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Friday, March 29, 2013

He Took My Place

     I can't remember how old I was at the time, but I have never forgotten the lesson I learned that day.  I was maybe 7 or 8, maybe as old as 10, but let me back up.  I got to thinking about my dad recently, because the 13th anniversary of his death is coming up.  You see he died shortly before Easter on a Saturday evening.  Easter was in April then and not March.  Even still the holiday itself is dreadful for me.  At least it's not Christmas or my birthday!!!
     When I was growing up spankings were a normal part of every one's lives. (not beatings)  Certain infractions in my parents laws demanded that the punishment was a spanking.  We bent over our beds where dad applied his belt to our backsides three times.  It hurt, so mostly we learned to be fairly well behaved children.  However, on this day I had done something, I can't even remember what, that deserved a spanking,  I was sent to my room to await my father's belt!  But this day was different.  My dad said that he wanted me to learn a very important lesson.  He handed me his belt and he bent over my bed.  He said for my punishment I got to spank him!!!!!!!!!!  I didn't get it at the time.  I thought it was funny.  Of course little girls don't have a lot of strength, so I was actually a little disappointed that I couldn't hit him very hard.  As I have now grown I realize two things about the lesson that he was trying to teach me. 1.  My sins hurt him. and 2.  He took my punishment.  What a fitting tribute to the man taken from our family so early in his life, that on Easter the thing we are supposed to remember is that our sins hurt God and yet He took our punishment which we deserve.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jesus=God


Y G O D T S J G K I K Q C G F

Q B M A N A E B A B L T K E T

U Q P Y A G S V O B V D L B H

V U S C V B U L Y N J L L C Y

A E P E R S S B N U L A F S F

G N I H E E C H E O J Y G M E

S E R P S R V Y T H N Q V R L

F R I O N V L K T S R R I J L

I H T R T E S T I M O N Y Z O

T T T P Z W G X R Z M J H C W

M E I L T S X L W F K A F O H

X R E L W O R S H I P E L P E

J B A N K Y X J Q Y E O U V N

U H B G I F X H D T R M O S C

S A D O Z O S V U D D T F R E

brethren
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God
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Prophecy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew 4:10, Revelation 19:10

            There are people that claim that Jesus is not divine.  That He is not equal with God the Father.  Today we will discuss: Characteristics that only belong to God; Does Jesus have all of those characteristics; Why did the Jews hate Jesus so much; and finally what does Jesus say about himself?

            Exodus 3:5, 6 reads, "And He said, draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."  Our first characteristic we are looking at is the Holiness of God.  Can anyone but God claim to be holy?  Some would point to verses such as Leviticus 11:45 which is repeated in 1 Peter 1:16 let's read both of them.  First Leviticus 11:45  "For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy." And 1 Peter 1:16 "Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy."  But can we really BE holy? And if so how?  Acts 3:12 begins to shed some light on this answer. "And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?"   Not even the apostle Peter claimed to be holy.  So if we have ANYTHING "holy" about us where does it come from?  Let's look at another text.  This time in Romans 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" and again in Romans this time in chapter 10:3 "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."  Therefore it is only by our acceptance of God's holiness that we can be holy.  So the ONLY beings in the universe with a claim of their own holiness is the trinity.

            Eternal, is the second characteristic of God we will be looking at today.  What does the Bible say about God's existence? Psalms 90:2 "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."  This is an easy one.  There are only three texts I need for this.  The first one is in Revelation 1:1,8 they read, "1.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 8.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."  So this book is about Jesus who is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Not that He had a beginning or an end but that He IS the beginning and the end of everything.  The next two verses make it even more clear.  The gospel of John chapter 1 verse 1 through 3, "1.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2.  The same was in the beginning with God.  3.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."    Who is this talking about?  Lets break it down,  The "Word" was with God and the "Word" was God.  And all things were made by Him.  Him who? Verse 14 clarifies, "And the Word was made 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."  Can this be more clear?  Jesus came and dwelt with us! So we can compare John 1:1-3 with the creation account in Genesis 1:1,2 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  2.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." and verse 26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."  John chapter one states that nothing was created without Jesus Christ and Genesis 1 confirms that all three members of the Godhead were present at creation; verse one God created, verse 2 the Spirit of God moved over the waters, and verse 26 God made man in "our" image.

