Christianity 101: Christ

We are on to part three of our Series Christianity 101, Christ.  This material in based on the book…

You can find the complete series here

Introduction:
Christianity is Christ
Buddha is not essential to Buddhism, or Muhammad to Islam, but everything about Christianity is determined by the person and work of Jesus Christ.

But who is Jesus Christ?

We will first discuss the supernatural side of Jesus

Fully God

The foundation of Christianity is Jesus Christ is fully God.

What are the biblical references of this idea?
Answers:
• John 1:1 “The word was God”
• John 1:14 “The word became flesh and lived for awhile among us”
• Titus 2:13 “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”
• 1 John 5:20 “his Son Jesus Christ the true God and eternal life
• Name Jesus was Greek for Hebrew name Joshua which means “God saves”
• At his baptism he was called “Messiah” and the Christ

Why is it important that Jesus is fully God?
Answers
1. When we sin, we sin against God and only God can forgive us of our sins.
2. It shows how personal God really is.
3. Only God can be the perfect lamb.

Jesus Christ Claimed Deity

Skeptics will claim that Christ never claimed to be God.  This is not true.
What are some of the biblical references showing Jesus’ claim to divinity?
Answer
• John 8:58 “Before Abraham was borne, I am!”  At this, they picked up stones to stone him.  They wanted to stone him because they thought it was blasphemous to claim to be God.
• John 10:30  “I and the Father are one”
• John 19:7  “The Jews insisted ‘We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the son of God’”
• Matt. 26 63-64 The high priest asked “Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  Jesus answered “Yes it is as you say”
• John 5:18 The high priest then proclaimed we had heard Jesus’ blasphemy.  He had said for all the hear the “God [was] his own Father, making himself equal with God”

Why is Jesus’ claim of deity important?
Answer: 

If he did not claim to be God then it would be easy to say he was just a man and there could be other ways to God.

Clearly Christ claimed to be God!

Jesus Displayed the Authority of God

Jesus has the legal power that only God has.
What authority did Jesus display that only God has?
Answer:
Authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:10)

Authority to Judge:
Mark 14:62  Sit at the Right Hand of God (Implying the authority to judge men)
John 5:22 The Father has entrusted all judgement to the Son.

Authority and Power to raise the dead. (John 6:39-40, 54; 10:17-18)

Jesus Possessed God’s Attributes
Jesus demonstrated for everyone to see the Natural Attributes that belong to God alone.

What are these Natural Attributes?
Answer
• Omnipotence:  Matt.28:18  “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”
• Power over Nature: Mark 4:39 stilling the storm, John 2:7-11 turning water into wine.
• Power over physical disease:  Mark 3:10 curing many
• Power over demons: Luke 4:31-37 commanding an evil spirit out of a man from Galilee.
• Power over death:  John 11:43-44 raising Lazarus
• Incomparably great power: Eph. 1:19-21 power over all evil forces.
• Omniscient:  Mark 2:8, John 2:25 he know what was in a man’s mind before he spoke
• Omnipresent:  Matt 28:20 he promised to be with all His disciples to the end of the age

Jesus is the Center (Creator/Sustainer)
More evidence that Jesus is God
• Jesus is the Creator.  Read John 1:3
• Jesus is the Sustainer of the universe.  Read Heb. 1:3
• “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”  Col 2:9
• As creator God, Jesus existed with the Father forever.
• Abraham rejoiced to see His coming.  John 8:57-58  “before Abraham was born, I am!”
• Jesus accepted worship from men.  Something that only God was due.  (Doubting Thomas John 20:28)

Those with Jesus knew he was claiming to be God.  Doing the things he did proved his claims were true.

Jesus is Fully Man
Jesus was not only fully God but also fully human.
Why did Christ need to be fully man?
Answer:
1. To represent us on the cross. 
2. To be the high priest who comforts and strengthens us and intercedes to the Father for us.

As a human he has experienced our human experiences.
What types of things did he experience?
Answer:
• He got hungry and thirsty.
• He got weary.
• He needed sleep and refreshment.
• He experienced love and compassion.
• He was angry.
• He denounced those who refused the truth.
• He wept at the loss of a friend.
• He was troubled when he faced the cross.

Son of Man
Not only do we see Jesus act like a human but he also claims to be Human.
In the Gospels Jesus called Himself the “Son of Man” eighty times.
This phrase “Son of Man” is an assertion of humanity.
• Jesus’ humanity was unique in that it was complete.
What does this mean?
Answer
He did not have a sin nature.  He did not sin.  We will be like this in heaven.

• Jesus was both Human and divine.
We must believe both attributes but not emphasize either over the other.

Another Heresy: Mostly man or mostly God?
History is full of examples of heresies that misunderstand this point of both God and Man.
• Ebionites, early 2nd century, denied the deity of Christ.
• Docetists, later 2nd century, denied Jesus’ true humanity.  His life was an illusion.
• The Arians, forerunners of today’s Unitarians (accepting the moral teachings but rejecting the divinity of Jesus). 
This belief is current today in several major cults.  Mormonism, Jehovah’s witness
• Apollinarians condemned at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381.  Jesus had true body and soul but the human mind was replaced by His divine being.  Therefore he was not truly human.
• Nestorius, 5th century, emphasized distinctness of Christ’s two natures and denied a union of the two.  Two natures in two persons.
• Eutychians denied 2 distinct natures.  Human and Divine nature were absorbed into a 3rd nature.  Condemned as heretical at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.

Both Human and Divine
The question of 2 natures is complex and confusing. 
Council of Chalcedon summed up the orthodox view.
In the one person, Jesus Christ
1. There are two natures, a human nature and a divine nature,
2. Each has its completeness and integrity, and
3. These two natures are organically and indissolubly united, so no third nature is formed.
4. The orthodox doctrine forbids us either to divide the person or confuse the natures.

View Chart in book for a clear overview.

The early church creeds did not try to explain this mystery.  They just affirmed it.
Athanasius  “He became what He was not; He continued to be what He was. ”

The working of the Holy Spirit is a major key in this dual nature of Christ. 
Remember…
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit came upon him at baptism.

A proper knowledge of Christ’s person is crucial in understanding His work.  If He were not the God-man, His work could not have eternal and personal significance for us.

Understanding Who Jesus is is only the first step. 
We must also understand what he has done and is doing for those who believe. 
Jesus not only could save men – He did.

A Perfect Man
Christ was a perfect man therefore he was without sin in thought word and deed. 
Why is a perfect life necessary?
Answer:
1. It qualified him to be the Old Testament Perfect Lamb therefore he was the sacrificial sin offering.
2. Perfect obedience was offered to God.
3. Through His obedience, Jesus became a qualified Mediator and High Priest for His people.

He was a man with a mission and he knew what it was.  “Seek and save the lost” and “Give his life as a ransom for many”

Whimpering Men into Roaring Lions
Not only did Christ live and die but also He rose from the dead. 
This little item makes all the difference.  Buddha is dead. Confucius is dead.  Mohammed is dead. 
Jesus is risen.  This is a historical fact.
Jesus predicted his death and resurrection (Mark 8:31, 10:32-34, Matt 16:21). 
His disciples did not understand what he was talking about.
After seeing Jesus alive and being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the disciples proclaimed with boldness the truth of the resurrection.  (See Peters witness in Acts 2.)

The Resurrection of Christ was a bodily resurrection. 
He had a body. 
He ate fish.
His body was a different body than his original body.  He was able to pass through doors.  Paul discusses resurrection body 1Cor.15

Resurrection:  Fact, Not Fiction
Many have tried to explain away the resurrection.
What are some of the anti resurrection theories and what are the problems with them?
Answer:
Swoon Theory:      This would make Christ a deceiver.
Disciples hallucinated:   
         They did not expect to see him rise.
          Hallucinations do not occur on a mass scale.  Drug induced purposeful altered state. This happened here.
Disciples Lied
      No one would die for a lie

What is some evidence for the resurrection?
Answer:
Christ appeared ten times.  In one case too more than 500 people.  This is pretty easy to verify.  There is no evidence refuting this occasion.
The empty tomb
The revolutionized lives of the disciples
The Lords day
The existence of the Christian church
The current calendar
The transformed of countless lives today of people who have met Christ.

Four Resurrection Benefits to Us
1. The Resurrection fully confirms what Jesus taught and did.
• “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins”  (1 Cor. 15:17)
• Because of the resurrection we know we are not trusting a myth.  We can trust what Christ has said.
2. Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee of our own resurrection.
• “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19)
• the grave is not our end, we shall be raised like he was raised
3. We know the body is in itself good, not inherently evil.
• Some say the body is inherently evil.
• Christ took on a body
• Our body is the template of our permanent glorified body like Christ
4. We have assurance of the power of Christ in life today.
• Christ is alive
• Christ gives power to our lives
• Christ brings our faith to life

Jesus’ Ascension and Exaltation
• Jesus not only predicted his death and resurrection but also his ascension and exaltation (John 6:62; 17:1)
• His exit from this live was as miraculous as his entrance.  Acts 1:9-11
• His ascension and exaltation were necessary for the completion of His work of redemption.
• He has entered heaven as a forerunner for us (Heb.6:20) making our entrance possible.
• Now before God he is our High Priest and Advocate (Heb. 9:24 also 1 Tim. 2:5)
• His advocacy for us is unceasing (1John 2:1)
• Christ is now active for us before the throne of God.

He gives us Free Access to God
Because of Christ’s ascension and exaltation…
• We can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb 4:16)
• In the OT access to the presence of God was limited to…
one person- the high priest
one place – the holy of holies in the tabernacle
one time – the Day of Atonement.
• Because Christ is our High Priest in Heaven, each of us has access to the Creator at any time at any place. 
This is why the curtain was torn in the tabernacle at Christ’s crucifixion.  It is finished.
Truly Christianity is Christ!

This material in based on the book…

waynem

About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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