Summary: Our purpose in this series is to reacquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of our faith.
Why We Believe What We Believe – About Jesus Christ
Why We Believe What We Believe Teaching Series
Gages Lake Bible Church
Sunday, November 1st, 2009
Pastor Daniel Darling
Today we continue our series, “Why We Believe, What We Believe.” Our purpose in this series is to reacquaint us with the fundamentals of our faith. For some of us this is an important review.
For others who are new to our church, you’re finding out exactly where we stand so you can make an informed choice about your attendance and involvement.
I do recommend that if you were not here the other messages in this series, I would encourage you to go to our Resource Center in the lobby and get the CD’s of the past messages in the series or go online and download them.
I’d especially encourage you to check out the first message: Why Is Doctrine Important and the 2nd Message: Why We Believe What We Believe – About the Bible.
Today we share, “Why We Believe, What We Believe – About Jesus Christ.
Exactly who is Jesus Christ? Perhaps there is no more controversial and debated religious question in the entire world. People on every side of the debate agree on one thing, that Jesus Christ may be perhaps the most influential Person who ever lived.
An anonymous person once wrote a poem:
He was born in an obscure village.
He worked in a carpenter shop until He was about thirty.
He then became an itinerant Preacher.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn't go to college.
He had no credentials but Himself.
After preaching three years, the public turned against Him.
His friends ran away.
He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing, the only property He had on earth.
He was laid in a borrowed grave.
Twenty centuries have come and gone,
and today He is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched,
all the navies that ever sailed,
all the parliaments that ever sat, and
all the kings that ever reigned
have not affected the life of man on the earth as much as that
ONE SOLITARY LIFE.
Who, exactly, is this Jesus?
A Question for the ages?
The question of Jesus is not a new one. In fact, during his life, the question raged as Jesus’ incredible feats built a following, enraged the establishment, and peeked curiosity by the common man. Who is Jesus?
I invite you today to turn in your copy of the Scriptures to Matthew 16:13-16.
Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, who do men say that the Son of man is? And they said, some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.
He saith unto them, But who say ye that I Am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:13-16 (ASV)
Even in Christ’s day, people were confused as to who Jesus Christ was. And I want to use this passage of Scripture as a basis for our message today.
First, we will discuss what men say about who Jesus Christ is. Secondly we’ll ask ourselves the same question Jesus asked Peter, “Who do we say Jesus is?”
Who is Jesus Today?
In the 2,000 years since Jesus’ life, debates have raged as to exactly who Jesus was. Liberal theologians, secular historians, major media outlets like Newsweek and even politicians have all insisted that Jesus could not have been God. They break down their arguments into four ideas about the nature of who Jesus was:
1) Jesus was a Good Man. This is probably the most popular idea of who Jesus was. If you were to do a random survey on the street, you’d probably get nine out of ten people to say, “Jesus was a really good man, who lived a long time ago.”
2) Jesus as a Reformer. Several years ago, a team of scholars was assembled called, “The Jesus Seminar.” They got together to settle the question of who Jesus was. Solving the question of the ages by committee. Their basic conclusion was this: Jesus was a Martin Luther of the 1st century. In their view, Jesus never meant to establish a religion. He was merely trying to bring reform to a corrupt and antiquated system of Judaism.
3) The Revolutionary Jesus This was a popular view in the 60’s. Hippies, left-wing radicals, socialists, communists, Marxists—claimed Jesus. In their view He was the Messiah who came to overthrow social structures and usher in a community of love. Communism may be dead now, but this view of Jesus is making a comeback, even in evangelical circles. The Emergent Church movement, led by men such as Brian McClaren, author of The Lost Message of Jesus have the same view of Jesus as those in the 60’s, but these modern-day folks just have better hair and don’t have the purple Volkswagen van.