2010 11-7 “A SON WILL BE BORN” LUKE 1:26-33

LUKE 1:26-33

I. Introduction
“A child will be born!” How many parents have heard those words with great joy and anticipation? Ever since the births of Cain and Abel it has been obvious to all who see a pregnant mother that a child will soon be born. But it’s only very recently that the baby’s gender can be determined before birth.

Amniocentesis, a sampling of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby in the womb, is 100% accurate at determining the baby’s gender. Ultrasound is 80-90% accurate. There are a few other tests that can be used but they are only rarely administered today. Finally, there is a myriad of “old wives tales” that some people are convinced are really accurate. Of course, they always have a 50% chance of being right, don’t they?

This morning we will focus on one conception in particular. It is without a doubt the most remarkable conception ever. It literally produced the Son of God incarnate. Now to be sure, this world has seen some amazing births, hasn’t it? We’ve all heard of the “Octomom,” who gave birth to eight children in California last year. That was the result of in vitro fertilization. Those eight children are commonly known as “test tube babies.”

The first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in England in 1978. In 1934 the Dionne quintuplets were born in Canada. In 1974 the Rosenkowitz sextuplets were born in South Africa. In 1997 the McCaughey (“McCoy”) septuplets were born in Iowa. All of these multiple births made news. They made history too. Women who previously could not conceive had children. Women gave birth to five, six, seven, and even eight children at once. And now conception is even possible by processes begun outside the womb. All of this is amazing and history proves them all.

In the passage in Luke we’ll study this morning, the angel Gabriel tells a young Jewish girl that she would “…bear a son…” That’s good news. But it’s even more! Gabriel wasn’t bringing a lab report from the doctor’s office. He wasn’t looking at the test results from amniocentesis or reading an ultrasound.

This was truly remarkable because in that day no one could possibly know the gender of an unborn baby. But what was more remarkable still was the fact that this young girl wasn’t pregnant! She had never known a man. She was a virgin. So if the angel had only told Mary that a child would be born to her, she would have been amazed enough. But Gabriel went further. He told her the baby would be a boy. “A Son will be born.”
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II. Text
I want to begin by reading from a translation of the Bible with which you may not be familiar. It is a very literal translation taken directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts.
This translation (The Complete Jewish Bible) was finished in 1998 by David Stern, a Messianic Jewish scholar (a Christian) living in Jerusalem.
Matthew 1:18-23.
18 Here is how the birth of Yeshua the Messiah took place. When His mother Miryam was engaged to Yosef, before they were married, she was found to be pregnant from the Ruach HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit].
19 Her husband-to-be, Yosef, was a man who did what was right; so he made plans to break the engagement quietly, rather than put her to public shame.
20 But while he was thinking about this, an angel of Adonai [the Lord] appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach HaKodesh.
21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Yeshua [which means, ‘Adonai saves,’] because He will save His people from their sins.”
22 All this happened in order to fulfill what Adonai had said through the prophet [Isaiah],
23 “The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call Him Immanuel.” [meaning, “God is with us.”]

When a Jew refuses to believe in Jesus because he thinks a virgin birth is impossible, even the Tanakh, his own Scriptures, and Isaiah the prophet stand in opposition to him. Messiah’s virgin birth is central to Christianity. Listen, it must be true or there is no Christianity. If there is no virgin birth there is no salvation. If there is no virgin birth there is no hope.
*Luke 1:26-33 (stand)
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And coming in, he said to her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
29 But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.
30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son and you shall call Him Jesus.
32 “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;
33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”

The OT prophesied much about the baby to whom Mary would give birth.
In Deuteronomy Moses said The Messiah would come. In The Psalms David said the Messiah would rule the world. Daniel prophesied the time of His coming. Micah told the Jews where He would be born. Isaiah said the Jewish Messiah would die for the sins of His people, and that He would be born of a virgin.
Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

But the lost world doesn’t believe. After Jesus’ resurrection He was traveling with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The two men did not recognize Him and expressed amazement that Jesus was reported to have been resurrected and was alive. He replied…
*Luke 24:25-26
25 “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

Jesus was saying that if we would just believe the prophecies of the OT, the testimonies of the NT would make perfect sense. If we would just believe the prophecies of the OT, we would clearly see that Jesus Christ is exactly who He says He is. It is precisely such an honest and unbiased appraisal of the OT that has finally drawn countless unbelieving Jews to saving faith in Christ.

