The God of Eternity pt 3, The Triune God, pt 2: Jesus, Son of God

Hello, and thank you for joining me today! We are here to continue the series that we started 2 weeks ago. And specifically, the explanation of the Triune God concept. And today, I am going to try and answer the most asked question in all of history! Who is this Jesus, guy?

Let me start off by assuring you, He is not some guy, but probably the most famous or infamous person in history, as well He should be. But first, let us look at few popular theories on who Jesus is. Many atheists have made the claim that Jesus is just a pagan myth, a combination of the two Greek gods Dionysus and Mithras, however there is no real connections to the myths to how Jesus was or what He did. Most scholars on both sides of the aisle agree that any “connection” is purely coincidental and often times cherry picked and stretched. Some out there like to claim that Jesus was a mere philosopher and actually was not a God at all, not even a prophet. Strangely, this theory completely ignores Christ’s prophecies and miracle workings so they just cherry pick the philosophy of Christ and ignore what He actually did. Maybe you are starting to see a common trend… but just one more theory here. Laughably my favorite theory I found is this, that Christ was a violent revolutionary that never came to bring teachings to His people at all but was just here to free the Jews from the Romans… Let that sink in for a moment, Christ “was” a bloodthirsty man who sought to bring destruction to the Roman Empire. This one is completely out of line with all of what Christ did. Christ preached peace, mercy, and love for all. Not once did Christ ever threaten the Romans directly. He did throw tables in the Jewish temple for they had made a “den of thieves” in the House of the Lord. Christ went as far as to say that they should pay their taxes to the Romans because God cares not about the world’s wealth but what you are to do for Him and His people.

So, who is Jesus Christ then? I have spent all this time talking about who He wasn’t, but who is He and why is He so important? I am glad you asked! Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Man, making Him uniquely qualified to do many things, like be able to sacrifice Himself for our Salvation. Well, let us get started with the facts and proofs of how Jesus was a man. He was born of a human mother and has a lineage that can be traced back to Abraham (Matthew 1, all of it). He hungered (John 21:4-12, Luke 14:12-14, Matthew 9:10-13, and Mark 2:15-17), He felt emotions like sadness (John 11:35), joy (Luke 15:5-7),  and other emotions, such as anger (Matthew 21:12-13). But most importantly, He died just as we can. Let us read in John chapter 19, starting in verse 30:

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.  For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” (John 19:30-37, New King James Version)

Here we see evidence that Christ bled and died like we all can. With both water and blood coming from His pierced lung, it proves He died of suffocation on the cross as is the cause of death with most crucifixions.

Now that I have assured you that Christ was indeed human, I am not going to spend the rest of the time convincing you that He was and is God. First, let us start with God’s confession of Himself in Luke 3, verse 21:

When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22, New King James Version)

So, Jesus wills Himself to be baptized by John the Baptist and God reveals Himself in all forms to acknowledge Jesus, the Son of God, whom completes the Triune. God the Father tells Him (Jesus) that He (the Father) is pleased by His (Jesus’) show of humbleness and for setting the example for His people.

Alright, so what? God likes this Jesus guy, not enough to prove He is God, right? Okay, well good thing I wasn’t stopping there. Jesus is recorded to have pulled over 40 miracles, and we are defining miracles as the following types of events: faith healing, exorcisms, resurrection of the dead and control over nature. This includes His own resurrection from death. These miracles, to name a few specifically include turning water into wine (John 2:1-11), catching large numbers a fish or really summoning (Luke 5:3-10), calming the storm (Matthew 8:23-27), healing a withered hand (Mark 3:1-6), healing a leper(s) (Mark 1:40-45), 3 different resurrections that were not himself (John 11:1-44, Matthew 9:18-25, Luke 7:11-17). Additionally, John annotates at the end of his book this in chapter 21 verses 24-25:

This is the disciple who testifies of these things and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:24-25, New King James Version)

This shows that there is so much that happened and that Christ did throughout His earthly ministry that was not recorded. Most of His miracles are witnessed by hundreds or thousands with only a few that were left to be seen by smaller audiences, like walking on water or the restoration of the cut ear (Matthew 14:22-23, Luke 22:45-54). No man nor technology at the time could ever perform the things which Christ did. Even today we cannot perform resurrections in the way He did. The closest we have is manual resuscitation through CPR or a defibrillator which only work for seconds, or minutes if you are lucky, after death. Christ rose people and Himself days after which they had passed and been buried. Each one of the resurrections had many witnesses, Christ’s own resurrection had hundreds of people outside of His apostles (Mark 24:13-31, Acts 1:1-9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Later, Christ even shews Himself unto Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-20). This occurrence is a little special, so let us read it:

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:1-9, NKJV)

In this instance, Christ appears in His glory to Saul and blinds Him because He appears in His true form. It is described as a light from heaven, and all that Saul and the soldiers then could tell was that a voice was coming down to them. This is where Christ makes His Godship quite apparent, that He could appear whenever and however He wanted to.

Furthermore, Christ makes another appearance a few decades later to the last living apostle, John. Let us turn to the book of Revelation. There is much in the way of prophecy and theology that comes from the revelations that Christ shows John in the visions of what is to come. Let us start in chapter 1, beginning in verse 9:

I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death. (Revelation 1:9-18, New King James Version)

In John’s exile, Christ appears to him in a form he recognizes “One like the Son of Man”, yet He was different, in ways he could only explain by metaphors with what he knew. Jesus explains that He is God and has been, with His statement that He is the first and last (Alpha and Omega are the first and last, respectively, of the Greek alphabet), He confirms His place as God and rightful ruler of eternity. Also, He shows what He did when His earthly form died, He went to Hell and took the keys from Satan and wrest death from the hands of him as well. This lets us know that He has the rights to all creation, in life and death. In Revelation chapter 19 we see further proof the Jesus is God and always has been when we combine it with the gospel of John. First Revelation 19:11-16:

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16, NKJV)

Here Christ is identified as the Word of God, and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If there was any doubt before this moment that Christ was God, in this moment will all life have no choice but to acknowledge Him as Lord, however, if Christ is God this must mean He was with God at creation! Where does He come in at the beginning of time and creation? Let us look to John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men… (John 1:1-4, NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NKJV)

Christ always has been, and always be God. Jesus, the only begotten Son of God is fully God as much as the Father is.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7, NKJV)

So, just to nail it in one more time, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, whom is God. And that despite acting in different methods they are one and the same.

Why is Christ important to us? Because Jesus Christ became the sacrifice to God for our sins that we may have eternal life. He is the one that fulfills God the Father’s promises and brings to completion all that was prophesized by the prophets of the Old Testament and He is the one to take all power from Hell and He is the rightful ruler of heaven and earth (Revelation 20:4-15). And once more to John chapter 14, please.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:1-7, New King James Version)

Christ is the one true way to heaven, having belief in Him is to have faith in the Father, and the way to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which we will cover next week. Upon Christ is our faith founded on, that it is by our faith in Him that we can be restored to a new life and new spirit. And I close with this passage from Romans chapter 5:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5: 1-11)

God Bless You.

Romans 1: The Purpose of the Gospel

Welcome back, I am glad to see you here and want to thank you for joining me again today. Today we will be back in Romans 1 starting in verse 13, but before we do, let us pray. Here we will be reading about the Gospel and how its purpose has been revealed through Paul. Now, who knows what the definition of the word gospel is? The word simply means good news, or to have news worth celebration. So, when we read have that in mind. Romans 1:13-16

13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but I was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.14 I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of  God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (King James Version)

