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Beliefs Matter: It Does Really Matter What One Believes About the One Lord  — Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Cor. 8:4-6


Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV) There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

(1 Corinthians 8:4-6 NIV)  So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. {5} For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), {6} yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

A man was out on a practice golf course one day when the club pro brought another man out for a golf lesson. The pro watched the man swing several times and then started making suggestions for improvement. Each time the pro spoke, however, the student interrupted with his own version of what was wrong and how to correct it. After a few minutes of these repeated objections, the pro began to respond to the student by merely nodding his head in agreement. At the end of the lesson, the student paid the pro, congratulated him on his expertise as a teacher, and then left in an obviously pleased frame of mind.

The man who was watching all this was so astonished by it that he asked the pro why he went along with him. The pro responded, “I learned a long time ago that it’s a waste of time to try to sell answers to a man who wants to buy “echoes” of his own voice.”

Honestly, all of us need someone to guide us in our attempts to live well.

Sometimes we aren’t aware that we cheat ourselves out of much needed good guidance because we’re enamored with “echoes of our own voice” or other voices instead of the One voice that can help us most.

I think we need direction in this life. We need a map. We need a compass! The primary person we turn to in our life is Jesus Christ!

The one Lord is Jesus Christ. “He is Lord of all.”

 (Acts 2:38 NIV)  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

(Acts 10:36 NIV)  You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

(Romans 10:12 NIV)  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

I think all of us here today believe these verses. But do we really believe them? No pope, prophet, teacher, editor, elder, preacher, reformer, president, or any other man has authority to act as Lord of the church.

  • Jesus wants to be that voice.
  • He offers to lead us, and most of us probably think he’s qualified to lead us, but still sometimes we don’t let him lead.
  • Maybe we don’t believe it deeply enough or maybe we’re not be thoughtful enough about our lives to realize how often we listen to our own advice or others who say things we want to hear, instead of listening to him.
  • Somehow we need to more consciously recognize that he’s qualified to do so.

The way Jesus seeks to convince us of his worthiness to lead us, is not by frightening us or by listing logical reasons why, but by demonstrating his authority.

At the end of his life, another event even more powerfully demonstrated his worthiness to lead us: According to God’s plan he was executed but then God raised him from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is not only extraordinarily remarkable, it is significant: it tells us who he is.

(Romans 1:4 NIV)  and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

As His subjects, believers are unequivocally instructed…

 (John 20:28 NIV)  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

(Acts 2:22-36 NIV)  “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. {23} This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. {24} But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

{32} God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. {33} Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. {34} For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand {35} until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”‘ {36} “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

What we need to recognize in our hearts is Jesus is Lord.

  • to live as He said: holy and righteous and pure, bearing the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:19-21).
  • to carry out His orders as one body (Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Cor. 12:5; Phil. 2:9-11).

But we also need to notice that, even though he is Lord of all, he didn’t conduct himself as an authoritarian. He told people the truth and called people to follow and obey, but he wasn’t harsh and demanding. He had credibility with people because of the quality & character of his own life, because the wisdom and truthfulness of his words, and because of his love for people.

So the question is: Do you believe it? Do you believe Jesus is Lord.

Not just understand it or agree w/ it but believe it. Understanding of Jesus as One Lord could be measured by taking a doctrinal test but believing Jesus is the One Lord is measured by whether we let him lead our lives.

(Matthew 7:21-23 NIV)  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ {23} Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

   (Luke 6:46-49 NIV)  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? {47} I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. {48} He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. {49} But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

   Some of the key “other god,” rivals to Jesus as the One Lord, though they may not seem religious, are our feelings, our desires, our friends, our society.

We need to identify things like this that influence us and make sure we don’t allow them to be our leader (2 Cor. 8:4-6).  Are you ready for a test? It is going to be tough, I assure you.

  1. Is Jesus lord of our attitude? Setting ourselves up as the standard and arbiter for most everything. I don’t like this or that, we shouldn’t do this or that. It’s so embedded in society that it’s difficult to see. Did we learn to take on this role from Jesus or from a rival lord? We often made these evaluations after our morning worship: “I didn’t like that or I liked that” etc.” Where did  we get that? Did it come from Jesus?
  2. Is Jesus lord of our relationships? Or are feelings allowed to reign. Bless those who persecute us, forgive those who do us wrong, work out matters between the 2 of us, not grumble against each other, have equal concern for all the parts of the body, confess our faults, work out your problems; serve one another in love.
  3. Is Jesus lord of our sexuality? Or are the norms in our society. According to the word of God, sexual relations are a gift from God, a wedding present, if you will, and are to be enjoyed exclusively with a person of the opposite gender that we are married to, our husband or our wife. Now that I’ve mentioned this, do you want to look around for a version of Christianity that doesn’t comment on our sexuality? Society wants to tell us how we should act in this matter…..in that case Jesus wouldn’t be lord.

Stanley Jones tells of a missionary who got lost in an African jungle. As far as the eye could see there was nothing but bush and a few clearings. He finally managed to find a native hut and the man who lived it said he could get him out.

   “All right,” said the missionary. “Show me the way.” The native said, “Walk.” So they walked and hacked their way through unmarked jungle for more than an hour. The missionary finally got worried. “Are you sure this is the way? Where is the path?” His native guide answered, “Bwana, in this place there is no path. I am the path.”

   In the midst of the conflicting desires of our hearts, the confusing advice of our age, and the sometimes overwhelming perplexity about the direction of our lives, one credible voice still quietly pleads, “follow me.” If we believe Jesus is the One Lord, we will do so.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2018 in Jesus Christ

 

Christian Evidences Series: The Deity of Jesus


INTRODUCTION:
1. Jesus Christ is the most astonishing and unique character who ever
lived.
(a) His life was prophesied by the ancients, verified by history, certified by the Bible, and attested by His disciples.
(b) The influence of his life has touched and inspired multiplied millions since He lived, and no one has ever exerted the extensive
influence as He has.
(c) Christ must be reckoned with as a superb evidence of divine things,
for He cannot be ignored.

2. Christ is Himself one of the most powerful and undeniable evidences
of the divine in the world.
(a) Who Christ was, and what He does for man is the central theme of the
New Testament.
(b) Christ was the visible manifestation of God-concrete proof to
humanity that God exists.
(c) If we accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God, we must accept
its testimony that Christ is the Son of God.
(d) No more thorough attempt is made in the Bible to establish anything
than the abundant testimony it presents of the matter of the deity of
Jesus Christ.
(e) The deity of Jesus is the most crucial issue of the Christian
religion, for if this premise is false so is the whole structure of
Christianity.

I. DID JESUS CHRIST REALLY LIVE?
1. This is an issue that may appear superfluous, for few would assert
that He did not live.
(a) No matter is established with greater historical certainty than that
Christ really lived.
(b) It is established also that He lived at the very time, place, and
under the very circumstances witnessed by the gospel records.
(c) Unlike the founders of mythical religious, Christ was a real person,
and all historical evidence supports this fact.

