John makes the following statements in his gospel in chapter 1 verses 1 and 2:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the
beginning with God.
When we piece it all together we realize that Jesus is speaking of His Eternity, hence the opening phrase of John's gospel "In the beginning was the Word" and this "Logos" was understood by the Jewish and Greek mind to be this essential creating principle.
a. And John says the Word, whom he goes on to identify as Jesus, was present in the beginning. Jesus
claimed that He existed before all creating thereby was uncreated and He was eternal. When the world
says that Jesus is the same as Buddha or other religious leaders, Christians can say that this isn't so for
one reason is that Jesus made claims that no other religious leader ever made and that He existed before
b. Second it identifies His personality. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was "with" God. So that
within the Godhead He existed in living active fellowship. He was not the Father and He was not the Holy
Spirit, He was the Son. He was distinct within the Triune God.
c. And we have His Deity. In the beginning was the Word - that is His eternity and the Word was with God -
that is His personality and the Word was God - that is His Deity. Although He was a separate person from
the Father He was not a separate Being. The Divinity that belongs to the rest of God belongs to Jesus.
This means that we can discover what God is like by looking at Jesus. And we can ONLY discover what God
is like by looking at Jesus. So when 20th century man says that there might be a God but he doesn't know
where to look we might say why don't you consider Jesus.
The doctrine of the Incarnation means that we can understand God by looking to Jesus. There was never a
time when Jesus was not God but there was a time when Jesus was not man. This is Bible orthodoxy - that
Jesus was always God but not always man.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
a. We do not have subtraction when Jesus became man (Incarnation), we had addition. Jesus, fully God,
added man to His Person. We do not have division either. Jesus was not divided between God and man.
He was fully God and fully man at the same time throughout His whole life after the Incarnation. So if we
don't have subtraction or division, what do we have? We have addition. Jesus became what He had never
been, namely man without ever giving up what He had always been, namely God.
Jesus' deity was not humanized nor His humanity deified at the Incarnation. Jesus was remained fully divine
during His human lifetime.
b. The gospel of John records the following words of Jesus:
No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to
take it again.
a. Mere man may think he has the power to lay their life down but he does NOT have the power to take it up
again. Dead is dead through the power of mere man!
Why does the Deity of Jesus matter?
Consider the application of what Jesus said and what it means to understand why it matters.
"If Arianism had won Christianity would have dwindled to a legend". A quote by
the significance of this quote we need to understand the definition of Arianism.
Ar i an - Christian heretic: a follower of the ancient Greek Christian theologian Arius, who argued that Jesus
Christ was the highest created being, but was not divine. This doctrine was pronounced heretical in the 4th
century ad. -Ar i an ism, , noun
Looking back to John chapter 1 where John records "
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God."
Who has ever heard a Mormon or Jehovah Witness ever teach that Jesus is eternally God? Thus if Arianism
had won the thought battle about Jesus' Deity then Christianity would have dwindled into just another
Greek mythology legend.
So if Christianity does not defend the doctrine of the Incarnation of Jesus and joins the thinking of other
religions that teach that Jesus was just a man, albeit a good man, then Christianity will dwindle into just
another legend and thus lose the Truth as taught by Scripture (the very Word of God)!
Ah, people of the 20th century say, so why is it so important to hold on to the doctrine of the Incarnation?
Isn't the doctrine of the Incarnation just like an appendix, something you can live without? But if you take
away the heart, you won't be around! So Christians better be sure if what they are willing to give up, they
can live without!
So the argument is the Incarnation is like an appendix so you can take it out and still it lives on. But let us
look at the New Testament evidence and see if the Incarnation is an appendix or a heart. The cursory look
that we've given in this study shows that the doctrine of the Incarnation is NOT an appendix but is at the
VERY heart of Christianity!!
C.S. Lewis writing on this says "the doctrine of Christ's divinity seems to me not something stuck on that
you can unstuck but something that peeps out at every point so that you would have to unravel the whole
web to get rid of it."
