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Is Jesus Really God?

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Introduction

·        The identity of Jesus Christ is one of the most fundamental issues of Christianity, particularly His Deity

·        Many questions: Is Jesus one of three gods? But since the OT clearly teaches that there is one God, how can Jesus be God? Another name for God of the OT? Same as God the Father? Was He created? A lesser god?

·        Arian controversy: Arius was a pastor in Alexandria, Egypt, who grappled with such questions in the 3rd & 4th centuries AD. He thought that since the “Son” is a different essence than the “Father,” the “Son” must be a created being inferior to the Father. This would seem to make sense out of the fact that Jesus was “begotten” and statements like Jn. 14:28 “the Father is greater than I.” Arius reasoned, “If the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence. And from this it was evident, that there was a time when the Son [did not exist].”[1] Arius believed that the Son was the first and greatest of the beings created by God, and he is worthy of worship because He was adopted by God as a “Son.” Many religious groups down through the centuries have held a similar view, that Jesus is something less than God.

·        Is Jesus Really God? Could you show this from Scripture?

·        Today we begin study Book of John – an entire book devoted to the question “Who is Jesus Christ, and what does He expect from us?”

·        Vv. 1-18 a Prologue

& Rd. Jn. 1:1-5

·        Word = Jesus Christ – v. 14-17

·        FIVE PROOFS OF THE DEITY OF CHRIST:

#1 Jesus existed before creation (1)

·        “In the beginning” – cf. Gen. 1:1

·        “the Word” – logos; a somewhat difficult concept

-         **Illust: wife cooks new dinner for husband – too salty, bland, spicy; interesting, outdone yourself; delicious, well- seasoned

-         Basic meaning of “word” – gives expression to inner thought; provides a means of revealing this thought to others. The “Word” reflects the “mind” of God, and reveals this mind to man.

-         OT meaning: “Word” seen often in OT, nearly personifies God Himself

& Ps 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

& Is 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

-         Carson: “In short, God’s ‘Word’ in the OT is his powerful self-expression in creation, revelation and salvation, and the personification of that ‘Word’ makes it suitable for John to apply it as a title to God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son.”

·        “was” – looks back beyond the beginning; no origin, but continuous existence; contrast v. 14

& Mic 5:2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”

#2 Jesus enjoyed eternal fellowship with the Father (1)

·        “with God” – or “toward God” – indicates motion or direction, or close proximity, hence friendship and intimacy[2]

·        The Son enjoyed intimate union and fellowship with the Father

& Jn 17:5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

#3 The Apostle identifies Jesus as God (1)

·        Kai qeo;V h\n oJ lo;goV

·        Would seem to be a powerful statement of the Deity of Christ, but Jehovahs Witnesses in their New World Translation render this phrase differently: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the word was with God, and the Word was a god.” They note there is no article in the Greek, that “a god” is legitimate and the preferred translation. Most of us not being Gk scholars, have to immediately confess our ignorance on the matter. But we should not so readily wave the white flag and admit defeat.

·        Fact: “God” does not contain the article

·        Anarthrous ≠ indefinite; v. 4 “a life,” v. 6 “a God”

·        Three basic uses of noun: indefinite, definite, qualitative

·        Illustration

-         a pen - indefinite

-         the pen - definite

-         pen (not pencil) - qualitative

·        All three anarthrous in Jn. 1

-         V. 6 “a man” - indefinite

-         V. 49 “king of Israel” - definite

-         V. 14 “flesh” - qualitative

·        Which in 1c? qualitative; focus on Divine essence; same substance as Father; one God in three Persons

·        Evangelist’s own theology

& Jn 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

& Jn 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

·        Then why no article? Not same as Father; Wallace: “that the Word was God was the most concise way John could state that Jesus was God, yet distinct from the Father”[3]

·        To summarize: anarthrous ≠ indefinite; may be indefinite, definite, or qualitative; 1c best taken as qualitative and actually a brilliant way to say Jesus is God, yet not the Father

·        V. 2 a restatement of v. 1

·        Review: Jesus existed before creation, enjoyed eternal fellowship with the Father, identified as God, Creator of the universe, source of all life

#4 Jesus is Creator of the universe (3)

·        “came into being” – ginomai

·        “through Him” – the Father’s agent

& 1 Co 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

& Heb 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

·        John states the converse

·        “has come into being” – **product made in USA; a painting with signature; everything that exists today has Jesus’ own signature

#5 Jesus is the source of all life

·        Life in its widest sense

·        He defines life, epitomizes life; He is the giver of life; Life has always been found in Him

& Jn 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

& Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,

·        Life manifests itself as light, shining in the darkness, evil, and hatred

·        “did not comprehend”

·        Which brings us to the purpose of this book: to learn who Jesus is, and what He expects from us

& Jn 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Conclusion

·        Some of you here may not be living in light of this reality. You have not submitted to His authority over your life. You blaspheme His name, You do not honor Him with your actions. You do not give and serve the church which He has promised to build. You do not have life…

·        There is only one God, but as the NT makes clear, this God includes three distinct Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

·        We would affirm with the Nicene Creed, written in 325 AD:

·        “…We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one in being with the Father, Through Him all things were made, for us men and for our salvation…”

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