Savior of Immanuel
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”
Matthew 1:1-25 NKJV
Matthew chapter 1 is interesting. Although the English translation has Jesus come first in the chapter and then Abraham last, the original manuscript starts with Abraham and ends with Jesus. The important point is that it is from Abraham to Jesus. Matthew chapter 1 is from Abraham to Jesus. Jesus appeared as the reality of the blessing given to Abraham. That which was promised Abraham was fulfilled accordingly.
As we have seen so far, God made a promise with Abraham. He said that He will be Abraham’s and his descendants God, and that all nations on earth will be blessed through him – Abraham will become a source of blessing for all nations. He will become great, and when the time comes, he will have a son. All of this was summed up by the promise that God will be with him. In other words, through Immanuel, everything was going to be fulfilled. Finally, Jesus Christ, who is Immanuel, came.
God promised Abraham in Genesis 18:10 that he will have a son according to the time of life. It says “time of life.” Some translations have written that as “around this time next year” because when the promise was given, it was around spring time. Hence, in some versions, it is translated that way or even as “spring time.” But originally, it was meant to be the time of life. He will have a son at the time of life. Thus, the moment his son was born, what did he see? He saw the time of life. Who is the life? It is Jesus. So in John 8:56, Jesus says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” He saw the time of life. In other words, Abraham saw the day of Jesus – His time. Hence, he rejoiced at the fulfilment of Immanuel when he saw his son. He saw Jesus through it. Abraham saw Jesus’ day.
Later, when it got to the time of King David, God promised him, saying, ‘An everlasting king will come and establish your throne. And I will call your son My Son.’ Then, through the Prophet Isaiah, He said, ‘A virgin will give birth to a son and he will be called Immanuel.’ At the time of Ezekiel, he said, ‘God will make His dwelling among you and He will give you a king. He will give you David and make His dwelling among you.’ And truly, Jesus came according to those words. He came as the Immanuel – the One who will be with us.
So prophecies were consistently given for the one covenant, and finally, it was fulfilled. But nobody knew about it. “He will be named Jesus. He will be Immanuel – for He will save His people from their sins.”
Thus, God the Immanuel, our King is the Savior. The words king and savior do not have the same meaning, do they? Although for us in the present, we know that our King is the One who saved us, we know that He saved us and is now with us. But in fact, which is first? Salvation or His dwelling with us? It is salvation. He first saves us and abides with us.
However, from a different perspective, that is not completely true. He saves us after being with us. Why is that? Even though we say that we are already saved, it also says that we will be saved. In a sense, salvation has not been fulfilled yet because we are yet to enter heaven. But God did not say that He will be with us once we go into heaven. Instead, while we are in Hades, on earth, He is with us. Otherwise, how can we be saved? How can He take us to heaven? He has to be with us first and then take us. He is preparing our places so that when He returns, He can take us there.
Hence, depending on how we look at it, we can either say that God abides with us after He saves us or that He abides with us to save us. The latter is a more expanded view. We can never escape Hades on our own. There is no hope. But because He abides with us, He will take us.
He is our only Savior. He was the only One who went out of this universe, out of this water. In other words, He was the only One who was baptized. The Father placed Him inside Hades and then delivered Him from the waters – the great waters. Our sister Eunhye experienced that today in a figurative sense. The seed which was begotten from the Father spent 10 months in Hades – the water – and finally came out. The seed came out of Hades and lives a new life.
This is a metaphor for us, that we who are here will be taken up on the coming of the Lord and leave this place. When the baby is born, the placenta comes out also and is discarded. It is delivered with the baby. Some animals eat the placenta because it gives them energy. It is full of nutrients, they say. Some people also eat it. In China, they used to eat it a lot. When a baby is born, they eat the placenta. You may see the placenta of horses, too. Anyway, the placenta is removed. In the same way, this universe is like the placenta. When we leave the universe, the universe will disappear. The placenta is of no use then, and then we will go up to heaven.
That is when we will see the true value of Immanuel. It is because the Lord is with us that He can deliver us from this pit. Thus, whoever believes the Lord is with him can be very bold. Because first of all, even though he is pressed on every side, he believes that the Lord is with him and can rely on Him who will save him. Secondly, what did it say about those who attack and oppress the blessed one? They will be cursed because he is a source of blessing. But whoever blesses him will be blessed.
There is something I am grateful for now. It is a relief that some people who were the cause of the burden in my heart have now gotten married and have children. But before that, many people used to pressure me, saying that I was not allowing the sisters who are single to get married. People said that I was holding them back from getting married and that it was wrong of me to do so. That I should let them marry at the age when they should. They said that out of concern. But on the one hand, I was concerned for them. They supported me, and they blessed me, so I believe God will bless them. I believe that when the time comes is right, God will take care of them. And yes, I am thankful that everything fell into place at the right time.
Some people, however, curse me. These things are always happening to me, but last Friday reached its peak. I was threatened. All day, I was troubled, and by that evening, I was on the edge, I could not take it anymore. When a person gets threatened, his heart shrinks.
But do you know what is more evil? A person can threaten with a truth or with false accusations. It was clearly a lie, something that was not true that he was using to threaten me. It just seemed ridiculous and somewhat needless to respond to. But as a result of that, I became oversensitive. At first, I was okay. But I kept thinking about it. And my mind was getting weaker. Although I was doing my work, my mind was occupied by the thought. Even while I was eating, I became still all of a sudden. In an effort to forget about it, I turned on some music, but as I was listening, I ended up staring into one spot and fell into the thought again. And anger was rising within me.
