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10/2/2021 - Being Right About Jesus

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2021 12:00 am

10/2/2021 - Being Right About Jesus

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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October 2, 2021 12:00 am

10/2/2021 - Being Right About Jesus by Truth for a New Generation

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TNG Radio, where today's culture and timeless truths come together. It's reasoned relevant content apologetics, worldview, and answers to the questions that you need to know. From Alex McFarland Ministries, this is Truth for a New Generation Radio. And now the man who preached in 50 states in 50 days, speaker, writer, and advocate for Christian apologetics, Dr. Alex McFarland. So how to be wrong about Jesus. But there's one way to be right about Jesus.

Hi, Alex McFarland here. Welcome to the program, another time that we're going to turn to the Biblical worldview, and we're going to talk about Jesus. And I'm very honored that you're listening. And I'm going to read a little bit in a moment from John chapter 3. And if you've got a Bible, turn to John 3.

But as you turn there and we talk about Jesus and how to be right, R-I-G-H-T. how to be correct about who Jesus is. I was watching an interview earlier today. There was a comedian who recently passed, Norm Macdonald.

Maybe you saw this famous comedian and movie actor, television star. He recently passed away, sadly. Interesting, because near the end of his life he indicated that he had become a Christian. I hope that's true, and in sharing this I'm not endorsing everything he said or believed.

I don't know that much about him. But near the end of his life, he had become very introspective, and over the past year I noticed whenever Norm Macdonald would appear on a show, he was less raucous comedian and more a voice of truth. He was a panelist on some show that was judging people's talents, and there was an aspiring comedian on who was just mocking Christianity, just very brazenly denying God and mocking the Bible, and everybody's having a big laugh. Well, it came time for Norm Macdonald to comment, and much to everybody's surprise, Norm Macdonald said to the comedian, you know, you really shouldn't make fun of Christianity. For one thing, it is the majority belief system on the entire planet, and certainly nobody would let you get by with mocking Islam or the beliefs of millions of other people, but for your information, Christianity is the majority belief system in the world. And the other thing is, said Norm Macdonald, there's great evidence for the Bible.

He was talking like a Christian apologist, and he said, you need to know this book and this belief system that you're mocking is validated by compelling lines of evidence. Well, everybody was just open-mouthed with surprise. I was watching another interview where Norm Macdonald was on a show, and of course nobody knew that he was dying of cancer, but they were saying, you know, what do you do for fun? You're rich.

You're famous. And he explained that sometimes he took all of his family members to Hawaii for a family reunion, but he began to explain that he didn't own a house. He didn't buy a lot of material goods, and he said he didn't like to own a lot of things because he felt like they were a burden. And the interviewers were very surprised. They were like, well, hey, you're rich. I mean, you can have any car you want.

You can have anything you want. And Norm Macdonald said, well, you know, life is not about acquiring things. I don't know exactly what he believed about everything. In one interview, he was talking to Larry King, the famous interviewer, and they were talking about God, and Macdonald said, of course, this is the most important thing in life is to arrive at the correct answer on the question of God. And Larry King, who I remember over the last thirty years, I would watch these interviews where he would interview Jerry Falwell or Billy Graham or Franklin Graham. I think Larry King was really searching, and I hope to the Lord that he found Jesus. But Norm Macdonald said to Larry King, there's a God-shaped hole in your soul.

There's this God-shaped vacuum in your heart and soul, and nothing but God can fill that. And I mean, that's what C.S. Lewis said. That's what Francis Schaeffer said. That's what Chuck Colson said.

Larry King says, what in the world does that mean? And Norm Macdonald said, well, if you've got something that no physical thing can satisfy, nothing in this world can fully fill the human heart. Because the heart and the soul is infinitely big, only something beyond this world can fill it.

That is God. And that's really true. And the reason I open up with all of this is because I think people are searching. You know, there was a German poet, Theodore Rettke, he was one of the most influential poets of the 20th century, and he said, in a dark time, the eye begins to see. Many believe, and I agree, we're living in dark times right now.

The Covids, quarantines, the mandates, the economy, immorality, open borders, the rights of citizens not being protected. We're living in tough times, and hopefully the epidemic and the pandemic and just the struggles and dangers of this world, maybe this dark time is prompting people to see, at least in the sense of thinking about God, thinking about their lives, thinking about their soul, their need for salvation. Now Jesus said in John 3 to Nicodemus, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. In other words, if you want to go to heaven, not hell, you must be born again. Now Nicodemus was a leader, a religious leader, and he had come under cover of night, perhaps he was afraid and embarrassed to be seen, but he comes, he says, Jesus, I know that you're a teacher sent from God.