            The third quality of God is that He is the ONLY being that is worthy to be worshipped.  Exodus 20:3-6, "3.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6.  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."  The Bible is clear on this point only God is to be worshipped.  Let's take a look at two different texts regarding worship of other beings.  The first is found in Matthew 4:8-10, "8.  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9.  And saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”  Jesus reminded Satan that only God was to be worshipped.  In another instance in Revelation 19:10 John writes; " And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see thou do it not; I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren, that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of God is the Spirit of Prophecy."  Not even the angels of God are worthy to be worshipped!  Acts chapter 14 verses 11-18 tell of an instance where Paul and Barnabas were being worshipped and how Paul stopped them. "11.  And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.  12.  And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.  13.  Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.  14.  Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15.  And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16.  Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.  17.  Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 18.  And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them." 

 

            Our last quality or characteristic of God is that only God can forgive sins.  In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke the Jews were indignant with Jesus because He dated to tell people that their sins were forgiven.  You can read these in Matthew 9:1-6 "1.  And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.  2.  And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.  3.  And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.  4.  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?  5.  For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?  6.  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."  The Jews said that Jesus was blaspheming because the forgiveness of sins is an attribute that only God has.  Anybody else that would claim to be able to forgive sins is blaspheming! Mark chapter 2:1-11 records the same story as does Luke chapter 5:18-25.

            So now let's take a look at Jesus.  Was Jesus holy? Hebrews 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."  Yes Jesus is holy. We have already established that He is eternal and that He could forgive sins, so the only other characteristic we need to look at is the idea of worship.  We have seen examples of how men and angels did not permit people to worship them and we saw an example of when Jesus refused to worship Satan but did Jesus permit others to worship Him when He was here?  The Gospels are full of accounts of different people coming to worship Jesus.  The first account is given when Jesus was still an infant in Matthew 2:11 "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."   If Joseph and Mary were such good, godly, Jewish parents shouldn't they have forbidden this? And what time is there to go through each of the instances in the Gospels?  I will list them and you can do your own study at home later today. Matthew 8:2(leper), 9:18(certain ruler), 14:33(they that were in the ship), 15:9-25(woman of Canaan), 20:20(mother of Zebedee's children), and 28:9-17(His disciples); Mark 5:6(demon possessed), Luke 24:52(two of the disciples); and John 9:38(a blind man).  Given the fact that angels, the disciples and apostles all refuse to let men worship them, and even Jesus Himself tells Satan that only God is to be worshiped don't you think that if these people were doing something wrong that Jesus would tell them?  People want to say that Jesus isn't God; that He was "just a good man." But would a "good man" keep letting people worship Him if it was wrong to do?  Think for a minute about the story of the money changers in the temple.  What did Jesus do there?  See Mark chapter 11.

            Repeatedly the Jews wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy.  Blasphemy is when you pretend to be God.  Ultimately this is what lead to Jesus crucifixion. Matthew 26:64-65 "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.  65.  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy."  A good man does not blaspheme. 

            Finally what does Jesus Himself say about His relationship to God?  I want to first compare to verses.  John 8:58 reads, "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."   This the Jews understood to be a direct reference to Exodus 3:14 which reads, "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."  This statement of Jesus' is probably one of the most direct statements Jesus could have made regarding His equality with God however in John 10 verse 30 Jesus makes his claim even more plain by saying, "I and my Father are one." 

            In conclusion, for the people that say that Jesus was "just a good man or just a prophet" I beg to differ.  Either Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be or he would have to be the worst villain in human history!!  They cannot have it both ways.  1 John 5:7 clears up any controversy by saying, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."