Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas and the Birth of Jesus, 2

In his December 3rd message “Who Needs Christmas,” mega-church multi-site pastor Andy Stanley said, “Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories around the birth of Jesus. It really hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.” Stanley has previously worked to destroy the credibility of Scripture, advising preachers should “get the spotlight off the Bible and back on the resurrection” – following up in a few days saying “It is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible.”  Stanley is wrong.

What the birth of Jesus means, according to the Scriptures

According to the Scriptures the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of centuries of God’s promises through prophecy, as well as the commencement of God’s earthly phase of redemption. It is also:

3. The underpinning of God’s message of the gospel

The gospel is how that Christ died according to the Scriptures, that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Without the virgin birth of Jesus, God made flesh and dwelling among, living a holy and sinless life in the flesh and dying for sin, the underpinning is stripped out from under the gospel. Eternal God was born of a virgin, died on a cross, rose from the grave and is alive! It is clear that the apostles turned the world upside down carrying a message of the living Christ and his resurrection. But this message did not dismiss “the stories around the birth of Jesus.” Rather the resurrection was founded on and required the truth of God becoming flesh.
  • The early church called him “God’s holy child.” Acts 4:27,30 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together… by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
  • God manifest in the flesh is an integral part of his being “just in the spirit” and “received up into glory” (the resurrection and ascension). 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
  • John went so far to say that those who do no confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh are “antichrist.” 1 John 4:2-3 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
  • The Bible description of how he came in the flesh is through the virgin birth, testified by the apostles. Luke 1:26-27 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
If Jesus had not been born of woman, he could not have been human. If he had not been born of a virgin, he could not have been holy. If he had not been holy, he could not have died for our sins. If he had not died, he would not have been resurrected. Christianity hinges on believing God. God gave us “the stories around the birth of Jesus.” Now go and preach the resurrection of Jesus!

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