The Sign: “Immanuel”

by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on December 17, 2022 in ,

 Lighting Candles at Advent

The lighting of candles in the Advent Wreath helps to symbolize the age before the first advent of Christ when the light of prophecy concerning the coming Messiah became brighter and brighter until He appeared saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

As we now await His second advent, the light of faith shines within each believer producing in ever increasing brightness the divine gifts of Love, Peace, Joy, and Hope that the Savior gives. Each gift is a fruit of the Spirit which God bestows upon the heart by way of faith in Jesus, the Savior.

The first candle in the wreath was called the candle of Love in order to symbolize the love of God that was revealed to fallen mankind during this season. The second candle was called the candle of Peace to symbolize the blessed relationship with God that we now enjoy through the Savior. The third candle was called the candle of Joy to symbolize the effect that faith in the Savior has upon the one who trusts in Him. The fourth candle that we light today has been called the candle of Hope to symbolize the surety of the blessed promises which God has in store for His people through Christ.

The Fourth Candle: Hope

 At the far end of the road of life, Christ has promised many exciting things to the one who remains in faith. He has promised the angels to carry the believer to eternal glory. He has promised the splendor and honor of serving Him as kings and priests of righteousness. He has promised that the eternal dwelling of God shall be with men and that every tear shall be wiped from their eyes. It fills us with hope as we look forward in great anticipation to the things that are yet to come.

Such hope has always sustained God’s people in their present sufferings. In hope they triumph over long years of walking through the valley of the shadow of death. In hope they endure persecution, danger, sickness, and the sword. In hope they lay loved ones to rest, awaiting the resurrection to take place on the great day of the Lord’s coming. Hope sustains them in the present.

Christmas and the birth of the Savior usher in this hope and lay it before us as a bright, shining jewel. So it is fitting that our last candle in the Advent season should symbolize the hope that is in us as we look forward in anticipation to the Advent of the Savior.

Congregational Scripture Reading:

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

Prayer (Pastor):

O Holy Spirit, who in the Word fires the imagination of God’s people, hold us firm in the faith and steady our feeble steps through this world in the Christian hope of the better life that is to come. And when Christ bursts forth in magnificent splendor to claim us for eternity, may we see Him with our own eyes and rejoice at His coming; through His most holy name. Amen.

The Fourth Sunday in Advent                                                                                        December 18, 2022
Text: Isaiah 7:14;                       Matthew 1:23                 CW-21 Series A                    22:2357
Theme: The Sign: “Immanuel”

