Dr. Luke, Writer of the Virgin Birth

Luke

Dr. Luke, Writer of the Virgin Birth

December 21st, 1958 @ 10:50 AM

Luke 1:1-4

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
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DR. LUKE, WRITER OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Luke 1:1-4

12-21-58    10:50 a.m.

 

 

You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the morning message at 11:00 o’clock entitled, Dr. Luke Writes of the Virgin Birth.   We begin with another Gospel testimony.  The New Testament opens with these words, "The book of the nativity of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham" [Matthew 1:1].

 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:  When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Then Joseph her husband – who did not know that – being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

While he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shall call His name Savior – in Hebrew, Joshua, when it finally gets to Greek, Iēsous, and when finally it becomes English – Jesus, Savior: for He shall save His people from their sins.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet Isaiah, saying,

Behold, a parthenon, behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, emmanou, "With us," el, "is God."

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name Savior; in English, Jesus.

[Matthew 1:18-25]

 

That is Matthew’s account of the virgin birth.  That account is denied and assailed by every liberal under the sun.  I would suppose that practically all of the liberal pastors, and ministers, and professors, and authors, and theologians are unanimous in their denial of that virgin birth.  Another Matthew, Matthew Arnold, wrote, "I do not believe in the virgin birth, for that would imply miracle, and miracles do not happen," end quote.  I quote from "The New Theology" by Reginald T. Campbell, quote:

 

The doctrine of the virgin birth tends to put a barrier between Jesus and the race.  It operates as a hindrance to spiritual religion.  The simple and natural conclusion is that Jesus was the child of Joseph and Mary and had an uneventful childhood.

 

 And I have others here of the same category, but it hurts your heart to read them.  That is a common mark of the liberal minister.  If you would like to find out whether a minister is a liberal or not, ask him this key question, "Do you believe in the virgin birth?"  He will deny it, "I do not believe it."  That is the reason that the liberals are so happy over the Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible.  It says in the Revised Standard Version, in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore God Himself will give you a sign. A young woman, a young married woman, will have a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel." 

And that delights the liberals no end, so they copyright that translation of the Bible, advertise it with endless, endless attractive features, and sell it to you, and you buy it.  It delights them for you to do it.  It delights the devil also.  Both alike are very glad.

Isaiah 7:14 says, "Behold, an almah, an almah, in their language, in the Hebrew, almah, behold, an almah shall be with child and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which being translated is God with us."

The Hebrew scholars that I could bring here before you, by their wonderful research, their exegetical material will translate that "virgin."  The Septuagint translation of the Bible made three hundred years before Christ, which is the Bible of the Greek world and is the Bible that the Christian apostles and disciples used in preaching the gospel, translated that word almah, "parthenon." 

Parthenon is a word familiar to you.  The great Parthenon on the Acropolis was dedicated to a virgin goddess named Pallas Athena.  Parthenon means "virgin," and it is the word that Matthew uses here, "Behold, a parthenon, your exact word, a parthenon shall be with child" [Matthew 1:23].  And he says that is what Isaiah said [Matthew 1:22].

And when Matthew says Isaiah said "parthenon," virgin, all of us who believe the Word of God say it is "Parthenon" ; it is almah; it is "virgin."  Now, that settles it for us.  To us who believe the Word and who follow the Scriptures, we need no other corroborating testimony.  That settles it.

But for the sake of our further confirmation, our further certainty, our assurance in keeping with the Word, "give a reason for the faith that is in you."  For our further confirmation and assurance, is there another witness?  Is there?  There is.  In the first chapter of the Book of Luke, we read Luke 1:26: 

 

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

To a parthenon, to a virgin, espoused, contracted to; they were engaged; to a virgin engaged, to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the parthenon’s name, the virgin’s name, was Mary.

[Luke 1:26, 27]

 

He says parthenon.  He says a virgin. 

Now, the message this morning is concerning the testimony of this man.  Who is this man who is writing this word?  We know what Matthew says.  Now this man says it also.  Who is this man?

Well, it is easy to become acquainted with this author.  For one thing, he is the author of two of the books of the Bible.  He is the author of Luke, and he is the author of the Acts.  He starts off with a beautiful prologue in his Gospel [Luke 1:1-4], then he starts off in the Book of Acts, "The former treatise have I made" [Acts 1:1].  Now, the first one he dedicated to Theophilus [Luke 1:3].  The second one he dedicates also, "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus" [Acts 1:1].  So the man who wrote the one wrote the other and dedicates both of them to a man named Theophilus.

