CHRISTMAS: CHRISTIANITY’S GREATEST PROOF – Part 1 (Virgin Birth) by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson
We’re in a new series for the next three-week called, “CHRISTMAS: CHRISTIANITY’S GREATEST PROOF.” This morning we are in part 1 of this series on the Virgin Birth.
Matthew 1:18-25 18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Overall Background: LIFE magazine just came out with a special edition last month (Nov. 16, 2012), titled “Jesus: Who do you say that I am?” It’s on the shelves right now. The introduction is titled “The Carpenter’s Son Who Changed Everything.” Listen to the introduction:
“From the most modest of means in a volatile part of the world that people of varying faiths…would come to call the Holy Land, a young man emerged whose radical, inspiring philosophy seemed not only a challenge to religious orthodoxy and political authority, but perhaps a course forward through life, which was so often a vale of tears. He developed a following, and after His martyrdom, when He was barely 30 years of age, a cult….Who was this man?…To some, Jesus is the Son of God, the anointed, the Christ—born to a virgin just more than 2,000 years ago…To others Jesus is just a man….And to still others He is little more than a myth. Maybe He lived, they say, but His stature as a great and transcendent human being is a novelistic interpretation of Paul….He is, say these naysayers, an idea. But… Whether idea or man, Jesus—in whose name, surely wars have been fought, and awful deeds done—is a model that, day-to-day, encourages much good, a mirror that reflects, for many of us, our hopes….
(And then it concludes with these words) …Whether Jesus was sent from Heaven or not, whether He died on the cross or not, and ascended or did not—Jesus is alive in our time. To believers and non believers alike, Jesus matters. Still matters. He long has. He always will.”
That for a lack of a better term is “baloney.” Is it true? Does it have any facts behind it? Have we been misled to believe in a myth or an idea? Absolutely Not! But that is what’s being fed through many of our colleges and universities. Our young people are being bombarded by such false claims. This is not just a laughing matter. This is not just an optional matter like “do you like Coke or Pepsi?” or “do you like Country music or Rock Music?” or “do you like the beach or the mountains?” What you believe about Jesus decides where you will spend eternity. AND ETERNITY IS TOO LONG TO BE WRONG.
Application: This morning the question for you is not what you believe about the church or the Bible. The question is “What do you believe about Christ?” When Jesus asked His disciples “Who do you say that I am?” He did not ask that because He was confused. He asked to see if they believed in Him.
Maybe your faith has been shaken; maybe you have doubts in your heart; maybe you have questions but you feel you cannot ask them. Let the Holy Spirit of God open your heart and your mind to the truth. Don’t look at this morning’s message as just some intellectual discussion. This is a message that will increase your faith. The more you know and understand, the stronger you can stand against the assault of the enemy.
I believe Christmas (the coming of Jesus Christ) is Christianity’s Greatest Proof. This morning we are talking about the Virgin Birth. Meaning: Jesus was not just some “Carpenter’s Son.” He was God’s Son. Everything about Him was different, especially how He came in this world.
Now some people have a tough time with that. They raise some questions against it that I want us to look at this morning.
I. HOW CAN IT BE POSSIBLE?
A Virgin having a child, how can that be? This was the same question that was running through Joseph’s mind – Listen to verse 19 “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But while he thought about these things,
By the way, this was the same question that Mary had when the angel came and gave her the word that she has found favor with God and she will conceive in her womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. In Luke 1:34 she says to the angel “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
Both Joseph and Mary were asking the age-old question: How can a virgin have a child? In other words, are miracles possible? Some people laugh at the idea of miracles. For example: Richard Dawkins, a self-proclaimed atheist, said sometime back, “The Virgin birth, the resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, even the Old Testament miracles, all are freely used for religious propaganda, and they are very effective with an audience of unsophisticates and children.”
So are miracles possible? In fact, that is the wrong question. The real question is “Is there a God?” If you can believe that there is a God, you can believe that miracles are possible.
Now some people don’t believe in God.
Let me prove to you that there is a God in less than 2 minutes.
For e.g. Here’s a watch in my hand. I have had it for the past three years. Just looking at it I can say that it is no more than maybe 5 years old. Prior to that, this watch did not exist. It had a beginning at some factory somewhere. Somebody had to make it. Since this watch had a beginning, somebody had to make it.
In the same way, this universe began to exist at some point. I believe that it is no more than 6,000 years old. Some people say more but either way, it had a beginning. For this universe to begin to exist, somebody had to make it – the sun, moon, stars, earth, oceans, grass, animals, human beings, etc. That someone is God. People throughout the history of the world have acknowledged that there is a God. Some of the greatest minds in the world—Socrates, Galileo, Newton, Einstein—have looked at creation and declared that they believed in God. David says in Psalms 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.”
Let me go one step further: If God made nature; Nature has to obey Him. Miracles are simply nature obeying its Creator.
The Virgin Birth was a miracle. Never had it happened before and never since. Science cannot explain it, medical field will deny it, and anyone with a normal intelligence will laugh at it. The only way it will happen is for the moment God will enter into the sphere of natural laws (the laws that He put in place). He is not going to break them or remake them or redefine them. He will prove to the world that they are His Laws – they are subject to Him. A child is not going to drop out of the sky, he is not going to appear out of thin air. No – a woman will conceive; she will carry him 9 months; she will feel the pain of child-birth; but it will not be humanly conceived. It will be a miracle!
If you believe in God, miracles are no problem! I have no problem with God so I have no problem with miracles.
Application: God is still in the miracle business. Do you believe that? He is still healing the sick, touching the brokenhearted, and changing a sinner.
Question 1. How can it be possible?
II. HOW ABOUT ALL THE OTHER MYTHOLOGIES?
- Assyrian mythology where Semiramis (the wife of Nimrod) gave birth to Tammuz. According to legend she was impregnated by a sunbeam.
- Egyptian mythology it was handed down as Isis and Osiris.
- Greek mythology about Dionysius, who was born from a human mother (Semele) and the god Zeus.
- Indian mythology – Buddha was conceived when an elephant entered his mother’s belly.
In the biblical virgin birth there are real people, places, and events. In pagan myths, gods actually mated with humans. In Christianity there is no such thing. It is simply God coming into this world. By the way – pagan myths were written over time (centuries); the Gospels were written while the eyewitnesses were still around.
If you want to understand the right basis for the virgin birth, you have to look to the Old Testament. Listen to Matthew 1 verse 21-23 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
The virgin birth was not just an accident or an afterthought. It had been promised. In fact, it was the very first promise given to humankind.
Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
In the OT, it is always the seed of a man. But here it is the seed of a woman. This was the first prophecy – the proto-evangelium given.
Ever since then Satan has been trying to counterfeit the virgin birth or try to destroy any chances of it. Even with the Sons of God, he tried it and God destroyed the world in a flood. Later with Pharaoh, who commanded the midwives to kill the newborn sons of the Hebrews and when it failed, he commanded them thrown into the Nile. When Jesus was born – Herod tried to kill all the Jewish boys who were two and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding districts.
Application: For everything good that God has for us, Satan always has a counterfeit. Not only that he will do everything to destroy God’s work in your life.
Question 1 – How can it be possible? Question 2 – How about the other mythologies?
III. WHY WAS IT NECESSARY?
Background: Why did Jesus have to be born of a virgin? One reason—to prove that He was sinless. Some people say that Jesus did not have to be born of a virgin to be sinless. He could have been born of the sexual intercourse of two human beings and still be sinless. But listen to how the Bible describes the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”
The focus is not on Mary. It is on the Holy Spirit.
Sadly the focus on Mary has led to some false beliefs in the church: Often people confuse Virgin Birth with the Immaculate Conception or the Perpetual Virginity. They are not the same. Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary herself was conceived in her mother’s womb as a sinless being. This is not a biblical idea. It was just an invention of the medieval church. Even the Catholic Church did not recognize this until 1854, when Pope Pius IX declared it. On the other hand, Perpetual Virginity teaches that Mary was a virgin before, during, and after giving birth to Jesus for the rest of her life. It is not a biblical idea either. It has been held by the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church since the seventh century.
Virgin Birth sets the focus on the Holy Spirit bringing the Son of God into this world. The person coming into this world was a Divine Person who was already existing before He entered into this world. He was not tainted by the sin that affects all of us who are born of Adam. He was perfect and sinless.
24Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Application: Let me ask you – “Who is Jesus to you?” Just a good man, great man, great teacher or God’s Son. He came into this world through the Holy Spirit. Only that same Holy Spirit can open your eyes to see Jesus this morning.