Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P2 (10-06-20)
So let us explore the facts and thoroughly examine the claims of Jesus Christ. If you were to look at all the leaders of various religions that exist out there, whether Buddha or Mohammad, what they did in their lifetime is nothing in comparison, and quite contrary, to what Jesus did. The calendar used by the world has engraved in its meaning, Anno Domini (Latin : “In the year of (our) Lord”), shortened as AD or A.D., and is used to refer to the years after the birth of Jesus.
As we read the account of the life of Christ in the gospel of John, you will read that he fulfilled the words of the prophets, that he was born a virgin, to be named Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. You will read that he will be called Immanuel, which means “God with us”. Jesus literally is God come in the flesh! He is referred to as the Son of God.
Then you will also read what Jesus said concerning himself. He said that he is the way, the truth and the life. I have heard a priest repeat these words at a funeral service, yet he does not know the meaning of what Jesus said. So again, it is so important to have this attitude, “Lord Jesus, if you do not show me what your words mean, I will not know what they mean. Teach me, Lord, what your words mean, that you say that if I believe I will have eternal life.”
That is why Jesus told the story of the good shepherd, and that He is the good Shepherd, that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Listen as Bob explains more fully the context of the story of the good Shepherd, as told originally by Jesus to the Jews, recorded for us in John 10:27-33.
There are many shepherds out there that say things that are simply the opposite and in conflict with what Jesus said. Jesus is speaking truth into the hearts of men, those who are willing to listen and have a humble and teachable spirit. Basic logic, of the law of non-contradiction, states that two contradictory statements cannot both be true.
Jesus said that no man can come to the Father except through him. So there are not many ways to God. Or that his way is just the best way, but it ’ s okay if you choose some other way. That would be twisting what God has said and making God out to be a liar. What Jesus said was not good news to a heart that says, “I am a Jew.”, “I am a Catholic.”, “I am a Baptist”, “I am a Church of Christ”, or “I am a Plymouth Brethren”. Such a heart responds, “Do not tell me no one comes to the Father except through you.” “I join by my denomination or natural birth or through my heritage. So do not tell me you come to the Father through you. You come to the Father through something else.” “Some people say you come to the Father through Mary or through Buddha or whoever else it might be.” If that is what you have been taught, I am sorry to say, but according to the word of God, not man’s tradition, but that is a lie. No one comes to the Father through any other person except through Jesus Christ. That is in accordance to Jesus’ testimony. I really do not think he lies and if he does then he ceases to be God and we may as well discount the whole thing.
So there are many false shepherds out there, leading people astray. God sent Jesus to this earth to show us the only way, the only truth, and the only life available to mankind, and that is eternal life that he said he came to give to all men. That life must be received by faith and faith alone in what Jesus came to do for us.
We were born dead spiritually, without the life of God in us. Sin is what caused our death. Jesus came to take away the cause of our death in order for life to be given. That is not temporal life, but eternal life, that Jesus said he came to give, and once you received that life, it can never be snatched out of His Father’s hands. What Jesus alone has accomplished for you and me is completed. Jesus is the good news to mankind and he says to all mankind, “Come to me to have life.” He said, to you and me, who are in Christ Jesus, born again, that you shall never perish and that no one can snatch you out of My Father’s hands.
You can take Buddha out of Buddhism, Mohammad out of Islam, and in like manner the founders of the various religions out of their religious systems, and little would be changed. But take Christ out of Christianity, and there would be nothing left. It is therefore imperative if we are to honestly accept or reject the Christian faith that we openly explore the facts and thoroughly examine the claims of Jesus Christ.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[from Joshua, meaning the Lord saves] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[Isaiah 7:14] (which means “God with us”).
It was a mystery to me. I was 36 years of age before I came to Christ. Before then, I heard Christmas songs all my life, never rebellious to them, cried listening to them, and enjoyed every one of them. How many times have we heard, “Immanuel, God with us” yet not have a clue what it meant. It is like having ear plugs in my ear. Never did it enter my mind, that entire 36 years, did I ever contemplate that Jesus is God. I heard he was called the “Son of God”, but I never knew what that meant.
Here in this passage you hear these prophetic claims concerning the Messiah. This familiar passage is sung and proclaimed throughout the world every Christmas season yet the true meaning and impact has been missed and overlooked, not just by people like us, but by the majority of listeners, the message that God is with us.