In the end, I got to a point where I felt as though I could understand why people commit suicide. Yesterday, the overseer also said that if he could commit suicide without going to hell, he would have done it a long time ago. I could understand him. If I could forget about everything and go away on a trip, it might help. But just because I go somewhere does not mean that I can escape from this. Being falsely accused is something we just want to get away from. So what could I do in that situation? I thought it would heal with time. But the next day, I was wrecked. I was lying down the whole time watching TV. But somehow, I got myself up and forced myself to get out. I prayed and collected my mind again. I regained my strength. Otherwise, it could have gone on for days. My wife helped me; she took me out to see some sunlight, which made it a little better. Then I went and prayed in the prayer room for a long time and recovered.
What is this faith? As I said before, God delivers us from the pit. Also, I am the source of blessing. Whoever has Immanuel is a source of blessing. Therefore, whoever blessed him will be blessed, but whoever curses him will be cursed.
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, I think He was subjected to unilateral suffering. The devil was instead given the authority. It is strange isn’t it? God gave the devil the authority instead. As He tried to condemn the devil, He gave the devil the authority so that the devil would do what he had to do.
This is interesting. God’s way of judging someone is not by taking anything from him but rather by giving more. He makes them do more of what they were already doing in order to expose the full extent of their deeds. In other words, the devil’s wickedness was completely exposed. After that, the devil fell into his own trap. This is the way God has consistently done His works.
Thus, with the wicked, they become more and more wicked so that their wickedness is fully exposed. And ultimately, they fall. Moreover, what would happen to them since they laid hands on the source of blessing? Because I am told to bless them, I bless them and pray for them. In doing so, I obey the word. The Gospel of Matthew says, “Blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness. When they revile you and say all kind of evil against you falsely.” In other words, they would attack with lies and false accusations. It says, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Thus, for the one who persecutes, his evil will be exposed and be condemned. But the one who lives for righteousness will be persecuted in this way. But what is the outcome? There is a reward, not only in heaven but also on this earth.
Of course, we have encountered these things many times, which we have confessed with our lips. After we went through that trial last time, we were rewarded immediately, weren’t we? We were remunerated. But after that, the next one was ten times worse which makes me think, how great is the reward going to be? It gave me a hopeful anticipation. When God wants to bless us, He said there will also be persecution and unfair treatment. Yet since the Lord, who is Immanuel is within me, I am able to have this faith and be able to recover quickly. It is not that I did not know this when I was undergoing the whole situation. It was just emotionally shocking and overwhelming that I needed to wait for the emotions to subside, but I was not unaware of this. When we acknowledge His presence with us, His words will be fulfilled. We are grateful.
What the devil is doing to us is unbelievably unjust. Think about what he did to Jesus. When we think about what Jesus went through, the part where He was persecuted, scourged, and the pain He suffered are actually nothing compared to the distress of being falsely and unjustly treated. All His life, He did what was good while bearing all the suffering and serving souls. Yet the people who were shown goodness instead mocked Jesus and joined forces to falsely accuse Him. All the leaders and people condemned Him, resented Him and misjudged Him. Even the disciples whom He thought would follow Him left, and He could not say anything about it. How tormenting and painful would it have been to be falsely accused and unfairly treated? That would have been the most painful part. People do not commit suicide when they are physically ill. But the pain of being falsely accused leads to suicide.
Jesus underwent that, yet endured everything to the end. Though everyone else denied Him, God raised Him to life, proving His innocence, and even until now, the Holy Spirit testifies to Him. And He has been taken up to heaven. How satisfying! The Holy Spirit defends Him. He is the only One who defends Jesus on His side. If we were to testify in His defense so, how happy would Jesus be? While everyone despised Jesus, saying He is a sinner, since we testify in His defense, how pleased would Jesus be? We are grateful of it.
That person who threatened me said he will put everything – all the ridiculous lies he made up – in writing and hand it out in front of the church. So, I actually distributed it myself. I showed the people of importance what I received. And that person was shocked. He threatened me, hoping that I would get caught out by any one of the things he wrote. But there was nothing. I just let the people know what this person said to me. And now he has nothing to say.
I am just thankful that God is with me. It is not for any wrong I have done, but it is while I was doing the Lord’s work that this happened, which is why I am thankful. I fully trust that the Lord is with me and that He wants to bless me with great things ultimately. While we do this work, we will encounter many similar situations. This was not my first time, either. I have had many similar experiences. It is distressing. But if we try to resolve it through man’s way, we will fail. Yet, when we try to overcome and resolve according to God’s way, we will be rewarded. Even on this earth, we will be rewarded. Let us pray that we can have the faith God approves so that Immanuel is fulfilled.
Father God, we thank You for the unchanging truth of Your presence, that our God is Immanuel. We are grateful that You continually seek us in times of need and will ultimately rescue us even from the depths of despair. Father God, help us to trust in Your promises and to experience Your salvation, deliverance from sin, and protection from all evil, not in our own human ways but through Your intervention. Enable us to acknowledge the God who is Immanuel. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on November 26, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team