The uniqueness of Jesus, the Christ!
The uniqueness of Jesus, the Christ!
I want to speak about the Person who means more to me than any other! We serve a triune God:
- God the father
- God the son
- God the Holy Spirit
Jesus Christ, the one who rose from the dead, the victor over death and the grave.
Jesus, who sits on the right hand of God the father.
Jesus, who will return to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Jesus, who will return as God’s judge!
Yes, about this Jesus, whom I love with all my heart, I want to talk to you today!
I love the Holy Spirit. I love to speak about him. His presence and working are absolutely essential to us as Christians! We cannot over emphasise the importance of the Holy Spirit. When God called me into full time Ministry in Germany, he instructed me to name and register the ministry under the name, “Holy Spirit fire Ministriesgemeinützige Unternehmer Gesellschaft”.
What did Jesus say, is one of the primary functions of the Holy Spirit? It is to point people to Jesus, to point to the cross!
Jesus said in John 15
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
In fact, the Holy Spirit is also in scripture, called the Spirit of Jesus.
2017 was the 500th anniversary of the reformation.
We heard here in Germany, much of Martin Luther and a very little about the 5 fundamental truths that are the foundation of the reformation.
Sola is Latin and means, alone or exclusive truth. The 5 solas that formed the basis of Martin Luther’s teaching are:
- Christ alone
- Scripture alone
- Faith alone
- Grace alone
- To the glory of God alone
These Sola truths are the spiritual inheritance of the reformation. They are the ABC of the Gospel.
The Sola, were the foundation of Luther’s preaching.
In Martin Luther's time these truths, as they do today, gave offense, caused division, caused war, and were fought by many in the religious and political world, by all means possible.
Today, these statements are still explosive and just as controversial as thenand are questioned, avoided, argued away or simply ignored by many Christians.
Sola means alone, or exclusive truth. But what still causes a great many problems for people today and then, is the word alone or exclusive.If only the small word alone were not put alongside to these truths,most people in the west would not take offence.
Exclusive truth does not fit into people’s concept of tolerance and respect for other religions and faiths.How can Christians claim that they alone are blessed? That Jesus is the only way to God and that Jesus is the truth in person.
Jesus is the centre of the Old and New Testament.
Without that fundamental truth, we cannot understand the Bible. The OT speaks of the coming Messiah and the NT tells us who this Messiah is!
Yes, Jesus Christ alone, is our saviour. There is no other!
That reminds me of my work among South African Indianswho are predominantly Hindus. There are about 1 million Indians that live in the greater Durban area. Often, they accept the message of Jesus. They then place a figure, or picture of Jesus among their other gods, wherever they have their shrine. However, it is only when they burn their gods and proclaim Jesus to be their only Lord and saviour, that they are truly delivered and set free.
We are speaking about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ!
That causes me to ask:
- Who is this Jesus Christ?
- What makes the person of Jesus Christ, so unique?
Jesus Christ is not just the name of God’s son, as if he could have been called Jesus Brown. God gave Jesus his name. The angel Gabriel transmitted that name and it means: ‘Jehovah saves.’ Yes, Jesus is our saviour!
Christ means, the anointed one, that is, the one who has been anointed with and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Christ is not Jesus’s surname!
The anointing on Jesus, the Christ, speaks of who Jesus is and for what purpose he has been anointed!
Jesus speaks about his anointing, about him being the Christ when he cites Isaiah in
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
In saying that this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing, Jesus actually said:
- Jesus is the good news for the poor
- Jesus is liberty to the captives
- Jesus is recovering of sight to the blind
- Jesus is liberty (to)those who are oppressed
- Jesus is the year of the Lord's favour
Absolutely nothing has changed about Jesus, since he uttered these words in Nazareth, so many years ago. Yes, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and in all eternity. What he did then, he still does today, even in Germany!
Yes indeed, Jesus was and is the Christ!In every of the last 2000 years, Jesus worked miraculously on this earth, through the power of the Holy Spirit! He will work miraculously in and through you, if you by faith open up your heart to him, andgive him your heart and your obedience!
