Summary: This message explains why "either/or" thinking doesn’t work in the Kingdom of God, and we should expand our perspective to include "both/and" thinking.
We are discovering the ways we shrink Jesus in our own minds, from the robust love and nature that is truly His.
? The great "I Am" is calling you and is with you to transform you and this world.
? Either/or thinking often shrinks Jesus in our minds and in our lives.
* Trip to the Optometrist.
* Binary: 0’s and 1’s. Forks in the road. Separate. And not trinary. Useful when deciding where to turn, where to live, who to marry.
* But not useful when baking cookies: sugar or not (how much), oven or not (what temp), how much oats? Recipe doesn’t work well with ) 0’s and 1’s.
* Visa: doesn’t always work: African/American, white.
* It doesn’t work with God either, but we do it over and over again.
* "Was Jesus God or Man?"
* "Was the Bible written by man or by God?"
* "Do we choose Jesus or does Jesus choose us?"
* "Should I be more truthful or more loving?"
* "Should I be more disciplined or flow more with the Spirit?"
* "Is Christianity a more Eastern (holistic, mystical, relational) or more Western religion (logical, individual)?"
* "Is God more Republican or the Democrat?"
* "Should I be more modern or postmodern in my thinking?"
* "Is this the right Church (or movement) or is that one the right one?"
* The way the question is posed creates an incomplete answer.
* I suppose it would be like an alien asking us do you have a house or a yard? Do you eat carbs, protein or fat?, Are humans children or adults? Do you earn money or spend it? Is a rainbow red or blue? Does ice cream have cream or sugar?
* Life, especially God, is more complex than a binary system.
* This gives me confidence in Scripture, that it doesn’t dumb God down. It describes things that a mere man could not make up.
? Certain either/or thinking is good, but often we subconsciously do it to reduce the mental tension and make God smaller. Too often God ends up looking like us.
* Without revelation all theology is merely a study in anthropology: how we think about God.
* This morning I want to focus on the most popular subject recently, which is: Is Jesus God or Man?
* This is what the controversy over the De Vinci Code, Gnostic Gospels was all about this.
* Let’s begin by looking at the beginning of every Gospel.
* Jesus: God or Man? (Mat 1:18-24; Jn 1:1, 14, 18)
Matt. 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Matt. 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 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."
Matt. 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-which means, "God with us."
Matt. 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
* Obviously, in these Gospels Mat and John are clear. Jesus is radically man and God.
* This is a problem that plaques young Christians. Some treat Jesus more as if he were a afterthought of God. Others as if there was no God the Father, only Jesus.
* My own experience with t. JW’s shortly after my conversion forced me to consider who Jesus was.
* Deism, Christian Science (Mary Baker Eddy), Jehovah Witnesses (Russel?), Mormans (Joseph Smith), Richard Hawkins, Islam.