2. The most reliable history of the period in which Christ lived gives
unmistakable evidence of His earthly life.
(a) Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-103) testified that Jesus lived, that he
was a wise man, that performed many wonderful works, he was the Christ,
he was crucified on the cross by Pilate, he appeared to the apostles
alive again the third day, that the prophets had foretold “ten thousand
wonderful things concerning him,” and that Christians were His followers
and existed until that day (History of the Jews, Josephus, III:626)

(b) Tacitus (A.D. 56-117), who wrote a thorough account of the
persecution of Christians under Nero added: “The author of this name was
Christ, who in the reign of Tiberius, was brought to punishment by
Pontius Pilate the procurator.” (Ibid., pp. 616-627)
(c) In addition to these secular historians is the witness of a great
number of religious writers of the first centuries such as Clement of
Rome (A.D. 30-100). Polycarp (A.D. 65-155), Ignatius (A.D. 30-107),
Tatian (A.D. 110-172), Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 153-217), Tertullian
(A.D. 145-200), Origin (A.D. 185-254), and a host of others, add volumes
of testimony of the life of Christ.
(d) The testimony of history, sacred and secular, is that Christ lived.
That He lived is a historical fact that cannot be ignored or dismissed
without due consideration.

II. MIRACLES ATTESTING THE DEITY OF JESUS:
1. The first type of proof that this Jesus, whom history testifies did
live, was more than a man, is supernatural proof-miracles performed
expressly for this purpose.
(a) Of the three dozen or so specific recorded in the New Testament,
some of the more extraordinary ones were wrought expressly to witness the
deity of Jesus.
(b) These miracle involve God, the Spirit, angels, and human witnesses
of the highest character.
(c) Let us examine these six types of miraculous attestation of the
deity of Jesus.

2. The phenomena of Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah, and
their precise fulfillment in Christ.
(a) As an example, prophecies concerning His lineage predicted He would
be: the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4). The seed of Abraham (Gen.
17:7; 22:18; Gal. 3:16), the seed of Isaac (Gen. 21:2; Heb. 11:17-19),
and the seed of David (Psm 132:11; Jer. 23:5; Acts 13:23; Rom. 1:3).
(b) There are scores of other prophecies which are just as precisely
fulfilled in Christ, and their number is sufficiently large as to rule
out coincidence.

3. Signs at His birth.
(a) the birth of Christ was announced to the virgin Mary by the angel
Gabriel. (Luke 1:26-35).
(b) An angel appeared to Joseph to forbid him to divorce Mary, when he
discovered her pregnancy. (Matt. 1:18-24)
(c) the star guided the wise men form the east to worship the Lord at
His birth. (Matt. 2:1-2)
(d) An angel appeared to the shepherds of Judea to announce the birth of
Christ. (Luke 2:8-11)
(e) The angelic chorus appeared to sing and praise God at the birth of
Christ. (Luke 2:13-15)
(f) Angel directed Joseph to return from Egypt after Herod’s death.
(Matt. 2:19-21)

4. Signs at His baptism.
(a) At the baptism of Christ, the Spirit descended upon Him in the form
of a dove, and God confessed that Christ was His Son. (Matt. 3:13-17)

5. Signs at His temptation.
(a) When he tempted Christ, Satan twice acknowledged His supernatural
powers. (Matt. 4:3, 5-6)
(b) After the temptation, angels ministered to Christ. (Matt. 4:11)

6. At His transfiguration the Lord’s form was changed, and He was bathed
in celestial glory. (Matt. 17:2)
(a) Appearing with Christ were Moses and Elijah, and they conversed with
Him. (Matt, 17:3)
(b) God spoke to the disciples to again confirm the divine Sonship of
Christ. (Matt. 17:5)
(c) Peter testified that he heard the voice of God on the mount of
transfiguration. (2 Peter 1:17-18)

7. Jesus performed miracles to prove His deity.
(a) There is recorded some thirty-vie miracles performed by Christ
during His personal ministry.
(b) His first miracle, at Cana of Galilee, “manifest his glory; and his
disciples believed on him.” (John 2:11)
(c) “Many believed on his name, beholding the signs which he did.”
(John 2:23)
(d) Christ affirmed that his works were to bear witness of him, and that
He was sent of God. (John 5:36)
(e) The miracles Christ performed are recorded to attest Him to be the
Son of God. (John 20:30-31)

8. Signs wrought at His death.
(a) Jesus predicted to the Jews, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man,
then shall ye know that I am he..” (John 8:28)
(b) En route to Jerusalem, Jesus predicted His arrest, trial, death, and
resurrection. (Mark 10:33=34)
(c) Jesus predicted that one of the disciples would betray Him. (Matt.
26:21-25)
(d) After His crucifixion, darkness shrouded the earth for three hours.
(Matt. 27:45)
(e) When Christ died, the veil of the temple was rent, there occurred a
violent earthquake, tombs were opened, and many saints were resurrected
and appeared before many in Jerusalem. (Matt. 27:51-53)
(f) These signs convinced the unbelieving centurion and others that
“truly this was the Son of God.” (Matt. 27:54)

9. Signs at His resurrection.
(a) While His tomb was sealed and carefully guarded, on the morning of
the third day there was a “great earthquake,” and an angel rolled the
stone away. (Matt. 28:2)
(b) Seeing the angel and his splendor, the guards at the tomb were
paralyzed with fear. (Matt. 28:4)
(c) The angel informed the two Marys that Christ was arisen, and ordered
them to spread this news. (Matt. 28:5-7)
(d) Peter and John ran to the tomb to investigate, and found it empty,
with the burial linen left as mute evidence of the resurrection. (John
20:6-8)
(e) Jesus appeared to the disciples on six different recorded occasions
after His resurrection. (Matt. 28:16-29; Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:44-53;
John 20:19-25, 26-29; 21:1-24)
(f) Paul testified that Christ appeared to over five hundred disciples
at one time, most of whom were still living at the time Paul wrote. (I
Cor. 15:6)
(g) The Lord presented physical evidence to Thomas of His resurrection.
(John 20:24-28)

10. Signs at His ascension.
(a) After giving the disciples the great commission, Christ ascended
into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)
(b) He charged the apostles to remain in Jerusalem to receive the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-8)
(c) As the apostles witnessed His ascension, two angels appeared to
comfort them and announce His return. (Acts 1:10-11)

III. THE DEITY OF JESUS PROVED BY HIS CHARACTER:
In his splendid book, Protestant Christian Evidences, Bernard Ramm asked
the question, “If God became incarnate, what kind of man would He be?”
He answered with the following:

1. If God became man we would expect His human life to be sinless, since
it is inconceivable that God could sin.
(a) Jesus fulfilled this expectation in that He lived completely above
sin. (John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; I Peter 2:22)
(b) In that Christ possessed perfect moral purity, He is never seen to
admit the need of penitence, and never confessed himself to be guilty of
sin.

2. If God became man, being sinless, we would expect Him to be holy in
character.
(a) Not only would there be an absence of sin in His life, but there
would be in Him a superb degree of holiness.
(b) To Christians one of the strongest proofs that Jesus was God
incarnate is the life of perfect holiness He lived. (Luke 1:35; Acts
4:27; Rev. 3:7)

3. If God became man it would be expected that His words be the greatest
ever spoken.
(a) The teachings of Christ are the greatest in the annals of human
literature, and He is lauded even by unbelievers as the “Master Teacher.”
(b) His teachings in the gospels are read more, quoted more, translated
into more languages, loved more, believed more, are represented in more
art, and set to more music than the words of any other person.
(c) So masterfully did Jesus speak that His enemies acclaimed, “Never
man spake like this man.
(John 7:46)

4. If God became man it would be expected that He exert tremendous
influence over human minds.
(a) Few men possess such dynamic personalities that they exert a great
influence at all, but the influence of Christ has been greater than that
of any person who ever lived.
(b) “Whether Jesus be man or God, whether the gospels be mainly fiction
or fancy, certainly a historic person named Jesus gave certain men such
an impact as to be unequalled by far in the entire annals of human
history.”
(c) At His bidding one would gladly forsake all to follow Him; or
betraying Him, one was so stricken with remorse that he committed
suicide.
(d) His influence is undimmed by time, and now, 2,000 years later,
multiplied millions still gladly leave all to follow Christ.

