December 24, 2022

David Sorn

One of the great names of the Bible is Immanuel (God with us). It is truly mind blowing that the Creator of the Universe came to be with us!


December 24, 2022

David Sorn

One of the great names of the Bible is Immanuel (God with us). It is truly mind blowing that the Creator of the Universe came to be with us!

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Matthew 1: 18-23


Merry Christmas.

My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

I was talking with some friends this week about the process of naming your kids.

It’s not an easy exercise.

You want to agree with each other, and you want a name that people will like, but you don’t know if your mother-in-law will like it, or your sibling, or whoever.

And this process can be especially stressful if you pick an uncommon name.

But remember, every name was uncommon at some point.

Like, at one point in history, somebody’s parents were like, “You’re going to name your baby, Brian?! Why can’t you just pick a normal name?”

And today, as we talk about the birth of Jesus at Christmas, we’re going to see that Jesus had a name that was picked for Him centuries earlier.

And we want to look at that name as we are continuing as a church in a teaching series called, “Names of God,” where for 5 weeks we’ve been looking at different names of God.

And so today we’re excited to take a look at one of the great names of God we get from the Christmas story in the Bible.

So as we look at this story, I’d love for you all to grab a Bible…they are under the chair in front of you.

Matthew 1:18-23

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By the way, if you don’t have a Bible, we’d love for you to take this one with you as a Christmas gift from us to you.

There’s an even a little reading guide we made and put in the front cover to help you read the easiest books first.

It’s a great way for you to explore on your own what Christianity is truly about!

Okay, once you’ve grabbed a Bible, you’ll want to find the big number 1 for chapter 1, and then find the small number 18, that’s for verse 18.

That’s where we will begin.

And we are about 6 or 7 months before the original Christmas day (the birth of Jesus)

Let’s see what happens.

(Matthew 1:18-23) – NIV

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

(Immanuel Title Slide)

Okay, so look at verse 22.

It says, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the Prophet.”

That’s the prophet Isaiah, who, 750 years earlier predicted (because God told him) the Messiah would be born of a virgin.

That’s incredible!

And Isaiah also said (and this is the end of verse 23 now)

And that they will call this Savior, “Immanuel”

And that’s where we get our Christmas name of God: Immanuel.

It’s a Hebrew word.

“El” means God, and “Immanu” means with us.

So Immanuel means “God with us”

Sometimes you’ll even see Immanuel spelled with an “e” first which is just the Greek spelling of the same word


But this an amazing name and truth!

…that God is Immanuel…God with us!

But it gets even more amazing as we unwrap more of this truth on this Christmas weekend.

In fact, as we look into it, we’re going to see 3 great truths about Immanuel.

Here’s the first one:

The Great Truths of Immanuel (God With Us)

#1: The Galaxy-Creator came to be with us

Okay, let’s start with what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown 😊

As much as we can get distracted by the season, Christmas is not really about Rudolph or Santa or Christmas Trees, or even peace on earth, or special times with our family.

The core meaning of Christmas is that the Creator King of the Universe became a human being.

And if you really step back and think about it…it’s mind blowing.

God…I mean, GOD….the one who created galaxies with his words.

That God!

…decided that He would come to earth to be born in a manger (an animal trough), to a poor young woman.

God, the One that could make the Milky Way disappear with a snap of his fingers, is wrapped up in swaddling clothes.

I’m not sure we can even grasp how shocking this is.

For a second, think of famous musicians and their fans.

Like, do you know how crazy people were for Elvis back in the day?

I love the girl in the middle who has completely lost her mind.

Or, go a decade ahead, and you had Beatlemania

Here the police are about to be trampled by a bunch of teenagers

Or course people were crazy about Michael Jackson

I love the people in the crowd wearing white gloves

Others of you here may or may not have passionate feelings on the Backstreet Boys vs NSYNC rivalry, which clearly the answer is backstreet boys.

Or, even today, people still go crazy for Taylor Swift.

Did you see that she was just the first artist to ever have all ten of the top ten songs on the billboard chart?

Now think about how famous and otherworldly these musicians seem to us.

“Now as personable as Taylor Swift is going to try and appear, is Taylor Swift going to come and live among commoners like us?

Can you even imagine Taylor Swift moving to Ham Lake?

Eating at Blaine Culver’s?

Coming over to your house for Christmas and partaking in some of Grandma’s tator tot hot dish?

It’s a preposterous thought experiment to think about someone like that coming down to our level…to be with us.

But listen, I assure you, the fact that the Galaxy-Creator, God, came to be with us is 10 trillion times crazier!

And yet it happened!

The God who created EVERYTHING…came to be with us. Immanuel.



Let me show you now another great truth about God being Immanuel (God with us)

The Great Truths of Immanuel (God With Us)

#1: The Galaxy-Creator came to be with us

#2: God was with us and understands us

When we hear the name Immanuel, we often just think of Jesus being born as a baby, but the name is so much deeper than that.

Because Jesus grew up, right?

And part of what is embedded in the name Immanuel is not just that God came to us, but that God was with us.

The King of Kings, walked on the dirt of this earth…

And one of the reasons He did that is so that you could know that He knows what you feel.

When you’re wondering about how you’re going to pay your bills this month

You can know that sometimes Jesus didn’t even have a place to lay his head at night

When you’re grieving the loss of a loved one…

Know that we read on these pages that Jesus wept (He WEPT) over the loss of his friend, Lazarus

Have you been tempted into evil or sin?

Jesus was tempted by the devil himself!

Has a friend betrayed you?

Jesus was betrayed.

He knows what it’s like to be one of us!

I think about this sometimes in parenting.

Especially as my upper elementary kids get closer to middle school.

One of the more surprising things to me as a parent is how much I personally remember about what it was like being a middle school student.

(David 5th Grade)

Here I am at the 5th Grade Regional Inventor’s Fair.

Where my water filled innertube seat invention got crushed by a bunch of 5th graders who knew how to make robots!

But here’s the thing: I can totally remember, being a kid, and looking at my parents, and thinking, “They don’t know what 5th grade is like. Or 7th grade. Look at them! They are just…so…OLD. When they were in middle school, did they even have cars??

And yet, I’m realizing now that they knew, and they remembered, what it was like.

And the thing is, this word, Immanuel, teaches us that God knows too.

He was here. He’s walked in your shoes and faced what you’re going up against.

He came to be with us and understands us?

Would you trust Him with more of your life today?


And here’s where it starts to come together in a beautiful way

The Great Truths of Immanuel (God With Us)

#1: The Galaxy-Creator came to be with us

#2: God was with us and understands us

#3: God can be with you right now

And how badly do we need to hear that truth right now?

For many of us, these last few years have been the most isolated and alone that we’ve ever felt.

And yet, hear the truth of God’s Word today: He is Immanuel.

God with us.

He is here…in this Room…right now.

Whatever is going on in your life right now…

He is here.


And I’m telling you, the truths about God are even more wonderfully surprising the more you look into them…

See, not only is God with us, He wants you to know Him.

To be in a relationship with Him

The fact that the Galaxy-Maker has come to us, is proof that He wants you to know Him.

But for some of us, there is an obstacle here

We say, “But….He’s God…and He’s perfect…and Holy…and my life has been, messy”

And some of you, people know that about you.

And for others of you, your life has been messy, but no one knows that but you.

And if you’re thinking, “I couldn’t come to God, I couldn’t know Him” …I want you to see something in our passage.

Matthew 1:21

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Maybe you even missed it the first time through.

A lot of people miss it when they read the Christmas story, and yet, it’s maybe the most important part.

Look at verse 21 again.

(Matthew 1:21)

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

(Immanuel Title Slide)

This is beautiful!

God came to earth, to save you!

Sometimes people talk about God like he’s detached, or just up there in heaven, removed from us.

But the Bible says that God is not like at all!

In fact, because God wanted to be with YOU, The Son of God, Jesus, came to earth as a baby.