Look what I have today. You probably have one similar to it. At the top it reads: “State of Ohio – Office of Vital Statistics.” Do you know what it is? It’s called a “Certification of Birth.” It’s my birth record, filed February 16, 1953, certifying that I was born February 8, 1953, in Cleveland, Ohio. But here’s the part to which I want to draw your attention: born to “Esther Julia Lehmann, mother, and Arnold Otto Lehmann, father.” At the bottom it says: “This is a true certification of the name and birth facts as recorded in the Office of Vital Statistics.” I guess my birth is official. I exist.
Did you realize that the Bible gives us a “Certification of Jesus’ Birth,” although it’s worded a bit differently? At the start of Matthew Chapter 1 we read: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac was the father of Jacob, Jacob was the father of Judah…Judah was the father of Perez…” From that point 9 other names are given as born from their fathers, the last being King David – 14 names in all.
Then, starting with King Solomon, David’s son, 14 other names are recorded, the last being King Jeconiah at the time of the Babylonian exile (587 B.C.) – 14 names in all.
Then, starting with Jeconiah (Jehoiachin), 14 more names are recorded ending with “Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom Jesus was born (who is called Christ).” That’s a more precise genealogical certification record of birth than I have, and a much more illustrious one. Besides that, Jesus’ foster father, Joseph, is called “a righteous man,” a man who trusted in God and in faith sought to keep His Word and obey His laws.
Matthew also gives us the name of Joseph’s wife. She was none other than the Virgin Mary. Like her husband, her genealogical record in the Gospel of Luke tells us that she, too, was of the house of King David and was a true child of God. Furthermore, Luke tells us that Mary found favor with God. Out of all the millions of Jewish women over hundreds of years, she was chosen to be the mother of the Christ Child.
So, unlike my birth certification, Jesus was royalty, descended from a long line of kings, among them David and Solomon. He was also a legal descendant of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was born into a godly Jewish family. What a more precise certification of birth than any of us have! It assures us of the fact that Jesus was born and that His coming into the world was in this respect like that of any other child. Mary conceived and gave birth to a son. Jesus was from a long line of flesh and blood people.
However, when Matthew introduces the story of Jesus’ birth, he said, “Of this Jesus Christ, the birth was such.” It’s a very different way of speaking. It indicates that there was a great difference between His birth and that of the many ancestors of Jesus whom Matthew had just mentioned, and very different from mine and yours.
Like my record and the records of the births of people such as Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon, Matthew had been most careful to give the name of each one’s father. But with Jesus it was different. Joseph did not father Jesus. Matthew makes that very clear. Although he speaks of Joseph and Mary as husband and wife, he twice refers to Mary as a virgin, just like Isaiah’s prophecy did. “Joseph was not intimate with her until she gave birth to her first-born son.” In fact, Joseph was alarmed when he saw that Mary would soon be a mother. As was the Jewish custom, he had not yet taken her into is own home. They had not come together. Joseph was troubled, before the angel came to him, that she had been unfaithful to him. Adulterous! How else could it be that she was with child?
That was even Mary’s question when the angel Gabriel told her that she had found favor with God and would be the mother of the Christ, the Son of the Most High. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” she asked. Joseph did not ask that question. But it had to have been in his mind. He wanted to believe that his betrothed had been faithful to him, but he couldn’t. The obvious evidence of her pregnancy argued against it. So, the angel of God cleared up the matter for him and for us as well. Jesus was conceived in Mary by none less than God the Holy Spirit.
That, dear friends, is part of the great Christmas miracle. It is the Sign of the important birth of which Isaiah had spoken over 700 years before. The Christ Child is the Son of the Virgin Mary through God the Holy Spirit, not through any man. God foretold it; God fulfilled it. It was His work, to which our reason finds no objection. With God all things are possible. But most of all our faith will hold to the truth, and we rejoice to sing God’s praise with the angels and later the shepherds who went to see Jesus at His birth.
But the shepherds didn’t go to Bethlehem merely to see a wonder child. The myriad of heavenly hosts did not come down from heaven because a Jewish virgin gave birth to a son, whose coming had been long foretold. The real miracle of Christmas was not the Sign; it is not the Virgin Birth. It is something more wonderful, so glorious that the prophets peered into it and studied it carefully trying to find out what it could be (1Pt.1:10). Even the holy angels don’t comprehend it. The real miracle of Christmas is this: that the Son of Mary is at the same time Immanuel, the Son of God, God Himself! In His person God and man were inseparably joined so that Jesus’ person is God’s person; His soul is God’s soul. The birth of Jesus was such. Mary conceived and brought forth the Son of God, her Lord and Creator.
Ponder the mystery! God came to earth as a tiny Babe on that first Christmas! Jesus, our Immanuel! The words are clear. But they also indicate why He came to earth – to deliver us, to save us!

Many a weary believing soul would consider it a most wonderful gift to be taken from this earth at Christmas time or anytime. The hospitals, the nursing homes, and thousands of private homes are sheltering men, women, and children who are not at home in this world but are seeking an abiding place in heaven above. Like the Apostle Paul, they “desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is better by far (Phlp.1:23). It is not difficult to see why.
Even those of us who are in good health, who have what we need for body and life, pray daily in the Lord’s Prayer that when our last hour comes, God would “deliver us from evil” and take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.
Now, God didn’t make this world a vale of tears. He created it perfect in every detail. But sin entered and brought with it all manner of evil so that even Christians suffer its consequences. “We must go through many troubles on our way to the kingdom of God” (Ac.14:22). Just look at Joseph and Mary’s story as evidence.
Joseph was tortured with his thoughts about Mary. It caused him, a righteous man, to determine to put her away. Though he knew her to be a God-fearing woman, the presence of sin in the world caused him to believe without evidence that Mary had fallen prey to sin.
And how Mary must have suffered. She had not told Joseph of the angel’s visit to her and of his wonderful announcement. God had not told her to do so. The presence of sin in the world therefore made it possible for men to charge her with infidelity even when she had not been unfaithful. Men are bound to judge and condemn. Yet, God did something to protect her by sending the angel to Joseph. So, even two hearts that were near and dear to each other had been torn apart by the presence of sin in the world.
It is similar with all Christians. Our hearts are constantly grieved because of sin in this world. We suffer because of our own sinfulness or because of the sins of others or because others suspect us of having done wrong. It will be so as long as this earth remains.
Often it is a sad world in which we live. Here no love is so pure, no faith so strong, no godliness so sacred, no name so untarnished that doubt and suspicion cannot drag them down and cast a shadow over them. And at the end comes death, the wages of sin. How deeply sin has entrenched itself in the world – in each of our lives.
But into this sad story comes Immanuel at Christmas. Oh, what joy! God’s Son, God Himself, God is with us to deliver and save us from sin, death, the grave, and the power of the devil. That was His great purpose in entering His fallen creation – to seek and to save that which was lost. That is why He is called Jesus – the One who will save His people from their sins.
Although I cannot promise you physical health in Jesus’ name, since Jesus did not come to heal all the sick of His day…Although I cannot assure you of other earthly gifts and treasures, since He withheld them from many of His own disciples…Yet, this much I can say: “Take heart, son, daughter, be of good cheer. The Savior has done His work. Your sins are forgiven” (Mt.9:2). And I can add that you will lack nothing, absolutely nothing which in the eyes of your heavenly Father is good for you, for “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Ro.8:32).
In this, and this alone, find your Christmas joy this week – in your Immanuel. Although we are still in this world, here on earth…
– we can live in close communion with Him,
– finding total comfort and encouragement in His Holy Word,
– following His gracious guidance,
– while leaning on Him for support.
And when He sees fit to do it, He will bring us even closer to Himself in heaven where for us it will be Christmas with Him forevermore.
The Sign is fulfilled. He is our Immanuel – God with us. His credentials and certification are without blemish. God grant us such faith, joy, peace, and hope for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield

(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)

4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)

Church phone: 417.887.0886                          Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244                                            email:

You can also find us on Facebook 

The Fourth Sunday in Advent     December 18, 202

“They will name Him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23

F o r   O u r   V i s i t o r s

The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.

U p o n   E n t e r i n g   G o d’ s   H o u s e

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever. I will declare that Your love stands firm forever. Who is like You, LORD God Almighty? Those who acclaim You walk in the light of Your presence” (Psalm 89).

W h a t   T h i s   S u n d a y   i s   A b o u t

Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Immanuel! As we draw near to the celebration of Christmas, those who are prepared in faith will receive the Babe of Bethlehem as the promised Savior. More than just a man, He is also God. He is “Immanuel.” God is with us, among us, as one of us.

The name speaks of the comfort we have in His omnipresence in our lives. But more than that, it is a name that speaks to Jesus’ person and the surety of His redemption for us. If Jesus were only a man, he would be of no help to us eternally. But because He is also true God, He could accomplish salvation for us. He is God with us, God among us, God for us, God as one of us – Immanuel. Prepare to receive Him at His wondrous birth. Oh, come, Oh, Come, Immanuel!

To that end we pray: Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come. Take away the burden of our sins and make us ready for the celebration of Your birth, that we may receive You in joy and serve You always; for Your name’s sake. Amen.

– T h e   W o r d   o f   G o d   f o r   T o d a y –

The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 7:10-14    

On all sides, Israel’s enemies threatened to destroy them. The Lord offered a sign to King Ahaz to assure him of His protection. In mock humility Ahaz refused God’s help. Leaving the king to follow his way of rejection, God offered instead a future sign of hope to those who believed – the sign of Immanuel.

The Epistle Lesson: Romans 1:1-7    

As we begin to celebrate Jesus’ birth, God’s chosen servant, the Apostle Paul, reminds us who Jesus is. He is true man and true God, declared to be the Savior by the power displayed in His resurrection from the dead. Because of that, divine grace and peace abound in those who believe.

The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 1:18-25  

The coming birth of Jesus, the Christ, is told to Joseph by an angel from God. His special person as the Messiah is revealed to Joseph. Righteous Joseph bows in humility to the Lord for what He is accomplishing and takes Mary to be his wife.

O u r   P r a c t i c e   o f   H o l y   C o m m u n i o n

The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.

