Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P15 (11-04-20)
So concerning this person called Jesus of Nazareth, what have you concluded him to be? Do you think he is a madman, a lunatic, a liar or that he really is who he claimed to be, God in the flesh? What have those who walked on the earth with him, who saw him, touched him and ate with him, have to say? What did they have to say about him? Were they lunatics, liars or impostors too? Or did they believe him to be who he claimed to be, God in the flesh?
And if Jesus really is God in the flesh, then why would he want to come down and live on this rotten earth, with so much sorrow, sickness, pain and death? Why would he subject himself to such things? And why would he put on human flesh? And if He came from heaven, and he said he only says what His Father told him to say and what to say, then what words of God did he say that he wanted us to know? This must be a very important person to come from heaven to explain things to us? What did he come to do and why? What message did he want us to hear and understand and believe of so importance?
Many people have heard about Jesus being God. I remember being taught about the Trinity, and I believed that, that God is one, being made up of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I was taught the sign of the cross. I believed in the virgin birth because I heard it taught. I am not sure why, at the time, why it had to be a virgin birth. That sure is unusual. I went to an Easter service and knew something about Jesus being raised from the dead. But I knew a lot more about his death. I even recall being told to meditate on the stations of the cross, as if that was something important to do. I did not think it important. Later, I came to understand the importance of his death, yes. But not looking at the stations of the cross, and focusing on minute details? I knew basically that he lived and died and did certain things.
But what I want to know is this. Why did he come to earth to die, being God? Why did he rise from the dead? I am certainly glad he did. I mean, I would want to rise from the dead, too. Is he the only one that rises from the dead like that, besides Lazareth? And what about living now, on this earth. When people talk about eternal life, is that something that I have to wait for to get. People talk about Purgatory, like you have to get all this purging of all your sins done first after you die. Is that true? I want to live without sinning and be perfect. Can I ever be perfect like God? On this earth? Or, do I have to wait until I die to be made perfect? What does it really mean to be made perfect in Christ? I hear Christians saying strange things, like being saved and born again and strange-sounding phrases like that. What does that all mean?
So if you grew up in some religion, and heard things about Christ, what kinds of questions would you ask? Do you really want to know God? I got good news for you. Christ came to make God known to you, of what His plans are for you, and the real meaning of his death, burial and resurrection for you. You cannot understand these things by striving with your own natural mind to understand these things. Yes, God uses His word to reveal truth to you, but they are spiritually discerned. You can be sitting in a bible study for months hearing things, and yet not understanding, reading the scriptures, and nothing makes sense.
You are no different than the disciples of Jesus. At times, Jesus would say to them, how slow you are to believe. One day Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Only Peter, at that time, directly answered that question, as Jesus turned specifically to Peter, and asked again, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Peter. No man taught you this. This was revealed to you by my Father in heaven.”
All of us start out the same way, totally dead, born without God and without understanding, until that one day God made Himself personally known to you. All of us have a tendency to doubt and can be slow to believe. That seems to be the way of our natural flesh. Many people recall doubting Thomas, who would not believe until he saw the nails in Jesus ’ hands and the spear mark in his side. But there is a time in history where the truth of God is made known to you, and you are born again, having the mind of Christ placed in you, the life of God, the Spirit of Christ Jesus to come live in you permanently and forever. That is what these people called Christians mean, and also what Jesus meant when he talked to Nicodemus in John 3, and said, “You must be born again.”
This is a very exciting study, A Closer Look at Jesus Christ, because it is about the most exciting person who ever walked on the face of the earth, and that, of course, is Jesus Christ. As we talked about on other broadcasts, we started out teaching what are the claims of Christ, who He claimed Himself to be. We come to the conclusion that someone claiming himself to be God would either be totally in delusion, on the very verge of being a manic, thinking himself to be God when indeed he isn’t, or else he would be the biggest imposter who walked on the face of the earth who knew full well he was not God but claimed that he was or he was truly God. One of those three has to be the answer in regard to this person of Jesus of Nazareth.
