God’s Gift of Christmas – 7

Fourth, He is called, Prince of Peace. Since my father left us when I was only 11 years old, my life was lacking peace. My soul was at war with myself.  I was struggling with sin in my heart.  My brother and I always fought with each other. Our dad and mom were not in good terms.  There was no peace in the home.  Most of all, there was no peace in my soul–until the day I heard about the Prince of Peace.  I called on Him and He came into my heart one special day.  Since then, He has brought peace to my life and family.

This title is also one phrase in the Hebrew—sar-shalom. “Peace” is from the noun, shalom, “Peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment; Peace (from war)” (BDB)

Right now, there is war between warring clans in Maguindanao. There is always war in Mindanao with Muslim rebels. I grew up hearing about the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front). Now that I’m grown up, there is the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front).

Even here in Cebu, there is war. You say, “Pastor, I didn’t know there is war in Cebu City.” Yes, there is. When was the last time you fought your husband or wife? That was the last time there was war in the home. I hope that was the last and final war. There is war between husband and wife, war between father and son, mother and daughter; and war between brother and sister. Sometimes, there is no peace in the home. Have you forgiven somebody who wronged you last time? If not yet, there is still war in your soul.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the Leader of peace. He is the Lord of Peace. The Lord of Tranquility. He is the Captain of Contentment. His millennial rule will be marked by national and international peace—peace for a thousand years!

How does Jesus bring about this peace? Through war! The context of Isaiah chapter 9 talks about war (Isa. 9:3-5). The Title of Jesus as El Gibbor—Mighty God, is a title of war. Therefore, He will achieve PEACE THROUGH WAR.

Let me ask you, “Do you experience the peace of the Prince of Peace in your heart today?” Jesus already declared war when He came into this world and introduced the kingdom of God, pushing back the darkness of the god of this world. When He sacrificed His life on the cross, He defeated Satan. When He rose from the dead, He defeated death. He paid the penalty of your sin on the cross, so that you who are at war with God and estranged from God can be reconciled to God and have peace with God and the peace of God.

If you have Jesus in your heart today, you have peace with God and the peace of God. Because Jesus’ peace guards your heart, there can be peace between a warring husband and wife. Because Jesus won the war against sin, there can be peace in the home and between friends and families. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6, NKJV).

The only way to receive the peace of God is to receive the gift of the Prince of peace. Have you received God’s gift for you this Christmas? Would you turn from your sin and allow the Prince of Peace to rule your heart today? Would you like to receive Christ today to come into your life?


God’s Gift of Christmas – 6

Third, He is called Everlasting Father. It is just one phrase in the Hebrewab-ad. “Everlasting” is from the Heb. ad, which means, “perpetuity, for ever, continuing future” (BDB) or “eternity” (Strong). “Father” is from the Heb., ab, “father, originator, producer” (BDB) Taken together, it literally means, father of eternity” or “originator of perpetuity.” As Davidic King, Jesus’ fatherhood is not just temporal, but eternal. As Father of eternity: “He knew you before you were born.”[1]

Some of you here have fathers who don’t even know you; or you don’t know your fathers. How you wish that your father knows you and that you know your father. But Jesus knows all about you. He knows your past failures and future success. He knows what you are thinking today. He knows what you will do tomorrow because He is the beginning and the end. He is eternal.

Some of you here grew up without much love from your father or mother or family. If you’re like me, some of you here have lost your fathers while you were still a child. Now, you long for that fatherly love that you missed when you were small.

Some of you here are lonely, loveless people. Some of you have tasted only a little love and much hatred from people around you. “Yet, Jesus still loves you. His love for you endures forever. He will never stop loving you. He’ll love you in the morning when you awaken, and love you in the evening when you lie down. His love will escort you into eternity. When the love of others ends, His great love for you has just begun.”[2]

[1] Sammy Tippit, “The Victorious Names of God,” http://www.sammytippit.org, accessed December 12, 2008.

[2] Sammy Tippit, “The Victorious Names of God,” http://www.sammytippit.org, accessed December 12, 2008.

God’s Gift of Christmas – 5

Christmas brought the Gladness of His Son, the Gift of His Son, and the Government of His Son. Then Isaiah speaks of the Glory of His Son.

4. The Glory of His Son. The glory of His Son is the glory of His Name. His Name reveals His character. And so, the glory of His Son is the glory of His character. What is His Name? What is He called?

First, He is called, Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6). What might appear to be an adjective, “wonderful,” is actually a Hebrew noun, from pele—“a marvelous thing” (Strong). What appears to be a noun in the English version, “counselor,” is actually a Hebrew participle, from ya’ats—“to advise, give counsel” (BDB). These two words can be literally translated, “counseling wonder.” Yet it is translated as a substantive, thus, “wonder of a counselor” (BDB) or “one who counsels wonders” (NET).

Do you sometimes think that you don’t know what to think anymore about a business decision, family problem, future plans, etc.? You need to decide wisely what to do, where to find a job, how to do your job, etc.

Go to Jesus!  He will give you wise advise. He will teach you and guide you what to do!

Second, He is called, Mighty God (Isa. 9:6). This title is from the Hebrew noun, el, which means, “mighty one” (BDB), and the adjective, gibbor, which means, “strong, mighty” (BDB). Taken together, el gibbor, literally means, “mighty almighty” or “the mighty, mighty one.” Jesus is called, El Gibbor, “Mighty God.” As a mighty warrior in battle, Jesus will win military victories during His millennial reign and the Battle of Armaggedon.

What battles are you fighting today? Is it a battle with your sinful nature? Or a battle with worldly values? Is it the battle of hatred in your heart, anger in your emotions, or some secret sin?

Jesus is Mighty God. He will give you victory over it! Fight that battle with the strength of Mighty God!

God’s Gift of Christmas – 4

Christmas brought to Galilee the Gladness of the Son, ushering in the breaking of the bondage of Israel’s oppressors. It also brought the Gift of His Son, for unto us “a son is given.” With the giving of the Son is the government of the Son in His second coming.

3. The Government of His Son. The Heb. noun, “government,” is from misrah, “rule, dominion” (BDB). When Jesus comes again, He will establish His millennial kingdom. He will rule the nations on this earth for a thousand years (Rev. 2:27; 19:15).

“Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end” (Isa. 9:7, ESV). The kingdom of the Son shall be an Eternal Kingdom—“there will be no end.” This ever extending Kingdom will be eternal. Here, it means His Kingdom of peace shall be limitless. His ever extending empire of peace will be boundless. The Kingdom of the Prince of Peace shall be no end, “from this time forth and forevermore” (v. 7, ESV).

His kingdom shall also be an Established Kingdom—“to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness.”

When my father was a Judge in the Reg. Trial Court Branch 62, he told me about how. Some corrupt people would try to pay him off.  He was offered about P300, 000 just to dismiss a case.  He was offered a brand new car.

After years of investigating the P720M fertilizer fund scam, the main suspect, Mr. Jocjoc Bolante, is still out on the streets. After the ZTE Scandal, and two high profile, reliable witnesses, nobody is still being punished for it. After 57 innocent people were massacred in Maguindanao, we have yet to see if the main suspects will go to jail. After many congressmen have skimmed a percentage out of some big transactions using government money, and after they voted to kill the impeachment proceedings against a president hounded by innumerable allegations of corruption, they still get re-elected.

Truth, justice, and righteousness are but a dream in our land. But when Jesus comes to rule on this earth, He will rule with unlimited peace and uncorrupted justice and righteousness! The government of His Son will be a perfect government. The ruler of this government is Christ Himself, the Son of God.

Jesus will “establish” His government forever. The verb, “establish,” is from ca’ad, “To support, sustain, uphold” (BDB) in the Qal stem. Christ will secure, support, and sustain His ever extending, unlimited, empire of peace.

How? With Justice and Righteousness! In this millennial kingdom, Christ will rule with truth and honesty, because He is true and honest. He will rule with faithfulness, because He is faithful. He will rule with justice, because He is just. He will rule with grace and mercy, because He is gracious and merciful.

God’s Gift of Christmas – 3

2. The Gift of His Son

God’s gift of Christmas is not just the gift of Gladness brought about by the coming of His Son, but also the Gift of His Son Himself. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6, NKJV). We see two things here. First, God gave us a human gift—“a child is born.” This speaks of the humanity of Jesus.

How did this happen? It happened through the virgin birth. Jesus was virgin born. In the words of Jerry Vines, “He had a human mother but no human father.”[1]

The Bible says that we are all born into sin (Rom. 5:12). We are born with a sinful nature in us, passed on by our first parents, Adam and Eve. But Jesus was born without a sinful nature. The sinful nature of Adam was not passed on through Joseph, for Joseph was not his biological father. The sinful nature of Adam was not passed on through Mary, for she conceived in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Gift of God’s Son is the gift of a sinless humanity.

Second, God gave us a divine gift. “Unto us a son is given.” Last week, I told my son and daughter that we will exchange gifts this Christmas. I said that each of us will buy a gift for each other. Jomart will buy a gift for Jan Marie, Mommy, Daddy, and manang Neneng. Jan Marie will buy a gift for her mommy, daddy, kuya, and manang neneng. Then on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, we will each open our gifts. The gifts don’t have to be expensive. It can cost only P20, 50, or a 100, and no more. What is important is the spirit of Christmas.

When I told Jomart about it, he immediately said, “yes.” But when we told Jan Marie about it, she was not so excited. She didn’t want to spend money!

The prophet Isaiah said that unto us a son is given. This speaks of the deity of Christ. “As a child of man, Jesus was born; but as the son of God, Jesus was given. Notice the son was not born, the son was given.”[2]For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6, KJV).

Now this prophecy is yet future, but to the Hebrew mind of Isaiah, it is so vivid and real that it is as good as done. And so Isaiah uses the perfect tense, “a child is born, a son is given.” This Son is given by God to you and the world today.

