Sunday, February 25, 2018
Winter/Spring Sermon Series: Experiencing God at Such a Time as This
The Authority of Jesus
Everybody has an opinion about Jesus. Many see Him as a compassionate man. Some call Him a wise teacher. Others regard Him as a great prophet. But what did Jesus say about Himself? He claimed to be God.
Several years ago, C. S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, wrote these words concerning the identity of Jesus:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him: “I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.” —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 41
If I claimed to be the Son of God, equal with the Father, and fully God, you would say I was either lying or a lunatic, and rightly so. But what about Jesus? Was He lying? Was He a lunatic? The only other option is that He is the Lord.
In John 5, Jesus healed a lame man. You would think that would be a reason for the Jewish authorities to celebrate. But instead they were angry that this healing took place on the Sabbath.
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” For this reason, the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (vv. 16-18).
Doctrine of The Trinity: God in Three Persons
There is ONE and only One true and living God. “…and the Word was God [not another God].”
Go Is One God: Monotheism – basic fundamental biblical theology
Deuteronomy 6:4 has become the Jewish confession of faith: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one.” The Jews were, and still are, unshakably monotheistic.
Isaiah 45:5a God Himself declared, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is not God.”
Because there is only one God, idolatry of any kind is evil, foolish, wrong, and harmful. Worship of “other gods” robs the true God of the devotion and glory He alone deserves.
When Jesus claimed to be equal with the Father, they thought He was claiming to be another God. To the Jews, this was the most serious crime a person could commit and was punishable by death.
Because there is only one God, He alone should be the ultimate object of our affections. He alone deserves our absolute allegiance and obedience. The one true God deserves all we are and have. He deserves wholehearted love because nothing else compares with Him.
There is One God who eternally exists in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “…and the Word was God [no less than the Father].”
The Father is not the Son; the Son is not the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father. They are distinct persons.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God…” Jesus is God but distinct from the Father (“with God”).
Each person is fully and completely God and still not identical.
The three persons are completely equal in attributes, each with the same divine nature. The basic principle at the heart of the Triune Godhead is unity and distinction. Both coexisting without either being compromised. Anything that is necessarily true of God is true of Father, Son, and Spirit. They are equal in core yet distinct in function.
Practical Implications of the Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity makes definitive revelation of God possible as He is known in Christ.
The Trinity makes the atonement possible.
Because God is Triune, He has eternally been personal and relational in His own being, in full independence from His creation.
The Trinity provided the ultimate model for relationships within the body of Christ.
The Deity of Jesus
To attain a complete biblical picture of the person of Jesus Christ, we must understand and affirm four statements about:
Jesus Christ is fully and completely divine.
Jesus Christ is fully and completely human.
The divine and human natures of Christ are completely distinct.
The divine and human natures of Christ are completely united in one person.
Scriptural claims of Jesus’ deity:
John 1:1, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.”
John 20:28 “Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Romans 9:5 “To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”
Phil. 2:5-7 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Titus 2:13 “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”
Heb. 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
Jesus Himself understood His divinity.
He taught with divine authority
He had a unique relationship with God the Father
His claimed the title of Son of Man
His teaching emphasized His own identity
He received worship
He equated Himself with the Father, and as a result was accused of blasphemy
The Authority of Jesus
John 5:19-30 “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
v. 19 “The Son can do nothing of His own accord [on his own initiative]”.
The Father initiates, sends, commands, grants authority; the Son responds, performs, obeys, and receives authority.
The relationship is not that of a master and slave, nor of employer and employee, but of a Father and a Son who are united by love.
Jesus said that He had received authority from the Father to do greater things than healing a lame man (vs 1-17)—things that would amaze the Jews.
Two amazing claims:
1. “I am the one who gives LIFE to the DEAD.”
The Jews believed that only God could do this: “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up” (1 Samuel 2:6).
v. 21 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will”.
a. There is a present giving of SPIRITUAL life.
vv. 25-26 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.”
b. There will be a future giving of PHYSICAL life.
vv. 28-29 “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
In this context, to do good is to accept Jesus, and to do evil is to reject Jesus.
John 6:29 “Jesus said, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent’”. Jesus is not teaching salvation by works.
2. “I am the one who is the JUDGE of all people.”
The Jews believed that only God could do this: Genesis 18:25 The Lord is “the Judge of all the earth.”
v. 22 “The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son.”
v. 27 “And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.”
Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one
like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should
serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
v. 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
Why did the Father give Jesus the authority to give life to the dead and be the Judge of all people?
verse 23 “That all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
But the Father does desire that Jesus be glorified. The fact that the Father and the Son (as well as the Holy Spirit) are one God means that when the Son is glorified, the Father is also glorified.
Isaiah 45:22-23 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’”
Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Implications of the Authority of Jesus
God can be known definitively and personally in Christ
Redemption is possible and has been accomplished in Christ
In Christ risen, ascended, and enthroned, we have a sympathetic high priest who has omnipotent power to meet our needs
Worship of and obedience to Christ is appropriate and necessary.
The belief that Jesus is one person with both divine and human natures has great significance for the possibility of fallen people entering into a relationship with God.
Christ must be both God and man if He is to:
Mediate between God and man – “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
Make atonement for sin – “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20
Be our sympathetic high priest – “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17
Jesus Christ is the most definitive revelation of all of God’s attributes. To see God’s character, we are to look at God incarnate – Jesus the Christ.
In the cross of Christ all of God’s major attributes are displayed. His wrath, grace, justice, mercy, sovereignty, goodness, love, holiness, compassion, wisdom, and power meet there for the world to see.
Have you found that. Have you found Him?