So, what do you think “God with us“ means? Why do you feel it is important to study the life and person of Jesus Christ? I ask you, “What do you hope to gain personally from this study we are about to embark upon?” “Do you feel the need to know God and draw closer to him?” It is not that you can do something to draw closer to God but to enable your mind to be expanded to the point that you understand His already closeness to you. So many times people say, “I want to get close to God?” How can you do that if He is already in you. But if Christ is not in you, you are not born again, then getting close to God is as simple as inviting God, who is standing at the door of your heart to come in. But once He is in your heart, it is not the idea of getting close to God, but the idea of learning how close He has already come to you. He lives in you. It is like saying, “I want to get closer to my heart.” I got news for you. There is no way to get closer to your heart. He lives in you. Your heart is already there and so is Christ Jesus. Now it is the process of discovering who that is who lives inside of you, if you are indeed born again. If you are not, then to make that very decision today, to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your heart and to give you life, to thank Him for what He did on the cross for you and to receive what He desires to do today in you, and that is to come in you to live. You will never be alone again, to have God come in you with the promise to never leave you or forsake you. It is not a temporal God. When talking about opening a door and letting Him in, it is not talking about a revolving door. But one with a lock on it that once you come in it is closed forever. It is not revolving.
It is important for us to understand who this Jesus is. He is not one who gives and then takes away. Nor is He one whom you receive and then cast away. He sees your heart when you receive Him. If it is true faith, it is not the kind of faith that would say, “I will accept you today, but if I do not like the action, I will reject you tomorrow.” He already sees that in advance. He does not enter into those kinds of hearts.
Jesus dealt with that. In John 2, we read that people saw the miracles he did and believed in him. We would say, “born again.” He said, “No. No.”
23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in him. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Christ knows your heart. He knows the time of impact, the time of conversion, of decision time, whether you are coming to Him sincerely or just for a quick fix. He does not enter into quick fix hearts. He enters into people’s hearts who are asking Him to come in you forever. That is who you are. There is no such thing as a God who enters into your heart temporarily. Such a god does not exist. There is no such thing of a god who comes to live in you with an attitude that if I do not like it, I cast Him out. The one true God does not come to live in people’s hearts like that. He waits for you to be willing and ready to have a permanent God and that is Jesus.
We will pick up now on some claims that Jesus made about himself. What did Jesus have to say about himself? If you and I introduce each other, we ask each other questions, such as “Who are you?” or “What do you do?” And we say we were born here and we do this or that. That is all a part of your history. That is all a part of your identity, of who you are. Who did Jesus say He is?
In John 14:6, Jesus told us who he is.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
That was not good news to a heart that says, “I am a Jew.”, “I am a Catholic.”, “I am a Baptist”, “I am a Church of Christ”, or “I am a Plymouth Brethren”. Such a heart responds, “Do not tell me no one comes to the Father except through you.” “I join by my denomination or natural birth or through my heritage. So do not tell me you come to the Father through you. You come to the Father through something else.” “Some people say you come to the Father through Mary or through Buddha or whoever else it might be.” If that is what you have been taught, I am sorry to say, but according to the word of God, not man’s tradition, but that is a lie. No one comes to the Father through any other person except through Jesus Christ. That is in accordance to Jesus’ testimony. I really do not think he lies and if he does then he ceases to be God and we may as well discount the whole thing.
When Jesus identified himself, he did not say he is a way. He did not say he is a truth. If there are many ways or many truths, then he is just one of them. He also did not say he is a life. In other words, you say “Get a life” then “I am one you can get”. He did not say that. There is no spiritual life available to man except through Jesus. There is no truth except through Jesus. There is no other way to God except through Jesus. Then to make it more clear, in case someone is not hearing what he said. He said, “No one can come to the Father except through me.“ He said, “I am the truth about salvation. I am the truth about the Father. I am the way to the Father. I am the life of the Father.” Everything is tied up in the person of Jesus Christ.
Now, folks, he was not saying that because he was an egomaniac, as if He decided I am me and I am wonderful and you are going to accept this. No he said this because it is truth. It is not the case of being dogmatic. It is not the case of being a doctrine. It is the case of being reality. It is like a person saying you cannot live without water. “You are too dogmatic.” I may be dogmatic, but I am also telling you the truth. You try living without water and you are going to die. “I do not like that.” You won’t like it when you die either. But the fact of the matter is that is truth. “I do not want to eat.” If you don’t, you will die. “I do not like that. That is dogmatic. That is not being liberal.” Well, that may be true, but it is truth. If you do not eat, you will die. You cannot argue with those things.
