Monday, July 12, 2010

Whom do you worship?

As Christians, do my children know who it is they follow?

This week I've let that be the focus of our devotion time because I want to make sure they know where to go in the Bible to nail down a most important foundational truth.

I asked them if they know the difference between Jesus and God.

It took a moment before one of them giggled and said, “Mom! Jesus is God!”

Of course he knew that.  I’ve taught it all along.  But how often do we forget to make certain truths absolutely clear to our kids to a point where they know how to find that truth for themselves in the Scriptures?

There will come a day when my boys will go out into the world armed only with what foundational truth I’ve provided them.  They will face those who will try to water down the Gospel.  Those who will tell them, “Jesus was a teacher.  Jesus was a good man. Jesus was a prophet.”  Those who might even admit, “Jesus is the Son of God,” but stop there.  

Will my kids notice what was missing in those statements?  Can they defend the deity of Christ?

The truth that Christ is not just the Son of God, but one with the Father is our focus with my kids in our family bible study this week.

I started with a simple question.  Does it matter?  After all, those that follow Christ and don’t consider Him God, aren’t they still following Him?


How can you follow someone when you don’t know whom you are following?  

Christ is either God incarnate or not.  If He is (and of course, He is!) and someone doesn’t believe it, then the Christ they are following is not Christ at all, but a mere man.

I guess I picture us one day standing before the real Christ--the Son of God who is God Himself. If it's only then we recognize that He really is God, then we never really knew Him. Those who have denied Who He is will have to answer to Him.  They might say, “But all our lives we said, ‘Lord, Lord’.”  And He will answer, “Go away from Me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:22-23)

When the boys and I dug deep, we found some of these truths helpful and nailing down for us that Jesus is one and the same with our Father God...

Isaiah’s prophecy defines Christ as God:
Isaiah the prophet, over 500 years before Christ was born, prophesized Messiah declaring Him in no uncertain terms to not only be the Son of God, but God Himself.  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

John’s Prophecy defines Christ as the Word—and the Word is God:
In Revelation (19:13), John talks of the Christ coming down from the Heavens and defines Christ by saying, “His name is called the Word of God.”  So, in many places in the New Testament where it describes the Word becoming flesh, it’s speaking of Jesus.  John says, “The Word was God.”  (John 1:1)

The Pharisees Sought to Kill Jesus for His “Blasphemy” of Asserting He is God:
Jesus healed and then said, “Go, your sins are forgiven.” (several occurrences; Luke 5:23 is one example).  The Pharisees were angered because only God could forgive sins.  Jesus told them before Abraham he was the “I Am”. (John 8:58) The Pharisees accused Him of blasphemy, but Jesus didn’t deny his statements or actions.  If he was misunderstood, why not correct the misunderstanding and avoid the execution?

Thomas Called Jesus God
The disciple Thomas (the doubting Thomas) saw Jesus resurrected and exclaimed, “My God” (John 20:28) to Jesus.

We were Purchased with God's Blood
Paul explained how God purchased the Church with his own blood (Acts 20:28).

The biblical references settled what was already in our hearts. Christ is God.

But why is is so necessary for us that Christ IS God? Isn't it enough to just say Jesus is our Savior and not worry about connecting Who He is to God?

No that's not enough.

Think about why for our salvation, Christ has to be God:
  1. Christ’s deity is necessary for our salvation! The very meaning of being a Christian is to recognize the sinful nature of our souls. We needed a Savior to pay the price for sin. And nothing but a perfect sacrifice would do.  Only God Himself is perfect.  Not a human son of God who isn't one with Him.
  2. If Jesus wasn’t God, what kind of love would that show that the Father has for us?  If you stood at the street while your children were caught in a burning house and asked someone to run in for you, would that be love?  Did God send someone else into a burning house after us?  No. No one but God Himself would be adequate. As our Father, God lowered Himself enough to come down here and take the punishment for us.  That’s love.  Enough to save us.

The lesson was over and we went on with our day with deeper appreciation of Who Christ is. 

Then I had lunch with an old friend. This sweet brother in Christ told me the painful experience of having to go through divorce after his wife had cheated on him over and over. When he described the a awful moment when she was caught in her sin, tears came to his eyes. The evidence too great to deny. He had tried to forgive many times before, but this time the betrayal destroyed his trust in her completely. They both knew there was no turning back.  The marriage was over.

It was a moment when she walked through the door and he had the evidence from an investigator there in his hands.

She saw it and collapsed on the floor in a blood-curdling scream, “Nooooooooooo!”  The scream wasn’t a plea.  She knew his character and that she had been given her last chance.  He no longer trusted her.  Too late. Over. Final. She left the house into the emptiness of no further relationship with him.

To hear the description of her scream made me shiver, but not just for her.  I never met the poor woman.  The tear was for others—for an image I had in my heart.  An image of billions of souls standing before Jesus on that day knowing that they had denied him for so long that it was too late.  No turning back.  Each scream will be hundreds times worse than the woman who betrayed her husband.  I cry now for those individuals and stop to remind myself, who is it we worship?