5. If God became man it would be expected that He would perform
supernatural deeds.
(a) This He would do because He would possess power to do so, and also
to prove His supernatural nature.
(b) The life of Christ is a constant illustration of the supernatural in
Him: His supernatural birth, protection by hosts of angels, His
supernatural knowledge, His supernatural deeds, His supernatural death,
His supernatural resurrection, and His supernatural ascension.
(c) Jesus performed many miracles during His earthly career, and many
more than is recorded. (John 20:30)
(d) While reviewing the supernatualness of Christ, we, like Nicodemus,
are compelled to confess: “For no other man can do these miracles thou
doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:2)

6. If God became men it would be expected that He manifest incomparable
love for humanity. (I John 4:7)
(a) Jesus must necessarily demonstrate that love in a way no other
person ever had to do so.
(b) His life amply demonstrated that He was the friend of sinners; a
refuge for the downcast, the poor, the despised, the broken-hearted; and
in His attitude He was gentle, tender, sympathetic, loving, and kind.
(c) The supremem example of His love was in His death for us.(John
15:13; Gal. 2:20; I John 3:16)

7. If God became man it would be expected that He be the most divine,
unique, and incomparable person who ever lived.
(a) That Christ is the most incomparable person who ever lived is
affirmed by atheists, infidels, and unbelievers who impartially appraise
His character.
(b) If Christ were God there would be no questions that He would be the
greatest one of all history, and that He is truly divine.
(c) While Christ was reared in an illiterate province, attended no
school, acquired no wealth, held no office, was of insignificant
parentage, followed an humble trade, yet He is accepted by the most
scholarly, wealthy, powerful and influential as being truly the Son of
God.

IV. THE SUPERNATURAL ASPECTS OF CHRIST:
1. Jesus was the subject of a considerable volume of Old Testament
prophecies, and they are precisely fulfilled in Him.
(a) In its very nature prophecy is supernatural, being the revelation of
divine wisdom.
(b) If Christ is seen to be the subject and fulfillment of such
prophecies, then He is the subject discussed by divine wisdom.
(c) Every Old Testament prophet from Moses to Malachi paints a prophetic
portrait of the coming Redeemer, and the inspired New Testament prophets
unanimously declare Christ to be that Messiah.
(d) Since the Old Testament prophets were able to describe Christ, who
was born centuries after, this proves the inspired nature of their
prophecies, and it also proves the deity of Him who so accurately
fulfilled them.
(e) The prophets could not have known the intimate details of the life
of Christ without inspiration, and Christ could not have fulfilled them
unless He were the Messiah.
(f) A thorough study of the great volume of prophecies relating to
Christ attests that He is the fulfillment of them.

2. The pre-existence of Christ demands that He be of a divine nature.
(a) The Bible repeatedly affirms that Christ existed as deity prior to
his earthly advent, and such pre-existence would be impossible were He
not divine in nature.
(b) The One born in Bethlehem was one “whose goings forth have been from
old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
(c) Jesus existed from “the beginning,” was God, created all things,
made in the world, was made flesh, came down from heaven, and was the
only begotten of the Father. (John 1:1-14)
(d) Jesus existed before Abraham, who lived over 1900 years before
Christ was born. (John 8:56-58)
(e) Christ shared glory with God before the world was. (John 17:5)
(f) The Lord existed before all things, all things were created by Him,
and He sustains all things. (Col. 1:16-17)
(g) John testified he had heard, seen, and handled Him Who was from the
beginning. (I John 1:1)
(h) Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the
first and the last of all things. (Rev. 22:13)
(i) Prior to the Lord’s earthly advent He existed in the form of God,
and was equal to God. (Phil. 2:6) The word in this text for “being” is
a word always involving a pre-existent state-the present participle of
huparcho. The word “form” means essence or intrinsic qualities. He was,
then, the essence of God.

3. The incarnation of Christ affirms His deity, for the Bible represents
Him as divine-human person.
(a) The Lord surrendered His riches for poverty, that we may become
rich. (2 Cor 8:9)
(b) The Son of God was born a woman that He might be our Redeemer. (Gal.
4:4)
(c) Though born of woman, as all men, yet Christ descended from heaven.
(John 3:13; 6:38; Eph. 8:23) He was the divine Word become flesh. (John
1:14)
(d) The incarnation was a necessity to the Lord’s high priestly office.
(Heb. 2:14, 17)
(e) “The days of his flesh” contemplates a phase of the existence of
Christ, and infers a prior one. (Heb. 5:7)
(f) Though in the flesh Christ was divine, for the fullness of the
Godhead dwelt in him bodily. (Col. 1:19; 2:9)
(g) Though possessing a mortal body, Christ was “the great God.” (Titus
2:13)
(h) One of the great mysteries of redemption is that “God was manifest
in the flesh.” (I Tim. 3:16)

4. The virgin birth of Christ affords another proof of his divine
nature.
(a) The Bible teaches that Christ was miraculously begotten by the
Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary.
(b) If the Bible account of the virgin birth is untrue, then the Bible
is not trustworthy, and consequently it is not the infallible, inspired
Word of God.
(c) Jesus stated that the Scriptures are “they that testify of me: (John
5:39), but if the Scriptures concerning the virgin birth are untrue
either they are false or Christ is an impostor.
(d) If the Bible is regarded as reliable in its accounts of the
character of Christ, His sinless life, His masterful teaching, or the
transcendency of His spiritual principles, why is it unreliable in the
matter of His virgin birth?
(e) The issue of the virgin birth is frequently assailed by modernists
and infidels, but this miracle is no more incredible than any other
supernatural aspects of Christ.
(f) If the rejection of the virgin birth leads us to a denial of the
authority of the Bible, then the Christian religion would be robbed both
of its supernatural Christ and its supernatural Book.
(g) Machen asked, “How, except by the virgin birth, could our Savior
have lived a complete human life from the mother’s womb, and yet have
been from the very beginning no product of what had gone before, but a
supernatural Person come into the world from the outside to redeem the
sinful race?” (The Virgin Birth of Christ, Machen, p. 395)
(h) The prophet Isaiah predicted that Christ would be born of a virgin.
(Isaiah 7:14)
(i) Before there had been a physical union between Joseph and Mary, the
virgin conceived, and an angel appeared to Joseph to inform him not to
divorce Mary in that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (Matt.
1:18-20)
(j) In his address to Joseph, the angel explained that this was the
fulfillment of prophecy. (Matt. 1:21-25)
(k) The angel Gabriel was sent from God to Mary to assure her that she
would conceive as an act of God. (Luke 1:26-31)
(l) Mary could not understand how this could be, since she affirmed her
virginity, but Gabriel assured her that her conception was by the Spirit.
(Luke 1:34-35)
(m) The virgin birth, then, was predicted by the inspired prophet
Isaiah, announced by angels, wrought by the will of God, effected by the
Spirit, and recorded by inspiration.

5. The miracles Christ performed were wrought to certify His deity.
(a) The miracles Jesus performed verified the fact that He possessed
supernatural power, for His miracles were supernatural in character.
(b) The cardinal points of Christianity involve the supernatural: a
supernatural God, a supernatural Lord, a supernatural Spirit, a
supernatural salvation, a supernatural Book and a supernatural hope.
(c) The fundamental faith in a supreme Being requires belief in the
supernatural. One has expressed: “Once believe that there is a God, and
miracles are not incredible.”
(d) To reject Biblical miracles is to deny the integrity of the Bible,
since it records a great number of them.
(e) To deny the miracles of Christ would be to claim He either could not
or did not perform them, and to contend that the miracles attributed to
Him were spurious or illusions would be to charge Him with deceit.
(f) His contemporaries charged that Jesus was guilty of false teaching,
and made false claims, but none of them ever charged Him with performing
spurious miracles.
(g) The New Testament attributes some 35 miracles to Christ, and
testifies that He performed many more which were not recorded (John
20:30)
(h) Jesus claimed the works He did were done by the authority of God,
and bore witness of Him. (John 10:25) But if the miracles of Christ
were not genuine, then we must accept a false witness of Him.
(i) Jesus stated that God empowered His work, and if God did not work
miracles through Him either God perpetrated false miracles or was not
with Christ. (John 5:19, 30)
(j) So genuine were the miracles of Christ that even His fiercest
enemies acknowledged them. (John 11:47)

6. The resurrection of Jesus proves He is divine.
(a) The resurrection of Christ was foretold by Old Testament prophets.
(Psalms 16:10; Isaiah 26:19; Acts 13:34-35)
(b) Jesus Himself also prophesied His own resurrection. (Matt. 20:19;
Mark 9:9; 14:28; John 2:19-22)
(c) The closest associates of Christ did not understand that He would be
resurrected (Mark 9:10; John 20:9), and did not believe it at first after
occurred. (Mark 16:13; Luke 24:9-11, 37-38)
(d) The enemies of Christ used every practical means to prevent anything
happening to the body. (Matt. 27:62-66)
(e) Christ made twelve different post-resurrection appearances to
persons numbering over five hundred. (Mark 16:0; Matt. 28:9; Luke
24:13-31; 24:34; John 20:19, 24; 20:26; 21:1; Matt. 28:16-17; I Cor.
15:6-7)
(f) The enemies of Christ gave fraudulent testimony as to what happened
to Hid body. (Matt. 28:11-15)
(g) No sincere, authentic testimony was ever produced to disprove the
resurrection.
(h) His resurrection was attested by angels (Matt. 28:5-7), the
apostles (Acts 1:22; 2:32), and confirmed by the Lord Himself (Luke
24:35, 39, 43; Acts 1:3)
(i) So vital is the resurrection to Christianity that the salvation and
hope of Christians depend upon it. (I Cor. 15:14=19; I Peter 1:3, 21)
(j) God raised Christ from the dead (Acts 17:31), and the resurrection
is proof that Christ is the Son of God. (Psalms 2:7; Acts 13:33-36;
Romans 1:4)

7. The ascension of Christ affirms His deity.
(a) The ascension of Christ was foretold by Old Testament prophets.
(Psalsms 24:7; 66:18; Eph 4:7-8)
(b) Jesus also foretold His ascension. (John 6:62; 7:33; 14:2-3; 14:28;
16:5; 20:17)
(c) Jesus ascended to a position of supremem authority by the power of
God. (Eph. 1:20-21; I Peter 3:22)
(d) The ascension of Christ was witnessed by the apostles, and to this
fact they testified. (Acts 1:9; 2:32-33; I Peter 3:22)
(e) At His ascension angels assured that this event was a guarantee of
His return. (Acts 1:11)

8. Jesus affirmed His deity by the supernatural claims which He mad for
Himself.
(a) Jesus claimed to possess all authority in heaven and on earth.
(Matt. 28:180
(b) He asserted authority for Himself above the authority of the
Scriptures. (Matt. 5:27-28)
(c) He claimed identity with God (John 10:30), and to b a manifestation
of God (John 14:9).
(d) He professed that no one has access to God except through Him.
(John 14:6)
(e) He claimed to have been existent with the Father from all eternity.
(John 17:5)
(f) He claimed that His words were the means of obtaining everlasting
life. (John 5:24)
(g) He claimed that He alone could offer salvation. (John 6:54-55)
(h) He contended that belief in the fact that He is the Son of God is
essential to salvation. (John 8:24)
(i) He affirmed that His word would be the basis of judgment of the
world. (John 12:48; Matt. 25:31-46)
(j) He claimed that when He departed from this life that He was to
return to God. (John 14:1-3)
(k) He asserted that He possessed authority to direct the Holy Spirit in
the process of revelation. (John 16:7-14)
(l) He claimed that He possessed the power to raise the dead. (John
5:28-29)
(m) He claimed to have come down from heaven. (John 6:38)
(n) He made the claim of being morally perfect. (John 8:46)
(o) He claimed that He would be resurrected in three days after His
death. (John 2:19-21)

9. The attributes possessed by Christ are ones only a divine person
could have possessed.
(a) He is eternal in nature. (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; Rev. 1:8)
(b) He is omnipresent. (Matt. 18:20; 28:20)
(c) He is omnipotent. (Psalms 45:3; Phil. 3:21; Rev. 1:8)
(d) He possesses the power to discern the thoughts of the heart. (I
Kings 8:39 cf. Luke 5:22; Ezek. 11:5 cf. John 2:24-25)
(e) He is co-owner with the Father of all things. (John 16:15)
(f) He is a source of grace equal to that of the Father. (I Thess.
(g) He is equally unsearchable with the Father. (Prov. 30:4; Matt.
11:27)
(h) He possessed the fullness of the Godhead. (Col. 2:9; Heb.

10. The offices held by Christ could only be held by a divine person.
(a) He occupies a place of pre-eminence above all things that none but
deity could hold. (Matt. 11:27; Luke 20:41-44; John 3:31; Acts 10:36;
Rom. 14:9; Eph. 1:20-21; Phil. 2:9-10; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:4-6; I Peter
3:22)
(b) He is vested with authority that none but a divine person can
possess. (Matt. 28:18; 17:5; John 12:48; Eph. 1:20-21; I Peter 1:22)
(c) As only a divine person can be, Christ is the object of worship.
(Matt. 14:33; 15:21-25; Luke 24:50-52; John 5:23; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:13)
(d) Christ occupies the supreme office in the church, being its head.
(Matt. 21:42; Eph. 1:22; 4:12, 15; 5:23)
(e) The Lord occupies the supreme position in the kingdom, being its
King. (John 18:37; Col. 1:13; Rev. 15:3; Luke 22:29-30; I Tim. 6:15;
Rev. 1:5; 17:14; 19:16)
(f) In God’s spiritual temple, Christ serves as our great High Priest.
(Heb. 3:1; 5:4-5; 9:12)
(g) The Lord intercedes to God for sinners, serving as their Mediator
and Advocate. (Heb. 9:15; 12:24; I Tim. 2:5; I John 2:1)

11. Who Christ is can be explained on no other ground than that He is
divine.
(a) In the Christian religion, He is the Author and Finisher of our
faith. (Heb. 2?2)
(b) He is the Bread of life. (John 6:35, 48)
(c) In leading us in spiritual conflicts, He is the Captain of our
salvation. (Heb. 2:10)
(d) He is the Chief Corner Stone in the spiritual temple of God. (Eph.
2:20; I Peter 2:6)
(e) To minister to God for us, He is our great High Priest. (Heb. 4:14)
(f) Presiding over the affairs of the church, He is its sovereign head.
(Col. 1:18)
(g) As the perfect sacrifice for sin, He is our Lamb. (John 1:29; Rev.
5:6, 12; 13:8; 21:22)
(h) in reverence to salvation, He is the Messiah. (John 1:41)
(i) As the One from whom spiritual life is derived, He is the Prince of
Life. (Acts 3:15)
(j) He is the ransom for our sins. (I Tim. 2:6)
(k) That through Him we may have immortality, He is the Resurrection and
the Life. (John 11:25)
(l) Through Him salvation is obtained, since He is the Savior. (2 Peter
2:20; 3:18)
(m) That He may lead us back to God, He is the Shepherd and the Bishop
of our souls. (I Peter 2:25)