So the author of Luke is also the author of the Book of Acts.  They are written alike.  Their language, their vocabulary, their style, every intrinsic internal evidence corroborates the outward evidence.  The same man wrote both of them. 

Now the man that wrote the Book of Acts, and we have just said he also wrote the Book of Luke, was a companion of the apostle Paul.  In the sixteenth chapter of Acts, and thereafter, and in the twentieth chapter of Acts, and thereafter, you have what we call the "we" sections of the story [Acts 16:13, 20:6].  That is, the author was a traveler with the apostle Paul, and when he tells the story and recounts the development, he uses the "we."  All the rest, it is "they."  But when he comes to the place where he is also a companion, he uses "we."

He was a companion of the apostle Paul in the period of the Book of Acts for a little more than six years.  He and Paul, this author, whoever he is, and Paul went around together for more than six years.  Now, whoever that man is, he is a physician.  I have only opportunity this morning, in a brief period of time like this, just to point out some things to let you know that you can see that he is a physician.

For example, when he tells the same story that Mark tells, Mark puts physicians in a pretty bad light when he says this woman who had been sick for twelve years "had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse" [Mark 5:26]. That is the way Mark tells it.

Now watch how Luke will take that same story, and he will soften it concerning the physician.  Luke tells the same story and he says, "And the woman, having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any" [Luke 8:43].  Luke dulls the thrust about the physicians.  She just could not be healed. 

Now, another indication that he is a physician, whoever is writing this; in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Acts, you have the story of Paul gathering sticks, making a fire.  A viper came out, fastened on his hand, and all of the people on the Isle of Malta thought that he was a murderer escaping justice, and God had claimed him in vengeance, and a viper bit him [Acts 28:3-5]. "Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen and fallen down dead."  And you remember the story, nothing happened to him, so they said he was a god [Acts 28:6].

Now, they looked when he should have swollen.  Whoever this man is, he writes in the technical, medical, scientific language of Hippocrates and Galen, the great Greek founders of medicine.  Only here in the Bible will you find that medical, technical term, pimprasthai, which means "to become inflamed."  You will find that term in Hippocrates.  You will find it in Galen.  You find it only here in this author.  It is a technical, medical term in the Greek language, meaning to become inflamed.

Now, in that same scene, it describes Publius, the governor of the island, in a medical category, and it says that Paul prayed and iaomai, and he healed him.  Then it says, "When this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were therapeuō."  They were receiving medical treatment.  Now watch it:  "Who also honored us with many honors; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary" [Acts 28:10].

Now, you have here a description of the apostle Paul who prayed, iaomai, he prayed and healed [Acts 28:8].  But others also came, and when they came, Luke practiced medicine [Acts 28:9].  He uses a different word for what he does.  Paul prays, and he iaomai.  Luke practices medicine, and he calls that therapeuō.  That is where you get your word "therapeutic" and all of those kindred, cognate terms.  And then he puts himself in it, "Who also honored us with many honors when we departed" [Acts 28:10].  There is the physician and there is the minister, side by side, ministering to the people.

Now you have him called a physician, "Luke, the beloved physician" in Colossians 4:14.  In Philemon he is named [Philemon 1:24], and in 2 Timothy 4, the last chapter, he is named [2 Timothy 4:11].  Now, we know something else about him.  He is a Greek.  He is the author of Acts and Luke.  He is a companion of Paul.  He is a physician.  He is a Greek. 

In 28:2 it says, you have it translated, "And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness" [Acts 28:2], when they were cast and shipwrecked upon the island.  Then you have that, "And when the barbarians," in the fourth verse, "and when the barbarians saw the venomous beast, the serpent, on his hand" [Acts 28:4].  Now you have the idea there that the barbarians, the barbarous people, ah, they must be savages to us.  No, to the Jew, everybody else was a Gentile.  To a Roman, everybody else was a provincial.  To a Greek, everybody else was a barbaroi, a barbarian.  And he does not mean that the people were savages.  As a Greek, he is merely saying that the people were not Greeks.  He was a Greek, and to him all other people were barbarians, and he uses the term there to describe those people.  Now, being a Greek, of course, he was a Gentile, and I know that, that he was a Gentile, from Colossians the fourth chapter, where Paul in greeting the friends over there and sending them greetings, he divides them into two parts.  He speaks of:

 

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, who wrote Mark, sister’s son to Barnabas . . .