Paul reveals a few things here, and chiefly is that he is not ashamed of his belief in the gospel of Christ. This state of boldness in the gospel is something that needs to be developed in all who believe. It is not easy to stand up before all that around you and admit that you are a Christian. Now, for some this is not a challenge, but let’s put up a scenario and see then how your answer stands: you are out with your friends, some of which are known atheists, or other faiths, and they begin to discuss how unreal and outlandish sounding some aspects of Christianity are, and then they turn to you and ask your thoughts, what then is the reply? I would love to say that I would stand up and defend my faith, but to be honest, it is hard especially when they provide good logical arguments. So, what do you do? You go to church, attend Bible Studies with people more knowledgeable than you and you pray. Here is an example of Paul, that he is so confident that no matter whom he debates he has sufficient knowledge to rebuke them. This, this, is the reason you go to church and read studies, to have steadfast knowledge and this is one of the purposes of the gospel: to give knowledge and power to the believer.

Additionally, Paul reveals that the gospel is not just for the Jews, God’s chosen people. The purpose of the gospel of Christ is to provide redemption for all who believe (Romans 1:16, John 3:16). The message of Jesus Christ and his death, burial, resurrection, and transcendence into heaven are the way to bring salvation to those who have no hope. Jesus preached that anyone could be saved provided he walked in after the likeness of Christ and believed on him (John 14:5-17). For we all are slaves to sin and have fallen short of the glory of God and his laws, so we needed deliverance and a way to gain transcendence ourselves (Romans 8:1-11). And that, my friends, is the good news, the glorious gospel! That no matter who you are the lame, the wise, the slow, the agile, the freak, the saint, the rich, the poor, and any one who is on this earth! The gospel empowers believers, because it lets us know that what we do is not in vain and will forever be rewarded. Read with me; Romans 1: 17-20

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The     just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all   ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19    Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:   (KJV)

The drawback written here, is that the gospel makes all accountable for it is revealed throughout all creation, and all of nature. It is impossible to see all that God has made and claim that there is no higher power. One of my closest battle buddies in the Army who struggles with belief himself, cannot deny the presence of a higher power and a will throughout all nature. He even goes as far as to say that there is something that pushes everything to go, and what it is he believes it not. Due to the gospel of Christ, it has been revealed to all that this “will or force” that acts upon all of the world is God and his Holy Spirit that guide and move all things according to His will. God has made it so that ignorance is no longer an excuse for disbelief by the unveiling of His son Jesus Christ. And once the gospel has been preached unto all that are in the world, this ignorance of “I just don’t know” will cease to be valid for anyone. As with the American government, ignorance is no excuse, because the answer is there for as to what the law is, all you have to do is look or ask and it will be shown and revealed to you. In Acts 17:22-25, Paul is in Athens and finds the people worshiping a multitude of idols, images, and gods. He stumbles upon one that says “To the unknown God” and Paul gives them the gospel on who that is. Here in is proof that people are always aware through creation itself that there is a God and that no matter where you are you know God is real. The purpose of the gospel is to address who is God and reveal unto the world who and what God is.

No matter who you are, the Gospel unifies the body of believers. It sets down one way, one message, and one belief for us all. And this is the most important purpose of the Gospel, that we be unified under the Gospel of Christ for it is the one thing that makes us Christians as opposed to any heathenistic ways. For there are an infinite number of false reasoning provided by this world that attempt to answer this question of how the world is the way it is, and none can even come close to providing a stable answer to the question. Now that you are equipped with this knowledge and wisdom, go forth and do what you have been called to do. Go in peace and may God be with you until we meet again.

Romans 1: A Lesson in Fellowship

Welcome, I am glad you are here. Today, I want to talk to you about, the fellowship of Christianity. What does it look like to be in a community of Christians, to be in a trove of believers?

