In recent research, it was discovered that the average Christian does not believe what the Bible says about Jesus.
Who do you believe Jesus actually is, why did He come, and what did He accomplish? You're not going to want to miss today. You might be surprised at what you hear. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. And understanding and believing the truth of who Jesus was and continues to be today is vital to our faith. In just a minute, our guest teacher, John Dickerson, will help us better grasp that. As he continues his new series, Jesus Loves Me, Essentials of the Christian Faith. But before he begins, let me encourage you to download our message notes. This tool has all the scripture he references, some notable fill-ins, and much more. We've also included some of John's specific insights to help you get the most out of this series. Get them under the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org.
Applesners tap fill-in notes. Well, here now is John with his message, The One True God. Well, hey, today we're talking about our belief in Jesus.
And the point of this series is, what do we actually need to believe about God to access the power of God through Jesus? I don't know if you've ever been to a car show or seen these concept cars. When I was a kid, I called them future cars.
I grew up in Michigan. I'm a big car guy. And every year it was my dream to go down to Detroit for this big event called the North American International Auto Show. And at this auto show, all the manufacturers will bring out their concept cars or their prototypes.
And here's one. This was actually designed for the Corvette back in the 80s. It would have been a mid-engine Corvette. I was reading an article recently that a number of these concept cars are going up for sale. GM and Ford are kind of clearing out some old warehouses, and they're selling these beautiful-looking concept cars. And here's the thing. If you were to buy this concept car, you might be really happy because it looks so pretty, but you might also be a little disappointed because a lot of these concept cars, they look really fast, but if you get inside them, you'll find that they don't actually have engines.
A lot of them would be just wheeled out by the team, and they would worry about engineering and engine and all that stuff later if it actually ended up becoming a production car. And I thought, what a symbol of Christianity, because there are places where there are buildings that have a steeple and a white cross at the top, but they don't seem to have the power of God inside of them. And there are people you and I have met who claim to be Christians, but they don't really show the power of God in their lives.
And so what we're asking today is a very simple question. What do you need to believe about Jesus to actually access his power? You know, when Jesus walked on this earth 2,000 years ago, he's a documented historic figure, lived around Jerusalem and the surrounding area.
It's a city and a region that are still there today. When Jesus walked on this earth, there were people who met him, but who did not experience his life-changing power. Then there were other people who met him, and they believed certain things about him that literally physically healed them or changed their identity, gave them power.
What was the difference between the people who believed and experienced his power and those who simply met him and didn't experience his power? The same is true today, just as much as Jesus healed the eyes of the blind and healed the lame and raised the dead when he physically walked on the earth. In our lifetime, I've seen Jesus set addicts free. I've seen Jesus set people free from broken relationships.
I've seen him change people from the inside out, and I've seen it first and foremost with myself, how he's radically transformed me. And so, where you want to experience the power of God, the power of Jesus in your life, what is it that you need to believe about Jesus to actually encounter that power? Well, who better to ask this question of than Jesus himself? In fact, we're going to see Jesus kind of ask this question to his closest followers, his 12 disciples, and here's how the true story goes, recorded in Matthew chapter 16. Jesus asked his disciples one day, who do people say the Son of Man is?
Now, the Son of Man was a title that Jesus often used to refer to himself. And at this point, Jesus has been doing miracles. Thousands of people are following him. Hundreds of thousands of people know who he is. He's a well-known figure, and everyone has different opinions. You know, some people would say, ah, he's kind of a magician, huckster.
I don't know how he does those miracles, but it's obviously not supernatural. There were other people who said, yeah, he's doing miracles, and he's probably a prophet from God. And then there were still other people who said, oh, he's not merely a prophet. He's actually God among us.
He's the Messiah figure, God in a human form to rescue humanity from all of its brokenness. And so, Jesus asks his closest disciples, who do you say, or who do people say that I am? Well, they answer, some say you're John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. And then Jesus has this moment where he looks them in the eyes, and he says, he says this, but what about you? Who do you say that I am?
And this is a moment that each of us come to in our lives. We hear about Jesus, and we learn a little more about him. And for some of you, today's the day where you're gonna decide for yourself, who do I say that Jesus is? Not who do your parents say, or what does the church believe, or what does your spouse say, but who do you say Jesus is? Who do you believe he is? Do you believe he's a fraud and a huckster? Do you believe he's maybe a prophet from God, but only human?
Or do you believe he's Almighty God, who became a human to save us and to rescue us? Well, if you're familiar with Jesus' closest disciples, there's an impulsive one named Peter. Peter gives us hope for all of our failures, because he messes up a lot, just like I do. And Peter blurts out an answer right away. Here's what he says in verse 16.
He answers, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Now, that word Christ meant so much to Peter and to those disciples. You see, they were part of a God-fearing movement who were looking forward to the Messiah. They knew these ancient prophecies in what we call the Old Testament of the Bible. That predicted that someday, the same God who made humanity would become a human and he would walk among us so that he could fix everything that's broken, all of our sins, all of our mistakes, the sins we've made personally that have separated us from God, and the sins of humanity like murder and war and rape and genocide and racism and greed and prejudice, that God would come down to fix all that. And he would be known as the Messiah or the Christ, which means the Messiah. So Peter answers, you're not just a prophet, you are God among us here to set us free. Now, Peter got a lot of answers wrong, so let's see if he got this one right. Jesus responds to Peter's answer and he says, blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. In other words, Peter, you have it right. I am from heaven, I am God in the flesh, and I am here on earth to save the world.
And here's our big idea, it's the answer to that question we asked today. Jesus is fully human and he's fully the one true God. You could say Jesus is the Christ, that's what this means, but since in our day and age, Christ is more often used as a profanity than anything else, we're gonna define it.
What does it actually mean? It's not Jesus' last name, it's a title about him, he's the Messiah, he's fully man, fully human, and fully the one true God. And the idea of this series is that if you were in a room by yourself or you're flying on an airplane and your neighbor next to you asks, what is Christianity, what do I need to believe, how do I access the power of God, that if you didn't have a Bible with you, you had no phone, no apps, no internet access, that you from your memory and from your heart could say, here's what Christianity is. And it's as simple as that children's song that we've named this series after, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. And what we're doing now is we're going through what each of those words mean, because that word Jesus has a lot of significance, it's not that he was just a prophet or a moral example or an inspirational teacher. Yes, his teachings are inspirational and they are an example to us, but he is almighty God, and that's why he can save us. So Jesus is fully God and fully man.
This card summarizes everything we'll learn in this series, he loves us, means he came into our world on a rescue mission, he died on the cross for our sins, and he rose from the dead. Me means that to receive that salvation, I need to have a moment in my life where I own my mistakes and I say, God, I need your salvation, I believe that. And where sin has corrupted me, I believe you can make me a new creation. This I know is about saying, I know I can't earn my salvation, but I know I've received that gift.
And then for the Bible tells me so, is this reality that to walk in the freedom and in the power of the Christian life, we make the word of God, the Bible, the standard for what we do and for what we believe. We can summarize this series with a verse from Romans chapter one, verse 16. It says, I am not ashamed of the gospel, and that word gospel is really what we're learning in this series, the good news. How do you kind of summarize the message of Jesus? I told you about a time in my life when I was still working as a news reporter and a journalist, and I was in New York City with a mentor, a person I really looked up to, and they said, John, why would you think about going and becoming a pastor? And this verse was really the reason I'm not ashamed of the gospel. There's some people who don't know Jesus who might laugh at me. They might not understand it, but I'm not ashamed of it.
Why? Because it's the very power of God. It's not just a religious system or a belief system or one of many ways. It is the one way to connect back to your creator, the very power source of the universe. And this gospel brings salvation. That is freedom from sin in this life and immortality and eternal life after this world, and that salvation is available to everyone who believes. But what do you need to believe? Well, when it comes to Jesus, we need to believe that he is God.
Your outline puts it this way. Number one of three things that kind of say the same thing a few different ways, is that Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah, or you could say the savior. Those words are all synonymous. He is God man.
That's a really modern way of saying it. He's the God man. And he came to earth to rescue us and to make us right with heaven. One of my challenges as I've prayed for all of you in this series is how do I take this and help us understand that this is not hypothetical.
This is not just like seminary stuff or big churchy words like divinity and Trinity. This is very real. This is very tangible. Crowds gathered around him. People pushed each other to try to touch him because they heard the stories of friends and relatives who were lame and who now could walk, who were dead and now were alive, who were blind and now could see. And crowds gathered around him and there was great controversy of who is this man?
This man who has such power and yet this man who is so gentle. This man who has no army and no political power and yet thousands of people follow him. This man who we now know 2,000 years later launched the largest movement in all of human history. Did you know that today one out of three people in the world identify as Christians? That is 2.2 billion people. To put that into context, the biggest celebrities on Instagram have about 100 million followers. Multiply their followers by 10, then multiply that by two and then add another 200 million.
That's how many followers Jesus has, not who just think he's a nice guy or want to see pictures of him on vacation, but who bow down and worship him as God. This is the most influential person in all of human history. And so the question of who do you believe Jesus is, is the most important question that you'll ever answer in your life. You see if it's all made up and he's not God, but you choose to believe that, what will be the end result?
Well, you'll live a more moral life and you'll have better relationships by following his example. But let's say that it's true that he actually is God. Let's say that his claims that he is the way, the truth and the life are true.
Well then the stakes are eternal. Belief in him either leads to an eternal life or an eternal death, either leads to eternity with God or separated from God. They're looking at this messianic, all powerful figure and they're saying, you know, what does it mean? Does he have to abide by our rules? Is he God?
What does this mean for us? And really that's what we're wrestling with when we say the word Jesus. Who do I believe that he is?
And for me, I've come to believe that he is this one true God, because there's no one else from 2000 years ago who has millions of followers today. You know, no one's following Julius Caesar today or Alexander the Great. I noticed as I traced human influence throughout history that most influential people, as soon as they die, their influence starts to go down.
Big celebrities from 100 years ago, kids today don't know their names, people like Buddy Abbott. Jesus lived 100 years ago times 20. And yet in every generation, his followers multiply.
Why is that? Because there's a power when you believe in Jesus. It's not just a thought system or a religion.
It taps into the very power grid of the universe. And people who believe in Jesus, like I have, we see such a transformation in ourselves, something more real than anything I ever saw as a news reporter. And we see it in ourselves. And it's so real that we give our lives to say, I got to tell other people about this.
And then other people experience it and they tell other people. And it has become the largest movement in all of human history, significantly larger than any other movement in all of human history. Jesus is the Christ fully God. Secondly, Jesus is fully human without sin. This is part of what it means to be the Messiah.
The Messiah had to be human and feel our pain. He knows the sting of emotional rejection. He knows what it is to be made fun of as a kid. He knows the pain of a splinter under a fingernail. He knows the salty warmth of tears on His face. He felt our pain.
He was one of us. Almighty God humbled Himself and took upon Him the form of a man. And He further humbled Himself by going to the cross.
We'll explore what that cross was and why it's the ultimate symbol of love. When we say Jesus loves me, we're talking about what He did on the cross. But to do that, He had to be God and He had to be man. Third, Jesus is the one true God within the Trinity. Now, you don't have to fully understand the Trinity to get this and you don't even have to memorize this little saying. Really, the gist of today is that Jesus is God, okay? But here's what's beautiful about everything in the Christian life and everything with Jesus. You only have to have a childlike faith to receive it. And a four-year-old can understand it.
But if you wanna go deeper, it just gets richer and richer and richer. And that's how it is with understanding the Trinity. But I'm gonna show you the significance of this here because there's errors on each side of this. And many of the people who God calls us to love who don't yet believe in Jesus, they fall on one side of this or the other. For example, there's people who would say, well, Jesus was only human.
I was one of those people for a while, okay? I thought, yeah, Jesus lived. He's probably a moral teacher. He's an inspirational example. But I didn't believe he was God.
And so I was not accessing his power. Now, I could imitate his teachings and have a slightly better life on earth by trying to be like him. But I didn't have any power to be like him because I didn't believe that he was God. So this would be the position of people who don't believe in the supernatural.
This is also the position of our friends and neighbors who are Muslims. The teachings of Islam say that Jesus was a religious figure, but he was just a prophet. He wasn't God. And in fact, for a devout Muslim, if you claim that Jesus was God, they're probably going to get a little upset because that would be heresy or blasphemy to them. So lots of people in the world who believe Jesus existed and was a good person, but not God. There's also people over here who have buildings that look like churches and churchy names, but they're missing the power of God because they believe that Jesus is a God. So maybe you've heard of Mormonism. It's called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Or maybe you've heard of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
These groups tend to come knocking on your doors. They look really, you know, traditional Christian. They'll have an old translation of the Bible and a tie-on. And they'll say, we believe Jesus is God and died on the cross for the sins of the world. And you think, oh, that sounds like what they say in church.
That sounds right to me. But if you get into it deeper, what they believe is that Jesus is a God. He's not the one true God. He's a God. And Satan's also a God. And if you work hard enough and pay enough money to the church, you too can become a God, which is ironically what Satan told Adam and Eve back in the garden. You can become like God.
And because they believe Jesus is a God, but not the one true God, they don't have the power of God that leads to salvation. Well, I don't know if you've ever heard the saying, a watershed issue. A watershed is very simply where water goes when the rain falls. You know, it runs downhill. Eventually it finds a creek. That creek runs downhill and finds a river and keeps going to find a lake. And eventually most water ends up back in the ocean. Well, there are places around the world where there's a divide, you know, like the top of a mountain. And if you were to drop a bucket of water there, one half of it will end up in one ocean and the other half will end up in the other.
So there's places all along this where within one square foot, it's a world of difference. And this is why our beliefs in Jesus are so important. If Jesus is just one God among many, then many of the things he said are not true and he doesn't have the power to save us. If Jesus is just a man and a good teacher but not God, he also doesn't have the power to save us. To experience the power of God that brings salvation, I must believe intellectually but then in my heart that Jesus is the one true God.
This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. And you've been listening to the first part of our guest teacher, Jon Dickerson's message, The One True God, from his series Jesus Loves Me. Chip and Jon will join us shortly to share some additional thoughts on what we've heard. Let me ask you, do you know the core beliefs of Christianity? Forget what churches, denominations or notable pastors say for a second.
What do God and his word actually state are the essential truths of the Christian faith? Well, in this 10-part study, author and pastor Jon Dickerson will help us discover what those are. By using the simple children's song, Jesus Loves Me, Jon reveals what these lyrics tell us about God, his love for us and the reliability of the Bible. So whether you're a new believer looking for guidance or you've been a Christian your whole life and need a refresher, this series will encourage you.
Learn more about Jon's teaching or his helpful resources by visiting LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, I'm joined in studio now by Chip, and Chip, this series from our friend Jon Dickerson really highlights the personal love God has for everyone. But I'm sure there are some people out there who feel unlovable, especially by God.
Now, what do you say to those people? Well, Dave, I don't know about other people, but in my own personal life, I have intellectually, I know God loves me, but I have struggled at times to experience that. And part of that I thought was going to come from some big emotional moment or maybe there's something I could experience that would change all that. And what I've learned over the years is that God's love is far more than an emotion. There's certainly a deep emotional component, but His love is expressed in loyalty, in faithfulness, in forgiveness, in who Jesus is and what Jesus did in preparing a place for me. And it wasn't until I learned the basics of the Christian life, I mean, I'll just use the word doctrine, if you will, the great truths, that all of a sudden, the intellectual knowledge begin to flow down into my heart in a way that I experience the faithfulness of God and the power of God and the acceptance of God and my identity in Christ. And we have a brand new resource that my friend John Dickerson wrote a book called Jesus Loves Me. And it's Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. And he took that little song and in phrase by phrase, he pours in, this is the theology behind that song. And then he walks you through, how do you experience the love of God? How is it that God has already loved us?
What has He done and who is He? And what I've learned is that if you want to experience the love of someone else, you need to know who they really are and what they've actually done for you. And this book, Jesus Loves Me by John Dickerson, my good young friend, is a resource that I highly recommend that you grab it, you read it, and then you share it with someone else. Thanks, Chip. To order your copy of John's book, go to livingontheedge.org. This resource will deepen your understanding of the Christian faith and give you the tools to encourage others to follow Jesus. So order yours today. And during the series, we've bundled John's book and his new online small group study together at a special discounted price. To take advantage, visit livingontheedge.org.
Atlas Nurse Taps special offers. Well, here again is Chip and John to share some application for what we heard today. Thanks so much, Dave.
And John, thanks for being back here in studio with me. And you know, as someone who studied the scriptures, just I loved your work on the theology of the humanity, the divinity of Christ. But what I loved even more for the world that we're living in, where you hear phrases like love is love and Jesus just being this sort of nice person. And yet you talked about things we actually need to know, understand and believe to experience the power of God.
Could you flesh that out? Why is theology so important? And what's the connection here with what we believe about who Jesus is and the power to actually overcome the biggest challenges in our life?
Yeah, Chip, what a great question. We do live in a world that's full of what I would call wishful thinking. You know, you'll hear people say you can do anything if you set your mind to it.
But the reality is, if you're four foot eight, you'll never play center in the NBA. There are certain limitations in life and we're in this world of just wishful thinking and I'm all for optimism. But there are certain realities in physics and in the physical world.
And there are also realities in the spiritual world. And the problem of a wishful thinking society is it could give the false idea that you can just take the parts of Jesus that you like and leave the parts that you don't like. The problem with that is that Jesus does not give us that option. He actually said, if you really hold to my teachings, then you're my disciples, and then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Those are Jesus' words. And so if we want to receive Jesus' power in our lives, we have to do it on his terms.
Now, we get this in other areas. We understand that if you have a job, you have to show up. You have certain terms.
You agree to work maybe at an hourly wage or at a salary and you agree to those terms and then the paycheck reflects those terms. Well, we can't earn our salvation. That's not at all what I'm saying. But what I'm saying is God has terms for receiving his free gift of salvation. God has terms for being made right with him through Jesus.
And the very first part of those terms is believing who is Jesus according to Jesus, that he's fully God, that he's fully human, and that he died on the cross for the sins of the world. So I'm so glad you're joining us for this series. And I can't wait to continue journeying with you as we learn the basics of the Christian beliefs.
Looking forward to it, John. As we wrap up, I wanted to thank those of you who make this program possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs, purchase airtime, and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. Now, if you've been blessed by the Ministry of Living on the Edge, would you consider sending a gift today? You can do that when you visit livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram map. And now you can text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141. We want you to know how much we appreciate your support. Well, until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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