Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P33 (01-06-21)
Who is Jesus Christ? Is He God? If so, why is that important to know? What else do I need to know, so that by believing I might have life in his name? Is Jesus just a good man, a prophet, a good teacher or is He God? Come join us as we look at the evidence for believing in the Deity of Jesus Christ, and by believing you may have life in His name.
All religions of the world would have to recognize the historical fact that Jesus walked on this earth. Even our calendars testify of that. But knowing that He is God, does that mean I can become like God? Did Jesus become God? No! He always was God and always will be God. How do you know that?
You can know the scriptures and be like many Jews, and reject Jesus as God. Or you can believe based on the historical evidence itself. What did the disciples of Jesus have to say in regard to the Deity of Christ? They were eyewitnesses of Jesus. They ate, drank and spent up to three solid years with Jesus. Not only that, they saw him after he rose from the dead, and so did five hundred other people.
What did the leper have to say and what was his response after being healed? What did the man who was born blind say and what was Jesus’ response to all of us who can see but are spiritually blind? What was Jesus using as an illustration to explain the healing of a physically blind man to explain the concept of spiritual blindness we are all born into so that we may see and believe? What was the response of Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus concerning Jesus when they saw him after his resurrection from the dead? So, what will you believe concerning Jesus Christ.
We also have the words of Jesus Christ and of the apostles, explaining to us the mission and purpose of why Jesus came and what he came to do. Many people may even believe Jesus is God, but they do not have understanding of their spiritual condition, or if they do, they do not understand the finality of the cross and the meaning of the resurrection so that we can be made complete in Christ.
So many do not understand the message of the gospel. To many, grace means a consistent obedience to a sacramental system, where more grace is given based on what you do or some man continually does for you, but does not understand what Jesus has already completed for you, and that He is full of grace and truth, that He is the living water that never runs out. Many believe that Jesus merely opened a door, but now it is up to us to keep our sins forgiven by going to a priest, performing a sacrifice, or keeping short accounts with God.
So many fail to understand the meaning of what Jesus alone accomplished for you and me. Jesus tells us we must be born again. Put your faith alone in Jesus, which encompasses a change in attitude of heart, realizing not only that you are a sinner but a recognition of your hopeless condition of spiritual death and that Jesus’ offer of eternal life as a gift is the only solution for your need of new spiritual life. To be born again means to have the Holy Spirit placed back in you, which is only possible by believing what Jesus has said concerning Himself being the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him, and by the historical fact that was accomplished for us by His death, burial and resurrection. Will you receive eternal life God has offered through His only Son, Jesus Christ?
Check out this more thorough explanation of the gospel: Be Born Free
When you stop to think about it, there is no more important subject on the face of the earth than when you are dealing with the identity of Jesus Christ. It is also one of the most misunderstood things on the face of the earth. As we talked about so many times, even in Muslim nations and Hindu nations, your oriental nations with Buddhism, even in those religions, are the recognition of historical evidence of Jesus Christ but a total denial of His Deity.
So when you stop to think of how much the total population of the world is covered by people of that persuasion, you see that very little of the world is a believer in Jesus Christ as to who He is. Acknowledging his physical presence as being a prophet or a good man or a good teacher, or something along that line, but absolutely refusing to acknowledge His Deity. Some people might even be as flippant as saying, “Yes, he said he is the Son of God but we are all kind of sons of God. We are all that kind of way.”
There are all kinds of ideas in regards to this person of Christ Jesus. Then you come into, of course, into Judaism, in that practice. They did not even acknowledge him as a good prophet. They just acknowledged him as a rabble rouser. As Jeff Tidler said the other day, he is the first Christian who started a new religion. But at least an acknowledgement of his physical existence is there.
Then you look at modern day Christianity. Under that name are all kinds of things. We certainly get the hodge-podge, the cafeteria, of what Christianity is all about here in America, probably like no place in the world. You have people who will fly underneath a Christian banner, that will go to door, telling people that Jesus is not God. It seems that is their purpose in life, to declare he is not God.
Then you have another group of people that added to the bible. They got their own bible. They acknowledge that Jesus is God but so am I. So they say we are little gods down here, and have Elohim who had intercourse with Mary still acknowledging Jesus but not having a clue as to who he is.
So you got such a hodge-podge of viewpoints in regard to this person of Jesus Christ, that quite frankly could be all cleared up if they wanted to bother to read their bibles. It is amazing how much the word of God will shed on those commentaries or other people’s writings. The study of Christ Jesus is paramount because it is foundational.
