A Manual For Discipleship

 

Disciples Begin With Jesus

 

In our introduction we stated that the Gospel of Matthew is a Manual For Discipleship. This assertion was based on the Great Commission of Jesus given at the end of the Gospel. From our study of the genealogy of Jesus we learned that Jesus is the preeminent Person of a disciple, that God can make dregs into disciples and that while God is sometimes silent, He is never still, He is always at work to fulfill His plans.

 

As we continue our study of this Gospel the question we need to keep asking ourselves is, What does this tell me about being a disciple of Jesus? That is the approach we will be using throughout our study. That is the question we should continually be asking ourselves as we continue now in examining the rest of Matthew chapter one.

 

Disciples Begin With Jesus

 

Just as the first verse and chapter of Matthew begins with Jesus, so too does the disciple need to begin with Jesus. Jesus is the beginning and end of discipleship. The disciple lives to know Jesus more and more. This cannot be emphasized enough.

 

How Do Disciples Begin With Jesus?

 

Matthew 1:18a – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: [1]

The birth of Jesus gives us a practical picture of how a disciple too can begin with Jesus. While we do not want to read into the Scripture, there are many important and practical aspects of discipleship exemplified in the birth of Jesus. Remember, Matthew wrote this work for disciples to learn and grow into their life with Jesus. What does the birth of Jesus tell me about being a disciple of Jesus? Let’s see.

 

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Beginning With Jesus.

Matthew 1:18b-19 – “After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” [2]

The first thing we see in the account of Jesus birth and introduction into the world is the prominent role of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who works the miraculous conception of Jesus in Mary. Just as the Holy Spirit introduces Jesus into the world at Jesus’ birth, the Holy Spirit continues to introduce people to Jesus regarding the spiritual birth of people. The disciple begins with Jesus by responding to the work and revelation of the Holy Spirit.

On a spiritual level the role of the Holy Spirit is to strive with the unsaved convicting them of their sinfulness and their resultant need of a Savior. We see this in the following verses:

  • Genesis 6:3 – “And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”  [3]
  • John 16:8-11 - “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me;10 “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;11 “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”  [4]
  • Titus 3:3-6 – “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”  [5]

What is also important to note in these verses is that when the Holy Spirit introduces Jesus into people’s lives, it is accompanied with a need for decision and often results in disruption.

When we look at the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus we see the need for decision and the disruption brought into the lives of Joseph and Mary. According to Jewish custom marriages involved a number of stages and were referred to as KIDDUSHIN, which, “signifies ‘sanctification, separation,’ i.e. the setting aside and separating of a particular woman for a particular man. According to the Mishna, (a part of the Jewish Talmud, complied in 220 B.C. which presents the Jewish oral tradition with rabbinic commentary) adultery during the betrothal period is a more serious sin than adultery after marriage.” [6]

The first stage in this marriage arrangement was the Engagement Stage. In this stage a boy and girl could be engaged to each other before birth or by the age of three by the fathers of the children. Children did not choose their spouses but parents did according to family standing, friendships, etc. Children were viewed as too immature to make such an important decision. (In the Old Testament the instances where parents were bypassed in the process of choosing spouses resulted in hardship and heartache: Esau - Genesis 26:34-35; Jacob - Genesis 29; Samson - Judges 14. An exception to this process would be the Levirite marriage - Deuteronomy 25:5-10 and Ruth 4:1-7.)

The next stage in the marriage process was the Betrothal Stage. The betrothal of a young girl took place during her 12th to 15th birthday. (This means that Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph was likely 12 to 15 years old at the time of Jesus birth - Matthew 1:18.) During the betrothal the father has made the selection of a groom for his daughter, the bride and groom meet for the first time, and the father of groom would come with groom and meet with the father of the bride to negotiate the price to be paid by the groom's father for the bride to be. (The Dowry system was very important in Jewish marriages.) Notice in this stage Joseph was already referred to as “her husband” (1:19a). During this stage if either of the betrothed parties decided they wanted to opt out of the marriage they could do so, but it would be considered a divorce.

It is into this context that the Holy Spirit came into the lives of Joseph and Mary. During the final year before Mary and Joseph were to be formally married, “before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit . . . . for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” 1:18,20). Can you imagine the tension in this young teen going through this? That she did reveals a strong faith even at this relatively young age. Can you imagine what the conversation must have been like when Mary informed Joseph she was pregnant? She might have said, “Joseph honey, I have something I need to discuss with you. I’m pregnant, but don’t worry, I wasn’t unfaithful to you, the Holy Spirit has come overshadowed me and that’s how it happened.” All we are told is that, “she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” How did she tell Joseph? What words did she use? How did Joseph respond? His heart must have sunk, his heart must have broken. He must have thought, How could you have done this Mary? And with whom? I thought I knew you, but I guess I didn’t know you as well as I thought? How could you betray me like this? What will happen when others find out? Surely we will be shamed and ridiculed, we’ll be the talk of the town and labeled forever!

