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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Virgin Birth: Does It Matter?

Charles Stanley - The Virgin Birth: Does It Matter?

Charles Stanley - The Virgin Birth: Does It Matter?
TOPICS: Christmas, Virgin Birth

Does it really make any difference whether Jesus was born of a virgin or not? To some people, they say, "Well, it doesn't really make any difference". To others, say, "Yes, it does make a difference". And so, we hear all kind of things about the birth of Jesus. And most people, when they see a manger scene, they think about Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus and maybe the cattle and so maybe the shepherds and sometimes the Wise Men or whatever it might be. Never give any real thoughts to exactly what happened that night. We think a lot about the fact that they couldn't find an inn; they end up in a stable and all those things. One of the most important things that happened that night was how He was born, not just why, but how He was born. And some people would say it doesn't make any difference.

But I want to show you in this message it makes all the difference in the world how Jesus Christ came into this world. Because you see, it has something to do with who He was and who He is. And it's effect in your life and mine. And oftentimes you'll hear critics say, "Well, the primary reason I don't believe in the Virgin Birth is I don't believe in miracles". Well, then you just stated your sense of unbelief about who God is and how He works. He's a God not only of the understandable, but He's a God of the things we don't understand; because He's the Sovereign God of the universe. He can to anything, everything He chooses to do any time, any way. And one thing you'll discover, when you begin to study the Word of God, you'll find out He doesn't make any mistakes. And secondly, His timing is perfect. It wouldn't have been our timing, maybe, but His timing was perfect. And the way He goes about it. And even when you don't agree with Him and you begin to figure out how you would do it, you'll come to the conclusion His way is always the best way. And we can say that about the Virgin Birth.

And what I want you to answer for yourself as you listen to this message, does it really make any difference whether Jesus Christ was born of a virgin or not? And you come to the conclusion. I'm not going to give you what I think. I'm going to give you the facts of scripture. So, I want you to turn if you will to Luke chapter one and let's begin in verse twenty-six. The scripture says, "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, 'Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.' But she was very perplexed at this statement and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.'"

Now watch this carefully, "Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I am a virgin?' The angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason, the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.'" Now notice if you will in this earlier part here, the Bible says that she is a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph. And then the fact that she asked the question here: "How can this be, since I am a virgin"? Literally, what she said, and in the Greek text it says, "Because I know no man". That is, sexually she had never had a relationship to anybody.

Now if you'll just turn back over to Matthew chapter one and we'll see how God spoke to Joseph about this. So, we just saw Mary's account and now here is Joseph, and if you will look if you will in the eighteenth verse of this first chapter of Matthew, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been," listen, had been, "betrothed," that is engaged, "to Joseph," watch this, "before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit". Before there was any sexual relationship, "she was found to be with child. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly". That is believing that she had committed adultery, "But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.'"

Now these are the two accounts of the Virgin Birth of Jesus. And somebody says, "Well, now wait a minute. Why didn't Mark talk about the Virgin Birth"? Because his purpose was simply to explain and to declare the ministry of Jesus and that's where he starts. Well, what about the Gospel of John? Because he starts with the fact that Jesus Christ is God. And his whole approach, as he says at the end of his gospel that the reason for the gospel is that "you might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and be saved". So with that in mind, I want us to look at this passage from the whole perspective of, "Is it really important"? And let's start where the battleground starts, of people who don't believe. And that is you'll hear people say, "Well, the word, virgin, simply means a young woman of marriageable age". The most eminent Hebrew scholars will tell you that that Hebrew word simply means this, that as a woman who has never had a sexual relationship. It's what we would think in terms of as virgin.

Now, so with that in mind, let's ask the question here, why is it so important that you and I believe it and understand it? Why is it important? Well number one, it's essential to believe in His deity. That is, that Jesus Christ was the second Person of the Godhead and was God. You say, "Well, now what does the Bible say about that"? So, let's turn over to John if you will. And remember, the reason John wrote his book was not to give the history of Jesus's life and so forth. But the scripture says that the reason he wrote it was that "but these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name". So how does he begin, how does he begin his gospel? He begins his gospel with these words. Verse one of chapter one: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God". And the Greek word is logos, that is the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the living expression of who God is, "He was in the beginning with God". Listen, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it".

