Summary: This is the second in my series on the Articles of Faith for the Church of the Nazarene.
This morning, we are going to continue our study of the Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene. We will focus our attention on the second article, which is:
Here is the description of this 2nd tenet of our faith:
We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead; that He was eternally one with the Father; that He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say the Godhead and manhood, are thus united in one Person, very God and very man, the God-man. We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and that He truly arose from the dead and took again His body, together with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven and is there engaged in intercession for us.
Once again, this Article is one that few people visiting our church would find a place of disagreement. However, I want to take a closer look at it so that, if someone were to ask you specific questions about Jesus Christ, you would be able to point them to specific scriptures that give evidence to His divinity and His nature and can show them why we believe what we believe.
I am reminded of a conversation that my wife once had with a co-worker, that happened to be Jewish. It was during the Christmas season. The woman, who is still a good friend of Paula’s, said “what is the big deal about Jesus. It’s not like He was God or something.”
You see, there are people in and around all of us that, for one reason or another, have chosen not to take a closer look into the life and person of Jesus Christ. They have likely heard something about Him, but have never truly understood the Gospel’s message.
First of all, let’s look at the eternal Divinity of Jesus Christ. In John 1:1-3, John the Beloved says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.
When John says ‘Word’ with a capital, he is speaking about the Word of God incarnate (made flesh), which is Jesus Christ our Lord. When time was created, Jesus was already there. He was God and He was an active participant in all of creation. So He is eternal.
In answer to people like Jehovah’s Witness’ that try to say that Jesus never said that He was God, Jesus told the Pharisees is John 10 “I and the Father are One.” Someone might attempt to say that He wasn’t saying that He was God, however the Pharisees knew that that was exactly what He was saying because they began picking up stones to kill Him. Jesus was proclaiming His deity and His inseparable connection with God, all in one statement.
In John 8, the Pharisees are angry that Jesus is setting Himself up to be greater than Abraham, whom they have venerated nearly to the level of God. Jesus then tells them “truly I tell you, before Abram was, I Am.” Once again, they attempted to stone Him to death, but He left them. Why did this infuriate them? Because I Am is the Name of God, Yahweh, which He told to Moses at the Burning Bush.
There are those that have questioned the validity of the virgin birth because it is too miraculous for them. However, the Word of God is quite clear on the subject. Matthew 1:20 says:
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
The angel Gabriel was given a specific message from God to give to Joseph. That message was that Mary had not been cheating on Joseph but that the Child had been conceived by the Holy Spirit. If you believe that the Bible is the very word of God, then there can be no quibbling that Jesus is God and is man, the God-man.
Of course, the most central belief of Christianity is that Jesus died for our sins. Most of us know John 3:16 by heart:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
I also love how Paul puts it in Colossians 1:13-14
He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
1 John 2:2 says: