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Archive for the ‘Bible and Theology’ Category

I referred to a question a few days ago that Mark Driscoll asked in his book, Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions, ultimately everybody answers the question of who Jesus is and responds in kind.

There is so much conjecture and opinion.  SocietyVS – a regular visitor to this blog said:

I see Jesus as the Christ – Messiah – at the right hand of God in His court – but not God.

A new friend, Steve, responded:

So what do you do with Isaiah?

He said some interesting things about the Messiah:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

And what do you do with John?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14)

If the Bible is any good at all, the conclusion is inescapable.

What does Jesus have to say about Himself.  A walk through the Gospels we can see that Jesus claims to be God in numerous ways.  Driscoll mentions ten.  I am going to list the first five in this post.

1.  Jesus said He came down from Heaven.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me, (John 6:38, ESV).

If you read John 6:41-66 you will see that this comment got Him into trouble with the Pharisees, and confounded his own disciples.

2.  Jesus said He was more than just a good man.

A lot of people will say that Jesus is a good teacher and that He (they wouldn’t capitalize he) was a good man.  They tried saying this back in His day as well.

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone, (Mark 10:17-18, ESV).

Jesus healed on the Sabbath and that really infuriated the Pharisees.  He also called God his Father and that also put Him on their “bad” list.

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God, (John 5:18, ESV).

3. Jesus said He is the Son of Man.

Jesus uses this title around 80 times in all four Gospels.  This is a title that we see in the book of Daniel.

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed, (Daniel 7:13-14, NIV).

This passage indicates that he isn’t human.  He is given messianic dominion and authority.  This person is worshiped.  David speaks of this person is Psalm 110.

The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Lord sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

4.  Jesus performed miracles.

Driscoll states, “Jesus was a great leader and teacher, but his ministry also included the miraculous – one line of evidence that he was in fact God and more than just another spiritually enlightened person,” (pg. 20).  Jesus says to those challenging Him to view these miracles as evidence.

Do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”  Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands, (John 10:36-39, ESV).

Nearly forty specific miracles are mentioned in the New Testament and nearly a third of the Gospel of Mark deals with His miracles.

5.  Jesus said He is God.

Many cults wrongly deny Jesus’ divinity.  But Scripture clearly illustrate how Jesus said he is God.  His hearers understood his claim.

But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need?  You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death, (Mark 14:61-64, ESV).

Also we see in John 8.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple, (John 8:58-59, ESV).

When Jesus names himself “I am,” he was declaring himself to be the same God who revealed himself by the title “I AM”.  In John 10 we see that the Pharisees wanted to stone him for blasphemy.  Why?  Because they understood Jesus was saying that He was God.

So before we make up our minds and say that Jesus isn’t God we really have to closely examine what He said about Himself.  I hope that you will do just that and check out the next post.

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On 6/1/08 we looked at the difficult and complex issue of divorce and remarriage, and what Jesus has to say about it in Matthew 5:31-32, as we continued through the Sermon on the Mount at Grace Evangelical Free Church in Indianola.

Also looked at Jesus debate with the Pharisees on this issue in Matthew 19:3-9, the original Mosaic provision in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.

You can listen online here.

You can download this message here (right click and choose “save target as”)

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Sermon given on 5/25/08 at Grace Evangelical Free Church in Indianola, IA.  Continuing my series on Sermon on the Mount covering Matthew 5:21-30 – Jesus’ teachings on anger and lust.

You can listen online here.

You can download here (right click on link and select “save target as”).

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From Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy:

Contemptuous actions and attitudes are a knife in the heart that permanently harms and mutilates peoples souls.  That they are common does not ease their destructiveness, (pgs. 152-153).

Why is it that contemptuous actions and attitudes are so prevalent in the church?  Why don’t we challenge this more aggressively?  Jesus calls this attitude of the heart as the moral equivalent to murder.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire, (Matthew 5:21-22, ESV).

Anger, for many of us, is not a righteous thing, but rather prideful or vengeful and it seeks to do harm.  God throughout the Bible pointed His anger at sin.  Righteous anger is anger at injustice and sin.  Not at sinners, and not just when we are sinned against which is usually the only time we are angry at sin.

Righteous anger on our parts should lead to a response that is graceful and is bathed in truth.  We should demonstrate mercy to the victims, and seek reconciliation with those who offend.

Worldly anger leads to contempt which destroys spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and even physically when taken to the fullest degree.  It never pleases God, and should not be present in the life of a follower of Christ.

But it often is.

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I’ve been reading The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard, theologian and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California.  In chapter three, “What Jesus Knew: Our God Bathed World”, he includes a quote by British Methodist theologian Adam Clarke (1760-1832).

God is…

the eternal, independent, and self-existent Being; the Being whose purposes and actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence; he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, the most spiritual of all essences; infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made, illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of existence, and indescribable in his essence; known fully only by himself, because an infinite mind can only be fully comprehended by itself.  In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived, and from his infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, and right, and kind.

What is your response to Clarke’s representative statement about God?

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Chris Schellenberg wrote “Hold Her Now” for Maria Sue Chapman.  Listen below.

HT: Christian Striver

Many wonder where is the hope in this tragic loss?  When experiencing loss… unexpected loss we need to realize that death is not the end.  The truth of the song above is that those who know Jesus will experience eternal life.  Steven Curtis Chapman, his wife and their children will see Maria Sue again.

My wife, Cheryl, lost her uncle unexpectedly in a car accident recently.  Tragic.  We mourn his loss and grieve his loss and are also saddened by the loss that his wife feels.  He knew Jesus.  We will one day see him again.

Several years ago when I was a youth pastor at a church in Indiana, our church experienced the loss of our secretary.  This was a sweet lady whom I worked with daily… gone due to an infection in her blood which spread throughout her body.

John 11 brought comfort in that time for me.

Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.  Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.  So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world,” (John 11:17-27, ESV).

Many are living under the slavery of the fear of death, (Hebrews 2:15).  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Should we mourn?  Absolutely!  But those who know Christ have a different perspective on death.  The Apostle Paul put it this way:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep, (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, ESV).

I can’t imagine the pain the Chapman family must be facing right now, but I do know that the God of all comfort can meet them in their time of need.  I do know that since Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life they will one day see Maria Sue again, as Cheryl will see her uncle, and I’ll see my former co-worker, grandmother and any other loved one who loves Jesus who precedes me in death.

Thank you Jesus for conquering death!

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In the sixth installment of my series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount at Grace Evangelical Free Church in Indianola, IA, I give an overview of Matthew 5:21-48.  I share universal principles for each of the six illustrations that Jesus uses to describe the righteousness of His kingdom citizens.

You can listen online here.

You can download here (right click and select “save as”).

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