Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do You Know Christ?

THE PERSON OF CHRIST

Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man in one person, and will be so forever.
He is called God in the Scriptures (John 1:1; Rom 9:5;
• Because the attributes of God are ascribed to Him: eternity - John 8:58; Omniscience – John 21:17; Omnipresence matt 18:20: divine power – Heb 1:3;
• Because the honour and worship which is due only to God belong to Him as well – e.g. faith in Him (John16:1); Baptized in His Name (Matt.28:19); call on His Name (1Cor.1:2)
• Because if the Son was were not God, He could not have been fit to be a perfect Mediator between God and man (1Tim 2:5; Heb. 12:24)


A. THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST

1. The virgin birth

The Scripture is very clear that Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary, a virgin, by a miraculous power and work of the Holy Spirit without a human father (Matt. 1:18,20, 24-25; Luke1:35;3;23). This affirms to us that salvation is of God according to His Promise (Gen3:15) and can never come through human efforts (Gal.4:4-5). Virgin birth made it possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one Person. Virgin birth also makes Christ’s true humanity possible without the inherited sin. The fact that Jesus did not have a human father means that the line of descent from Adam was partially interrupted. Cf. Luke 1:35

2. Human weaknesses and limitations
a) Jesus had a human body
• He was born and grew just like any other any other child (Luke2;7,40,52)
• He became weary (John4:6; Luke23:26); thirsted (John19:28); was hungry (Matt.4:2); slept (Matt. 8:24)
• He died and was buried
b) Jesus had a human mind - He increased in wisdom (Luke 2;52). Did not know everything humanly speaking (13:32)
c) Jesus Had a human soul and emotions. He said he had a soul (John 12:27; 13:21; Matt.26:38. He also had a full range of emotions. He marveled at the faith of the centurion (Matt 8:10. He wept with sorrow for Lazarus (John 11:35)
d) People near Him saw Him as only a man. Cf. Matt. 13:53-58; Mark 6:3; John 7:5)

3. Sinlessness
Though Jesus was fully human, yet He was found without sin for He never committed any sin during His lifetime. Satan was unable to tempt Him to sin. Note it is not abnormal for Jesus, as fully human to fail to have committed sin but that it is abnormal for people who were created in the image of God to be sinning. He is therefore the holy One (Acts2:27;3;14; 4:30; 7;52; 13;35). Though God sent Him in the likeness of the sinful flesh (Rom8:3) we are told that He “…knew no sin” (2Cor 5;21; Heb4:15; 7:26; 1Pet.1:19; 2:22; 3:18:1John2:1; 3:5). Could Jesus have sinned? Or was it possible for Christ to have sinned? Some talk of the impeccability of Christ meaning “not able to sin”. Others say that if He was not able to sin, His temptations could not have been real, for how can a temptation be real if the person being tempted is not able to sin anyway? The Bible clearly says that Christ never actually sinned. It nevertheless says that Jesus was tempted, and these were real temptations (Luke 4:2; Heb.4:15). We must affirm with the Bible that “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James1:13). We cannot go farther than this.

4. Why was Jesus full humanity necessary?

i. For representative obedience. Jesus fully obeyed for where Adam failed and disobeyed.(Rom.5:18-19)
ii. To be a substitute sacrifice. If Jesus had not been a man, He could not have died in our place and paid the penalty that was due to us (Heb. 2:14,16-17). If God was concerned about saving the angels then He could have come as one but he was concerned about saving men.
iii. To be the Mediator between God and men. Because we were alienated from God by sin, we needed someone to come between God and ourselves and bring us back to Him (1Tim2:5).
iv. To fulfill God’s original purpose for man to rule over creation. God put man on the creation to subdue it and rule over it as God’s representatives. But man did not fulfill that purpose he instead fell into sin. When Jesus came as a man He was able to fully obey God and thereby have the right to rule over creation as a man fulfilling God’s purpose. He is now at the highest place of authority over the universe, crowned with glory and honor (Heb 2:9) cf. Matt.28:18; Eph11;22; Rev. 3:21; Luke 19:17,19; 1Cor6:3)
v. To be our example and pattern in life. “He who says abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked (1John2:6)
vi. To be the pattern for our redeemed bodies. When He rose from the dead He had a glorified body (1Cor15:42-44)
vii. To sympathize as High Priest (Heb2:18;4:15-16)
5. Jesus will be man forever.
He did not give up His human nature after His death and resurrection, for He appeared to His disciples as a man after the resurrection, even with the scars of the nail prints in His hands (John20:25-27). If Jesus had not been a man, He would not have been able t know by experience what we go through in our temptations and struggles in this life. He resurrected with a human body albeit glorified. He was taken up to heaven in this body and the two angels promised that He will return in the same way (Acts1:11). Cf. Acts7:5; 6:9:5; 1Cor.9:1:15:8; Rev 1:13-17. Jesus did not become a man temporarily but that His divine nature was permanently united to his human nature, and He lives forever not just as the eternal Son of God but also as Jesus, the man who was born of Mary and as Christ, the Messiah – the Saviour of His people.

