GOD WITH US
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Emmanuel.” (Is. 7:14). “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
“Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice, from that time forward, even forever...” (Is. 9: 6)
“… His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men. He is despised and rejected (forsaken) by men, A Man of sorrows (lit. pains) and acquainted with grief. (lit. sicknesses) And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him.” (Is.52: 14; 53: 3)
“Surely He has borne our sicknesses (heb. makob) and carried our pains (heb. nasa); yet we esteemed Him smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised (crushed) for our iniquities; The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; And by His stripes we are healed.” (Is. 53: 4, 5)
WE HAVE ALL GONE ASTRAY!
“All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise (crush) Him.” (Is. 53: 6, 7, 10)
“Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had BY HIMSELF purged our sins, sat down on the Majesty on High.” (Heb.1: 1-3)
A visiting missionary arrived at the Vancouver Airport on a Sunday morning. As the Pastor hurriedly drove toward the church, it seemed as though every light was green. Overjoyed, he jubilantly exclaimed, “My, isn’t it wonderful how we have had only green lights. We haven’t even encountered one red light all the way from the airport. Surely, God is with us”!
The missionary wisely replied, “If we would have hit only red lights along the way this morning, would God have still been with us”?
A 28 year-old preacher died in an East European Communist prison during the 1970s. He had been incarcerated for eight years for telling little children about Jesus!
Beaten, bruised, tortured and brainwashed, he finally succumbed to the guard’s brutality and they found him dead one morning in a pool of blood on the dungeon floor. Vital organs had ruptured as a result of the traumatic beatings and he hemorrhaged blood until he died.
In the last minutes of life he had managed to stagger to the dungeon wall and with his finger write his testimony in his own blood. So great was the impact of his testimony that the guards who found him the next morning accepted Christ as their Saviour. And they passed the story to Pentecostal Christians in Western Europe, via the underground route!
This is what he wrote: “I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining and I believe in love even though I feel it not. And I believe in God even when He is silent, so by faith I’ll hold on to what I have got”!
He hadn’t seen the sun in 8 years. He had felt and seen only hatred from his captors and for eight long years he had prayed for release from that living hell without an answer, but still he believed in God! Hallelujah! Jesus said: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5)
Even when things go wrong, we still have God’s abiding presence! How wonderful, that God is with us always. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. In good times or bad times; in joy or sorrow; in sickness or health! God is with us - Praise His Holy Name.
THERE IS HOPE IF GOD IS WITH US!
More than seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet Isaiah - speaking by divine inspiration - declared that God would give His Son to become the Saviour of the world.
The Book of Isaiah is aptly called ‘The Gospel of the Old Testament’. How precious to read of the birth, life and death of Christ in this Old Testament Gospel!
It is good news that even “before the foundation of the world”, God had a perfect plan for our salvation through the virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death and glorious resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah of Israel! (Eph.1: 4,5)
He would be rejected by men and judged by God – because of our sins - but brought back to life and restored to a place of glorification with His Father, so that you and I can receive eternal life.
The Sign of the Virgin Birth - What a Miracle! To be supernaturally begotten by the Blessed Holy Spirit and born naturally of a virgin mother. Talk about confounding the mouths and minds of those who rejected Him.
IT ALMOST BLOWS THE MIND!
No wonder the Bible says: “The natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are spiritually discerned”. (1 Cor. 2:14) Again the Scripture declares: “Had they known who He was they would not have rejected the Prince of life”. (1 Cor.2: 8)
They tried to reason it all out and couldn’t. The intellectuals failed miserably; and they are still messing up today trying to incorporate Jesus the Christ, into their natural-minded stereotype. It can’t be done!
Why can’t puny little man take God’s Word at face value - accept the Gospel of Christ for what it’s worth and embrace it all, including the supernatural aspects of: (1) Who He is, (2) Why He came, (3) What He did, and (4) What it all means and how it relates to us today?
But NO, the egotistical, proud earthling wants to find his own way, chart his own course and fly his own craft to the stars! The Bible says, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God”. (John 1:11-12)
What a position we enjoy as redeemed blood-bought children of God. I can hardly contain it all! Salvation is a FREE gift from our Creator!
COMPLEX? Yes, God’s part was profound, complex and elaborate! Our part, however, is easy! It is so simple that many feel it is too elementary. It’s a fact of life that in everything from religion to politics, people like to make things as complex as possible. Yet no tool or gadget is as good and effective as the one that is user-friendly. The simpler anything operates the more valuable it is and the more reliable and easy to maintain!
Here is the plain, simple and yet profound truth: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved”. (John 3:16-17)
Jesus confirmed that statement when He declared: “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. (Mark 2:17); “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”. (Luke 19:10)
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
“Moses wrote of Me.” (John 5: 46)
“I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:35; 6:41, 48, 51)
“I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12)
“I am the Door.” (John 10:7)
“I am the Good Shepherd.” (John 10:11)
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25)
“I am He (the Christ).” (John 4:25-26)
“I am from Above.” (John 8:23-24, 28)
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)
“I am the True Vine.” (John 15:1)
“I am the Alpha and Omega.” (first and last) (Rev. 1:8)
“I am the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8; Is. 9:14)
In the 1980’s the well-known radio commentator and author Charles Templeton from Toronto, was a guest on our 2-hour weekly radio talk show “Nightwatch”. When I questioned him about his agnosticism and his relation to Christ, he replied, “Jesus in my estimation is a moral genius...He has influenced my life more than any other person that has ever lived”! That’s quite a statement.
I asked him, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God”? Charles Templeton answered, “No, I do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”! Then I pinned him with this question: “How can Jesus Christ be a moral genius and also be a colossal liar, for He claimed He was the Son of God”?
