Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Dec 6, 2015 Sermon

“Everlasting Father”
Isaiah 9:1 – 6
Ted Jansen  December 6, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        Isaiah, the prophet, brings an unexpected word to the people who were in gloom and distress.  Those who were in darkness had little or no hope.  They were a people in need. 
            The people living in Zebulun and Naphtali were going through a tough time.  They had been living under oppression from Assyria and believed life would always be bad, without hope.    
            Isaiah spoke about a light that will be seen.  This light will bring hope.  Isiah said it would be just like hope that Gideon brought out when the Midianites were defeated.  (Isaiah 9:4)  The people had no hope and then with Gideon and the Lord they had hope once again.     
 
2.)        Gideon was the least in his family when God called him.  (Judges 6:11 – 16) Gideon also tested God with the wool fleece because he wanted to make sure that God could use him.  (Judges 6:36 – 40)  Then when Gideon was getting ready to fight the Midianites God did not the people of Israel to believe it was because of their efforts that Midian was defeated.  So, though Gideon started with 32,000 men the number was downsized until only 300 men were left.  (Judges 7).  The battle plan was unexpected with Gideon this minor leader.  They were to blow trumpets and smash jars and hold up their torches.  300 soldiers against a strong army.  (Judges 7)  This was the story of Midian’s defeat that we read about in Isaiah 9:4.     
            God did something unexpected in that a few soldiers defeated the Midianites.  God was with Gideon and the soldiers in an unexpected way.  Hope was restored due to something God did with the least of the people.  The people in gloom were now alive with joy. 
            Isaiah said in his words that God was going to do something unexpected like God did to defeat the Midianites.  This unexpected act would be like bringing light to a people in gloom.     
 
3.)        “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulder.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)
            Wow, this is completely unexpected.  This is how the gloom and distress on the people and will be transformed to hope.  A child will be born!  
            How does this change anything?  How does the child rule and govern?  This would be hard to understand and be unexpected when it happened.    
 
4.)        One thing I discovered that is unexpected is in the name of this child.  We can see the Trinity in the names.  Wonderful Counselor is the name that Jesus gave the Holy Spirit.  (John 14:26).  Mighty God can be understood as the name for the Triune God.  Everlasting Father is what Jesus called God. (John 17:1), Prince of Peace is a name that Jesus implies when He said, “my peace I give to you.” (John 14:27) 
            The names of this child implies that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the Triune God.  Wow, unexpected!  An ancient word of the Trinity will be fulfilled when a child is born.    
 
5.)        A child was born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph.  The town was the site of a census and because of the extra people all the rooms were filled.  The birth of this child came unexpectedly in this town and the child was placed in an animal’s feeding trough. 
            This child lived a normal life until He unexpectedly, at least to his family and friends, began ministry.  This boy who grew up taught with authority, performed miracles, raised the dead to life and upset the religious people.  He was crucified and placed in a tomb.  On the third day He was physically resurrected.  When the church began the Holy Spirit came and it was possible to have faith in Christ and His life could come inside your heart. The church became alive.    
 
6.)        Nicholas was a boy who lived a normal life.  He was born in 270 AD and he loved life, people and God.  He was a part of the church that was continuing to grow.  His parents taught him about Jesus Christ and how to live for Him. 
Unexpectedly, his parents died when Nicholas was a young boy.  His parents were wealthy and upon their death this money was left to Nicholas.  With this new wealth he lived out his faith by caring for people and giving it unexpectedly to those in need, especially children.  He became a priest and eventually was ordained a Bishop.  He had great influence and importance but was a person who was generous and caring. 
            Bishop Nicholas was a part of the first Council of Nicaea that met in 325 to help formalize the creeds of the faith as the church was growing.  It was only 300 years old.      
            There are stories of his life that may be factual, maybe fictional, but they center on his faith, his generous caring and his people to people, especially children.  At some point Bishop Nicholas became known as Saint Nicholas.      
            In some faith traditions feasts and services are held to remember the Saints of the past.  Today, Sunday, December 6, 2015 is the day to remember Saint Nicholas and his faith.  This was the day that he died, 1, 672 years ago today.    
 
7.)        It is important to remember and imitate the good character that we see in all people.  We need role models in life and this is true with the life of Nicholas. 
            Saint Nicholas was remembered in different traditions based on how he lives his life and what he did for others.  He loved because of his faith in Jesus Christ, who was spoken of by Isaiah years before Nicholas was born. 
When people came over from Europe they brought with them different traditions and ideas based on all the men and women of faith.  In the 1700’s we began to see different traditions and different ideas of who Saint Nicholas was.  In the 1800’s different people began to create pictures and artwork of Saint Nicholas. During this time the name was changed to Santa Claus.  Then different ideas on what he looked like and what he did began to emerge.     
            Then in the early 1930’s a company needed to boost its sales and began using the image of Santa Claus on its advertising. That company was Coca Cola.     
 
8.)        The Apostles Creed was written some time in the 300’s and perhaps Nicholas helped shape its words.  He was one who signed the Nicene Creed in 325AD.       
            The words, “I believe in the Father,” are how this creed starts.  An affirmation of the Son and the Spirit follow this act of faith in the Father.  Let us read and think of Nicholas and Isaiah.      
            I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
 
9.)        Life everlasting comes to us from a child.  That child grew and spoke at a Passover meal.  
Jesus took the bread and told the disciples that this was His body broken for you.  Jesus took the cup and said that this was my blood, shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.  After that meal he prayed, was betrayed, tortured and was crucified. 
God brings life everlasting to us through the child, a son, whose name is “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!”  (Isaiah 9:6)