And Jesus, which is called Justus, then he says, who are of the circumcision,that is, all of these are Jews –  

Then he says –

Epaphras, who is one of you, you Gentiles . . .

And Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.

[Colossians 4:10-12,14]

 

So he divides them in two.  First, he sends greetings to them, this Gentile church at Colosse, he sends greetings to them from the circumcision, from the Jewish converts, fellow workers [Colossians 4:10-11].  Then he sends greetings to them from the Gentile converts, fellow workers, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas [Colossians 4:12, 14]. 

Now, that is a very hurried, unhappy explanation, to me at least, but I cannot do else in so short a time.  It is just to give you an idea of how it is that we think we know these things, that he was a physician, that he was a Greek, that he was a Gentile, that he was a companion of Paul, and that he wrote the Acts and the third Gospel, the Gospel of Luke.

Now let’s look at that man for a minute because it is his testimony that means so much to us.  He was a cultured, educated, scientifically trained Greek.  As such, I would naturally – and you would too if you were to review those Greek philosophers and how they thought, and said, and taught, and did – naturally, I would think that being a Greek, educated, cultured scientist, that he would be highly skeptical.  I have every reason to think that because all of them were. 

When Paul went to Athens and spoke there to the Stoics and the Epicureans, the cultured Greeks who were in the schools there in the great cultural center of the Mediterranean empire, when he spoke of the resurrection and the miraculous part of the gospel, they did not beat him like they do in other places.  They did not put him in jail.  They just laughed at him [Acts 17:16-19, 31-32].  That is a very typical response of the skeptic.  What does it matter to him?  He is not going to beat you.  He is not going to put you in jail.  He does not believe in any God. 

Edward Gibbon in his great volumes, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, said this, and it is a classic, "To the people, all religions were equally true.  To the philosophers, all religions were equally false.  And to the magistrates, all religions were equally useful."  And that is the veritable and honest truth.

To the philosopher, to the Greek educated, cultured scientist, rhetorician product of the schools, to them, all religions were equally false, and they laughed at all of them.  They were born skeptics.  That is what I am saying.  So when you find out that Luke is a cultured, educated, scientific Greek, I would expect him, with every right to expect it, that he would be a skeptic.  You tell him a miraculous story, and he would laugh.  He would think that was the newest joke that he had come across that day. 

All right, another thing about this man, he is a marvelously gifted writer.  He has a sense of artistry and the ability to write beautiful prose beyond anything, I think, in the world.  The most beautiful book in the world, and it is not just I saying it; this comes from some of the greatest literary critics such as Renan, the most beautiful book in the world is the Gospel according to Luke.  The most beautiful story in the world is the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke, the story of the two on the way to Emmaus when Jesus, unknown, walked by their side [Luke 24:13-35].  He is the only author that has a literary prologue, and he writes in great, beautiful, periodic groupings.  He has the grand style, and the grand structure, and the grand vocabulary.  Whoever this man is is one of the most gifted and versatile of all of the authors who have ever lived. 

All right, another thing about him, he is writing to a wealthy, cultured Roman.  He says here, "To write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus" [Luke 1:3], and then in the first chapter of Acts, "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus" [Acts 1:1].  Now, this word translated here "most excellent," kratiste, that is a technical term for the class of knight in the Roman nobility.  There were three classes of Roman society, the plebeian, that is the Roman citizen, the knights, and the patricians.  Now this word kratiste is a descriptive, a technical term by which you would address a knight.  Oh, in England, you would say "Sir."  Is that not what?  Sir.  This is Sir Galahad or Sir Lancelot.  That is, they are of the knight nobility.  Now, in Greek, they had a technical term like that, kratiste theophile

So we know that this man is a Roman of the knight class.  He is a nobleman.  Now he has a Christian name, Theophilus, theo, "god," philos, "friend, lover of."  So, he has become a Christian, and they have given him a Christian name, theophilos, a lover or a friend of God. 

Now tradition; now you do not know these things, but tradition says that Theophilus was a cultured, wealthy Roman official in Antioch, and that Luke was born a Greek slave in his home, and that Theophilus educated the Greek slave to be a doctor.  And in the providence of God, set him free, manumitted him, and as a token of his great love and appreciation for what the Roman nobleman had done for him in educating him and setting him free, [Luke] won him to Christ.  Don’t you wish that could be true?  [Luke] won him to Christ and now writes to him – and we will see why in a moment – writes to him these beautiful documents that you call Luke and the Book of Acts.

