Some five hundred years before the arrival of Emmanuel, the prophet Isaiah, prophesied that Emmanuel would come. ” Therefore the Lord himself will give the sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Thus, when it was nearing time for Emmanuel’s arrival, God sent the angel Gabriel to reveal His plans to the chosen virgin:
Subsequently, the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
When she saw him, she became troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
Behold thou shall conceive in thy womb, and give birth to a son, and shall call his name JESUS” (Luke 126-31).
When Joseph heard the news, he became distraught.”How could this be? He thought. Mary and I have not come together yet! I must divorce her before everybody finds out.”
“As he contemplated this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The child she is carrying is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
“So it came to pass that there went Joseph up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David. He went there to register with Mary, who had pledged to marry him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:4-7)
A majority of today’s preachers and teachers of the gospel is stuck in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and even earlier. Their style and presentation are bland, unattractive and out dated. Many of them consistently use terms and jargon most people do not understand. Some of them even fail to recognize that sinners do not need courses in theology and Christology. Sinners need alternatives; solid concrete reasons why they should turn from their way of living and stand up for Jesus. Let’s face it, the gospel is adaptable. Whether we use music, art or any other method; the gospel should be easy to accept. Jesus used parables to get His audience’s attention.
A parable is a short story that illustrates a universal truth, one of the simplest of narratives. It sketches a setting, describes an action, and shows the results. It often involves a character facing a moral dilemma, or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences.
Parables appear in both the Old and New Testaments but are more easily recognizable in the ministry of Jesus. After many reject him as Messiah, Jesus turned to parables. When His disciples asked, “Why do you use parables when you speak to the crowds?”
Jesus replied, “Because they haven’t received the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but you have. For those who have will receive more and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even the little they have will be taken away from them. This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t actually see; and although they hear, they don’t actually hear or understand. What Isaiah prophesied has become true for them:.
You will hear, but never understand; and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeing. And they’ve become hard of hearing.
And they’ve shut their eyes so that, they won’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears or understand with their minds, and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them. “Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.
A man’s walk is the way he journeys through life–his direction, his focus, the steps he takes. Every day he chooses a path. One path will take him forward. All others will take him back. The way he walks affects every aspect of his being–how he relates to other people, how he treats his family, how people view him, even how he looks.
I have seen men who were unattractive by any standard change radically as they learned to walk in the Spirit of God. as His image became imprinted upon theirs, they develop a richness of soul, a glorious purity and an inner confidence of knowing what direction they were going. This gave them a strength and a sense of purpose that is not only attractive and appealing, it’s magnetic.
The Bible reveals much about the kind of walk we should have. We are to walk with moral correctness because “For the Lord God is a a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). We are to walk without fault because “whoever walks blamelessly will be saved” (Proverbs 28:18). We are to walk with godly advisers because “blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1). We are to walk in obedience because “blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” (Psalm 128:1). We are to walk with people of wisdom because “he who walks with wise men will be wise” (Proverbs 13:20). We are to walk with integrity because “he who walks with integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9). Most of all we are to walk a path of holiness. “A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness, The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray: (Isaiah 35:8).
Jesus said there is only one way to get on the right path, one door through which to enter. “I am the way,” He says (John 14:6). The way that leads to destruction is wide and broad and many choose to go that route. but “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).