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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 22, 2013

“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Sometimes people criticize me for preaching with two interpreters. One man said, “It is hard for me to concentrate on your sermons because each English sentence is translated into Chinese and Spanish.” I answered him by saying that I am not just preaching to Americans that know English. On our website, and on YouTube, I am preaching to thousands of people who know only Chinese or Spanish. Giving the sermons in three languages makes the videos of my sermons understandable to more than half of the world. We have the sermon manuscripts available in 28 languages, so even more people can understand the sermons. It is not my purpose to speak only to my fellow Americans. I want to preach the Gospel to people throughout the whole world.

Last week a man in Honduras called my house on the telephone. I was away at the time, but my wife was able to speak with him in Spanish for about half an hour. He told her that he takes my sermon manuscripts in Spanish and reads them to 20 people who come to his house each week to hear the Gospel. He told her that the pastors in his village are teaching everyone as though they were already Christians. He said that he and his friends had to hear my sermons so they could be saved! That is happening in a man’s house in a village in Honduras, in Central America! The man also said he watches the videos. He said he loves to hear Mr. Mencia give the sermons in Spanish, and he loves to hear Mr. Griffith sing! That could not happen if my sermons were not translated into Spanish on these videos, and interpreted in 28 languages in the manuscripts! That brings us back to the text,

“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Great Spurgeon said, “Those words, ‘being interpreted,’ salute my ear with much sweetness. Why should the word ‘Emmanuel’ in the Hebrew, be interpreted at all? Was it not to show that it has reference to us Gentiles, and therefore it must needs be interpreted into one of the chief languages of the then existing Gentile world, namely the Greek... ‘Being interpreted’ must mean that different nations are addressed. We have the text put first in the Hebrew ‘Emmanuel,’ afterwards it is translated into the Gentile tongue, ‘God with us;’ ‘being interpreted,’ that we may know that we are [all] invited, that we are [all] welcome, that God has seen our [needs] and has provided for us, and that now we may freely come, even we who were sinners of the Gentiles, and far off from God. Let us preserve with reverent love both forms of the precious name and wait the happy day when our Hebrew brethren shall unite their ‘Emmanuel’ with our ‘God with us’” (C. H. Spurgeon, “God With Us,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1971 reprint, volume XXI, p. 709).

“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

We do not call our children names that have any particular meaning today. My name is “Robert.” It means “red beard.” I do not have a red beard. My beard used to be dark brown. But if I let it grow now, it would be grey. The hair on my head is still brown, but my beard is grey. I never had a red beard, so my name has no particular meaning. I suppose that long centuries ago there was a man with a red beard named Robert, but he had nothing to do with me. I was named Robert, after my father. But in Bible times names had a meaning. The name “Jesus” means “Jehovah saves” or, more literally, “Jehovah sets free.” The name “Emmanuel” means “God with us.” In the New Testament Jesus is never called “Emmanuel.” But the Apostle Paul described Him as “God manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16). The name “Emmanuel” is a descriptive name rather than a given name. Since Christ was born into the world God is with us. Thus the name “Emmanuel” tells us two main things about the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. First, Emmanuel shows that He came down from Heaven in human flesh.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788), in one of his Christmas hymns, said,

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
   Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
   Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
   “Glory to the new born King.”
(“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

That is a wonderful fact. The God of Israel once lived in the tiny body of a little baby. God once dwelt in the body of a man who suffered and died on a cross to save us from our sins.

The miracle of the incarnation lies in the fact that the God of the universe lowered Himself into a human body. He became a hungering, suffering, dying flesh and blood human being. I don’t think any of us fully realize how wonderful it was for God to come down and live in human flesh – and become “God with us” – Jesus our Emmanuel! The Bible says that He,

“...made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).

But what is more remarkable is the fact that Christ came down in the flesh of a sinful race. Though He never sinned Himself, He joined Himself to a race that is in rebellion against God. He joined Himself to us so He could lift us up from sin and misery! The Scripture says,

“God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3).

We are surprised when we think of the love God showed by coming down to save us sinners! We are a fallen race. We are a people enslaved in sin. We are under the power of Satan. But God has come down to us, in Christ, to set us free. We have hope because of “God with us” – because of Jesus, our Emmanuel!

There was a time when God was against us. The Bible says that God is “angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). But now God can pardon us and call us His children. Now, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1, 2). Now Jehovah is not God against us, but “God with us”! He has “reconciled us unto himself by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).

When I was a little boy I did not know these things. I was not raised in a Christian home. I never attended a Gospel preaching church until I was a teenager. Even then I didn’t listen carefully. Even then I did not know how to have peace with God – not until I was twenty years old. Suddenly the Holy Spirit showed me that Jesus came and died on the Cross to give me peace with God. Then I knew that Jesus came down from heaven to save me! Then He was God with me – Jesus, my Emmanuel! I was saved the moment I trusted Jesus!

“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

II. Second, Emmanuel means that he is available to you.

Just as I was writing this, the man from Honduras phoned again. I spoke with him in English. My wife translated into Spanish on another phone. He said he started preaching my sermons in his village, but all the pastors got mad at him. He was preaching my sermons on a radio program, and the other pastors got the station to shut off his program. I asked him what the churches were preaching. He said they are only preaching on prosperity – how to get more money from God. I asked him about the Baptist church. He said, “The Baptists are the worst of all.”

He has twenty people who come to his house to hear him read my sermons. I told him to start his own church – and preach my sermons to his people. I want you to pray for him. His name is Nestor.

This incident shows there is a great need for real Gospel preaching on the Internet and on YouTube. The other day I heard Jimmy Swaggart say that the Pentecostals aren’t preaching the Gospel any more. I know for a fact that many of our Baptist churches are giving verse-by-verse Bible studies to lost people instead of preaching the Gospel. It seems that many pastors are now afraid that the lost people in their churches will leave if they preach the Gospel to them! What a shame! I think this is a judgment from God. The Bible says, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (II Thessalonians 2:11). I believe that the lack of Gospel preaching today is the beginning of God’s end-time judgment on false Christianity.

Now, more than ever, it is important for us to preach the Gospel on the Internet and YouTube. In the last few weeks we have now heard from two men who are preaching these sermons from my manuscripts to their people – one in Cuba and another now in Honduras. A doctor in India sent an e-mail to Dr. Cagan last week. She said, “We have witnessed Dr. Hymers’ straight, solid and bold preaching, constantly blessing many [people] around the world. I tell many Hindi [people] to visit your website and be blessed by his sermons.” Please pray hard for our Gospel messages as they go out to 177 nations in 28 languages. This is one of the most important things our church is doing!

Even in these last days Jesus is our Emmanuel! He said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus is available to you this morning. He is not angry with you – not at all! The Bible says,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).

He came down from Heaven into the womb of the Virgin Mary. He went to the Cross, where He died to pay the full penalty for your sin. He rose physically from the dead to give you eternal life. Turn away from your sinful life and trust Him. He is with us. He is our Emmanuel. He will pardon your sins and cleanse you with His precious Blood. That is the best thing we could tell you at Christmas, and throughout the year!

I hear Thy welcome voice, That calls me, Lord, to Thee
   For cleansing in Thy precious blood That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
   Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary.

Though coming weak and vile, Thou dost my strength assure;
   Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse, Till spotless all and pure.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
   Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary.
   (“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

If you would like to speak with us about being saved – becoming a real Christian – please leave your seat and walk to the back of the auditorium now. Dr. Cagan will take you to another room where we can pray and talk. Dr. Chan, please pray that someone will trust Jesus this morning. Amen.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Matthew 1:18-23.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (author unknown; translated from Latin
by John M. Neale, 1818-1866).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

(I Timothy 3:16)

I. First, Emmanuel shows that He came down from Heaven in human flesh,
Philippians 2:7; Romans 8:3; Psalm 7:11; Romans 5:1, 2, 10.

II. Second, Emmanuel means that He is available to you,
II Thessalonians 2:11; Matthew 28:20; I Timothy 1:15.