Nobody could do the miracles you do unless God is with them. Jesus doesn't even address that. He says, look, you must be born again, and Jesus said, you know, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground, it can't grow up and bear a crop, and so if you understand these earthly things, you need to understand the heavenly things, that that which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. People not, don't be surprised that I say you must be born again. To everybody listening to this broadcast right now, I want to ask you, have you been born again?

The word is anothin, a-n-o-t-h-e-n, born from above. Now we're all physically born because here we are, our parents conceived us and our mother delivered us, and here we are. We've all been physically born, but Jesus says unless you've also been spiritually born, you won't go to heaven.

Very clear, unequivocally clear. How do you become spiritually born? How were you born from above, born again? Acts 3.19, Peter calls it converted, saved, redeemed. Well we're going to talk about that, and it's through trust in Christ.

We want to tell you how to do that. So stay tuned. We'll be back with more Truth For A New Generation just after this.

I know the year has been a hard one, one we don't like to forget. For the first time since the COVID shutdowns, it's the 2021 Truth For A New Generation National Apologetics Conference, Worldviews, The Battles You Must Win, featuring Dr. Alex McFarland, Dr. Frank Turek, Sandy Rios, and E.W. Jackson, talking about raising children to come to Christ and stay with Christ in the midst of the woke movement, critical race theory, and Marxism in America. October 15th through 17th in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, conference and concert by the Bird Songs.

TNG 2021, October 15th through 17th. Register at alexmcfarland.com. Where in the Word Are You? With Bill Campbell, inspiring your read through the Bible in 90 days. Okay, let's be honest. How do you view God? I mean, is He like some say the mean ogre type who just demands we follow His rules? Or is He the kind and loving one who just accepts us no matter what and loves us perfectly all the time?

Well, the answer is that that's a stupid question because God can't always get squished into our little boxes and caricatures. He is perfectly loving, but He's also like the fire that burns and keeps on burning away our misconceptions. He is holy. Join us to learn more. Where in the Word Are You? is produced by Scripture Awakening, inspiring you to read, study, and live God's Word. Learn more and donate at ScriptureAwakening.com. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. We're talking about being right about Jesus. You know, there are innumerable ways to be wrong about Jesus, but it's important that you be right about Jesus, that you understand He is the Son of God and He loves you. And Jesus knows you personally. He knows you by name, and He wants to be a part of your life. Christ cares about you. He wants to forgive you. He wants to bless you and guide you. The Bible says, Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for them that love Him. Jesus wants more for you, even more than you could want for yourself, but you have to come to Him the way that God says. Now God has laid out for us how we can have a relationship with Jesus, and we have to admit that we need Jesus. Starts with that. We have to admit that we're a sinner, and while God does love us, our sin, our guilt, our disobedience means that we really do deserve judgment.

We do. Let's be honest. We're all sinners. But you can be a forgiven sinner.

And Peter preached in Acts 3, verse 19. He says, Repent, be converted. Okay, repent means to turn. And part of it is really agreeing with God and saying, Lord, you're right, I am sinful. I am guilty.

I've known the right, and I've done the wrong. And Lord, I admit, your assessment of me is right, I'm guilty. So that's part of repentance. But it also includes turning from sin to Christ and saying, Lord, I'm going to depend on you for my forgiveness.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God. And when he died on that cross, and the punishment of sin, the guilt, the wrath, the fury of a holy God was poured on Jesus, you're saying, God, I admit, I deserved it. Christ took it for me, but it was me that deserved it. And I'm asking you to save me.

And if you put your faith in Jesus, and you ask him, he will forgive you. Now, many people these days are wrong about Jesus. I'm on a lot of interviews. I dialogue with a lot of people.

In fact, I was just in a high school. And one of the questions that somebody asked me was, how do we know Jesus existed? So the first way to be wrong about Jesus, the first way to be wrong about Jesus is to assume that he didn't exist.

And this is the position of many internet atheists, the ones who were influencing so many youth. They say Jesus didn't exist. Well, that's false, because Jesus ranks among the world's most well-documented lives. In fact, Will Durant, some say is the greatest historian who ever lived, certainly one of the greatest.

