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The Birth of Jesus

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2021 12:01 am

The Birth of Jesus

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 7, 2021 12:01 am

Jesus did not come to the world in royal garb. Instead, He assumed the posture of a servant from the time of His birth. Today, R.C. Sproul shows how God manifested both His power and Christ's humility in the birth of Jesus to a poor peasant virgin.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind. The first person to exercise any kind of skeptical questioning about the possibility the virgin birth was a virgin herself. At least she asked the question how can this be, since I know not a man. Worse for Mary to hear this message sounded absolutely impossible. This week we're enjoying Dr. RC schools overview of the Bible series called us to glory today in the busyness of the Christmas holiday season.

We have the opportunity of slowing down a bit and considering Mary shock when the angel appeared to her and her quiet, unwavering faith in accepting the Angels message.

I once heard a preacher give a message entitled, if I were God's strange title.

Be sure but in his sermon he engaged in some creative imagination.

He said that if he were God, and he decided to have his son come to this world, he would not have been born in a peasant village outside of Jerusalem would dress them up in something of the uniform of the blue Angels sore of space hero and have them descend from heaven go straight to the cross complete the work of redemption and then return. In other words he was saying I would send my son and royal garb make a great big splash and then depart from the sink.

That's not how God did, and there's a reason why God didn't do it that way.

As we saw with the concern of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus that Jesus came not only to die but to live that he came to be the second Adam the new Adam to do for us what Adam failed to do the first time around.

And so his mission was to be in submission to all of the requirements of God to take upon himself as the eternal logo also and the second person of the Trinity human nature and be born of a woman and to be born of the seed of David and so for the New Testament the birth of Jesus is of profound significance because it is the had meant of a manual, the one who comes as our mediator and who grows up in the nurture of the Lord who has to learn obedience, not from disobedience but in terms of an expanding understanding and awareness of all of the implications of his mission, but the birth of Jesus begins the humiliation of Christ that this indicates the willingness of the one who from all eternity was equal with God, who commented his equality with God, not as something to be jealously guarded but he was willing to empty himself of his glory, and to assume the posture the rank and the status of a servant. So as we look now at the birth of Jesus.

Let us not underestimate the significance of this D sanction the center not DIS SCN, but DE CEN SION because one of the climactic moments in the life of Jesus is his section, but before he ascends into heaven. He frequently remarks that no one ascends into heaven except the one who has first descended from heaven, and so on.

The Son of Man comes. He comes to us from glory to humiliation from heaven to earth and he first descends to this place and the D sanction comes to the womb of a peasant girl gives us this record of the birth of Jesus. We read in chapter 1 of the gospel according to St. Luke in verse 26, immediately following the record of the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist verse 26 of chapter 1 mall in the six-month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin's name was Mary and having come in, the angel said to her, rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women when she saw him she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

Imagine this here's this teenage girl unsophisticated, poor, and all of a sudden she's moaning or business. An angel appears to her and the angel appears with the command to rejoice in the cause for rejoicing is to be that she has found favor with God and she has been chosen of God for a profound and special blessing.

And yet, when she hears this, we are told that her initial response is that she's troubled LMA sound stranger may seem inconsistent when an angel of God comes in so you should be happy because you're going to receive a great blessing you would think that the person who had such an experience would be delirious with joy. But if you think about it for a few moments.

How would you feel if an angel of God intruded into your sedate existence and told you that you were about to embark on a special mission.

I think you would be troubled to the first thing you may be, and I'm sure that you were experiencing what their eyes were telling you you were experiencing and the angel recognizes her discomfort and said to her, do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus.

He will be great and will be called the son of the highest and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. Now we wonder how much of this announcement, Mary understood if we look at little bit later at the song that she sings under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the Magnificat, my soul doth magnify the and we see the content of that song, which reveals a profound understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures and prophecies.

If we assume that the content was not something simply delivered to her by divine inspiration, but that God under the inspiration of the spirit caused her to sing about things she already understood to some degree that we can only conclude that this announcement would not be completely arcane to Mary again. Listen to the terms of, you will conceive and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great.

He will be called the son of the highest and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Now, at the very least, Mary would understand that the angel is announcing to her that she is going to be the mother of a king, and that much is clear. If she has the smallest grasp of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, she would recognize that she's not simply going to be the mother of IK, but she's going to be the mother of the King, because clear in this message is the notion that she is about to give birth to Israel's long awaited Messiah, the one who will restore the throne of David and restore his fallen books. Mary is plunged. Apparently, even into more deep consternation. She says to the angel, how can this be, since I do not know a man now she's not saying I've never been acquainted with the man. The phrase I do not know a man is a Hebrew idiom to mean I have never been sexually involved with the me and I understand enough about biology Mary is saying to know that you can't have a baby without the normal process of procreation and I and disqualified from that because I'm a virgin, so perhaps you've come to the wrong address. Mr. Gabriel and we noticed a similar announcement in Matthew's gospel where he introduces the subject. In chapter 1 of Matthew by saying, 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 and Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. Now Joseph has to deal with this announcement as well. Mary at some point has to communicate to her Matrox time with child. What does that automatically mean Joseph, it means that his bride to be is been unfaithful while fighting read between the lines. I feel certain that Mary would've tried to explain this situation the Joseph and and yet he would have a hard time an extremely hard time being convinced of the veracity of what actually took place, and yet he has compassion. He cares for her. He wants to stop the marriage from being finalized with the same time he does want to make a public disgrace or scandal of her situation and he resolves to put her away quietly until there is more intervention 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 you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit and she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins and then Matthew immediately ties this to the prophecy of Isaiah that a virgin would conceive and bring forth a son, whose name would be called Emmanuel or God with us.

