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TEXT: Matthew 1:18-25

 

Why is the Christian belief of “Immanuel” so important?

 

Psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann said that loneliness is “such a painful, frightening experience that people will do practically everything to avoid it.”

 

“Loneliness is much more often commented on by songwriters than by 

social scientists. One psychiatrist has suggested that we neglect loneliness because we have no theory with which to begin to cope with its manifestations.” – MIT Press 

 

“In June 2002 a conference was held at Dartmouth Medical School, in which the leading scientists and medical professionals were brought together to try to determine, “what was it that was causing the explosion of mental illness in America?” And what these scientists discovered was the following in their study “Hardwired to connect.” Human Beings are fundamentally wired for relationship and that the youth in America are experiencing a breakdown in two primary areas in relationships, one of those was other people…and the second primary relationship is with God himself. Secular scientists saying that a breakdown in those two relationships are contributing to mental illness.” – Brian Fikkert

 

TEXT: Matthew 1:18-25

 

Matthew 1:23 — “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”

 

How does “Immanuel” help us in our loneliness? Well, we must understand…(1. It’s theological; 2. It’s experiential; 3. It’s transformational)

 

  1. It’s theological (v. 23 “God”)

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”

 

“If you are religious and you think reaching out to God is the answer to your loneliness, no it’s not, I’m sorry to tell you, God is lonelier than you are…(loneliness is an existential problem) There’s nothing you can do about it really, there’s no cure for it, there’s not even a prevention.”  — Brendan Myers (Ted talk: “The importance of loneliness”)

 

“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

 

God is not dependent on a relationship with you and me. He’s always been in an eternal loving community.

 

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

 

Augustine reasoned in the 5th century…(1 John 4:8)

“In order to have love, there must be a lover, a loved, and the action of love. Since God is the very embodiment of love, and he loved himself, he must have the three natures. In order to be love, God must at the same time be the object, the subject and the verb.”

 

  1. It’s experiential (v. 23 “with”)

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”

 

“The Word became flesh and blood,

    and moved into the neighborhood.

We saw the glory with our own eyes,

    the one-of-a-kind glory,

    like Father, like Son,

Generous inside and out,

    true from start to finish.” – John 1:14 (Message)

 

  1. It’s transformational (v. 23 “us”)

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”

 

“We always receive calls asking, “Can you take this wounded person?” One man said to me, “how does it feel to get all the discarded people?” My answer? Wonderful.” I am grateful that churches and families would give them to us. Give me the castoffs. Give me the people who are in dire need of regenerative grace. Give me the people who haven’t kept the religious handbook. Give me the ones who have been exiled to the ash heap of broken parts…the closer I get to helping other in their brokenness the more broken I realize I am.” – Matthew Barnett (Misfits Welcome)

 

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

 

TAKEAWAYS: How does “Immanuel” transform us?

 

  • It changes our priorities (v. 24-25)

“24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

 

  • It pulls us closer to God

 

Elisabeth Elliot once said…“Loneliness is one of God’s pulleys. It is a call to prayer. This condition of my earthly existence from which I cannot extricate myself is the very ground of my prayer. Because I am lonely and afflicted, I have reason to hope for divine help. God is in the business of coming to the aid of those who know their need and ask Him to meet it.” 

 

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46