This morning’s passage in Luke tells us of the announcement of an amazing birth. It speaks of the coming fulfillment of OT prophecy. To someone who has already rejected the validity of prophetic truth and God’s working of miracles to accomplish His purposes, the virgin birth is nothing more than a religious fantasy. But to Christians, those who believe God’s Word and are thrilled by what He says and what He does, the virgin birth is fundamental to everything they believe. It is, in fact, a “fundamental of the faith.”
*Luke 1:26-27
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The sixth month spoken of here is the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist. Mary lived with her family in Nazareth, a small and insignificant village located about eighty miles north of Jerusalem. It wasn’t on any of the trade routes of the day. It was completely “off the beaten path.” Neither the OT nor secular historians such as Flavius Josephus ever even mention it. But we know it was there because archaeolo-gical evidence has proved beyond any doubt that it existed in the first century.

What do we know of Mary, this young virgin to whom the angel Gabriel appears?
We know she was young, very young, by today’s standards. The Jewish custom of the day called for girls to be engaged by the time they were twelve or thirteen years of age. The engagement would be arranged by the girl’s parents and was both legal and binding. It would be fulfilled one year later when the couple would be married. During their engagement they did not live together so that the girl could prove her faithfulness and purity, and the boy could prepare a home for them when they were finally married.

In v. 27 both Mary’s virginity and her future husband’s name are plainly stated. Joseph is a descendant of David. Obviously Joseph was not Jesus’ natural father but according to Jewish law, his adoption of the baby legitimized Jesus’ status as a descendant and heir of King David. Therefore, as Joseph’s legal son, Jesus has the right to David’s throne.

We are told nothing of Mary except the she was a virgin. Though it is clear that she was righteous and obedient, we know nothing of her parents. The Roman Catholic doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception,” whereby Mary was somehow preserved free from original sin while still in her mother’s womb, is completely unfounded. It is a fabrication of men. Scripture never teaches any such thing.
*Luke 1:28-30
28 And coming in, (Gabriel) said to her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
29 But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.
30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.

The words, “Hail, favored one!” have been grossly misinterpreted and misunderstood, with the result that they have been misapplied and have therefore led to all sorts of false teaching and unscriptural doctrines. “Hail” is translated from a common word which means nothing more than “Hello” or “Greetings.” Misuse of that simple Greek word is the foundation of the “Ave Maria” or the “Hail Mary.”

When translated from Greek to Latin, the words “favored one,” become “gratia plena.” When the words “gracia plena” are translated from Latin to English, they become, “…full of grace.” And so we have, “Hail Mary, full of grace.” The Roman Catholic Church uses that as a basis for all sorts of error. For example, they say that the Virgin Mary possesses so much grace that she can give it to whomever she wishes. Rome has made Mary not just the recipient of grace, but the dispenser of it as well.
Listen to Pope Pius IX.
“(Mary is)…the seat of all divine graces…adorned with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit…an almost infinite treasury, and inexhaustible abyss of these gifts.”

Listen to Pope Leo XIII.
“Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God.”
Listen to Pope Pius X.
“(Mary is the)…Dispensatrix (dispenser) of all the gifts that our Savior pur-chased for us by His death and by His blood; (she is) the supreme minister of the distribution of the graces; the distributor of the treasures of (Christ’s) merits.”

In 1954, based on these and other Papal pronouncements made throughout the centuries, Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott, in his book The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma wrote,
“Since Mary’s (bodily) assumption into heaven no grace is conferred on man without her actual intercessory co-operation.”

Such a view of this young Jewish girl is thoroughly unbiblical. It attempts to makes Mary into something she never was and never could be. It has become the basis of what is often called “Mariolatry,” the veneration and worship of a sinner. How do we know that Mary is a sinner? She says so herself. In Luke 1:38 she refers to herself as “the bondslave of the Lord.” Then in v. 47 she says that she rejoices in God her Savior.

If the Roman Catholic teachings of the “Immaculate Conception” (being born free from original sin), and her ability to dispense the graces of God were true, then Mary wouldn’t need a savior, would she? But, just like you and me, she does. There is only one Savior. Jesus said, “…no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)

So the Virgin Mary is not the “co-redemptrix” and dispenser of grace to the human race.
Ephesians 1:7
7 In (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.

Neither is the Virgin Mary the “mediatrix” between God and man. Nor does she hear and answers our prayers.
1 Timothy 2:5
5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

The Virgin Mary was purely and simply a godly and obedient young girl whom God, by His own sovereignty and for His own good pleasure, chose for the purpose of bringing the Jewish Messiah, the Christ, into this world at His appointed time.

Turning Mary into something she was not serves only to cloud the plain truth that this girl was a simple and humble servant of God. If you would think highly of her, think highly of her for that. Strive to emulate that. The biggest problem with “Maryology” theology and “Maryolatry” idolatry is this. It leads to the worship of someone other than Jesus Christ! Worshipping something or someone other than Christ is blasphemy. I know no other word for it.

And one more thing about this – In vv. 28, 30, when Gabriel called Mary “favored,” he was only saying that she was the recipient of God’s grace.
He was using the very same word that the Apostle Paul used of all Christians.
Ephesians 1:5-6
5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6 to the praise and glory of His grace (favor), which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (Christ).

The grace God bestowed upon the Virgin Mary was just like the grace bestowed upon you and on me. It had nothing whatsoever to do with any merit of hers, just as the grace God has bestowed on us has nothing whatsoever to do with any merit of our own.

Now look again at Luke 1:29. It says Mary was “greatly troubled” by Gabriel’s appear-ance. I’ll bet. But this isn’t the same as six months earlier when the angel had appeared to Zacharias. When Zacharias had seen Gabriel back in v. 12 “fear gripped him.” What’s the difference here? Zacharias was afraid that he may have done something wrong, that he may have dishonored God in the carrying out of his priestly service.

Mary seems to have wondered why she, knowing she was a sinner, would find favor with God. The Greek text indicates that while she was no doubt initially frightened by Gabriel’s appearance, she was more amazed at the situation than terrified.
*Luke 1:31
31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son and you shall call Him Jesus.

Here it is! It is God’s announcement and confirmation of the impossible. But are not all things possible with God? So a virgin will bear a son. Remember? Isaiah prophesied it, didn’t he? “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

I said it earlier and now I will say it again. The virgin birth is fundamental to biblical Christianity. There are three reasons why such a birth is essential for God to accomplish the redemption of lost men and women.
1. In order for someone to redeem and save us, He must be human. No angel could save us from our sins.
2. In order for someone to redeem and save us, He must be divine. No mortal could save us from our sins.
3. In order for someone to redeem and save us, He must be found without sin. No sinner could save us from our sins.

Only the One born of a virgin birth could meet those conditions.
1. Because Jesus Christ was born of a woman, He was fully human.
2. Because Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit of God, He was fully God.
3. Because Jesus Christ was born without a sin nature, He was qualified to redeem and save us from our sins.
Only Jesus Christ could bridge the gap. He was human – the Son of Man, He was divine – the Son of God. And He was without sin! Someone asks, “If Mary was a sinner and she gave birth to Jesus, why didn’t her sin nature pass through to Him?”