Verse 19 tells us that Joseph was a “just man.” Even in this difficult situation where his love had seemed to be thrown in the dirt, Joseph still had Mary’s welfare at heart. He must have loved Mary very much. “And not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly” (1:19b). Jon Courson explains what was at stake for Joseph and Mary:

“Had Joseph pressed charges against Mary, she would have been taken to the town square where she would stand in a box of manure up to her knees, and the people of the city would have thrown rocks at her until she fell down face forward into the box of manure. That was the penalty for immorality.”[7]

You see, when the Holy Spirit entered the lives of Joseph and Mary it brought them to a point of decision. That decision would also determine the amount of disruption in their lives. Joseph could have walked away form it all, he could have threw up his hands, closed his ears and heart to his betrothed wife as well as to God and just walked away. But he didn’t, Joseph made the decision to act justly. Joseph decided to lay aside self and act in compassion and love toward Mary. Mary could have resisted the Holy Spirit and told Him to go on to the second choice, (if there ever was one). But she didn’t, she surrendered herself to God, she put God first even if it meant disruption and wrongly accusations brought against her as a consequence. That’s what a disciple does.

Both Joseph and Mary had to count the cost when the Holy Spirit brought Jesus into their lives. Later in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus will elaborate on this in both His teaching and the actions He takes in His own life. Read what He said:

  • Matthew 10:34-39 - “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.35 “For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;36 “and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  [8]

Disciples begin with Jesus as they decide to not only allow the Spirit to enter their lives, but they invite Him in to take control. Disciples begin with Jesus as the Spirit enters their lives. And when Jesus enters our lives by the Spirit it often leads to disruption. What disruption has entered your life as a result of the Spirit bringing Jesus into it?

How Do Disciples Come To Know Jesus?

Matthew 1:20- “But 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 to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”   [9]

We have already pointed out that the Holy Spirit is the One who reveals Jesus to people. Here in these verses we also see the initiative of God to reveal the truth of His work to Joseph. In Joseph’s case God sent “an angel of the Lord” to explain what was happening and how Jesus was going to enter Joseph’s life (1:20). Prior to His incarnation, Jesus at times appeared to people in pre-incarnate manifestations referred to as Theophanies or Christophanies. Some examples of such appearances are found in the life of Abraham (Genesis 18), Jacob (Genesis 32), Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15), and Gideon (Judges 6:11-24). It is quite possible that the one who appeared to Joseph was Jesus in a Christophany. Interestingly, after Jesus is born there are no other accounts of “the angel of the LORD” appearing, there are only references to “an angel of the Lord.” Whether or not the “angel” who spoke to Joseph was Jesus does not confuse the fact that it was God who took the initiative with Joseph to reveal His truth to him and comfort him in this perplexing situation.  But that is how a disciple comes to know Jesus and His truth, God takes the initiative to reveal it to the disciple and the disciple decides to receive it.

But who is the Jesus that disciples must come to know? This is a question of substance and truth. There are three aspects of the Jesus a disciple must come to know.

The Disciple Must Come To Know Jesus As Savior and Share Jesus As Savior With Others

Matthew 1:21 - “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  [10]

The first aspect of Jesus that a disciple needs to come to awareness about is that Jesus is Savior. The name “Jesus” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name YESHUA (English “Joshua”). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew term YEHOSHUA which literally means “YHWH saves.” [11] Therefore we have the purpose of Jesus the Messiah stated clearly from the start of the Gospel. This purpose is emphasized further in the following verses:

  • Matthew 18:11 - “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”  [12]
  • Matthew 20:28 - “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  [13]
  • Luke 19:9-10 – “And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;10 “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  [14]
  • John 12:47-48 -  “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”  [15]

The disciple needs to know Jesus as their own personal Savior but also see themselves as disciples of One who desires to save others. The disciple who follows Jesus has the same heart for the lost that Jesus has. The disciple has the same mission to save the lost that Jesus has. The disciple must come to know Jesus as Savior. That is what the apostle Paul means when he is inspired to write:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”  [16]

The disciple comes to know Jesus as Savior by the power of the Spirit and in the power of the Spirit. Once the disciple has done that, they need to share Jesus as Savior with others. This truth will be elaborated upon as we continue in our study of Matthew as a manual for discipleship.

