Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P34 (01-11-21)
A saint said one time, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine”. Do we not have the tendency to put people on pedestals, to worship man, especially those in a leadership position, a president, a well-known or popular pastor, who has built up quite a respectful following. Let us not bow down to a man, or even an angel of God. God alone is worthy of worship. All of us are capable of doing wrong, and we will from time to time, in our frail humanity, and God knows that all so well but He loves us anyway. And He loves us to solve that problem we have that we cannot solve, and knowing we are still so prone to fail. That is a kind of love the world does not understand.
So we read some examples of people who fell down and worshipped Jesus. We read about the wisemen, who gave expensive gifts fit for a king and they fell down and worshipped Him, knowing that this baby is the promised Messiah the prophets spoke about, for they saw the star in the East to lead them. Jesus spoke to the fish and caused Peter’s boat to be completely filled with a huge catch, and Peter, so moved, realized his sinful condition before a holy God, and God told him to not be afraid. Then Jesus healed the afflicted, just as the prophets said He would come to do. Jesus is the only man who is also completely God. He is the only one worthy of worship.
Then we read about a leper who was wondering if Jesus was willing to heal him. He knew he was able, for certainly he heard and maybe even saw the miracles He did for others. But he asked, “Will He do that for me?” Do we sometimes have an improper understanding of God, of His attitude of mercy, compassion and grace toward us? Do you think you are unworthy, and so, therefore, God would be unwilling to do something for me? Do you think God is disgusted with you? Do you know His mercy and grace? Do you think He is not there? Do you think He does not see the evil in this world? Is He willing to rescue us from all our troubles? Will He provide for me?
What has God told us in His word that we can rely on? What has He done for us that we know He always has what is best for us? Did He not shed His blood for us, and take away all our sins from the eyes of God? Has He not risen from the dead, and has now given us His very life, His very mind, to be living in us? What for? Why does He tell us not to worry or be afraid? Why does He tell us that He will cause all things to work out together for our good? Why does He say that the work He began in us, He will complete? Do we trust Him? So He wants our minds to get off ourself and our circumstances and onto Him, who alone can and will work out everything in conformance to His will, that we, who are in Christ, will be conformed to the image of His Son.
Do we think we can get rid of our fear, our worry, our bitterness, an unforgiving spirit toward someone who has wronged us, in the energy of our flesh? We cannot do it. But He can. We can rely on Him. That is why the Holy Spirit of God was placed in us, to renew our minds, so we can walk in the new way of the Spirit. Did He not tell us to go boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need? So think of all that God has said and put your faith in what He has said and promised.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[Psalm 44:22]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So when we get to know the love of God, to know God who is agape love, what should our response be but worship!
In Revelation, let us see what the apostle John said in the presence of God.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
So, how did John respond to that type of a revelation. He talks about that. I fell at his feet as though dead. In other words, Jesus was the object of worship.
You will also read in Matthew 28:16-18, how the disciples responded to the resurrected Christ when they saw him in person. It talks about how they met Jesus in Galilee, where Jesus told them to go.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
There you have the contrast, don’t you. The people who recognized Jesus for who he was and worshipped him, but still some doubted. Well, today, can you worship the Lord and still doubt, if worship means bowing down before Him and all of that type of thing. I believe this, that when Jesus said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
That was his response to this. He did not deny this. He did not deny their praise. He did not deny their position. He merely said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. He acknowledged the fact that the object of your worship is worthy of it. It is quite an interesting thing to me, how that word “worship” continues to take on new meaning, as it progresses. We will deal with that toward the end of his lesson.
Turn to Luke 5:4-11.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Can you imagine, here is Peter a professional fisherman along with the other disciples. Can you imagine him saying, “What does this carpenter know about fishing? Do I go and tell you how to build a house? What are you doing trying to tell me how to fish?” But there was something they knew about him that they knew more about fishing than they did. In fact, when you stop to think about it, He is the one who created the fish.
