From a Historical standpoint
1 December 2019 PM – Galatians 4:4 – Incarnation – Scott Childs
Introduction: This painting is of my great-grandfather’s farm on my father’s side of the family. I do not remember seeing my great-grandfather, but I do remember being in his house when I was very young. Other than those few vague memories, all I know about my great-grandparents is historical facts passed down to me. Historical facts inform us of events that happened in the past.
Transition: As we look at the incarnation from a historical standpoint, I want us to examine three sources of historical evidence that ought to help us defend Christ’s incarnation.
1. Scriptural Evidence
a. Credibility of Scripture
We can trust scriptural evidence because the Bible is true! Here are eleven external evidences that the Bible is trustworthy. – Bibliology, lesson 1, Scott Childs
1) The continuity of the Bible (its unbroken and consistent existence over time) is evidence. This one volume exhibits the most perfect continuity of thought that the world has ever seen. It is a collection of sixty-six books, written by about forty authors kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, physicians, statesmen, scholars, poets, and plowmen who could have known but little of each other, since their lives were lived in various countries and their writings were distributed over sixty generations of human history, representing a period of about sixteen hundred years. Yet, all sixty-six books of the Bible are in harmony.
2) The amazing revelations of the Bible are evidence. Chafer relates the Bible to a telescope looking into the ageless past and into the endless future. Then it is like a microscope revealing minute details of God’s plan. Finally, it is like a stereoscope bringing all things into right relation with each other without contradiction.
3) The publication of the Bible surpasses all other books.
4) The influence of the Bible is supernatural. The Bible has transformed and sanctified millions of lives. (John 17:17)
5) The superhuman subjects of the Bible show that it is God’s Word. It deals with the unknown and unknowable. It speaks with authority of things in Heaven and things on earth; of creation and the flood; of the seen and of the unseen; of God, of angels, and of men; of time and of eternity; of life and of death; of sin and of salvation; of Heaven and of hell. Apart from its message, there is no knowledge of these eternal issues in the entire world: with its message, there is certainty, assurance, and peace.
6) The fulfilled prophecies have all been accurate.
7) The testimony of archaeology includes such things as inscriptions on rocks, or temple walls, statues, obelisks, pavements slabs, clay tablets, papyrus rolls, coins, seals, pottery, and other objects dug up from the old buried cities of the past.
8) Geology testifies that the Bible is God’s Word. Geology supports a global flood that verifies the accuracy of the Bible (sea fossils above sea level, rapid burial of plants and animals, rapid deposits of sediments, rapid or no erosion between strata, and rapid succession of strata layers).
9) The literature of the Bible is also supreme. It satisfies simple minds and challenges brilliant minds.
10) The presentation of unprejudiced facts is evidence that the Bible is God’s Word. It unhesitatingly records the sin, the weakness of the best of men and the doom of all who rely alone on those virtues and merits that are their own.
11) Jesus Christ, the supreme character of the Bible, is more than mortal man could invent.
b. Statements in Scripture
1) (Galatians 4:4) “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”
2) (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.” Note every phrase in this verse!
3) (John 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.”
4) (Matthew 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.”
5) (Romans 8:3) “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”
6) (Hebrews 2:14) “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”
2. Testimonial Evidence
a. Personal testimony of Jesus
1) (John 6:38) “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”
2) (John 8:42) “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.”
3) (John 10:36) “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
b. Testimony of those who knew Jesus
1) The old man Simeon – (Luke 2:26) “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
2) Peter – (Matthew 16:16) “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
3. Practical Evidence
a. Evidence from History
Though the following evidences do not mention the incarnation, they supports the earthly life and work of Christ.
1) Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Christ – born of a woman, born of a virgin, born of the seed of Abraham, born in Bethlehem, died a humiliating death, rose from the dead, and others.
2) The historical locations in the Gospel narratives are identifiable today – Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Galilee, etc.
3) The historical people during Jesus’ lifetime are mentioned in secular history. King Herod, Herod’s death, Pilate,
4) Tacitus mentions that Emperor Nero falsely blamed “the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius.” – Annals of Imperial Rome, 116 A.D.
5) Most scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. – Wikipedia
6) Helpful website with many early quotations: https://www.nelsonprice.com/early-secular-writings-regarding-christ/
b. Evidence from Within
1) If Christ were just a man and not the God/man, he would have no more power to change lives than any other dead religious person.
2) Faith in Christ has changed the lives of millions since the first century. (2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
3) If you know Christ as your Saviour, you have the witness of His Holy Spirit within you. (Romans 8:16-17) “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
4) The indwelling Spirit chastens believers. (Hebrews 12:7) “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”
Conclusion: From an historical standpoint, we can be confident that Jesus Christ became the God/man and lived on this earth as the Bible states. I trust that the historical evidences we have examined this evening will strengthen your faith and help you defend the incarnation when you are witnessing for Christ.
Song: He Lives! 132