 

 

The Disciple Comes to Know Jesus According to His Word.

Matthew 1:22 – “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:” [17]

The disciple comes to know Jesus by taking in the testimony of the inspired word of God. This is emphasized over and over again in the Gospel of Matthew as constant reference to the fulfillment of Scripture is pointed out. In Luke’s Gospel account we see Jesus showing two disciples who He was according to the Scriptures after He had risen from the dead. It states:

  • Luke 24:25-27 – “Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!26 “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”  [18]

In the same way, foolish is the person or disciple who thinks they can come to a true understanding of who Jesus is and what He’s all about without going to the word of God to find out. In John’s Gospel account Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for failing to notice that the Scriptures refer to Him. Jesus said:

  • John 5:37-40 -  “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.38 “But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.40 “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”  [19]

The Bible is what testifies and reveals to us Jesus. The entire Bible points to Jesus. In Hebrews it states:

  • Hebrews 10:7 – “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ ”  [20]

The key to vital and edifying Bible study is to constantly ask the question, What does this reveal to me about Jesus? Ask that question disciple, and you will come to know Jesus. Seek Jesus in God’s word and you will come to know Jesus.

The Disciple Comes to Know Jesus Beginning With The Virgin Birth.”

Matthew 1:23a -  “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son,”  [21]

Matthew proclaims the wonder and miracle of the incarnation. There has been a lot of debate and criticism by liberal scholars who deny the virgin birth of Jesus. They say a virgin birth is impossible, but if one believes in God then “all things are possible with God” (Matthew 19:26). They say that the term “virgin” translated in Matthew and in Isaiah 7:14 (which is the prophetic word Matthew is quoting) comes from the Hebrew term ALMAH and they state that this term refers not necessarily to a virgin, but to “a young woman.” But a number of times in the Old Testament the term ALMAH refers to an unmarried woman of good reputation (Genesis 24:43; Exodus 2:8; Psalm 68:25; Proverbs 30:19; Song of Solomon 1:3; 6:8). Furthermore, when the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek (285 B.C.) the Hebrew translators chose the Greek term PARTHENOS, which unequivocally and absolutely means a “virgin.” This is important because it bears witness to the honest understanding that Isaiah 7:14 was referring to a virgin nearly 300 years before a controversy concerning this verse had arisen. Lastly, liberal scholars say that Isaiah 7:14 refers to a sign directed to king Ahaz only but verse 13 in Isaiah 7 shows that this sign was to be applied not only to Ahaz but to the entire “House of David.” There is just no getting around the fact of the virgin birth of Jesus. And the virgin birth is foundational to the saving work of Jesus because without it, Jesus would not be the spotless, blemishless, lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. [22]

The Virgin Birth  

All of human history is measured from the point of the Virgin Birth. Christmas, even with all its pagan images and influences, is a holiday meant to bring attention to one of God’s greatest miracles, the Virgin Birth of His Son Jesus Christ. Its true, Christmas is a holiday that came about after the Roman Emperor Constantine made the Edict of Toleration (312 A.D.) making Christianity the state religion of Rome. Shortly thereafter in 440 A.D., the church fathers created Christmas, a Christian holiday, to supplant the previous pagan holiday of Saturnalia whose roots are in Babylonian tradition traceable to Babel (Genesis 11). A more in depth study of the time of Jesus’ birth would reveal that He was likely born between 2 – 4 B.C. and in the month of September rather than in December. This is based on secular and religious sources of history. Biblically this is supported by the fact that shepherds would not likely be in the fields during the winter months as the biblical account details (Luke 2:8; yes, even Israel has a winter). Furthermore, it is unlikely that a census would be ordered by Rome during the winter months when roads were often impassable because of the weather (Matthew 24:20). [23]

But despite all of the non-biblical tradition, no matter how accurately it dates the birth of Christ, there is an underlying critically important substantial truth that cannot be overlooked and must be accepted if a person is to be saved and grounded in their faith. That substantial truth is, the Virgin Birth of Jesus. What is the virgin birth? What does the Bible say about it? How did it happen? Why is it important? These are questions we will address in the following study.

What is The Virgin Birth?

The Virgin Birth is the means by which Jesus, the second Person of the trinity, came to take human form in the realm of human history. It is “virgin” because Mary, the selected woman to give birth to Jesus, did not conceive by any man impregnating her, but the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” her (Luke 1:35). Jesus was conceived and born by Divine spiritual influence rather than by a human sexual act.

