Summary: The greatest need we have is to see Jesus for who He really is!
1. There is an old TV show called To Tell the Truth, three mystery guests were presented to a panel who asked questions to find out who among them, was the real person they were all claiming to be. Two of them were obviously imposters. Finally at the very end they would say, “Will the real Mr.____________ place stand up!”
2. We need to present the truth about Jesus Christ, so that the real Jesus Christ can stand up and be revealed.
3. The Real Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 (NKJV)
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“You can visit Thessalonica today. It is an important industrial and commercial city in modern Greece and is second only to Athens in population. It served as an important Allied base during World War I. In WW II it was captured by the German army, and the Jewish population of about 60,000 persons was deported and exterminated.
It is an ancient city; originally name Therma from the many hot springs adjacent to it. In 315 BC it was renamed Thessalonica after the half sister of Alexander the Great. When Rome conquered Macedonia in 168 BC the city was made capital of that entire province.
In Paul’s day 200,000 people lived there. Paul came to Thessalonica in response to a call from a man in Macedonia (Ac.16:9; 17:1-15)…
He ministered in the synagogue for three Sabbaths in which many believed in Jesus Christ as Savior. However because of opposition from unbelieving Jews, had to leave town after only three weeks…He left Timothy and Silas behind to help the new church. Later Timothy joined Paul at Corinth where Paul wrote I Thessalonians. He after a short time, wrote 2 Thessalonians.” [Wiersbe]
I. First, let’s Discover that He is Deity.
Lord – kurios, depending upon the context can mean “Sir,” “Master,” or as here, a title for deity. The LXX translates Yahweh as kurios.
Christianity came into a world dominated by Caesar worship. You could worship any god you wanted to as long as one also worshipped the Roman Emperor who was acknowledged as Kurios. Christians refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord, that title was reserved for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The real Jesus Christ is God! 1 Cor. 11:4
Years ago there was a big lump of something laying in a brook in North Carolina. Most people just walked past it, judging it to be nothing more then a common stone. One day a man took it home and used it for a door stop.
A visitor one day examined it and found it to be a lump of gold! Many see Jesus as just a lump of good humanity, a lump of a good prophet, a lump of a good teacher – He was all that and more. But until we see the gold, the Deity, we do not have the real Jesus.
II. Next, discover His sinless Humanity.
Jesus – that was a rather common name among the Jews of Paul’s day, it is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua. It means Yahweh saves. Mt. 1:21
The real Jesus is not only God, but God/man.
John Chrysotom, “I do not think of Christ as God alone, but both together. For I know He was hungry, and I know that with five loaves He fed five thousand. I know He was thirty, and I know that He turned the water into wine; I know He was carried in a ship, and I know that He walked on the sea.
I know that He died, and I know that He raised the dead, I know that He w as set before Pilate, and I know that He sits with the Father on His throne. I know that He was worshipped by angels, and I know that He was stoned by the Jews. And truly some of these I ascribe to the human and others to the divine nature. For by reason of this He is said to have been both God and man.”
III. Thirdly, discover the Expectancy.
Christ – Leon Morris, “Christ is from the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah” or “anointed one.” Though it had become something of a proper name it yet retained its Messianic associations. Jesus is the chosen One in whom God is well pleased to fulfill His purposes planned from of old.”
Just as they looked for the Messiah to come in the OT, a hope that found its fulfillment in Christ, so we look for that same Messiah to one day come again, and that hope will not be disappointed either!
Vance Havner, “The early believers were not looking for something to happen, they were looking for Someone to come. Looking for the train to arrive is one thing, but looking for someone we love to come on that train is another matter.” I Thess. 1:10