Monday, December 24, 2007
WHY I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST
James S. Stewart tells of 2 English-men who met after many years. One as a sailor spent his life with famous sea captain, Sir Frances Drake. The other stayed home and had grown prosperous. As they chatted the rich man said, “You have not made much out of all these years.” “No, I’ve not made much. I’ve been cold, hungry, shipwrecked, desperately frightened often, but I’ve been with the greatest Captain who ever sailed the seas.”
How do you evaluate your life? Is it by the wealth you’ve accumulated? Or by the person you serve?
I have read Mark’s gospel where Peter reminds the Lord
Mark 10: 28 Peter began to tell Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.” 29 “I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, 30 who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come.
Peter does a fair thing. He asks the hard questions. As Christians we give up so much that the world counts important; we don’t live for fortune (we tithe and give to gospel ministries),
We don’t live for fame (if you are a Christian you won’t be known as one of the go-getters, being a go getter is so alien to the Lord’s own attitude Mark 10: 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”
We don’t live for the fleshly pursuits of pleasure, we deny ourselves and take up the cross to follow the Lord Jesus Christ,
We don’t live for influence and power, the servant of the Lord is more impressed with the Lord than himself.
But is it worth it all?
How do we know that Jesus is the Son of God come into our world to die for our sins? How do we know it is best to lay aside everything to follow the Lord Jesus Christ?
There is nothing more important for a person for the life that now is and for the life that is to come than a faith in Jesus Christ that is intelligent, clear and firm.
I. I Believe in Jesus Christ first of all because of the remarkable Fulfillment of His prophecies.
Jesus Christ was a prophet. He made some astounding predictions regarding the future. Predictions that seemed incredible and in some cases absurd, but which history has fulfilled to the letter. Take for example His prediction of a world-wide conquest by His disciples. Luk 19:41-44 41 As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “If you knew this day what [would bring]peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come on you when your enemies will build an embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Luk 21:20-24 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, 22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. 23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The Lord prophesied of things only God could know.
In the book of Isaiah the Lord demonstrates the truthfulness of Himself by saying that the fact that He fulfills what He prophecies sets Him apart from false prophets.:
Isaiah 44: I am the Lord, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth; 25 who destroys the omens of the false prophets and makes fools of diviners; who confounds the wise and makes their knowledge foolishness; 26 who confirms the message of His servant and fulfills the counsel of His messengers;
Prophet Phil Pringle. "I believe New Zealand is about to have in 2005 a revival that will eclipse any kind of revival it has ever had in the history of that nation. I believe by the power of the Holy Spirit New Zealand is about to have a touch from Heaven. A touch from Heaven and the finger of God is poised in the heavens. I see it I see lightening bolts coming out of the Long White Cloud. I see feet running through the streets to get to meetings. I see things happening that have never happened before people running to church in New Zealand. I see them running through the streets of Wellington. I see them running down and the wind is blowing. They are pushing against the wind they are trying to get to churches. There are people running in Auckland down Queen Street to get to church. People are running They are desperate, some are full of fear some are full of faith. But they are running to church. This is going to happen in New Zealand 1000's and 1000's of people running to church - running It's probably not ever happened in New Zealand before. Amen Here endeth that prophecy.”
I guess the difference between false prophets and the Lord is that the Lord’s prophecies come true.
II. I believe in Jesus Christ because of His Fulfilled Promises.
Jesus Christ was not only a prophet but a promiser. He made promises of a most extraordinary character, but promises the truth of which any man could test for himself, and all who have tested the promises have found them true.
E.g., Mat 11:28; “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Acts 1:8; But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
John 7:17. If anyone wants to do His will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God or if I am speaking on My own.
III. I believe in Jesus Christ, in the third place, because of the Character of His Laws.
It was the Philosopher Emanuel Kant who recognized that there could not be a moral principle in man without the Creator putting it there. The sense of oughtness, rightness, inside a person is a sense put there by God. The sense of conscience comes from a Creator who has instilled morality into mankind.
Romans 1:18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
The character of the Lord’s morality taught in the sermon on the mount reaches the pinnacle of what morality should be like, touching to the deep core of the human personality. No other moral teacher has understood the inner workings of the soul as did our Lord, displaying His divinity by that knowledge.
IV. I believe in Christ again because of the Way He Fits into and Fulfills all O.T. Types and Prophecies. What is Prophesied of the Messiah in the Old Testament.
1. His family. Jer 23:5-6 “The days are coming”—[this is]the Lord’s declaration—“when I will raise up a righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.
Jer 33:15-16 In those days and at that time I will cause a Branch of righteousness to sprout up for David, and He will administer justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is what she will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.
Of the family of David. He was to be born at a time when that family had been cut down and lost its glory.
2 State of family at His birth. Isa 53:2 He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.
Isa 11:1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
3. The time of His appearing. Gen 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, or the staff from between his feet, until He whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to Him.
Hag 2:7-9; Daniel 9:25 Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and 62 weeks. It will be rebuilt with a plaza and a moat, but in difficult times.
26 After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing.
4. The place. Mic 5:2. Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.
5. His nature.
(a) Divine. Mic 5:2; Psa 45:6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
Psa 110:1 The Lord declared to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
Psa 2:7 I will declare the Lord’s decree: He said to Me, “You are My Son;today I have become Your Father.