Pagan Myths

If this sounds unique and even impossible to you, consider some pagan stories that speak of unique births:

·         According to Buddhist legend, the Buddha was born of the virgin Maya. Maya claimed that a six-tusked white elephant with red veins came into her side and caused the Buddha to be conceived.

·         Vishnu, in his eighth incarnation, or avatar, emerged as the god Krishna, born of the virgin Devaki. According to legend, he had first been incarnated as a fish, a turtle, a boar, a lion, and other bizarre creatures.

·         Augustus Caesar and Alexander the Great both claimed to be the offspring of virgin births. In the case of Augustus Caesar, he claimed that his mother, Olympia, had been impregnated by a snake; Alexander the Great also made the claim that his father was a snake. [24]

When these pagan myths are held up against that of the Bible they pale in their claim to authenticity. What makes the Virgin Birth of the Bible credible is the verified historical accounts throughout the Bible. The Biblical account of the Virgin Birth is solemn and unembellished. This was a miracle of the highest order.  The more you study the Virgin Birth, the more miraculous you see it to be.

Does the Old Testament Speak of a Virgin Birth?

Yes, the Old Testament foretells of a virgin birth. There are tow particular verses which prophecy of the virgin birth. In Genesis 3:15 we have what is called the Protoevangelium or first mention of the gospel:

  • Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”  [25]

At first glance you may not see any reference to a virgin birth; but look closer. The phrase “her Seed” is interesting because “seed” always refers to a man’s sperm in the Bible. In science a woman has an egg, not a sperm. Therefore, Genesis 3:15 refers to a child birthed in a woman in a unique way. Now this verse refers to a word from God that predates the birth of Christ by some 4000 years! This only adds to the miraculous nature of the birth of Jesus.

700 years before Christ another prophetic word was given concerning the virgin birth through Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah wrote:

  • Isaiah 7:14 - “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”  [26]

Here we have clear evidence and reference to the plan of God to birth His Son into history via a virgin birth. Some liberal critiques have tried to deny that the Hebrew term translated “virgin” refers to a virgin at all. The KJV Bible Commentary ably responds to such a notion when it states:

The word virgin is the unique and uncommon Hebrew word >almah. The more commonly used word for virgin is bethulah; but in spite of its frequent usage to denote a virgin, it is in at least two passages (Deut 22:19; Joel 1:8) used to refer to a married woman. Therefore, Isaiah’s choice of the rare word >almah better signifies virginity than the more common term bethulah. While it is true that >almah can be translated “young woman,” it is never intended in the Hebrew language to deny the legitimacy of that young woman’s virginity! Even the prominent Jewish scholar, Cyrus Gordon, notes that the LXX translates >almah by the Greek word parthenos, which always means “virgin.” It should be remembered that the LXX is a Jewish translation made in pre-Christian Alexandria, Egypt. It represents a Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 that is much earlier than Matthew’s use of the same word parthenos when referring back to the Isaiah 7:14 passage (Mt 1:23).[27]

These two Old Testament verses clearly refer to a miraculous and unique birth by which Jesus came into the world.

In the New Testament both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke give an account of the virgin birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-7). The New Testament testifies to the fulfillment of the prophecy from the Old Testament which speaks of Messiah being born of a virgin. 

How Was The Virgin Birth Accomplished?

The virgin birth is a miracle accomplished by God. It would have to be since what occurred was that God took human form and entered into human history in the flesh. Let’s see just what miraculous things God did in the virgin birth.

Jesus, Eternal God, Has No Beginning (or End).

Understand that Jesus did not come into existence at His virgin birth. Jesus, as God, the second Person of the trinity, is eternal and preexisted before the virgin birth. We see this in the following portions of Scripture:

  • Micah 5:2 - “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”   [28]
  • John 1:1-5,14,18 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. . . .14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. . . .18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”  [29]
  • John 8:58 – “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”  [30]
  • Colossians 1:15-16 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [i.e. the One who inherits all things; not one who is born into existence] over all creation.16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”  [31]

Thus we see that Jesus existed before the virgin birth and simply took on human flesh at the incarnation of the virgin birth. (Note Jesus, as eternal in nature has no end as well – 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 1:8-11; 21:6; 22:13.)

Was Mary Without Sin?

Was Mary chosen by God to have the virgin birth because she was sinless? Some churches teach the perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception of Mary and that she was sinless. But this is not biblically supported. In fact, the Bible gives evidence that Mary was a sinner in need of a Savior like all other people (Romans 3:23). When she receives the revelation that she had been chosen to birth Messiah she bursts out with spontaneous worship. She sings out a song that is referred to as the Magnificat. In the opening words of her song she says:

  • Luke 1:47 – “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”  [32]

The evidence that Mary was not without sin is that she sings to, “God my Savior.” Now since only sinners need a Savior, the only logical deduction is that Mary herself was a sinner in need of a Savior. This is not meant to minimize the devotion of this great woman of God. It is only meant to keep a proper perspective on Mary and that she should not be exalted above her proper place in the virgin birth worked by God.

