THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-23-05
LESSON TITLE: "WHO IS JESUS? : JESUS IS GOD"
"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding." Thanks be to God on this Lord's day, for His full revelation and for the ability to know the truth which brings us salvation - as well as freedom from a life of bondage and sin!
Thanks for joining us today for the Living Word of God. As His followers, how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to praise our God and to do those things according to that which He has asked of us through His will. Are you willing to do your part this morning to make this time successful in the service of God?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
What better way to worship God than in song. So at this time let's join in our first hymn of the day. Won't you do your part and sing with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."
(SONG # 1)
As we consider words like learning, understanding, knowledge and wisdom, we begin to focus on many things which God requires in His Word! However, as we consider the concepts of growing and maturing in the things we can know during our lives. It is important to realize where our real growth needs to be focused.
We could start by looking at what the wise man Solomon had to say about study. In Ecclesiastes 12:12, he said, "...much study is wearisome to the flesh." In the context Solomon refers to the making of many books, and to the reality that many focus on the knowledge and wisdom of this world. So he was not saying that we should not grow, study or gain knowledge, but rather that we should do so in the only area that really matters - God Word! In the same passage back up in verse 10, he also stated, "The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright; words of truth." Where is it that we find the only things that really matters? Where are those truly acceptable words which pertain to Godliness, Salvation and Truth? Solomon here states that that which is "upright," is the "Word of Truth!" God Word should be and must be the focus of our whole lives.
In the new testament, we read further exhortation that remind us of the importance of growing in godly things. In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul is dealing with this very concept of wisdom. He mentions the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man. As he makes the case of the wisdom of God he proclaims this in verse 18. There we read, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." To the world and according to its wisdom, the things of God are foolish. However, to those who truly understand what is important in life, the knowledge of God and obedience to His Will, these are the only things which offer salvation and eternal life!
May we all learn to focus our hearts, minds, and lives on those things which really matter. Furthermore, may we all study, learn and grow in those things which have bearing on our eternal existence - the wonders and beauties of God. Are you focused on that which really matters in this life? Is Godliness the place you put most of your energies in this life?
Today we will be continuing our series entitled, "Who is Jesus!" Our specific lesson of the day will confirm the wondrous truth that, "Jesus is God!" So stay with us and after our next song together, we are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us as our guest speaker. Brother Kevin is the minister for the South Bolivar Church of Christ and we are happy to have him with us this day. So before our main study of the day, let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Nothing But The Blood."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us.
Last week, we began a series of lessons from the book of John entitled, "Who is Jesus?" We've studied thus far in our series the lesson from John chapter 1 and verse 1, "Jesus is the Word." You might remember from John chapter 1 and specifically verse 14 last week that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father full of grace and truth. Who was this person who came and dwelt among us who was the only begotten of the Father. I'm sure you are familiar with John chapter 3 and verse 16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son..." And so we see from John chapter 1 and verse 14 and also John chapter 3 and verse 16 and other passages that when we start off by, "In the beginning was the Word," in John chapter 1 and verse 1, we see that that "Word" was Christ. And so as we get into our study this morning, we want you to be mindful of the Word being Jesus Christ as was presented last week.
This week, we are going to examine another description of Christ from that very same verse, John chapter 1 and verse 1 and we're going to entitle this lesson, "Jesus is God." I want to start by mentioning this point about our gospels. In the New Testament, we have four books: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that are referred to as the gospels. They describe and give an accounting of the Good News of Jesus Christ. It talks about His time on the earth and specifically focuses on the last two years of His life during His earthly ministry. Of those four gospel accounts, the first three Matthew, Mark and Luke, are often referred to as the Synoptic Gospels. Synoptic, syn meaning to gather, and optic meaning seeing. In other words, to see together. These three books are very similar in what they describe and some of the stories that they tell. However, the book of John, the fourth of the gospels is a book that is very unique. It kind of stands alone. It describes Jesus in a very different light. And John, not only in the gospel account but in later writings refers to Jesus as "The Word." We also see that he puts a great deal of emphasis on Jesus, not only being the Son of God, but also being God Himself. In essence, he describes in a small way, or in a partial way, the subject or the Biblical teaching of the Trinity, or as the King James Version and the New King James Version describe as the Godhead. I personally like to call it the Tri-Union of God because although the Bible teaches there is only one God, it also teaches that that one God is in the form of three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I want you to consider for just a moment what one writer penned concerning the subject. The scriptures reveal no degrees of deity. Hence, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-existent, co-eternal and co-equal. A careful study of the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit reveals a nature, properties and characteristics which can only be found concerning God. While there are circumstantial variations such as the incarnation or embodiment of Christ, such a study reveals no variations in the essential nature of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. If there had been any varying degrees of deity, the incarnation would have been the opportunity to express this. However, Jesus in the flesh remained God. Jesus did not leave His essential nature in Heaven when He came to earth. He simply disrobed Himself of all of the grandeur of deity He enjoyed in Heaven.
I want to make this point by bringing your minds to Colossians chapter 2 and verses 8 and 9 where Paul told the church at Colossi, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ for in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form." Now I want you to consider what that says. Once again, verse 9, "For in Him, in Jesus Christ, all of the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form." One of the mysteries that perhaps this side of judgment will not understand perhaps fully is the idea of how Jesus could be 100% man and at the same time 100% God, but although He was a man in fleshly form, we see that all of the fullness of deity of godliness dwelled within Him.