24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
I would like to take a walk as I am flying from Dallas to New York. So I would like to step out of the plane to get a breath of fresh air. If you do, you will crunch on the ground. “Well, I do not like that. ” That is the law of gravity. Change the law. “I do not like that law. I want fresh air.” Well, give it a whack.
That is not dogma nor is it theology. It is reality. It is truth. So when Jesus came and said, “I am life ”, that is not saying, “I am better than Buddha or better than someone else”. It is truth. It is reality. It is not the case of “I am better or less ”. If you believe it you will live and you deny it you will die. That is also truth. You can rationalize these things all day long but the fact of it is, because it is truth, that to deny it you reap the benefit of the denial.
So Jesus is not saying that to keep us under some sort of bondage. He is saying it because we are already under the bondage. He is telling us so we can get free from death, from legalism, from error and misdirection, by saying you are already misdirected.
It is not the case when trying to argue with this, “I am already on the right path.” Jesus, in essence, is saying, “No, you are not. There is not anybody on the right path. That is why I came here to earth. I am the way to God.” “I think it is through being Catholic, doing sacraments, or walking an aisle.” Sorry folks, that is not the way to God. Jesus, again is saying, “I am the way to God. There is no other way.”
Folks, I am saying this to you with all the sincerity I know how to say. If you are responding to what you think you responded to in some other way, you responded to a god of your own imagination. You have been deceived. There is no other way except through faith in His only Son, who claimed to be the way, the truth and the life. There is no denominational affiliation that could ever save you. There is no physical heritage that you could be born into that would enable you to walk in the presence of God. That is physical birth. That is flesh and you must be born again of the Spirit.
1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
So when Jesus identified himself as the way, the truth and the life, he was saying there is no other way to the Father. That is why Jesus Christ is so important, is he not, to all of mankind?
(The apostle Peter, an eyewitness of Jesus, who walked and talked with Jesus, echoed the same words, when he said this.)
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Consider the illustration of the story of the good shepherd recorded for us in John 10:27-33 that Jesus told.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Who are the sheep? The ones Jesus gave eternal life to. Here is Jesus saying, “I gave somebody eternal life.”
1 John 5:12
12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
It is called eternal life. He says, “you shall never perish”, yet people are walking around saying you can lose salvation. This is not some sort of doctrinal issue. “Well, that is okay. These dear people believe this, and these other dear people believe that. And I am for dear people.” That sounds like a politician. “The Democrat people say this. Republican people say this. And I am for people.” That is a politician.
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
When talking about Christ, you are not talking about being political. You are talking about telling the truth. When Jesus says that when you have the Son, you have life called eternal life, do not tell people that you can perish from that because God says you shall never perish. He also says that no one can snatch them out of my hand. That no one includes yourself. You cannot snatch yourself out of his hand.
People that teach you can lose your salvation are the very ones that if you press them to their own teaching, how do they respond? “Do you think you can lose yours?” “How much do you have to do before you think you would lose yours?” “Do you think you would ever walk away from Christ?” So someone responds, “No, not oh wonderful me, but some people would.” That is such an egotistical and prideful mindset you could ever get ahold of. Friends, the Lord Jesus Christ said this.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
If you are His sheep, you will have to believe what the Shepherd said. I cannot say I am a follower of Jesus and call Him a liar. My Shepherd said “I gave you eternal life.” I either believe that or deny it. I either call Him a liar or praise God for it. My Shepherd told me I would never perish and that I will have an everlasting life. That is what my Shepherd said.
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
If you do not believe that then you have another shepherd. You are following another shepherd. You are not His sheep. My Shepherd said, “no one will ever snatch you out of my hand. I got a hold of you.” In other words, the dependency for your life is “Me holding onto you.” Jesus said, “I got my hand holding onto you. You do not have your hand on me. I got my hand on you. No one will snatch you out of my hand.” Who are we depending on for eternal life? The hand that has got us. That is Christ.
I hate to say there are people, I fear, who are stumbling around in ignorance or else have a different shepherd than the one in the bible. The shepherd that called you and me unto Himself as a sheep is the Shepherd that said, “I got a hold of you. No one is going to snatch you out of my hand.” It is the Shepherd who said, “You shall never perish. You have eternal, everlasting life!” That is my Shepherd.
If that isn’t your Shepherd, then you have a different one than the one in the bible. The only recommendation I have is you better examine your own heart on this to make sure you are following Him, and not false teaching of some man.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Who’s God are we responding to folks? It breaks my heart to see what is taking place today, in this works-oriented, so-called Christianity, which is no Christianity at all, teaching people that God will let go of you. It is a lie and it needs to be corrected by the truth.
