then Misha,” it is noted, “started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, “And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no momma and I have no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay.
Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn’t because I didn’t have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift.
So I asked Jesus, “If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?” And Jesus told me, “If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me. So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him – for always.”
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon or abuse him, someone who would stay with him – FOR ALWAYS!”
Jesus is with you NOW.
Jesus is with you FOREVER.
His promises give comfort in our trials.