I want you to consider what was mentioned in the former part of that passage, specifically verse 8. Paul warns the church at Colossi not to be taken captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the traditions of men or according to the elementary principles of the world. In other words, be careful that you do not follow the teachings of man that are contrary to the Will of God. The Will of God teaches us that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and yet there are a lot of people throughout the ages who have not believed this and in fact have vigorously taught otherwise. We have religions today that teach that Jesus Christ was nothing more than a good man, but He certainly was not God in the flesh. We have some people who will claim that He was a God, but not a big God or not the God, but rather a lesser God. Some doctrines have gone on to teach that, in fact have re-translated the Bible in regard to this, to show that Jesus Christ was nothing more than a man or a little God. Well that is certainly not what the Bible teaches.
I want to take us back to John chapter 1 and verse 1 and be mindful that the Word spoken of here is Jesus Christ. I want us to remember this point. John 1 and verse 1 reads, "In the beginning was the Word..." So we know that Jesus Christ was there in the beginning and we read that, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God..." So we know that Jesus Christ was with God the Father in this case. But it is the closing words of this passage that are of importance to us this morning. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." The Bible doesn't read that the Word was a God or that the Word was a lesser God or a man pretending to be God, but it reads that Jesus Christ was in fact God.
How can we understand this? How can we see this perhaps in other passages of scripture? Well I would remind you of what Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1 reads. It starts off in the very same way by saying, "In the beginning," but it says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Now we are all fully aware of that, but interestingly enough the word for God in the original Hebrew language in Genesis 1:1 is the word "Elohim" which is the word for God but it's the word for God in it's plural form. So for instance, when we see later on in chapter 1 and verse 26, "God says, let us make man in our own image," we see that the one God of the Bible is manifested in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So indeed, Jesus was with the Father and with the Holy Spirit in the very beginning and yet Jesus was God at that time.
How do we understand this maybe a little bit better? Perhaps an illustration I use a lot, but it's one that I think makes good sense is depicting the image of a triangle. A triangle is a geometric shape with three sides. It can't be a triangle unless it has three sides. If it only has two sides, then it's not a triangle. If it has four sides, then it becomes a different geometric shape altogether. But if a triangle has three sides, although you have three different facets of that triangle, you still only have shape. Well such is the case with God. We see in the Godhead three persons that make up the one God of the Bible.
Let me have you, if you will, if you have your Bibles turn to 2nd Corinthians chapter 8 and verses 7-9 and let us consider what Jesus, who is God, was willing to give up for us so that we might live. Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 8 beginning in verse 7, "But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. I am not speaking this as a command but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. For you know that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich." It was because of God's great love for us. It was because of Christ's great love for us that He was willing to come and live as a man so that we might have the hope of living forever in heaven.
Philippians chapter 2 and verses 6,7, and 8, also talk about "Jesus Christ and how that although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to grasp but emptied Himself taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men." Most of our translations use some language to the sense of Jesus being in the form of God, but perhaps one translation pens in best when it writes, "Who being in very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped and made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant and being made in human likeness." Jesus was not a shadow of God or some type of image of God, as far as some kind of outlying description of God, but He was in fact God. He was in very nature God. We might see back in Exodus a good example of this when Moses asked God, "Well, who will I tell people you are? Who will I tell the people that sent me when I go into Egypt and bring the people out of Egyptian bondage?" You might remember that God said to Moses in Exodus 3 and verse 14, "Tell them I am who I am. Tell them that I am has sent me to you."
In the New Testament, in John chapter 8 and verses 51-59 when some Jews were challenging the authority of Christ as often happened in His ministry, there's one particular point that He makes in verse 58 that really brought them to a boiling point. He said to them, "Truly, truly I say to you before Abraham was born, I am." Abraham lived some 2,000 years before Christ and yet at the same time Jesus says, "Before Abraham was born..." not I was, but "...I am." Jesus was demonstrating to those people who really didn't want to hear what He had to say that He was God.
Revelation chapter 22 and verse 13, Jesus says, "I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." We see this taught earlier on in Psalm chapter 90 in verses 1 and 2 where we see a prayer of Moses to God when he says in that prayer, and he says in that prayer, "Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations, before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." This demonstrates the eternal nature of God and certainly we understand that we realize that God has had neither beginning nor end, but at the same time, we realize that Jesus, who is God as well, also has those same qualities. Jesus has had neither beginning nor end. Perhaps that's why the Hebrews writer writes in Hebrews 13 and verse 8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
When we think about Jesus Christ, we need to realize that He did not have His beginning in a little town called Bethlehem. No, in fact, He has never had a beginning nor will He ever have an end because He is God.
So as we return to John chapter 1 and verse 1, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God," maybe if we look at it in this light it might help us a little bit. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was, is and always will be God. Let us be thankful that God in Heaven above loved us enough to leave that beautiful place called Heaven and take on the form of flesh so that we might have eternal life with Him forever.
(SONG # 3 - "Take My Life And Let It Be!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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What a blessed truth it is to know that God Himself became flesh, in the man Jesus Christ, that you and I might have hope through His wondrous promises. As God the Father Himself proclaimed, Jesus is truly God!