As we look at Jesus, and who he proclaimed about himself, that is the whole criteria of this area called salvation. It is not what he has done for Him but trusting what He has done for us.
I would like to elaborate on this passage in John 10, where Jesus is proclaiming this.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
There is a lot of talk and theology that ties into what we call hyper-Calvinism, or what we would call election-predestination. Folks, you see when Jesus came and proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life” and “No one comes to the Father except through me”, you had an entire religious system called Judaism that did not believe that, obviously. Today, you have religious systems that have been developed that would use verbiage, “do not believe that“, and instead are saying “You come to Christ by joining my denomination or by becoming a part of my group, or being baptized my way by my pastor.” There is no one saved by getting dunked in water. You are saved by faith in Christ and Christ alone.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
It is not faith in Jesus if you are dunked. It is faith in Jesus Christ in what he did on a cross, not how someone dunked you in water. So we have all that kind of stuff going on today. So we wonder why we have people walking around totally impotent in Christian understanding and the Christian walk.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
So, when Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”, the context of that is this. You have a bunch of sheep called the Jewish sheep. Then you had another bunch of sheep who came in the same area who were Gentile sheep. So there you have Jew sheep and Gentile sheep, and you had a Gentile shepherd and you had a Jew shepherd. And they were all mingled in there together. That is what you will see outside the walls of Jerusalem. You will see ten to twenty shepherds out there with their own sheep, hundreds of them in one batch, and none of them branded. How in the world will you find them? How are you going to get all those out?
It is very interesting because each one of those shepherds has a certain gutteral sound that is exclusive to them. When they get ready to move those sheep to another area, they just start walking and make this particular guttural sound, and their sheep hear his voice and just follow him out of there. There is no calling out and wondering if you are going to miss some. They just follow him. They are his sheep. They understand his voice, his guttural sounds, and out they go. In that particular case, they go again because they are his sheep.
What Jesus was saying is this. “I am the good shepherd, and I am the one that makes the sound. I make the call. I make a call, ‘I am the way.’ I make a call ‘I am truth.’ I make a call ‘I am life.’ I make that call to all of the sheep down here, Jew sheep and Gentile sheep.” Each one of them has their own little shepherd leading them. You have Gentiles who follow this shepherd over here. He is teaching that you can lose salvation, that you can come to Christ by being baptized, or you can come to Christ by doing this or that. Then you have the Jewish shepherd saying you can be saved by being a Jew, and be saved by following Jewish laws. We got all kinds of shepherds out there. You even have the shepherd that says the best thing you can do is take a bunch of poison and die. Or you got those in Waco that tells them to to get burned to death together, and here are those dumb and deceived to believe that.
But all along there is a good Shepherd, contrary to the others, who says, “Come to me.” He makes His sound of salvation by faith and faith alone. It is not a message of temporal life. Jesus did not give that message. So you are not going to come to that shepherd because that shepherd did not make that sound. Jesus did not make the sound of temporal life. You got a different Jesus. He made the sound of eternal life. That is His sound. That is His message.
The Jesus of the bible did not make a sound that says if you do not behave after you come to me you will perish. That is not the Jesus of the bible. You got another Jesus. He did not make that sound. He did not speak those words. Jesus that is different from these other shepherds is the one who said, “You will never perish.”
Jesus did not make the sound that said, “I got you in my hand, but it is up to you to hold onto me because if you let go you had it.” He did not make that sound. That is another Jesus you got some place. That is another Jesus being taught by a false shepherd. That is another shepherd. And it is not the good shepherd. You would have to call him the bad shepherd. That is not Jesus.
You have not responded to Him because He did not make that sound. You did not respond to Jesus. Jesus did not say, “I am one of the ways to God. There are many ways to God, so you can pick one. I am the best way, but pick whichever one you want because he understands.” Sorry, but you did not respond to Jesus of the bible. He did not make that sound. He did not make that sound, “There is some truth in Buddha teaching, truth in Christianity teaching, and truth in this or that teaching.” Sorry, that is not Jesus. He did not make that sound. That did not come out of His mouth. So it had to come out of someone else’s mouth, but it is not out of the good Shepherd’s mouth.
The voice that is heard from Jesus and heard from his sheep, and not someone else’s, is the voice that says “I came to give you eternal life. I came to give you the life whereby I am holding onto you and no one can snatch you out of my hand. And my Father has given you to me and no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
30 I and the Father are one.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don‘t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” That is the Jesus of the bible.
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