Harbor Lights Sermon June 13th, 2010

Deity of Christ

John 3:36  "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him."

Salvation is based upon faith in Christ, and as I mentioned last time, there is solid evidence backing up his claims. Jesus said in John 14:11 "believe on the evidence of the miracles." and in John 10:25 he says, "The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me" John 10:25 The New Testament contains an affidavit, a testimony of eyewitnesses to Jesus' life, teachings and miracles. That's why it's called a "Testament". John writes in John 20:30,31 "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

But if salvation is contingent upon believing in Jesus, let's consider who Jesus is according to the New Testament. Before he was born Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Upon her approach Elizabeth said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Notice Elizabeth understood that Jesus was the Lord. What is meant by Lord? Notice as I continue reading how she and Mary use the word "Lord". As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,..." Luke 1:42-47

Jesus was not simply a man. John writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. .. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-3,14

There's a paradox concerning who Christ is. For while the New Testament does make a distinction between God the Father and Jesus his Son, it also makes reference to Jesus being God. For example it indicates that Jesus is the Creator of all things. And not only so, it says in Col 1:16,17 "by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Jesus not only created all things, but they were all created for him and not only so, but he sustains all things, holds all things together. Jesus not only Created all things including you and me, but he continues to holds us together. He sustains and maintains all things and has authority over every created thing.

How does the Bible compare him with Moses, for example. It says in Heb 3:3,4 "Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." And who built everything according to the New Testament? Jesus built everything.

The beginning of the book of Hebrews says, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, 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."  There again it indicates that Jesus created all things, yet makes a distinction between him and God the Father. Yet just a few verses later in Hebrews it says about the Son, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom." Heb 1:8 and a couple of verses after that it says about the Son of God, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." There it refers to Jesus as Lord and as creator. Realize also that this verse is a quote from the Old Testament. What do we find when we read that Old Testament quote in context? The quote is from Psalm 102:24,25 which says"So I said: "Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands" Who is the Lord there? The Lord is God.

The Jews, Mary, Elizabeth, the disciples, even the unbeleiving Jews understood who Jesus claimed to be. There was an incident in John chapter 8 where Jesus told the unbelieving Jews, "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."John 8:24 And who did he claim to be?"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM!" John 8:58 Let me remind you of God's encounter with Moses at the burning bush incident where God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Ex 3:14 For this reason the unbelieving Jews responded as they did. It continues in John 8 saying, "At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds." John 8:59 Later in John 10 Jesus said, "I and the Father are one."  Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"  "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

If a person is to believe in Jesus, this is certainly an essential aspect such a person has to accept. Pauls writes in Rom 10:9  "that if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." A few verses later he says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." which is again a quote from the Old Testament, from the prophet Joel chapter 2. I won't read the whole context but it's about the blessings of repenting. I'll start from Joel 2:26 which says, "You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. 'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people ... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved" Joel 2:27-32a

The apostle Paul said Jesus is Lord and then he quotes Joel which speaks of the LORD your God saying everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. The Christians back then understood whom Jesus claimed to be. They understood whom the scriptures claimed Jesus to be. Jesus is the LORD your God. He is not simply a Lord. He is the LORD God.

The nature of Christ is important to embrace because it also affects our belief in the effectiveness of his atonement for sin. The Bible says in Ps 49:7,8, "No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him—  the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—" If Jesus was just a man, just a creature, a created thing, he could not have atoned for the sins of another, let alone the sins of the world. But it says in Php 2:6-8 that Jesus, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be held on to, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Having the same nature as God the Father just as a son has the same nature as his father, he was much more valuable than us, mere creatures. As such the compensation paid him for the unjustified suffering he underwent was quite sufficient to pay for our sins.

Who is Jesus in relationship to God the Father? It says in John 1:18 "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." One of his disciples asked him, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." John 14:8,9 There are a couple of analogies that help me undestand Jesus in relationship with his Father. Take for example the sun in the sky. When you see the sun what you're seeing is the light that comes from the sun. The sun itself is about 100million miles away. But right here we have the light that comes from the sun. When you look at the sun in the sky, what do you call the light that comes from the sun? You call it the sun. Same thing with other stars. When you look at a star you refer to the light that comes from the star as the star. And you know what? You're right. In my job I do instrumentation for astronomy. And there is a point of view among astronmers that what constitutes a star, including the sun, is not simply the object in space, but also the light that comes from the source.

I say this because Jesus is likened to the light that comes from God. In fact I previously quoted from Hebrews chapter 1 where it says, "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being" Heb 1:3a Jesus is what we can see of God. Or consider this. You have a body, a soul and a spirit. 1Thess 5:23 "May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Your body is what I can directly about you. But you are more than just your body. Your spirit is seat of your intuition and your conscience. While your soul is the primary substance of your inner man - your mind, your will, your emotions. And while some of this is tongue in cheek, let's just say for sake of argument this is so. Your body, your soul and your spirit together make up what you are as a person.

By analogy, and considering we were made in the image of God, God the Father might be likened to the soul, while Jesus is like the flesh of God, and the Holy Spirit as God's spirit. These are not separate gods but rather separate entities which taken together constitute the person of God. Taken together the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit constitute the person of God. Thus Paul exhorts the elders at the church at Ephesus, "Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood." Acts 20:28 And in Titus 2:11-13 he exorts the Christians saying, "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"

Understanding that God sacrificed his own flesh affects our view of how far God will go to save us from his wrath and it affects our view of the value of Christ's blood to pay for our sins. Secondly it affects our view of Christ's Lordship. Jesus is the LORD God Almighty and as such we worship him and obey him as the LORD our God. This is part of what it means to believe in Jesus.

The LORD Jesus Christ is the same LORD God spoken of throughout the Old Testament. Often people have a misconception that God in the Old Testament is distinction from God in the New Testament. Yet in both Old and New Jesus is the LORD. You want to know more about Jesus you can read what the Old Testament says about the LORD God. As yet another example of this is found in John Chapter 12. There Jesus quotes a verse from Isaiah chapter 6:9,10 and John, the writer of the gospel of John, adds the comment, "Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him." John 12:41 John is saying that if you go to the Old Testament and read the book of Isaiah prior to Isaiah chapter 6 verse 9 you will find Isaiah speaking about Jesus. In the beginning of Isaiah chapter 6 it says, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.  "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." Isaiah  6:1-5

Thus when we read the word "LORD" in the Old Testament, we can read it to be the Lord Jesus.
Ps 95
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD (Jesus); let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
3  For the LORD (Jesus) is the great God, the great King above all gods.
4  In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
6  Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD (Jesus) our Maker;

Jul 29,2015