What does Jesus say about himself?
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
If you want to know God, to get to know him, you must first realise who Jesus is!
- Think about what Jesus says here: 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
- Jesus clearly says: to know God, to get close to God, is only and exclusively possible through Jesus!
Do yourself a favour and read John chapter 5.We don’t have time to do that today. In this chapter, Jesus clearly and methodologically explains who he is, what his function in the trinity is and what the relationship between him and Father God is.
In Matt. 28, Jesus says about himself:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go thereforeand make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus alone, Christ alone, has been given all power in heaven and on earth, and because he is the truth, the life and the way, and our hope of glory, Jesus commands us to go into all the world and to spread this wonderful truth!
Jesus is the 'why' of missions! He is the reason of all missionary activity!
I see it so often, especially here in Germany, that Christian missionary or non-profit organizations are more concerned with the welfare of people’s bodies etc, than their souls. It is all about being a ‘gut Mensch’, a good person and citizen. What good is it if we clothe, feed, house and provide education and medical care, if we do not bring people in the first instance to the cross, to Jesus.Yes, we are to do good works, but the motive must be first and foremost to save souls.
As Jesus said in Mark 8
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
In Revelation 1, 17-18 the Apostle John writes:
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
- That is why we say: Alone Jesus Christ, is Lord!
- The divinity of Jesus is one of the central and most important foundations of the Christian faith! When we don’t believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, when we don’t believe that Jesus is God, that Jesus was raised from the dead, then Christianity becomes meaningless and at most becomes one of many competing philosophies.
- If Jesus is not God, he cannot prescribe, how we are to live our lives
- Either Jesus is who he says he is, or he is madman, a liar and a fraud.
- Some people say that Jesus was only a good person and a great teacher. Would a great teacher and a good person make such profound statements of himself, knowing that they are false, a lie?
Should someone speak about themselves, the things Jesus said about himself, we would say that he is mentally deranged, a nutcase, fit for a mental asylum. How can people then say, Jesus was just a good person and a great teacher?
The Pharisees and Sadduceeswere the religious leaders of his time. They knew the Scriptures by heart and focused their lives on the coming Messiah. But when Jesus came, healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead and clearly proclaiming who he was, they did not recognize him for who he was. Not only did they not recognize him, they crucified him, believing that they were doing God a favour. Let us not make the same mistakes and deny Jesus.
What if Jesus came today, walking the streets of Mannheim, healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead and clearly proclaiming who he was, just as we can read it in the gospels, would I, would you, recognise Jesus or would you and I, like the religious leaders of his day, convene urgent meetings and discuss how we can silence Jesus?
What does the Apostle Paul, tell us about who Jesus is?
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
It may seem difficult to believe, but the day will come when Atheists and adherents of other religions will bow their kneeand confess that Jesus alone, is Lord of Lords and king of all kings!
That is why a theology that places all faiths on the same leveland that proclaims that there are many roads that lead to Rome, that is to the one god that all religions supposedly have in common, is so dangerous.
That is so, because to arrive at the conclusion, that we all serve the same god and that all regions are just different perspectives of the same basic truth, is in total conflict with what Jesus said about who he is!
Islam teachesthat Allah does not have a son. Isa, of whom the Koran speaks and which some say is Jesus, is according to the Koran just a prophet, nothing more. Isa did not go to the cross, like a lamb to the slaughter, to die for your and my sins, nor was he raised from the dead! Only Jesus did that!
If what Jesus tells us is the truth, then there is indeed only one way to God! That that is so, Paul declares in
1 Timothy 2
5 For thereis one God, and there is one mediatorbetween God and men, the manChrist Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all,
Yes, alone by grace, alone by faith and Christ Jesus alone,is the saviour of mankind!
What did the early church say about who Jesus is?
In Acts 3we read about how the man born lame, who was at the temple gate, was healed in the name of Jesus, through Peter and John. This healing resulted in John and Peter getting into trouble. They were hauled in front of the elite in Jerusalemand ordered to no longer preach in the name of Jesus. How Peter responded to that threat, we read in
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
- With the exception of John, all the apostles paid with their lives, for the truth, that Jesus the Christ is the only saviour and son of God!