B. THE DEITY OF CHRIST


1. Direct Scriptural claims

The Word God (Theos) is used of Christ. Cf. John 1:1; 1:18; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13 Heb 1:8; 2Pet1:1)
The word Lord (Kyrios) is used of Christ. This not just the usual master or sir as in Matt.13:27; 21:30 27:63; John4:11, but the strong YHWH translated “the LORD” or Jehovah the Creator and the sustainer of heaven and earth, the Omnipotent God. This is as the angels referred to Him while announcing His birth to the shepherds (Luke2:18). Compare Isa.40:3 with Matt.3:3; Psalm 110:1 with Matt. 22:44; Psa.102 with Heb.1:10-12. Cf. explicit passages such as 1Cor.8:6; 12:3;
Others claims to deity: John 8:57-59; John1:1; Acts 7:56;

2. Evidence that Jesus possessed attributes of deity
Jesus demonstrated His omnipotence when He stilled the storm with just a word of His mouth (Matt:8:26), multiplied the loaves and fish (Matt.14:19) changed water to wine (John2:1-11).
Jesus asserts His eternity when He says before Abraham was , I AM (John 8:58) or I am the Alpha and Omega (Rev22:13)
The omniscience of Jesus is seen in his knowledge of people’s thoughts even seeing thewm when they are far away (Mark2:8; John 1:48;6:64; 21:17).
Omnipresence - His own claim in Matt18:20. Sovereignty in forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:5). Immortality in His inability to remain in the grave. Was worshipped (Phil 2:9-11Heb1:6; Rev. 5:12; 19:10)
3. Did Jesus give up some of His divine attributes while on earth? Read Phil 2:5-7. What Jesus did was not to “empty himself” but that He humbled himself and took a lowly position. He did not give up His divine attributes but changed the role and status not essential attributes or nature – He never ceased to be God. Therefore Christ was and remains fully divine (Col 1:19; 2:9) and so He was given the Name Immanuel (Matt:1:23)

4. The necessity of His deity
i. Only someone who is infinite God could bear the full penalty for all the sins of all those who would believe in Him – only finite creature would have been incapable of bearing that penalty.
ii. Salvation is from the Lord (Jonah 2:9) and the whole gospel message is designed to show and prove that no human being, no creature could ever save man – only God himself could.
iii. Only someone who was truly and fully God could be the one mediator between God and man(1Tim. 2:5) both to bring us back to God and also to reveal God most fully to us (John 14:9)
If Jesus is not fully God, we have no salvation and ultimately no Christianity. Those who denied the deity of Jesus throughout history have also given up their faith e.g. the Unitarianism because “no one denies the Son has the Father” (1John2:23; 2John9)

C. Deity and humanity in one person
Christ is fully God fully God and so we should not think that we can examine or ignore Him in worship. He is worthy of all worship by all the creatures in heaven and on earth(Rev.5:113).he is the only Savior of sinners and so we should seek to make Him known. He is the only Mediator and so we should seek Him with the sincerity of heart.

DO you know this Christ as your Lord and Saviour? HAve you gone to Him coonfessing to Him ? Have you gone to Him in repentance? Please go to Him trusting that He is able and willing to forgive you.
Do not wait for tommorrow.
Do not wait for anyone to pray for you - Pray by yourself and tell Him honestly that in the past you have trusted in yourself.
Tell God to blot out your sins on the account of what Christ has done on the cross. Tell God to be merciful to you a sinner.
I assure you that if you go now He will gladly forgive you. Do it now!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

BE A CHRISTIAN!

