For the last few days we have been talking about the visions and dreams coming from the Muslim world. These visions have sent many Muslims on a search for the truth about Jesus Christ, and has resulted in their conversion to Christianity. I am still a bit skeptical on this issue, but I am open to what is being said. I cannot deny the facts, and those who are claiming to be saved through this are not claiming that it was the vision that saved them. The visions and dreams have set them on a search for the truth. Two things have happened, have gotten into the Scriptures, and they have met a Christian who explained things to them. It is the Gospel message that is bringing them to Christ.
As Baptists we can’t say we never have any visions. Let me tell you of something that happened some 20 years ago. I lived in England, and I was going to preach at a fellowship meeting in Wales. As I was driving over, I had two visions. When I got up to speak, I mentioned this in my introduction. I told them I saw a vision in the sky, and later I saw another, which was stronger than the first. My family saw them with me. You can imagine the atmosphere was getting a bit heavy, these were Baptist preachers. I told them that God spoke to me in these visions. When I told them I saw two rainbows as I was driving, there was a big sigh of relief in the crowd.
These were two visions in the sky. The first was a bit faded, but the colors in the second were very bright and powerful. God still speaks in that vision, reminding us of His promise never to destroy the world again by a flood. Every time I see a rainbow it reminds me of His power and His grace.
During this season we remember Mary and Joseph, and they both had visions. With Mary it was more of a visitation, but with Joseph it was a dream. The shepherds also had a vision when they saw the angels in the sky. He paid the penalty for our iniquities.
This is a time when we remember that our Lord and Saviour took on flesh and became Emanuel, God with us. He came and dwelt among us. He came with a mission, to give His life as an atonement for the sin of the world.
Sometimes I think we miss the gravity and the stigma that was upon Mary. It was a great honor, but she also had to endure a lot of shame. She was an unmarried woman, and was found with child. How was she going to tell Joseph. When Joseph got the news, the Bible tells us he was minded to put her away, to divorce her and break the betrothal, the marriage contract. They had not yet come together as husband and wife, but the contract was sealed. He knew that the child was not his. God sent him a dream confirming what Mary said. There was till a lot of shame to be endured because, who would believe their story? It took great courage to endure this.
We don’t revere Mary as some “Christian” denominations. They make her a sinless person, the queen of Heaven, and mother of God. She was a chosen and honored vessel, used to bring our Saviour into the world. She was blessed among women, not above women (Luke 1:28).
I want to talk about the necessity of the virgin birth of Christ. Have you ever thought about why it was necessary? Did God simply do this to show His power and to make Jesus different because He was born without a physical father? No, this was necessary to bring about our redemption.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call10 his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they4 shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
It is no great thing for God to do this, He is, after all, the Almighty God. He created the womb, and He can certainly put a child there without the seed of man.
This was necessary because there was a promise made in the Garden.
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. (Genesis 3:15)
There would be a spiritual warfare between the serpent and the woman. The war would also be between the seed of the woman and of the serpent.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)
The war between the seed of the women and Satan has continued from that time.
The Seed spoken of is the Lord Jesus Christ. The seed, that is Jesus Christ, will bruise Satan’s head.
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)
A bruise to the head means it will be a fatal blow. The bruise to the heel of the Seed of the woman is just a flesh wound.
On the cross, something happened. The Devil tried to destroy the Seed of the woman, instead, the Devil’s destruction was assured.
Because Jesus was not the seed of man, He had no earthly father, He was sinless.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)
Sin is passed on by the blood of the man because it was Adam that sinned. If Jesus had a human father, He would have had a sin nature like every other man.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (1 John 3:5)
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (1 Peter 1:19)
The blood of Jesus was without sin, and was, therefore, a sufficient sacrifice to pay for the sin of all mankind.
Years ago I got into a discussion with a Catholic friend who was studying for the priesthood. We played golf together, and he was a much better golfer that I am. His game really when down hill when we started talking about doctrine. We started talking about the sinlessness of Mary. The Catholics believe that Mary was born without sin.
In the Bible, Mary calls Jesus her Saviour. If someone is sinless, they don’t need a Saviour. Mary knew she was a sinner, and she knew that Jesus would be her Saviour.
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (Luke 1:46-47)
For Jesus to be without sin, He had to have a virgin birth so He wouldn’t have man’s blood in His veins. I asked my friend if Mary was born of a virgin. That one question really rocked his boat.
If there is any other religion on the face of the earth that venerates Mary almost as much as the Catholics, it is Islam. They don’t go quite as far as the Catholics, who make Mary the queen of heaven, the co-redemptrix with Christ, sinless, and a perpetual virgin, but they do venerate her, and worship her to an extent.
A major difference between Muslim thinking, and the thinking in the West is, we look for reason and understanding. In the Muslim world, they look for revelation and visions. There is a lot of mysticism in their way of thinking.
Since we are celebrating the birth of Christ, let us be thankful that Jesus was born of a virgin, and did not have man’s blood running in His veins. Without this virgin birth, our salvation would be impossible. Jesus was the sinless lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), that man might have a way out of the consequences of his sin.
Let us adore our wonderful Saviour at this special time of the year!
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