December 16 Bulletin
Immanuel: God is With Us
Impact Hour streams live at 10 am
Sermon streams live at about 11:45 am
Click on “Livestream” or "Listen Live" at cornerstonelakeside.com
Recordings are also available
9:00 am—Music and Prayer with Worship Team
10:00 am—Impact Hour with Tom Szabo
11:00 am—Worship for all ages
Celebration of Birthdays and Anniversaries
11:30 am—Children's Christmas Program
Morning Message from Pastor Clay Stidham
“Joseph and Immanuel”
12:15 pm—Commitment and Dismissal
12:30 pm—Fellowship Pot Luck at Hampton Inn
The Messiah: December 16—7 pm at downtown LDS Chapel
Christmas in the Pines: December 18—7 pm at St. Mary’s
December 21—Bible Study “Acts” at Arnie Abrams home 7 pm
December 23—Special Christmas Service with I-Teen
December 24—Christmas Eve Service 6:30 pm with Blueridge Christian Center: Worship and Communion
January 21—Monday Marys Spring Orientation 10 am Office
January 23—Men’s Bible Study 7 pm at Office
In the News
Word for Worship
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. (Isaiah 9:6)
This prophecy given by Isaiah would be familiar to most Christians, especially during this season when all of Christianity celebrates the birth of the Messiah. Although this event is usually observed on December 25, the day many pagan religions celebrate the winter solstice, Jesus’ birth most likely took place sometime during the fall. Luke 2:8 indicates that the shepherds visited by the angels “were living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night,” which makes more sense in September than during the cold Judean winter.
But whatever time of year Jesus was born, the great miracle was actually His conception. That was the moment when the eternal “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The birth itself was normal in every human way, even though the parents went through a challenging series of events.
We justifiably honor Mary and Joseph’s humility and obedience to the requirements given to them. The teenage Mary, after being told by the angel Gabriel she would bear the Son of God even though she “[did] not know a man,” simply said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:34, 38). An angel told Joseph during a vision that his espoused wife would be the virgin who would fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy to “conceive and bear a Son, and [call] His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The kind and gentle 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 1:24-25).
Although the deity of the Second Person of the Godhead was woven through all of the previous biblical narrative, it was not as pronounced there as it is in the later books of Scripture. The emphasis changed with the angels’ announcements to Mary and Joseph. Those few words encapsulate history’s turning point—from the Old Testament to the New, from the millennia of preparation to the coming of the Messiah, from centuries of a focus on Israel to the last days looking for the return of the Lord in glory.
The Child Is Born
The same prophet who identifies the child specifically insists that “the virgin shall conceive and bear...Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). That title is translated “God with us” by the apostle Matthew (Matthew 1:23).
For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth—a woman shall encompass a man. (Jeremiah 31:22, emphasis added)
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. (Galatians 4:4)
If words mean anything, the child would be borne by a virgin—a “new thing in the earth”—and that child would be “God with us.” This term conveys all that could be communicated and understood about the coming Person. The apostle John later spelled it out clearly: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The prophesied child “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
The Son Is Given
When Isaiah utters the prophecy of the child, he identifies Him with a name that can only be understood as completely God. This child is to be called “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
“Therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
The Son is described by the Father as His “beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). There can be no doubt that the inspired words of Scripture identify Him as the only Son begotten of the Father in heaven. Everything recorded about this Son demands we see Him as the only One who can be known, seen, and understood of the triune Godhead of eternity past, present, and future.
The Creator Enters His Creation
As they celebrate Jesus’ coming during the Christmas season, many Christians seem unaware that this child who was born, this Son who was given, has an even wider identity. I recently received a letter from one of our supporters who surprised me by saying “I urge you not to claim that Jesus is the Creator.” That is unusual, to say the least. Most of those who share their resources with the Institute for Creation Research are pretty much in agreement with our basic commitment that the Bible clearly portrays Jesus as the Creator, the Second Person of the Godhead, and the Redeemer and King. Let’s look at what Scripture has to say about it.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). With these powerful words, the history of the universe begins. God creates space, matter, and time. The shapeless and watery matrix was empty and dark. God’s Spirit “vibrates” over those waters, apparently beginning the processes that would set the universe in motion. The first recorded sound was when God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). On this first day, the entire Trinity of God is active. Obviously, God the Spirit is there, and God the Father is certainly implied as the authority and source of the creative power. But Jesus Himself is also there. He is “the Word” who executes the creation activity.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made....He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. (John 1:1-3, 10)
The Word is the One who separates the waters and lifts up land from Earth’s primordial oceans. He is the One who makes the moon, sun, stars, and swirling galaxies in distant parts of the universe. The Word is the One who creates all things. The Word is none other than Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.
Paul wrote a letter to a struggling church in Colosse to help them understand the union of the Lord Jesus whom they had trusted for their redemption and the God of Israel whom they had understood to be “the Father” and the one God of eternity.
[The Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son...in whom we have redemption....He is the image of the invisible God....For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:13-16)
The English phrase “all things” is used throughout these verses to emphasize that everything that exists has been brought into existence by the Son. The list of created things is exhaustive: heaven, Earth, visible and invisible things, and the rulers in and of the universe—thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. These grand sweeps of eternity are anchors for our faith and encouragement for our witness.
When the Lord told His apostles “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30), He was most certainly speaking of the equality Paul cites in Philippians 2:6: Christ “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” The word choice is absolute. Jesus the Creator is isos, the primary word for total equality both in the sense of quantity and quality, with no robbery of either amount or value. The Second Person of the Godhead has absolutely no necessity to “grasp” or “steal” or “overcome” any attribute that God possesses.
The Creator’s Greatest Gift
Much more could be said of the Bible’s open insistence that Jesus is one with the Father and the One by and through whom all things were brought into existence. But perhaps a short passage from Psalm 33 is enough to “seal the deal.”
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:6-9, emphasis added)
All of Christianity celebrates the child born and the Son given to us during this season. We should also celebrate the Creator who entered His own creation, laid down His life on the awful Roman cross, and paid our sin penalty as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). He completed our redemption with the victory cry “It is finished!” (John 19:30) so we may be given eternal life with Him. He was buried in a newly hewn gravesite for three days and three nights as the Scriptures foretold, and then rose from the grave early Sunday morning that we might have assurance that His redemptive work was sufficient and satisfactory for “the sins of the whole world” (Acts 17:31; 1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
As we give gifts to those we love, we should rejoice in the greatest Gift of all—Jesus Christ.
* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research. He holds four earned degrees, including a D.Min. from Luther Rice Seminary and an MBA from Pepperdine University.