BE A CHRISTIAN! Part 1 1PET.3:8

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1Pet.3:8)
Introduction


Have you ever come to a point where you wondered if you are a Christian at all? This would be based on your thoughts, feelings and conduct on some circumstances. It is in order to doubt our Christianity when inconsistency rare its ugly head. How can a person lie, gossip, be lazy, and feel great that he is the most wonderful Christian ever lived? How can a Christian have bitterness with other Christians and be at peace with oneself? How can a husband be unloving to his wife and treat her in the most cruel way and still think that he is in faith? How can a wife be unsubmissive to her husband and still profess faith in Christ who has instructed that wives are to submit to their husbands? How can children disobey and rebel against their parents’ instruction and be cool?
When a Christian doubts Himself in light of the Word of God then he would be a healthy Christian. We are to try ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Many a times our conduct is unchristian and dishonoring to the Lord. Many a times we treat others as if God is not looking. We ignore Him in our conduct and in our conversation. Take Jonah, when he ran away from God, did he consider that the omnipresent eye of God was looking at him? When we conduct ourselves as if God is not near us then we are in the same danger. Our God sees and hears and will not overlook sin. We have died to sin and so we cannot live in it. We have been baptized into Christ Jesus and were buried with Him by baptism into His death, so that we might walk in newness of life (Rom 6:2-4). Therefore, if you are a Christian live as a Christian as our Lord tells us through Peter in this passage. Live as a Christian that you are before Christians and non-Christians.