Isa 9:6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
(b) Human. Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him
6. His character.
(a) Meek. Isa 53:7. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.
(b) Gentle. Isa 32:3.
(c) Retiring. Avoiding notoriety. Isa 42:2. He will not cry out or shout or make His voice heard in the streets.
(d) Full of the Spirit. Isa 42:1 This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, [this is]My Chosen One; I delight in Him. I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.
Isa 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him— a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the • fear of the Lord.
(e) Persevering. Isa 42:4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged until He has established justice on earth. The islands will wait for His instruction.”
(f) Righteous and faithful. Isa 11:5 Righteousness and faithfulness will be a belt around His waist.
(g) Absolutely sinless. Isa 11:5, Isa 53:9 They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death,although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.
7. Manner of birth.
Born of a virgin. Isa 7:14 Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
8. How treated by men.
(a) Despised and rejected. Isa 53:3; Psa 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
(b) Kings of the earth, etc. Psa 22:3.
(c) Scourged, insulted, spit upon. Isa 50:6 I gave My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tore out My beard. I did not hide My face from scorn and spitting.[
(d) Sold for thirty pieces of silver. Zec 11:13 Throw it to the potter,” the Lord said to me—this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter.
(e) Details of His death. Isa 53:7-8. Killed. Zec 13:7 Sword, awake against My shepherd, against the man who is My associate— the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will also turn My hand against the little ones.
(a) Pierced. Isa 53:5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
Zec 12:10 Then I will pour out a spiritof grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn.
(2) Psa 22:14,17.
(3) Mocked while dying. Psa 22:7-8 Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:
8 “He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him; let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.”[
(4) Garments parted while dying. Psa 22:18 They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.[
(5) Given gall vinegar. Psa 69:21 Instead, they gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.[
(6) Made intercession for transgressors when He bore their sins. Isa 53:12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil, because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
(7) Heartbreaks. Psa 69:20; Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
(8) Numbered with transgressors, made His grave with wicked and with the rich. Isa 53:12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil ,because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
Isa 53:9 They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.
(f) His people will offer, etc., Psa 110:1,3 Your people will volunteer on Your day of battle
(g) His Resurrection. Isa 53:10-11; Yet the Lord was pleased to crush Him, and He made Him sick. When You make Him a restitution offering, He will see [His] seed, He will prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will succeed by His hand. 11 He will see [it] out of His anguish, and He will be satisfied with His knowledge. My righteous servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities.
Psa 16:10. For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see the • Pit
(h) Ascension and seating at the right hand of God. Psa 68:18 You ascended to the heights, taking away captives; You received gifts from people, even from the rebellious, so that the Lord God might live [there].
(i) Two advents.
(1) Once born as a man to be cut off. Mic 5:1-2; Dan 9:26 After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off
(2) Once coming in clouds. Dan 7:8, Dan 7:10, Dan 7:13-14 I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him.
14 He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.
Psa 2:8-9 Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance and the ends of the earth Your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron; You will shatter them like pottery.”
(j) His work.
(1) He should die in the place of others. Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:8 for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Isa 53:12 and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
(2) He should be made a guilt offering for sin.
(3) Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord, to glorify Him.
(4) To reign as king and to execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Character of His reign. Zec 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey
a. Eternally. Psa 45:6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
1 God, give Your justice to the king and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2 He will judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted ones with justice.
3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, and the hills, righteousness. 4 May he vindicate the afflicted among the people, help the poor,and crush the oppressor. 5 May he continue while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6 May he be like rain that falls on the cut grass, like spring showers that water the earth.7 May the righteous flourish in his days, and prosperity abound until the moon is no more.8 And may he rule from sea to sea and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.9 May desert tribes kneel before him and his enemies lick the dust.10 May the kings of Tarshish and the coasts and islands bring tribute, the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.11 And let all kings bow down to him, all nations serve him. 12 For he will rescue the poor who cry out and the afflicted who have no helper.13 He will have pity on the poor and helpless and save the lives of the poor. 14 He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious in his sight.
(5) A priest. Psa 110:4. The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back: “Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek.”
(6) A prophet. Deu 18:15-18 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.
16 This is what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’
17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well.
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.
(7) A light of the Gentiles. Isa 42:5 This is what God the Lord says— who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and life to those who walk on it— 6 “I, the Lord, have called you for a righteous [purpose],and I will hold you by your hand. I will keep you, and I make you a covenant for the people [and]a light to the nations, 7 in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, [and]those sitting in darkness from the prison house.
Isa 49:6 He says, “It is not enough for you to be My servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isa 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you.2 For look, darkness covers the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the Lord will shine over you, and His glory will appear over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your radiance.
Is Jesus of the New Testament this Prophesied Christ of the Old Testament?
V. I believe in Jesus Christ because of the Fact of His Resurrection.
VI. I believe in Jesus Christ because of the Uniqueness of His Claims and the Way in which He Substantiates Them.
His claim to be divine is substantiated by the miracles which He performed.
VII. I believe in Jesus Christ because of His Demonstrated Power to Save.
I believe that Jesus can save because He does save. I believe that Jesus can save because I have seen Him do it.
He has power to forgive sins.
He has power today to set Satan's victims free.
It is not necessary to go back to the miracles of Christ when upon earth to prove this. He has divine power. He exercises this power today and any one can test it.