Gift of Love

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”

                                                                                     Isaiah 9:6–7 (NASB95)

What is this obsession we have with love? How can one emotion or feeling so hold people captive? There seems to be no end to the way we express our need for, confusion over and our helplessness in our love affair with love – especially in our music! In 1961 Elvis Presley claimed we Can’t Help Falling in Love. In 1965, Jackie DeShannon claimed What the World Needs Now is love sweet love. By 1967 the Beatles were convinced All You Need is Love. In 1979 Queen had come to the conclusion that it’s a Crazy Little Thing Called Love. In 1984 Foreigner was saying what we were all thinking, I Want to Know What Love Is. And finally in 1985 Robert Palmer admitted what we already knew to be true – we are Addicted to Love.

And so, we too, turn our attention to love this morning. We, however, will look to a different source in helping us to understand love – the Bible. Love is more than a feeling or an emotion – love is a choice. It is easy to love those who love you back, but it is much more difficult and becomes a choice, when you choose to love those who do not love you and seem not to even like you. Today we are looking at a child who was born, a son who has been given. This child was born with a singular purpose – He came to die that we might live – He came to be the Gift of Love.

A Gift of Love will be given when a child is born, a son on whose shoulders the government will rest. He will sit on the throne of David and His government will increase, as will peace, as He rules with justice and righteousness forevermore.

A Gift of Love has been given in a Son – One who is meant to rule and reign overall. He will sit on His Father’s throne and peace will grow as He rules and reigns rightly and justly throughout eternity.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “Why do we eagerly anticipate the Gift of Love?”

The Gift of Love has been given to rule and reign for eternity in the zeal of the Lord.

1). The first thing we must understand is this Gift of Love is meant to rule and reign over all.

To some He will be a Wonderful Counselor, to others He will be Mighty God or Eternal Father and to some the Prince of Peace.

The prophet Isaiah is the first to break the news of this gift of love. He tells us this gift is to be born as a child, a son to be given to Israel. In making this declaration, Isaiah is giving Israel a sign – this gift of love is going to be born as one of the covenant people! This son to be born is given to the Jewish people, coming from among the Jewish people.

The government will rest upon the shoulders of this Son. That the government rests on His shoulders refers to the kingly robe worn by the Messiah. As King, He will be responsible to rule the nations. He is to rule over all Israel and the world. The rule and reign of Messiah is a direct contrast to the rulers of Judah in Isaiah’s day. They are not capable of ruling the people properly, but Messiah will rule the people properly. His reign will be done in the fear of God, in truth and not for dishonest gain. The Messiah, the gift of love, is meant to rule and reign over all – over all people, over all creation, over the entire universe.

In patriarchal times, the head of the household held judicial power over his household – even life and death. So, for some, Messiah will be Wonderful Counselor; to others He will be Mighty God or Eternal Father; and to some He will be the Prince of Peace. Each of these names reveals the character of Messiah beginning with the name Wonderful Counselor, where wonderful can be translated as “exceptional” or “distinguished.” Wonderful is a name for Messiah and as an Adviser, He can give advice upon any matter, thus people will gladly listen to Him as the authoritative One.

Mighty God speaks to the power of the Supreme Being and Creator of the universe. Isaiah knew Messiah would be God in some sense of the term. Eternal Father speaks to the essential attribute of God – an existence without beginning and that will never end. The Messiah will have all of the attributes of God and as a descendent of David, will fulfill the promise for which the nation of Israel has been waiting. As the Prince of Peace, Messiah is the One who will bring in and maintain the time of millennial peace when all nations are properly related to the Lord.

While these names speak to the character of Messiah and one of those names may personally standout more than the others, as Christ followers, we must also see His majesty, His power and His authority. While many, both in the church and in the world, will focus on the babe in the manger, Christ followers must not fall into that trap. We must be focused on His return as King Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords. His birth is an historical event, but it is in His return where we will find our final and full redemption, claimed as a child of God, coheir with Christ.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Is Jesus Christ, Messiah, properly ruling in your life today? How?

Which of the four names of Messiah do you most identify with right now?

The Gift of Love has been given to rule and reign for eternity in the zeal of the Lord.