WHAT DO THE SCRIPTURES SAY OF HIM!
The Bible says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of man.” (John 1:1-4)
“God...hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Heb. 1:2-4)
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God.
“And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
“And He hath on His vesture and His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:11-16); “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6)
WHAT DOES GOD THE FATHER SAY OF HIM?
“For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son? And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten (the first in rank) into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.
“But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.
“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same and Thy years shall not fail.”
“But to which of the angels said He any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool?” (Heb. 1:5-6, 8-13; Ps. 2:7)
And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17
“While He yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him.” (Matt. 17:5)
WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT SAY OF HIM?
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I (Jesus) have said unto you.” (John 14:26) “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me.” (John 15:26)
“Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:13-14)
WHAT DO THE PROPHETS SAY OF HIM?
“...which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.
“And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3:21-24)
“Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)
“To Him give all the prophets witness that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
It is also important to know what His mother had to say about Jesus: “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1: 46, 47); “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” (John 2:5)
WHY DID JESUS COMETO THIS PLANET?
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“...That He (Jesus) should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:2-3)
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39)
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10; Matt. 18:11); “...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5; Matt. 8:16-17)
WHAT DID JESUS CHRIST ACCOMPLISH?
“...Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:5-11)
“Who (God) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” (Col. 1:13); “And (Jesus) having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15)
HOW DOES ALL THIS RELATE TO US TODAY?
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:” (John 1:12)
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath quickened them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.
“He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:22-24)
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
“Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me.” (John 12:44); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.” (John 13:20)
“Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in Me name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it. If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:11-18)
“But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
“Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8)
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. 9:28)
“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25)
GOD IS WITH US - EMMANUEL!
When God made Salvation’s Plan, He included you and me - We are the recipients of His divine grace! Hallelujah!
The Bible says, “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Ps. 84:11); For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)
“How great and majestic is the glorious salvation of our Blessed Christ and Redeemer. The very word ‘Jesus’ in both Hebrew and Greek means ‘Saviour’. The angel spoke to Joseph in Hebrew and said “Ye shall call His name Jesus (the salvation of God) and He shall save (salvage) His people from their sins”. (Matt. 1:21)
What good news, God is with us - Jesus is God and He is with us. God is not only with us but through the baptism of the Holy Ghost, He is in us!
Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you”. (John 14:16-18) Note these precious words: “At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you”. (v. 20)
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)
God is with us. He is in us. How great, wonderful and marvellous this is!
“He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love Him, and will manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
Oh, what a Saviour we have! Oh, what a Gospel is ours! ‘Blessed assurance Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of Glory Divine, Heir of salvation, purchase of God; Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story, this is my song; Praising my Saviour all the day long.’
The Apostle Paul spared no words in assuring us of God’s great power that is available and readily accessible to His people. Let me share only a few: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
AND WE KNOW! There is nothing ambiguous, doubtful or uncertain here! Definite, definitive and unfailing are the promises of God. We need not worry, fret or doubt.
St. Paul knew many things about our Blessed Lord and His marvellous salvation which unfortunately, many so-called preachers seem to be ignorant of or doubtful about today.
This Scripture gives one of the keys to his success: namely, his sincere desire to know Jesus in a deeper and fuller way: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection...” (Phil. 3:10)
WE KNOW THAT WE KNOW!
Here are several more of his confessions of faith: “...I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Tim. 1:12); “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35-39)
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31); “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s Elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yeah rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”. (Rom. 8:33-34)
THEY THAT ARE WITH US!
They that are with us are more than they that are with them
Let me share with you a little about the great miracle that happened at Dothan. A miracle of God’s power, provision and grace, indeed!
It was told to the King of Syria that the reason he was unable to defeat the Israelites was due to Prophet Elisha’s supernatural God-given gifts whereby he was able to warn Israel of the plans, designs and purposes of their enemy!
The King then sent his army to Dothan to capture the prophet. Elisha’s servant was greatly concerned when he saw the place surrounded by hostile men of war. He cried out, “Alas my master, How shall we do”?
The Prophet answered: “Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them”. (2 Kings 6:16) Elisha then prayed for God to open the spiritual eyes of the young man and he saw, “The mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”. (v. 17)
Jesus said, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth… and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”. (Matt. 28:18-30).
WHAT A PROMISE! I am with you always! Even to the very end of the age.” Our Lord said, “...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. (Heb. 13:5) The literal Greek is even stronger. Using a double imperative Jesus actually said: “I will never, no never leave thee. I will never, no never forsake thee!” Hall
JESUS WILL NEVER LEAVE US!
He will be with us in good times and bad times, in sickness and in health, in success or failure, in testing, trials, tragedies and sorrows. He will be with us in times of poverty or prosperity right to the end; including the journey through the valley of the shadow of death! (Ps. 23)
Jesus promised, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all: and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand”. (John 10:27-29)
St. Paul said, “Now, the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul”. (Heb. 10:38-39)
Remember, dear friend: “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin”
(1 John 1:7) We must never forget that there are conditions as well as promises: “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it. If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:14-15)
St. Paul said “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (Rom. 8:37); “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. (Phil. 4:13)
We can do the same because God is: “No respecter of persons, places or times”. (Acts 10:34) And our dear Lord has not, cannot and will not change because: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)
GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU!
This final truth: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them (evil spirits): because GREATER IS HE that is in you (Jesus, the Holy Spirit) than he (the devil) that is in the world.” (1 John 4: 4)
“Submit yourselves unto God, resist the devil and he SHALL FLEE FROM YOU.” (James 4: 7); “Be sobre, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5: 8). Amen.