Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P17 (11-10-20)
As we read the words of Jesus, of what He claimed about Himself, that He is God, and then His disciples saying the same thing, have you concluded that He is God. Now, if you grew up Jewish and you had all the Old Testament scriptures, and the rich heritage of having the words of the prophets passed on to you from previous generations, would you recognize Jesus as the Messiah? Would you have recognized, that after over 300 prophecies as foretold through the prophets of what the promised Messiah would do and say, that certain future events would happen with precise detail, and all of them came true, and if you knew that, would you recognize the Messiah?
How slow we really are to believe. And even with all this information, the Spirit has to reveal truth to us as to who Jesus really is and what He came to do for you and me. Jesus explained many things to His disciples, and to us today as we read the scriptures, as to His purpose for coming, and what our hopeless condition was, and our need of what He came to give us. But what is the attitude of your heart? If you are spiritually blind, then do you want to know God? Do you desire to know truth in your innermost being?
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
So as you listen to this audio lesson, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you, to open up your mind and your eyes to see what God has provided for you in Christ Jesus.
When you think about God’s creation, He chose to create man with a body, a soul and a spirit, with free will but unlike the animal and plant kingdom. He was designed to communicate with the living God. When He created Adam, He breathed in him the breath of life. So the Spirit of God was alive in Adam so he could commune with God when he was created. God did not create a robot but a living being with the choice to interact with the living God.
Man was created in the image of God, so he had free will. With that choice of creation, man could choose to love God or later reject Him, and decide for himself what is right and wrong. That choice was given, and even after God’s warning, that the day you do so, you shall surely die, Adam chose to be independent of God, to decide for himself right from wrong, and so the Holy Spirit left Adam and He died spiritually.
In that account in Genesis 3, Eve was deceived by Satan in the garden of Eden, but Adam was responsible and received that command from God. He chose to disobey God’s instruction and what God said would happen, happened. Eve also ate of that forbidden tree and died also. That death caused the death of the entire human race, so that all of us born in Adam are born spiritually dead.
God, in His foreknowledge knew the possibility of that choice, so He had devised a plan to restore mankind to Himself. That plan was revealed to us throughout the Old Testament scriptures, as God spoke through the prophets. God also spoke to Adam and Eve of a promise of a coming Messiah who would restore mankind back to Himself. We read that in Genesis as God said Satan shall strike His heel but He will crush his head. That was fulfilled at the cross.
God spoke through many prophets across 2000 years of history and every one of those prophecies concerning the coming Messiah came true. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law for us. He died in our place on the cross to satisfy the requirement of death for sins, our sins, because He had none of His own. He literally became sin for us so that through his resurrection, we have the choice to receive eternal life offered as a gift.
That offer of eternal life was possible once sin was taken away, where all the sins of all the world were paid in full, being an eternal sacrifice, one that requires no repeat. With sins paid in full, Jesus rose from the dead, and being God with eternal life, He always lives to intercede for mankind. But the choice is ours to receive that life, the Holy Spirit that was once in Adam, and is in Christ Jesus. If we fail to come to Christ for life, we remain dead. Salvation is the receiving of the life that God came to give through His Son, Jesus Christ.
We are studying A Closer Look at Jesus Christ, Chapter 6, Biblical Prophecies About Jesus Christ.
Someone wisely said that if anyone truly had the ability to look into the future for just ten minutes and accurately predicted that they could rule the world, and you stop to think about that for a moment. Certainly anyone who could accurately look into the future and exactly, and precisely know what is going to happen, could literally rule the stock market. If you knew that, you would know what stocks would go up and arrange the buy up of those on time and rule the stock market. You would do good with the lotteries around the country too. So literally you could rule the world financially with a fifteen minute head start, if you could accurately predict the future. There are many ramifications of that kind of thing. You can stop wars and you could start wars. You would know who would go into leadership roles around the world. All kinds of things you could do if in fifteen minutes in advance you truly knew what was going to take place.
Well, the bible is one of those kinds of books. In the Old Testament, there were many prophecies given through God’s prophets that pertained to Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah. In these prophecies, we look at those and ask, “What would the possibilities of these things come to pass? And the mathematical probability of well over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament concerning details about the person of Jesus Christ?”
The probability of those things occuring in just one or two of them would run the zeros out of this building. We have to realize that just in the science of probability, that 300 prophecies concerning someone over thousands of years, in a period of time, all that coming true, and being fulfilled to the last dot and crossing of the “t” in the person of Jesus Christ. You would have to say that is a mathematical improbability.
2 Peter 1:21
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The Old Testament was written by God speaking through the prophets. If a prophet said he was a prophet and his prophecy did not come true, then he would be stoned to death.
17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
So that would make you a little bit on the cautious side before you made a prophecy. Unfortunately that is not the case today. I think they are stoned before they make the prophecy. At any rate, we do have a difference between Old Testament prophecies and what people are claiming today.
In any event, this will be an exciting series. So turn to your lesson plan in chapter 6. Before we begin our time, let us ask God to open up our eyes and our minds to understand the word of God and ask the Holy Spirit of God to be our teacher as we study these prophecies together.
We thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ for His life, His love, and now we ask you by the Holy Spirit that you take things of the Lord Jesus Christ, embed them into our hearts and teach us truth that will set us free. We pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Who is doing the speaking there? Jesus. What do you think He meant when He said “when I was still with you”? It means He was still with you, when Christ was here in His humanity and speaking face to face with His apostles. He told them all the “written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled”. So we have to see that the only bible Jesus ever held in his hand was the Old Testament. It was not because He did not like the New. We just did not have it yet. So when He was talking about the scriptures, He was talking about the Old Testament scriptures. When we realize that in the Old Testament were the Messianic prophecies concerning Jesus, that when Jesus came to this earth, He therefore proclaimed Himself to be the fulfillment of each and every one of those prophecies and the fulfillment of everything that was written in the Old Testament concerning the promised Messiah.
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Now, as an example, look in Genesis 3:15, right at the beginning of the Old Testament.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman [regarding Satan], and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Now, we are told in 1 Peter 1:20, that He was chosen before the creation of the world but it was revealed in these last times for your sake.
1 Peter 1:20
20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
So in the very beginning, we are told that Christ was chosen. He was before all things created, but all things were created by Him and for Him.
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
And so all things were created by Christ. Of course, when the fall came, God said to Satan, and gave the prophecy in regard to the coming of Jesus in the flesh, and also told the fact that he was going to be wounded by Satan but that the Messiah was going to be Satan’s total destruction.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
All of this is from God, who reconciled himself to Christ, and gave us this ministry of reconciliation. All of this talking about is from God. God had provided reconciliation, but he knew of our need for reconciliation really before the foundation of the earth. That is what those passages are saying that we studied. He was chosen before the creation of the world to be the one who would reconcile us unto Himself. The revelation of that took place in these last times, speaking about the revelation right then as it was occurring and being revealed to the apostles. But in the mind of God had been for this to occur before the foundation of the earth.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
If God knew that man was going to fall, why in the world did He make him? That is a good question. I do not believe that question can be adequately answered until we deal with the absolute necessity from God’s vantage point of making man with free will. In other words, God did not have the desire to make man a robot nor did He have the desire to make man an animal, whereby he functioned by instinct.
Living out in California, a place called Capistrano, well known for swallows coming back to Capistrano the same day every year. They fly 60000 miles from my understanding from Argentine. How do they know to come back and when to arrive at a certain time? How do they know to show up? There they are at the same time, right on schedule. We shrug our shoulders and we say, by instinct. Instinct to the animal kingdom is what the Spirit of God should be to the human kingdom. Man does not function by instinct. He made man to function by being led by the Holy Spirit of God. But animals do that. They function by instinct.
A little calf is born. He immediately heads to the milk bar. Who told that thing where the milk bar was? All of those things are built into the animal kingdom by instinct. We have to understand that when God created man, He did not create man to be an animal, to function by instinct. He did not create man to be a robot whereby he had no choice, just total obedience.
Your television set can be pleasing to you, physically pleasing to you, if it works and the picture comes on. That is a nice television set. But it has no moral value to it at all. You cannot sit there and say, “I just love that set. It is so wonderful. It does such nice things.” There are a lot of things that are pleasing to us but there are no moral implications at all. There is no human implication. You can enjoy the picture but you cannot fall in love with a television set and for sure it certainly cannot fall in love with you. It can be pleasing to you functionally, but not on a human level.
God did not want to make a robot. In order to make a man not guided by instinct, like an animal, and refusing to make man some kind of robot, He had to give man a choice. Now, with that choice was a gamble. The gamble was that man could choose to either walk as Adam did prior to the fall, in total dependency upon his creator, realizing the truth that God in the man is absolutely indispensable to the humanity of the man.
Man seeing himself as who he is, the created being, and therefore walking in dependency upon his Creator. He could choose to remain in that state. That is how he was created and he could certainly choose to remain in that state. How long he chose to remain in that state, we do not know. But we do know that through the temptation of Satan, that choice was made, hereby he was going to stand at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Literally telling God I do not need you anymore to determine right from wrong and good from evil. I can decide for myself what is right and what is wrong, and literally become God. That is when man fell. That is the gamble to that.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
(Read Genesis 3 for the full account of the fall Adam in the garden of Eden.)
1 Corinthians 15:21-22
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
But what is the option to gamble, a robot or an animal, when we look at that in a created state and look at the logic to that? If God indeed wanted to make something like us called a man, that would be created in the image of God, to have emotion, a mind, a will and a spirit that can commune with God. Something that God can love and care for. And can love Him back and care for Him. A created being such as that has to have a will. So although there was the gamble connected with it, the alternative was to create a robot or just a higher form of the animal kingdom. It is obvious that God decided to create man with a will, even though the gamble was there.
With that, knowing man was created with a will, He knew there was a gamble connected with that. Also in His foreknowledge, He knew man was going to fall.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Not only did He know man was going to fall, but He also knew, before the creation of the world, that He was going to have a solution to that fall. That solution was going to be in His Son Jesus Christ, who was chosen before the creation of the world, and of course, was revealed in those latter days.
Now, the function, therefore, of that was to restore man to true humanity. There was only one way that man was ever going to be restored to the intelligent purpose for which he was created. If man was created for the purpose of being, in walking in dependency upon his Creator, and man was created to be alive in all aspects, bodily, soulishly and spiritually and yet a man had died. Then the solution is how does a dead man ever come back to life? Is there anything in and of itself, a corpse in and of itself, to create life? The answer to that is of course nothing. Is there anything in the nature of total darkness to create light? The answer to that is of course not. So there was nothing in and of ourselves, as a dead man spiritually, to create life. So, if life was going to be restored to a fallen humanity, who is dead spiritually, then life is going to come from the outside by someone who had life and that is why Jesus Christ announced himself as the way, the truth and the life. He announced himself as the one with eternal life, and he is the resurrection and the life.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
So the whole issue of salvation is an issue of life to the dead. So God, knowing that man, on the day he ate thereof was surely going to die. He did not die physically that day, or soulishly, but he died spiritually. Death being the absence of life, life departing from man, leaving his spirit not dead to the world, otherwise he would be an animal, but dead to what he is dead to, and that is the life of God. He is not dead to the life of man or dead to the life of the world, but dead to the life of God. Why? God departed from him, leaving him dead to what departed, God.
Man in that condition was in need of being restored, therefore, to the condition he was in when he was first dead, and that is a living being, body, soul and spirit. That is why, folks, you must be born again. That is what it means to be born again. You were born once of water, that is a physical birth. When you are born physically, you are born 2/3 whole. In order to be born again, you have to be born of the Spirit. You have already been born physically. If you were not born physically, you could not be born of 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.’
Now that you are a physical being, 2/3 whole, the completed action needs to take place. That is being born of the Spirit, being born once physically and being born again spiritually. When you are born again spiritually, then you have been restored to the intelligent purpose for which God created man to begin with, God back to man, restoring life to the man, and therefore, creating the man.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
You were born. You are not created from your mom and dad. You are born. But when you are born again, you have been created. And creation has to come from the hands of the Creator. I was born of mom and dad but I was created anew by God. My mom and dad were not creators. They just had babies. God recreated you and me through spiritual birth. So, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. That means that God has now recreated you into a brand new being.
