December 1, 2021

December 1, 2021

Dear Friends,
 
We are all familiar with the first four New Testament books.  We call them The Gospels.  They earn that distinction because they reveal to us the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus.  Each of the four provides a different perspective on and insight into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  What He did for us by coming to us, living among us, dying in our place and defeating death and hell so that we could be reconciled to God is the central message of the Bible.  It’s the good news – the “gospel.”
 
Some Bible scholars like to point to one Old Testament book as a fifth gospel account.  More than any other book in the Old Testament, the book of Isaiah looks ahead 700 years to the day when God would send the Messiah.  What God revealed to Isaiah was a dim and cloudy picture, unlike the historical accounts that would come after Jesus had come.  But anyone who reads through Isaiah’s many prophecies can’t help but hear the melodic theme of the Messiah emerging over and over again.   
 
One of the places we hear that theme most clearly is in the declaration Isaiah makes to his people, who are walking in darkness – stumbling in a cloud of their own making, a darkness that had enveloped them because they had turned away from God and had relied on their own wisdom or the advice of seers and mediums.  In the middle of their gloom, Isaiah reminded the faithful remnant that while they may be overwhelmed, they would not be overthrown.
 
It’s at this point that Isaiah announces his good news.  “For unto us a child is born.  A son is given.”   The promise of a child being born is a declaration of the humanity of the One who is coming.  The statement that He would be a son who is given is an announcement of His deity.
 
And Isaiah has four titles for this Child who is coming as a King, upon whose shoulders the government would rest.  “His name shall be called wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
 
In these weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas, it’s good for us to think about each of those designations for the coming King.
 
We think of a counselor in modern therapeutic terms.  Isaiah is talking in royal terms.  Every king would have his counselors.  Men who would provide advice and guidance.  What would be remarkable about this King is that He would be His own counselor.  He would not need the advice or wisdom of others, because His own wisdom and insight would be something that would cause people to marvel and wonder in awe. 
 
In calling Him a wonderful counselor, Isaiah is saying that this King would have supernaturally generated wisdom.  One commentator says it this way.  “His every instruction is wonderful.  His opinions are extraordinary.  His recommendations are impressive.  His advice is phenomenal.  He is the only one worth listening to.”
 
The son who is given to us at Christmas is the source of all wisdom.  Every time we declare that the Messiah is the fulfillment of this prophecy, that He is the Wonderful Counselor about whom Isaiah was talking, we should use that title as a reminder that every word that proceeds from the mouth of God to us is true and right and perfect and righteous and just and holy. 
 
Like the Jews in Isaiah’s day, we fall easily into the trap of seeking insight and wisdom from the seers and mediums of our age, while we neglect the wisdom that our Wonderful Counselor has given us.  Our King has come.  He has spoken.  Let us marvel at His wisdom and His insight.  And let us look no further for guidance. 
 
The prophecy of Isaiah was that “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9:2).  Jesus, the Light of the World, has come to us.  The Bible tells us to “walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18).  Instead, we are to walk in the light.  We do that by following the wisdom that has come to us through the child who was born to be our Wonderful Counselor.

children’s christmas sing

Parents with children ages 3-10, don’t forget you need to arrive early on Sunday for the first rehearsal for our Christmas children’s choir.

first tuesday men’s gathering

Guys, next Tuesday evening is our First Tuesday Men’s Meeting. 
Show up at 6:15 with $5 for Chick Fil A nuggets and mac and cheese. 
Or show up when our meeting starts, at 7:00. 
We’ll be hearing from Art Rainer about how we can more wisely manage our money.  Feel free to invite other guys to join us.

recap of all that’s happening this month (note the date change for the Roots Christmas Party):

christmas eve service

And be thinking and praying now about who you can invite to join us for our one hour Candlelight and Carols Christmas Eve service at 5:00 pm.
 

men’s retreat 2022

I know March of 2022 sounds like a long way off, but guys, make sure you get this on your calendar now.  A great weekend getaway is planned for the guys:
This Sunday, we’ll light the second candle in our Advent wreath and ask ourselves what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that they would do greater works than the works He had done in His ministry.  Our study in John’s gospel continues.
 
See you in church.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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