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Name Above All Names #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2024 12:00 am

Name Above All Names #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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April 16, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. It is our joy to continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word. Today Don is continuing with the second part of a message we started last time.

So let's get right to it. Open your Bible as we join Don now in The Truth Pulpit. God says to him in verse 12, Now, finally we get to the point about Jesus having the name of God and coming to this, but I wanted to set the context there. Verse 13, look at what Moses says. Moses said to God, You say that God has sent you. What is his name?

What shall I say to them? What is the nomenclature that I use that is uniquely set apart to identify you, O God? And in verse 14, God says to Moses, I am who I am.

And he said, say this to the people of Israel, I am has sent me to you. The self-existent God, Yahweh. I am who I am. I am the self-existent God of the universe. That's my name. You go and tell them that.

They ask you that question. You say, I am has sent you. That is my name. That is the unique name of the true God. This is the divine name. Now, just think about a name for a moment, just the concept of a name. Beloved, a person's name represents his identity.

It sets him apart. I am, the name I am, identified God with an exclusivity that precluded all other gods. Now, with that in mind, with that in mind, as we consider the deity of Christ and the lordship of Christ, now turn to John chapter 8 with that foundation laid.

John chapter 8 beginning in verse 52. Once again, once again the Jews are contradicting Christ, challenging him. Notice that the most righteous and the most true teacher who ever walked on the face of the earth was met with opposition, with contradiction, and with those who considered him to be a demon.

The mere fact of opposition doesn't say anything about whether someone is a righteous teacher or not. Now, in verse 52, the Jews said to him, now remember they're talking to the eternal son of God, the one who made their brains, the one who gave them life, the one who established their people. These selfsame Jews say to their maker, say to God in human flesh, now we know that you have a demon. They said they looked at Christ and concluded that he had a demon.

Unbelievable. Verse 52, continuing on, Abraham died as did the prophets, yet you say if anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham who died and the prophets died?

Who do you make yourself out to be? Notice that very critical question there in verse 53. The identity of Christ, who he truly is, is the question on the table.

That is the issue in play, and you must see that to understand what follows. They want to know who Christ is claiming to be, and the dialogue that follows unfolds his answer to them. Jesus answered in verse 54, if I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my father who glorifies me, of whom you say he is our God, but you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I keep his word. Jesus says, I truly know God the Father, and you don't.

If I said I didn't, I'd be a liar like you. The level of confrontation with his critics is astonishing by modern standards. This is totally wrong by 21st century standards. You should never make a point about truth.

We should all get along. Christ looks at them and says, you do not know God, and you are liars. Now in verse 55, he said that. In verse 56, he goes on to say, your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day.

He saw it and was glad. He said, Abraham saw my day 2,000 years ago. And the Jews, again, contradict and challenge him, speaking to Christ when he was in his early 30s at that time. And the Jews said to him, you are not yet 50 years old, and have you seen Abraham?

There's a dripping condescension and contempt for his words and what they say. And yet Jesus does not back down. Jesus does not apologize to them. They had challenged him on what he had just said about Abraham. And rather than backing down, rather than apologizing for the conflict and saying, guys, I'm sorry, let's just get along.

Let's go have a cup of tea together. Jesus made a more daring assertion. The stronger the challenge, the stronger Christ responded. He made a more daring assertion because, as we're about to see, he claimed the name of the God of the Old Testament as his own. Verse 58, look at it there with me. Jesus said to them, truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

The grammar of it, the juxtaposition of verb tenses makes this very awkward in one sense. Something really significant is being stated here. Jesus didn't say, before Abraham was, I was. He could have said it like that, but he says, I am. It is a clear, undiminished assertion of deity. He claimed the name of the God of the Old Testament for himself.

And so Jesus, watch this, beloved, he didn't simply claim that he was superior to Abraham, as if he was a higher-class prophet than he was, but like Abraham himself, Jesus took the sacred name of divine revelation, of divine self-revelation, and applied it to himself. You and I would never say that unless we were completely demented or demon-possessed. None of us, I'm trying to speak very carefully here, none of us, knowing the divine name I am, would look to that and appropriate and apply it to ourselves.

We know better. The fear of God, if anything else, would forbid us from saying such a thing. And yet Jesus had no qualms about taking that name, saying, I existed before Abraham, I am.

He applies the divine name to himself. The Jews understood the claim. That's why we read in verse 59, they picked up stones to throw at him. They were going to stone him because in their mind he had just committed blasphemy because he was claiming equality with God.