You were once a caterpillar, crawling on the ground, ground bound. God comes and weaves a cocoon around that, and suddenly through the process of metamorphosis you become a new creation. You are no longer a worm. You are a butterfly. How did you get to be a butterfly? You were an old worm and you were converted. You had been recreated. The worm was born, hatched, but the butterfly is recreated. The worm had nothing to do with that. Worms did not get together and have butterflies. Worms have worms. Butterflies have to be created. When you and I came to Christ, you and I have been recreated into a brand new creation. All of that had to come from God.
2 Corinthians 5:18
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
How did He go about this recreation? First of all, we had to be reconciled to God through Christ. Reconciliation was dealing with the thing that killed man to begin with, sin.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If the wages of sin is death, then sin that caused our death had to be dealt with. The cause of death has to be dealt with and the event of death has to be dealt with. Christ came to do both of those things, through his death, burial and resurrection.
We are talking about reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them.
Now, if God was reconciling the world unto Himself in Christ, not counting sins against them. Why did He need to do that? That took care of the sins issue. Sins had to be forgiven. If the wages of sin is death, then death has to be corrected. As we said before, the cross took care of sins, plural, because sins, plural had to be forgiven, taken away. That is what Christ did at the cross.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
But sin, which is singular, is the sin of unbelief. That is what Jesus told his disciples. That is the sin?
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me;
The sin of unbelief did not need forgiven. In other words, otherwise you would be an unforgiven unbeliever. But your sin, as a result of being an unbeliever, was all taken away at the cross. But the sin of unbelief is still left to be corrected. That is what repentance is. It is not repenting of your sins, because in essence, if you think repentance is just repenting of your sins, then I would ask how many of you still worry after 20 or 30 years? I would say you have not done much repenting. Repentance then is changing my mind in regard to my own self sufficiency, changing my mind in regard to salvation could come through works, changing my mind that, as a Jew, my righteousness came from what I was doing rather than a righteousness from God.
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
We change our mind about those things. We change our mind that you do not become a Christian by becoming a Catholic, or a Baptist or a Presbyterian or a Methodist. You become a Christian by receiving, coming to believe in Christ. He did not come to identify Himself with manmade organizations. He said, “I am God” and that ought to be good enough. Christ came to this earth to die for sins, plural, and then to provide the only solution to the wages of sin, unbelief, which is death. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. That is what salvation is. Life.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies [lost], we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
What are we saved from? Wages of sin, death. What had to take place before I could receive life, that was eternal life? Sins that caused my death had to be dealt with once and for all, not over and over again. Once and for all. Otherwise Christ would come and give you life and the next time you sinned you would die. So He would come and give you life again. Then the next time you sinned, you would die. Some people live like that, like a dracula. Some people’s theology is that.
Folks, that is the very opposite of what scripture says. When you come to Christ for life, that is eternal life, and He promises that no one will ever snatch you out of His hands, with the promise of Christ Himself. Never will I leave you or forsake you. If we cannot believe that, who are we going to believe when He says He already forgave all your sins? How can I believe anything else He said? If I believe God is a liar at one point, how can I believe anything else He says.
People say, “What if you leave Him?” Well, He will just follow you. If you are truly born again, truly spiritually regenerated, how presumptuous would it be to think you would want to leave Him. Leave religion? Yes. Leave people? Yes. Leave Christ? Absolutely not.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In other words, Christ reconciled you unto Himself while we were yet enemies, lost. We were reconciled through the death of His Son. That death provided that reconciliation. Reconciliation means I took your sins off my accounts receivable. What He is asking you to do is, for goodness sakes, is to take it off your accounts payable. Be reconciled to God. Realize that Christ Jesus went to a cross, He paid a price, a debt He did not owe for you and me that owed a debt we could not pay.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In other words, Jesus took our place. He exchanged his life for us. He became sin for us. He took the sins of the world upon Himself and in exchange gave us His righteousness. He did this, so that in Him, his resurrected life, we might become the righteousness of God.
That is what the exchanged life is about. I give up all my unrighteousness in order to receive all of His righteousness. I turn over to Him all of my sins. God does not want what is in my hands. He wants what is in my hand. He wants you. You come to Him for what He alone can give, His life. It is not a life that can be given to you by mom and dad, made out of human passion and plan, but a life that can only be given from above. That is what it means to be born again, to be born from above by God, which makes you, not a birth person, but a spiritual new creation. Born, yes, but life from without.
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