Robert Jeffress - Simply Christmas - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". What sort of traditions do you enjoy at Christmas? Maybe you make a treasured family recipe or you gather for a special celebration on Christmas Eve. Just about every family has a favorite way to celebrate Christmas, but today we're going to set aside all the glitter and lights to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. My message is titled "Simply Christmas" on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
In the fullness of time, at just the right time God sent forth his Son. How? How did he do it? Well, it tells us here, again, he was born of a woman. What does that mean, born of a woman? What's the big deal? Everybody is born of a woman, aren't they? How many of you were born of a woman? Now, this is why this is unique. First of all, this is a reference to Jesus's virgin birth. Let me show you what I mean. Jesus was born of a woman, but he was unique in that he was born only of a woman. His Father was God himself, and that was part of prophecy. Second... or pardon me. Isaiah 7:14, written 740 years early, said, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive".
Now, you've heard me say before that word, Hebrew word almah, virgin in Isaiah 7:14 simply means young woman. It can be a virgin, somebody who's not had sexual experience, but it doesn't have to be a virgin. There's a reason Isaiah in Hebrew used that more general term because there was a near fulfillment in Isaiah's day of a woman who would give birth. As assigned to Isaiah, she did it the old-fashioned way, but it was also a far reference to the ultimate fulfillment in the coming of Jesus who would be born of a virgin. It's interesting in Matthew 1:23 that when Matthew, writing in the Greek language, quotes Isaiah 7:14. He's not writing in Hebrew, he's writing in Greek. And when he comes to that term virgin to refer to Christ, he uses the Greek word parte de nos, which means one thing only; virgin, somebody who has never had a sexual relationship with a man before. Jesus was born of a virgin.
Why is that essential? I could spend a whole series talking about the necessity of the virgin birth, but here's one reason why it was absolute necessary. It is the only way he would be qualified to be the Messiah and sit and rule on the throne of David forever and ever. Let me show you why that's true. According to 2 Samuel 7, verse 12, the Messiah would have to be somebody who was a descendant of King David. In fact, in 2 Samuel 7, verse 12 God said to David, "I will raise up your descendant after you who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom". Every Jew knew the Messiah had to be a descendant of David, and that's why when you come to the Gospel of Matthew, which was written to the Jews, Matthew goes through that long genealogy of Jesus. That makes many of us give up on our read through the Bible in a year program. After we get to Matthew 1, we think, "Oh my gosh, what does this have to do with anything"?
The point is Jesus was the Messiah, and because he met the qualifications of the Messiah. Matthew shows all the way from David through Joseph down to Jesus how Jesus was qualified to be the Messiah. He was a descendant of David, but here's the problem. Here's the problem. One of David's descendants not long after him was a king named Jeconiah, and Jeconiah, who came after David, was so evil that God pronounced a curse on Jeconiah. It's found in Jeremiah 22:30. And God said, "Jeconiah, because of your disobedience, I'm going to curse your descendants so nobody who comes after you can sit on the throne of David and rule with prosperity".
Now, that presented a real problem. You've got David here, you've got Jeconiah here, and then the Messiah underneath here. The Messiah had to be related to King David, but he could not be a descendant of Jeconiah. He would have been inherited the curse. So how do you have a Messiah who inherits the right to rule from David but escapes the curse of Jeconiah? Talk about a knotty problem. How could you solve that? There's only one way: through a virgin birth. You see, Jesus by escaping having Joseph as his biological father escaped the curse of Jeconiah. Joseph was not Jesus's biological father, God was. So because Joseph was not his biological father, he escaped the curse, but the right to rule always came through the father. And by being a descendant of David, Joseph as Jesus's legal guardian, not his biological father but as his legal guardian, was able to pass on the right to rule to his son.
Jesus would have the right to rule and yet he escaped the curse all through his virgin birth. Who could have come up with a plan like that except God himself? And that's why when you turn to Matthew 1:16 it says, "Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah". That phrase by whom is in the feminine singular in Greek. That means by whom does not refer to Joseph and Mary. It only refers to Mary. When we talk about Jesus, or talk about children today we say, you know, they're the son or daughter, and we name the parents. Here it only says Jesus was the son of Mary, a reference to the virgin birth. I think this phrase born of a woman, first of all, relates to Jesus's virgin birth, but secondly it is a reference to the humanity of Jesus.
Jesus didn't come into the world as some other world alien. No. He came as a human being. Jesus was 100% God, but he was 100% man as well; and because of that, not only was he qualified to be our sin substitute but he also is able to understand you and understand me because he came in human flesh in the person of Jesus and there is nothing you experience, no heartache, no temptation, no disappointment, that Jesus hasn't already experienced. He knows what it's like to be deserted by family and friends.
He knows what it's like to be betrayed by the person closest to you. He knows what many of you have faced even this past year of standing at the grave of somebody you love dearly. He knows all of that. He's been there. He understands the minor irritations of everyday life, having a sore throat, crawling out of bed early in the morning when you don't feel like it to go to work. He's been there before, and that's why the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:15 and 16, talking about Jesus, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are and yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need".
