Summary: Sermon regarding the textual evidence and the theological significance of the virgin birth of Christ
Text: Matthew 1:18-25, Title: The Virgin Birth, Date/Place: NRBC, 12/13/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: A group of Bible scholars have unanimously agreed that Jesus had a human father, but they are uncertain who it was. Thus, according to these scholars, Jesus was not born of a virgin, was not conceived by the Holy Spirit, was and is not literally the Son of God, but is in the same category with other great religious leaders who were conceived and born in the usual manner. The article states that the birth narratives found in Matthew and Luke are fictitious. The church fabricated the story about the virgin birth of Jesus in order to give Him more status, according to these scholars. The seminar admits there is some uncertainty concerning who the father of Jesus was. Some say Joseph, some say Mary was raped, but none are willing to accept the biblical narrative at face value. The biblical account of Mary’s miraculous conception by the power of the Holy Spirit is dismissed by these scholars as a theological statement having no historical validity. A poll of 7,441 Protestant clergy showed a wide variation in belief. The following ministers do NOT believe in the virgin birth: American Lutherans 19%, American Baptists 34%, Episcopalians 44%, Presbyterians 49%, Methodists 60%, Millard Erickson says, “Next to the resurrection, the most debated and controversial event of Jesus’ life is the virgin birth.”
B. Background to passage: Last week we saw the announcement of the highly favored status of Mary and Jesus, particularly from Mary’s perspective. This week we will see what immediately follows, as Mary is found pregnant by Joseph.
C. Main thought: These two texts are clear testimony to the biblical evidence of the virgin birth, and here’s why it is so important to our faith.
A. Textual Evidence
1. I am going to give you six reasons from this text that testify to the truth of the doctrine of the virgin birth. 1) Matthew corroborates, or I guess provides the basis for, Luke’s claim that Joseph and Mary were in a betrothal period. Explain Jewish marriages. 2) He specifically states that this text recounts a time “before” (and undisputed word in the Greek manuscripts) they had come together. This would have meant before they lived together and before they enjoyed any sexual relations. 3) Next the text says that she was found to be with child “of the Holy Spirit.” If fact it makes this declaration twice, as later God says to Joseph that the child “conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” So explicitly we are told that the Holy Spirit is the father of the child that Mary is carrying. 4) Joseph was going to divorce her privately, rather than have her stoned to death, because she was pregnant during the betrothal time, and he was not the father. 5) Matthew also reminds us that this virgin birth was prophesied long ago, and that Jews of his day were expecting a Messiah with a miraculous birth; and that His name would be called “Immanuel.” 6) And finally the last two verses in this text say explicitly that Joseph went through with the marriage ceremony, and yet did not consummate the marriage until after Jesus was born (which also assumes that normal marital relations began after that time). And note that Joseph named Him Jesus, as he was commanded.
2. Jer 31:22, Isa 7:14, Gen 3:15, Gal 4:4, Luke 1:34-35,
3. Illustration: tell of the JW who asked me about this verse,
4. So the obvious teaching of scripture is that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. This is obviously supernatural. It obviously defies logical explanations that don’t involve supernatural occurrences. We must take this by faith. We must just choose to believe. Now you must decide if you will allow your mind to believe and trust in something that makes no sense. And if so, you must believe the rest of the scripture that says if you want to see heaven, you must be born again; and if you want to follow Jesus you must take up your cross and die; be willing to forsake your family, money, your own life also; you must believe that God made something from nothing; that the Red Sea parted; the Jordan River stopped; that ax heads floated, and donkeys talked, and fire fell, blind saw, dead rose, most importantly Jesus rose, and is alive today and forever more! The evidence is clear. The manuscripts are numerous, more than any ancient document. They are accurate beyond belief. Will you believe? Why is it that important?
1. The virgin birth is something that we sing about in every song, and we all believe it. Why is it important enough to preach a whole sermon about it? It is what one preacher called a domino doctrine, very much like the resurrection. It is attacked from lots for different angles, but if it falls, lots of doctrine falls. 1) Take for example the inerrancy of Scripture (explain). I have just made the case, clearly I think, that the scripture clearly teaches the virgin birth. If it is not true, then neither are the scriptures. 2) There are a number of things about Christ that are called to question if the virgin birth is not true: a) His deity, for one, b) His sinlessness, for another, c) His Sonship for another. 3) Also the preexistence of Christ would be ruled out without the virgin birth, for Jesus would had had an earthly father, and a time of beginning, which the doctrine of the eternality of Christ in scripture teaches that He did not have. 4) If he was only a created being, the gospel and atonement of Christ for our sins would have been called into question, for He would not be able to bear the sins of millions, nor pay the debt, nor live a sinless life. 5) If the virgin birth was not real, then you must ascribe promiscuity to Mary, and untruthfulness to God for indicating that it really was a virgin birth in so many places. 6) And finally if the virgin birth is not true, and Jesus was not really God, His name was not really Immanuel, and therefore was not God with us. And if this promise is not true, that famous closing line to the Great Commission that He will be with us always, is also not true, because He is not God, and He is dead!