17 December 2017

How does God speak to us today?

Have you ever heard God speak?

How do we know when God is saying something to us?

Is it the voice of God?

God speaks through that which He has created.

How can anyone gaze at a starry sky or carefully observe the spring blossoms without coming to the obvious conclusion that there is someone behind all of this?

The living universe speaks forth not just that a creator exists but that the Creator is powerful, meticulous and diverse. He creates and maintains a harmonious and balanced world. His goodness, kindness and love are exemplified in His provision for all His creatures.

GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS CREATION.

God also speaks through the Scriptures and especially the record of His interaction with the people of Israel that He specifically chose to reveal so much more of His character through.

BUT GOD SPEAKS SUPREMELY THOUGH HIS SON.

JESUS IS THE WORD OF GOD.

The full and final revelation of God comes to us in the person of Jesus.

GOD SPEAKS TO US THROUGH JESUS.

If God speaks supremely through His Son, Jesus, we need to carefully appreciate who Jesus really is.

To misunderstand the person of Jesus is to fail to hear God speak clearly.

For God to communicate with us without any interference we need to clearly understand who Jesus is.

WHO IS HE?

There are three absolutes in understanding who Jesus is.

1. JESUS IS FULLY HUMAN.

2. JESUS IS FULLY DIVINE.

3. JESUS IS FULLY GOD AND FULLY MAN IN ONE PERSON

AND WILL BE SO FOREVER. CHRIST’S HUMANITY

Fanny Crosby wrote about knowing Christ in Glory ‘by the print of the nails in his hand’.

I. How did Jesus get his humanity?

The Person of Christ.

How is Jesus fully God and fully man, yet one person?

The Bible declares Jesus was fully God and fully man in one person, and this not just during His earthly life but will be so forever.

This is perhaps the most important truth in all of theology.

It is basic and fundamental to all Christians and it is extremely important that we understand it accurately.

Scripture is clear that Jesus was born of a virgin. He had no human father but was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1: 18 – 20, 24 – 25; Luke 1: 35.

This is important doctrinally in at least three areas.

Firstly, it shows that salvation ultimately comes from God. God had promised that the Seed of the woman would destroy the serpent, Genesis 3: 15, so God brought it about by His own power. The Saviour came from God. Our salvation is through God’s Saviour.

Secondly, it made possible the uniting of the full deity and full humanity in one person.

The virgin birth makes possible the full deity of Christ. Not since God created Adam did a human being come into existence except by human descent, apart from Jesus.

Christ’s full humanity was received from his earthly mother Mary. He was born in the same way that all human beings are born.

Thirdly, it also makes possible Christ’s true humanity without sin.

The fact that Jesus did not have a human father means that the line of descent from Adam has been broken. That line declared every descendant of Adam to be born with original sin, Romans 5: 12.

Christ was born without original sin. He was born holy, Luke 1: 35.

II. How was the humanity of Jesus expressed?

1. Jesus had a human body.

He looked like any other human being. He was born like any other baby, Luke 2: 7.

He grew through childhood to manhood, Luke 2: 40.

He increased in wisdom and stature, Luke 2: 52.

He became tired – John 4: 6

He became thirsty – John 19: 28

He was hungry – Matt. 14: 2

He was physically weak – Matt. 4: 11

He died – Luke 23: 46

2. Jesus had a human mind

He went through the learning process like any other child, Luke 2: 52. He “increased in wisdom”. He had to learn.

3. Jesus had a human soul and human emotions.

“How is my soul troubled” John 12: 27.

“When He had thus spoken He was troubled in spirit” John 13: 21.

The word troubled here is a word used of people when they are anxious or suddenly frightened by danger.

A Divine Eternal Spirit would never be surprised or taken unawares.

Jesus also wept with sorrow – a human emotion, John 11: 35.

III. How was the humanity of Jesus a sinless humanity?

The goodness, the kindness and honesty of Jesus went beyond that of other human beings. Jesus was absolutely sinless. Some people object to the view that Jesus was completely human and sinless. They say that to be fully human would also include the ability to sin. This is completely wrong because it is only abnormal human beings that sin. In theological terms it is only a fallen human being that sins. Adam in the Garden was fully human yet without sin until the Fall.

True humanity is a sinless humanity.

There is never any hint that Jesus did anything wrong at any time.

Jesus claimed His own sinlessness.

“I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love” John 15: 10.

Pilate testified to the sinlessness of Christ. “I find no crime (fault) in Him” John 18: 38.

Paul refers to Jesus “He who knew no sin” 2 Corinthians 5: 21.

The author of Hebrews speaks of Jesus as “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” Hebrews 4: 15.

Also in Hebrews, Christ is “holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners,” Hebrews 7: 26.

Peter said “a lamb without blemish or spot” 1 Peter 1: 19.

and “He committed no sin” 1 Peter 2: 22.

John said “In Him there is no sin” 1 John 3: 5.

Christ’s true humanity was a sinless humanity. When the first Adam failed the second Adam was fully faithful. Adam failed in his temptation in Eden – he was only disallowed one thing. Christ succeeded in His temptation, a much more powerful temptation after having fasted 40 days. Let’s not say that the 40 days of Christ’s temptation were able to be borne by Christ because of who He was. He was entirely human and felt the same hunger pangs that you and I would feel. Jesus did not have super-human power to do extraordinary physical activities. His humanity was complete.

IV. Why was Jesus full humanity necessary?

A heresy that was creeping into the early church taught that Jesus’ humanity was not real. This heresy is known as docetism from Greek ‘dokeo’ which means to appear or to seem. It taught that Christ’s body was only apparently real but not fully real.

John wrote against this heresy “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist” 1 John 4: 2 – 3. To deny the full humanity of Christ is to deny a vital doctrine at the very heart of Christianity.

Fallen man needed a mediator who could represent us before God and also represent God to us. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men the man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim. 2: 5.

God speaks through Jesus the mediator between God and man.

Are we listening?

Have we been reconciled to God through the death of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ?

John Matthews