No matter what you're going through you can talk to Jesus about it, knowing he understands it. Ain't that a great truth? He was born of a woman. Where? Where did this happen? Look, again, at verse 4. He was born under the law. Born of a woman, but born under the law. What does that mean? It means that, as Jesus said, he didn't come to abolish the Old Testament law but to fulfill it. You see, the Bible says cursed is every man who does not obey all things written in the law. You may obey more things than I obey in the law, but it really doesn't matter. If we break one of the laws, we're guilty of breaking all of the laws. That's why we need a Savior. Jesus came and he met all of God's requirements.
If Jesus had broken any of the laws, when he died he would have been dying for his own sins; but the fact that he obeyed God completely, fulfilled the requirements of the law, again, makes him the only adequate substitute for our sin. He was born under the law. And then finally, why. This is the most important. Why did God go to all of this trouble and make this elaborate plan to send Jesus into the world? Well, he answers the why question this way. First of all, he said in order to redeem us, to redeem us. That word redeem is a beautiful word in the Greek language. It's the word exagorazo. Ex is a prefix that means out of. Agorazo comes from the word agora, which refers to the marketplace in both the Greek and the Roman cultures.
In Paul's day, if you wanted to buy a slave you would go to the agora, the marketplace. There the slaves would be placed in shackles upon a block and sold to the highest bidder. Once you paid the required price, that slave was yours to do whatever you want to do with the slave. You could torture the slave. You could slit the slave's throat. You could work the slave to death. He belonged to you because you had paid the necessary price. Now, that's the word picture of redeem. Exagorazo means to pay the price to take the slave out of the marketplace.
Ladies and gentlemen, you and I are born into this world shackled to Satan himself. We are slaves of Satan. We are born alienated from God. Satan absolutely hates us and has nothing good planned for us in this life and nothing good in the next life. We are born of slaves of sin and Satan, but the Bible says that God for no other reason than the great love with which he loved you he sent his Son Jesus to pay the necessary price to redeem us, to free us, to break Satan's death hold on us. And why did he do that? What was his motivation for doing that? He was motivated by love, but what was his purpose? I couldn't believe it this week.
I heard perhaps the finest Bible teacher in America talking about why did God redeem our sin. He paid the price, he redeemed us to set us free, this pastor said. To set us free? No, no, 1,000 times no. If you pay the price in Paul's day to redeem a slave, you didn't set the slave free. That slave became your slave, your servant. Ladies and gentlemen, when we trust in the payment Christ made for us it doesn't mean that we no longer have a master, it doesn't mean we have no master. Redemption means we have a new master. Our new Master is God himself who loves us and has nothing but our good in mind, but we do belong to him.
That's why 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20 says, "Do you not know you are not your own? You've been bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body". Why did he do this? First of all, to redeem us, to free us; but there's a second reason he gives in Galatians 4:5, and that is that we might receive the adoption as sons. He did this in order to adopt us into his family. Now, stay with me for just a second. This may seem contradictory. It's true we become servants of God. We have an obligation to him, but once we become a part of God's family we are no longer slaves who have no rights. We don't even enter his family as children with limited rights. God places us into his family as sons and daughters with full rights as an adult child of God.
That's what he's talking about. You have to understand something about the culture, whether it was the Jewish culture, the Greek culture, or the Roman culture. There was always a time in a child's life when they moved from childhood to adulthood. Know the son in Jewish culture on the Sabbath after his 12th birthday would go through the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Know what the word Bar Mitzvah means? Bar, son of. Mitzvah, commandment. He moved from being a son of his father to being a son of the law. It was a level of responsibility that he had. The Greeks had their own ceremony. The Romans had the ceremony called liberalia, and it was a ceremony in which somewhere between the ages of 14 to 17 at a time designated by the father the father would have his son leave his toys behind and actually burn them and sacrifice them to one of the gods and he was now a son with the full rights and privileges as a son.
Now, it's against that background that Paul says when we enter into God's family we do so adopted as sons, meaning we have the same rights and privilege as God's beloved Son Jesus Christ, the co-region of the universe. You know what that means specifically? When you become a part of God's family, first of all you have the same position with God that Jesus has, the same position. That is, in God's eyes you're sinless. He views you just as he does his Son Jesus Christ because you are in Jesus. He sees you as sinless no matter what your flaws are.
Secondly, you have the same privileges of God, of Jesus the Son. That means you can ask God for anything. Is Jesus bashful about asking God for something? "Oh, I better not ask that. That's too big for God". He asked him for anything, and you and I can as well. Now, that doesn't mean God answers our every prayer request with a positive reply. Did you know God didn't even answer every one of Jesus's prayers? Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane said, "God, let this experience of the cross pass from me". God said no. Jesus acquiesced and said, "Okay, not my will, but your will be done". But we can ask him for anything.
1 John 5:14 says, "And this is the confidence we have before him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us". We have the same position. We have the same privilege. Thirdly, we have the same power that operated in Jesus's life. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in your life if you're a Christian giving you power over temptation, over stress, over worry, and ultimately power over the grave. We are adopted as sons into the family of God. That's why he sent Jesus. Why did he do it? "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law in order that he might redeem those who were under the law and that we might receive the adoption as sons". God be praised for what he has done for us through Jesus.