 

A Work of God.

Now if Mary was a sinner, how did this effect Jesus in terms of His nature? Did Jesus inherit a sinful nature from Mary? This question has been the impetus to much debate and theological discussion. We know biologically that God has created humankind in a way that the blood type of the unborn child comes from the sperm from the man. The blood of the woman feeds the unborn child, but the blood type comes from the man and is independent of the woman. In Leviticus 17:11 it states, “The life is in the blood.” Since the blood comes from the Father, Christ’s blood was pure and He was qualified as the perfect atoning sacrifice. This is why the Bible says Jesus was sinless as the following verses attest:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  [33]
  • 1 Peter 1:18-21 – “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”  [34]
  • 1 Peter 2:22-24 - “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”  [35]
  • 1 John 3:5 – “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”  [36]

Now if Jesus was without sin, and He was born of a woman who was a sinner, how did He maintain His sinlessness? Jesus maintained His sinlessness because the virgin birth was a work of God. This is attested to in the book of Hebrews which states:

  • Hebrews 10:5 – “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: 1 “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.”  [37]

God’s hand was in the virgin birth, and while it is a stretch to think that our finite minds can fully comprehend what took place in this miraculous event, what we can do is trust that God did all that needed to be done to satisfy His holy righteous plan. Indeed, Martin Luther said of the virgin birth:

“The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.” [38]

When we come to something we do not know, a good rule of thumb is to fall back on what we do know and trust God in it. We may not be able to fully comprehend the virgin birth, but we do know that nothing is impossible with God and He is holy, just and loving, that’s enough for me to rely on, it should be enough for you as well.

Why is The Virgin Birth Important?

In his recent book entitled, Solving Bible Mysteries, D. James Kennedy devotes an entire chapter to the virgin birth and explains the importance of it in the following way:

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then the New Testament narratives are false and unreliable.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then Mary is stained with the sin of unchastity. Being betrothed to Joseph was a far more binding matter in Mary’s Jewish culture than being engaged is in our own culture. In order to break a betrothal, one had to obtain a bill of divorcement. If unchastity was the grounds for divorcement, the guilty party was not considered to have merely committed fornication, but adultery. In those days, a woman found guilty of adultery was punished by being taken to the gate of the city, where her clothes were ripped and her jewelry removed; she was dressed in rags, tied with a rope, and paraded and made an example to all of the other women of the city, so that they would be warned not to engage in such lewdness. Those who deny the Virgin Birth accuse Mary of adultery.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then He was mistaken about His paternity. Again and again, he declared Himself to be the Son of God, and he declared that God was His Father. [Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 5:19-23; 16:28]

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then Christ was not born of the seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15) but the seed of a man.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then He was not the Son of God, but merely the illegitimate child of a sinful liaison between a Jewish peasant girl and an unknown man.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then He is not the God-man; He is just a man.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then He was just a sinner like the rest of us.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, then He cannot be the divine Redeemer, because the sacrifice for sin must be perfect.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, we have no Savior.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, we are still in our sins and without forgiveness.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, we have no hope after death.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, there is no mediator between God and man.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, there is no Trinity, because there is no Second Person of the Trinity.

·         If Jesus were not born of a virgin, Christ should not have prayed, “Father forgive them,” but rather, “Father, forgive us,” because he was a sinner just like the rest.

·         Lastly, if Jesus were not born of a virgin, if this miracle of the Virgin Birth is denied, where shall we draw the line? What miracle is left? And if there are no miracles, then is there a Go? Is there a heaven? Is there a soul? Is there any hope for humanity beyond the grave? [39]

As you can see the Virgin Birth is critically important to the Christian faith. It is critically important to you, to me, to everyone.

The Virgin Birth is Pivotal To Reverse The Sin of Adam

Adam was created sinless. God gave him free will to either love and obey Him or rebel and disobey Him. This is the only way love could exist because love requires freedom to choose to love or not love. Adam chose to reject God’s love and sin and so his sin has been passed down from generation to generation even to this day. How could this terrible downward spiral be reversed? How could God make a way of escape? Only through a Second Adam who too was sinless.

