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Through and On Christ

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Intro

Introduction of the Series

This new series is based on the book Focus on Christ by John Stott, which consists of 8 parts.
Through Christ our Mediator
On Christ our Foundation
In Christ our Life-giver
Under Christ our Lord
With Christ our Secret
Unto Christ our Goal
For Christ our Lover
Like Christ our Model
Today we are only covering the first two.

Importance and Intention

Just think to enter this church building you had to walk through a door and you are standing/sitting upon a foundation that was laid.
Both the door and the foundation is very important for us to enjoy this building.
Yet doors and foundations are usually taken for granted.
As important as a door is, we just usually walk through it and forget about the door.
e.g When’s the last time you cared about the foundations of a building?
Similarly there are certain practices in our Christian life that we take for granted.

Positive Examples:

1. Prayers

Notice our prayers: starts with Heavenly Father/Almighty God and ends with “We ask all this in Jesus’ name”.
Why do we end our prayers in Jesus’ name?
Imagine signing off a letter with someone else’s name. Tats almost what we do when we pray in Jesus’ name.
Is Jesus’ name some magical formula/recipe or is there a theological meaning behind it?

2. Hymns

We also sing hymns like “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other grounds is sinking sand”.
All good but what does that mean? Does it mean we should tie a rock underneath our shoes?

3. Bible

This is more technical. But have you ever thought of why our Bible is made up of these 66 books only? (OT: 39, NT:27).
How come no new books have been added to the Bible since the time of the apostles around the end of the first century?
Aren’t there any good Christian books? e.g. John Stott or Rick Warren? Can we consider adding their books to the New Testament?
Esp nowadays lots of people claimed that God spoke to them, why aren’t they written down and added to a new edition of the Bible? Now digital our phones can hold a million books no problem.
Now digital our phones can hold a million books no problem.
This is all related to today’s topic of Through and On Christ. He is our mediator and our Foundation.

Definitions:

Jesus as the Mediator

In the analogy of the building, Jesus is the door that we must go through to gain access to God’s presence.

Jesus as the Foundation

Even more so with the foundations. When’s the last time you cared about the foundations of a building? We usually take these things for granted.
Positive Examples:
Why we need mediator? - Lord's supper prayer we are not worthy to collect the scraps for under your table.
Notice our prayers: starts with Heavenly Father/Almighty God and ends with “We ask all this in Jesus’ name”.
We end our prayers in Jesus’ name. (is it some magical formula/recipe?)
We sing on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other grounds is sinking sand.
But do we understand them?
Jesus is also the foundation that we can stand on to stay in God’s presence. The one we can rest on.
We shall study the role of Jesus as the door, as the foundation in the areas of revelation and redemption.
When we say Jesus is the revealer we say He is the one that shows God to us humans.
When we say Jesus is the redeemer we say He is the one who brings humans to God.

Why do we need a mediator/foundation?

For example: Why don’t we end our prayers in our own name?

The answer lies in who we are and who God is.
When we say Jesus is the revealer we say He is the one that shows God to us humans.
When we say Jesus is the redeemer we say He is the one who brings humans to God.

Our human finiteness and God’s infiniteness

it will be like an ant trying to understand us humans and our human inventions e.g. musical instruments and smartphone. Even if we could create one with a suitable size, the ants simply do not have the capacity to understand.
the distance between God and us is far bigger than the distance between us and the ants.
We humans may be the greatest of all God’s creatures but just like ants we are creatures no less. We are both mortal. We both have needs. Both limited by time and space.
God is not created. He has life in Himself. He doesn’t need anything. Rather He creates and sustains everything else. He is everywhere and He can do anything. He has no limits.
We sing How Great is our God but truth is none of us here have even begun to grasp just how great God is.
If you

Our human sinfulness and God’s holiness

we rebelled against this great God. Whether we realise it or not, we humans have naturally declared war on God and His kingdom.
our sin has separated us from God.
No sinner can stand in His presence ().
Eg: Anglican Lord's supper prayer “we are not worthy to collect the scraps for under your table”.
we need someone to bridge the gap.
We shall study the role of Jesus as mediator and foundation in the areas of revelation and redemption.
When we say Jesus is the revealer we say He is the one that shows God to us humans.
When we say Jesus is the redeemer we say He is the one who brings humans to God.

Jesus as Ultimate Revealer

Revealer: Showing God to man

Exposition:

Jesus is the full expression of God.

God has not been silent

God has given special revelation to some.

The Old Testament wasn’t wrong. It was just incomplete.

God sent the Son as His final revelation.

Don’t misunderstand.
It is not last time God spoke through prophets, now He spoke through the Son. As if Jesus is just like another prophet.
So that after Jesus, God will speak in another way through another person and then another way after that.
The Muslims believe that after Jesus was the prophet Mohammad. And the Mormons believe that after Jesus was Joseph Smith.
Nor should we wait for another prophet. Contra Muslim or Mormons.
So that Jesus is just one of the many ways God speaks to us. No Jesus is the only way.
Jesus is not just another prophet.
Jesus is not just another prophet.
It is not last time God spoke through prophets, now He spoke through the Son, then after this God speaks in another way and then another way after that. So that Jesus is not just one of the many ways God
We are living in the last days

We are living in the last days

The author is intentionally contrasting “long ago” with “these last days”.
“God spoke through the prophets…at different times and in different ways” last time but now He spoke to us by His Son, implying its one time, and final.
Jesus doesn’t just bring more revelation from God He is the revelation.
This revelation is complete and final because:

Jesus is equal with the Father, fully God.

Jesus is equal with the Father, fully God.

Refresher on the doctrine of the Trinity
The doctrine of the trinity is that God exists as one being, in three persons.
It is not enough to say you believe in the Father, Son and Spirit. Every heretic/false teacher believed in the Father, Son and Spirit.
The issue is: What is the relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit?
To put it another way, historic Christian faith have always defended seven of these truths.
There is only one God
The Father is God
The Son is God
The Holy Spirit is God
The Father is not the Son
The Son is not the Spirit
The Spirit is not the Father
Pop culture errors about the Trinity
A common wrong belief is that the Trinity is non-Biblical but a teaching that was invented by the church later on.
Exemplified in the Da Vinci Code:
Exemplified in the Da Vinci Code:
The earliest Christians did not believe that Jesus was God
With Constantine’s insistence, Christ was declared to be God in the Council of Nicaea in 325AD.
The Council of Nicaea also voted which gospels were Canonical. ‘Gospels’ of Philip & Mary Magdalene etc were rejected by slim margin because they taught that Jesus was only a man.
Reality:
Constantine initiated the council but did not use his power on the attending bishops who had already suffered persecution earlier and had endured.
The Council of Nicaea met to respond to Arians teaching that was causing disunity with the church and empire.
The Council of Nicaea met to respond to Arians teaching that was causing disunity with the church and empire.
Constantine initiated but did not use his power on the many attending bishops who had already suffered persecution earlier and had endured.
The Arian (like the Jehovah Witnesses) teaching that Jesus was an exalted creature was condemned by the overwhelming majority of the Council and formulated a creed to officially refute it.
The Council did not approve or reject any Biblical books. Everyone (including the Arians) were using the same books of the Bible.
The Gnostic gospels e.g Philip denied the humanity of Jesus, not his divinity.
So how did the early church fathers come to the conclusion that Jesus was not a creature but the Creator God? They studied Biblical passages like .
Biblical evidence:
In this passage God clearly refers to the Father.
So just in case you’re wondering why doesn’t the author just say the Son is God, its because He doesn’t want you to confuse the Son with the Father.
Remember the doctrine of the Trinity: the Father is not the Son. The Father didn’t become a human and die on the Cross. That was the Son. But the Son is not a lesser being. Look:
appointed heir of all things
The universe belongs to Him
2. made the universe
understood that God was the Creator
3. radiance of God’s glory
- not just a reflection of God’s glory
4. exact expression of God’s nature
If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father
5. sustaining all things by His word
If Jesus stops speaking, the universe stops existing
6. purified our sins
who can cleanse/forgive sins but God alone?
7. sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
-sitting in the position of authority with God
Conclusion:
Like the saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck
If it looks exactly like God, creates and sustains the universe like God, owns and rules the universe like God, then its God.
So even though the Son is not the Father. The Son is also God. He is the full and final expression of God the Father.

Father and Son are equal but distinct.

Jesus is the full and final expression of God
Unlike the prophets who had to said thus says the Lord, Jesus was "I said". But He didn't just speak He showed. the revelation is not just in what He taught but in what He did. His whole life, His death, what He said and did after His resurrection, all of this was the revelation. The Apostles were eyewitnesses to all this. It is only the eyewitness testimony of Jesus apostles that are written down and preserved in our new testament. If you weren't an eyewitness to the earthly life and ministry of Jesus you the early church would not recognise you as an apostle and your writings were not including in Scripture.
Mystical experiences do not qualify.
Rather than say God has stopped speaking. It is better to say God has spoken, fully and finally in His Son.
Jesus is the revelation: not just what He said but what He did. His life on earth was the revelation.

The Son became God in the flesh

He became a man, to speak our language etc.
Jesus is the revelation: not just what He said but what He did. His life on earth was the revelation.

Implication:

Canon of NT

Unlike the prophets who had to said thus says the Lord, Jesus was "I said". But He didn't just speak He showed. the revelation is not just in what He taught but in what He did. His whole life, His death, what He said and did after His resurrection, all of this was the revelation.
The Apostles were eyewitnesses to all this. It is only the eyewitness testimony of Jesus apostles that are written down and preserved in our new testament. If you weren't an eyewitness to the earthly life and ministry of Jesus you the early church would not recognise you as an apostle and your writings were not including in Scripture.
Mystical experiences do not qualify.
Rather than say God has stopped speaking. It is better to say God has spoken, fully and finally in His Son.

We can’t ignore God’s final Word

Both Grace and wrath is clearer
how can we escape so great a salvation.

Jesus as Ultimate Redeemer

Redeemer: bringing man to God.

Implication:

Rest in Christ’s finished work

He still intercedes for us. We cannot exhaust His grace.

Love the Son and the Father who sent Him

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