1. BE CHRISTIANS TO ONE ANOTHER

We have one lesson to learn from this verse – we are to be Christians to each other. We are told by the rule of nature that birds of a feather flock together. As they flock together, they conduct themselves as their nature as birds demand. Christians are to be Christians to the other Christians and this must be evidenced by the way they live with one another from within. You realize that the injunctions given in order to produce the desired effect of how Christians are to live with one another are inward, starting with the mind which informs the person, to the heart which is the wellspring of life (Prov.4:23) that one’s soul may eternally be preserved.
a) Be all of one mind
Christians are to be all of one mind, to be unanimous in their faith, and so practice the same duties of religion. The conduct of Christians is to reflect what they profess and this is even when being persecuted. Christians should make an effort to be all of one mind in the great points of faith, in real love, and in Christian practice. They should be like-minded one to another, according to Christ Jesus (Rom.15:5), not according to man's pleasure, but God's word. This is what we are to pray for, that God may grant us to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 15:5-6)
Singleness of mind brings unity in worship, meaningful fellowship, love, humility and self-control. We are called upon to be in agreement with one another to produce the harmony that is required in the body of Christ in which we are members. Since we have different gifts, talents and abilities in this body, we are to be governed by the Mind of Christ so that all the differences we have edify the church and not divide. Differences of mind show lack of reliance on the Word of God which is the rule of our faith and practice. Those who rely on God’s Word will come to agree. The first church, was in one accord (Acts 1:14) in gleaning from the means of grace given them by the Lord. This is the particular instruction for us – agree with one another as Euodia and Syntyche were told to agree in the Lord (Phil 4:2).
Harmony encouraged here is not an end in itself – it is meant to produce meaningful praise and worship admiration for Christ. Christ who is the prince of peace will be admired even by His enemies when His followers live in harmony with one another. We are to show that we belong to the Prince of peace by living in harmony with one another.
b) Have compassion and love for one another
Christ charges His followers to have compassion for one another, to love as brethren, to pity those who are in distress. Though Christians cannot be exactly of the same mind, yet they should have compassion, tenderhearted – a feeling coming from deep within and being expressed to others both in affections and deed. You are to love as brethren – those who belong to the same Father and have been brought into the same household, having had their sins dealt with. Remember that our brother is Christ who expressed His great care for us in that He did not want us to perish, instead He gave His life away for our sake, He did not want us to suffer in hell forever crying under the weight of God’s wrath He instead took it upon Himself and endured all the agony of God’s wrath for us. He bore our punishment, God crushed Him that we may live – He took our place as the perfect substitute and accomplished our salvation.
We are to be merciful to others so that we may receive even a higher measure of mercy from God (Matt 5:7). In saving us God has shown great mercy and compassion. Who are we that He should be mindful of us? He would have left us to rot in the deep of our sin and sorrow. But No, He came and shown us mercy, by giving His Son Jesus Christ in whom we have obtained a new life and in whom there is life for those who believe in Him. Remember that His mercies are not depleted; He is still willing to show you mercy and grace.
Christianity requires pity to the distressed, and afflicted. We are to help the needy in our midst, not by impractical piety described by James “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (Jas 2:15-16). We are to care for the orphans, the widows, the aliens and the poor. Compassion is mourning with those who are mourning and rejoicing with those rejoicing, with an end in glorifying God. Practical Christianity is not in words only but words and deeds. Action must be evident in all Christians to Christian to attract others. Love is one particular character that perfectly describes a Christian. It is both a gift of the Holy Spirit and a eternal fruit. Therefore we are urged again and again to show it to others. Peter himself does not get tired in emphasizing this gift. Peter repeats himself to emphasize the need of brotherly love:
• “… obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, (1:22)
• Love the brotherhood (2:17)
• Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (4:8)
• Greet one another with the kiss of love (5:14)
The negative of this charge is that we ought not to persecute or hate one another, but love one another with more than common affection – they should love as brethren. How do you show love for one another?
This charge is also clearly set in Philippians 2:2 - complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Are you increasing in love daily? This is a sure test to find out whether you are a Christian as Apostle John will tell in 1 John 3:10,11, 14, 16,23; 4:7-12, 16-19. Love is the most excellent way of showing that God’s love itself has been shed abroad in our hearts.
c) Be humble
Humility is a virtue that we all must possess just like our Master. The Lord demonstrated this great virtue when He washed His disciple’s feet (John 13:4-17). We are to have the same mind of Christ who humbled Himself to a point of death – even a shameful death (Phil 2:5-8) that we may become the righteousness of God. Humility should be our clothing (5:5), never to be removed. The manner of our calling as Christians entails among others humility, gentleness, bearing with one another in love – Eph 4:2. Humility is counting others as more significant than oneself (Phil 2:3). This means you are willing to serve others even at menial and trivial service. Humility is a character of a spiritual person.
God himself would have nothing to have with a person of haughty spirit because He resists such a person but gives grace to the humble We are therefore to humble ourselves before God and before His people that we may find favour with Him for He has clearly said that He dwells with people of humble mind and contrite spirit. This is what we find in the Old Testament:
• Psalm 51:17 – “a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise;
• Isaiah 57:15 – “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite;
• Isaiah 66:2 – “this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
The New Testament reiterates the same:
James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.;
1Peter5:5, 6 – Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you”.
Matt.5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Humility is the strongest disarmament tool for Christians throughout the centuries. Face your persecutors with humility and you make them loose their defenses. This is what happened when Moses meekly did not defend himself against the accusations made by his siblings. These virtues, harmony/ peace, compassion/ tenderheartedness, love, humility serves to reflect the glory of the church for these are all facets of God’s glory in His church. These are also God’s communicable attributes which His people exhibit in order to attract others closer to the glory of God – Jesus Christ who is the express image of God (Col.1:15)
We are to cultivate these virtues for the sake of the kingdom of God in order that we may bring all the glory to God and profit to His people. Would you now ask yourself how you are cultivating and manifesting union of mind, of faith, of practice, of feeling, of brotherly love to other Christians who have gone before us, who are living in this life and who are to come? What is the impact of your life upon other brothers? Look at the past that has gone, consider people like the Apostles, the church fathers, the apostolic fathers the Christians through the many centuries and ask what is that you will be remembered about as your contribution to the kingdom. Do you think anyone will remember your love for others, or your humility or your kindness? You do not have to be countered with great preachers, but be countered as one whose life has had impact on the lives of other Christians.
The result of these injunctions is a fruitful Christian. A Christian who is peaceable, yes, the peacemaker who is called the son of God. Kindness, love, humility all form the part of the fruit of the holy spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23). To this you, I, we … have been called and so let us make our calling and election sure.