We talked about him being a madman or God in the flesh. We talked about and raised the question, ”Who do you say that I am?” So we ask the same question that Jesus asked his disciples, ”Who do you say that I am?” For the answer to that question determines whether you are going to spend eternity with God or separated from God. So it is a major thing to come to grips with.
Later, we talked about receiving the offer of life, which is what Christ came to do, to give us life.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
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?”
Now, our study in chapter 5, is about what others claim about Jesus Christ. The importance of that is this. We talked about Christ’s claims about himself. What about the apostles ’ claims in regard to him? In other words, these were men who walked and talked with Jesus. What did they write about him? Once again, if the apostle John, which he did, as well as the other apostles, wrote that Jesus is God, then you have to think about that for a moment. Either they were walking again in total delusion, or thinking this man is God, when in fact he wasn’t God, which you would have to, and that did not cast a real good sight on their intelligence. I do not think they would win an IQ contest with that one. There are a lot of people who have walked around. You have seen that with cults, like what happened in Waco, TX, with people walking around saying maybe he is God. There is just something that tells you that you have to doubt a little bit, with people of intelligence, doubting that kind of thing.
But the fact of the matter is, the apostles either were deluded or they too were in the same boat of knowing he full well was not God, yet present that he was, which would make them liars and deceivers, or the same thing, saying he is God, The same thing is true in regard to you and me and any born again Christian on the face of the earth today. Either we have been totally deluded in our heads or in some kind of religious ecstasy that has no meaning at all, when you just have to look inside it a little bit as looney tunes. Or just absolute imposters, never having a living encounter with the living Christ, just a sham and a way to make yourself look good in the sight of man. Then we are all liars and imposters. Or the third option, that we too, have had a living encounter with the living God. That is all you can say about that.
When someone says they do not believe this born again thing, then they are saying you are a liar or a luney tune. There is no other option on that. So it is good to look at what the apostles had to say about Jesus Christ. Last week we talked about John 1:1 and John 1:14.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
What did the Word do? He became flesh. That is Jesus. What did He do? He dwelt among us. What did we do? We beheld His glory, who is full of grace and truth.
John, in his 1 John 1, wrote.
1 John 1:1
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
So Jesus was not an illusion. He was not one that someone made up. It was someone they saw, heard, touched and walked with, and he was called the Word of life.
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
1 John 5:20
20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
So, again, if God is Spirit and you must worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and Jesus said, “No one has seen the Father, but the Son has made Him known”, so if you are going to worship in Spirit and in truth, it is not what you did in a meeting, but truth is making your body available to the living God and making yourself a living sacrifice.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
So the worship of God is realizing who you are, exchanging your life for His, having Christ Jesus live in you, which is your only hope of ever being what God intended man to be, and therefore, realizing that if Christ is alive living in me, then let His life live through me. That means get out of the way, and let Christ Jesus, who is alive, get an action on your behalf, accomplishing for you which you could never accomplish for yourself, and let God be God.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
The same God who called you into a new relationship is the one who promised to complete the work He began in you.
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.
Having said that, and having Christ Jesus alive living in us, we have been given the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16
16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
If that is true, as people, far more than just understanding what is called the grace message. That is not the issue. The issue is understanding your exchanged life in Him. I have exchanged my life for His. Why do I need to exchange my life? Because mine is worthless. When you are dead, you need to exchange your death for life. When you are lost, you need to exchange lostness for being found. When it says you are wretched, then you need to exchange wretchedness for His holiness. You cannot make a wretched man holy, perfect or forgiven. You have to give that to the one who gives you His life. “You give Me all you are and I, Jesus, will give you all that I am.” It is an exchanged life. If Christ is living in you, your only hope of glory, then your attitude should be like that of Christ Jesus.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
Our attitudes are in the process of being conformed to His. Our attitude now should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, or held onto, but he made himself nothing. In other words, He became a man. That is humiliating, taking the very nature of a servant, and being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!