If your premise is off, your findings are going to be off. That is an absolute premise of life. If that premise is off, findings are going to be off. If you go to your doctor and he examines you and says, “You have tuberculosis”, and indeed you do not have tuberculosis, his premise is off and his findings are going to be off. Your medication is going to be off and you are going to be off. It affects it all the way down. What is the big deal if his premise is off? It will affect that person’s life even to the point of death, if it continues on.
It is vitally important we build our life on a proper foundation. In other words, build it on truth. Therefore, that truth will be the foundation that will set you free. It does not do you any good to study these things contained in this bible, if you do not understand that the purpose of the bible is to get us to know the author of the bible, who is Jesus. Until we come to grips with the author of this book we are studying, how are we going to understand the words of the book we are studying. The study of Christ and who he is, especially His Deity, vitally important, and viciously attacked by certain sects and cults very well known in our country today. Until that gets cleared up in our minds, then we are not even on first base yet. We are still running down the first base line. We have not arrived at the bank.
Until Christ Jesus is elevated to the position of God in your life, you are not even in the game yet, folks. It is vitally important that we know that, and we know that, not based on fact that I told you that, or based on some fact that some pastor, preacher or layman told you that. You have to come to grips with the Deity of Christ by the Holy Spirit of God testifying that to you.
Of course that is going to come, as a person is born again, because without the Spirit of God living in you, you cannot understand that truth anyway. That is why many people walk around with understanding of what the bible says. They can quote the scripture to you like a vending machine, but have no clue as to what it means. There is a world of difference as to what it says and knowledge as to what it means. Only through the Spirit of God living in you can the Spirit reveal to you the spiritual truth as to what this word we are studying means.
I was looking this morning through the book of Romans.
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
The gospel he is talking about is the gospel of God, a gospel promised beforehand through the prophets in the holy scriptures. Now, this gospel, for it to be a complete gospel, had to ultimately include the objects of that gospel, which is both Jew and Gentile. All through the book of Romans is showing the recipients of this book of Romans, as well as us today, that the gospel is for all people, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, and once you are in Christ, it is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, man or women, it is just in Christ.
3 regarding his Son who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David,
As to his human nature, he was a Jew.
4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God
So you have two declarations there. First of all, a gospel was promised regarding this, as to his human nature, was a descendant of David, and through his holiness, in power by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
He has a total declaration in the first chapter of Romans, as to who is to be the recipient of the gospel of grace, Jew and Gentile alike, one in Christ, and that is all brought about by this man, Jesus Christ, who by physical birth was a Jew and through the Spirit of holiness, was declared as God.
Let us continue in our study in A Closer Look at Jesus Christ, in Chapter 9: Historical Evidence of Christ’s Deity. A part of historical evidence in regard to Jesus Christ is that He received worship. A man can make a mistake by worshiping a false idol. But for a recipient to receive worship, is again back to the same things as this person of Christ Jesus and who He is. He is either an impostor, because if a person is receiving worship, claiming himself to be God when he is not, then he is an impostor, or a false prophet. Or a man is thinking he is God and receiving worship from somebody than he is really deceived and a lunatic. Or you are receiving worship, which means you are worthy of that, which means God alone. So the fact of Jesus receiving worship, places him in the category of being a con artist par excellence, or an absolute lunatic, or was in fact God himself. That is the only option you have on that type of thing.
The problem with the world today is this. For example, you read about this man in Waco who literally received worship. People will say, “Oh, he is a little off”. No, you are not a little off if you are receiving worship. No, you are an egomaniac without question, and you are totally deceived, and you are a con artist as well as a maniac. All of them go together if indeed you are not God. But if you are God, then the receiving of worship is the most natural thing in the world to take place.
So what we talked about last week, how Jesus received worship from wisemen. That, of course, took place at his birth. When they came to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary and they bowed down and worshiped him and opened up their treasures and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We saw how he received worship from the apostles. We saw how Jesus met them out on the sea of Galilee walking on the water. At the end of that type of thing, they worshiped him, saying “Truly you are the Son of God”. I would have to say that would have a tendency to get your attention.
On another occasion, doubting Thomas was saying “Unless I can put my finger in his hands and my fist in his side, I am not going to believe.” Jesus, all of a sudden appeared where they were by walking through a wall. He picked right up with their conversation, held up his hands, saying “here are my hands and here is my side”. How did Thomas respond to that? Thomas bowed down and said, “My Lord and my God”.
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 worshiped 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?”
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