All right, now another thing about him, he was a contemporary.  He never lived a century later and wrote what somebody heard that somebody said that somebody reported, but he is a contemporary.  The Book of Acts closes at the twenty-eighth chapter in the year 63 AD.  The thing closes.  Why does it close there?  Did you know that right after that came the most scurrilous events in this world?  In 64, the following year, Nero burned Rome, then began building his golden palace.  Right after that, the first terrible persecution of the Christians which spread over the empire, right after that, the martyrdom of Paul and of Peter, and right after that in 67 AD, the Jewish insurrection.  That dissipation led the Roman legions to quell.  He was called to be emperor of the Roman Empire and left the final subjugation of Judea into the hands of Titus, his son, who completed it with the destruction of the nation in 70 AD. 

All of that immediately pressing upon 63 AD, yet Luke never mentions it.  Why does he not mention it?  Simply because that was the end of the story, he had come to that place, and the thing ends there.  It had gone no further.  He had lived to that moment.  So Luke is a contemporary of the event that he describes.

Now, to the heart of what I am getting to, at the end of the third missionary journey, Luke is a companion of the apostle Paul, and he comes with Paul to Judea [Acts 21:15].  In that imprisonment that Paul knew in Caesarea [Acts 23:23], Luke is there in Judea, for when Paul gets out of prison and is sent to appear before Julius Caesar, Luke is with him all the way [Acts 27:1-28:16].  So Luke is with Paul when he comes to Judea [Acts 21:15].  He is still with Paul when Paul leaves Judea [Acts 27:1].  That means, that while Paul was in prison in [Caesarea] for over two years [Acts 24:27], that Luke, the beloved physician, is there waiting for him.

Doing what?  He tells us what.  In the more than two years that Luke, this trained Greek scientist and beautifully, ably, gifted writer, in the more than two years that Luke is in Judea with nothing to do – Paul in prison in Caesarea – Luke says that he gave himself to the study of and the thorough investigation of those things that were reported about Jesus and things believed and preached by the apostles of the Son of God [Luke 1:1-3].

He was a true scientist.  He was a true historian.  And he investigated his sources.  And when he had concluded his investigation, he wrote it down and sent it to his old friend and master, Theophilus [Luke 1:4].

Now, he says, that he made his investigation in three ways.  One, "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us" [Luke 1:1].  There he refers to written documents.  Already there were written out these documents, and I have not time to go into those documents that enter into the making of these Gospels, but there were written documents.  Many of them, he says, "for as much as many have taken in hand to write out a declaration" [Luke 1:1].

So Luke received and dug out and ferreted out and found all of those written documents whereby friends and apostles and evangelists and believers wrote out these wonderful sayings and wonderful deeds of the Son of God.  So his first source of investigation, he says, is in written documents.

Now, the second source, he says, is in oral testimony, "even as they delivered them unto us, unto us," they, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and proclaimers of this word" [Luke 1:2].  Luke says there, that I went to see the people who saw this done.  I talked to them, "Even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses" [Luke 1:2].  Here were people who heard John the Baptist preach.  Here were people who were healed by the miraculous hands of the Son of God.  And Luke ferreted them out, and talked to them, and found them.

I so, wouldn’t you like to describe that?  When Dr. Luke went and knocked at the door, "Is this where Mary and Martha and Lazarus live?  I am a friend of the apostle Paul.  My name is Dr. Luke.  Could I talk to you about the Lord?"  Why, can you imagine it?  When Mary and Martha and Lazarus sit down with this beloved physician and tell him the story again.  Why, you can hardly conceive.  It is beyond imagination.  Luke says, that is what I did.  I went to the original sources, and I asked the eyewitnesses who saw it [Luke 1:2].

 Then, he says, "It seemed good to me also now, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order that thou mightest know the certainty of those things" [Luke 1:3-4].  And these are his conclusions, "I have looked at the documents.  I have talked to the witnesses who were there to see and to hear, and now I write them, most excellent Theophilus, Sir Theophilus, that thou mightest be confirmed in the things in which thou hast been instructed" [Luke 1:4].  Now, that is the man that is writing. 

