14 December 2007

John MacArthur on the virgin birth (part 4)

Part 4 of Pastor MacArthur's message on the birth of Christ to a chaste virgin. There are many who don't think this kind of thing is possible. It doesn't make rational sense. These people don't know the God that we know. To Him, all things are possible.

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.

At the great commission at the end of Matthew, chapter 28 verse 19, we are to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second Corinthians, as you will remember, the last verse of 2 Corinthians says the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. There are numerous references to the fact that God though one God is three persons.

That is the first thing that lays the foundation for the virgin birth. God, listen to me, doesn't have to fully create a Son, one already eternally exists, understood? The second member of the trinity, eternal God, is literally put into human flesh to be born of a virgin.

When the virgin conception took place, God and Man came together. And that was because the only one who has a right to reign and a right to rule is not just Son of David, but Son of God, Psalm 2.

So you have the Old Testament foundation and you have the foundation in the doctrine of the trinity. The third foundation comes in the duties of Messiah, or in the work of Messiah, the person and work of Messiah.

What do I mean by that? Well, now follow this very carefully, I'm going to show you something that's critical to the Christian faith, absolutely critical. Turn to Isaiah 43, we're going to hang around Isaiah awhile, so for just the remainder of time this morning, so don't leave it, and bounce back a little bit, but just kind of stay in Isaiah 43 is the main portion.

In Isaiah 43 I want you to notice verse 11...verse 11. The prophet is quoting God here, "Thus says the Lord," the chapter begins, the Lord is speaking, verse 10, "Declares the Lord." This is the Lord speaking, first person, verse 11, "I, even I am the Lord," and listen to this, "and there is no...what?...Savior besides Me." No Savior besides Me. Humm...chapter 45 verse 22, "Turn to Me and be saved all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other." Everybody on the face of the earth who wants to be saved has to turn to Him, He alone saves...He alone saves. God, says Titus 1, our Savior. God, says Titus 2, our Savior. God, says Titus chapter 3, our Savior. God is our Savior. "Who is a pardoning God like You?" God is a saving God. He is by nature a Savior. Paul says to Timothy, "God our Savior, the Savior of all men."

What's interesting about that? What's interesting about that is Matthew...just let me read it to you...Matthew 1:21, Jesus is going to come into the world, verse 21, "You shall call His name Jesus for it is He who will save His people from their sins." Now let me draw a simple conclusion. If there is one God and He alone is Savior and Jesus is Savior, then who is Jesus? He's God...unmistakably...unmistakably.

In Luke chapter 2 the announcement comes in verse 11 to the shepherds, "Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Messiah the Lord." God is the only Savior, Jesus is a Savior, therefore Jesus is God. That is a rational syllogism. In fact, Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there's none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, except the name of Jesus." And the Samaritans were right when they named Jesus the Savior of the world.

Back to Isaiah 43 again, and I want you to notice another thing that God says is true only of Himself. Verse 14, Isaiah 43:14, "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer...the Lord, your Redeemer, the holy One of Israel." Verse 14...the Lord identifies Himself not only as your Savior, but as your Redeemer. There is no other Redeemer.

Hosea 13:14, "I will ransom them from the power of Sheol, I will redeem them from death." In Luke chapter 1 verse 68, that familiar verse we've read a couple of times, Zacharias says, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people." God is the Redeemer and yet it says in Galatians 3:13 about Jesus, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law."

If God is the only redeemer and Christ redeemed us, then Christ is God. It necessitates a virgin conception and virgin birth for God to be born in the world and Jesus is God, therefore it is understandable that He was born this way. First Peter 1 says, "You were not redeemed with silver or gold, or anything like that, but with the precious blood of Jesus." He is the Redeemer, since God alone redeems, He is God. Since He is God, the Son of God, the second member of the trinity, preexisting, coming into human life, it had to be by means of a miraculous coming together of what is divine and what is human and that is the virgin conception and birth.

Furthermore, back to Isaiah 43 and verse 15, actually verse 14, God defines Himself as the holy One. Verse 15, "I am the Lord your holy One." I don't have time to go all through the whole Old Testament and tell you how many, many, many times God called Himself holy. He refers to His holiness over and over and over again and you have in the text I read you this morning, Luke 1:35 this word from Gabriel to Mary, "The Holy Spirit is going to come upon you, the power of the Most High is going to overshadow you and you're going to bring forth a holy offspring."

If any man says he has no sin, he's a liar, isn't he? How can you have a holy offspring? Only if that child is God in human flesh. In Isaiah 43:15, "I am the Lord your holy One, further, the creator of Israel...listen to this...your King." God says I'm your King. Zechariah 14:9 God says, "I am your King...I'm your King, I'm your only Savior, I'm your only Redeemer, I'm the only holy One, and I am your King and you don't have more than one sovereign, do you? And yet it is said of Jesus in His conversation with Pilate...Pilate said to Him, "Are you a King?" And Jesus says back, "Yes, you have so said it." And what kind of King? Revelation 19:16 says He has a name written on Him and it is King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no other explanation for Jesus Christ than that He is the Savior God, the Redeemer God, the holy God, and the sovereign God in human flesh and that necessitated a miraculous virgin conception and birth.

All of that leads to Deuteronomy 6:13 where we were earlier in Deuteronomy. Don't go back to it. In Deuteronomy 6 after saying the Lord is our God, the Lord is one, love Him with all your heart, soul and might, it says in verse 13, "Worship the Lord your God and Him only....Worship the Lord your God and Him only." And yet Hebrews 1 says, "And when He brought the firstborn into the world, Christ, He said, 'Let all the angels of God worship Him.'" If God Himself calls the angels and men to worship Christ and worship is reserved only for God, then Christ is God.

Isaiah 50...Isaiah 45 again, verse 23, I can't resist these cause they're so foundational, just two more. Verse 23, "I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back...now listen to this, this is what God says...that to Me, God, every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance and they will say of Me, 'Only in the Lord.'" I want every knee and I want every tongue, I want every bowed knee and every sworn allegiance to Me and Me alone. That's God.

You remember Philippians 2, this is what God says about Christ. "God has highly exalted Him, given Him a name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow." If God demands that every knee bow and every tongue acknowledge His sovereignty, and swear allegiance to Him, and God calls for that for Christ, then there's only one conclusion, Christ is God. This is the Christian faith and anything other than this is not.

The forty-second chapter of Isaiah and I will end with this passage, verse 8, "I am the Lord, that is My name. I will not give My glory to anybody else....I will not give My glory to anybody else." That is an absolute unilateral statement, and yet it tells us in John 1, really pretty amazing, in John 1, "That the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory." And in John 12:41 it says, "Isaiah saw His glory and spoke of Him." Isaiah saw the Messiah and saw that He would bear the glory of God.

So, if you think that somebody just invented the virgin birth, if you think that some people just trumped it up to sort of elevate Jesus above the hoi polloi, guess again. The Old Testament said it would come, the trinity makes it a reality, and the very nature and work of Jesus Christ demands it. This is the foundation of the virgin birth.

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