So, the scripture makes it very clear in John that He was in the very beginning. Likewise, for example, he says in Titus two, thirteen. Turn over there to Titus for a moment and here's what you discover; right before Philemon and Hebrews. In this second chapter and the thirteenth verse. He says, "Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus". The apostles understood Jesus Christ to be the incarnate Son of God and that He was God. Now somebody says, "Well, now let me ask you a question. When did Jesus become deity? Was He deity before this? Did He become deity in Mary's womb? Or did He become deity later? Or did He become deity on the cross"? Jesus Christ was always deity. He was always the second Person of the Trinity. He was always God. At no time did He ever become God or cease to be God.

And so, there are people who for example do not believe that Jesus is who He says He is. They'll say, "Well, He became God this that", no. He was always God. And that brings us to another step in this whole issue. And so when somebody says, "Who is Jesus"? Jesus is not only the Son of God, listen, He is God. And remember what He said? He said, "I and the Father are One". And for example, if you turn to turn to Second Peter, chapter one, verse one, "Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ". Not just our Savior but our God and Savior. The apostles believed that He was God. He was always God. He had to be God. And, listen, if there came a time in His life when He wasn't God, how could He be God and not be God? He is deity; and there's verse after verse after verse in the scripture that indicate that they saw Him as God.

And so does it make a difference? It is essential to our belief in the incarnation which means, and you might want to turn before we talk about it, turn to Philippians for example, chapter two. And by incarnation, here's what we mean, that Jesus Christ, who is God, came into this world by the Virgin Birth listen, this is deity, God taking upon Himself human flesh, born, listen, born just like any other little boy would have been born. He was born He had a soul and a spirit and a body and so forth. The only difference in Him and all the other little boys was that He had no sin nature, because it was the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity who conceived Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary. And so, when we talk about this idea of incarnation and so forth, look if you will in chapter two of Philippians and verse five, when Paul explains this here. He says, "Have this attitude in yourselves," what is that, "which was also in Christ Jesus".

Now watch the next verse, "Who, although He existed in the form of God," that's who He was, "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself". That is, He, listen, He didn't cease to be God, "But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name". Watch this next verse, "So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father". He says very knee will bow. And what he's saying in this passage is simply this. That the way Jesus came into this world, the Father sent Him, prophesied all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

Remember, the skins, not fig leaves as they chose, there was the first sacrifice, indication, a foreshadowing. All those sacrifices in the Old Testament were pictures, were foreshadowing; that's what the Bible says; foreshadowing of things that were to come. And so, when Jesus came, He came, listen, He came for two purposes. Primarily He came as a living acceptable, atoning, vicarious sacrifice for the sin of mankind. But He also came to reveal to us who God is and what He's like. If you took your Bible, for example, and ripped out everything after Malachi and so you had no New Testament, how much would you know about God? How much would you understand about Him. When we look at the life of Jesus and how He dealt with mankind, look how He forgave people in every situation, every circumstance, love and kindness and gentleness and forgiveness and all the wonderful things that we know about Him. What how much would you and I know about prayer if the only thing we knew about prayer was from the Old Testament? And you could just go down one subject after the other. Jesus came to reveal to us what the Father's like. And so, we have a whole new perspective.

And so, what happened? The only way for Him to do that, listen, is not send ethereal messages in heaven in the clouds. But God loved us enough to take upon Himself human flesh, come into this world, grow up like a little Hebrew boy, in the household of Joseph and Mary, though Joseph was not His father. And what happened? At a particular point, He started the ministry to which God had called Him. Now if you look to see what happened and how He went about and what happened in three years; because He was God. He never ceased to be God. And so looking at His life and looking to see how He responded to situations and circumstances. One of the most to me personally, one of the most encouraging passages in the Bible has to do with this. And if you'll turn to Hebrews for a moment and look if you will in the fourth chapter and you've heard me preach on it probably several times, one of my favorite passages because it is so powerful. And the only reason this is here is because this is who Jesus is.

And this is how we understand who He is. Now while you're turning to that, before you look at it, I want you to remember something. In the Old Testament, what about all those sacrifices? Those sacrifices were the means by which God was teaching those Hebrews who He was, what life was about; teaching His holiness, their sinfulness; the repercussions from sin, the judgment; and yet how to live. So how did He do that? They didn't have scrolls in, and, in those days like they had later and so forth. So, He had to teach them in a visible form they'd never forget. And so that visible form was through sacrifices. And so, Jesus came into this world as a fulfillment, listen, of all those sacrifices. That is, they were foreshadowings. They were pictures of what He intended to do. He came into the world for the purpose of dying on the cross for our sins. No one else could do that, because every single person who walked on the face of this earth, has been a sinner and is a sinner.

So back to my Hebrews passage that I love, look at this. Fourth chapter and verse fourteen. Now, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest," who is that? Jesus, "who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession". Believe it with all of our heart, stand by it. "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things," And tried in all things "as we are, yet without sin. Therefore..." What? On the basis of who He is; on the basis that Jesus walked among us as a man, tempted, tried, tested, you name it. And what happens? "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need". How can there be a better passage of scripture to encourage us? How do we know that? Says because when we come to Him, we know that He knows how we feel. When you're tempted, He was tempted. When you're tried, He's been tried. When you've been criticized, so as you name it, He experienced it. And He came for the purpose of demonstrating God's attitude and His perspective on these things and so also to encourage us.

Listen, you can't get so low in life that the Son of God can't lift you up. And he says that's what the throne of grace is all about. And the reason we're convinced and persuaded of that is because Jesus, our Savior, He's been there. You want to talk to somebody who's been where you are. And Jesus Christ, the Son of God, listen, He has been where you are. He knows exactly what you're feeling. He's the only One who is deity, has walked upon this earth and is seated at the Father's right hand to make intercession for us, says look, this is the throne of grace. Come, come all of you to the throne of grace and you'll find help and strength and whatever you need before Almighty God. So, somebody says, "Well, does it make a difference"? Yes, it does.

Now, as to His humanity, He had to be human. Just what we've just said, He had to be human. The fact that He grew up as a little Hebrew boy, became a carpenter, walked among men as an itinerant preacher, died on the cross, it's His, listen, it's His humanity that helps us to be able to identify with Him. And the virgin birth, He had everything a little Hebrew boy has except a sinful nature. Likewise, when it comes to sinlessness, He was the only Person who could die as a sacrifice. Now watch this. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord".

Listen. All those sacrifices had to be perfect. In other words, if, for example, the book of Malachi, it's all about Malachi absolutely just lays it out and lays it upon those Hebrews who were bringing sick sheep and sick doves and sick goats to the sacrifice. He says, "They're unacceptable". And so when someone brought a lamb or something for the sacrifice, they'd lift up his leg and be sure there was no spot, no blemish. What was all that about? Why didn't they just put the animal on there and just burn him up? Because God was in the process of teaching them something, that the only, watch this, the only sacrifice that is acceptable in the eyes of God is a spotless, unblemished one. Because, what was He saying? When the final sacrifice is given, it'll be My Son who is absolutely sinless.

And remember this. When Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, the sacrifice had been offered and the veil was split in the temple from top to bottom. Not bottom to top, top to bottom. It was all over. Sacrifices were finished because the final sacrifice had been made and accepted in the eyes of God. The only reason you and I have eternal life is because Jesus, the virgin-born Son of God, came into this world, clothed in human flesh; lived among men to reveal to us the Father. Died on the cross as God's chosen only and ultimate sacrifice for your sins and my sins, so that when you and I can come to Him. We have access to Him. We don't have to go through anybody but the Lord Jesus Christ. We come to Him with absolute confidence that our sins are forgiven, listen, not on the basis I'm going to do better, never sin again; on the basis that he Father sent His Son and this Son was an adequate atoning sacrifice that took care of my sin: past, present, and future. That's who He is.

So, He had to be sinless. He could not, He could not have died for our sins that He was not sinless. Likewise, He came, listen, in order to fulfill His Mission, He had to be virgin-born. What was His Mission? The salvation of mankind. What was His Mission? That all men may know, for example, when He gives us a Great Commission. He gives us a Great Commission to spread the truth of the Gospel. You remember when John was baptizing down by the river? And one day he said, "Look! Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". That's the way he introduced Jesus to his society, the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. And He could not be the Lamb of God had He not been spotless. He could not have taken away our sin had He had sin because, listen, one person who has sin cannot die for another person who has sin. Both of them are guilty. There is no I'll do this for you, you do that for me. Everybody is guilty. There is, listen, there is none good, the Bible says within ourselves, "none good; no not one".

Only Jesus Christ could be considered totally good, the final sacrifice. And why did He come? He came to die for your sins and mine; so that you and I could be saved from our sins; we could be forgiven forever. And that our name could be written in the Lamb's Book of Life, as He says. The law of sacrifices was all about what? They sacrificed their lamb by faith in that sacrifice that God would forgive them of their sin. That sacrifice was only a symbol, but the Father accepted it because the final sacrifice was on its way. When somebody says, "It doesn't make any difference whether Jesus Christ was born of a virgin or not". It makes an eternal difference. It makes an eternal difference. Somebody says, "Well, wait a minute now. You mean to tell me that if I don't believe in the virgin birth, that I'm not going to heaven"?

I want you to listen to my answer very carefully. When I was twelve years of age, I fell at the altar of a church, and I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sins and to save me. At twelve years of age, I didn't even know anything about virgin birth. Did Jesus save me at the age of twelve? Yes! Listen carefully. It's one thing not to believe it because you're totally ignorant of it. It's something else to hear it and reject it. So let me ask you a question. How can any person accept... watch this carefully. How can any person accept Jesus Christ for who He is, the eternal virgin-born Son of God, how can any person accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and reject His virgin birth? You're rejecting the very essence of how He died and why He died for your sins.

Now I'm sure there are many people who've never given the virgin birth any thought. And the reason I'm spending all of this time to explain it is because it is very important that we believe it. And what I want you to see is not only why you should believe it, why you must believe it. It is God's perfect sacrifice for the sin of mankind who could not have been a normal birth and have the sin nature transferred to him. So, when somebody says to you, "Well, I believe in Jesus, but I don't believe in that virgin birth business". Well say, "Well, what do you believe"? In other words, if you don't believe He's virgin-born, what? "Well, I believe He was born just like everybody else". Mm-hm, okay. Then why did He die on a cross? "Well, He died for our sins". Well, what made it possible, why couldn't most anybody have died for your sins? "Well, I don't know". I'll tell you why. Because there's only one Person who's ever lived the sinless life and He lived a sinless life, He came into this world, not born like anyone else, but in a sinless condition. A birth by which the Holy Spirit conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, apart from any man, the very God who is our Savior and our Lord.

Does it make a difference? It makes all the difference. And the next time you see a manger scene, I hope you'll remember this isn't just something that planned from the beginning of the world; executed all the way through time and eternity to the Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross, made it possible for us to be saved. It makes a difference. You see, if that's not true, if I deny that that's so clearly written in the scriptures, and listen, watch this now. If I deny that, which is clearly given in the scriptures, how am I willing to base my eternal, listen, my eternal life? How am I to base any confidence I'm going to have at facing death, knowing that I'm going to die, if that's not true, what assurance do I have? There was only one sacrifice, the virgin-born Son of God, who came into this world, taking upon Himself human flesh at the moment the Holy Spirit conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. In that moment, He didn't become God, He was already God. In that moment He took upon Himself human flesh to walk among us, to reveal the Father and to ultimately die on the cross to make it possible for all of us to be saved.

Is it important? It sure is important, and I don't want you to ever forget it. And be willing to defend it. Listen. God's way not only in His plan for this world and eternity, and His plan for your life and my life, His way is always the best way. It's always the best way. Why? Because that's who He is. God doesn't do anything second rate. Everything He does is the best way. And it's my prayer that if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you do it immediately. You say, "Well, I've got time". You don't know that. "Well, there, there must be some other", there's no other way. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me". Why did He say it? Because there's only one Savior, one Man who's lived a perfect life who was counted worthy to die on the cross for our sins. And so, I would encourage you, my friend, whoever you are and wherever you are, to ask the Lord Jesus Christ, listen, based on who He is. He's the Son of God, seated at the Father's right hand to hear your prayer of forgiveness and surrendering your life to Him. And that's my prayer for you. Change your life, change your whole eternity.

Father, now grateful we are for Your love for us. Thank You for doing what You've done the way You've done it. We certainly cannot improve on it. And it's the most dramatic beautiful way You've brought about our salvation. All the way back from the Garden to this present moment, You've provided for us and we want to say thank You, thank You, thank You for Jesus Christ, Your blessed Son, in whose name we pray, amen.

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