My question to you now is:  Have you received this gift? Have you received God’s gift of His Son? The Son was given to die on the cross for your sins. The Son was given to pay the penalty of your sin. The Son was given to save you from your sins. Have you called on this Son to be your personal Savior?

You see, we don’t worship the babe in the manger, but the Christ who died on the cross. Millions today venerate a small boy made of wood. But Christ did not remain a baby or a small boy. He grew up to do His father’s will—to sacrifice his life on the cross and pay the penalty of our sin. That is why He came to this world. Then on the third day, He rose again and showed Himself to His followers—all flesh and blood. Afterward, He ascended into heaven. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven—in a resurrection body of flesh and blood. The Christ we worship today is not a small boy made of wood, but of a grown man of flesh and blood.

I will not ask you if you believe in the baby in the manger. I will ask you tonight if you have received the Christ on the cross. That is the most important question you need to answer tonight, before you leave this room.

The message of Christmas is the gift of His Son—Jesus Christ, who died for your sins on the cross. Would you like to receive Christ, God’s gift this Christmas, as your personal Lord and Savior?

[1] Jerry Vines, “What a Name!,” http://www.sermonsearch.com, accessed December 10, 2008.

[2] James Merritt, “What Child is This,” http://www.sermonsearch.com, accessed December 10, 2008.

God’s Gift of Christmas – 2

Second, Christmas brings light in darkness. Their suffering is likened to darkness. They lived in the darkness of oppression from their enemies—the Assyrians, Babylonians, and others. But now, they have seen a great light! What is this light? It is the light of the coming of the Messiah! The coming of Christ is the same as the coming of light!

Further, the coming of Christ means breaking of the bondage of the bullies. For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian” (Isa. 9:4, NKJV). The verb, “broken,” is from chathath, “to shatter.” The Messiah causes the breaking of the bondage of the Assyrians and Babylonians. (Hiphil Perfect) “The day of Midian” recalls the day when Gideon and his small number of men (300) broke the 7-year bondage of Israel under the Midianites and their vast army. As Gideon broke the back of the Midianites, so the Messiah will break the rod of Israel’s oppressors. And so the gladness of the Son is the gladness of the light of the Messiah that penetrates the darkness, breaking the bondage of oppression.

God’s Gift of Christmas – 1

Recently, we had our church Christmas party after lunch. This is the only church I know that gives gifts to each other every Christmas! No, I’m not talking about one or two rich families giving gifts to the rest of the church. I’m talking of each family giving gifts to everyone in church. It was a joyous time! The gifts we shared with each other were not so much expensive gifts. We are just average folks. The gifts we shared were not raffle gifts. We have no big time donors and sponsors here. But they were gifts given from the heart.

I’d like to share with you God’s Gift for Christmas. Do you know God’s Gift for you this Christmas? It’s the most costly gift of all gifts. It’s the best gift of all gifts. It is the most personal gift of all gifts.

All the gifts in the world will just fade away. But God’s gift for you this Christmas lasts for eternity. God’s gift is not a thing, but a Person.

1. The Gladness of the Son. Isa 9:1, “But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.” (ESV).

First, Christmas brings gladness in the midst of sadness. Isa. 9:6 proclaims the Glory of Christmas. But it is also set against the background of the Gloom of Christmas. Zebulun and Naphtali are two of the twelve tribes of Israel, living in the northern border of Israel (Northeast Galilee, West of the Jordan River), making up the land of Galilee. “They are always the first to suffer from the invasion of the Assyrian King (2 Ki. 15:29), marking the beginning of the dark days of Israel.”[1]

“Anguish” (ESV) or “distress” (NKJV) is from the Heb. muwtsaq, “narrowness” (Strong); “constraint” (BDB). Israel was pressured from the North by the Assyrians. “More heavily oppressed” (NKJV) is from the Heb. kavedh, “to make heavy” (hiphil perfect). (TWOT/OTWS) God caused Israel to suffer in the hands of the Assyrians because of her disobedience and rebellion. Christmas came in a situation of sadness.

Brian Bill wrote, “While the angels were proclaiming “peace on earth,” Herod was preparing to annihilate infants; while Mary was worshipping, other mothers were weeping for their children (see Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:18) . . . Christmas joy is best understood with the junk of life all around us because gladness comes when we’re grieving . . . Is that where you’re at today? That’s OK if you are because that’s exactly where Immanuel will meet you.[2]

But now Isaiah says, “in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations . . . you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil” (Isa. 9: 1, 3, ESV)

And so the glory of Christmas is the coming of Christ to Galilee. It is in Galilee where Christ started and based His ministry here on earth. The Glory of Christmas is the Gladness that God Brings to Suffering Israel. This Gladness is brought about by the birth of a wonderful baby! For Unto Them is Born This Day in the City of David, a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord!

[1] John MacArthur, gen. ed., The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 968.

[2] Brian Bill, “Isaiah’s Audacious Hope,” in http://www.sermoncentral.com, accessed December 10, 2008.