Summary: This is the fourth message in a series on basic Christian doctrine. It provides the foundation for a proper understanding of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. (05-09-04)
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Truth Detectors [Episode 1]
“The Truth About Jesus”
Several years ago at a passion play an incident took place during Jesus carrying the cross. A man in the audience was heckling the character playing Jesus, throwing out jeers, taunts and dares. Finally the character could no longer tolerate the heckler, he dropped the cross and went over and punched the man in the face. The director was aghast and after the play pulled the actor aside and told him in no uncertain terms was he ever to do that again.
Well, the next night the same heckler was back and again the same thing, Jesus this time had to be restrained. The director called the actor in and gave him an ultimatum of either quitting or keeping his composure. The young actor assured the director he would keep himself under control.
The third night, the heckler was present again and taunted even stronger than the two previous nights. The man playing Jesus rose to his full stature, gritted his teeth and told the heckler, "I’ll see you right after the resurrection."
Illustration from Sermoncentral.com, contributed by Mark Sutherlin.
Somehow, I don’t quite think Jesus would act that way. I have more of a “turn the other cheek” picture of Jesus in a situation like that one.
I am convinced that there are so many misconceptions in our world with regard to who Jesus is, what He did, where He is now, and what He’s going to do in the future. And there are so many lies in our world about Jesus. False religions and cults will take Jesus and incorporate Him into their belief system. Have you experienced that before? They will take Jesus … spread Him out over their religion … and have just enough Jesus-talk and Christianese language to be able to fool Christians.
Think about it … Muslins consider Jesus a prophet. Jehovah’s Witnesses consider Jesus a god. So many other false faiths let just a little bit of Jesus in … just for a little Christian “seasoning.”
Friends we must not be fooled and lulled into the false teachings of the world just because those teachings are sprinkled with a little Jesus! We need to be solid in our doctrine! We need to know what we know and believe and why we know and believe it, so that we can stand boldly in the face of lies. We have to be Truth Detectors. And today, we are going to review ourselves on The Truth about Jesus.
And as we begin, what must we start with? What do we have to have when it comes to the essentials of the faith?
In essential beliefs we have unity.
There are some things which cannot be compromised. We must have unity in these areas. Our essential beliefs are defined in our Statement of Faith.
That statement of faith is on our web site. We go over it carefully in our 101 Discovery class. It clearly lays out those doctrines that we hold dear and true. Now, here is …
Our Statement Regarding Jesus
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
So, let’s delve into this doctrine. Let’s go to the Bible so that we can have a solid, firm foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ.
1. Divine (Romans 1:4)
We must begin here. We must agree upon the basic fact that Jesus was and is divine … He is God. He is not just a prophet or teacher. He was not just a good man. He was and is and always be God. Anything belief … any understanding of Jesus Christ short of that leaves you with nothing but a dead prophet. If you reject this truth, then you reject this book and everything that it teaches. If you cannot accept the truth that Jesus is divine, then you must believe that He is dead, this book is a lie, and all of Christianity is a vast conspiracy … a sick hoax.
We know that He is divine because the Bible tells us so …
• He is called “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22, 23b)