03 - III. Faith in the Son
29 June, 2008 AM
Tree of Life Wesleyan Church
III. Faith In The Son
Ps. 16:8-10; Matt. 1:21, 23; 11:27; 16:28; 27:62-66; 28:5-9, 16-17;
John 1:1, 14, 18; 3:16-17; 20:26-29; 21
The Encyclopedia Britannica uses 20,000 words to tell about Jesus, and never hints that He did not exist. This is more words than the Britannica allows for Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Cicero, Julius Caesar, or Napoleon Bonaparte.
Today we are going to look at the third article of religion of the Wesleyan Church: The Son of God.
We believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, truly God and truly man. He died on the cross and was buried, to be a sacrifice both for original sin and for all human transgressions, and to reconcile us to God. Christ rose bodily from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and there intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand until He returns to judge all humanity at the last day. (Discipline)
It amazes me that the Encyclopedia Britannica uses more words to tell us about Jesus than it does other great people in history – after all, there are many people today which will tell you that Jesus never existed. And many religions will tell you that He might have lived, but that He was nothing more than a great teacher. They do not look at the Bible as God’s truth. They also fail to read the great historians of the early first century. Josephus was one of those historians. He was a Jew that lived from 37 A.D. to 95 A.D. He lived in the first generation after Jesus lived here on earth and just listen to what he wrote:
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man: for He was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to Him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those that loved Him at the first did not forsake Him; for He appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribe of Christians so named from Him, are not extinct at this day.” (Antiquities 18.63-64)
Josephus the historian, just a few short years after Jesus ascended into heaven, recorded that Jesus was the Messiah and that He had been crucified and that He rose again and appeared to His disciples. So, many people refuse to believe not only the Bible, but also historians. But let’s stick to what we have at hand, God’s Word.
Our third Article of Religion begins “We believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.” In John chapter 3 we have maybe the most memorized passage of Scripture in the Christian faith: (John 3:16-17).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (Jn 3:16-17)
This seems like such a no brainer, but, there are some religions that teach that God had more than one son – some even tell us that Satan was one of God’s sons – Christian Science people believe that Jesus is the human man and Christ is the divine idea. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was not God (our Trinity) but that he was the first son that God brought forth, that He created. Did you catch that? They believe that Jesus was the first Creation of God and that the Angel Michael, the archangel is none other than the only begotten Son of God, who’s name is now Jesus Christ. The Mormons believe that Jesus was among the spirit children of Elohim, or God – that He was the firstborn and to whom all others are juniors. But this verse tells us something different – it says that Jesus and Jesus alone is God’s Son and that this one and only Son was sent into the world, not to condemn it but to save it. Satan and the rest of the angels were created by God, but Jesus was not created – He is God’s one and only Son.
We believe that Jesus “was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, truly God and truly man.” Here is another problem area for many, but we find in Scripture that Jesus, God’s one and only Son was born in human form. Matthew 1:21-23 states: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Okay, our Bible tells us that Jesus was born of Mary, but how does that make Him truly God and truly man? Well, we have already looked that our belief in the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we know from Scripture that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit – one and the same with God and we know that Mary was human. So, Jesus was both truly God and truly man. My father’s last name is Head, and my mother’s maiden name was Benedix. When I was born I became fully part of the Benedix family and fully part of the Head family. The Benedix’s did not look at me and say you don’t belong to our family line, I was truly one of them. And the Head’s did not look at me and say you don’t belong to us, I was truly one of them. The same is true of Jesus. He was truly God and truly man.
So keeping with this same thought of Jesus being truly God, look at John 1:1 – remembering that “the Word” is another name for Jesus. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Dropping down to verse 14 we have: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the of the One and Only (or the Only Begotten), who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And then a little farther down in verse 18 it says, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only (or the Only Begotten), who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” How can anyone come up with something else? Jesus is the one and only Son of God, He was with God in the beginning and left His home in glory to become flesh like us.
We believe that Jesus “died on the cross and was buried, to be a sacrifice both for original sin and for all human transgressions, and to reconcile us to God.” We know that Jesus died on the cross; even Josephus told us that, but why? He died to become a sacrifice, just like the Passover lamb. Do you remember what the Passover lamb was for? Going back to the Old Testament and the plagues on Egypt, Moses told Pharaoh that all the first born were going to die – but he told the Hebrew children that they too would lose their first born unless they did what? Took the blood of a new lamb and placed it on the doorways – then and only then would they be spared death’s sting. Jesus became that Lamb for us. Because Jesus shed His blood – the blood of a perfect sacrifice – His blood is applied to our hearts and the sting of death passes us by. No longer are we held in the sin that came about because of what Adam did – that’s original sin – and no longer are we being held by the sins that we have committed – Jesus’ blood washes our souls white as snow. He has paid the price to buy our freedom from death and brings us to the feet of God – He reconciles us to our heavenly Father.
Not only did He die for our sins in order to bring us into the throne room of God, but we believe “Christ rose bodily from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and there intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand until He returns to judge all humanity at the last day.”
The pyramids of Egypt are famous because they contain the mummified bodies of ancient Egyptian kings. Westminster Abbey in London is renowned, because in it rests the bodies of English nobles and notables. Mohammed’s tomb is noted for the stone coffin and the bones which it contains. Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C., is revered, for it is the honored resting place of many outstanding Americans. There is a big difference between the tomb of Christ and these places which I just mentioned. They are famous and draw visitors from all over because of what they contain; while the Garden Tomb is famous because it is empty.
It says in Luke 24 verses 1-6
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! (Luke 24:1-6a)
There are many writings that tell us that Jesus rose from the dead – the historical account of Josephus tells us this as does our own Bible. Some believe that it was just Jesus’ spirit that rose, that His body stayed and was later moved but that is not what John records in his gospel because he says in the 20th chapter starting with verse 26:
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
How could Thomas put his fingers into the side of a spirit? He put his fingers into the side of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who rose from the dead, who had received the wound while on the cross. This same Jesus that rose from the dead, defeating death once and for all, walked and talked and ate with His disciples and many, many others before He ascended into heaven, which Luke tells us about in Acts 1:6-8
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We do not believe something out of the ordinary, we believe what the Bible tells us – we believe God’s Word and that’s why we can say: We believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, truly God and truly man. He died on the cross and was buried, to be a sacrifice both for original sin and for all human transgressions, and to reconcile us to God. Christ rose bodily from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and there intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand until He returns to judge all humanity at the last day.
Don’t let anyone kid you and fool you into believing something that is not found in the God’s Word. As we have seen this morning, our Jesus was real – He is God’s Son – He is truly God and truly man – He died for our sins and then rose again from the dead and that He ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of God as our intercessor – and He told us before He left, that He was going to send the Holy Spirit and that is what we are going to look at next week.
2 June, 2002 AM
Miles City Wesleyan Church
Miles City Mt.