- Paul the Apostle could not have put it any clearer:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
- We read in 1 John 2
- Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
John the apostle, clearly lets us know, how we can identify the spirit of the antichrist:
For those who say that we all serve the same god, John the apostle says: 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
Some believe that it is sufficient, if we believe in god and that we don’t have to put Jesus CenterStage. John buries such arguments, with the following well known words:
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in himshould not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believeis condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
It is not possible to escape this truth: Jesus alone is our saviour and the Lord of all Lords. 3x John says, believes in him and finally he says, but whoever does not believeis condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
The first Person who gave his life for this truth, that Jesus alone, is our saviour, the only son of God and the Lord of Lords is Stephan.We read of it in
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed togetherat him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.
Today, every single day of 2018, men, women and children all across the world, sacrifice their lives for these truths. They are tortured, marginalized and many are executed, because they trust in Christ alone.A quick look at the internet pages of Open Doors confirms this!
- In the northern states of Nigeria, the Islamic Boko Haran, is for example, slaughtering Christians who refuse to convert to Islam, wherever they can find them, should they refuse to become Muslims. Some of the captured Christian girls are forced into sex slavery, because they refuse to convert.
- In Libya,some time ago, Egyptian Christian men were beheaded by Islamists. They were given the chance to live, if they were to renounce Jesus, but chose to die, rather than renounce that Jesus is the only saviour and Lord, fully knowing that by doing so, they placed the welfare of their wives and children, naturally speaking, in jeopardy.
- Chinais currently experiencing, yes in 2018, the worst persecution, since the time of Mao. Christians had attained some freedoms over the years, and their numbers are growing, exponentially. However their churches are being demolished and their leaders are being sent to prison and re-education camps.
What is particularly sickening, is that Christians are not being forced to give up the Christian religion, but can continue to call themselves Christian, provided they join a state ‘Christian’ church, where Jesus is however not Lord, but Jesus is subject to what the government allows and decides.
In the countries of the free world, scripture, Christ, grace, and faith are not in themselves such offensive truths. They can be accepted relatively easily in our Western world with its diversity of ideas, philosophies, and religions, as long as they are not proclaimed as a sola, or exclusive truth!
In many countries of the West, such as
- Great Britain, it is punishable ‘hate speech’, if you preach what the Bible teaches about human sexuality. Even if you declare openly, that Jesus is the only way to God and that those who do not believe that, are on the way to hell, you can be prosecuted.
- In California, a law is being debated in its legislature, that seeks to ban certain parts of the bible, as they are considered to be, ‘offensive and not in keeping with the values of the people of the state of California‘,
This may come to Germany as well.
Let us return to Peter and Johnand see how the early church responded to the threats of the political and religious leaders of the day,that they were no longer to preach in the name of Jesus, or proclaim Jesus as the Christ, the only saviour and Lord.
What did Peter tell the authorities, as to what caused the miracle:
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
What did Peter say about Jesus alone:
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The authorities in Jerusalem had a problem.People had seen the miracle for themselves and where coming to faith in Jesus Christ. They were losing control of what the people believed and did.
Let us carry on reading:
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
The believers recognised the very real threat against them and knew that if they continued preaching Jesus, there would be unpleasant consequences. So, what did they do? Tone things down, enter into compromises, so that the authorities would be appeased? NO, definitely not! Let’s continue reading:
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God…
They prayed for boldness to continue preaching Jesus uncompromisingly and they prayed that God would continue to do great miracles in the name of Jesus, to confirm the testimony of Jesus.
29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
How did God answer their prayer?
31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
What was the fruit of their prayers?
- and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
- God did remarkable miracles in their midst, so that if for example the shadow of Peter touched them, people were healed.
What do we learn from all of this?
- Jesus is indeed who he says he is!
- We are to boldly proclaim who Jesus is!
- We are to ask Jesus to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire!
- We are to believe and boldly trust that Jesus is the same yesterday and even today and that God will confirm, even here in Germany, his word with miraculous signs!