Take out the Incarnation and the very first verse of John's gospel, which was written to help us
understand Jesus, would have to be ignored.
So, why does the Deity of Jesus matter?
a. Without the Incarnation we do not have God upon the cross but just a man. If Jesus of Nazareth is not God
then Jesus of Nazareth if just a man. If we have simply a man upon the cross, how then can we describe
what happened on the cross, as the New Testament describes it, in terms of a self giving divine act
demonstrating the Love of God for humanity? We can't because it isn't that! If it was just a man upon the
cross, then wherein lies the significant of His death? Who cares? One person cares was Barabbas because
Barabbas was the criminal who was about to be crucified. The custom at that time was for the Roman
Governor to offer a pardon and the Jews chose Barabbas and when asked what should be done to Jesus
they answered crucify Him.
So if the death of Jesus on the cross was just the death of a Jewish peasant then the only person who
cared was Barabbas.
So think this out for yourself. A true Christian will not set back and let Time magazine tell us who Jesus
If all we have on the cross is just a man then we're left to conclude that his death was something or other
to make a religious point. Liberal theologians say the Jesus' death on the cross was just to make a religious
point which will somehow or other enrich our spiritual lives.
What the Bible actually says it that it was God on the cross and He was redeeming sinners and that only
God could do it since only God was perfect and only man must do it since only man must pay and since it
must be God and it must be man it could only be a God man to make an atoning sacrifice for sin! That God
was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. That Jesus entrusted Himself into the care of His Father as
He offered up His life as an atonement for sin.
We see that 20th century America has no place for sin. The average self made man has no place for sin. He
has clean fingernails and starched cuffs and has no need for a Savior so the Incarnation is irrelevant to him.
But let something painful or burdensome happens to his nice clean world and he might decide he needs a
Savior and then he might be ready to think about the Incarnation. But for now the Incarnation is an
So without the Incarnation we only have a man on the cross and we have no solution for sin.
b. Without the Incarnation God is removed from all the pain and suffering of the world at its worst. Without
the Incarnation God doesn't know about suffering experientially.
So we have nothing to say to the Jew who reflects on the holocaust. We have nothing to say to the mother
who looks at the burning bodies of her children as she comes crashing down the road that in her
momentary absence they have been engulfed in flame as they are ushered into eternity. We have nothing
to say to the person why lays increasingly gone suffering from the encroachment of cancer. We have
nothing at all to say if Jesus Christ is not the Incarnate God. Because if He is not the Incarnate God then
what we have in Jesus is that He simply sends his condolences through a representative but He doesn't
enter in and share His people's sufferings.
c. Without the Incarnation, Jesus is no permanent significance or has no immediate benefit. Why is Jesus so
important to the Christian faith her and now some 20 centuries after His death? The Bible says that God
assumed human nature, came down to our time/space capsule - He came historically, vitally, relevantly and
savingly. However if Jesus is not the Incarnate God then we're forced to ask what possible relevance His
teaching and lifestyle has for us today. If Jesus is not the Incarnate God what possible relevance does our
life have today? If Jesus was just a Jewish carpenter with some strange teachings, why would we listen to
it today? That is right, if Jesus was just a Jewish carpenter who lived over 2,000 years ago there is no
reason to listen or study His teachings today. Who cares?
Just consider the words from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" lyrics by Tim Rice
in the song Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say) sang by the actor playing Jesus.
I only want to say If there is a way Take this cup away from me For I don't want to taste its poison Feel it
burn me, I have changed I'm not as sure As when we started Then I was inspired Now I'm sad and tired
Listen surely I've exceeded Expectations Tried for three years Seems like thirty Could you ask as much From
any other man? But if I die See the saga through And do the things you ask of me Let them hate me, hit
me, hurt me Nail me to their tree I'd want to know I'd want to know my God I'd want to know I'd want to
know my God I'd want to see I'd want to see my God I'd want to see I'd want to see my God Why I should
die Would I be more noticed Than I ever was before? Would the things I've said and done Matter anymore?
I'd have to know I'd have to know my Lord I'd have to know I'd have to know my Lord I'd have to see I'd
have to see my Lord I'd have to see I'd have to see my Lord If I die what will be my reward? If I die what
will be my reward? I'd have to know I'd have to know my Lord I'd have to know I'd have to know my Lord
Why, why should I die? Oh, why should I die? Can you show me now That I would not be killed in vain?
Show me just a little Of your omnipresent brain Show me there's a reason For your wanting me to die
You're far too keen on where and how But not so hot on why Alright I'll die! Just watch me die! See how,
see how I die! Oh, just watch me die! Then I was inspired Now I'm sad and tired After all I've tried for
three years Seems like ninety Why then am I scared To finish what I started What you started I didn't start
it God thy will is hard But you hold every card I will drink your cup of poison Nail me to your cross and break
me Bleed me, beat me Kill me, take me now Before I change my mind
These lyrics portray a Jewish carpenter who is about to die on the cross who really doesn't want to face
this kind of death and really doesn't know quite why he has to. The song leaves the audience feeling
"what a dreadful thing that that mean God is sending this poor man to the cross"! This is not the Jesus
reveled in the Bible's New Testament, the Incarnate Son of God reveled in the Bible. But this is the view of
many people in the 20th century of Jesus, a great teacher, a good man, but only a man. No wonder it is so
easy to dismiss this king of Jesus today.
However, if Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God, as the Bible's New Testament teaches, then He transcends
all time barriers, He transcends all generations, He transcends all gender, He transcends all race and His
Word is as abidingly, savingly significant this very day as it was over 2,000 years ago!
If the biblical Jesus is not the God man, then he is either a bad man telling lies or a mad man living with
delusion but He is not a good man who we can set aside and carry on with the business of Christianity
hanging lights and tinsel buying presents with money we don't have for people we hardly know so they
can take them back for a cash refund.
Understand if Jesus is the person He claimed to be you are going to meet Him, you are going to stand right
up and look in His eyes and He is going to ask you when you just read this information and the author tried
his best to explain why I came and why I died; why did you think you could brush it off and ignore it and
turn on the ballgame as if nothing matters? You can either bow at His feet and call Him Lord and God or you
can spit at Him and call Him a demon but you can't come to Him with any patronizing nonsense about
being a good man. He never left that option to us. He never intended to.
"Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts."
Why did Jesus come?
Luke records in his gospel an account of Jesus returning to His hometown of Nazareth from a mission trip of teaching and healing. As was the custom, a man of religious teaching significance would be invited to teach in the synagogue. Jesus was invited to speak and He took the scroll and located a portion of the book of Isaiah from chapter 61 and read the following account which Luke's gospel records in chapter 4 verses 16 thru 22.
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the
synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
And He was handed the book of the prophet
Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
"The Spirit of the
upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to
He has sent Me to heal the
brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to
captives And recovery of sight to
set at liberty those who
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
Jesus then closed the book and sat down. The custom was to stand while reading from the scriptures and then set down to teach. So all eyes were on Him as they expected what was probably going to be a lengthy teaching as Luke records in verse 20.
Then He closed the book, and gave
back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were
in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
Jesus preached a sermon to them of which Luke records only the headline in verse 21
"Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
And He began to say to them,
"Today this Scripture is
fulfilled in your hearing."
In simple, clear and unmistakable terms, Jesus identified Himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophesy. Then the "buzz" began. Luke records some of it in verse 22.
So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And
they said, "Is this not Joseph's son?"
Then they asked, "Is this not Joseph's son?" A normal reaction as many in attendance undoubtedly would have grown up with Jesus, known Him since early childhood. Their reaction was not to His reading from Isaiah but to his statement that He has fulfilled this prophesy. They undoubtedly heard that he was doing healings in Capernaum and Jesus anticipating their question quotes a proverb to them in verse 23.
He said to them,
"You will surely say this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have
heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.'"
Jesus had an interesting response to them. He told them that the prophets did not pay special attention to their home location. Their work was in other regions. Luke records some of this dialog in verses 24 thru 27.
Then He said,
"Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you truly,
many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six
months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;
but to none of them was Elijah sent
except to Zarephath,
in the region
of Sidon, to a woman
And many lepers were in
Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."
In fact the prophets largely ignored their own home locations. And Jesus' audience quickly turned from adoration to aggravation and from amazement to disgust. And so it was that they rushed Jesus out of the synagogue and out of the town. Think about this, here we have Jesus invited to read and teach in the synagogue of His hometown and He reads and teaches and they rush Him out of town and are ready to throw Him over a cliff.
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
and rose up
and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that
they might throw Him down over the cliff.
Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
What a Sabbath day this was. People were reading Isaiah for 100's of years and they came to synagogue expecting Jesus to read it the same way and teach the same way and what does He do but to claim that he is the fulfillment of this prophesy. After Jesus miraculously passed through their midst and left them, they must have said I don't know who that man was but there is something about Him.
When we understand what the Bible says about Jesus we find it is impossible to adopt a position of neutrality in relationship to Him. Many are living with a response to Jesus which is one of complete indifference. The reason they express this indifference to Jesus Christ is because of the way they have been introduced to Him.
They have been introduced to a Jesus of a kind of sentimentalism, a benevolent person whom they see as irrelevant. The average person says 'so there was a Jesus who cares, what does that have to do with me"? "He was a nice guy and He did some good things, what does that have to do with me"? Or that He was introduced as a social activist and changed some things at the time and people say that is very interesting but that doesn't relate to me. Or it is engaged as some philosophical speculation and the average person says "enough of that, I've got too much to do to engage in that". They are able to say "forget it, it's an irrelevance". But that is because they have never confronted Jesus.
When they actually hear what Jesus said when they begin to understand why Jesus came when we, as Christians, engage them meaningfully in conversation then it will be impossible for them to adopt a position of neutrality. We may not be able to move them to a position of faith but we can shake them out of the silly position that they can remain indifferent without it mattering.
Jesus demanded either enthusiast acceptance of better hostility but He did not leave open the option of neutrality. So an encounter of this type will not leave people neutral, they will have to come down on one side or the other.
Sharing Christ with non-believers.
We as Christians, from time to time, have the opportunity to present the evidence of Jesus to others who are honestly seeking answers about who Jesus is and not just trying to justify their unbelief. How do we do so in a Jesus Christ honoring way?
We will start with four reasons why Jesus
1. Jesus did not come to call the righteous. Jesus did not come to establish a "holy club" and hang around with
religious people. How do we know that? Just read the gospels. Who got ticked off at Jesus more than
anybody? Answer, the religious people. Why, Jesus kept telling them that He didn't come to hang out with the
righteous people, He came to hang out with sinners?
Some might say, "well I'm not the religious type", our answer "that's great because Jesus didn't come to hang
out with the religious types either". Check it out, Mark 2:16-17
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His
that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"
When Jesus heard
said to them,
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to
righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
2. Some may say "I have been so bad, I have done so many wrong things, I'm sure that Jesus, since I know He
likes people to be good and kind and all that stuff, He's got no time for me". Answer, "no, I'm glad you
mentioned that because you're the kind of person He's got a lot of time for". He came for someone like you.
You may have had enough of religion telling you to be good and do good and all that. When you got the first
chance you ran away from all the "do good" religion. Jesus didn't come to judge the world. John 3:17 makes
this clear. I am not talking to you about condemnation but about salvation. This is about liberation and
transformation; freedom and peace; love and joy; forgiveness and freedom from guilt; and a change.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might
3. Jesus didn't come to abolish the law and the prophets. You may not be too concerned about this but it is
important. Why, because the Bible is 66 books that are about one thing. It is about Jesus. This is very
important for our Jewish friends because one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the Jewish mind (especially
the untaught Jewish mind) because they believe that between the intertestamental period between Malachi
and Matthew there is a totally different change in the Bible. They think that the Christian Bible is totally
different from their foundational element of Judaism. The Christian can say "no absolutely not, Jesus in the
sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:17 points it out perfectly clear. Jesus says He didn't come to abolish the
law and the profits but He came to fulfill it".
"Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
4. Jesus didn't come to be served and waited upon. Mark 10:45 makes that very clear. Many people want nothing
to do with all that religious stuff where people get all dressed up in pointed hats, carry big sticks and the
higher up on the scale they go they even get carried around in chairs. What does that have to do with Jesus?
Nothing, Jesus came to serve not to be served. So how could you have picked Jesus out in a crowd, by his
cloths by his rituals no, only by His words and deeds.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
The idealistic youth of today may say that if we're going to change this world, we are not going to change it
with words, we're going to have to change it with deeds, we have to be involved, we have to care. And the
answer to that is "yes, yes and yes"! Now let me introduce you to somebody who is the epitome of all the
things about which you're concerned.
Now four reasons why Jesus
1. Jesus came to do His Father's will.
An unbeliever would say "well that is fine but I really don't know what that means. So where do you get that
Jesus said to them,
"My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
This is the
will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may
have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please
So why is this important? This is important because people like to suggest that Jesus woke up one morning
and somehow or another, He'd been reading an old book that He found somewhere, and found out stuff about
the Messiah and He decided He'd try and become Him. So let's go to the Scriptures and see if that kind of
allegation is substantiated in the Bible. And when we go to the Bible we find an individual who understands
that the frame within which He is operating goes right back to eternity. We find in John 1:1-2 that:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the
beginning with God."
And this Word lived to fulfill His Father's purpose.
2. Jesus came to fulfill the Scriptures, which is another way of saying essentially the same thing.
The Apostle John records an amazing event in John 6:9-14. Jesus was teaching a large group of people and
the hour was late and they had no food nearing the end of the day. Jesus told his disciples to feed the people.
Phillip said they didn't have enough money to feed them, and then Jesus took over as recorded in John's
gospel. When the people saw the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 men (plus the women and children) to their
fill from the five barley loaves and two small fish and had twelve baskets left over, they said "this is truly the
Prophet who is to come into the world".
"There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"
Then Jesus said,
"Make the people sit down."
Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat
down, in number about five thousand.
And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He
to the disciples, and the disciples
to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as
So when they were filled, He said to His disciples,
"Gather up the fragments that remain, so
that nothing is lost."
Therefore they gathered
up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the
five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
Then those men, when they had seen the
sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."
John 11:17-27 records another instance of Jesus' coming in fulfillment of the Scriptures. John records the
account of Lazarus dying and Jesus met by his sister Martha as he was arriving. Jesus makes this profound
statement about Himself concerning the resurrection and she says to Him "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the
Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
Now Bethany was near
Jerusalem, about two miles
And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary,
to comfort them concerning their brother.
Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went
and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.
Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my
brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."
Jesus said to her,
"Your brother will rise again."
Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the
resurrection at the last day."
Jesus said to her,
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me,
though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe
She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the
So what we have to say to those we're sharing this with is this. We are not fabricating this information; we
realize we are speaking from this Book and we can have another day when we can talk about the foundations
of this Book. But for now here is the evidence that we're both agreeing upon, we're both looking at. Now look
at John 11:27 and see that is saying that this Jesus of Nazareth not only came to fulfill His Father's will but He
came to fulfill the Old Testament Scriptures and we return to Luke chapter 4 (at the beginning of this section)
and draw out the implications of this.
By the time you get to the "history" book of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles you find the exact same
thing taking place. One of the most wonderful accounts in the Acts of the Apostles is in chapter 8. It is about a
high ranking official from Ethiopia, having something to do with the treasury. He was on some king of journey
in his chariot and he must have had some kind of spiritual questions going on inside of him as he was reading
from the scrolls, in particular the scroll of Isaiah in chapter 53 he came upon the prophesy of a man who would
have no beauty or majesty that would attract us to him. He would be a man of sorrows and familiar with
suffering. As the man from Ethiopia was sitting in his chariot reading this he was thinking "who is this man".
Now Phillip was dispatched to go to this man. We read the account in Acts 8:26-40
Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which
goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert.
So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia,
a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury,
and had come to Jerusalem to worship,
was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the
Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot."
So Philip ran to him, and
heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
And he said,
"How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
The place in the
Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is
silent, So He opened not His mouth.
In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His
generation? For His life is taken from the earth."
So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of
whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?"
Then Philip opened his mouth, and
beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
Now as they went down the road, they came to some
water. And the eunuch said, "See,
water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
said,"If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said,"I believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God."
So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into
the water, and he baptized him.
Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught
Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
But Philip was found
at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
Phillip goes up to the man in the chariot and asked him "Do you understand what you are reading?" The man
answered "No, how would I understand it unless someone explained it to me". Phillip sat with the man in the
chariot and they read together from Isaiah 53. The man asked Phillip who Isaiah was talking about, himself or
What a great personal opportunity for Phillip in personal evangelism? What a great opportunity it is for us
when we have someone in the same situation. Here is someone reading his Bible and wanting to understand
what he or she is reading and we are brought into contact with them - "not by accident". Now Phillip says,
"this is Jesus" and beginning with that very passage of scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.
In Acts 17 Paul is in Athens where you have syncretism, pluralism, a lot like 20th century culture. People are
into all kinds of spiritual facets and cosmic consciences and all kinds of schemes and dreams and notions. Paul
goes into Athens and on three successive days he goes into the synagogue and reasons with the people as
recorded in Acts 17:2-4.
Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the
explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and
"This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ."
And some of them were persuaded; and a great
multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.
Hear this!... the time has long since passed in this country, when you can simply go out and assume a level of
Biblical understand on the parts of the people to whom we speak. Multiculturalism is not only embraced as an
act of generosity on the part of the host nation but multiculturalism is embraced as an expression of truth. And
growing up with that idea of a not only blended natures and blended backgrounds but blended natures of
truth it is increasingly difficult to engage the mind of a contemporary student in this country unless we are
armed ready to reason with them from the Scriptures and prove that Jesus is the Christ.
Not to misunderstand this, we know that it is the Spirit of God who opens people eyes; we know that it is the
Spirit of God that illumines the minds of people, but that God has ordained that our words, our lives and our
examples we would be a means to that end. It is not uncommon to find people that have never read one
verse from the Bible. They do not know a thing about Jesus Christ. They do not know one thing about
Christianity other than what they hear from secular media or in our institutions of higher learning. Thus it is
impossible to start with them from our little simple phrases. Simply, to say it a little clearer and a little louder is
to say very little. We have to be able to come to the mind of the individual and say "come now let us reason
together". "Let us think this out". "Let us see if your ideas fit with the truth".
3. Jesus came to make the Father known.
John 1:18 is very clear on this teaching.
No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
(Some manuscripts say the "but the Only Begotten"). It is not that Christianity and all the other religions of
the world are involved in some great search for deity. Christianity, through the person of Jesus Christ reveals
God to the world!
4. Jesus came to save sinners.
Matthew 1:21 makes this very clear.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
Paul sums it up in 1Timothy 1:15. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, The bottom line is Jesus
came into the world to save sinners and because that was His purpose he spent time with them to the disgust
of the religious establishment. Jesus' words are recorded in Luke's gospel chapter 7 verse 34.
The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of
tax collectors and sinners!'
The religions that put Jesus way up high behind some fancy lights and mystical rituals is all a fabrication of the
world. Jesus came to seek the lost and spent time with them where they were. Sinners didn't come to the
established religions of the world at that time to find Him. 2,000 years of religion has made up a Jesus that
nobody wants to meet. The average college student isn't seeking Jesus in some mystical religious
establishment. He can't imagine that Jesus would meet him in the pub. But that is where Jesus is, he meets
people where they, lost in their sin.
As Christians we need to meet people where they are, for the most part we aren't going to find them in our
Christian meetings. They aren't coming. We need to meet them where they are. Jesus came to save sinners
and the only way to do that is to hang with sinners. Meet them, greet them don't share with them in their sin,
be nice to them. Identify with them in their need but don't share in their sin. That is what Jesus did. The doctor
doesn't go from house to house of well people, he goes from house to house of sick people.
Jesus came to address the fundamental human problem which is sin and He came in Himself by His death to
provide the only cure. In this we have major disagreement and it is at this point that we must most kind, most
courteous, most careful or we lose in that conversation and we blow our friends away. It is possible to be
tolerant without giving up the truth. We need to explain to people that we sin because we are sinners not
that we are not sinners because we sin.
Do you believe that there is such a thing as an individual being positively evil? If you as a believer haven't
immediately answered "yes" to that question, then it is a wonderful illustration of the phenomenal erosion that
is taking place as the result of the impact of a secular world that believes that the issue concerning these
matters is not one of morality but of education. The secular world believes the issue is not that a man is bad
but that he is not as good as he should be. That his problem is that he is ignorant. He is not simple it is that he
just doesn't know about the good and beautiful. His problem is not that he chooses evil over good but the
problem is he is unaware of the choice and he needs to be educated. This is what we hear all the time. The
issue has shifted from morality to education. Take the problem of premarital sex, it is no longer a moral
problem, it is a problem of education. Therefore we won't talk about right from wrong we'll talk about
educating people as to how they may accommodate this. This issue of ADS, you cannot introduce the issue of
morality to it, it becomes only an issue of education. The issue of the death penalty is not an issue of morality
it is only an issue of education. Go through the Law of God which is the moral Law of God and you realize that
the culture in which we live has no possibility of coming to Christ as a Savior when it is unprepared to admit
the predicament of sin. And until a person understands sin why in the world would you want a Savior? So we
need to labor to point out to people that if they are prepared to be sensible to swift through the evidence and
think they have got to come up with an explanation as to why we are the way we are. And we want to point
out that the Bible gives as good an explanation as any we've heard in a long time. Maybe the reason we are
the way we are on the outside is because we have a problem on the inside.
Do you really believe that the adulterer, the wife beater, the filthy mouth are just in need of s seminar? Is that
what you're honestly telling me that all we need to do is get educated? That kind of approach denies the
existence of conscience and people want to deny the existence of conscience. That is why people want a fancy
name for adultery, they want a fancy name for adultery, they want it people magazine style. They want it to be
education not morality. Some say "I don't like the diagnosis, it sounds cruel it is unkind".
When we read biographies we generally don't find much written about the person's death. We learn a great
deal about their life but usually their death takes up only a paragraph or two. But Jesus' biography contains
about 32% relating to His death. This must mean that His death must be a big deal. John Stott said "the hour
for which Jesus came into the world was the hour in which He left it". Until we see this little cradle in view of
this cross we will never understand it, that Jesus on the cross was bearing sin, was taking our place. He was
suffering the punishment that is due us because we are cheats, thieves, liars and more.
So the person says "great, I believe all the things you have just told me - I'm a believer". Sure you are, you
have the facts, you have knowledge, you believe. So does the devil. He knows the four reasons why he didn't
come and the four reasons why he did come and he has no doubt about anyone of them. So is it sufficient to
believe the way the demons believe? Absolutely not! So is there another step, the vital step? Consider the sick
person needing a shot of penicillin to get better. The bottle is setting on the table beside his sick bed, he
knows it will cure him, he understands the benefits of it. But if he doesn't take the shot into him, it will never
cure him. So simply having the knowledge is not the cure. You must take Jesus into your heart for the cure. You
must accept the gift of life that Jesus offers. Simply believing that Jesus is the cure is not enough, you must
take Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior for eternal life.