Now may I show you one other thing?  He gives you to understand that the story of the nativity, he got from Mary herself.  In those more than two years that this physician was in Judea, going around, up and down, and talking to the people who had been healed and blessed by the power of the Son of God, talking to the very eyewitnesses himself, he gives you to understand here that the story of the nativity that he writes [Luke 1:26-35, 2:1-16], so intimate, nobody but a physician could ever have done it, talking about Elizabeth and the babe turning over in her womb [Luke 1:41].  Man, I was a father before I had any idea what that meant. 

No ordinary layman who had not entered into those things would have any idea what he was talking about.  A physician is writing, and he gives you to understand that all of those stories of Elizabeth and Mary and Joseph and Zacharias, all of those he got from Mary herself.  Listen to him as he says, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart" [Luke 2:19].  She treasured them up.  And then he says it again, "But His mother kept all these things in her heart," hidden away, hidden away.  That is, Luke is telling you that, "I learned these things from Mary herself.  She told me."  And he writes them here for us.

Well, now what about it?  Ah, says the skeptic.  Ah, says the skeptic.  Why, those miraculous stories about the virgin birth, why, I can produce them all over, all over creation.  Give me any age, give me any literature, give me any hero, and I will produce for you the story of a miraculous birth.  Good.  Let’s pile them out, turn them by, pass them before us; review them.  Let’s look at them, be very simple. 

Now, we don’t – almost twelve o’clock again – we don’t have but a little time just to name them, but it is open for everybody.  Let’s look at some of these miraculous births.  Let’s look at some of them for just a minute.  Bear with me now until I am through with this. 

Ah, let’s look at them just for a minute.  Alexander the Great did not want to be known as a common, ordinary, natural son of Philip of Macedon, so he concocted the story that he was born with a serpent cohabiting with his mother.  All right, that is one of your miraculous births from the ancient world.

All right, let us take another one, another one, Caesar Augustus.  Caesar  Augustus did not want to be known as an ordinary, natural-born son, so Caesar Augustus said that he was born when his mother went to the temple of Apollo, and while she was asleep, why, Apollo visited her and Augustus was born.  Now, that’s another one.

All right, here is another one, about Gautama the Buddha, the Enlightened One.  For the first three hundred years, nothing was said about any miraculous birth of Gautama the Buddha, but after about three hundred years, it became current that while his mother was asleep, a white elephant with six tusks forcibly entered her side and Gautama was born.

All right, that is three typical ones.  All right, let’s take them in another category.  Here is the birth of Hercules.  Jupiter fell in love with Alcmene, the daughter of Electryon, the king of Mycene, and while her husband was away, Jupiter assumed the form of her husband, and Hercules was born.  Now, it made Juno angry, who is the wife of Jupiter, they are the two-head gods, Jupiter and Juno.  It made Juno angry what Jupiter had done, so she sent two serpents down there to kill the baby, and young Hercules strangled those two great serpents.  That is how Hercules . . .

Now, another one, let’s take Achilles.  Achilles was born; his father was supposed to be Paleus, his mother was Thetis, the sea nymph, and when he was born, Achilles was born, why, Thetis, the mother, dipped him in the River Styx to make him invulnerable, you know, and she held him by his heels and Paleus shot the arrow, poisoned arrow, and hit him in the heel, and he died.  You know all that.

Now, those are typical, very typical, stories that the critic says he can match the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, and that is the kind of stuff he matches it with.  The difference between the story of Hercules, or of Achilles, or of Augustus, or of Alexander, or of Gautama, or any other they can find, the difference between those stories, those mythological legends, those unbelievable, to us, offensive things, and this beautiful, glorious visitation and interposition of God in human life and human history is the difference between the earth and the sky, between God and the devil, between light and dark, between truth and falsehood.

Now, bear with me to bring it home to us today.  "All right, preacher, let’s just see whether you are that vulnerable, and incredulous, and inculpable.  Let’s just see.  Suppose today an unwed mother were to come to you and say, ‘Preacher, see this baby in my arms?  The baby has no father.  The baby was conceived of God, and it is born of a virgin.’  Would you believe it?"  Would I believe it if an unwed mother were to come to me with a baby and say, "[The baby] did not have any natural father, born of God."  Would you believe it?  Would I believe it?  And the skeptic laughs as he asks the question, "Ha!  Now, answer me.   Would you believe it, if a girl were to come today and say that to you?"

All right, let me answer.  Yes, I would if – yes, I would if – if the birth of that child had been foretold thousands and thousands of years before, the Seed of the woman [Genesis 3:15], the seed of Abraham: "In thy seed is the One, all the families of the earth shall be blessed" [Genesis 22:18].  "The scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh come" [Genesis :10]. "A virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel" [Isaiah 7:14].  "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . and His name shall be called Wonderful, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father" [Isaiah 9:6].

If His birth had been prophesied thousands of years before [Isaiah 7:14], I would.  If, when He was born the angels sang and heaven rejoiced with earth below [Luke 2:13-14].  If that Son, when He grew to be a man, if that Child could just speak, and the winds and the waves be still [Matthew 8:23-26].  Break bread, break bread, break bread, break, break, and keep on breaking with no effort at all, and five thousand people were [fed] [John 6:1-13].  If that Child, when He grew up, grew up to be a man, if He could say to the blind just a word and they could see [Luke 18:35-43], to the dead speak a word and they arise [John 11:43-44], if when He was slain [Matthew 27:32-50], the third day He rose again from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7].

A man came to Napoleon and said, "I’m trying to start a new religion, and nobody will believe me."  And Napoleon said, "Why, it is very simple.  Just be killed and the third day rise again, and people will believe you."  Try it.  Try it.  Try it.  Try it! 

If he was dead and the third day He rises again [Matthew 27:50, 28:5-7], and if after these thousands of years which now number two millennium, if all over this world, all over this world, in every language and in every literature, they are singing songs to His praise and looking for Him and adoring Him and praying to Him and believing, if He is that kind of a child, and the girl says, "born of God," I say, "Yes, I believe it!  It is my Lord, it is my God, it is Jesus."

The Magi came [Matthew 2:1-2], the angels sang [Luke 2:8-12], and all heaven rejoiced [Luke 2:13-14] with us today – "that thou mightest know the certainty of the things wherein thou hast been instructed" [Luke 1:4].  Born of a virgin [Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23].

While we sing our song, while we sing our song, somebody you, give your heart to the Lord, put your life in the church, as God shall open the door, say the word and lead the way, would you come?  In this great balcony around, on this lower floor; we had eleven this morning at the 8:15 o’clock service, whole family of them, six of them by baptism.  We just had a little Pentecost, it seemed, at 8:15.

Now, if you ought to come, would you?  Would you?  Not the call of a man; that is nothing.  But if God says the word, should you?  Ought you?  Does the Spirit whisper that you do, would you come?  "Today I give you my hand, preacher.  I give my heart in faith to Jesus, and here I am.  When the magi bow, I will bow too.  When the people pray, I will pray too.  When we lift up our eyes to wait, I will be waiting too."  See Him someday, the Lord of all creation, the King of the angels, "and here I am, and here I come."  Or to put your life in the church, one or a family, while we make this appeal, would you come and stand by me?  While all of us stand and sing.

 

DOCTOR LUKE, WRITER OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Luke 1:1-4

12-21-58

 

I.          Introduction

A.  Matthew says "a virgin" (Matthew 1:18-25)

B.  What the critics say (Isaiah 7:14)

C.  For Matthew to say it is enough; but there is corroborating testimony (Luke 1:26-27)

 

II.         Who is Luke?

A.  Author of third Gospel and Book of Acts (Luke 1:1-3, Acts 1:1)

B.  A companion of Paul (Acts 16:10, 20:6)

C.  A physician

      1.  Mark puts physicians in pretty bad light (Mark 5:26, Luke 8:43)

2.  He was practiced in the scientific language of Hippocrates and Galen (Acts 28:6-10)

3.  He is called a physician (Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24, 2 Timothy 4:11)

D.  He is a Greek Gentile (Acts 28:2, Colossians 4:10-14)

 

III.        A closer look at Luke

A.  He is an educated, Greek scientist

B.  He is a marvelously gifted writer

C.  He is writing to a cultured, wealthy Roman

D.  He is a contemporary

E.  He is a true historian, investigating his sources

      1.  Written documents, oral testimony (Luke 1:1-2)

3.  Thorough investigation, certainty (Luke 1:3-4)

 

IV.        His story came from Mary herself

A.  Skeptics say other heroes have legends of miraculous birth

B.  Would we believe her today?

      1.  Yes…if (Genesis 22:18, :10, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6)