THINK ON THESE THINGS
IMMANUEL – GOD WITH US
SUNDAY MARCH 11, 2018
Scripture To Consider:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed [promised in marriage] 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 [intimately] till she brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.” Matthew 1.18-25
Something To Consider:
Joseph at first believed that fate had dealt him an unfavorable hand, yet he was still willing to be kind hearted in not wanting to publicly embarrass Mary. True love has a unique way of looking out for the interests of others more so than one’s own self. As leaders in training, whose interest are we looking out for? That is a question well worth considering!
As Joseph thought on these things and as he meditated on the situation at hand, behold, God sent him a messenger with more than a saving face message. What about us, do we give ample time to prayer and meditation? Do we give ample time to thinking about things that concern us and others? Do we as leaders in training think it a good thing to think on things before we take action?
“Then Joseph her [promised] husband, being a just [upright] man, and not wanting to make her a public example was minded to put her away secretly.” What would be our immediate response in the case of infidelity or seemingly gross deceit on the part of our spouse or future pledged husband or wife? “But while he thought about these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.”
How often or how long are we willing to think on things of importance before responding? As true born again believers Immanuel, God with us, lives within us and His Spirit is indeed willing to direct our thoughts and our thinking process even though our flesh is weak and wants so very much to react rather than to respond after much thought on whatever matter at hand.
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8 and verse 1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” That is where most bible teachers stop the reading of Romans 8.1, but Paul continued his lesson of a lifetime by also stating; “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Only declaring part of the truth is actually misleading and deceptive. Let us not be found among those practicing this false tactic!
Paul also instructed in verse 5 and 6, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds [thoughts] on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [thinking on the things of the flesh] is death, but to be spiritually minded [thinking on the things of the kingdom of God] is life and peace.”
It is extremely important what we are spending our time thinking about, whether carnally minded things or things of a spiritual nature, such as the Word of God and how we would better please and honor the God of His Word.
Something Else To Consider:
As Joseph thought on his circumstances the angel of the Lord declared, “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.” What is it that is being conceived in us by the Holy Spirit? Is love for the lost being conceived in us by the Holy Spirit? Is the love of the truth of God’s Word being conceived in us by the Holy Spirit? Is a love for God’s people, God’s plan, God’s purpose in the earth being conceived in us by the Holy Spirit?
What is being birthed in us by God? What is it that is being nurtured by God’s Holy Spirit in us as true end time believers in Christ, that should eventually bear fruit in our lives? It is something else to consider and certainly something to think on!
According to Matthew, “All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet.” Over seven hundred years earlier, God gave a sign to King Ahaz, king of Judah, through the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 7.14. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel, God with us, who will save His people from their sins. Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Savior of the world promised by God. Immanuel, “God with us,” is truly something else to consider!
Something More To Consider:
Later in Matthew 18.11, Jesus proclaimed, “For the Son of Man [Jesus] has come to save that which was lost.” That was part of His spiritual mission upon planet earth and that mission did not end with His death. His mission of saving the lost continues into every generation and will continue until the door of salvation is closed by God, as was the door to the Ark built by Noah was closed by God from the inside.
And let us make no mistake about it, once God closes a door, no man can open it! At some point in the history of humankind God is going to shut the door of opportunity one last time for all eternity. What side of that door will we stand? What side of that door will our loved ones stand? What side of that door are we now standing on and are we standing as if enduring to the end?
Matthew, in chapter 27 and verse 42, instructs us in the irony of Jesus’ first coming to save the lost by his proclaiming what Jesus’ accusers were declaring at His crucifixion; “He [Jesus] saved others; Himself He cannot save.” They had no idea how true and yet how self-condemning their statements would prove to be. The chief priests, scribes, and elders, as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did not stop to think on these things they were witnessing and the things they were approving of by their own actions. They were blindly held captive by their carnally driven fleshly emotions.
What is it that we are held captive to or captive by? Are we held captive to the Word of God? Are we held captive to the spiritual things of God and of God’s kingdom? If not, then we are being held captive to our carnal thoughts and fleshly concepts that are to be proven false by the stark reality of the truth of the Word of God. At some point in the not so far future the final domino of prophecy will be placed in its strategic end time location and then tilted to the point of no return. Then, will not be the time to think on these things!
A Few Final Words:
Do we think on these things that matter most in our lives and in the lives of those we care for and are responsible for? Do we give ample consideration to Immanuel, God with us? God is with us for a most important reason. We are creatures of thought, therefore, what things are we thinking on? The writer of Psalm 119, beginning with verse 97 evidently thought much of the things of God. “Oh, how I love Your law [Word of God]! It is my meditation all the day. You [God], through Your commandments [Word of God], make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies [Word of God] are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients [older leaders], because I keep Your precepts [Word of God]. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your Word.”
Wise leaders and wise leaders in training are men and women of every generation who think things through. They are people who think much and meditate often on the Word of God. Therefore, they often give birth to breakthrough ideas and answers far beyond the status quo. But it must begin with our studying the Word of God in order to show ourselves approved unto God as workers of righteousness who are rightly dividing, rightly understanding, and rightly communicating the Word of God.
These things are indeed things we should be thinking more about. And as we do, let us not forget Immanuel, God is with us!
Our Father in heaven, as we think upon these things, conceive in us that which is of Your Holy Spirit, to better prepare us for end times and Christ’s return. In Him Always, Amen!