He grew up, and walked in our human shoes, on our planet.

And when he was a man, after He taught, and healed, and loved, the world responded by killing him on a cross.

But it wasn’t just a random death, but it was a death with purpose.

See, what Jesus was doing on that cross was dying for your sin, and my sin.

(Romans 5:8) – NIV

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He took the punishment for your sins on the cross…to save you from the just punishment that you deserve.

(Remember that’s what his name means: The Lord Saves)

And He did it because He loves you.

(Immanuel Title Slide)

Let me explain it this way: Dr. Maxwell Maltz tells a remarkable story about…

…a man who was once burned and disfigured in a fire while unsuccessfully attempting to save his parents from a burning house.

He felt so bad about it that, in his guilt, he wouldn’t let anyone see him, not even his wife.

And so his wife eventually sought out a plastic surgeon for help.

The doctor told the wife, “Don’t worry. I can restore his face”

But she said, “No, he won’t accept it. And so I want you to disfigure my face, so I can be like him.

And she said, “If I can share in his pain, maybe he’ll let me back into his life”

The doctor was shocked and denied her request.

But he was so moved by her love that he went to speak to the husband, who wouldn’t open the door to talk to him.

So the doctor spoke through the door and told the husband what his wife had said.

And as he finished telling the husband the great lengths his wife would go to for him, the man starts to slowly open the door.

And today, I want you to see the great lengths that God went through to be with you.

He came to earth for you.

And He did take on our face, our human flesh, and He suffered disfigurement on the cross for you.

All to be with you.

And if you would believe in that…if you would open the door to that truth, he would save you from your sins.

(Romans 10:9) – NIV

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

But you can’t get saved (from hell…that’s what that means), and you won’t go to heaven by being a good person.

If you could get to heaven by being a good person, then why would God have his own Son die on the cross?

No, the only way we are saved is by trusting in Jesus as our Savior.

And by giving our lives over to Him.

(Immanuel Title Slide)

And it starts in your heart as the Bible just said.

It starts with you saying, “I truly believe that God is here…and that He would die, even for me…and I want his forgiveness, and I want to turn from my sin…and instead make him the Leader of my life”

“God, here are the keys to my life…I invite you in, Immanuel, to be my leader”

Ah, if you do that my friend, if you start this journey with Him, and you walk it out.

I don’t just mean that you make a quick commitment and then go about your life as before.

I mean you walk it out and really turn your life over to Him in faith…

Let me promise you something.

Because we literally see people make this decision every single week here.

If you do this, God will come in and change your life so much, that you won’t even recognize yourself in 6 months.

That’s what our God can do.

And I want you to know this Immanuel.

So let’s just close our eyes and bow our heads.

If you need to make this decision for the first time today…to confess your sins to Jesus for the first time and let Him forgive you…to make Him the leader of your life…to accept His gift of Eternal life…

In just a minute, I’m going to ask you to respond by RAISING YOUR HAND.

No one’s going to be looking at you, that’s why we had everyone close their eyes.

But sometimes in life, we just need that moment…to take a first step.

To say, “God I believe.”

Picture yourself raising up the keys of your life to Him.

And if you need to do that today, and I bet you already know it on your heart and you can feel it inside right now…

If you need to tell God for the first time today that you do believe, and you want to follow Him and be forgiven.

Then I invite you to raise your hand up to God right now.

The Bible tells us that in this moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.


Okay, you can put your hands down and open your eyes, for those of you who raised your hands, I need you to do one more thing for me.

You just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…

in just a second, I’m going to pray before our last song, and as I pray, I want the number of you that raised your hand to slip out of your row while people have their eyes closed and meet me in the lobby.

There’s a lot of you (and I and our follow-up team will be walking out as well), so you won’t be by yourself.

And I want to get you some important next steps for this decision.

This is the biggest decision of your life, and you have to know what to do next, Okay?

And then you’ll be able to come back in a few minutes?

Okay, I’ll pray and then you can go

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.

DECEMBER 24, 2022