Question; “What Does the Word of God Have to Say About What Christianity Is All about?” (07/25/2014)
1 – Jesus is God
“Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 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.” (Jesus claimed to be God – see below #1)
2 – The Bible Is about Jesus
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (The Bible is about Jesus – see below #2)
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
First, we need to realize that the writer here is quoting Psalm 40:7, as well as stating it’s current application even as it related to the sacrificial system; thus indicating that this Scripture has fulfillment in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, as the passage has meaning concerning both the Old and New Covenants (Hebrews 8:13), indicating that Jesus is preeminent in both the Old and New Testament.
Psalm 40: 7 has always been understood to be a Messianic Psalm referring to the Messiah.
Whereas the writer of the book of Hebrews indicates how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Hebrew Messiah.
In the English this text seems somewhat straightforward, though many misunderstand the use of the word “volume” thinking it means the amount of space concerning what is written; yet this is not what it means, it has greater significance than even this misunderstanding.
The word that is translated into the English word “volume” in the Greek is kephalis, which holds great significance in understanding this passage.
At the time it was written, the Hebrew Holy Scriptures were long manuscripts which we commonly refer to as scrolls which were rolled up due to their massive length (Codices, synonymous with our ideas of a book with individual pages that were held together by a binder were not yet prevalent).
In order to handle the scroll without damaging it, and to aid in reading the scroll, the Hebrews used two kephalis, which were wooden rods that would be placed at the end of each side of the scroll, in order to facilitate the reading of the scroll by simply unrolling the kephalis on the left, and rolling up the kephalis on the right (Remember, Hebrew was read from the right to left).
The kephalis was what held the Scripture together and made it functional – readable, while at the same time protecting the scroll itself.
It would be somewhat synonymous with our current understanding of what bindings on books are meant to do.
Jesus Holds Together the Word of God, He is the Basis of Everything in It
The point that this Scripture is making is that Jesus holds together God’s Word and presents it in such a way that it is readable, understandable, and protected – Jesus in essence is the foundation and the mortar that holds the pages of God’s word together concerning its subject matter – which is Jesus Himself.
3 – Definition of the Gospel
1 Corinthians 15:1-3
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 ~ By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 ~ For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 ~ And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”
Means: “good news”
From a primary word σῶς sōs̄ (contraction for the obsolete σάος saos, “safe”); to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): – heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.
Hypothetical: “I would love it if I could fly” – Hypothetical “if I could be any animal, I would want to be an eagle”
This is the gospel –
1) Jesus ~ died for our sins – according to the Scripture
2) he was buried
3) he rose the third day – according to Scripture
“According to Scripture” is sandwiched, it is the beginning and ending of the gospel.
You cannot separate the Bible from the gospel – the good news – and the good news is what Christianity is:
Christianity is faith in believing that it is a fact that Christ died for our sins – according to the Scripture.
And was resurrected on the third day as He said He would – proving up the validity of what he said (Jesus prophesied that He would rise in three days #3) – with the authorization that God was behind it all – only God could resurrect the dead – and everything was done according to the Scripture.
Christianity is about Christ
Not man or his salvation – salvation is secondary to the fact that God is preeminent and is to be our focus, not us and our own happiness.
Happiness is taken the word “happen,” things that happen us.
“It is the outward occurrences that affect our life.”
We do not live to be happy, we live to please the Lord.
4 – Pleasing God Only Possible by Faith
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God“
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
5 – Jesus Our Example – He Only Pleased God
This is an Old Testament prophecy fulfilled by Christ and quoted by Matthew.
“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.”
This passage is the Greek translation of the Hebrew prophecy of Isa. 42:1-4 regarding the Messiah as pleasing God.
When Jesus was baptized (Mark 1:11 & Luke 3:22) – God the Father speaking from heaven stating that Jesus always pleased Him.
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:7 & Luke 9:35 & 2 Peter 1:17) – God the Father speaking from heaven stating that Jesus always pleased Him.
“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”
Jesus comments concerning Himself as always pleasing the Father.
“And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”
6 – Faith Comes from the Bible
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The Source of Faith
Biblical faith is to be grounded upon the foundation of God’s Word, wherein as a person reads the Bible, and the Holy Spirit opens their spiritual eyes to perceive that which is laid out:
~ Wherein prophecies given in one testament, are fulfilled in another,
~ Wherein prophecies given within the Bible, and fulfilled since it’s closing,
~ Wherein Scientific and natural insights which were once considered taboo, have caught up with the Bible proving that it’s insight is beyond human insight,
~ Wherein uncovering wisdom that is written between its pages, which are far beyond the capacity of a human being to write;
All of this leading to the conclusion that this book was not written by man, but by a God that is outside of our time domain, who can see the ending from the beginning; who is all-powerful, and in total control of His creation.
1 Peter 1:23
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
“Trusting commitment of one person to another, particularly of a person to God. Faith is the central concept of Christianity. One may be called a Christian only if one has faith.“
Our English word ‘faith’ comes from the Latin fides, as developed through the Old French words fei and feid. In Middle English (1150-1475) ‘faith’ was replaced by a word that eventually evolved into ‘belief.’
Faith came to mean ‘loyalty to a person to whom one is bound by promise or duty.’
Faith was fidelity. ‘Belief’ came to be distinguished from faith as an intellectual process having to do with the acceptance of a proposition.