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
You see, once again, that is a part of that worship. Look at Peter’s response when he came to grips of the magnitude of Jesus. “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man! You are too much for me.” People are constantly pointing fingers at other people, putting people on guilt trips, and judgement on them, and making them feel bad on our own. It says that is is the mercy of God that draws men to repentance.
4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
It was the presence of God. Jesus was not pointing his fingers at somebody, saying “you little sinner, you”. It was the very presence of God that revealed the heart of man. When man is blind to his own sinfulness, it is because he has never come into the presence of God. We keep saying, “because he has not been convicted”. No, it is because he has not come into the presence of God. The presence of God reveals my true nature inside. He reveals my heart, which the bible says in and of itself is wicked and deceitful above all things.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
It reveals that, so that my heart responds to the one who came and said, “Bob, I love you anyway, in spite of you, not because of you. I have forgiven you. I extend my mercy to you. I do not love you if, or because, but because I choose to do so”, and that melts us to repentance. If a man like that loves me like that, what should I do? Well, they left their boats and followed Him.
11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
When you come into the presence of the real true God, not something you made up, your response will be just like Peter’s.
8 “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Then you hear. “I know that. That is why I came to the cross for. I know you are weak. That is why I came to be your strength. I know you are a mess. That is why I came to give you life. I know you are dead. That is why I came to give you resurrection life.” The hearing of those words is what causes man to respond back to that love. Then a by-product of that is, “I am going to follow Him the rest of my life.”
It is so important for us to see the reality of that type of thing, coming into the presence of God. It is a pitiful illustration but it is like coming into the presence of those magnifying mirrors that ladies put their face in. Those regular mirrors are one thing. I look at my face and think, “I am not so bad”. But you go into one of those magnifying mirrors that shows your skin with blotches all over it. You say, “Yuck. Get me away from that thing.” It shows you what you really are inside. If you are not fully aware of that, it is because of the fact that you have never come into the presence of the magnifying mirror. When a person is walking around saying, “I do not have any blotches. My skin is wonderful”, just get in front of a magnifying mirror. It shows you have never been in front of one of those magnifying mirrors.
How many of you listeners like to go to the doctor for a checkup. None of us do. Why? You are afraid the doctor might find something. You are mostly fearful of getting cancer. If I get an X-ray, I might get cancer. Any time I get a report back, I ask, “Is it positive or negative? Am I okay?” Why do you fear that? Because you are fearful of what would be discovered.
On the other hand, if there was a doctor right next door to that. He had a new machine that did not cost anything. It was terrific. It zapped it every time. In other words, going into him, if you had cancer, and it did not matter how bad it was, zapped immediately, no charge, thanks for coming in. How many of you would fear coming in having that kind of treatment? Nobody. That is why we should have no fear of God when He reveals the yuckiness that is inside of us. It is there and He wants us to see it. But He also wants us to see that He zapped it with His spiritual x-ray, which is the blood of Jesus Christ that alone cleansed you of all unrighteousness.
We talked about people responding to Jesus. We read about the wisemen who responded in worship and the apostles who responded in worship. Let us now read about Mary Magdalene and the mother of Jesus.
Approaching the resurrected Christ, how did they respond to Him then?
9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
So, again, even Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, recognized him from a flesh standpoint, born of a virgin. She knew the source of her birth, but born at least on Mary’s part from Jewish descent, out of David’s bloodline, but then recognized him as Deity and fell and worshipped Him.
Now, let us see how the afflicted responded to Jesus. We read the story of the blind man in John 8:38-39. He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him, after the Lord Jesus healed him.
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Once again, when Jesus made statements like that, he was not saying that he is going to make all the blind see, and then all the people he can see, he will make them blind. He is not talking about physical blindness, but physical blindness is a picture of spiritual blindness. So when he is talking about being blind spiritually, you have physical evidence of that, those who have eyes but the eyes cannot see. That is something that is hard to understand. I have eyes and those eyes are able to see. It is a marvelous thing. But there are people who have eyes but they cannot see.
