Frank Liu – Sunday, February 17, 2019
Download Frank’s PowerPoint Slides Here
This series is designed to take a look at the formalized declaration of faith. This creed is how the early church was able to distinguished Truth from Lies that are dressed as truth. This week, we are focusing on Jesus. What makes Christianity unique among faiths? Because it’s not necessarily built on a belief system as it is built on the person of Jesus – his birth, life, death, and resurrection.
The goal here is not only to teach through the apostle’s creed, but to memorize and learn it. You can view the whole creed here.
Not only is Jesus one of the most widely known names in the world, but opinions about him are often not neutral. In Mark 8:27-28, it says “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
People don’t ask who Sir Isaac Newton was really. People don’t ask the question of true identity of other figures because what you believe about Jesus will define the rest of your life. It matters who Jesus really was. His identity is critical for the gospel because the entire gospel rests on him. Other factions believed different things about Jesus, even shortly after he ascended to heaven.
- Ebionites – Jesus was an obedient Jew who became the Messiah
- Docetism – Jesus was not really a man, but seemed like he was
- Arianism – Jesus was of God, but not equal to God
- Gnostics -Jesus was God, but denied being born and having an actual physical body.
The creed says “And in Jesus Christ, God’s only son, our Lord” to address this identity question. Jesus is not only the son of God, but is God. Regardless of what you or the world says, Jesus believed he was God. C.S. Lewis said,
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” -C.S. Lewis
Whatever the world says about Him, Jesus says this about himself:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him” -John 8:56-59a
When Moses asked God his name, God replied “I Am” so when Jesus made that claim, he was calling himself God. Jesus saw himself as equal with God.
“I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” -John 10:30-33
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” -Titus 2:13
*bold added for emphasis
“Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”
Larry King was once asked if he could interview anyone in all of history and asked them one question, what would it be. Larry King replied that he would interview Jesus Christ and ask him if he was really born of a virgin, because that would define the world. It’s critical information. We are trained to not believe the impossible.
In Isaiah 7:14 there was a prophecy that said: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.”
This was also to give Jesus authority. In this time period, who your father was defined your occupation and idenity. In Luke 1:35, it says “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.”
The Blood Factor
Because everyone born is part of this sin nature, Jesus’ bloodline matters. In the medical world, there is an established fact that the mother’s blood never mixes with the fetus’ blood unless there is a miscarraige or abortion. The placenta and umbilical cord separates the mom’s blood from the baby’s blood. The Father provides all the necessary elements for the baby to produce blood.
Mary’s blood never touched Jesus’ blood – it was the Father’s blood. Jesus being born of a virgin matters because of the line of human sin. The Bible is a book of blood. For Jesus’ blood to redeem us, it had to be free of sin. In theology terms, this is called Hypostatic Union – BOTH fully God AND fully man. Not a mixing of them – both are distinct and united.
Origen of Alexandria compared this to pure iron being heated in fire. When you touch it, you experience the power of not only the pure iron, but also of the fire. It is both.