12. What Christ does for us is what none but a divine person can do.
(a) He saves us from our sins. (Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts
5:31; Eph. 5:23; Titus 1:4; Rom. 3:24-25)
(b) He offers spiritual life to those who come to Him. (John 5:4; 6:35,
48; 8:12; 11:25; 14:6; 30:31; Col. 3:4)
(c) Christ is our redemption, atonement, propitiation, and He suffered
vicariously for our sins. (Rom. 3:25-25; Eph. 1:7; I Cor. 1:30; Heb.
9:12; 2 Cor. 5:21; I Peter 2:24)
(d) The blood of Christ is the divinely appointed saving agent. (Matt.
26:28; John 6:53-54; Col. 1:20; Heb. 9:14, 20, 22; 10:19; 13:11; I Pet.
1:2; I John 1:7; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11; Eph. 2:13; I Pet. 1:19; Rom.
3:25; Eph. 1:7)
(e) Through Christ is forgiveness of sins obtained. (Acts 5:31; 13:8;
26:18; Eph. 1:7; Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:5, 9)
(f) Through Christ is obtained eternal life and hope. (John 3:15-16;
6:54; 10;28; 17:2; Rom. 6:23; Titus 3:5-7; I John 2:24-25; 5:11-13; I
Cor. 15:19; I Tim. 1:1; Heb. 7:19; 2 Tim. 4:6-8

 

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Jesus Christ

 

Jesus as the “I Am” and “One Sent”


c5f6b188dcd185fbe7f76b5ab2474b96Of all the Gospel writers, John places the most emphasis upon the deity of Christ through recording His actual claims about Himself. When Christ said, “Before Abraham was born, I am” (8:58), the people knew that He was claiming the very name of God that was revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). This is why the people tried to stone Him for alleged blasphemy. Christ was and is the eternal I Am. In a series of assertions, He amplified that claim:

  1. I am the bread of life (6:35).
  2. I am the light of the world (8:12; 9:5).
  3. I am the door (10:7).
  4. I am the good shepherd (10:11, 14).
  5. I am the resurrection and the life (11:25).
  6. I am the way, the truth, and the life (14:6).
  7. I am the true vine (15:1).

Other supporting statements in John include “I and the Father are one” (10:30) and “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (14:9).

Jesus as the One Sent

As Jesus worked to establish His identity and His purpose in the minds of His listeners, He emphasized that He was “sent” from God:

  1. Jesus stated plainly that He was sent from the Father (6:57; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36).
  2. He said, “He who sent Me is with Me;…” (8:29).
  3. He spoke the words of the Father who sent Him (3:34; 7:16; 12:49; 14:24).
  4. He did the will, or the works, of the One who sent Him (4:34; 5:30, 36; 6:38, 39; 9:4).
  5. The world is called to believe in the One who was sent (6:29; 11:42; 17:8, 21, 23, 25).
  6. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” (6:44).
  7. He said that the Father who sent Him has borne witness of Him (5:37; 8:18).
  8. He said, “He who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me” (12:45).
  9. To accept or reject Jesus is to accept or reject the One who sent Him (5:23, 38; 12:44; 13:20).
  10. Jesus said that He would go to Him who sent Him (7:33; 16:5).
  11. He promised that eternal life would come through knowing the One who was sent (5:24; 17:3).
  12. He said that as the Father sent Him, He was sending His disciples (17:18; 20:21).
  13. Jesus warned His followers that they would be rejected by those who do not know the One who sent Him (15:21).
  14. He said that He and the One who sent Him are true (7:18, 28; 8:16, 26).
 
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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Jesus Christ

 

Soar Like Eagles: The Gospel of John #19 “Get Close To Each Other!”John 15:9-12


(John 15:9 NIV)  “”As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

(John 15:12 NIV)  “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

If the church of our Lord has been given to any one sin through the years, it would have to be the sin of discord and its related vices.

Some people can fight (and eventually split) at the drop of a hat. The list continues to grow and it’s to our shame as a fellowship that we don’t do a better job standing firmly upon truth while realizing the difference between faith and opinion.

Terry and I have spent some wonderful time with the cutest, smartest, most adorable children in the world (our grandchildren). We’ve watched his parents work almost minute-by-minute as they seek to “train up a child” as God would want them. A young child can be excused for being selfish…wanting food when it’s hungry and wanting down when he’s been held long enough.

Those actions don’t go away through the toddler years but eventually begin to change as the child grows in years and has models of servanthood before him.

But there is simply no excuse for that “please me” selfish attitude to continue into adulthood and among Christians. The first thing we should learn as ‘baby’ Christians is that the one who is first will become last!

In our text, Jesus has explained the essential relationship of Christians to Himself, and now proceeds to show His disciples what their relationship to each other should be.

Those eight words are powerful and difficult to follow: Love each other as I have loved you.

As a parent, we often condense his message to just two words: Get along!

And we need to add two other verses here:

(John 17:20-21 NIV)  “”My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, {21} that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

One powerful purpose behind Jesus’ command to lovingly get along and forge unity from compassion was to show the world that Jesus was God’s Son. If we can’t learn to get along, and support each other, how is the world to believe that we have been touched by the Messiah?

When we fight and bicker, we become living proof that Jesus doesn’t have the power to change lives. If we have a lack of love for each other, we cut the legs out from under our evangelism and makes a mockery of our testimony.

Look at Jesus and the context of this principle

When death nears, it’s remarkable how important the shade of our sheltering friends becomes.  Not even the Son of God wanted to be alone when the shadow of the cross darkened His last days.

The differences of temperament among them (Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot would have been serious rivals/enemies) and the jealousies that had arisen over the positions which they expected to hold in the coming kingdom made their group unstable.

Jesus knew that if they were to maintain an adequate testimony for Him they could do so only as a unit.  Disunity would mar their work, if indeed it did not vitate that work altogether. For this reason He gave them what many have called the 11th commandment: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

The comparative clause in verse 12 gave the standard by which all real love can be measured and understood. Christ did not ask from His disciples more than He himself gave, and He set the norm by His own life.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV)  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: {10} If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! {11} Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? {12} Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

How do we become people of love? How can we be transformed into an authentic community of caring people who speak to the world about real love?

  1. Jesus’ love comes from another world.

Jesus modified the word “love” in an extraordinary way: He told us we are to love one another as he has loved us! And He revealed the source of that love: from His Father.

As a Christian, I am to have for others (you) no less love than the Father has for the Son.

  1. Jesus loves with a Savior’s love.

All we need to do is think for a moment what Jesus did when He washed the feet of both Peter and Judas Iscariot to begin to remember the kind of love He had.

He looked not at the present but at the future of a person…and offered unconditional love to those around Him.

His love is not  driven by ifs or whens  such as “I’ll love you if you treat me right” or Í’ll love you when you straighten up.”

The Savior’s love is not conditioned by right behavior or a good performance. It pays no attention to IQ, bank balance, or skin color. It is blind to appearance and deaf to tone. It cares not about heritate, reputation, or rap sheet.