It is the same thing spiritually. We are all capable of seeing the truth about Jesus. There is no one incapable of that. We have the spiritual ability to receive Christ. Yet we have eyes but cannot see. Like we said earlier. I can take you to the Grand Canyon, stand you within ten feet of it, one of the most spectacular sites on the face of the earth, and you will never see it. Why? You just turn your back on it.
So he is relating this fact that there is spiritual blindness. There is physical blindness and there is spiritual blindness.
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
25 I was blind but now I see!”
That is exactly the situation of each and every one of us who are in Christ Jesus today. There is no one on the face of this earth who is born again today, that prior to being born again, who was not blind spiritually. We are blind to the truth. Then we hear the truth and respond to the truth and then suddenly can see. Then, there are those who even see. They see. They were looking at Jesus. They were looking at the Messiah. They knew the scriptures. The religious leaders of that day knew the scriptures, knew the prophecies and Jesus was fulfilling every single one of them. Here they were looking at his face, could see, yet were blind. That is the condition of the world. There are people who see and yet are blind. Then there are those who are blind but who suddenly through faith can see. Remarkable things.
What about the leper in Matthew 8:2-3?
2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Now, again, I think there is something in that statement to deal with. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” The leper was not doubting at all that he had the ability to make him clean. That is why he knelt down before Him. He knelt down before Him with full knowledge that He is God, and with an understanding that as God, and he most obviously had seen Him heal other people, so he had no problem at all in doing so. The only thing he did not know was, “Are you willing to do that, Lord?” That is the only thing he really asked, “Are you willing?”
We have the same thing today with the Lord. We can sit down and say, “Well, the Lord is able to work all things out together for good.” We are told that, aren’t we?
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
“Lord, I know that. I know you are capable of doing that, but are you willing to do it for me? The reason I am questioning you are willing to do it for me is because I am not worthy for you to do that for me, and I really do not deserve for you to do that for me, and I am sure you are disgusted with me, and so I am not sure you are willing to do it. I know you can. But, will you?” That is where our perverted concept of God comes in.
I think it is vitally important, for us, as Christians, to not only understand that Jesus, as God, is not only able, but He is willing.
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Now, does God want to conform you to the image of His Son? Yes, He does. Does He want to do that? Yes. Do you believe He can do that? Yes. Do you think He is willing to do that? “I am not sure.” There is where we fall down. There is a dual situation we are dealing with in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is able and He is willing to do for His good pleasure in you.
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Now, if you have a God who is living inside of you, who is not only able to complete the work He began in you, but is willing, desires with all of His heart, to complete the work He began in you, then what is the only thing that is keeping that from occurring. One, not believing He is there, not knowing He is there, or maybe He isn’t there. Maybe He is missing.
If a person is remaining, for example, with bitterness, vindictiveness, anger, or an unforgiving spirit in his heart toward other people, a brother in Christ or sister in Christ or a mate, and that continues, and nothing is happening. You are just happy with that stuff. Do you know what a sign of that is? Somebody is not there. Somebody is not inside your house. Because if Christ Jesus is alive, living in your house, the one who is willing and able to complete the work He began in you, there is nothing in His work connected with bitterness, anger, lack of forgiveness and those types of things. There is nothing in Him that hints of those characteristics. If those are your characteristics and you have nothing counteracting those, then what is wrong? Something is wrong. Either somebody is not in the house or you are not listening to the one in the house.
Many people will say, “I just cannot get rid of this.” I know you can’t and I cannot either. I cannot get rid of those things if someone offended me, in and of myself, in my flesh, I cannot get rid of that wanting to put him under a steam roller. There is nothing unusual about that. But there is something inside you that does not allow that to continue. It is the Holy Spirit of God, God Himself, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who gave you the power of God living in you to realize something. God is saying, “I am living inside you, and I am not only able to alleviate those things in your mind, I am willing to alleviate them. I do not want them there.”
