Sunday, June 25, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon The Birth of Christ ]


Luke 1:26-38

The virgin birth of Christ has well been called the greatest story ever told, but it is may be just the greatest miracle that Jehovah God ever performed. I want to study with you in this message the miracle of miracles. There are many great miracles recorded in the Bible, but none can compare in greatness with the one when God became one of us and lived among us for a short time. A woman had a part in the birth of Christ, but man had no part in it. That was a miracle in itself and was contrary to all the laws of nature. Instead of man, the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead, performed the conception supernaturally. . The virgin birth of Christ was one of a kind. That is why Jesus was called the only begotten Son of God. .No other human being ever came into existence as did Jesus of Nazareth. Whatever view people may have about the birth of Christ, it is impossible to deny that what happened some two thousand years ago in Bethlehem has absolutely and completely revolutionized human thinking and human life. We are trying with our feeble minds, as best we can, to understand this wonder of wonders. Let us be satisfied if we can learn just a little more about this amazing event of the ages in our study today.

Let us begin with Mary, the woman chosen by God to have part in this stupendous miracle. By those in the world who do not believe in miracles, it is common to speak of the birth of Christ as simply the birth of a great man and make no reference whatever to the virginity of His mother.. Let me say to you plainly that the account in the gospel is either true or false. If it is false, it ought to be repudiated by honest men as a baseless superstition. If, as we Christians believe, it is true then it is the most exciting truth that has ever entered the mind of man. It carries us far beyond the limits of the laws of nature and ordinary experience.

When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to have a son, Mary was shocked and disturbed. “ How can this be when I have never known a man?” was her puzzled reply. Don't you think that Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced troubling thoughts when Gabriel first appeared to her? I read a story about a hospital in London that in 2002 mistakenly sent letters to over 30 unsuspecting patients informing them that they were pregnant. The hospital's computer system, which normally is used to send form letters telling people that their operations have been postponed, was in the hands of a clerical worker who hit the wrong key. And so, instead of informing patients about a rescheduled procedure,


the computer sent identical form letters telling the recipients that they were “great with child.” Among the recipients of the letters were six elderly men. Can you imagine the surprise of those six men?” “Your doctor at such and such a hospital is pleased to inform you that you are expecting a baby.” Some of those women were probably surprised as well. I am sure some said, “How can that be? That's not possible! I think I am going to be sick.” I think Mary must have had some feelings like this. She was a virgin, engaged to be married. She had never been with a man, even the man to whom she was to be wed. Gabriel said, “You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son and shall call His name Jesus.” That was a troubling message to her and just as troubling to Joseph, her fiancee. Joseph was minded to call that wedding off until Gabriel stopped him.. Gabriel gave the best explanation of this marvelous event when he said, “Nothing is impossible with God.” The Bible says, “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.”(Psalm 115:3).

Secondly, I call your attention to a name that was given to Christ seven hundred years before He was born. Isaiah 7: 14 says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” The apostle Matthew explains that the angelic appearances to Mary and Joseph all happened to fulfill this prophecy of Isaiah. Please notice that the Son born to this virgin was to be called Immanuel. That is a Hebrew word and we Gentiles would not know why such a name was to be given Him. For the benefit of Gentile readers, Matthew explains that this word means, “God with us.” That name made His birth even more miraculous, for it revealed the divine nature of Jesus. When Jesus was born God came to be with us; God became one of us, and God lived among us. Matthew does not give us a detailed explanation of this name and all that it implies, but it does reveal that Jesus was to be both God and man, both human and divine. Matthew reveals that the one called Immanuel in Isaiah's prophecy was none other than Jesus of Nazareth.

The apostle John and the apostle Paul explain more about the meaning of Immanuel and how Jesus could be called, “God with us” than any of the other Bible writers. In John's gospel, chapter 1:1-3, the apostle writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” In the same chapter he also said, “And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” Those words are the greatest light mankind has on the origin of the universe, the nature of the Godhead, and the nature of Jesus Christ. This was a new revelation given to the human race by the apostles of Christ.


One of the most mysterious and most interesting words in the entire Bible is that term Word in John 1:1. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God...” John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God and the Word was God.” You will notice that it is capitalized which implies that it refers to a Divine Being. Whoever the one called the Word was, He existed in the beginning. In the beginning was the Word. The word beginning always refers to the beginning of the created universe.. Whoever He was, He existed before the universe was created. Then we are told this One called the Word was “with” God. This means He was with God the Father at the time the universe was created.. Two distinct beings are mentioned–God the Father and another person called the Word, and both existed in the beginning. Next, we are told that this One called the Word was God. This is a plain and indisputable statement. that the One called the Word is Himself God in the same sense that the Father is God. There is one God–one Divine nature. The apostles of Christ have declared to the world that the Godhead consists of three distinct persons: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit-- all with one Divine nature. The true God is a triune God. . Furthermore, John clearly states that all things were made through this One called the Word. We owe our existence to that One called the Word, whoever He was for God the Father used Him to create the earth and mankind.

But what does all this have to do with the birth of Christ?. In that same chapter John says that One called the Word became flesh and dwelled among us”(John 1:14}. The One called the Word came to this world and lived in this world. When did He do that? Some two thousand years ago in Bethlehem. That One called the Word, whoever He was, inhabited the body of that Son born to the Virgin Mary. That is when the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. The only name given us of this Creator- being is the Word. The term “Word,” in itself, means the expression of an idea. It is not a personal name. Webster says it means a speech, sound to communicate meaning. What a strange name to give the divine Being God used to create the world. While no personal name is given to this Being called the Word when He existed with God in the beginning, yet when He became flesh and became incarnate in the Son of the Virgin Mary, He was given a personal name. Gabriel said to Mary, “You shall call His name “Jesus.” The miracle of the incarnation is that Jesus became the Word. by way of incarnatoin. For 33 years, Jesus and the Word were one and the same person.

While He was incarnate in Jesus, a Divine Being was indwelling a human being, He assumed the name of Jesus. as long as He was in the flesh and dwelled on the earth.. That is why the Bible says, “God was

manifest in the flesh.” This is why we say Jesus was both human and divine. This is why Jesus could say, “I am from above; you are from beneath.” That is why we say Jesus had a pre-existence before He lived on this earth. It is a mysterious subject, but we can be assured that Jesus Christ was the Word when He lived on this earth, and as the Word He was the full and complete revelation of the Godhead to the world. He could rightly says, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”. He had the self-realization that He was the One called the Word in the beginning.

John also gave another insight into the nature of Jesus that may be related somewhat to this term Word, w ho was God's spokesman. In the book of Revelation John reveals how Jesus appeared to him and gave him the information revealed in the book of Revelation. Jesus said to John, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, from which we get our alphabet. What a statement! I am the alphabet, A to Z. Do you realize that all literature, all knowledge lies within the compass of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Don't talk to your children about a thing being as easy as learning A B C. I think we have forgotten how hard it was. It is not easy to learn the alphabet or use it..

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the entire alphabet-- the source of all knowledge, Divine and secular. The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above and comes from the Father lights, the Creator of the heavenly bodies. He is the Creator of the aphabet; and it is one of His wonderful gifts to open our minds to the treasures of knowledge that God has made possible. When the One called the Word existed with God in the beginning, He was the mighty workman at God's right hand and spoke the cosmos into existence as God's Spokesman, and when the Word became incarnate in Jesus, it could be said of Jesus, “In Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Paul declared that the system of the Christian religion is a great mystery. He summed it up in these words, “God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory”(I Tim. 3:16). That is what the birth of Christ is all about. This all began when Jesus was born.

In conclusion, the remarkable event that occurred in Bethlehem raises a very important question. Why? Why did God manifest Himself in
the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ? Why did this wonderful Person who in the beginning was called the Word decide to become flesh and assume the name Jesus? In order to do this the apostle Paul said that the second person of the Godhead. had to empty himself of His divine glory


before He could take on the form of a servant .and be made in the likeness of men. These words imply that something of tremendous significance to the human race was to be achieved by the incarnation.

What could have been so important that required God's personal presence on this earth? What was so urgent that God should become flesh and dwell among us? There is no need to guess or speculate on this mysterious subject. We know why He came. There were two occasions on which Christ explained clearly the reason He came into the world. When the Pharisees asked His disciples why their Master ate and drank with publicans and sinners, He replied, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” On another occasion when the people murmured because Jesus attended a dinner given by Zaccheus a tax collector, Jesus said, “The Son of man is come to seek and save the lost.” The only people who can have a part in His religion are those willing to acknowledge their waywardness from God and their lost condition. When the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us, Gabriel said to Mary, “You shall call His name Jesus,.” which means savior. The Word came to this world to be its Savior. The saving of the human race is what the Virgin birth was all about, and such a loving desire justified God in performing the miracle of all miracles to bring it about.

The world which God created is a lost world. Jesus came to seek and save a lost world. God originally created the universe that He might call into existence a race of intelligent beings to show forth His praise and glory, and He made them to become heirs of eternal life. .Jesus revealed this truth when He said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” That is one reason for the existence of the human race. However, early in human history mankind became a fallen race, moral evil prevailed, and the knowledge of the one true God was lost. The human race became lost by their sinful way living. This lostness continues to this day, for the gospel says, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Because of this condition, the human race lost the favor of God and the very right to even exist. Evil was so great on earth in the days of Noah that God wiped the race from the face of the earth. Only eight people escaped the flood. It is destined to end again, and God so loved the world hat He sent His only begotten Sons that whoever will believe and obey Him might not perish but have everlasting life. God was manifest in the flesh through His Son that He might create a new human race. What God has once done, He is able to do again. If He made man


upright at first, He can re-make him ; and that He has done by sending His only begotten Son in the likeness of sinful flesh that He might suffer for the sins of all mankind and reconcile them to God. He condemned sin the flesh and offered Himself as a sin offering to God that all might be forgiven and saved. Jesus said, “You must be born again by being born of the water and Spirit or you cannot enter the kingdom of God..” You must be born of God and become a part of God's new human race.. The introduction of Christ into the world was as miraculous as the original creation of this planet and the people on it.

What do we owe to Jesus Christ? All our happiness in this life; all our hope for a life to come; all that makes life worth living; and all that
lights up the dark valley of the shadow of death. His holy life is the example and pattern of the life we should all live. His uplifted cross is for our pardon, our peace, and our reconciliation with God. On that night long ago when the shepherds first saw Him in the manger, the real meaning of the event was well expressed by Paul when He said, “You know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty might be rich.”(2 Cor. 8:9). To be born of the Spirit is to be brought to faith and repentance by the teachings of the Holy Spirit and to be born of the water is to be immersed in water for all past sins of one's life. From baptism we arise to walk in newness of life.

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