The verb form of ‘faith’ dropped out of English usage toward the end of the sixteenth century.“ (Holman Bible Dictionary)
“Faith” Every believer has a measure of faith; perfect for God’s individual plan for each of us. Romans 12:3
The ABCs of faith
Biblical faith can best be seen in the acronym, the ABCs of faith which is:
“Action based upon Belief, sustained by Confidence”
From the Outside
This would be how we perceive action as it is displayed by a believer, first observing the action which was generated based upon a belief that was held with the greatest conviction which we refer to as his confidence as found from a thorough examination of God’s word, the Bible.
A believer approaches biblical faith first as an exercise of belief, wherein after an examination of God’s word confidence is added to this belief regarding what God has said, all of which produces a way of thinking that motivates a change of actions due to this new adherents to biblical faith.
From the experiential aspect it might be more easily stated that biblical faith is seen as:
“Faith is Believing what God has said in His Word, due to the Confidence it has earned,
to the point that Actions are effected.”
And we know that repeated actions become behavior – hence faith actions are the behavior of a Believer – a Christian
7 – Christianity Defined
Christianity comes from the word Christian.
The word Christian is a word made up of two words, “Christ” and “ian.”
“ian” is a suffix, meaning it is attached to a word which indicates that those individuals referred to, are followers the preceding word, which in this case is Christ.
Christianity is made up of those individuals that follow Christ, who preach the Gospel, the good news that salvation was available to those that followed him, who were Christians, and that the gospel is the belief that Christ was crucified for our sins – according to the Scripture, was buried, and was resurrected the third day according to the Scripture.
You can’t separate Christ and Christianity, you can’t separate salvation from the gospel, and you cannot separate the fact that Christ died for sins and rose the third day from salvation, and you cannot separate faith from salvation, as well as you cannot separate salvation from the Word of God – the Bible.
It all works together, or it all falls apart.
1. Jesus’ Claim of Deity as the Son of God
Jesus made many claims in regard to being Divine, the Son of God Incarnate; we will look at two of these passages.
There are many other issues which display His belief that He was divine, such as the titles He used for Himself which were titles used of deity, His claim of sinlessness, His posture of superiority to the Pharisees, who He refused to cow down to.
He orchestrates worship of Himself, such as a Triumphal Entry, and the healings wherein He receives worship, and the fact that He seated within Himself the power to forgive sins – who does that, except God?
First, Mark 14:60-62, which occurs at Jesus’ trial, when He was asked by the High Priests (Which according to the Torah, a suspect had to answer, therefore Jesus had to answer as a suspect. Jesus went through 6 trials [See Endnote # 2 ], 3 secular and 3 religious, and only twice did He give an answer, once in fulfillment of the Torah when the High Priest demanded an answer, and once when the secular judge Pilate, based upon Roman law demanded an answer), if He was the Messiah (the “Christ”), the Son of God.
The text states:
“And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (KJV)
The second passage we will address is probably one of the most dramatic dialogues Jesus held with the Pharisees wherein Jesus claimed Divinity as the Son of God; as recorded in John 8:12-47, which states:
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” (KJV)
Jesus also made seven “I AM,” statements, which the Jews understood to be an allusion that Jesus was using to indicate He was God, the one speaking from the “Burning Bush” as seen in Exodus 3:14, which states:
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (KJV).
Jesus used this “I Am” statement many times, such as John 8:28:
“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he [“he” is not in the original text, it is added by the translators thinking it was needed], and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”
And to make sure that He was referencing Exodus 3:14, Jesus said in John 8:58,
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
Jesus left no ambiguity in connecting Himself to the “I AM” statements, therein claiming Deity (The 7 “I AM” statement are recorded in: John 6:35; John 8:12; John 10:7; John 10:11; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 15:1)
“Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 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 10:24-33)
Please also see: John 10:25-33; John 5:17-18; John 5:23-24; John 8:12-47; Mark 2:5-7, John 14:1; John 14:6, John 14:8-11; John 20:28-29; John 5:39; Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44-46.
2. The Bible is about Jesus
God’s Word, the Bible is ALL about Jesus as recorded in the following Scripture:
Hebrews 10:7 ~
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
John 5:39 ~
“you search the Scriptures for and then you think you have life, it is these that speak of me.”
Matthew 5:18 ~
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Luke 24:27 ~
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Acts 8:35 ~
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture [Isaiah 53:7], and preached unto him Jesus.”
Acts 26:22-23 ~
“Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”
Acts 28:23 ~
“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.”
Romans 1:1-3 ~
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
Hebrews 1:1-3 ~
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
Matthew 24:35 ~
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
3. Scriptures where Christ prophesied of His crucifixion and rising in three days.
Matthew 16:21 ~ From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Matthew 17:23 ~ And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Matthew 20:19 ~ And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
Matthew 27:64 ~ Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
Mark 9:31 ~ For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
Mark 10:34 ~ And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
Luke 9:22 ~ Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
Luke 13:32 ~ And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
Luke 18:33 ~ And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
Luke 24:7 ~ Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
Luke 24:21 ~ But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Luke 24:46 ~ And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
John 2:1 ~ And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
Acts 2:15 ~ For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Acts 10:40 ~ Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
Acts 27:19 ~ And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
1 Corinthians 15:4 ~ And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Revelation 8:12 ~ And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
Revelation 9:15 ~ And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
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