10 December 2013

CHRISTMAS IS A BLESSED TIME


Luke 1:26-47

Christmas is a time of blessing and joys for most people, especially us Christians! Why?  Christmas reminds us of God’s goodness in our lives, because He sent His Son to save our wretched soul out of the blackness of sin. Christmas is a time to reflect and give thanks to a holy God who loved us and gave us the greatest gift ever given………HIMSELF! A gift that only God could give worthy of all acceptance and praise for sinners like us. Christmas time displays and speaks volumes of Christ……whether the Atheist likes it or not. I came across a story, which I thought would be interesting to share with you this morning! The delicious Candy-Cane “A Candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would help us remember who Christmas is really about. So he made a Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus. Hard candy to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God. The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus. It also represented the staff of the "Good Shepherd". The candymaker then included red stripes. He used three small stripes and a large red stripe to represent the suffering Christ endured at the end of his life. The candy became known as a Candy Cane -- a decoration seen at Christmas time. The meaning has faded, but still gives joy to children young and old, whom Jesus loves and treasures.”

Christmas is all Christ…..it’s all about birth of Christ! It’s a time that we shouldn’t take lightly because without this divine historical birth we are still in our sins facing condemnation from a holy God. Though, we may not know the actual date of his birth and all the stories we read about paganism that surrounds Christmas! One thing for sure….. the birth of Christ is a vital doctrine to the Christian faith. Sadly our culture is trying very hard to stop us from celebrating the virgin birth of our Lord through the Christmas season. How? They are trying to by literally replace the term “merry Christmas” with “happy holidays.” They are trying to re-name our traditional Christmas tree as the “holiday tree.” They are trying to take out the baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph from the manger scenes. The world doesn’t want to remember that day some 2000 years ago, but there is no escaping this truth of the virgin birth. When we read in scripture about the coming Messiah found in the Old Testament that He will come from a virgin young lady………..What comes to your mind? We read these passages in our casual reading, but do we really sit down and ponder what truly happened. We really need to stop and understand the significance about this blessed event in History

My question for you this morning is…………What does the virgin birth mean to you? This supernatural event in history is so vital and most important that it’s mentioned throughout scripture. Moses wrote the Lord said “.....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." Gen 3:15. Isaiah penned these words some 700 years before Christ was born "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."  Isa 7:14 said “How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man."  Jer 31:22. In the New Testament we continue to read passages like…“and she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus..." Matt 1:21. The apostle Paul said "God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” Gal 4:4. The virgin birth is a very important absolute that we can't ignore or sweep under the rug. Why do I say that? Many today are trying to convince it never happened……… and if that’s true then we are in a heap of trouble.

ONE PERSON WROTE THESE REASONS FOR NOT BELIEVING IN THE VIRGIN BIRTH.

1. There is no reliable evidence. "We have no eyewitness accounts, no doctor confirmations, no DNA samples"

2. The earliest references are late and sparse. "....It seems likely the virgin birth was created to boost the authority of Christianity through prophecy and compete with rival gods who were born of virgins."

3. It’s the same old myth. "The claims of Jesus’ birth are no different from any of the other virgin birth legends. It doesn’t have any more evidence or appear to be any more likely. Why believe it over the others?"

4. Is it more likely to be a lie, or to be true? "Now what is more likely, that she is lying or telling the truth? Even if Mary claimed this herself, we would not believe her. Now consider that the story didn’t appear until over 50 years after it supposedly happened. The likelihood of the virgin birth being true is very, very, very low."

5. We would never, ever, believe this today. "Imagine if a teenage girl in your neighborhood claimed that her pregnancy was due to God impregnating her and that she was still a virgin. Would you believe her? Or would you think she was lying? If she insisted on it being true, we would put her in a mental hospital."

Sadly like this person, many continue to try and rationalize everything to fit their world view or how they see things! But as the bible says “it is foolishness to those who perish” We also read “The fool says in his heart there is no God." Why is this doctrine so important and what is at stake? “This doctrine, wrote James Orr, affects the whole supernatural estimate of Christ—his life, his claims, his sinlessness, his miracles, his resurrection from the dead. But the virgin birth is assailed with special intensity, because it is supposed that the evidence for this miracle is more easily got rid of than the evidence for public facts, such as the resurrection. The result is that in very many quarters the virgin birth of Christ is openly treated as a fable, and belief in it is scouted as unworthy of the twentieth century intelligence.” The world doesn’t want to believe this supernatural work found in the virgin birth! But! This has been His promise since the beginning of time when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. Ever since the beginning of man this has been our….
  • Blessed hope
  • Peace
  • Restoration
  • Joy of salvation

We need to see this importance and realize how important the birth of Christ is as we come to this Christmas season! Please turn with me to Luke chapter 1 as we get front row seats to this wonderful historical account of the virgin birth!

