I took a friend to lunch recently to talk about his faith journey. The subject of life and conception came up. He wondered if I believed in life beginning at conception. Was I “anti-abortion?” I said to him what I always say to that question… ”I believe in a woman’s right to choose ~as long as it doesn’t end a human life….” He paused. What?! Instead of framing the debate ”choice vs life”… I reframed it to be ”we agree on choice… tell me about life.” He told me that he didn’t think life began until… ”well, I don’t know.” He was sure we shouldn’t do ”too many abortions” in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. I asked him… ”Why? If it’s not a life, what’s the big deal bout taking it out anytime between conception and birth… You just told me it’s just a piece of tissue… A wart to be removed…” He smiled… ”Okay I admit it… I am not consistent.” I was able to share with him why the Bible, history, philosophy, and SCIENCE clearly teach that life begins at conception. The Bible teaches liberty and choice, but choices have limits. Everyone would agree with that. We can exercise liberty as long as we don’t kill others? Our conversation allowed him to think about ”what is a ”person.” Of course, I am passionate about the sanctity of life personally because my son Quinn barely escaped death as his birth mother walked out of a planned parenthood abortion clinic October 2009 saving his life. I am so thankful to God.
We learn that no one is beyond help. Since God came to “glue us” back to Him. Our ability to be “glued” is not based on our stickiness. It’s based on God’s. No one is beyond hope and help. Not one person in your life, no matter what they’ve done is beyond God’s ability to repair. The same with any situation, If God can solve the “how do you make a son that is given eternally with a child that is born” puzzle that confounded people for hundreds of years, he can solve and make good on the doubts and concerns confounding you right now.
So, the first piece of EPOXY EVIDENCE THAT CAN STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IS 1) The Epoxy God is Two Parts. That reminds us that God came to Glue us to Himself. So, The Epoxy God is Two Parts, but The
Second Piece of Epoxy Evidence is...God Has a Unique Start.
What do I mean by unique start? Well, the way we’ll see the God of two parts is to look for his unique start… A virgin will be with child.
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. 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.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.
What’s fascinating to me about this passage is how a deep theological doctrine about God… is the answer to some very practical relational problems. Joseph and Mary are in anguish. A divorce is imminent. Hearts are crushed. Future plans have crumbled. They are both scared. Confused. Hurt. And they are in the middle of God’s will??!! God comes to Joseph in his pain, relational chaos, and says… You can trust Me right now. I have some Christmas Evidence to Strengthen Your Wavering Christmas Faith. He tells Joseph, “do not be afraid…” Why? He gives Joseph evidence #2… The Angel Says..
The Epoxy God Has a Unique Start. A Virgin Birth Composed of Two parts. One part is Mary…. The Second Part is “The Holy Spirit’s” doing.
Part 1: “That which is conceived in Her is of the Holy Spirit”
Part 2: “She will bring forth a Son and HIS name is Jesus”
Unique Start: “A Virgin will be with Child.”
So the epoxy God will have a unique start. He will be born to a virgin. Now why will this strengthen our faith? How does the evidence of a Unique Start (a Virgin Birth) strength our faith?
GOD GLUES US TO HIS TRUSTWORTHINESS
We can trust God’s promises. We can trust what he says. His promises and predictions come true. They are True. However, the last few years, Jesus, the Bible, and God’s word have been under attack from all sides. One famous skeptic and self-proclaimed “expert” is Sam Harris. Same Harris would look at this Christmas Evidence of the Epoxy God’s Unique Start and say, “It’s not true.” And all of our students who head to college will come across this kind of objection.
OBJECTION: Sam Harris says that though the writers of the gospels of Luke and Matthew cite the Greek rendering of Isaiah 7:14 as the basis for their declaration that Mary conceived as a virgin, it is based on a “mistranslation” of the original Hebrew text of Isaiah. The Hebrew word that Isaiah uses is almah, which Harris says “simply means ‘young woman,’ without any implication of virginity. Thus, he says, “the dogma of the virgin birth, and much of the Christian world’s resulting anxiety about sex,” is due to a mistake. Has Harris ever studied the very complexity of this subject? HA. First of all, The Christian world and teachings of the Bible are not anxious about sexual intimacy -at all. The Bible teaches that intimacy is sacred, powerful, critical, and an act of worship in the context of marriage. So, Sam needs to do some more research. But to his argument, Ravi Zacharias answers this question brilliantly in his book THE END OF REASON. Ravi says, “Is Sam Harris aware of the nature of Hebrew prophecy and its genre? Does he know that there are numerous examples of Hebrew prophecies that have a “compenetration” of two fulfilments – one in part and the other in whole? The Hebrews understood compenetration and how it worked, and Matthew was a Hebrew. If Isaiah had used the typical Hebrew word for virgin, betulah, it would have been the wrong word for the situation. The immediate fulfillment of the prophecy comes in Isaiah 8:3, when Isaiah’s wife gives birth to a son. The people had asked for a sign that God would indeed send the Messiah, and the birth of Isaiah’s son was the immediate sign that the greater prophecy and promise of the virgin birth would be fulfilled. After all, what good to them would a sign be that wasn’t given until seven hundred years later? So Isaiah used the word almah, which is literally translated “young maiden” and can include virginity. Therefore, it is the very word he needed in order to cover both situations – that of Isaiah’s wife and of Joseph’s fiancée, Mary. But even more to the point, the doctrine of the virgin birth is based on Mary’s own admission. Joseph wished to end his marital contract with Mary because he was perplexed until the angel appeared to him and verified Mary’s story.
