This is Darren Kuhn with the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we search the ancient paths to find ways that God brings light into a dark world and helps set men free from the struggles that we all face on a day to day basis. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it. But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network.
This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?
I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.
For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. I've entitled tonight's message, Is Jesus Really God? And so I want all of us tonight, whether you've been a believer for 50 years or whether you're still considering all these things about Jesus, I want you to think about this question. Is Jesus really God? I contend that that is the question of the ages, and it's the greatest question that everyone will have to consider in this lifetime, exactly who is Jesus. So why does everyone have to think about who Jesus is? Well, think about the impact that this one man has had in this world with history. Do we not date our calendars B.C. or A.D. based on the fact that Jesus entered time and space about 2,000 years ago? In nearly everyone in the world, most countries celebrate his birth around Christmas time. So no matter how much effort a man puts into not thinking about Jesus, his name is difficult to avoid.
Would you agree with that? Alistair McGrath in his book Understanding Jesus writes, The challenge posed to every succeeding generation by the New Testament witness to Jesus is not so much what did he teach, but who is he? And what is his relevance for us? When Jesus was sent into the world, notice that he was sent. It was if God was saying, here I am, put me on the operating table, open me up, examine me, seek for yourself, who am I?
And that's what we're going to do tonight. We're going to put Jesus on the operating table and examine him. Now, in the Gospel of Luke, as we've already mentioned, we have an orderly and accurate account from which we should all be able to make a reasonable decision about this question, Is Jesus really God? In chapters 1 through 4, we've already learned several truths upon which we can base our faith. Remember, it's a reasonable faith. First, remember we've acknowledged the validity of fulfilled prophecy, particularly as it relates to the supernatural birth of Jesus. And this is, listen, this is overwhelming proof that the Bible is trustworthy. If it's written in the Bible, you can believe it because it's God's Word. Moreover, we have Luke's testimony that this virgin birth actually happened. I have no doubt that he certainly, when he was doing his research, interviewed Mary, the mother of Jesus. So you really have to decide, men, first and foremost, if the virgin birth really happened. You have to decide if you believe that.
And if you don't, I would argue that is a huge red flag. By the way, the Apostles' Creed says, I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. No one should ever recite the Apostles' Creed if you don't really believe it. And if you don't really believe it, reciting it makes absolutely no difference in terms of your salvation.
You're just going along with the crowd. And I'm convinced that's what happens in most churches who stick to that tradition of reciting the Apostles' Creed. Most people are reciting it in unison with everybody that's sitting around them, and they're not really giving it much thought if they really believe every word in the Apostles' Creed, which all comes straight from the Bible. The virgin birth is a very critical truth in answering this question. Is Jesus really God?
Why is this so important? Because the virgin birth preserves the truth that Jesus is both fully God and fully man at the same time. Jesus, as we know, was physically born in a human body that He received from Mary. However, His eternal and holy nature was always His from eternity past. Remember, He was sent into the world. He came into the world already holy when He was born. In other words, He did not receive a sinful nature from Joseph for the simple reason that Joseph was not his father. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. God was his Father. Thus, Jesus has no sin nature.
Are you with me on that? Hebrews 7.26 points to Jesus' holiness and declares, such a high priest meets our need, one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Jesus, men, was born of the virgin Mary. And I contend that you have to believe that it's a category A item if you ever want to see heaven.
It begins with the virgin birth. And tonight, we're going to establish beyond a shadow of doubt. My goal tonight is to really make sure that you know and believe that Jesus is God. And so to do this, we're going to make Jesus, ask Him if He will clear several hurdles. And the virgin birth is the first hurdle.
He's cleared that. But I want us to examine four additional hurdles that Jesus must clear in order to be truly God. And this brings us, by the way, to chapter 5 where we see Jesus calling His first disciples, Peter, James, and John.
Three common fishermen. And He's going to go on and call nine more ordinary men to follow Him. And we're going to see in the coming months that His goal is to reveal Himself to these twelve, that is to prove to them who He is, because once He departs, think about it, Christianity rests on their shoulders. So His objective, when you get to Luke chapter 4 verse 51, it says that Jesus turns south and He heads towards Jerusalem. And so He is headed there because what is awaiting Him?
A cross. And He's going to only have a little bit more time with His men, and He's got to prove to them beyond a shadow of doubt that He is God, He is Emmanuel, God with us. And so right here in Luke chapter 5, Jesus begins what is known as His Galilean ministry. I mean, I wasn't really aware of this, but He spent the majority of those first three years around the Sea of Galilee where He was performing miracles, and He was teaching, and then He begins to head towards Jerusalem when you get to Luke chapter 10, which will begin next week. And so in Luke chapter 5, this is where we begin to put Jesus to this test.
In other words, we're going to lay Him out on the operating table and examine Him. You see, there are certain things, men, that only God can do. Let me give you four of them. And these are four hurdles, men, that Jesus has to clear. And I would argue that if He just clears one, He's God.
But I'm going to show you tonight that He clears all four. First, only God, this is in your outline, only God can forgive sins. Would you agree with that? Only God has the power to raise the dead back to life. Only God has power over creation, over nature. And only God possesses divine glory.
So I want us to look at each one of these in that order. First, only God can forgive sins. Now right here I want you to make sure that you're in Luke chapter 5, and I want us to read verses 17 through 26 together.
Are you with me? Alright, beginning with verse 17. Remember, Luke has given us this orderly account. And Luke writes, One day, Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there.
They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. And when these men could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd right in front of Jesus. Now can y'all imagine? Imagine that you're in a room. Jesus is there. Rumors have gone all over Galilee about this man who performs miracles. And the house is packed. And all of a sudden there's a disturbance overhead, and everybody looks up and they see these four men lowering their friend who's paralyzed down on the mat.
Just think about someone who's got ALS. That's the kind of person that landed right there at the feet of Jesus. And when Jesus saw the fate of those four, look at this. He says when he saw their fate, he said, Friend, your sins are forgiven.
You catch this in verse 21. The Pharisees and teachers of the law began thinking to themselves. They weren't speaking out loud.
They were thinking this. Who is this fellow? You think they respected him? Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?
They got that part right. Verse 22. Jesus knew what they were thinking. So here's another subtle inference that this is God that we're dealing with. Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?
Which is easier to say? Your sins are forgiven or to say, Get up and walk? But then he says with great authority, But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. So he looked at the paralyzed man and he said, I want to tell you, get up, take your mat and go home. And notice that he immediately stood up in front of them all, took what he'd been lying on and went home praising God. Verse 26. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.
They were filled with awe and said, We have seen remarkable things today. So guys, I'm not the brightest man in the world, but right here we have an eyewitness account from Luke. You have to decide if you trust a doctor who's a historian to go around and write an accurate and orderly account. And that's what we have in Luke. Plus he was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he was writing the Gospel of Luke. And he gives us an account that this man literally was paralyzed and was healed. We know that only God has power to heal. The fact that Jesus healed this man proves he has both the power to heal, thus he has the authority to forgive. So what does this mean for you and me?
I'll tell you what it means for me. If I want to be saved and know that my sins are forgiven, I want to come to this one who has the authority to forgive sins. And that's why when I was a young buck, I mean really young, I came to Jesus and asked Him to forgive me for my sins. And just like that paralyzed man, He'll set you free so that you can walk as a new creation in Christ.
That's what God wants for each one of us. I put forth that Jesus has cleared this first hurdle and has the authority to forgive sins. Thus, He must be God, because only God can forgive sins.
That's the second hurdle. Only God has the power to raise the dead back to life. Now here I want you to flip over to Luke 7. We're going to look at verses 11-17. Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a large crowd went along with Him. As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out, the only son of His mother, and she was a widow.
So here she's lost her husband, now she's lost her only son. And a large crowd from the town was with her. Have you ever noticed that when a young person dies, the funerals are just packed?
It was packed that day. When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her, and He said, don't cry. That's what I love about Jesus.
He's got compassion for us, man. Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, young man, I say to you, get up. Then the Scripture testifies that the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Again, they were all filled with awe and praise God. Then they said this, a great prophet has appeared among us.
God has come to help us. This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea, as you can imagine, and the surrounding country. So to get something wrong here, well, He was a great prophet, but He was more than a prophet, because no prophet has the power to raise the dead back to life.
Only God can raise the dead back to life. Therefore, Jesus must be God, because He did it. And to give you one other example, take your Bible and turn to John 11. Flip over to John 11, okay? Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
Chapter 11. When you get to John 11, Jesus is nearing the... He's getting very close to the crucifixion. As you remember, John 13 is the Last Supper, and that begins the last week of His life. So right here is in Bethany, a little town near Jerusalem, because one of His dear friends, Lazarus, has died and He's been lying in a tomb for four days, so He is obviously very dead. Lazarus' two sisters, Mary and Martha, are mourning the loss of their brother when Jesus finally shows up. If you're familiar with the story, they sent word to Him three days earlier, and He actually could have come sooner, but He waited.
I think He wanted to make sure that everybody knew this man was dead, so there would be no doubt. And in verse 21, Martha says to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now, God will give you whatever you ask. And Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. And Martha answered, is probably the way we would have answered, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. And then Jesus said something to her men in verse 25 that we should all listen to. Probably no greater words have ever come out of His mouth. Verse 25, He said, I am the resurrection and the light.
Notice He said, I am. That's God's name from the Old Testament. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
Do you believe this man? And then it says that Jesus made His way over to the tomb where Lazarus was lying there. And the tombs were built into the side of a rocky cliff.
I've actually been to Jerusalem and seen the place where supposedly Jesus was buried and it's just in the side of a cliff. It's rocky and they dig out a place and inside there's a little room with a stone table. And Lazarus is behind that stone and Jesus says, take the stone away.
And they say, don't remove the stone because it's going to smell. He's been dead for four days and Jesus says, with great authority, take the stone away. And once they've done that, Jesus just says three words, Lazarus, come out. Now some people said He said His name because if He said come out, everybody in the cemetery would have come out. But He identified Lazarus. He said Lazarus, come out. And all of a sudden, Lazarus is standing there.
You can almost see him. He comes out and he's still wrapped up in his grave cloths like a cocoon and he's got a cloth over his face. Can you imagine what the crowd must have thought? And there were Pharisees present. Did you know those Pharisees, after they witnessed this, plotted all the more to kill Jesus and they said, we've got to get rid of Lazarus too.
Can you imagine? So men, do you believe this? Do you believe that this is a historical account that actually happened when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? I do.
I don't take any great credit for that. The faith that I have, God has given me. But I've never doubted that story ever since I read it the first time when I was probably a teenager. So you must decide, first of all men, if you truly believe the Bible and then you have to decide if you really believe in Jesus.
And I warn you that your eternal destiny hangs in the balance with that decision. So we've seen these first two hurdles. And now we want to go to the third hurdle. He's forgiven sinners. He's raised the dead back to life. And the third hurdle is this.
Only God has power over creation. It turned back to Luke 8. We'll look at four verses here.
Are you all tracking along with me? I'm looking forward to next week when we get to do one chapter. Luke 8, verse 22. One day, Jesus said to His disciples, Let us go over to the other side of the lake. So they got into a boat and set out.
As they sailed, He fell asleep. And a squall came down on the lake so that the boat was being swamped and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him saying, Master, Master, we're going to drown.
What did Jesus do? He says, the Scripture says that He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters. And then it says, and the storm subsided and all was calm. And then He looked at those men in that boat and said, Where is your faith? In fear and amazement, they asked one another, Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water and they obey Him.
This is Jesus. Are you in a storm? You're going through a transition in your life that's difficult. You're facing some kind of medical issue. You're having difficulty in your marriage.
You're having a difficult time finding the right job for your career. Let Jesus get in your boat with you. All He's got to do is say the Word and He can calm the storm in your life. Notice here that the disciples are still trying to figure out who Jesus is. And this explains why Jesus spent three years with them.
Because He was poured into these twelve because He knew that the future church and the success of Christianity was going to rest on their soldiers when He departed their shoulders. Are you still trying to figure out who Jesus is? Jesus, I contend, is Emmanuel God with us? Now, if these three hurdles aren't enough, I want us to take a look at what I think sometimes we gloss over and it's probably the most important hurdle of all.
And that is this. Only God contains within Himself divine glory. Look at Luke chapter 9 verse 28. We're going to look at the account of the transfiguration. About eight days after Jesus said this, Peter, John, and James with Him and went up on a mountain to pray.
As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor talking with Jesus. And what were they talking about? They spoke about His departure. I'm sure they were talking about His upcoming arrest, scourging, crucifixion, resurrection, and then the ascension.
So they're standing there talking. Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. And Peter and his disciples, Peter and his companions, James and John, they fell asleep. But now they are awakened. And it says they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him.
As the men were leaving, He opened His mouth too quick. Pastor, it's good for us to be here. Let us put three shelters up. One for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. And it says He didn't know what He was talking about. Verse 34, while He was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them. And they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came from the cloud saying, This is My Son whom I have chosen.
Listen to Him. So man, here's Jesus. He's transformed into His divine glory. The glory that He had before He entered this world. And I would argue the glory that He has right now in heaven. He's glorious. He's full of divine glory. He exudes glory. That's why in Revelation 1, when He appears to John on the island of Patmos, John fell down as though he were dead.
Because no human being can look at the glory of God and live. Hebrews 1-3 confirms this truth. The Son is the radiance of God's glory.
And catch this. And the exact representation of His being sustaining all things by His powerful Word. The rod of Hebrews is confirming that Jesus is the exact representation of God's being.
He really is Emmanuel. God with us. Now the question I want to answer here before I go to one last passage is, Why did Jesus pick this particular moment to reveal Himself in His glory to Peter, James, and John?
Well I would argue for two reasons. First, Peter, James, and John are the three leaders of the twelve. And he wants to make sure that the three leaders understand who He is. That He is God in the flesh. He also wants to anchor their faith. Because as we've been saying, He's now getting ahead towards Jerusalem. And they're going to witness Him arrested and scourged. And then they're going to see Him hanging on a cross.
And their faith is going to be sorely tested. And He wanted them to have this image of Jesus in His glory before they saw Him hanging on a cross. And so He takes His time to take these three leaders up on this mountain and He reveals His glory to them. And the disciples, by the way, men, never forgot what happened on that day. In fact, Peter, in 2 Peter 1 verses 16-18, He testifies. Again, this is another eye witness here from Peter. He says, We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But we were eye witnesses of what? His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the majestic glory saying, This is My Son who I love. With Him I am well pleased. And then Peter writes, We ourselves heard this voice that came from the mountain when we were with Him on the sacred mountain.
And when God spoke to His Son during the Transfiguration, He said, This is My Son whom I have chosen. Listen to Him. So let me ask you, Are you listening?
Does He have your attention? Do you really believe? One last text. I want you to turn to John chapter 10.
And I'm going to conclude with this. In John chapter 10, Jesus is in Jerusalem. I'm going to be looking at verses 22 and following. Jesus is in Jerusalem. It's during the feast of dedication. And the Jews, and when it says the Jews, I'm in verse 24.
The Jews refers to these religious Pharisees and Sadducees and scribes. And they gathered around Him saying, How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. And then Jesus answered, listen to what He says, I did tell you, but you do not believe.
The miracles I do in My Father's name speak for Me. But you do not believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice.
I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all.
No one can snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one. And when it said that, it says the Jews, they picked up stones to try to kill Him. Now guys, a lot of ministers today, particularly of the progressive liberal nature, claim that Jesus never claimed to be God.
Well that's interesting. Because right here it says, We're not stoning you for any of these, replied the Jews, for blasphemy because you, a mere man, claim to be God. Do you all see that? Jesus did claim to be God. And then verse 37, He says, Do not believe Me. Listen, I believe He was still trying to get them to believe. Because He loved the Pharisees.
They got under His skin, but He loved them. And He said, Do not believe Me unless I do what My Father does in verse 37. But if I do it, even though you do not believe Me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father. So guys, here's the bottom line. You've got to decide if you believe.
He's jumped over five hurdles. Jesus was born of a virgin. He proved His authority to forgive your sins by healing a man. He proved His power over creation by calming the storm. He raised multiple people back to life from the dead including His close friend Lazarus and revealed His divine glory as testified by both Luke and Peter. So what's the relevance for us today?
Well, here's what it is. If Jesus really is God, then the only way you will ever get to heaven is if you come to Him, because He is God. In fact, in John 14.6, Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well.
From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him. So men, Jesus is God. I'll go to my grave believing that and I'll rest my case on that. That's where I stand.
Where do you stand? Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Lord, Your Word is true.
We know it's true to God because we have seen the evidence of fulfilled prophecy. And Lord, we know that Your Word is God-breathed, that You literally have given it to us through these men who wrote the New Testament so that we might have accurate historical accounts that You perform these miracles and therefore we can believe not just the miracles, but we can believe in You. And so I pray that tonight, if there's a man here who has not placed his trust in You, that he will do so before he falls asleep tonight. Jesus, we love You, we need You, and we invite You into our hearts. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. ...to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. This is the Truth Network.
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