Sermon #1488                            Miscellaneous Sermons


     Title:           Immanuel

     Text:           Isaiah 7:14-15

     Subject:      Our Savior’s Birth, Nature and Name

     Date:          Sunday Morning – December 23, 2001

     Tape #        W-76b

     Reading:    Matthew 1:18-2:2



“Joy to the world! The Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And heaven and nature sing!”


Christ is born; let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad! -- The Son of God has come from heaven; let us embrace him! – Immanuel has come to the earth; let us exalt him! – Oh, that all the earth might truly sing unto the Lord with cheerful voice and worship at his footstool and glorify him! – He who is of heaven came to the earth. He who is now of the earth has gone back to heaven; let heaven and earth glorify him forever! – God took on himself flesh and blood; let us then rejoice with trembling. – Tremble, because of your sins! – Rejoice, because the incarnate God brings hope to sinners!




Why did the Son of God come into this world? It is good to know that he came; but that is altogether meaningless and useless, if we do not know why he came and what he did. The purpose of our Lord’s incarnation is specifically revealed in Holy Scripture. The Lord Jesus Christ came here


·        To do the Father's will (John 6:38; Heb. 10:1-14).

·        To bring in an everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24).

·        To put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Dan. 9:24; Heb. 9:24-28).

·        To save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21; John 10:16).


Very Old Message


This message of hope arising from the incarnation of Christ is not new. It is found all the way back in the Book of Genesis (Gen. 3:15). There the Lord God promised that he would send his Son as the Seed of woman to crush the serpent’s head and undo the mischief of the fall.


(Genesis 3:15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.




(Galatians 4:4-5) When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.


     Today, I want to bring my message from another of the ancient prophecies of Scripture, a prophecy written by Isaiah hundreds of years before the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world. Our text will be Isaiah 7:14-15


(Isaiah 7:14-15) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.


Need Supplied

If our greatest need had been information, God might have sent us an educator. -- If your greatest need had been technology, God might have sent us a scientist. -- If our greatest need had been money, God might have sent us an economist. -- If our greatest need had been pleasure, God might have sent us an entertainer. -- But because our greatest need is mercy, grace, forgiveness, and salvation God sent us his Son to be our Savior.




The “scholars” tell me that Isaiah 7:14 is one of the most difficult texts in all the Word of God to interpret. I would never have imagined that if I had not read what the “scholars” have to say about it. I admit that the other twenty-four verses of this chapter may be difficult to understand. But verse 14 is not. The first time I read this text 33 or 34 years ago, I said, “This is a prophecy about Christ my Savior.” Then I looked at the cross reference in the margin of my Bible and found Matthew 1:23. In that place the Holy Spirit tells us plainly that Isaiah 7:14 is a prophecy of Christ’s coming in the world. (We read Matthew 1:18-23 earlier; but look at verses 22-23 again.)


(Matthew 1:22-23)  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.


     You will forgive me if I ignore the “scholars” and just preach the message of this text according to the interpretation given by the Spirit of God. -- “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?




Ahaz would not believe God. Therefore he would not obey the voice of God’s prophet. Isaiah said, “Ask thee a sign of the Lord,” a sign of God’s promise to preserve and deliver his covenant people. But Ahaz, the godless wretch, said, with an air of self-righteous indignation, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.” To that Isaiah replied, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”


Proposition: This is a prophecy of the incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Divisions: Our text describes three things about our Savior:


1.   His Virgin Birth.

2.   His Holy Humanity.

3.   His Glorious Name.


I.      First, our text is a prophecy of THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST.


None of us knows the date of our Savior’s birth. God has wisely hidden it from men. The one day of the year that it could not have been is December 25. Christmas day has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. But our text does describe a glorious birthday. It is true, Mary’s child was born in a manger, in humility and poverty. But no other man had a birthday such as his.


·         His birthday was anticipated by saints and prophets for four thousand years.

·         All the Old Testament pointed to Immanuel’s advent.

·         God hung a fresh lamp in the sky to announce his birth.

·         The angelic hosts came down to sing at his birth.

·         Shepherds and wise men came to bring presents to the Prince of the kings of the earth when he was born.


Isaiah 7:14 announces a glorious birthday. It announces the birth of a man who is the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world (Isa. 9:6-7).


(Isaiah 9:6-7)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.


A.  The prophet’s language speaks of a miraculous conception. -- Behold, a virgin shall conceive.”


Our Savior was born as a man, the seed of the woman. He was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the miraculous intervention of God the Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:4-6).


1.   His holy body was prepared in the womb of the virgin for the work he had come to do (Heb. 10:4-5).


(Hebrews 10:4-5)  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:


2.   Had he been born of the flesh, as an ordinary man, of the seed of a man, the Lord Jesus could have done nothing to save us.


B. Our text also speaks of a humble parentage.


Virginity was Mary’s highest honor. It is true, she was of the royal seed of David’s house. But that was no great honor in her day. It gave her no special privilege, power, or position.


1.   Our Savior was born in poverty and lived in poverty all the days of his life, by his own choice.

2.   He taught us, by constant example, to despise the froth of worldly treasure and position. -- Will we ever learn to follow his example and live by faith in God?

3.   There is much encouragement here…


·        He who was born in poverty, will visit the poor in spirit.

·        He who was laid in a rock manger, will visit our hard, stony hearts.

·        He who humbled himself, will be the friend of humbled  broken-hearted sinners.


C. Our text also displays God’s sovereign election. -- A virgin shall conceive.”


There were, no doubt, many virgins in the world in those days, but God chose one, only one to be the agent through whom he would bring his Son into the world (Luke 1:26-33).


(Luke 1:26-33)  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.


1.   Mary was freely chosen of God. -- So are we.

2.   Mary was highly favored by God. -- So are we. -- “Accepted in the Beloved.”


(Luke 11:27-28)  And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.


3.   Mary was visited by God. -- So are we.

4.   Mary had Christ formed in her. -- So do we.

5.   Mary was blessed of God for Christ’s sake. -- So are we.

6.   Mary rejoiced in God her Savior. -- So do we - (Luke 1:46-50).


(Luke 1:46-50)  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.


II.   Second, our text speaks of Our Savior’s Holy Humanity -- (v. 15).


(Isaiah 7:15)  Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.


The word “that” in verse 15 should be translated “when,” or “but,” or “and,” anything but “that.” If you could figure out how eating butter and honey will cause a man to know to refuse the evil and choose the good, you can soon make yourself very rich.


     The text should read, “Butter and honey shall he eat; and he shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”


A.  Our Lord’s eating butter and honey suggests that He would be born during a time of peace in Israel.


Butter and honey are things people rarely take time to make and gather when war ravages the land.


B. Eating butter and honey is a declaration of our Savior’s real humanity.


We rejoice in his deity. But we equally rejoice and give thanks to God for the humanity of our Savior. -- There was nothing unusual and distinctive about the Lord Jesus but his sinlessness. Our Savior, our God, is a man like us (Heb. 2).


C. Spiritually, the butter and honey may refer to the grace that is poured into His lips for His people -- (Ps. 45:2).


(Psalms 45:1-2)  To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. -- My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.


·         Covenant Grace.

·         Interceding Grace.

·         Saving Grace.

·         Preserving Grace.

·         Cleansing Grace.


D. The next sentence describes the perfect holiness of our Savior.


Butter and honey shall he eat.” That tells us of Christ’s humanity. -- “And he shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” That is his holiness.


     Throughout the days of his life, our Lord Jesus refused the evil and chose the good.


·         In The Wilderness.

·         In The Garden.


III. Third, I want you to look back to verse 14 again. Here Isaiah proclaimed THE GLORIOUS NAME OF OUR SAVIOR. -- Thou shalt call his name, Immanuel.”


You know what that means. -- “God with us.” Spirit of God, teach us the meaning of this glorious name given to our Savior. His name is “God with us.” – The Lord Jesus Christ is God with us!


·        God is with us by incarnation to redeem us.

  • God is with us by his Spirit to protect, guide, and comfort us.
  • God is with us in our assemblies to bless us.
  • God with us is hell’s terror.
  • God with us is his servant’s strength.
  • God with us is the suffering believer’s consolation.
  • God with us is the dying believer’s hope.
  • God with us is the song and joy of heaven.


God with us means that the darkness is past, for the Sun of Righteousness is risen with healing in his wings! – God with us is a wall of fire about us! – God with us means that old things have passed away and, behold, all things have been made new! – God with us means that the shadows have fled and the former things are gone. – God with us means that Sinai’s darkness and thunder and terror is forever ended! – God with us means that Aaron order is replaced by Melchizedek. He who is without mother as God and without father as man, the God-man, has arrived! – The laws of nature are upset. – The world is confused. – The heavens rejoice and sing, because Gods is with us! – Oh, clap your hands, let your hearts dance, let your souls burst out with praise, God is with us!


     He who is pure Spirit, he who is God, has become a man. Yet, he is still God, perfectly and fully God! – He who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the immutable God, is Jesus Christ the God-man, Immanuel! – Let the Jews be offended. Let the Muslims take up arms. Let the wiseacres of the earth deride. Let heretics everywhere yak until their tongues are worn out on their teeth. – Jesus Christ is Immanuel, God with us! – God come to save! – We will rejoice and sing!


“Hark! The herald angels sing,

‘Glory to the new born King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild, --

God ad sinners reconciled!’

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,

Join the triumph of the skies;

With angelic hosts proclaim,

‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!’


Christ, by highest heaven adored,

Christ the everlasting Lord:

Late in time behold Him come,

Offspring of the virgin’s womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,

Hail the incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with men to dwell,

Jesus our Emmanuel.


Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to us He brings,

Risen with healing in His wings.

Mild He lays His glory by,

Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth,

Born to give them second birth.


Come, Desire of Nations, come!

Fix in us Thy humble home:

Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,

Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Adam’s likeness now efface,

Stamp Thine image in its place:

Second Adam from above,

Reinstate us in Thy love!”