And I've talked many times about Will Durant. He said that if we reject the historical nature of Jesus, we'd also have to reject 100 other ancient figures, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, the evidences for which are not nearly as strong as those for Jesus. Clearly Jesus existed. Secondly, another way that people are wrong about Jesus, they say, well, he did exist, but he was only a good teacher and some moral leader.

Well, that's not one of the options that he leaves open to us. In other words, say these people Christ existed, but, quote, his main purpose was to set a moral example, to teach kindness or tolerance. But no, he claimed to be able to forgive sins, that's in Mark chapter 2. He claimed to be the I AM of the Old Testament in Mark chapter 14.

And so over and over, he set himself as being more than a teacher. In fact, in John chapter 5 verse 39, Christ famously said, search the scriptures, they testify of me. Can you imagine somebody saying, hey, you know the Bible?

I'm the subject of that book. That would be the height of presumption, unless it were true. And so Christ clearly posited that he was much more than a moral teacher. Thirdly, some people say, well, Jesus existed, but he didn't really claim to be God incarnate. Well, the theory is that his followers said this about him after he died.

So let's unpack this. Did Jesus really claim to be God? I mean, he certainly, he said things like this. He said, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who stone the prophets and kill those I had sent to you. Can you imagine a pious Jew of the first century saying, oh, you know all the Old Testament prophets?

I sent them. Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Jeremiah, they work for me. Well, who do the prophets work for?

God. And yet Jesus claimed that he had sent the prophets. In John 18, when he was before Pilate, he basically set forth his eternality and sovereignty. He said that he chose to come into the world. He indicated that he existed before time, and he said that his kingdom was the kingdom of heaven.

Amazing. A man who is just a teacher doesn't claim to be able to forgive sins, claim that he's the fulfillment of scripture, claim that the prophets work for him, claim that he existed before time and creation. But in fact, one of the most amazing statements of his deity is in Mark 14, 61-64, where two of the key passages about the Messiah, Exodus 3.14 and Daniel 7, the I AM, the eternal God, the Son, co-equal with the Father. He sets himself up as the fulfillment of those prophecies, and that's why the religious leaders tore their clothes, and they said, well, he's blasphemed. And so the New Testament is a historically reliable work.

It records Jesus' words and deeds in the New Testament. Now remember, the Gospels are universally acknowledged to be an accurate historical chronicle of Jesus. We see that repeatedly, Jesus did, yes, claim to be God incarnate. And his claims of divinity were what got him crucified.

I mean, they don't execute you for simply saying, love your neighbor. Well, in John 8.58, Jesus said, before Abraham was, I AM. Again, that enigmatic, amazing statement, I AM THAT I AM.

No pious Jew would have even uttered that, and yet Jesus attributed that to himself. Now when we come back, we're going to look at three other ways to be wrong about Jesus and then unpack how to be right about Jesus. Stay tuned.

We'll be back right after this. Have you ever wanted to raise your hand during a sermon? Well, here's your chance. Hi, Alex McFarland here from the nationally syndicated radio program, Exploring the Word. For more than 10 years, my co-host Bird Harper and I have taught Scripture and answered hundreds of Bible questions. We've compiled a brand new book of the top 100 Bible questions from listeners of all ages, from questions about supposed Bible contradictions to apologetics facts that prove the truths of Scripture. This new book features practical content that will make the Bible come alive for you.

Can we really be sure that God exists? Are there contradictions in the Bible? I need a book that will help me understand the Bible better. There's so much good content in this book.

One hundred Bible questions and answers published by Broad Street Publishers and available at your local bookstores and also through resources.afa.net. Are you tired of liberal agendas ruining our country, but you don't know what to do about it? That's why Truth and Liberty Coalition was founded. We want to equip you to take back our country and impact the world. Here's how we do it. We educate through broadcasts, conferences and our website with resources that inform, equip and motivate. We unify by collaborating with like-minded organizations like the Family Research Council, the Family Policy Alliance and My Faith Votes. We mobilize by providing practical tools you can use to impact your local community.

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Alex McFarland here, so honored that you're listening. We're talking about the ways people are often wrong about Jesus. And we said some people say he didn't exist, and other people say that he existed but he was only a teacher. Some say, well, he existed but he didn't claim to be God, the Savior. Well, the fourth way to be wrong about God, some think, well, maybe Jesus is some kind of God or higher spiritual power, but he really wasn't a normal human being. You know, that's part of the interesting thing about the incarnation of Christ, absolutely unique in world history, how God, the eternal God, enfleshed himself, took on a human body. Jesus was fully God, fully man, but not fallen man.

