The Three Births of Jesus

.

Read John 1: 1-14

  1:1   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
  1:2   The same was in the beginning with God.  
  1:3   All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  
  1:4   In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  
  1:5   And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  
  1:6   There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John.  
  1:7   The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe.  
  1:8   He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light.  
  1:9   [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  
  1:10   He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  
  1:11   He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  
  1:12   But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:  
  1:13   Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  
  1:14   And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

It is this last birth, the third birth of Jesus in us that I want to focus on this morningIt is this last birth, the third birth of Jesus in us that I want to focus on this morning. "John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

It is this third birth of Jesus that the whole universe is waiting to see. God has staked His honor on the fulfillment of this birth of Jesus. Satan has said: "I’ve got you!" "You have promised more than you can fulfill!" "This is my trump card!" "This will prove to the universe that your promises are empty air!"

Jesus has promised:

Isaiah 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them].

Jude 24, 25 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

These are five of the many promises that Jesus makes about this birth of Jesus in our hearts and minds. When we are born spiritually, Jesus is born in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. What that body of flesh that was prepared for Jesus in the body of Mary experienced at the second birth of Jesus, is what Jesus has promised will happen to us at our second birth. This rebirth of Jesus again in a human body is the hope of the universe. This is called the "hope of glory" in Colossians 1:27. "To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

Let us look at this second birth of Jesus because this has special interest to us at this time. This is the time of year when the world is celebrating what most people, if they think about it at all, think generally is His first birth. This second birth of Jesus is parallel and similar to our second birth. And it is not because of what the world is doing, but because of what God has promised to do in all who believe, that this birth of Jesus is so important to us.

Paul tells us what Jesus said in heaven before coming into the body that was prepared for Him in the body of Mary:

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

10:6 In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

The Holy Spirit had revealed these words of Jesus which were recorded in the Psalms:

Psalms 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me,

40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.

This is the experience God wants us also to have.

We can read how that body was prepared for Jesus in Mary:

1:18 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 Ghost.

1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

1:20 But 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 Ghost.

1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Doctor Luke gives us more of the details of the story of the second birth of Jesus:

Luke1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name [was] Mary.

1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that art] highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women.

1:29 And when she saw [him], she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

What is so important about this second birth of Jesus is that it tells us, and shows us how our second birth happens.

How was Jesus born the second time?

There was Mary with her flesh and blood body. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary because that was the will and plan of God. God took the initiative and through the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and did in her what was necessary for her to conceive and bear a Son who had no Father but His heavenly Father. Mary did not resist the plan. Those are the two requirements for the second birth of Jesus.

  1. God takes the initiative and sends Holy Spirit to make Divine life possible in human flesh.
  2. The human flesh agrees and does not resist. Luke1:38 "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

God takes the initiative and comes to every person in the world by the Holy Spirit and says:

Proverbs 23:26 "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways."

In other words, put your attention on me. Believe me. Trust me. Give me your attention and your will. When we do not resist the working of the Holy Spirit, but constantly and consistently yield to the Holy Spirit, then Jesus, by the Holy Spirit is born again in our flesh, in our body. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

It is unbelief. It is selfishness. It is pride that we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, overcome. It is the lie we so readily believe, that to give our wills to Jesus is a form of bondage, that we must by God’s grace overcome. Serving and obeying Jesus and doing His gracious will is in the highest sense freedom and in the greatest sense joy unspeakable.

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

When the initiative of the Holy Spirit, who comes to every man and woman, is not resisted, the Holy Spirits does what is necessary for Jesus to be born again in body and mind and heart. Our part is to hear and to respond by saying as did Mary "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

 

Desire of Ages 176 says: "The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, "I delight to do Thy will, O my God." Ps. 40:8. {DA 175.5}

This needs to be a daily experience with us.

God has so designed life that it comes in daily capsules, one day at a time. Every morning we awake like a new birth from the dead that is symbolized by sleep. Sleep is essential to brain and body function. Death to self and denying self is essential to spiritual life in Jesus because there can only be one ruler in the life. The death of self is only for a moment and at the most only for a day. That decision to die to self and to deny self has to be made daily and hourly and every minute. The life Jesus begets within us is eternal life. The Divine life has no end. It begins the moment we believe and yield our heart, mind and will to God. The reason we have to yield our wills to Jesus is that it is the will, the power of choice, is the governing power in the life. In order to have spiritual life, our will must be yielded to God daily and hourly and every minute. That is reality. It strengthens our power of choice to deny self and yield our wills to God repeatedly. In the beginning of the Christian walk, this denial of self and yielding of the will to God is a death-struggle. Jesus likened it to cutting off a limb or plucking out the eye in order to live.

Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

This is the most difficult part for us with the second birth and living the Divine life. Our part is to deny self and to agree with what the Holy Spirit tells us to do. Our part is to believe and to distinguish between the Holy Spirit’s voice and the voice of Satan and to say yes to Jesus and no to Satan.

Jesus was born the second time, once Mary had agreed for this new life to be conceived in her and to be born of her. Jesus then had a life-long struggle to keep under His own pre-existent power and His own life of infinite power and absolute authority, and to live the life of a servant, under the authority and under the will of another, even His Father and His God. That is how He lived the perfect human life that He offers to all who will accept it to live it as He did by His Father’s power. Even though the temptations that Jesus resisted were powerful, the doing of His Father’s will was a delight and a joy. Jesus did not focus on the difficulty of the temptations, but on the joy of doing His Father’s will and the joy of you and me doing the Father’s will in our lives.

It is written in Hebrews 12:2: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

The importance of our living the life of Jesus on earth is that it gives great joy and honor to God. It proves that the plan of salvation works. The last question in the great controversy between Christ and Satan is: "Does the plan of salvation work?" "Is God able to make a man more precious than gold, than fine gold?" "Is God able to write His laws in the hearts and minds of men so that they delight to do His will?" "In this life, in this world is God able to have a group of people that not only in themselves, in their inmost souls are true to God by their own free choice, but who also love and accept one another, for Jesus’ sake?" This is the last question in the great controversy to be answered. And God is looking to me and God is looking to you to answer these questions by His grace. The Holy Spirit knocks on the door of your heart and on the door of my heart and calls us into this new birth experience daily and hourly. Our response shows the universe that the plan of salvation works, to the glory of God, or it shows that for us it does not work which gives glory to Satan and credence to His last lie! What is my response? What is your response? I refuse to give glory to Satan. He is a liar and a deceiver. He does not love anyone but himself. He has done nothing good for me, or anyone else since his rebellion. I want to love and serve God.

There is no other choice. It is a deception of the Devil that I can be neutral in the great controversy.

Quickly now for the first birth of Jesus. Before we look at that, there may be the question unanswered in the minds of some, that the second birth of Jesus was His first birth. It is in the Spirit of Prophecy that we find answers that are so clear that they cannot be misunderstood if we come with the attitude of Mary when the Spirit of God spoke to her. We read in Signs of the Times May 30, 1895 par. 3:

"There is but one way of escape for the sinner. There is but one agency whereby he may be cleansed from sin. He must accept the propitiation that has been made by the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The shed blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." A complete offering has been made; for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,"-- not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 3}

By being born of Mary, Jesus, who was already the only begotten Son of God, gained in a new sense the title, Son of God. This is also told us in Spirit of Prophecy.

"Christ brought men and women power to overcome. He came to this world in human form, to live a man amongst men. He assumed the liabilities of human nature, to be proved and tried. In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature. In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God. Said the angel to Mary, "The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world--the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race." {1SM 226.2}{5BC 1114.10}

It is interesting how accurate the wording is in Scripture. Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

A Son was given. He had to be a Son before He was given, in order to be given. Unto us a child is born. That was the second birth of Jesus.

Now let us look at His first birth. All through Scripture the common word for being brought forth or birthed is used and applied to the Son of God. All the "begats" in the Bible seem boring to us perhaps. So and so begat so and so. That word "begat" is the same word that is used when God tells us that He begat a Son. We are told that the most debated text in the old Testament is Psalms 2. Let us look at Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Before the second birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, there was a day so far back in time that it is impossible for us to see or comprehend it. The birth day of Jesus is too long ago for us to see it. This is what everlasting means to the Hebrew mind.

From everlasting to everlasting means to the Hebrew mind – that it was too far back in time to see and it is to far in the future to see. God tells us that there was a day when He begat His only begotten Son. "Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee."

In the Spirit of Prophecy we are told very clearly that Proverbs 8:22-32 is talking about Jesus. We can read about this in Patriarchs and Prophets page 34: "The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate--a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father--one in nature, in character, in purpose--the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6. His "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2. And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: "The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting. . . . When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him." Proverbs 8:22-30. {PP 34.1}

Let’s look at this Scripture that talks about Jesus. Notice the oft repeated phrase "brought forth".

Proverbs 8:22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

8:24 When [there were] no depths, I was brought forth; when [there were] no fountains abounding with water.