That’s a good question. Here’s the answer. Even though Adam and Eve both committed sin, the sin nature is passed down from generation to generation through the father, not through the mother.
Romans 5:12
12 Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death spread through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

So Jesus had to be born without a human father. Therefore the virgin birth was the only way that could happen. Do you see why you must believe in the virgin birth of Christ? If Jesus’ father was Joseph, or as some cynics have said, a Roman soldier, then the Lord would have been a sinner by nature, and would be unable to save us. So you see? Jesus Christ is the Son of Man (woman) and the Son of God. He is fully human, He is fully God, and He will save any and all sinners who will put their faith and their trust in Him.

The virgin birth – a fundamental of the faith! The true church has held to it for two thousand years. But the tragedy today is that the church is walking away from it. The world is working its way into the church as it never has in the past. Unbelieving Jews have called the virgin birth a hoax. Scoffers have called it a myth. And now, tragically, much of the professing church no longer believes it either. I am not overstating the case.

I have proof. Twelve years ago, in 1998, the Harris Group polled seven thousand Protestant clergy in the United States.
• 19% of all Lutheran pastors denied belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
• 34% of all Baptist pastors denied it. So did…
• 44% of all Episcopal priests
• 49% of all Presbyterian pastors
• 60% of all Methodist pastors and…
• 79% of all Congregational pastors do not believe in the virgin birth.

That means they do believe that Jesus was just a man. On that point they are in agree-ment with Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, and virtually all agnostics and atheists. Yet these pastors still call themselves “Christians.”

And worse, they lead countless millions of souls into nothing more significant than some form of “social gospel.” You know, “Be nice, love everyone, feed the poor, and by the way, there really is no such thing as sin and hell.” And finally, “Jesus was a wonderful man, but of course, He was just a man.” Well, without the virgin birth, He was just a man! The seminaries that turn out most of today’s pastors, the churches that hire them, and the pastors themselves, have all been very effective at spreading their unbelief.
In 1998 that same Harris poll found that 83% of Americans believed in the virgin birth. Ten years later, just two years ago, Harris says that number had fallen to 61%. But we should not be surprised, should we?
*2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires;
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
*Luke 1:32-33
32 “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;
33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”

Jesus’ greatness is unequaled. Back in Luke 1:15 Gabriel qualified the greatness of John the Baptist by saying, “…he will be great in God’s sight.” Later, in Luke 7:28, Jesus will say, “…among those born of women, there is no one greater than John…” But here in v. 32 there are no such qualifiers or comparisons. To whom could Jesus be compared?

Because Jesus is the Son of the Most High God, He will sit on the throne of David. No one else could. This is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.
2 Samuel 7:16 (God’s words spoken to David by the Prophet Nathan.)
16 “…your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”

We know that Jesus will rule this world from David’s throne in Jerusalem after the Second Coming. That reign will extend through the thousand year Messianic (Millen-nial) Kingdom. But that’s only the beginning. That’s still here on this earth in this fallen creation. But Jesus will reign forever and ever. In the new heaven and the new earth, in the new creation that will follow the earthly kingdom, Jesus Christ will reign throughout all eternity.

The Apostle Paul tells us of the end of the earthly kingdom and speaks of the beginning of the eternal kingdom in the new creation.
1 Corinthians 15:24-26
24 …then comes the end, when (Jesus) delivers up the kingdom to (our) God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
25 For (Jesus) must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Only God’s Son could accomplish this. Only the virgin birth could give us God’s Son.
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III. Conclusion
By man’s reasoning the virgin birth is impossible, but man’s reason is clouded by the limits of human knowledge and wisdom and the deceitfulness of sin. The virgin birth and the deity of Christ are inseparable. To deny the virgin birth is to deny Christ’s deity. To deny Christ’s deity is to deny God’s Word. To deny God’s Word is, by definition, to be
an unbeliever. And to be an unbeliever is to be lost.

If Jesus Christ was just a man, you and I have no hope. It’s no more complicated that that!
Now we are moving into the Christmas season, the time when we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

A Son will be born to us!

~ Pray ~