The readings today will be in Romans chapter 1. As we read, I would ask that you look how Paul speaks to the people of the church of Rome. Romans 1:1-6:

1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the    spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5 By whom we have received grace  and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ. (King James Version)

Firstly, we notice Paul introduces himself as a servant of Christ, first and foremost. He humbles himself before those of Rome who are new in faith. And if you are a Christian in Rome at this time, there is no way in which you do not know who Paul is. Everyone knew Paul, the famous Roman Jew who took to the East and the Holy Land to persecute the Christians and then came unto faith on the road to Damascus. By this point Paul had been well known for both his persecutions and missionary works, being in the midst of his 3rd missionary trip through Corinth. So, the true lesson in that is that despite his fame and infamy, he does not think he is any greater than anyone else who also believes as he proceeds to outline in the next few verses. He then proceeds to outline by what authority he has been given to preach unto them and by what accord he means to tell them about. What becomes clear is that he does all of this to establish a common ground with the believers in Rome.

Next Paul begins to notate who he is talking to. Romans 1:7-9:

7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers. (KJV)

Paul now tells us who he is talking to, he says it is to those who are “beloved of God,” so he is not talking to those who are faithless. Then he begins to make mention of several blessings he wishes to bestow upon them. He says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father”, and this is really what we should do when we say God bless you. Sure, it is well meaning, however when you are trying to bless someone you should make specific utterance as to what you are requesting God to do for them. Here, Paul’s generic blessing is still specific, he asks for God’s grace to be felt upon them and he wants them also to receive peace that they might not fear the unknown future. Then he proceeds to thank God for them, establishing that he does know and recognize them and their faithfulness. This is where I want to bog down a little. How many times do you look or think upon a fellow believer and just be thankful for who and what they are? I challenge you over the next week to think of someone who helped you in your walk and then come back and let them know that you were grateful to know them and that their memory means something to you. In this manner you can make someone’s day, and be the blessing for them in return. It truly means a lot to some people to just be remembered for something that may seem insignificant, but when it is brought up to them as a cherished memory, it will fill them with joy. This is a part of fellowship, bonding together through memory and uplifting. Sharing fond memories with another believer is key to growth as a member of the body of Christ. We cannot lose sight of the past, it was once told to me before I left for basic training, by my father, that God gives us these good memories to reflect on for when hardships of this life seem to be endless. And also when someone of old reaches out to you and you hear that fond memory they will bless your day by bring joy to your heart during hardship or will further enhance your present moments.

Next, Paul also says in verse 9 that he never ceases to make mention of them in his prayers. This my friends should most certainly be the case when we are of one family, one accord, and one likeness in Christ. We should never cease to fail in our prayers and supplications for one another. If you want to see the body of Christ at work see how much will begin to happen when you make earnest and honest prayers daily and nightly for those around you in common faith, and even those not of common faith. Truly, I have seen it already at work when I made the dedication to present the Word of God daily and make my supplications every morn and eve. Now these cannot be empty, give unto them action and meaning that when you pray you act. You cannot always simply pray when you have the chance to make a difference, because you are what you have prayed for that person. God answers prayers sometimes by allowing you to be His agent and will allow you to make intercessions with those around you. Keep this in mind as you go about your week and let me know the differences you begin to notice.

And for our last bit that I will cover in this sermon, I turn to Romans 1:10-12,

10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by   the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. (KJV)

This last bit here of his introduction, he makes mention that he long desires to see those believers that he has never met. Who here walks into a church full of people you have never met, excited to meet them, purely for the fact that they are believers? Now, I will be honest, I never have and this will be a challenge for me. I love meeting Chaplains, sure, however just meeting a “run of the mill” believer tends to unnerve me for some reason. Meeting new people is not my forte, I generally come off as stuck up or completely antisocial. Truly, I work on this and make prayers that I will become better at social graces as time wanes on me. But we all must learn to have jovial outlook at meeting new believers, for we share a common struggle with them in that we share this common faith and burden to preach unto the ends of the world. So, let us learn to rejoice in meeting those who are of a common faith. Thank you and may God be with you and guide you until we meet again.