That is what you have to realize. When you are holding bitterness or vindictiveness in your heart, God does not want them there. Satan convinces you that it is real, saying to you, “That is how it has to be. After all you have been abused.” God does not want it there. Do we understand that? God does not want it there. If God does not want it there, then who is going to get rid of it? The only one who can get rid of it is the one who does not want it there, the one who said, “I am not only willing to get rid of it, but I will get rid of it. I can do it and I am willing to do it.”
Again, what is the only blockage? My refusal to let Him do it. So when a person sits back and says, “I do not want to get rid of it and says “I like it. I like to be mad. I like to be mean. I like to be bitter. I like that stuff.” or the person who is struggling with it, and saying, “I do not know how.” God is saying, “I know you do not know how.” He is saying, “If you will let me, I am willing to take it out of you and I am able to take it out of you.”
How does He do that? By the renewing of my mind. God is love. If I possess love inside of me, then how come it is not going out, if I possess it? That is what God came to do, to show us that that love is only originated, agape love, is not created by any man, it is from God. God is agape love. If we have agape living in us, Jesus is saying, “Agape living in you is the only way. So get out of the way and let Me get into action.” That is what worship is all about. It is more than bowing at someone’s feet. It is realizing I can’t but God can. That, incidentally, is what faith is.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Once again, what was Jesus’ response to this man’ worship? Well, He loved him. He was able to heal him. He was willing to do so, and He did so. From our vantage point, what is many times our response to Jesus? What have you done for me lately? “Jews, don’t you remember I opened the Sea for you to walk through?” “I know that but what have you done for me lately?” “Don’t you realize I fed you every day?” “Yes, I know that, but what have you done for me lately?” We are the same way in our own hearts. We receive the mercy of God, but we ask, “What have you done for me lately?”
As we talked about in the beginning of this broadcast, there is something we have to think through that when you receive worship, you only have to do so because you are God or you think you are worthy of it, which is total deception and a little bit of insanity, or are totally insane and desire it and want it, or you are a con artist. Those are the only options that we have as it relates to the receiving of worship. So, we see that spelled out, as an example, in Acts 10:25-26.
25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
I do not believe Cornelius was necessarily falling at his feet to worship him, but it was giving an appearance of it. It was a respect for him. But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” In other words, “Why are you, man, worshiping me, a man? Only God is worthy of worship. So what are you doing that for?”
Do we not have that tendency to worship people? That is how people fall. That is where unrealistic expectations come in. We expect our so-called Christian leaders to be flawless. We expect our Christian leaders to be without sin. We expect our Christian leaders to be perfect, perfect in every way. “I have got to have a perfect family. I have to have perfect children. You can never drink or smoke or chew or even think of doing such a thing as that. You just have to be impeccable.” People get that idea. Then you let somebody say, “Did you see that guy? He inhaled somebody else’s smoke.” It all just breaks loose. It is horrible what takes place. That is a result of a perverted mind, to a degree, that wants to worship a man instead of God.
It is like a minister that once said to me, “I am just not worthy”. You never have been worthy. If you think you are not worthy today, it is because you thought you were worthy yesterday. Worthy is the Lamb not the sheep. We never have been worthy. I am not worthy to do what I do. You are not worthy to do what you do. None of us are worthy. It is the Lamb who is worthy. We are just men, frail human beings. A saint said one time, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine”. That is what we have to understand, my friends. Peter himself could not receive that kind of reverence, nor did he receive worship. “Get up” he says. “I am just a man. Quit worshipping me. Quit revering me. I can disappoint you like anyone else can.” But God never disappoints us.
Take a look at the angel’s response in Revelation 19:10.
10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him.
Here is John, who saw an angel, and fell at his feet to worship this angel. You can kind of understand that. If an angelic being, or anything like we paint them to be or think they are, then you would have a tendency, these mighty beings, to do what John did. But what did the angel say?
But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”
Don’t worship me, an angel. Don’t worship man. Only worship God.
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