May 17, 2018

Consequences 07

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Consequence 07

 

 

 

Jesus - The God-Man Who Suffered

 

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In this brief series called Consequences, we are looking together at 7 consequences of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today we continue to look a bit deeper into that God-man, Jesus Christ and in particular His relevancy today in regards to suffering.

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Ever since the first time humanity sinned against God, there has been death and suffering. Suffering was not part of God’s original creation and only came in after this event. God had a plan to alleviate this. As part of this plan, throughout his ministry Jesus said that he would suffer, die and be raised back to life again. Jesus went about alleviating the suffering of people – whether from physical, mental or spiritual suffering. Quite possibly the biggest question we ask ourselves, or is asked of us by others, concerns the problem of suffering.

I will start out by saying I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that I have suffered and still suffer today. I have died twice and been resuscitated twice. I also know that it was humanity’s sin which was and is the creator of all kinds of suffering, not God, as critics of the church maintain. I also know that Jesus the Son of God suffered. Indeed Jesus the Son of God died. Therefore God Himself knows what it is like to suffer. We know that God is personal and we know that as Jesus was both fully God and fully human, that God has suffered. God who is without sin became sin, when Jesus the Son of God died on the cross.

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Through the life of Jesus Christ and His cross and resurrection, we see that the Almighty and Eternal God entered the time and space of His creation, even though He Himself is outside of time and space. God intimately knows what suffering is like, because of the suffering Jesus endured. Sufferings such as when he wept at the death of Lazarus his friend.

Suffering such as before He was arrested, Jesus suffered such anxiety that he perspired blood (Luke 22:44). On his way to crucifixion, Jesus was beaten and whipped so badly that He was disfigured and malformed, God suffered. When He was nailed to the cross, God suffered. When on the cross, and endured the insults hurled at him – God suffered. Jesus died on the cross, and for the first time in eternity, Jesus the Son of God was separated from God the Father.

WOW! That is suffering. That is why we have a hope. The God who calls us into relationship with Himself knows intimately what suffering is like. He endured all kinds of suffering just like us. That is why we know God is a personal God. An implacable statue is not personal and cannot have sympathy with us in our sufferings, but the living God can – because the living God died!

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But Jesus’ death on the cross was not the end! Three days later Jesus was resurrected in the power of the Father! Jesus death and resurrection show that sin, suffering and death have been conquered! When the Holy Spirit comes and lives within, one of His main roles is as the great Comforter who provides comfort and consolation during the times when we suffer. I don’t know how you are suffering today. I do know that I suffer every day in some way. I have died twice in the past and been resuscitated. You may be suffering in someway and I wish I could take it from you, but I am unable to. And this may sound glib, but I know that because God suffered when He died on the cross, God is with you and knows intimately what suffering is like. But there is one thing I do know and hold onto.

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This Jesus is coming back again, this time as the Almighty King of Glory! One glorious day every kind of suffering will be banished for those of us who love Him.

Revelation 21:4: “God will wipe away our tears. There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, for former things have passed away.”

What a glorious day it will be for those of us who love Him now. God Himself, with our face in His hands, wiping away our tears… When our King returns, there will be no more terrorism, missiles, guns, wars or bombs. No more will man’s inhumanity to man be allowed. No more torture, rapes, muggings or robberies. No more poverty or famine. No more religion, idols or icons. No more gossip, fornication, adultery, lying or debauchery. No more cowardice. No more pain. No more death. No more suffering. No more sin. Jesus wiping the tears of sorrw and joy from our eyes as He takes our head in his hands… WOW!

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Have you asked this Jesus to be your Saviour and King yet? Jesus – the God-man who conquered sin, suffering and death who died and was raised to new life again by God. When you allow Jesus to be your Saviour and rely on him for your salvation, you become spiritually alive! Until then, you are spiritually dead. But you can have spiritual life! Come and follow this personal and personable God who knows what suffering is about. What are you waiting for? Again, I ask, who do you say the Jesus is? you have a choice to make. Deny Jesus know and he will deny you. Accept Jesus now and He will accept you. It is not too late! Today can be the day of your salvation and new life!

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May 16, 2018

Consequences 06

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Consequence 06

 

 

 

Jesus - the Object of our Faith

 

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In this brief series called Consequences, we are looking together at 7 consequences of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today we continue to look a bit deeper into that God-man, Jesus Christ!

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John 1:1 & 18“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning… No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.”

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Why would God become a man?

We see through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ that God himself has taken on the responsibility for our sins. Jesus, the Son of God, bore our sins on the cross, became sin for us, even though he was without sin. By doing this we are drawn to God in a personal way through Jesus Christ. God has shown that he loves us and wants us in a relationship with himself. Through Jesus, 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 humanity a focal point to respond to.

In Jesus Christ, we see that by becoming a man, He humbled Himself (Philippians 2v8) in order to confirm God's promises (Genesis 3v15) and reveal God the Father (John 1v18, 14v9)! We see that Jesus came to become our high priest (Hebrews 8v1)intercessor, mediator and representative before God (1 John 2v1)! J

esus, the Son of God, became human so as to destroy all the works of satan (1 John 3v8, Hebrews 2v14), to give humanity an example of living a holy life (1 Peter 2v21, 1 John 1v6) and to prepare for the redemption of all creation (1 John 2v2)! WOW! This Jesus was both fully God and fully human. This unity of divine and human nature is called ‘hypostatic union‘. Let us look briefly at this Jesus!

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Jesus Was Fully Human

Jesus was fully human! We know this because He is explicitly called a man (John 8v40; 1 Timothy 2v5), was born of a woman (Galatians 4v4), so at least in a prenatal state he was nurtured and formed as any other male baby was and is. Jesus exhibited normal human emotions such as love, sorrow, anger and anguish. Jesus wept tears of sorrow. Jesus ate and drank as any normal human did and He had a body and a soul (Matthew 26v26-38). He had normal human experiences – tiredness, sleeping, perspiration, temptations (Hebrews 2v18); hunger (Matthew 4v12). Jesus died just as all people do. Jesus was human in every way that we are - physically, mentally and emotionally. The only exception to this is that He was sinless (2 Corinthians 5v21; Hebrews 2v26). He was the Son of Man and Son of God and did not inherit the carnal nature that all humans have.

But why does Jesus need to be fully human? Firstly, so Jesus death could appease God’s anger with us. Secondly, so that Jesus can empathize and pray for us in our own sufferings. Thirdly, Jesus exhibited true and perfect humanity and therefore is an example to follow. Fifthly, while God is both above and beyond creation, by becoming human, this shows that He is not so far removed from us, that He cannot interact with his creation.

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Jesus Was Fully God

Not only was Jesus fully human but He was simultaneously fully God! He is expressly called God - (John 1v1) The Word was God; (John 1v14), the only begotten God (John 20v28) and He accepted titles from others such as when the Apostle Thomas exclaimed “My Lord and my God”.

Additionally Old Testament descriptions of God were applied to Jesus. (Matthew 3v3) 'Prepare ye the way of Jehovah!’ Jesus possessed the attributes of God - (John 14v6) Life; (John 8v58) Eternal; (John 14v6) Truth! The works of God are ascribed to Jesus - (Col 1v16) and Jesus receives honour worship and glory belonging to God alone.Jesus had equality with God - (John 10v30, 33) I and the Father are One; John 5v18)!

 Jesus in His very nature was God; (1 Timothy 6v15) and King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Jesus was and is the Alpha and Omega! Jesus was the Christ; (John 8v58) and much to the chagrin of the Jewish religious leaders declared frequently that He was the great “I AM”, an explicit claim to be God!

Jesus - fully God and fully human - the object of our faith! Tomorrow we look even closer at this man and in one particular aspect of his relevancy today - our suffering - in the next of our series, “Consequences”! See you soon at Partakers!

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May 15, 2018

Consequences 05

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Consequence 05

 

 

 

The Message 2 – The Resurrection

 

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In this brief series called Consequences, we are looking together at 7 consequences of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today we continue to look at the message of the early church regarding this Jesus – a message which is also relevant to us today! Yesterday we looked at the Cross and today we will look at the Resurrection.

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1 Corinthians 15:12-14 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

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Significance of the Resurrection

That was the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church about the crucified Jesus having been physically raised from the dead! What significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection, that the early church afforded such great value in it as part of their message? The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1:22; Acts 4:33, Acts 17:18). Certainly within Paul-ine theology, but what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

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The Solution!

The resurrection proved and vindicated all of Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to His being fully God, fully human and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:13-15; Romans 1:4). The resurrection, declared God’s approval of Jesus’ obedient service and the fulfilment of Old Testament promises as well as Jesus’ own words about it! The cross and resurrection of Jesus results in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ.

This was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2:32, Romans 4:24-25). Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15:12-58, Romans 8:10, 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Peter 1:3 & 21). As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5:10; Hebrews 6:20, 1 Peter 1:21).

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Finally the Cross and resurrection ensure victory over satan, sin and death – they are conquered and squashed. Satan is a defeated creature and will do anything to drag people into defeat with him. The power of sin is conquered, and sin’s grip is overcome if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Finally, as I said earlier, death has been beaten, because those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ will live forever with him – death is not the end but a beginning. if Jesus Christ did not physically rise from the dead, we as Christians are the product of the greatest delusional lie and are the most foolish of all people.

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Our Resurrection

Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee that all humans also will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)… Amazing love… There will be a bodily resurrection of the dead, those who are saved and those who are unsaved (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15). What will our resurrected bodies be like? We get a good glimpse from the Bible writers. The resurrected body of believers, those who are truly disciples of Jesus Christ will be:

  • Like Christ’s glorious body (1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2)
  • Not just flesh and blood (1 Corinthians 15:50ff)
  • Not just spiritual (Luke 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 53)
  • They were only always going to be a temporary measure as they pointed forward to Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross.

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Those who are, or were, non-believers will also be resurrected (John 5:28-29), but will not have the new glorious bodies of believers, nor will they enter into heaven. It makes the work of evangelism for all Christians, all the more imperative.

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Ultimately Jesus gives all humanity a choice. You can choose to deny the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and say it doesn’t matter. You can say that it is an irrelevance and that is your right. God’s love is compelling and amazing but He does not force anyone to love Him in return, because love never forces! Such is the enormity of the love of God that each person has a choice to make – follow Jesus and accept His cross and resurrection or not to do that. God will not force you to accept it, but he will keep on calling you back to the cross and resurrection of Jesus.

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Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection was the central message of the early church! That is also to be our message as church in the 21st century! Tomorrow we look even closer at the man central to this extraordinary message in the next of our series, “Consequences”! See you soon at Partakers!

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