Since I think in pictures, let me give you a picture to describe what Ravi calls “compenetration.” It’s like two mountain tops. A prophet sees the Straight line… he sees two things that appear as one to his sight line. So he is describing something that will come true in one point in history… And again in another. The 1st and 2nd coming of Christ for example. The prophet can’t see the valley in between. In this case, God gives Isaiah the perfect language to describe mountain top #1… Isaiah’s son’s birth… And the way to understand the 2nd more miraculous fulfillment of the Messiah’s birth. The epoxy God can glue us to God’s trustworthiness. We can know the epoxy God had two parts.
The Epoxy God Had a Unique Start. We can trust the evidence and put our trust and hope in God.
KEY TAKE-A-WAY: CHRISTMAS EVIDENCE INCREASES CHRISTMAS FAITH. WE CAN TRUST THE EVIDENCE AND PUT OUR FULL CONFIDENCE IN GOD THROUGH CHRIST.
What does Christmas faith look like? Lee Strobel examined the evidence as an atheist for Christ. He was struck by the Confidence of one family’s trust in Christ… There confidence in God brought him to faith in Christ too.
Against the backdrop of a Christmas season encrusted with self-centeredness and materialism, churches have a tremendous opportunity to crack open the hearts of people in their community through humble acts of generosity and sacrifice that truly reflect the attitudes of Jesus. These counter-cultural expressions of giving and caring can capture the attention of even the most cynical skeptics, as I personally found out when I was an atheist and working as a reporter at The Chicago Tribune. More than 30 years later, I still remember the simple but profound Christmas lesson I received from a poverty-wracked family living on the hardscrabble West Side of Chicago. As I describe in my new book, THE CASE FOR CHRISTMAS, the Tribune newsroom was eerily quiet on the day before Christmas. As I sat at my desk with little to do, my mind kept wandering back to a family I had encountered a month earlier while I was working on a series of articles about Chicago’s neediest people. The Delgados — sixty-year-old Perfecta and her granddaughters Lydia and Jenny — had been burned out of their roach-infested tenement and were now living in a tiny two-room apartment. As I walked in, I couldn’t believe how empty it was. There was no furniture, no rugs, nothing on the walls — only a small kitchen table and one handful of rice. That’s it. They were virtually devoid of possessions. In fact, eleven-year-old Lydia and thirteen-year-old Jenny owned only one short-sleeved dress each, plus one thin, gray sweater between them. When they walked the half-mile to school through the biting cold, Lydia would wear the sweater for part of the distance and then hand it to her shivering sister, who would wear it the rest of the way. But despite their poverty and the painful arthritis that kept Perfecta from working, she still talked confidently about her faith in Jesus. She was convinced he had not abandoned them. I never sensed despair or self-pity in her home; instead, there was a gentle feeling of hope and peace. I wrote an article about the Delgados, and then I quickly moved on to more exciting assignments. But as I sat at my desk on Christmas Eve, I continued to wrestle with the irony of the situation: here was a family that had nothing but faith and yet seemed happy, while I had everything I needed materially but lacked faith — and inside I felt as empty and barren as their apartment. I walked over to the city desk to sign out a car. It was a slow news day, with nothing of consequence going on. My boss could call me if something were to happen. In the meantime, I decided to drive over to West Homer Street and see how the Delgados were doing.When Jenny opened the door, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Tribune readers had responded to my article by showering the Delgados with a treasure trove of gifts — roomfuls of furniture, appliances, and rugs; a lavish Christmas tree with piles of wrapped presents underneath; carton upon bulging carton of food; and a dazzling selection of clothing, including dozens of warm winter coats, scarves, and gloves. On top of that, they donated thousands of dollars in cash.But as surprised as I was by this outpouring, I was even more astonished by what my visit was interrupting: Perfecta and her granddaughters were getting ready to give away much of heir new-found wealth. When I asked Perfecta why, she replied in halting English: ”Our neighbors are still in need. We cannot have plenty while they have nothing. This is what Jesus would want us to do.” That blew me away! If I had been in their position at that time in my life, I would have been hoarding everything. I asked Perfecta what she thought about the generosity of the people who had sent all of these goodies, and again her response amazed me. ”This is wonderful; this is very good,” she said, gesturing toward the largess. ”We did nothing to deserve this — it’s a gift from God. But, “she added, ”it is not his greatest gift. No, we celebrate that tomorrow. That is Jesus.”
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