So in both accounts. In Matthew's record and in Luke's record the astonishing proclamation is set before the church that the circumstances of the birth of Jesus were extraordinary and miraculous that Jesus's birth was a virgin birth, appointed for some reason has been highly disputed in the last century or two in a somewhat unusual manner. I know all kinds of people who will say I believe in the resurrection of Christ. But I don't believe in the virgin birth, as if God's having his own son conceived in the womb of a woman who was a virgin somehow more difficult than raising that son from the dead.

We have to understand that the biblical account of the portrait of Jesus the Jesus that is presented in the pages of the New Testament is that Jesus whose life is ablaze with miracle.

His life begins with the miracle and it ends or begins again with Americo and in between the power of the living God is displayed in and through him constantly.

19th century liberalism that everything in its critical academic power to demythologized the pages of the New Testament and give us a different Jesus, a naturalized Jesus and Jesus stripped of the miraculous and the name of Bruner's work. Thus Midler or the mediator in its English translation when he summarized the Christology of 19th-century thought. He used one were to do it in the word that he used was this on only but as a matter of the historic Christian faith.

The New Testament record is clear. Jesus was born of a virgin. Let's go back to Luke's record of it.

The first person.

However who exercise any kind of skeptical questioning or doubt about the possibility the virgin birth was a virgin herself. At least she asked the question how can this be, since I know not a may was for Mary to hear this message sounded absolutely impossible. And the angel answered and said to her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the highest will overshadow you therefore also that holy one who is to be born will be called the son of God, and indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age and this is now the six months for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible. So the angel tries to answer the startled question of Mary and give her some assurance in the first thing he does is answers the question how how can this be in Garrison, let me tell you how it can be this child. It will be born will be born of the power of the Holy Ghost for the Holy Ghost will come upon you and the Holy Ghost will overshadow you know the language that is used here is significant because it is reminiscent of the same language that is found in the first chapter of the Bible. How did creation take place initially after we recall the description of the unordered universe of being without form and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Then it was that the spirit of God moved upon the water in the image that is used there in the language is suggestive of a bird hovering over the water, casting its shadow, and it's the same concept that is used here in Luke's gospel just as the Holy Spirit came upon the primordial waters and brought life in the initial creation. So the same power of God, the same spirit of holiness is going to be upon this virgin and overshadow her so that a child will be conceived in her womb and then the angel says no Mary. If you're having problems with this going to see your cousin Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, who was barren is now six months along. There is tangible evidence for you to examine understand the principle that with God all things are possible. It's rare that the Bible speaks so candidly about what is possible and what is impossible. I think it's interesting that the other point of Jesus life. The point of his resurrection. Statements are made there about possibility.

As we read that it was not possible for death to hold him. People today.

Look at the story of the resurrection. I say impossible can happen.

New Testament perspective is hundred 80° different New Testament perspective is what is impossible what is unthinkable would be for death to hold a man who was sinless, but death would have the power to claim permanently. The life of the son of God, that's impossible. There's no way but death could keep him in for all that depends on whether you understand Genesis 11 in the beginning God created the heavens and throw that away we can discuss possibilities and impossibilities forever, but if you make an affirmation that this universe has been created and is providentially governed and ruled by the self existent and eternal creator and snow difficult problem to see the manifestation of his power in the birth and in the resurrection of his son.

Laughter. This explanation is given to Mary again in Luke's gospel chapter 1 verse 38, Mary said, behold the maidservant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word and the angel departed from her. Let it be unto me, even according to your word. This is called in Roman Catholic theology.

Mary's Fiat what Protestantism historically regards a something of a misnomer. It's called a Fiat because the word Fiat refers back to the Latin imperative for because in the Vulgate when Mary says let it be. She uses the imperative form of the verb, and so it is the Fiat or the command but what she is saying there is not. I am commanding you owe Angel to bring this all to pass.

If she's making a commandment she's making it to herself as St. Thomas Aquinas himself said that on this occasion Mary is surrendering and acquiescing to the authority of God. She's not dictating what is to take place, but she is submitting to what has been announced to her by the messenger of God, and she say God you can do with me whatever you want to do if you want me to bear this child. It's scary thing to be the mother of the King.

The scary thing to tell my betrothal is the I'm going to have a baby when I haven't been with a man, but if this is what you want then I will do it than we are told shortly thereafter they came to pass.

The decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled and you know the rest of the story because we hear it every year, every time we celebrate Christmas, that the very moments that the most powerful ruler in the world issued a decree that would be oppressive to these people in poverty-stricken areas of Palestine because of his decree over and above is to create was the decree of Almighty God.

Determining that his son be born in Bethlehem as the had spoken through the prophet Micah centuries century walking through the story of Jesus birth reveals so many utterly miraculous events. Of course, the virgin birth is amazing, but to begin putting all the circumstances together from Elizabeth's pregnancy to the mandated senses. It reveals God's perfect and sovereign hand in all of it that really helps us celebrate the upcoming Christmas season a little better doesn't it make you listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Tuesday timely web and that this week we're hearing portions of Dr. RC Sproul's overview of the Bible is called us to glory were concentrating this week on the early New Testament.

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