Paul in the book of Romans explains this plan as he is inspired to write the following words, (quoted from the Living Bible):

  • Romans 5:12-21 – “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned. 13 We know that it was Adam’s sin that caused this because although, of course, people were sinning from the time of Adam until Moses, God did not in those days judge them guilty of death for breaking his laws—because he had not yet given his laws to them nor told them what he wanted them to do. 14 So when their bodies died it was not for their own sins since they themselves had never disobeyed God’s special law against eating the forbidden fruit, as Adam had. What a contrast between Adam and Christ who was yet to come! 15 And what a difference between man’s sin and God’s forgiveness! For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this one man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God’s mercy. 16 Adam’s one sin brought the penalty of death to many, while Christ freely takes away many sins and gives glorious life instead. 17 The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to be king over all, but all who will take God’s gift of forgiveness and acquittal are kings of life because of this one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Yes, Adam’s sin brought punishment to all, but Christ’s righteousness makes men right with God, so that they can live. 19 Adam caused many to be sinners because he disobeyed God, and Christ caused many to be made acceptable to God because he obeyed. 20 The Ten Commandments were given so that all could see the extent of their failure to obey God’s laws. But the more we see our sinfulness, the more we see God’s abounding grace forgiving us. 21 Before, sin ruled over all men and brought them to death, but now God’s kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  [40]

The Virgin Birth was the beginning of Christ’s righteous fulfillment of God’s plan.

What Can The Disciple Learn From The Virgin Birth? What Good Is It To Us? So What?

What does the virgin birth tell us about being a disciple? The Virgin Birth, we have seen, is essential to God’s plan of salvation. But is there anything else that we can take from this miraculous act of God? ? Are there any practical applications we can take from the Virgin Birth? I think there are. I believe there are three important practical things to learn from the Virgin Birth.

First, The Virgin Birth Humbles Us Intellectually

There is no way that our finite minds can possibly comprehend the workings of the Virgin Birth. The apostle Paul is inspired by God to write:

  • 1 Timothy 3:16 – “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: 1 God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”  [41]

Friend, if you are waiting until God explains all things to you before you come to God, you may never come to God. Some people say, ” Show me this and I’ll believe; Answer this question and I’ll believe; Solve this problem and I’ll believe.” But God says, “Believe in Me and I’ll show you great and wondrous things that you know not of. This is what Paul meant when he wrote:

  • Romans 11:33-36 – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?”36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”  [42]

You see, the Virgin Birth is illogical, it defies reason, it is not irrational, but it is supra-rational or beyond reason. God has a way of doing things that defy our imaginations or intellect. That is what He did with Joseph, Mary, and the others when Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, came into the world. The point God makes in all of this is that even though we cannot understand or conceive of how God can do something, He is never limited by what we know,

  • Luke 1:37 - “For with God nothing will be impossible.”  [43]

Friend, stop proudly resisting God and relying on your puny intelligence. Humble yourself in the sight of God and come to Him. God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6). To you the LORD calls and says:

  • Jeremiah 33:3 – “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”  [44]

Second, The Virgin Birth Puts Sex In Perspective.

If you went by what you see on television you’d think sex is the all-important thing in life. Sex is emphasized in every facet of the media, by innuendo and blatant demonstration. As we draw closer and closer to the End Times this will become an even greater emphasis than it is already. In the Virgin Birth we see God’s gift of sex set aside for the moment and kept in check. Look at what the Bible says about Joseph and Mary:

  • Matthew 1:18 – “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.”  [45]
  • Matthew 1:24-25 – “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”  [46]
  • Matthew 13:55 - “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?”  [47]
  • Mark 6:3 - “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” And they were offended at Him.”  [48]

The point of these verses is that Joseph and Mary refrained from sexual activity until after God’s work was accomplished and it was appropriate. Joseph and Mary were in love and this also means that they were sexually attracted to one another. The Virgin Birth put a big strain on their trust of each other and their love for one another. But after the birth of Jesus, they did consummate their union and had other children. Some portions of the church are unwilling to accept this and try to exalt Mary to what they perceive to be a higher spirituality of perpetual virginity and abstention from sex. But this is just untrue and unbiblical. Joseph and Mary were normal human beings who loved each other and loved the LORD. They set an example for us that sex is not the end all and people are not animals and unable to control themselves sexually. They are examples of chastity, abstinence, and holy conduct. The apostle Paul wrote of such holy conduct to the Thessalonians to whom he was inspired to write:

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 – “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”  [49]

The world views reality as without God or with a God that is so far removed that He is uninvolved and uncaring about morality and the behavior of His creation. The world conveys the thought that teens, young adults, people in general are like animals that have to mate and have no control over themselves. Joseph and Mary show us different. With God all things are possible!

Third, The Virgin Birth Puts  Money, Wealth, and Prestige In Perspective.