The Organist: Jane Rips              

The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Point to Ponder: “So it must be – whoever expects to be redeemed and saved…must believe that Christ is true God, through whom the world was made, also true man, born of Mary. This faith alone saves – none other.                  — Martin Luther on Faith in a Divine Christ Makes Us Christians

Outline of  Our Worship

The Preparation

Opening Thoughts on the Service

Opening Hymn: #301

Order of Worship:     The Service: Setting Two with Holy Communion: page 172-187

Prayer of the Day

The Ministry of the Word

Isaiah 7:10-14

Romans 1:1-7

The Gospel Acclamation pg.179

Matthew 1:18-25

Hymn: #327

Sermon: Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23     The Sign: “Immanuel”

The Nicene Creed pg.180

Our Response to the Word

Prayer of the Church

The Offering

The Lord Blesses Us

Preparation for Holy Communion     Hymnal page 183-186

(Visitors: Please read the box on  page 2 regarding Holy Communion)


Distribution Hymn: #320

Thanksgiving & Blessing     Hymnal page 187

Closing Hymn: #326

Silent Prayer

The Fourth Sunday in Advent – Series A

Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 7:10-14 – The Sign of Immanuel

10The Lord spoke to Ahaz again. He said, 11“Ask for a sign from the Lord your God. Ask for it either in the depths below or in the heights above.” 12But Ahaz responded, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.” 13So Isaiah said: Listen now, you house of David. Is it not enough for you to test the patience of men? Will you test the patience of my God as well? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give a sign for all of you. Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and name him Immanuel.

Epistle Lesson: Romans 1:1-7 – The Dual Nature of Christ

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised in advance through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 3This gospel is about his Son—who in the flesh was born a descendant of David, 4who in the spirit of holiness was declared to be God’s powerful Son by his resurrection from the dead—Jesus Christ, our Lord. 5Through him we received grace and the call to be an apostle on behalf of his name, to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, 6including you, who were called by Jesus Christ. 7To all those loved by God who are in Rome, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 1:18-25 – The Birth of Jesus Christ

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother, Mary, was pledged in marriage to Joseph. Before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her. So he decided to divorce her privately. 20But as he was considering these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23“Look, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son. And they will name him Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” 24When Joseph woke up from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He took Mary home as his wife, 25but he was not intimate with her until she gave birth to her firstborn son. And he named him Jesus.

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.


C a l e n d a r     &     A n n o u n c e m e n t s     f o r     Z i o n     L u t h e r a n     C h u r c h















Next Sun.


9:00 am

Divine Worship Service

with Holy Communion online -Facebook

10:15 am

Christmas Brunch


Advent 4






4 pm

Confirmation on Skype

6 pm



Monthly Church Council Meeting




11 am

Midweek Bible Class









6 pm

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service


9 pm

Christmas Eve Worship at Peace

9:00 am

Divine Worship Service

online – Facebook


10:15 am

Fellowship & Bible Study


Christmas Day


A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today

The final Sunday in Advent celebrates the promise and fulfillment of the virgin birth of Immanuel. As we draw near to Christmas, we prepare our hearts to receive the Baby of Bethlehem as the promised Savior and Son of God.

The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 35:1-10 (answers are found on the back side)

  1. What is the significance of the name “Immanuel”?
  2. Why is this child born a “sign” to King Ahaz and to us?

Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter, diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis; Lucille Huston; Barbara Long; Lois Wiese.

Notes for the Holiday Season Today we invite you to remain following the worship service for our annual pre-Christmas Brunch. There is a sign-up list in the fellowship hall if you can provide a dish to bring. See Dee for more details. Our Christmas Eve worship will be at 6 pm on the 24th. The service at Peace will be at 9 pm. Since New Year’s falls on a Sunday this year, we will not be holding our regular New Year’s Eve Communion service on the 31st. Join us on Sunday as we reflect on God’s blessings in the past and begin the New Year in Him with a Service of Holy Communion.

Advent Devotion Booklets are still available in the narthex.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, December 18 – Christmas Brunch after the worship service (sign-up in the Fellowship Hall)

Sunday, December 18 – Christmas Poinsettias final day to sign up to buy a poinsettia to adorn the altar

Tuesday, December 20 – the monthly elders/trustees and church council meetings

Christmas Eve, December 24, 6 pm – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (at Peace LC Marshfield, 9 pm)

Sunday, New Year’s Day, Jan.1 – New Year’s Day Communion Service at our regular worship time

The Week in Review

Last Sunday Worship: 35; Bible Class: 17; Midweek Bible Class: 3; Offerings: $1,922

Next Sunday’s Lessons:               

Christmas Day: Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-9; John 1:1-14 (CW-21, Series A)

Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:

  1. Immanuel is two words in Hebrew (the language of the Old Testament) put together. It literally means “with us…God.” So Isaiah tells King Ahaz that when that virgin has a child, it will be God Himself coming to His people. God will be with us—in the flesh.
  2. God is not following the laws of nature in the case of this birth. This birth would not be ordinary. God would intervene with a child born in a miraculous way. But He would also be showing us humans something: He is coming to our world so that He might save us from our sins.

This week I am praying for……


Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann