Sunday, December 27, 2009

Luke 1:26-38 - The Virgin Birth


Opening thought: “Fear not!” That’s what the angel said to Mary. That’s what the angel said to Joseph. That’s what the angel said to the shepherds. “Do not fear.” “Don’t be scared.”  And that is important. It is very important. In this season of the year, there is an important doctrine that we often overlook in all the celebration that gives us freedom from fear.
It is called the Virgin Birth. And it has been an important-enough doctrine to be held with confidence by the Church for 1850 years and then important enough for Enlightenment liberals to vilify, negate, downplay, and impugn for the last 160. A main argument used against the Virgin Birth is its supposed insignificance and even irrelevance, but the fact that liberal theologians make it their punching bag betrays the reality that the Virgin Birth is important.
A 1959 Christianity Today editorial reads, “Many theologians, like Schleiermacher, have thought that they could accept a supernatural work of God without the Virgin Birth. Many others have tended to agree with Brunner that it is an unnecessary and inquisitive biological intrusion. Many would argue that they can confess the true deity and incarnation of Christ without it. Evangelicals often leave the impression that it is a kind of embarrassment which they are prepared to accept because it is in Scripture but which they do not find to be particularly significant or meaningful.”[1]
Besides an attack on the inerrancy of Scripture, which is serious enough, denials of the Virgin Birth are dangerous for many other areas. “Denial of the Virgin Birth almost invariably accompanies, or is accompanied by, a more basic theological defection in which the divine initiative, the inadequacy of man, the reality of original sin, the miraculous nature of regeneration, the primacy of the Word of God, and the importance of the faith which it brings are either abandoned in whole or part or drastically reinterpreted. . . . In itself the abandonment of the scriptural testimony may seem to many to be of little account. But quite apart from the serious impugning of the written Word, it is a conditioning and resultant sign of more widespread abandonment of evangelical doctrine. For the Virgin Birth itself carries by implication the sum and substance of the gospel.”[2] Let’s look at this vital doctrine today by reading the following passage.

Pray & Read:  Luke 1:26-38

Key Truth: Luke wrote Luke 1:26-38 to teach believers that the Virgin Birth happened without the agency of a man, was free of the corruption of sin, established Christ’s Davidic ancestry, his identity as the Last Adam and the last heir to David’s throne.

Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about the Virgin Birth.

Sermon Points:
WHAT THE VIRGIN BIRTH WAS: Jesus’ conception was
  1. Was without the agency of a man (1:35a)
  2. Was free of sin’s corruption (1:35b)
WHAT THE VIRGIN BIRTH DID: Jesus’ conception established
  1. His ancestry from David (1:27)
  2. His identity as the Last Adam (1:31)
  3. His identity as the last heir to David’s Throne (1:32-33)
Exposition:   Note well,

1.           Jesus’ Conception Was Without The Agency Of A Man (1:35a).
a.   The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;”
b.    The unique feature of Jesus’ conception was that it was supernatural, not of human generation. There is no magic here or fantasy or mere legend. This is fact. Mary did not conceive by way of a man (Matthew 1:18, 25).
c.   Mary conceived by way of the Holy Spirit who fathered Jesus’ humanity (Matt 1:20; Luke 1:35)
d.   Jesus’ prenatal development within Mary and birth were natural processes (Luke 1:57; 2:7), but his conception was radically different.
e.   The Holy Spirit produced of Mary’s substance a complete human nature, consisting of body, soul, and spirit (Matt 26:12, 38; 27:50). Thus God the Holy Spirit was the father of Jesus’ human nature.

f.    Jesus’ personhood did not begin at conception, for Jesus’ person and divine nature existed from eternity (Micah 5:2; Gal. 4:4; John 1:1; 8:42). Jesus did not acquire another personhood so that he was a combination of two persons, one divine and one human. Rather, he acquired at conception a human nature, so that they were united in Him, one Person, the nature of God and the nature of man. This acquisition made him the God-Man. This is why the angel says in 1:35 that which was conceived in Mary’s womb was “that Holy One/thing.” The gender is neuter, indicating that Mary gave Jesus only his human nature, not his personhood and his divine nature.

g.   Mary bore a human male child who was already the Second Person of the Trinity. She was not the mother of God.
h.           APPLICATION: “Just as Our Lord came into human history from outside, so He must come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a "Bethlehem" for the Son of God? I cannot enter into the realm of the Kingdom of God unless I am born from above by a birth totally unlike natural birth. "Ye must be born again." This is not a command, it is a foundation fact. The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me. Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me.[3]  
i.             Have you done that? Have you yielded yourself to Christ? If you have, then FEAR NOT!
j.            If you haven’t, then you should have great fear for your eternal destiny. Today during the invitation I will give at the end of this message will a good time to give your life to Christ.

2.           Jesus’ Conception Was Free Of Sin’s Corruption (1:35b).
a.           that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
b.            A sinner cannot pay the sin debt for another. He has his own sin debt which he cannot pay himself. Jesus’ conception preserved his sinlessness, qualifying him to make atonement for the sins of the whole world (Heb 2:9; 7:26-27).
c.           Jesus’ unique conception prevented his receiving from a human parent the inherent corruption of sin (1:35) and from the father the imputed, federal guilt of Adam’s initial sin (Rom 5:12-19; Gen 5:3; 1 Cor 15:22).
d.           Being absolutely sinless (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5), Jesus was able to pay for us our terrible debt burden of sin (Rom 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24; Heb 9:26; 1 John 2:2).

e.           ILLUSTRATION: “No, the point is that though the Son of Mary as such stands in solidarity with sinners, his real birth is directly from God, so that unlike all others he is not himself a sinner, but has come to bear their sin in God's own work of salvation. A man born in the normal way could have been one with sinners, but he could not have been the sinless sin-bearer. The sinless sin-bearer comes into the world in such a way that he is also one with man, yet there is a decisive break with the old humanity as well as continuity with it. He is not sinful man accomplishing in a more worthy representative his own salvation. He is the second man, the Lord from heaven, the Son of Man who is also the Son of God incarnate for us men and for our salvation.”[4]

f.            So – did Jesus have Mary’s DNA, her genetic data? The short answer is yes, he did. There are two reasons. The more important one is Scriptural. One is scientific. He had to in order to fulfill Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (seed) and her Offspring (seed); He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel.”  Paul explains in Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ. Galatians 4:4 “But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to the regulations of the Law.”
a.           The second reason is simply speculative science, because God is sovereign and can do whatever he wants. We do know from the field of medicine the natural processes involved in fertilization cause the father’s DNA never to be passed on to his children. Mitochondria are DNA passed only through the female from one generation to the next. Mitochondria enable the body to aerobically respirate and without mitochondria human tissue would be unable to sustain its metabolic pathway – it would produce so much heat that it would boil without the mother’s mitochondria.[1] Unless the Lord overruled this process, then Jesus carried Holy Spirit overshadowed DNA – what the theologians call human nature – from his mother.


g.           APPLICATION: FEAR NOT! Because Christ’s conception was free from the corruption of sin, you can be confident in your salvation and eternal security.

3.   Jesus’ conception established His Ancestry from David (1:27)
a.           to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.”
b.           Jesus was a true descendant of David through his mother, Mary, and her ancestor, Nathan, a son of David (Luke 3:23-31; 1 Chron. 3:5; Rom 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8). Luke gives Mary’s lineage through her father Heli (Luke 3:23). Matthew gives Joseph’s royal lineage through Solomon (Matt. 1:6-16) and shows Jesus’ legal connection to Joseph through Mary. Because of his legal connection with Joseph, the lineal heir to David’s throne, and his blood relation to David through his mother, Mary (Luke 3:23-31), the Lord Jesus is the last dynastic heir to David’s throne and the only one who can rule Israel with God’s blessing (Luke 1:30-33).

c.           APPLICATION: FEAR NOT! Because Christ’s conception established his ancestry from David, you can be confident in the reliability of the Scriptures and the strength of God’s commitment to his own promises.  

4.   Jesus’ conception established his identity as the Last Adam (1:31)
a.   you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son”
b.   By his Incarnation (coming in the flesh) Jesus became the Last Adam. Just as Adam was the leader, pattern, and federal head of the flow of sinfulness down into humanity, Jesus became the leader, pattern and federal head of a new humanity of saved people who have been redeemed from the pattern of the first Adam (1 Cor. 15:22, 45-49; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph. 2:10).
c.   The purpose of this divine, creative work in believers is to make a people in the image of God’s Son (Rom 8:29; Phil 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2).
d.   APPLICATION: FEAR NOT! Because of Jesus’ conception establishing his identity as the Last Adam, you can have confidence that your sins are paid in full and that by identifying with him, your punishment for sin is voided.

5.   Jesus’ Conception established his identity as the Last Heir To David’s Throne (1:32-33)
a.   Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”
b.   Jesus’ virgin birth made it possible for Him to rule one day from David’s throne over Israel (Matt 2:2; 2 Sam 7:12-17; Luke 1:32-33). The Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:12-17) was transmitted through Solomon and his posterity (2 Chron 28:4-7; Matt 1:1-16, 20).
c.   But a curse on the descendants of Jehoiakim stood in the way. King Jehoiakim burned the Word of God, and God decreed that none of his descendants would ever sit or prosper on the throne (Jer. 36:30). The curse was repeated to his son Jehoiachin (Coniah), the last king of Judah of David’s royal dynasty (Jer. 22:30).
d.   By a virgin conception, Jesus avoided this divine curse and received full title to David’s throne through Joseph, his foster father. Jesus did not come under divine judgment because he was not Joseph’s biological son. But being Joseph’s eldest legal son, he inherited title to David’s throne.

e.   APPLICATION:  FEAR NOT! Because Christ’s conception established his identity as the last heir to David’s Throne, you can be confident in Christ’s Second Coming, the establishment of his eternal kingdom, and his setting right the injustices in this world.

Invitation:




[1] Christianity Today editorial, December 13, 2007, reprinted from December 7, 1959, http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2007/decemberweb-only/150-42.0.html.
[2] Christianity Today editorial, December 13, 2007, reprinted from December 7, 1959, http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2007/decemberweb-only/150-42.0.html.

[3] Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, December 25.
[4] Christianity Today editorial, December 13, 2007, reprinted from December 7, 1959, http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2007/decemberweb-only/150-42.0.html.