Sorry, No Audio this week, I am glad I did type a lot out though so hopefully you can get the gist.
We continue to look at our affirmation of faith this week. As we go through this I hope that God is speaking to you as we look at these core beliefs of our faith. Today we are going to look at the person of Christ. The basic question I want to answer for us is this: Who is Jesus Christ? Last week we saw that he is one of the persons of the Trinity, and that He is one in essence with the Father, but a distinct person, with a distinct role in the Godhead. Today we are looking at what Christ’s position in the Godhead is.
So, why is it important for us to know what we believe about the person of Jesus Christ?
Well, we live in a culture where the name Jesus Christ is thrown around, and used and misunderstood. We live in a time where we are familiar with Jesus, He is our homeboy, He is our best friend, he is a white dude with long flowing hair that carries lambs around, and plays with children. Some say he was a great teacher, some say he was a prophet, some say he was the sone of God. You can say what you believe about Jesus, but I want to provoke our thinking about Jesus this morning. Because here is the thing, What you believe about Jesus will affect your life. Now, as with other beliefs we hold, the most difficult aspect of belief is how that belief works itself out in your life. What I mean by that is that there is a difference between paying lip service to Jesus, and truly living for Him. There is a difference between putting on Jesus is my homeboy shirt, and putting on Christ as you face down crippling temptation, or an oppressor’s gun. What you believe about Jesus doesn’t show in the easy times as much as it does in the difficult times. What you believe about Jesus is revealed more in the times of private trials. It is revealed in what you reach for to bring you peace and hope in life. Do you reach for Christ, or do you reach for a drink, or click on a page, or turn on the news, take a pill, tune out the world. Whatever you reach for first in your times of high stress, or difficulty is your functional savior. So as I answer the question “Who is Jesus?” we will look at who the Bible says Jesus is, and then I want to ask you the question, “Who do you say that He is?”
Before we get into this lets pray and ask God for His help to discern what He wants us to hear and apply this morning. PRAY
So what we are going to look at first is the mentions on our affirmation of faith the reference Christ, talk a little about His role in this affirmation, then I want to look at other places where Jesus is explained to us.
So, it says in our affirmation that we read several things about Christ. We looked mostly last week that the blessings of God talked about in Verse 3 are found “In Christ”. Lets take a brief look at a few verses after what we just read last week.
Lets pick it up in verse 4… Now, before you get hung up on the part where it says He Chose us, we will get there but probably not today, lets look at this thought that “He (God) chose us (us) in Him (Christ) Before the foundation of the world.” This means that Christ existed in heaven before he was made incarnate on Earth. That may seem simplistic, but that is a big deal. You see in about 325 AD there was quite a fight over this. There was a thing called Arianism that stated that Christ did not exist prior to his incarnation. It was such a big deal that a council was held of ministers from all over the world to debate the belief, and from that council came a creed called the Nicene Creed. Let me read it to you:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible, and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten, that is, of the essence of the Father (ek tës ousias tou patros), God of God (theon ek theou), and Light of Light (kai phõs ek phõtos), very God of very God (theon alëthinon ek thou alëthinou), begotten, not made (gennëthenta ou poinëthenta), being of one substance with the Father (homoousion tõ patri); by whom all things were made in heaven and on earth; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he cometh to judge the quick and the dead.
And in the Holy Ghost.
And those who say: there was a time when he was not; and: he was not before he was made; and: he was made out of nothing, or out of another substance or thing (ë ex heteras hupostaseõs ë ousias), or the Son of God is created, or changeable, or alterable; they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.
You see, some people tend to see creeds as problematic, but it is because we don’t live in a time where people are being killed over what they believe about Jesus, and so to put it in writing in such a way as to make clear a belief was crucial for the health and well being of the church. This is very important to us today because we also live in a world where our culture wants to redefine words. Even the title Christian has been redefined in our recent history, so the term “Born Again” was added to be specific about what that person meant by what they meant, then that was redefined by our culture, then the term “evangelical” was added to be precise about how those people treated their faith, and now that is so construed that when I guy I was working for found out that I was a pastor, he said, “you’re not one of those evangelicals are you?” to which I said, it depends on what you mean by that. You get the point, it is so much so, that even the new age guy I spoke with in DC said how Jesus was a great guy who actually achieved the state of being that his religion was seeking. He didn’t know anything of the claims of Jesus, or the life of Jesus, he took Jesus’ name and said, oh yeah, he is one of us. And it isn’t just people outside of Christianity doing this. Some people who preach the prosperity Gospel have turned Jesus into a magic Genie who exists to give you your best life now, and to bring you health wealth and prosperity. Guys like T. D. Jakes and Joel Osteen. Preaching a Jesus that you will be hard pressed to find in scripture. Or people who preach a moralistic deist Jesus, who is based more on Kharma than scripture, that if you are good, he will bless you, and if you are bad, he will get you. They tell nothing of the call of Jesus to abandon your life, take us your cross and come to die with him. They have redefined Jesus. There are also those who say that what we need to focus on is the example of Jesus, that he mostly came to show us how to live a good life and love other people, which is true, but it is not the ultimate goal of Christ on the Earth, He did come to be an example, but he came to be our Righteousness, and our sacrifice. They have redefined who Jesus is. And here is why this is important. You need to be able to spot it when people try to redefine Jesus. Here is a little secret too, the Christian Bookstores will not do it for you, the Christian radio stations will not discern it all for you. God gave you a mind, and a Bible for a reason, and he wants you to test everything you hear through that word, even what you hear me say. You need to be clear on what you believe about Jesus.
So we see from that phrase that Jesus was part of Gods plan from before the foundation of the earth. We saw from the NT reading that Jesus was there with God in the beginning. He has existed with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit from Eternity past.
So, now we move on the the second part of the essential belief about Jesus. It is the truth that is referred to as the hypostatic union. That he exists as God and Man. That he did not become less than God when He came to earth. He maintained all the essence of His divinity, and yet became fully man with weakness and temptations, pain and trials. Now, much like last week tis is a difficult thing to understand. But, a recent resurgence of Christian Hip Hop has once again provided us with a succinct explanation that also rhymes. This is by a rapper named Shai Linn, from his album called lyrical theology. I would play it for you, but maybe another time.
I know it’s deep but when you peep you’ll find it’s dense
Jesus both God and man, two hundred percents
Fully divine, fully human
Introducing: The Hypostatic Union (repeat)
Our topic of discussion is beyond human comprehension
The infinite God has made a super condescension
The kind of entrance nobody could have anticipated
Precipitated by the evil we participated
In- through Adam and Eve our first kin
Cursed when they committed the first sin
Only if you have the Holy Spirit’s antennas
Can you truly understand fallen man’s dilemma
See, only a human can substitute for human lives
But only God can take the wrath of God and survive
See the humanly unsolvable obstacle?
With God all is plausible, nothing’s impossible
True haters’ll fight it but the story is certain
Two natures united in one glorious person
Jesus, the God-Man, official soul reaper
The hypostatic union- it gets no deeper
The Son of God: 100% divinity
Self-existent second Person of the Trinity
Magisterial Imperial at the helm
Infinitely transcending this material realm
He’s so original, getting to know Him is pivotal
Behold the invincible prototypical Holy Principal
Possessor of all divine attributes
The omnis, wisdom, grace, beauty, love, wrath and truth
He’s the One that all creation was made through
And by Him, the earth’s foundation was laid, too
Ask the angels, they saw it on pay-per-view
Created Satan too, matter of fact He created you
And nothing can escape Jesus’ sovereign rule
From the farthest galaxy to the smallest molecule
So who deserves to gain fame?
By the word of His power the universe is maintained
In other words, put the cosmos back on the shelf
Without Christ, reality would collapse on itself
Jesus, the marvelous Author of all consciousness
Beyond what the sharpest biologist acknowledges
He needs no archeologists or smart apologists
He sees all hearts: Omnipresent Cardiologist
Master of Logic, Macrocosmic Novelist
Following any other god is just preposterous!
The Son of Man 100% humanity
The mind stretches to understand how can it be?
You gotta see what He does
Becoming what He wasn’t while never ceasing to be what He was
Is your mind flipping? That got you tripping? Me too
But the Scripture is true- peep Philippians 2
By faith we believe this amazing Jesus
Who made Uranus and Venus became a fetus
It’s such a secret that few if anybody knew it
Months later, He’s covered in amniotic fluid
The subject of the gospels, praise of Apostles
Armed with eye sockets, arm pits and nostrils?
Who is this Jesus? God clothed in human weakness
Super sweetness and peace for the true believers
See the One who never tires knocked out sleeping
See the Source of eternal joy weeping
Which one can explain how the Son abundant with fame
Who made thunder and rain now has hunger pains?
See the Creator of water become thirsty
On the cross when He saves from the slaughter the unworthy
My awe should be sky high and I ought to just cry, “Why?”
with water in my eyes when the Author of Life dies
Raised on the third, God man- soul seeker
The hypostatic union- it gets no deeper
The claims of the hypostatic union are really what got Jesus in trouble with the religious leaders of his day. They could see that he was human, they saw him eat with tax collectors, and eat grain that he took from the fields. They saw him tired after a journey reclining at table. They saw His dirty feet that needed to be washed. They saw him weep and cry out in pain when he was beaten. They saw his blood flow from His ands and side. They could tell that he felt every lash, every thorn, every nail, every taunt, every mock, every laugh. There was no doubt that He was human.
They knew he was a human, but what they could not get their minds around was the fact that he was God. When He said things like I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. They rubbed those guys the wrong way, because they could see his humanity. They saw him speak to sickness and disease and speak to His creation and make it obey, but they didn’t get it. They couldn’t see that He was God and Man.
So, the essential is this: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the eternal Word made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He is perfect in nature, teaching and obedience. He is fully God and fully man. He was always with God and is God. Through Him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things, and in Him all things hold together by the word of His power. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation, and in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Now for the important part, who do you say that Jesus is? More importantly, who does your life say that Jesus is? Is He a good teacher whose advice you take when it sounds good? Is he a genie that you run to and rub His belly when you are in trouble? Is he someone you associate with to make you feel better about yourself? Is He the cosmic policeman looking for you to mess up? Or is He more? Is he the one who created your soul and knows exactly what will bring you the most joy? Is He the one your heart runs to when you are weak? IS He the one you praise when your life is going as you would like it? Is He the one through whom, in whom and to whom all of your life is found? Here is the point of all this talk. At the end of the day, what you believe on paper about Jesus doesn’t mean a hill of beans, it is what you believe in your heart that matters, and if He is in your heart, it will show up in your life. So, I will leave you with the question that Jesus asked Peter in Matthew 16:15, who do you say that He is?