Matthew concluded his Gospel with Jesus speaking to His disciples. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The phrase, “I am with you always,” reminded me of Matt 1:23 when the angel visited Joseph in a dream and said, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel – which means God with us.” In the economy of God’s timing the angel’s message to Joseph is now clarified, the resurrected Christ is Immanuel; Jesus is God with us.
How does a person make Jesus their Immanuel? Augustine gave us a little help when he said, “In the essential unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things love.” Which leaves us to ask, “What are the essentials we should agree on in making Jesus our Immanuel?”
The essentials of Christianity are laid down in the Book of Acts, and they are: A person hears the Gospel message, believes it, repents of their sins, confesses Jesus as the Christ the Son of the living God, is baptized, and receives the Holy Spirit. There is much more to being a Christian, but these are the essentials for making Jesus their Immanuel.
Preaching the Basics,