Jesus Christ was God. Jesus of Nazareth was God. His inner being, his very essence is God. Ours is not. Our very essence is man. We never have been God. We never will be God. We are man, indwelt by God. He was God clothed in humanity. I did not find myself in appearance as God. He found himself in appearance as a man. There is a world of difference between the two.
There are many people who are walking around teaching that because we are indwelt by God we become little Gods. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus Christ was God. He came to this earth, born of natural means. That was his physical part of Jesus and was made in human likeness. He was found in appearance as a man. That was his outward appearance. You would not look at Jesus outward appearance and say that is God. You would say, “No, that is a man.”
His appearance was that of a man, but his identity is that of God the Son. We have to know the difference between the two. He was always God. He took upon our humanity and was made in human likeness, but that was not his identity. His identity was not that of being human. His identity was that of being God. Jesus is God. God is Spirit. You must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. If God is Spirit then God does not have a body. So He came to this earth and took upon Himself our human body so he could identify with His creation. Now it says in Colossians.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
God came and took upon Himself a body. Now the difference between you today, as a born again Christian, indwelt by Christ, and Adam, as he was created, and Jesus, as he is born, is pretty dramatic. Before the fall, Adam had no sin nature. He was a human being that was created out of the very hand of God, looking down and saying, “very good”.
7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
When God looked at creation, He said, “very good”. He was created in the image of his creator, alive with a body, a soul and a spirit. Until the fall took place, the actions of Adam on earth would have been no different than the actions of Christ when he was on the earth. Even though Adam was a man and Jesus was God in an earth suit, their actions would be no different only because Jesus said, “Anything you see me do is the Father telling me to do it. In my humanity, I am going to walk in dependence on God the Father so I will be a reflection of God the Father, and in doing that, I will show you, man, how to live. I cannot show you how to live as God. You could not live as God if I told you how. So I will tell you how to live as man.” So Christ lived his life as a man, although he is God, and in so doing showed us how to live our life.
30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
So if Adam, before the fall, was walking in total dependency upon his Father and Jesus was walking in total dependency upon His Father, what would the difference be in either one of their actions? There would be no difference in their actions but there would be a total difference in their being. Adam was a man indwelt by God. Jesus was God clothed in humanity. But before the fall, their actions or behavior would have been no different at all. After the fall, quite a difference, in what has taken place. You and I are born in this world, in Adam, dead spiritually, and possessing a sin nature.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 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.”
(In Genesis 3, you can read the full account of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.)
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
1 Corinthians 15:22
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
When we come to Christ, we possess a new nature. What is that new nature? Christ has come to live in you and me, giving us his life, living in you, and in so doing giving us a new identity. Before, I was a child of the devil. Today, I am a child of God. Before, my identity was a lost man. Today, I am a saved man. Before, my identity was unforgiven. Today, my identity is a forgiven saint. You see, there is a change in identity. This new creature is living in a body that contains indwelling sin.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
We have to understand now that in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form. Because his body was not in a fallen state. His being was not fallen in any way, shape or form. Even though he was born, he was born of a virgin and was not born in indwelling sin in him as you and I are. But when we are born again, all of that fullness of God lives in bodily form in Jesus and you now have been given completeness or fullness in Christ, who is head over every power and authority.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
Not only was the fullness of God to indwell in Jesus, and not only is it the case that in Jesus, all fullness of deity lives in bodily form, but you and I have now been given that fullness in Christ, the spiritual birth that you and I possess. The very moment we came to Christ, in Christ, in His fullness, that he is living in a body, but that contains indwelling sin. In the midst of that, Jesus, who lives in you is head over every power and every authority.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
You want to know what God was like? Look at Jesus. He is the firstborn over all creation. What does that mean? Adam was the first man who was ever created alive spiritually and Jesus, called the last Adam, is the first man ever born alive spiritually. That is why his virgin birth is not up for grabs. Had Jesus not been born of a virgin, he would have been born out of the loins of Adam, exactly like you and me and would be born dead spiritually, exactly like you and me. But Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, conceived by the Spirit of God, and became, therefore, the absolute visible image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, the only man ever born alive spiritually.