“Do As You Are Told!” John 15:10-11

(John 15:10-11 NIV)  “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. {11} I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

In our culture, obey has become a four-letter word. It is the tool of the dictator and the taskmaster to some.

  • We’ve replaced “do as you’re told” with “please, consider choosing to comply”
  • We’ve done away with the rules and replaced them with suggestions
  • No morals…no codes…no restrictions.

Obedience, according to these verses, is the key to joy!

“They Won’t Like You!” John 15:18-27

(John 15:18-20 NIV)  “”If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. {19} If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. {20} Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

A German preacher named Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”

Jesus never intended that the Christian should live in pious isolation, but in active contact with the problems of men. Nevertheless, He drew a sharp line between the Christian and the “world” which comprises the mass of men who live without God.

Throughout all nature, whether in the animal or human world, there is a tendency to dislike any individual that differs from the average type.  Birds will drive from the flock one of their number that differs radically from them in plumage.

The very fact that He has chosen men out of the world places them in a different category from others.  They have a new nature, a new aim in life, a new productiveness.  The world does not understand their motives nor feel comfortable in their company.

Jesus gave three reasons why persecution will occur:

  1. “Because you are not of the world
  2. Because they do not know the One who sent Me
  3. That the word may be fulfilled

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. {20} Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master[1].’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. {21} They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.”

The chief reason, lastly, for the hatred of the world was Jesus’ exposure of its sin.  Verses 22 and 24 describe the effect of Jesus on the world.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. {23} He who hates me hates my Father as well. {24} If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. {25} But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.'”

The words and deeds of Christ showed by contrast how evil men can become.  Ignorance could no longer palliate their guilt.

Two antidotes to the attitude of the world are proposed in the concluding verses: the witness of the Spirit and the witness of Christians.

Jesus gives us four suggestions on how to react when the persecution starts to bewilder us:

  1. We should rely on the Holy Spirit
  2. We should stand firm and boldly testify our faith in Christ
  3. We shouldn’t stumble
  4. We shouldn’t forget we’d been forewarned

“”When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. {27} And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

Persecution is sometimes most intense within a Christian’s own home. A husband or a wife may criticize and belittle the faith of a believing spouse. This form of persecution may be the most difficult to endure. This is surely the reason that although first-century Christians were instructed to remain with their non-Christian mates, the idea of a Christian’s marrying a non-Christian was unthinkable (1 Corinthians 7:1216, 39).

The first nine words of this verse indicate that it is not always within our power to live at peace. Sometimes our spiritual opponents will not let matters rest, and we will have to face persecution.

We should not be surprised at this, remembering Jesus’ suffering and His warning that we will also suffer for following Him. His words are our protection to keep us from stumbling!

– There is a great difference between picking a fight and enduring a persecution.

– There is a great difference between loving the world and living in the world.

– There is a great difference between running scared and running informed.

————————————————————

Jesus has warned us that persecution is to be expected by those who dare to follow Him. In some way or another, all Christians face hardship because of our faith.

When that happens, what are we to do? The answers Jesus gives us are “Remain in the vine” and “Love each other.” The day after He gave these instructions, Jesus went to the cross as the greatest demonstration of love that the world has ever seen. However, He was not loved in return. Instead, He was cursed, spit upon, beaten, humiliated, and killed. It was a terrible scene of the most irrational hatred the world has ever witnessed.

Even in this madness, Jesus demonstrated faithfulness and love. He faced persecution and showed us the way to overcome it.

Where I live, we have an expression that we use when we have had an unusually bad day. We say, “My mother always said there would be days like this.” When we are called to pay a difficult price for the privilege of wearing the name of Christ, we can, in the same way, say, “My Lord said there would be days like this.” Not only did He say that suffering would come, but He also told us what to do when it does come: Cling to the vine, and love one another!

(John 15:22-25 NIV)  “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. {23} He who hates me hates my Father as well. {24} If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. {25} But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.'”

 

 
 

Soar Like Eagles: The Gospel of John #18 “Stay Close To Me!”John 15:5, 13-15


remain-in-me John 15:5 (ESV) 5  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:13-15 (ESV) 13  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14  You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

This is the seventh and last of the “I AM” statements of Christ recorded in the Gospel of John. However, Jesus did not stop with this image, but went on to use the picture of “the friend.” These two pictures of the believer—branches and friends—reveal both our privileges and our responsibilities. As branches, we have the privilege of sharing His life, and the responsibility of abiding. As friends, we have the privilege of knowing His will, and the responsibility of obeying.

In the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus moves from words of comfort to words of warning to his 11 apostles. The first one: stay close to me.

A missionary recently related a story of a trip to Thailand and he was offering firm, repeated warning to his son “Don’t let go of my hand!”

He was concerned that he’d get lost in the underground marketplace: lots of people, the child too small to understand yet totally incapable of  taking care of himself or finding his parents if he were to get separated from them.

“Don’t let go of my hand” had a very special meaning, didn’t it? But how do you explain to a young child such things when he approaches everything on a very innocent, simplistic level?

If you understand that frustration, you can relate to what Jesus must have felt as He considered His disciples’ future (John 15:1-8).

Jesus was leaving, that much He’d explained. The Spirit was coming, that they understood. Were the 22 eyes looking at Him on that occasion filled with confidence…wisdom…or were they filled with concern and uncertainty?

Jesus says five times in six verses: Remain in me!

In these opening verses, our Lord uses a similar homespun illustration — that of a vine and its branches — to teach His disciples the importance of fellowship with Him. This was an ancient metaphor that Israel’s prophets had used for centuries. He gives His followers a handful of reasons why they must remain close to Him.

Vineyards were everywhere, and it may be that they passed several on the road from Jerusalem to Gethsemane. They were certainly partaking of juice from the vine at their Passover feast.

The vine was also known as an emblem of their own nation, just as the eagle is the emblem of the United States.

Reasons to “remain in Him”

  1. Remain in Me because “I am the true vine.”2e612d37dad07e6540b501adaa8b2d2b

The story of Israel’s relationship with God had more “ups and downs” than a yo-yo. One minute they were worshipping God and the next minute they’re putting up Asherah poles or dancing around golden calves.

This verse describes their behavior: (Exodus 32:6)  “So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”

What prompts such unfaithfulness (then and now?)

  • What enables a Christian to slip out the back door or a church building and step into the side door of an adult bookstore?
  • What leads a disciple to let go of the hand of Christ and raise his hand in abuse against his wife or children?
  • What seduces the Christian into dancing with the devil?

The words of Jesus are plain: “I am the true vine.”

The first essential in planting a vineyard is to have the right stock. Every nurseryman guarantees that the plants he sells will run true to type.

Our problem? We often become enamored with imitations…the fake vine that claims to be rooted in something good is simply that: fake!

It looks succulent and good…others have chosen to drink of its nectar so we do too. That false vine comes in the form of money…power…pleasure…fame….the list needs to come from your lips.

No matter how sweet and filling these items may be today—they are destined to dry up and blow away—as will all people who have joined themselves to them!

  1. Remain in Me because “My Father is the husbandman (gardener)”

Israel is a land of vineyards and every vineyard must be pruned by an expert. The vinedresser had to know how and when to prune and fertilize the vine, so that it would produce the maximum stock.

Jesus indicates that God is both the owner and the manager of the field. It was His to tend as He saw fit. And there is one goal in mind: to get the most good fruit possible from the vines under His care.

The concept of pruning involves the removal of some shoots in order to enhance the fruit beaing of the other branches. Christ assures his followers that God had already pruned and cleaned their branches and that he would continue to tend them as they grew.

How does He do this? Through the discipline and trials we go through as Christians. “Trials only stop when it is useless: that is why it scarcely ever stops.”

But pruning also involves cutting off the branches that bear no fruit. And we simply cannot ignore the scriptures that speak of this process:

(Mat 13:40-41)  “”As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. {41} The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.”

(2 Th 1:7b-9)  “…This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. {8} He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. {9} They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power”

Cutting off barren branches is serious business. The fear of hell exists for a reason: the gardener will not tolerate barren branches.

  1. Remain in Me because You Can’t Bear Fruit Alone

Those branches which did not bear fruit had to be taken away, while those which bore fruit were cleaned so they could bear more fruit.

These verses talk of Christians who are habitually unfaithful to the cause of Christ. It isn’t spiritual immaturity or laziness or struggling lifestyles. These are people who have lost their connection/allegiance to Christ.

(2 Peter 2:20-22)  “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. {21} It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. {22} Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.””

  1. Remain in Me because if you do, I’ll make you fruitful.

15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

In scripture, fruit, more fruit, and more fruit is the divine order! Growth brings increase in fruitfulness, and the more mature a Christian becomes, the more is expected of him.

Trying to bear fruit on our own is like trying to turn on a light that isn’t plugged in. We can check the bulb and flip the switch as often as we like, but if it isn’t connected to the power source, it will not work!

God blesses those who abide in Him:

  1. Prayer is answered.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (vs. 7)

 

  1. God is glorified

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (vs. 8)

  1. Our life will be motivated by love.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (vs. 9-10)

  1. Joy will be ours in abundance.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (vs. 11).

A pair of scissors consists of two single blades. Yet the blades, regardless of  how sharp or shiny, are useless without one essential element — the small metal screw that holds them together.

Can you imagine trying to cut some paper or fabric without that tiny screw? Of course, you could put a blade in each hand. But think of the effort and difficulty involved in trying to make an even, precise cut that way. But when that tiny screw brings both blades together, suddenly the cutting becomes effortless.

In our relationship with God, abiding in Jesus is the screw that holds everything together and makes us useful to Him.

 

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2017 in Jesus Christ

 

Soar Like Eagles: The Gospel of John #17 Words of Comfort – “Don’t Stop Trusting in Me!” John 14:1


John 14:1 – Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me.

The immediate effect of our Lord’s words to His disciples was confusion and sadness. I would like to suggest that this was exactly what our Lord intended them to produce—for the moment.

Suppose the disciples really did grasp what Jesus was about to do. Suppose, for example, that the disciples understood that Judas was about to betray our Lord and to hand Him over to the Jewish authorities, so that they could carry out a mock trial and crucify the Son of God on the cross of Calvary.

I think I know what Peter would have done—he would have used his sword on Judas, rather than the high priest’s slave. I believe the disciples would have attempted to prevent what was about to happen, had they known what that was.

But the confusion our Lord’s words produced threw them off balance. The result was that when Jesus was arrested, they fled. They did not die trying to defend the Savior, and in part this was because they were utterly confused by what was happening. Jesus’ words were not intended to produce instant “relief,” but eternal joy.

The confusion and sadness that the Upper Room Discourse created in the disciples enabled Jesus to die just as He knew He must, just as it had been planned, purposed, and promised long before. The disciples were surely not “in control” at this point in time, but, as always, the Master was.

Do You Trust me?
Faith is a living well-founded confidence in the grace of God, so perfectly certain that it would die a thousand times rather than surrender its conviction.

Such confidence and personal knowledge of divine grace makes its possessor joyful, bold, and full of warm affection toward God and all created things — all of which the Holy Spirit works in faith.

Hence, such a man becomes without constraint willing and eager to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer all manner of ills, in order to please and glorify God, who has shown toward him such grace.

We have trusted many people and many things:
Personal nature: We often trust our families, we have trusted our friends.
Public nature: We have trusted our transportation services, We trusted our national security services, We trusted our military services.

What do all of these things have in common? Sometimes they fail our trust.

 God wants US to trust Him
Moses trusted God to deliver the Israelites at the Red Sea. Joseph trusted God while he languished in the Pharaoh’s prison. David trusted God for a victory when he was facing down Goliath. Jonah trusted God to answer his prayer in the belly of the fish. Peter and John trusted God as they stood before the Sanhedrin and gave their defense of the Christian faith.

What does it mean to trust?
Webster: Basic dependence on someone or something, Belief that something will happen or someone will act is a prescribed way

Trust is found in our unswerving belief that the God of Heaven will indeed work on our behalf to bring His perfect will for our lives into being.

Far too often in life we become completely focused on the trials and difficulties of life and we lose our focus on Christ.

When Peter walked on the water with Jesus he was doing well until he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the waves. The same is true of us today. God can get us through the most impossible situations but we must keep our focus and trust on Him. How can we ever expect to find help and healing when we are still focused on our difficulties and not our deliverance

Jesus was calling the disciples to trust God through any and every circumstance of life. He was  about to be crucified and they would be scattered. Jesus was telling them to trust even when they did not understand because God was still at work

If I were to ask you individually, most of you would very quickly say that you trust God but there are times when trust is not so simple. Trusting God means we believe in that which we cannot see and sometimes may not understand

Trusting God is literally against our human nature. Trusting God means that we have to admit that we are not in control of our lives

We need to place our trust in something or someone and we do it every day. We trust our cars to get us to our destination. We trust our employers to deliver paychecks. We trust our doctors top heals our illnesses. How much more should we trust God?
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Exodus 14:31 (NIV)
31  And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

Exodus 19:9 (NIV)
9  The LORD said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said.

2 Kings 17:14 (NIV)
14  But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God.

Psalm 9:10 (NIV)
10  Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 13:5 (NIV)
5  But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Psalm 25:2 (NIV)
2  in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

Psalm 31:14 (NIV)
14  But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

Psalm 37:3 (NIV)
3  Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Disasters strike and tragedies happen in our lives. Life can indeed be hard. Life can be uncertain. Life is beyond our control. In times like this, life is beyond our understanding. We are left with raw emotions and tough questions. Answers are beyond us as we grapple with the question of why.

God asks the question: Do you trust me?
Nothing and I mean nothing that we go through in life is beyond God. The truth is that we can and must rely on God in every situation in life. Times that just don’t make any sense in human terms; we need to trust in God. The more senseless life becomes the greater our need to trust in God.

The writer of Proverbs states it simply and clearly that God wants your full and complete trust. Trust God with all of your heart. We must hold nothing back and surrender to Him all that we are, all that we have, all that we may become because without the presence and guidance of God we will go nowhere.

God asks the question: Do you trust me?
God wants you to trust even when you don’t understand. When life just doesn’t make sense. God wants us to follow Him when the future seems uncertain. It is only when we completely trust God that He to give us the power of His direction and the power of His presence.

Psalm 9:9-10 (ESV) The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust n you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 40:4 (NIV)
4  Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

Psalm 52:8 (NIV)
8  But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Psalm 56:3 (NIV)
3  When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

Psalm 56:4 (NIV)
4  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Psalm 56:11 (NIV)
11  in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 62:8 (NIV)
8  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah

Psalm 91:2 (NIV)
2  I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 118:8 (NIV)
8  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

When we feel weak, God is our strength. When we are pressured by life, God is our relief. When we need security, God is our refuge. The full resources of God are at our disposal when we place our trust in Him

God asks the question: Do you trust me?
If you do not place your trust in God, there is no access to His power, His mercy or His love. When trials arise and we go through difficulty; it is then that we must place our trust in God. Without trust in God there is no comfort, no peace, no strength and no relief.