8:25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

8:26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

8:27 When he prepared the heavens, I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

8:28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

8:30 Then I was by him, [as] one brought up [with him]: and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him;

8:31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights [were] with the sons of men.

8:32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed [are they that] keep my ways.

The most direct information about the first birth of Jesus comes from Jesus Himself talking to His disciples just before His betrayal and death in John 16.

John 16:26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:

16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

16:29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

16:30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

16:31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

The original word used that is translated "came out" and "came forth" are different expressions of the same Greek word. The word used for "came out" in verse 27 and "came forth" in John 16:28 is numbered by Strong as 1831 and means issue, come forth. The word "camest forth" in John 16:30 is also Strong’s 1831. The word "come" used in these verses is Strong’s 2064 which means "come or go".

This is so important to Jesus that His disciples know this about Him that He repeats this thought in His prayer to His Father in the next chapter of John. Look at John 17:8

John17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

The words "came out" is the same Strong’s 1831 again and the word "send" is from Strong’s 649 which is a word that we all know "apostello" that we get the English word "apostle" from. An apostle is one sent. The reason it is important to know that they are different words is to know that this is not a common Hebrew idiom of repeating the same thought as is so often done. The "came out" and "sent" are talking about two different things. Jesus is telling His disciples and then repeating the idea in His prayer to His Father: "I have told them that you birthed me and then sent me to this world".

The disciples response is significant in John 16:29 and 30:

"His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

16:30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God."

16:31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

The words "camest forth" in verse 30 is again Strong’s 1831 which means "to issue, come forth" which is what happens in birth.

The apostle Paul picks up this theme in Hebrews chapter 1. In verse 2 we are told that Jesus made the worlds. The word "made" in this verse is Strong’s 4160 which means "make or do". Jesus made or did the worlds. But we find the same English word "made" applied to Jesus in the 4th verse. This is the verse that our Jehovah’s Witnesses friends use to "show" that Jesus was created. However Strong tells us that it is not the same Greek word. This word "made" in verse 4 is Strong’s 1096 which means "generate, To cause to be". So if we put the word used throughout Scripture for this event, we would say for verse 4 "Being begotten so much better than the angels" But this is a problem, because the angels were not begotten, but created as we were. So Paul uses a neutral word that could mean both begotten as well as created and says that Jesus was "generated, caused to be" so much better than the angels – who were also caused to be in creation. But notice the word "inheritance" in that verse. What does inheritance imply? How would you inherit a name or character traits? Jesus inherited a better name or character traits than the angels did. Why? Because Jesus was begotten by the Father and the angels were created by Jesus.

Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit goes on to quote Psalms 2 and asks the question:

Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? The obvious answer is "Not one!" in the sense of being begotten as the Son of God was.

Paul goes on and on about the original or first birth of Jesus throughout the rest of chapter 1 of Hebrews. The first six chapters of Hebrews are devoted to what Paul calls in chapter 7 verse 1 "the principles of the doctrine of Christ".

Let us conclude where we began with John chapter 1.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.

1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Who is the subject of these first five verses of John? Jesus is the subject. And in these first five verses John says the same thing as Jesus told them there in His last conversation and last precious time spent with the disciples before His betrayal, denial, and crucifixion. This is such an explosive subject, that I never thought I would ever preach it. But, beloved, this world is running out of time. Truth needs to be preached and believed. Jesus had a beginning so far back in time that Scripture says it was from everlasting. It was too long ago to see. It was over the horizon of time. This is what the Holy Spirit is telling us. There was a day so far back that it is too far away to see when Jesus was begotten by the Father. This is what we are told all through Scripture. This fact explains what Jesus was saying in John 14:28 "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."

Here again the Greek and Strong’s concordance helps us. The word "greater" in the Greek is 3187 that means "larger, elder". The Father is larger in terms of age and is older than Jesus. My current understanding is that this was illustrated for us in the creation of Adam. Adam was larger both physically and also in terms of age, than was Eve. The way we count time, we would say that Adam and Eve were the same age, because they were created the same day. However the record tells us very clearly that they were created with different details. Adam was created first. Adam was created from dirt. Eve was created second. Eve was created from Adam – from Adam’s rib. Eve was created with what came out of the side of Adam. This I understand was to help us understand, and to help the universe understand that Jesus came forth from the Father as His only begotten Son.

The most important idea is that God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son and sent His only begotten Son to this earth that we might live through Him. Jesus wants to be born the third time in our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit. Will we agree and say as did Mary, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

Those who with me would like to send that message to God, kneel with me and let us tell God: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."