(In Luke 1:26-38, you can read the account of the virgin birth of Jesus.)
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
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. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
As I stated earlier in Genesis 1.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
If God created the heavens and the earth, and we are told in Colossians, that all things are created by him and for Him, visible, invisible, thrones, powers and authorities, then who do you suppose in Genesis created the heavens and the earth? It is none other than Jesus Christ.
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior
10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
So who is Paul talking about there? Who is Titus talking about there? They were talking about Jesus. How did Paul identify Jesus? God our Savior. God our Savior. God our Savior. How much more clear could it be said than that? That ties, of course, into the Trinity.
4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Titus identifies Jesus as God the Father and our Savior.
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Can it get any clearer than that? Yet people come knocking at your door continually trying to convince you that Jesus Christ is not God. That is the spirit of the antichrist, and we need to understand that. I am not calling people anti-christ but the doctrine is the doctrine of the anti-christ.
Now, what about the author of the book of Hebrews?
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
The author of Hebrews is attributing the very creation of the earth we live on today to Jesus Christ.
3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,
If you want to know what God is like, look at the Son.
sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
What did the apostle Peter have to say about Jesus of Nazareth? Do you remember Jesus asked him, “Who do you say that I am?” People came up with all kinds of ideas as to who he was. Then Peter was asked that question. And Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Folks, this is kind of a preamble to what I believe is a very important thing for us to understand, that any truth about God has to be revealed to you, not by man, but by the Father in heaven. That is what is told to us in Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 2:8-10
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[Isaiah 64:4] –
the things God has prepared for those who love him –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
So, for Peter to be able to say, “You are the Son of the living God”, he could not figure that out by man-made techniques. He did not figure that out by asking Jesus to write that out and then try to interpret that in Greek. It was revealed to him by the Spirit of God. That is the only way that the truth of Jesus will ever come to bear in your life. It has to be revealed to you by God. Jesus said, in the word, that any man who comes to me, must come to me by faith. Faith is what pleases God.
44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[Isaiah 54:13] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
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.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Jesus made another statement. If anyone wants to diligently know the Father, that I will reveal myself to him. When people do not understand the deity of Christ, it is not because of their heads, but because of their hearts. For any heart that wants to know God, not because I am trying to memorize my denomination’s doctrines. I am not trying to get to know God so I can get one upmanship, but I want to know God. God will reveal to you His Son. He will reveal to you the truth as to who Jesus is, the Son of the living God, his being, and the one who is and was and is coming again, the one who was with God and is God and came to this earth and dwelt among us full of grace and truth. That only can be revealed to you by God, not figured out in your head, but revealed by the Spirit. So Jesus told us about that when he said to Peter, the Son of Jonah, “this was not revealed to you by man but by my Father in heaven.”
2 Peter 1:1
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours
Who did the apostle Peter think Jesus was? He thought he was God and Savior. What would you have to say about Peter in regard to that? You would have to say he was a nut who believed it, or was an imposter and said he believed it anyway, or he had come to realize by revelation that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be and that is God. It is not any more complicated than that.
What about Thomas, that good old doubting Thomas. All of us have a little bit of doubting Thomas in us. And we probably have a lot of Peter, who has the tendency to deny the Lord when the heat comes up and to have a foot in your mouth more than you do than in your shoes. We all have those things in us. But Thomas was a doubter. Thomas said.
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Thomas would not believe he was raised from the dead unless he saw. So I tell you, that was one doubter. Then you stop to think about it. Jesus said he was found in appearance as a man. When Jesus walked on the face of this earth, he had an earth suit on. He had ears, hands, eyes, and he got hungry. He got sleepy. He got tired. He experienced those kinds of things physically. You look at that, and somebody comes up and says, “I got some news for you. I am God.”. I could look on this side of the cross and this side of the resurrection and on this side of 2000 years of the testimony of people who have testified of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I can look at this side from 1969, when I came to know Christ personally, and you want to know what, it is easier for me to believe today than it would for them back then.
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