Think of it friend, the God of the universe has come to planet earth. Who was Jesus? Look at how Isaiah described Him:

  • Isaiah 9:6 – “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  [50]

That’s quite a description, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Now if you were such a person, how would you make your entrance on earth? Perhaps you’d work it out to be born into the most influential, the richest, and the most royal family on earth. Perhaps you’d work it out to be born to a president, or king, or emperor. Perhaps you’d work it out to be born to a computer mogul, oil king, or technocrat. Maybe you or I would have arranged for a spectacle to announce our birth, but not our God. Jesus chose to come into the world humbly, as a servant to a poor family (Luke 2:22-24; Leviticus 12:2,8). You see, God wanted to send us a message; He wanted to let us know that worldly wealth, prestige and power lunches are not high on His list of priorities. Rather, God emphasized in the Virgin Birth, that humility and servanthood are what He holds to be important. Read what Paul said about Jesus coming to earth:

  • Philippians 2:5-11 – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  [51]

The Virgin Birth shows us that the important thing about Christmas is not how many presents are under our tree, or who got what and how much, the meaning of Christmas is serving the King, worshipping the king of glory. When you discover that, you will have found the greatest gift:

  • John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  [52]
  • Romans 8:31-32 – “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”  [53]

You see friend, it’s not what you know, whom you sleep with, or what you own, it’s Who you know:

  • 2 Timothy 1:12 – “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.  [54]

The Virgin Birth is essential to the Christian faith and God’s plan of redemption. D. James Kennedy states the following in conclusion about the Virgin Birth:

Jesus came into the world where all have sinned – yet He lived a sinless life. How is that possible? There is only one explanation: the Virgin Birth! Jesus did not inherit the venom of sin that poisoned the rest of the human race. Why? Because His father was not a man, but almighty God. The perfect sinless life of Christ is the ultimate affirmation of the Virgin Birth.

The Scriptures tell us that when God raised Jesus from the dead, God put His stamp of approval upon the atonement of Jesus Christ – His payment for our sins upon the cross. The resurrection was God’s declaration that Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross was accepted as payment in full for our sins. The sacrifice would not have been accepted if Christ were not pure, if He had been a mere sinner like all of us. The Virgin Birth guarantees the purity of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross . . .  .The Virgin Birth is central to salvation, central to Christianity.[55]

The next time you talk to someone about the Christmas, and the topic of the Virgin Birth comes up, if they tell you, “So what?” you’ll be able to tell them, “I’ll tell you what, the Virgin Birth is a miracle of God and essential to salvation.” The Virgin Birth is important; you can’t be saved without it. The Virgin Birth teaches us a lot about what the really important things are in life. Maybe you have thought, “So what?” about the Virgin Birth. If so, you now hopefully see that it is very important.  Have you accepted the virgin born Messiah Jesus Christ as your Savior and LORD? The greatest gift is Jesus and He was delivered in a Virgin Birth.

 

The Disciple Must Come To Know Jesus As Immanuel – “God With Us.”

Matthew 1:23b - “and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” [56]

Jesus is to be born of a miraculous conception wrought by the Holy Spirit and that incarnation is to bring about “Immanuel . . . God with us.”  Immanuel” is not another name for Jesus but is a title that expresses the deity of Jesus. The disciple must come to know Jesus as God in the flesh. Jesus is God and there can be no wavering on this Bible truth. The apostle John also confirmed this truth in his opening chapter when he wrote:

  • John 1:1-3,14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . . . 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  [57]

And since Jesus is God, the disciple can rest assured that He is omnipresent, He is always with the disciple. Remember the end of the Great Commission and the words Jesus spoke: 

  • Matthew 28:20 -  “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”  [58]

The apostle Paul was comforted by the presence of Jesus and was encouraged to minister in the hostile city of Corinth all because of the presence of Jesus. Luke tells us in Acts:

  • Acts 18:9-10 – “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;10 “for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”  [59]

Jesus is God and better still, He is God with us. The disciple can always rest in the presence of Jesus. No matter the trial or difficulty, the disciple is assured because Jesus is with them. What more could a disciple ask for, if you have the presence of Jesus to guide and uphold you, you have all you need. The disciple needs to know Jesus is God and as God He is always with us.

How Should Disciples Respond To the Spirit?

Matthew 1:24-25 – “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”  [60]

We have seen how the Spirit is the Agent who works to being Jesus to our attention. How should the disciple (and all people for that matter) respond to the Spirit? Joseph responded to God’s word obediently and in purity. Joseph took Mary as his wife. It goes on to say, “and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” The implication is that they were married and that they abstained from sexual intercourse “until” Jesus was born. This testifies by implication, to the mutual purity of Joseph and Mary. They sacrificed sexual pleasure for the sake of Jesus. That is a message not only disciples but also all people need to take notice of in our day. Joseph and Mary are a model couple for disciples to follow and imitate. But notice the implication that follows the word “Until” is that after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary did consummate their marriage and in fact the Bible testifies that they did have other children besides Jesus. Joseph was the stepfather or foster father of Jesus, but Joseph and Mary did have other children besides Jesus. The Bible states:

  • Matthew 13:55-57 - “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?56 “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?”57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”  [61] (See also Mark 6:3)

Mary was a holy and pure young woman used mightily of the Lord, but we must not make the mistake of elevating her to a position that is not based on Scripture. Mary was human and a sinner in need of a Savior like all other people (Luke 1:47). There is no getting around the plain and clear teaching of Scripture as some try to do in an attempt to exalt Mary to an undo position. Rather we should look at Mary as the teen example par excellence. If a teenager wants to look at a Biblical figure for a good example, look to Mary. The submission to God and total obedience to His word, as well as her differing to His will and way are tremendous examples for the young disciple to follow (see John 2:5).

The Marriage Bed is Undefiled

It should also be noted here that there is nothing unholy about sexual relations between two people who have been married in the sight of God. The writer of Hebrews states:

  • Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”  [62]

To conceive of Mary as a perpetual virgin based on the assumption that there is something inherently dirty or sinful about sex in marriage is to discard a blessing from God, not to mention that there is no Scriptural proof of this and indeed proof that would go against such a view (Matthew 13:55). Sex in marriage is to be enjoyed by the married couple. This means that what two people consent to in regards to sex in their marriage relationship, is “undefiled,” or not dirty or sinful. This Biblical truth should not be taken by one spouse as a lever to get the other spouse to participate in activity they do not feel comfortable with; every activity in marriage should be motivated and based on the agape love defined in 1 Corinthians 13 where it says in part, “love . . . does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). When a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church, he will not seek to have his wife do anything that would make her feel uncomfortable or that would be selfishly motivated on his part. And when a woman submits to her husband as the church submits to Christ, she will do as much as she can to please her husband and nothing that would  be based on merely seeking her own (see Ephesians 5:21-33). 

Conclusion

When we look at the account of the birth of Jesus and the way his parents responded to the Spirit, we see the way disciples should respond to the Spirit. God spoke to Joseph and Mary telling them that the Son to be born to them was “God with us.” God said His name was to be “JESUS” because “He will save His people from their sins.” That’s what God said, and the earthly parents of Jesus did exactly what God directed them to do. That is the way of a disciple; submission; service and obedience. The disciple begins and ends with Jesus.

The disciple begins with Jesus by deciding to receive the revelation of the Spirit about Jesus. The disciple comes to know Jesus through the word of God. The disciple comes to know Jesus in His presence day by day. And the disciple lives in that presence a life of surrender, submission and obedience to Jesus, even if it means their lives will be disrupted.

Oswald Chambers commented on the meaning of discipleship when he wrote:

“Our Lord’s conception of discipleship is not that we work for God, but that God works through us; He uses us as He likes; He allots our work where He chooses, . . .” [63]

Joseph and Mary allowed God to work through them as He chose and they are a model of how disciples begin with Jesus.

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, (Clarksville, MD: Jewsih New Testament Publiscations, Inc.) 1996. p. 3

[7] Jon Courson, Tree of Life Commentary – volume 1, (Jacksonville, OR: Tree of Life Publishing) 1993. p. 11

[8]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11] David H. Stern, Ibid., p. 4

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22] David H. Stern, Ibid., p. 6-7

[23] Chuck Missler, The Christmas Story – What Really Happened?, Coeur d’Alene, ID, Koinonia House Inc., 1994.

[24] D. James Kennedy, Ibid. p. 56-57

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[27]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[38] Martin in Table Talk, http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/i/incarnation.htm

[39] D.James Kennedy, Solving Bible Mysteries, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Pub., 2000) pgs. 52-53

[40]The Living Bible, (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1997.

[41]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[44]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[48]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[49]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[50]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[51]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[52]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[53]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[54]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[55] D. James Kennedy Ibid 59

[56]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[57]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[58]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[59]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[60]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[61]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[62]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[63] Oswald Chambers, If Thou Wilt Be Perfect, taken from Harry Verploegh, Oswald Chmbers – the Best From All His Books, (Nashville, Tn: Thomas Nelson Pub.) 1987. p. 88