THE SUPERLATIVES OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST

Philippians 2:5-8; I Timothy 3:16  In this Christmas sermon, Pastor Streeter explores the Sweetest Name ever given, the Greatest Person in the universe, the lowest place ever taken, the most important mission ever undertaken, the brightest unveiling ever seen, the Best Given, and the Greatest Power ever unleashed. (141221)

I LOVE CHRISTMAS

I Love Christmas

In this sermon, Pastor Streeter lists numerous reasons why he loves Christmas. The reasons he lists are all scriptural and and should be common to all of us who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you have ever wondered why we should all love Christmas, listen to this sermon and see if you do not agree with Pastor Streeter.  (881225)

MARY AND THE VIRGIN BIRTH

A newspaper article by Lloyd Streeter

Once again we enter the Christmas season.  The celebration of Christmas has special meaning to those of us who are born again believers in Christ–a meaning that goes far beyond our decorations, caroling, and commercial activity.  Christmas is important to us because it says that God the Father sent His only Son (who is Himself God) to redeem us to Himself.  We are all sinful, fallen, and rebellious beings, but God loves us and intervened to save us by sending His Son.

God often uses humans to carry out His plan.  When Christ, the Son of God, was sent into the world, He came in the womb of the virgin Mary, a young Jewish girl.  This makes her an important and special person.  She, of course, is not in the same category as Jesus. He is the preeminent and primary Person (Colossians 1:18).  Without Him we never would have heard of Mary.  Nevertheless, Mary was highly favored by God and more blessed of God than all other women.

Mary should be honored and held in high esteem by all Christians.  She was used by God to bring our Savior into the world.  She is His mother.  She nursed Him when He was an infant, cooked for Him, taught Him, and cared for Him.

What do we know about this woman, the mother of Jesus?  First, we know that her place in God’s plan was prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures.  Genesis 3:15 speaks of “her seed.”  In that important verse God said, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  This verse, which tells the first gospel in the Bible, also speaks of Jesus as the seed of the woman.  Usually, we think of a person as being the seed of a man, but Jesus was not the seed of any man.  His only human parent was the woman.  So, Mary was the prophesied mother of our Savior way back at the beginning of the Bible.

Isaiah 7:14 is another Old Testament verse which prophesied the virgin mother’s work.  This prophecy was written about 800 years before Christ came as a babe at Bethlehem.  This verse says, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  Second, we know some facts about Mary’s personal history.  We know that she lived in Nazareth, in Galilee.  She was of the tribe of Judah and from the family of King David.

Third, we know that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born.  Jesus had no human father.  The Holy Spirit of God caused the conception of Jesus to occur.  In that sense, the birth of Jesus is the only virgin birth in the history of the world.  Through the miracle of the virgin birth, divine power caused God to be manifest in human flesh (I Timothy 3:16).  Those of us who are true believers, having trusted in Jesus as our only Savior, do not have any patience with liberal preachers and teachers who deny the virgin birth.  When a person denies the virgin birth, he denies the truthfulness of God’s Word and blasphemes our God.

There is no reason for anyone to believe that Mary remained a virgin throughout her earthly life.  She would not have been a better person if she had remained a virgin until her death.  In any case, the Bible says that she did not live all of her life as a virgin.  She was the mother of at least six children in addition to Jesus (Matthew 13:55-56).  Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters.  Matthew 1:25 says, “And [Joseph] knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son.” So, Mary was a virgin only until after Jesus was born as evidenced by the word “till.”  The word “firstborn,” of course, means others were born of her later.

Fourth, we know that Mary was a common believer like all of the others who were saved by the grace of God.  Acts 1:14 says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”  Here Mary is spoken of as simply one of the believers.  She is not superior to the others.  She simply took her place with the others and prayed.  She was not being a mediator.

God did not choose a regal woman of luxury and grandeur to be the mother of our Savior.  Jesus was not born to a woman of prestige or greatness.

Nowhere in the Bible do we find anyone praying to Mary–not at the wedding in Cana, not in the upper room, nowhere.  In fact, the Bible says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).

And we are told to pray in Jesus’ name (John 16:24).  So, we need no other mediator than Christ.  No one is more tender, more understanding, or more sympathetic than He.  And God has given us no other mediator.

Fifth, we know that Mary accepted Jesus as her own personal Savior.  She needed a Savior just as all of us do.  “There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10 and 23).  So, God did not preserve Mary from sinning, nor was the infection of original sin prevented in her case.  Mary obtained the grace of God and salvation through the merits of Jesus Christ because she was a sinner like all of us.

In Luke 1:47, in her song known as “The Magnificat,” Mary says “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”  Yes, Mary needed a Savior and she received by faith the Lord Jesus as her Savior.  In this, she is an example to all of us.  If one as virtuous as Mary (and as blessed of God as Mary) needed to be born again, how much more so do we poor sinners need salvation.

The most beautiful story ever told is the story of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And a part of that beautiful story is the account of Mary, the mother of our Lord.

Mary was a pure, virtuous woman.  Nothing is clearer in all the Bible than this truth.  Read the gospels (Matthew and Luke) and you see her as she is–pure in mind, humble, submissive to God, thankful and joyful that God chose her to bring the Savior into the world, having faith to believe the message of salvation, and being wise to understand the purpose of God in her life.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7).

She did it for God, and she did it for you.