Once my hands were always trying; Trying hard to do my best;
Now my heart is sweetly trusting, And my soul is all at rest.
Once my brain was always planning, And my heart, with cares oppressed;
Now I trust the Lord to lead me, And my life is all at rest.
Once my life was full of effort, Now ’tis full of joy and zest;
Since I took His yoke upon me, Jesus gives to me His rest.  — A.B. Simpson

God has made a promise that He will never forsake those who seek Him. The promise that God made so long ago is still valid today because God has never broken a promise yet. He is true and faithful to His people.

Our treasure is love from the God who created love. Our treasure is grace and peace from the God of all comfort. Our treasure is security from the God who never changes. Our treasure is protection and provision from the God who is all powerful. Our treasure is acceptance from the God who knows everything. Our treasure is eternity from the God who sacrificed His own Son that we could gain it. God is asking only one question this morning, do you trust me?

Thomas is determined to follow Jesus wherever he goes. In fact, earlier he urged the other Apostles to join Jesus as he returned to Judea even if it meant dying with him (John 11:16).

But he can’t follow Jesus if he doesn’t know where he is going or the way he is going to get there. So when Jesus declares that the Apostles know the way, Thomas feels obligated to correct him.

Where are we going to go to “find” God? He is an omnipresent Spirit. There is no certain place that one can travel to increase the odds of encountering him. However, God will manifest himself more visibly in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:3).

Even now Jesus is returning to the throne room where God’s “manifestation” is surrounded by angels and elders (Rev 4-5).

While Jesus can “travel” there now, the rest of us will have to wait. But we will, indeed, find ourselves standing before that throne, turned judgment seat. Getting there is not the problem; it is where we stand when we get there that is in question.

The way to the Father is not a road but a relationship. Only through Jesus will we be able to stand before the Father on that day. Once Jesus has explained to Thomas his unity with the Father, and demonstrated it through his resurrection and ascension, there will be no more question for Thomas.

Nahum 1:7 (NIV)
7  The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,

Romans 15:13 (NIV)
13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

 
 

‘Soar Like Eagles’ – The gospel of John – #16 Assurances for the Troubled Heart John 14


jesus-matthew2

(first a few ‘leftovers’ from John 13)

* What is your A.Q. (Acceptance Quotient)?

The story of Peter and Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper shows us something magnificient about the Savior and about His ability to accept others in spite of the sin that clings to them. As an I.Q. test measures our minds, indicating our intelligence quotient, an  A.Q.  test measures our attitudes, indicating our acceptance quotient.

* THE APPLICATION OF THE A.Q.

– Willingness to accept people without partiality.

James 2:1-4 serves as an excellent application of this principle. How do you respond when somebody who doesn’t quite fit the typical membership profile comes to your worship service?

(James 2:1-4)  “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. {2} Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. {3} If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” {4} have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

– Willingness to accept another style without jealousy or criticism.

   (Mark 9:38-40)  “”Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” {39} “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, {40} for whoever is not against us is for us.”

– Willingness to accept offenses without holding a grudge.

   (Romans 12:14-21)  “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. {15} Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. {16} Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. {17} Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. {18} If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. {19} Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. {20} On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” {21} Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Now for John 14

This is part of Jesus’ farewell discourse. In the next four chapters (John 14-17), Jesus must drive home three critical facts:

  • He is leaving.
  • The Apostles will continue Jesus’ mission with opposition from the world.
  • The Holy Spirit will assist them in their mission.

This is one of those “good news/bad news” scenarios. What lies ahead is difficult. But Jesus’ promises are simply out of this world!

To be troubled is a natural and expected response to a distressing situation. We are troubled when things go wrong in our lives. Surely, if there was ever a time to be troubled, it was the day Jesus was crucified. Jesus prepared His disciples for this event by calling on them to trust Him and by leaving some special resources with them

Jesus suggested that the proper approach to the question of human destiny is faith in a personal God. If a personal God exists, who is the judge and redeemer of man, there must be a destiny for man beyond the grave.

Similar verses that speak of being afraid

(Matthew 8:26)  “He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”

(Matthew 10:28)  “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

(Luke 12:7)  “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Jesus wants His followers to stop being afraid at any given moment of our life and also to take control of those feelings for the events in our future. And, besides, if we don’t take control of those emotions, they will take control of us, won’t they?

But His words went much deeper than that. He was also saying that they should believe Him against all odds. Remember, He was doomed to death, which overtakes all men. Yet He promised to prepare a place for them and to return to claim them

  1. A home to envision (14:1-3)

Knowing how awful it is to be left alone, Jesus gave His disciples a new way to think about His approaching absence. They were told to see it as a time when He would prepare a heavenly place for them.

1  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

  1. A direction to embrace (14:4-11).

Do we want to draw near to God? Do we want to be close to Him? Jesus gave them a direction to look in their time of trial.

4  And you know the way to where I am going.”5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8  Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

  1. A presence to experience (14:12-14).

He assured them that He would continue to be ‘there’ for them through the Spirit and through their prayers.

12  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

  1. A helper to expect (18:16-18, 25-26).

They would not be orphans…they would have “one who comes alongside.”

16  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17  even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

25  “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

  1. A command to obey (14:15, 20-21, 23-24, 31).

They were given a series of commands so they could understand what God expected from them.

John 14:15 (ESV)
15  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 14:20-21 (ESV)
20  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

 

John 14:23-24 (ESV)
23  Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

 

John 14:31 (ESV)
31  but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

The question of “making it without Jesus” has challenged Christians since Jesus went to Calvary. It grows out of the strange paradox of our faith:

  • Our Lord is with us, yet He is away from us
  • From the moment of our baptism into Christ, we exist in an “in-between” time – a no-man’s land of waiting to be with the one we adore
  • We have said good-bye to a life of human aims but not yet said hello to eternity in a divine place
  • Christ’s presence is real enough to the heart, but our eyes long to see Him
  • Like Paul, we desire “to be with the Lord” yet must wait for His return

* The power of fear is a matter of focus.

Adam and Eve were in trouble when the focus of their attention moved from God’s love and power to their weaknesses. Fear caused them to forget about the loving way God had provided for them and the gracious way He had sustained them. They instantly developed a kind of fear-driven tunnel vision that allowed them to see nothing but an oncoming train.

* Conquering fear is a matter of choice.

Jesus’ command “to fear not” needs to be viewed in light of another kind of fear, a healthy one that the Bible speaks of often:

(Proverbs 1:7)  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

 

(Isaiah 12:2)  “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.””

The key to keeping our hearts from being troubled is choosing whom to fear! Faith is actually the choice to fear God only. Put another way, it’s deciding between the greater of two fears.

WONDERFUL ASSURANCES  FOR THE TROUBLED HEART

  • You are going to heaven (13:36-14:6)
  • You know the Father right now (14:7-11)
  • You have the privilege of prayer (14:12-15)
  • We have the Holy Spirit (14:16-18)
  • We enjoy the Father’s love (14:19-24)
  • We have His gift of peace (14:25-31)

Only after the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 did they understand, and everything made sense.

  • Jesus still had been arrested, tried, convicted, and killed–but they understood.
  • Jesus had been resurrected, but now they understood.
  • They knew where he was, why he was gone, and the certainty of his return.
  • Now they understood forgiveness as never before.
  • Now they had hope as never before.

 

 

 
 
 
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