He was fully God, but he was able to be our Savior because he really did take on a human nature, but not a fallen, sinful human nature. Now some believe that because he is fully God, he wasn't fully human, and the assumption is that spiritual things are good, quote-unquote, yet humanity is bad, the body is bad. There was an ancient heresy in the early church called Docetism, that only Jesus appeared to be human, but he wasn't really human.

It's from a Greek word that means to seem or to appear. So this idea that Jesus was the spiritual God but not really a normal human is really kind of a modern rendering of an ancient heresy, and it crops up again and again. But another way to be wrong about Jesus, to assume that Jesus was God, deity, but a different God than the God of the Old Testament.

I hear this a lot of times, especially when I'm speaking to young people, and maybe they read this on a blog site or something, but they believe that the Old Testament Jehovah was a wrathful, vengeful deity. Jesus, however, represents a God of love. And really this bifurcation, if I could use that word, of the biblical presentation of God is really in a way tied to a denial of the Trinity.

Now there was an ancient false teacher named Sibelius who actually influenced the line that would lead to Muhammad, and Sibelius's false teachings were really some of the foundational groundwork for what would become Islam. But he taught that Jesus and the Father were different forms or modes of the being of God. But remember in John 14,9 Jesus said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. And so Jesus and the God of the Old Testament are not at odds with each other. Another way that people are wrong about Jesus, and listen very carefully, but some say that Jesus quote, became God. This is kind of a New Age take on Jesus.

The idea that the gospel is really about some secret knowledge that can propel you to godhood. And this goes back to the first century, something called Gnosticism, G-N-O-S-T-I-C-I-S-M, Gnosticism. One of the early Gnostic teachers was a guy named Marcion, M-A-R-C-I-O-N. Marcion lived around 85 to 160 AD.

A lot of history here, but Marcion was influenced by an ancient heretical teacher named Cerdo. Cerdo had taught this kind of dualism, that there are two forces forever in a dance in the universe, yin and yang, good and evil. And you know, nowadays I've even heard people say that they think, well maybe Satan has to exist as like some eternal counterpart to God.

No. Satan was Lucifer, an angel who fell, not eternal. Only God is eternal. But here's the thing, Jesus was not a human who became divine.

He was not carnal who became spiritual. Jesus, as John chapter 1 says, he's the logos, the word. And the word was with God and the word was God. And so it wasn't that Jesus quote, recognized and became deity. Jesus is forever. Hebrews chapter 13 says Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So how can we be right about Jesus? Well to be right about Jesus is to accept what he claimed for himself. To accept that he is the Savior who gave his life for you and for me. That he really is God incarnate, the most unique life that was ever lived, fully God and yet fully man.

It's amazing. You know, there was a missionary, Lou Nichols, he was an author and a missionary, and he wrote the following. He said, someone once observed that Longfellow could take a sheet of paper and write a poem and make it worth many thousands of dollars. Words on paper. This is talent.

Rockefeller could sign a piece of paper and that piece of paper would be worth millions. That's capital. A seamstress can take material worth five dollars and make it into clothing worth a hundred dollars. That's skill.

A merchant could buy an article for eighty cents, put it on the counter and with some markup sell it for over a dollar. That's business. But Lou Nichols wrote, only God can take a worthless sinful life, wash it, cleanse it, put his Holy Spirit within it, and make it a blessing to all humanity. That is salvation. And salvation is available to all who choose it. Do you know one of the things that's important to think about is that Jesus is not only the Savior who offers himself, Jesus is coming back. You know the Bible warns that in the last days there will be scoffers who say, you know, where is the promise of Christ's coming?

Well he is coming back, and Jesus said when he comes he will come quickly. And you won't be able to make ready then, it will be too late, but you can get ready right now, and you can be right about Jesus. And we often say this, and it's very true, Jesus is as close by as a prayer. If you need help in understanding what it means to know Christ, reach out to us.

You can email me, alex at alexmcfarland.com, go to our website alexmcfarland.com, I'd love to send you our little booklet that tens of thousands of people have gotten. What does God say about my relationship with him? We hope you're right about Jesus. Call out to him today. Bring him into your life. Make him your Savior. He's waiting to answer your prayer. That's P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404. While you're there, listen to Program Archives, read Alex's blog, invite Alex to speak at your event, or contact Alex with a question or comment. alexmcfarland.com. Thanks for listening today, and join us again next time as we bring you more truth for a new generation on TNG Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-15 03:19:21 / 2023-08-15 03:30:24 / 11

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