2). The second thing we must understand is this Gift of Love is meant to rule and reign rightly and justly.

His rule and reign will be in peace, and both will continue to grow forevermore.

Because Messiah will have all of the characteristics of God, the reign and rule of Messiah will conform to God’s holy character and demands. His reign will not be self-serving or for personal gain. His rule and reign will not be oppressive or burdensome. The rule and reign of Messiah will be in stark contrast to those who rule over Judah during the days of Isaiah.

We are told Messiah will sit on the throne of David to rule over His kingdom. The use of the term kingdom implies there is both subjects and a ruler, it signifies the idea of kingly authority or rule. This is the first major contrast between the rule and reign of Messiah and Judah’s rulers during the days of Isaiah. There are no true kings ruling Judah during these days – there are only foolish, immoral, corrupt kings, thinking only of themselves. Messiah will be the true King over all Israel – and the entire world – a King with full authority and holy character.

The rule and reign of Messiah is to be established forevermore, according to Isaiah. The rule and reign of earthly kings over Judah is fleeting at best. All of Judah’s kings fall away from God, turning to purely human means to rule, forsaking the power of the One who brought them out of slavery. Messiah’s kingdom will be established to last forever, it will continue to grow throughout eternity. This kingdom will include both the spiritual salvation of the new covenant and the outward salvation of society through the defeat of evil and the establishment of the righteous rule of Christ on earth.

In contrast to the rulers of Judah who created a fragile kingdom that knew much war, famine, drought, disease and oppression, the kingdom of Messiah will know peace – a peace that will continue to grow throughout His reign. This peace will go far beyond just the absence of conflict – this peace will include the Shalom and Eirene peace we talked about in week two, peace that includes our well-being, health and spiritual growth and maturity.

Messiah will be the King to rule and reign rightly and justly. He will rule rightly by doing that which is right and conforms to the character of God. He will rule justly by promoting equality among all people within His kingdom, by fairness of judgment, especially in the treatment of people within His kingdom. There will be no favoritism or partiality with Messiah as king, for God exercised absolute equity in punishment of sin and reward for righteousness.

All of this is dependent upon God – not Israel or humanity – Messiah will rule because God has promised it and He will see that it comes to pass! Without God’s sovereign intervention there would be no kingdom for Israel or for us in eternity.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How does Messiah, Jesus Christ, rule and reign in your life today?

How have you experienced the rightly and justly rule and reign of Messiah, Jesus, in your life?

The Gift of Love has been given to rule and reign for eternity in the zeal of the Lord.

We have an obsession with love in this country. There seems to be no end to the ways in which we try and express our love affair with love – especially in our music. Let’s face it…we are Addicted to Love!

Today we too turn our attention to love. We, however, have turned to a different source for our understanding of love – the Bible. We have looked at the child who was born to die and become the greatest Gift of Love.

So, where does all of this leave us, as Christ followers? It leaves us waiting, groaning and crying out for our Lord to return and claim us as His own.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

                                                                    Revelation 19:11–16 (NASB95)

This is the day we eagerly anticipate – this is the day of the Lord’s return. Notice the description of Christ at His return – seated on a white horse; His name is Faithful and True; He judges and makes war in righteousness; He is crowned as a King with eyes of flames that see all; He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood; He strikes down the nations with the sharp sword coming from His mouth; He rules with an iron rod; on His robe is the name King of kings and Lord of lords – He is the Word of God. This is King Jesus, no longer the helpless babe of Bethlehem. Now, in His return, He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is adorned as a king, judges as a king and rules and reigns as King.

From this point forward peace will begin to grow and though the enemy will have one last chance to deceive people, he will be unsuccessful in overthrowing the throne of Christ and be cast into the lake of fire – peace will reign. There will be no more sorrow, no more pain or death, no more tears – for peace will grow endlessly as we live in eternity under the rule and reign of Messiah, the Gift of Love.

I pray that God will strengthen you in perseverance, embolden you with courage and increase your faith as we await the return of Christ Jesus, our Messiah.

We do all things through Christ our Lord for the glory of God,

Amen and amen.

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