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And You Shall Call His Name Immanuel…
One of the unmistakable truths that leads to a fuller understanding of the Higher Christian Life is our embracing the fact of the Holy Spirit living in us. Now, I know you know that… at least cognitively, as a fact, and probably have this truth hidden for safekeeping somewhere deep in the recesses of your brain. But that’s not where the reality of this wonder takes place. And it is not the knowledge of this truth that leads to the Higher Christian Life, but the experiencing of this truth.
We experience “God with us” when we wholeheartedly release our fear and doubt and shame to the One who literally lives in us. One who abides in you (John 15:4-5). The Spirit, fully God in every sense, who has chosen to “rest, dwell, live, to make His home” in you as well as to “remain united with one heart, one mind, and one will” with you. After all, this is the definition of the Greek word which translates, abides.
This was all promised to us eons ago. We see it in the Old Testament, in the words of Isaiah.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” – Isaiah 7:14.
And an angel later confirmed it to a troubled, betrothed man named Joseph.
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” – Matthew 1:20-23.
We often focus on the miracle of Christ’s birth, and rightly so. But we find one vital key to the Higher Christian Life revealed in the name given Jesus. They shall call His name Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” Not just with us physically, but with us eternally in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Which Means, “God With Us”
Oh, the wondrous joy of knowing we are never alone. For God is with us and in us and has promised to never leave us as orphans (John 14:18). His name, given before time for our understanding of the miracle of redemption, is Immanuel. And Immanuel means “God with us.” He is always with us. And we will be forever with Him.
But that raises a few questions on a practical level.
• What does it mean to have God with us?
• And how is He with us?
• What is that experience like?
Now, let’s make it personal.
• Is God with you?
• Is He with you theologically or experientially?
• And if He is, what is that experience like?
• How does your life reflect God with you?
It is in the Person of the Holy Spirit that God lives in us and is with us. And it is by surrendering our lives to Him who lives in us and is with us that we begin to experience the Higher Christian Life.
So let me encourage you, as you join us today, to consider deeply the meaning of the name of our Lord and realize His very name speaks of the wonder of our redemption. We have our sins forgiven so that we can have fellowship with God Himself. But not by trekking to Mount Sinai to go where God is. No, He is now where we are and He is the One who made the journey for our benefit.
Rest easy in this confusing world. After all, God is with us, with you, forever.