1. BLESSED IS THE WOMAN THAT CARES THE LORD AND SAVIOUR (V42)

"Blessed are you among women" a woman chosen by God. In the Hebrew this statement means "You're the most blessed of all woman" In Luke 1:28 we read “And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" The angel said "highly favored one" which literally means “full of grace" this is the same meaning for anyone that calls upon the name Jesus and believes by faith. Paul said according to his writings that we are favored, make accepted by the Lord, full of grace “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
We are accepted.” Eph 1:6. Elizabeth was telling Mary that she was most blessed because she was going to give birth to the greatest child ever. So great people noticed when they were in Jesus' presence……..In Luke 11:27 “And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"

2. BLESSED IS THE CHILD THAT COMES TO REDEEM THE WORLD (V42)

"Blessed is the fruit of your womb" Why is this Child blessed?
  • He is blessed because He comes to save people from their sins.
  • He is blessed because He has come to free us from the bondage of sin.
  • He is blessed because He has come to be King and LORD!

Mary understood this blessing that Elizabeth was speaking in the Holy Spirit  (v41) Why do I say that? Mary speaks of this great blessing she has inside of her "My soul magnifies the Lord (v46) My soul is saturated with the Lord "My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (v47) This is showing her need for a Savior. Mary also goes on to say He is Love “regarded the lowly...”  ( me a maidservant) (v48). He is Mighty  "has done great things for me" (v49). He is Holy "holy is His name" (v49). He is Mercy "to those who fear Him" (v50). He is Sovereign "strength with His arm" (v51). He is Righteous Judge "He has scattered... He has put down... He has exalted the lowly" (v52). He is Provider "filled the hungry with good things" (v53). He is the Finisher of our Salvation "He has helped His servant Israel... " (v54). This Child is truly blessed, so blessed; Zechariah prophesied about Him "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people" (v68) and Zechariah goes on to say that his son John will go before this great Lord and Savior! In Luke 1:76-79 we read "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace." See, without this virgin birth, without Him coming in the form of man….the sin issue is not resolved and we are still damned to hell! As Oswald Chambers said “Jesus Christ became Incarnate for one purpose, to make a way back to God that man might stand before Him as He was created to do, the friend and lover of God Himself.”

3. BLESSED ARE THE ONES WHO BELIEVES BY FAITH (V45)

This is an important truth that overflows with blessing! Elizabeth was praising God by faith, Mary was parsing God by faith, Zechariah was praising God by faith, John the Baptist was praising God by faith 

"The baby leaped in my womb for joy" How do we have that kind of faith and joy as John had in the womb of Elizabeth? By what Paul wrote to the church! 2 Cor 4:6 reminds of this joy and blessing “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” He has put His knowledge and glory of Himself in our hearts. He has given us assurance of His great salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter says the faith that we have is the faith of love……“whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9. The English Standard Version says "Though you have not seen him, you love him". The King James Version says "Whom having not seen, ye love." Our faith is a faith in a person who we cannot see, smell or touch but He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit. I must trust in the scriptures when it speaks about the supernatural work found in the virgin birth. For by faith [a faith that God gives us, as a gift] we are saved! Because we believe the scriptures.

This virgin birth is so much more than a miracle…it about our redemption! For without this virgin birth I am doomed and so are you! Faith is a must in order to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who came as a baby born of virgin young girl. That's why John leaped in the womb!
  • Redemption is here
  • Prophecy has been fulfilled
  • The Seed has come to crush Satan and his fallen angels
  • Immanuel (God is with Us) has finally come to deliver Us!

As Simeon “took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:28-35. Simeon praises God for this selfless gift! Please never forget this wonderful truth of the virgin birth and we must always be ready to give an account for the hope that is in your heart this Christmas season.

THE VIRGIN BIRTH IS ESSENTIAL TO THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

1. If this revelation is rejected, then any other Biblical fact may be rejected.

2. If the virgin birth is rejected, the deity or humanity (or both) of the Savior must also be discarded.

3. If the virgin birth is not true there is no valid salvation.

4. If the virgin birth is not fact, then the doctrine of the incarnation, as revealed in scripture, cannot be accepted.

5. If the virgin birth is not valid, man is without hope in time and eternity.

6. If the virgin birth is error, other doctrines lose meaning and purpose.

So rejoice, because we know through the scripture how important and real the virgin birth was! Christmas is a blessed time for family of God! Are you leaping for Joy this morning? Is your spirit rejoicing this morning? Does your soul magnify the Lord this morning? Are you praising Him for finding favor in you? Are you thankful for that wonderful Christmas gift? That gift is? Salvation in the one true King……………….Jesus Christ. I love what John MacArthur says about the Christmas baby "If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: "God with us." We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!

No comments: