Archive for the 'WOW Jesus' Category

WOW Jesus

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Jesus Christ, the most extraordinary person who ever lived, who never wrote a book but has more books written about him than any other subject! History is split into BC and AD in honor of him! Jesus Christ, the God-man, who gives a WOW factor to anybody who will bow the knee and serve Him.

Here in this short video, I introduce my own WOW factor about Jesus. Jesus who promises salvation and how He still challenges and loves people today.

You can download a copy of this video by right mouse clicking here and saving...

I also have a seminar, WOWJesus, which I would also love to bring to your church or group. Contact details are below and at the end of the video. I look forward to hearing from you and how we can work together. Thank you.

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WOW Jesus 28

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WOW Jesus

Why would God become human?

In our last study we looked at Jesus Christ being fully God. We concluded with a question - Why would Jesus be fully man and fully God and so what? Today we seek to engage with that question and briefly answer it. One of the church father’s, Anselm, wrote that God’s salvation plan for humans’ involved triumphant victory over sin, death and the grave. However no person could be found that was eligible or capable to do this. Because of this, God stepped into the human history, so that this victory could be achieved. This God-man would be fully human, so as to live every feature of humanity, including suffering and death. This God-man would also need to remain fully God, so as to defeat sin, death and the grave. Jesus, being sinless, was this God-man, consisting as he did of two complete natures, the God nature and the human nature.

So what does all that mean! Firstly, it means that God himself has taken on the responsibility for our sins. Jesus on the cross bore our sins, though he was sinless, and became sin for us. By doing this, we are drawn to him in a personal way. God has shown that he loves us and wants us in a relationship with himself. Secondly, it means that God has bridged the gap between the supernatural and the natural, the infinite and the finite, to show us what He is like. Jesus as God in person gives us a focal point to respond to. God does not compel us to love Him, but invites all to a dynamic relationship with Him. Lastly, it means that God is one and therefore there could only be one incarnation.

By doing away with the incarnation, how then could God’s salvation plan be fulfilled? Not at all! If Jesus was not God, then he would be part of the problem and therefore need to be redeemed himself! This is most certainly an untenable proposition. Yet our inquisitive human minds ask yet another question. How can somebody have both natures - deity and humanity? This was another question asked in the early church.

One of the church fathers, Athanasius said “in the Incarnation there was no subtraction of deity but an addition of humanity”. By this he means that Jesus whilst being fully God, didn’t lose any of that divinity when he became human. Instead of losing anything, Jesus gained humanity. This divine and human nature unity is called ‘hypostatic union‘. Early church councils affirmed Jesus’ two natures as well as his personal unity.

We have much to be thankful for the early church fathers. This is the final part of this particular segment of studies looking at the how, why and what of Jesus of Nazareth. It is our prayer that you have grown a little in your knowledge of God and that you are a little closer to Him. Come back to us soon where every day something new is uploaded to help you follow Jesus Christ. Thank you.

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WOW Jesus

Fully God

Today we are looking at Jesus being fully God! You may remember that in our previous study, we looked at Jesus being fully human. This is also part of what we celebrate at Christmas.

As Christians, we believe God inhabited a human body, thereby still being God, but also being fully human. Throughout the Bible, Jesus is acknowledged as God. The apostle John, as we discussed in a previous study in this series, expressly called Jesus, the Word or God. Later on in his life, John expressly stated that Jesus was “the true God and eternal life”. Jesus himself claimed equality with God and when He stated “your sins are forgiven”, some of the Jewish rulers attributed this as a “God alone” action and thereby accused Him, at least in their minds, of blasphemy against God! When He was on trial for blasphemy, during the questioning again Jesus equated himself with being God.

That Jesus is both human and divine is what makes Christianity unique amongst the world’s religions. It is why Jesus’ claims to be the only way to God are true and make sense, and it is why millions of people today worship Him and acknowledge Him as their Lord and their God.

Let’s now look at some of the claims in the Bible, revealing the deity of Jesus Christ!

  • In these examples from the New Testament, the deity of Jesus Christ is revealed. Jesus is expressly called God - (John 1v1) The Word was God; (John 1v14) The Word became flesh; (John 1v18) The only begotten God; (John 20v28) My Lord and my God as declared by Thomas; (Titus 2v13) Our great God and Saviour, Jesus; (Romans 9v 5) Christ who is God overall; (Hebrews 1v 8) About the Son, He says 'Your throne O God is forever and ever...’; (1 John 5v20) Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
  • Old Testament description of God was applied to Jesus. (Matthew 3v3) 'Prepare ye the way of Jehovah'
  • Jesus possessed the very attributes of God - (John 14v6) Life; (John 8v58) Eternal; (John 14v6) Truth
  • The very works of God were ascribed to Him - (Col 1v16) Creation; (John 20v28; 5v23) Receives honour worship and glory belonging to God.
  • Jesus had equality with God - (John 10v30, 33) I and the Father are One; John 5v18) Making Himself equal with God; (Philippians 2v6) In His very nature God; (1 Timothy 6v15) King of Kings and Lord of Lords - God; (Revelations 19v16) King of Kings and Lord of Lords - Christ; (Isaiah 44v6; Revelations 1v8) - Alpha and Omega - God; (Revelations 22v13-16) - Alpha and Omega - Christ; (John 8v58) Before Abraham was I AM

Jesus- fully human and fully God. But a further question needs to be answered. Why would Jesus be fully man and fully God and so what?

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WOW Jesus 26

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WOW Jesus

Fully Human

At Christmas, we celebrate when God became human, in what we call the incarnation. But could God really enter this world as a human? As Christians, we believe that God did indeed enter our messed up world, as a man – the man Jesus Christ.

That Jesus was a man is not really disputable. The primary documents about Him, found in the Bible, says that he was born of a woman, which in itself tells us that at least in a prenatal state he was nurtured and formed as any other male baby was and is. His genealogical line is given and He grew into maturity as any young Jewish boy did. His birth was messy, just as any child’s birth was 2000 years ago, let alone all that was going on behind the scenes!

With his humanity, and being fully human, Jesus exhibited normal human emotions such as love, happiness, joy, laughter, weeping, sadness, anger and anguish. Jesus ate and drank. Jesus grew tired. Jesus slept, perspired and bled. Jesus died just as all humans do. Religiously, he worshipped as a Jew. Not only these facts, but the 4 ‘biographies’ or gospels written about him acknowledge his humanity. He was human in every way that we are - physically, mentally and emotionally.

The only exception to this, is that he was sinless. Yet we must ask, could Jesus have sinned? Yes he was tempted just as we are, but could Jesus really have succumbed to temptation? We must conclude that while he could have sinned, it was certain he would not and did not. For if He had sinned, he would have been in need of a saviour Himself! And that of course, is an untenable position.

But why did Jesus need to fully human? Firstly, so Jesus death could appease God’s anger with us. Secondly so that Jesus can empathize and pray for us. Thirdly, Jesus exhibited true and perfect humanity. Fourthly, due to his perfect humanity, Jesus is to be our example to follow. Fifthly, true human nature is good. Lastly, while God is both above and beyond, He is not so far removed from us, that He cannot interact with his creation.

Let us now look at some of the major errors or heresies mad ein history concerning the humanity of Jesus.

Ebionite - Jewish heresy. Jesus was a man who received divine power at His baptism.

Docetist - believed that the material world was evil (Common Greek & Eastern idea). So Jesus could not have had a real body, He only appeared to be human, denying His deity.

Arian - 4th Century. Arius taught that Christ was a created being, trying to explain the idea of Christ being the 'firstborn' or 'begotten'. Denied the deity of Christ

Apollinarian - taught that Christ had a human body and soul, but that His spirit was divine. Denies the humanity of Christ.

Nestorian - 5th Century. Denied the union of the divine and human natures in Christ. Christ became 2 people (man and God) in one body.

Eutychian - 5th Century. Mixed divine and human natures to create a third type of person. The human nature was absorbed into the divine.

Sadly though, even in some parts of the church today, these errors and heresies are repeated. The Jesus of history was fully human, just as he was also fully God – and that’s what we will look at next time.

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WOW Jesus 25

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WOW Jesus

Just A Good Moral Teacher?

One thing that a lot of people say about Jesus, even those who are not Christian, is that he was a good moral teacher. The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates offered, “how we ought to live”, as a working definition of ‘moral‘. As I said, people often say, even those who would claim to be following Jesus, say that Jesus was simply a good moral teacher – and that’s all he was. Today we seek to discover if Jesus was a good moral teacher? If he was, did Jesus teach and does it reflect a good way to live? Finally, we will look briefly at if he was more than just a good moral teacher – as some claim!

Jesus’ moral code, revolving as it would have done around the part of the Bible we call the Old Testament, can be seen in “do to others, what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Some people refer to this as the “Golden Rule“. However, Jesus, as ever goes further than anybody else and says that it is not only the outward actions of a person that makes them morally good, it is also the internal attitude behind it. Jesus was acknowledged as a great teacher often during his lifetime. One example is Nicodemus in John 3.

Let’s have a brief reading of some of his moral teaching.

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain;

and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.

Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,

for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Those words are from what is generally called the “The Sermon on the Mount”. Jesus also said “Love your neighbour as yourself”. “Love your enemies, not just your friends” That is a world-turning morality! He forgave people their sin, but also told people not to continue in their sin – such as the woman caught in adultery and dragged before Him in by the teachers of the law, to whom Jesus said “neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:1-11. Jesus not only taught great morality, but he lived his morality! That is part of his uniqueness and set him apart from others!

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, people today hold it as a paragon of virtuous teaching and regard Jesus as a great teacher. Although, this is the best-known teaching of Jesus, it is also the least understood, and certainly the least obeyed. Whilst some may see The Sermon on the Mount as a call to peaceful demonstration against provocation, this was never Jesus intention regarding this teaching. It is as somebody once said “a picture of God’s alternative society… containing the standards, the values and priorities of God’s Kingdom”. It was this that Jesus spoke in the Sermon, not as a general guideline for people to wallow in comfort and boundless joy. Jesus was a good moral teacher, certainly at least to his followers, but was he more than this?

CS Lewis once wrote “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm 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 good 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 patronising nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was certainly more than a good moral teacher! As Christians we believe that His purpose for coming was to rescue this world from the mess it is in! That is why God became human in Jesus Christ. Our next study looks at Jesus being fully human and that will be followed by Jesus being fully God – and why it is so!

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WOW Jesus 24

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WOW Jesus

What’s in a name?

Today we are going to ask ourselves, in relation to Jesus, What’s in a name? I wonder what your name means. Parents usually name their children after the hopes and aspirations they have for that child. For example, the name John means “the gift of God”. I know somebody called Grace, and her nature is that of somebody full of grace. My name of David means “beloved” and when my parents named me, it was meant to symbolize the love they had for me.

But what does the name Jesus mean? When Jesus was born, his very name imbued the reason he was born. The name Jesus as we discovered in an earlier message means “Saviour” or “One who saves or rescues.” The entirety of His birth, life and death was centered on this very role - saving and rescuing all those who would believe, receive and follow Him. We have seen in the testimony of the Apostles John, Peter and Paul how Jesus came to save sinners, to call people to follow, believe and receive Himself! This Jesus who proclaimed He was the only way to God!

Jesus’ conception and birth were extraordinary at every level. So important is our understanding of his birth that, according to the Gospel accounts, no fewer than 4 angels came to give a full picture of the event. Do you think that his parents, Joseph & Mary, ever gazed upon him, and thought “How misnamed He is”! They did not, because they knew the very purpose for which He was born.

This Jesus, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is the most talked about person in history. Almost everyone has an opinion about Him. Jesus was born to confirm God's promises, to reveal God as a Father, and to be our representative before Him. Jesus gave us an example of how to live a holy life to the full. Jesus was not merely a man who received some special power. Jesus was not some strange creation that was half man and half God, with his human nature somehow absorbed into the divine. He was, as we shall see in the coming studies, much more than those ideas – Jesus was fully God and fully human! Jesus came to serve all others and not to be served! Jesus came in order to call others to a life of following, receiving and believing in Him! Jesus came to reconcile people back into a peaceful and dynamic relationship with God by means of shedding his blood on the cross! Jesus trusted God to raise Him from the dead – and he did! Jesus – resurrected, ascended, glorified and exalted! Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. Jesus Christ, who proclaimed “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

JC Ryle, the great 19th century Anglican bishop of Liverpool, once wrote these words about the name of Jesus “Jesus is a very encouraging name to weighted-down sinners. He, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, might lawfully have taken some more high-sounding title. But He does not do so. The rulers of this world have often called themselves great, conquerors, bold, magnificent, and the like. The Son of God is content to call Himself Saviour. Those seeking salvation may draw near to the Father with boldness, and have access with confidence through Christ. It is His role and His delight to show mercy. "For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him" (John 3:17).

Jesus is a name, which is especially sweet and precious to believers. It has often done them good. It has given them what money cannot buy - that is, inward peace. It has eased their wearied consciences and given rest to their heavy hearts. The Song of Solomon describes the experience of many, when it says, "Your name is oil poured forth" (Song of Solomon 1:3). Happy is the person who trusts not merely in vague notions of God's mercy and goodness, but in "Jesus."

Jesus was proclaimed by the Apostle John, Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul and the early church as the Saviour and rescuer of the world – just as his name Jesus means! I am bound to ask you this: "Is Jesus your Saviour and rescuer? Are you following, believing and receiving Him?"

Because as the Apostle Paul acknowledges in Philippians 2:9-11 "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

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