You must die for saying that. But it wasn't blasphemy, it was simply a self-disclosure of eternal God in human flesh. He has the name of God.

Notice these claims that are starting to stack up. Any one of them, beloved, and by the time we're done on Sunday we'll have looked at seven things like this, any one of these would be sufficient in and of themselves to establish the deity of Christ beyond any question, beyond refutation, to the revelation given by the Spirit through the apostle John, to the believing heart, any one of these alone, standing alone, is sufficient. But when you stack them one upon another upon another, you are led to this overwhelming conclusion, this unavoidable recognition that Thomas had when he saw him, resurrected in front of him, my Lord and my God. Understand that my Lord and my God is the place that John is leading you to in his gospel.

And as these things are stacked up, our conviction is driven deeper and deeper and deeper. When we see Jesus Christ, when we contemplate him as he is revealed in Scripture, we look at him and we say, my Lord and my God. The world may reject him, my family may reject him, but not me. My Lord, my God, personal appropriation, personal faith in him. It is not enough for you to be born into a Christian family. It is not enough for you to simply become a member of a church. You must personally receive Christ, you must personally yield to him with an act of your will, recognizing him and submitting to him as he is revealed in Scripture.

And part of the way that the Spirit of God leads you to that conclusion is seeing this mountain, this Mount Everest, this Pikes Peak of biblical truth piled on top of one another. The Bible calls him God. Jesus does the works of God. Jesus has the name of God. As we're going to see in our fourth point in just a moment, Jesus has full unity with God the Father.

That's our fourth point for this evening. Jesus has full unity with God the Father. But before we go into that, I want to make this pastoral application to each one of you here. You know, we're all accountable for the truth that we hear.

And the more truth that we receive, the more accountable we are. When Scripture comes to you with such great clarity and shows that the Bible calls Jesus God, and that Jesus does the works of God. And last time, if you weren't here, we went through seven different miracles that Jesus performed that only God could do, including raising the dead. He does the works of God. He manifested it. He displayed it in front of many witnesses. He himself was raised from the dead. And here he has the name of God.

And you start to pull these things together, and you just realize that there is no excuse. There is no excuse for anyone to reject him. There is no excuse for anyone to fail to bend the knee before him. And we're only halfway through. And so our accountability in this room is great.

And what we do with this knowledge is great. It does no good to call him Lord, Jesus says in Luke 6 46. He says, why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? Enough of the hypocrisy, in other words, Christ says.

Don't honor me with your lips, and then refuse your life to me. The one who says I've come to know him and does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. And so there is this deep, profound application that goes to the core of who every one of us is, and at the very center of our being, in the very depths of our unseen soul, we have to answer the question, who is Jesus of Nazareth?

Who is he, and how are you related to him? Do you know him from the depth of your heart? Do you respond to Christ from the depth of your heart saying my Lord and my God?

Or is this some kind of show to you, something that you grew up with maybe, something that whatever other motives you might have that pertain to men, no, no. This truth of Scripture comes to us so that we would apprehend, understand, recognize Christ by faith, and yield to him personally, receiving him and resting in him by faith alone for your salvation. Well, let's look at this fourth and final point that we have for this evening. Jesus has full unity with God the Father, and we'll explain what we mean by that. Let's turn over to John chapter 10 for a moment.

John chapter 10. Jesus is of one essence with God the Father. There is a single undivided essence that belongs to the Godhead alone.

The Father, the Son, and the Spirit share equally in the fullness of that essence. Now, we read about this and we see this explained, and I want to start in verse 19, I guess, actually verse 18. We come back again to the fact that Christ came into the world in order to lay his life down for sinners. He came to give his life a ransom for many. He came not to be served, but to serve, Matthew 20-28, and to give his life a ransom for many. And he says in verse 17, he says, For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.

I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again, this charge I have received from my Father. Understand that Jesus went willingly to the cross. There are those who think the idea of blood atonement is a manifestation of child abuse.

You'll see people saying that. It's child abuse for God the Father to punish his Son, much less to punish him for the sins of others. Well, to say something like that is simply to say that you're not a Christian. It's to deny the centrality of the biblical atonement and the work of Christ. And what Christ says, and what is in part the answer to that false theology, is that Christ did this voluntarily. Christ did this as sovereign God, as sovereign over his own soul, as sovereign over his own life, and he willingly did it. I don't know where the perverse idea comes from to talk about the atonement as a form of divine child abuse, cosmic child abuse. No, this is the most glorious act of self-sacrifice willingly done by Christ out of love for his people to secure their eternal redemption. He willingly laid down his life. Now, in verse 19, there was again a division among the Jews because of these words.

And they go back to the same old trope. Many of them said, he has a demon and it's insane. Why listen to him? Others said, these are not the words of one who was oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? And that sets the context for this section of Scripture that shows that Jesus has full unity with God the Father. Look at verse 22. At that time, the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem.

It was winter and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, how long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. Now look, that's not a sincere question.

That's not an honest request for information. As we have already seen in our brief survey, he's been saying all along, he's been teaching them all along that he's God in human flesh. He's manifested it by the signs that he's done and by the self-assertions that they've made.

This is not a request for information. This is hardened unbelief. And you can see that as well by the way that Jesus responds to them. In verse 25, Jesus answered them, I told you, and you do not believe. You don't need more information. I've already answered you many times.

The problem is not a lack of information. The problem is that you do not believe. And he says, the works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me. He says, I claim the name of God. I do his works before you. It should be obvious to you who I am.

I've been saying this all along. Verse 26, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. You're dead in your sins. You're outside the kingdom of God. That's why you don't believe. It's not any failure on the part of Christ.

It's something about you. It's in you that you don't believe. And that's the same thing true today. People don't believe because of darkness in them, not because the revelation of Christ is unclear.

Verse 27 says, my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they will follow me. I give them eternal life. Look at that.

Look at that. What an astonishing claim. This is something that only eternal God in human flesh could say. Only someone who is Lord of Eternity has the ability to give eternal life. And Jesus doesn't simply say that the Father gives eternal life.

He says, I do. It is a claim of possessing eternity himself. He says, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. I share his essence.

We are perfectly united. There is nothing about God the Father in his essence that I do not have. Everything that God has, I have. We share the essence of God together. Now, this is an assertion of full, undiminished, uncreated deity. Jesus gives eternal life.

No one snatches his people from his hands. That's what the Father does. That's what Jesus does. The Father and the Son are perfectly united in will, in power, and in action, and they are united like that because they share a single essence. For Jesus to be one with God is an assertion and expression of his complete deity. Now, this is not simply someone saying this 2,000 years later and putting his own spin on it. Once again, we see from the context of Scripture that the Jews understood exactly what he was saying. In verse 31, the Jews again picked up stones again to stone him. And Jesus answered them, I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of them are you going to stone me?

In other words, everything I've done is good. In another place, he says, which one of you convicts me of sin? No one could answer. There was no lies found in his mouth, no deception, no unrighteousness found in him. They could not righteously stone him for anything that he had done. And they knew that. The Jews knew that. And look at how they respond with how it fits within the theme of what we're speaking here, how to know Jesus is Lord.

The Jews answered him, It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God. They rightly understood Christ. They understood the claim that he was making.

They did not believe it, but they understood the claim that he was making. He was claiming to be God in human flesh, and therefore they were going to stone him for blasphemy. And so we see this over and over again in the Gospel of John. We saw it in John 5, we saw it in John 8, we see it in John 10. Jesus makes these claims. The Jews understood.

He was claiming deity, and they tried to stone him to put him to death for making a claim like that. The thing for you and I to see is not the actions of the Jews, but the self-assertion of deity that Christ was making throughout. Ultimately, you and I have to come to a point of decision. We have to decide what we believe for ourselves about Christ. Look over at Matthew chapter 16, and with this we'll close. Matthew 16, I've pointed to this in the past.

I never get tired of pointing to this. The fact, the mere fact that there is controversy around the person of Christ does not mean that the teaching is unclear. The mere fact that there is disagreement among men about the teaching of Christ does not mean that the teaching is unclear or that there is no conclusion that can be rightly drawn. Out on the suggestion, and you see this so clearly in Matthew 16, and the question, beloved, the question that is going to be the climax of this passage that we're about to read is the question that each one of you have to answer for yourself. And you have to answer it not before men, not before a pastor, not before your spouse or your children. You have to, as it were, you have to go alone into the throne room of God and answer for yourself, who is this Christ? And you have to answer it for yourself. You cannot delegate to someone else the responsibility for it. You cannot rely on someone else's confession to make the answer for you.

And you cannot excuse yourself from deciding simply because so many people have a different opinion. Each one of you, beloved, are responsible before Christ to answer for this evidence that is laid before you, this testimony from Christ directly to your soul through His Word applied to your heart by the Holy Spirit. No one can avoid, no one can avoid, what am I going to do with this Jesus?

Verse 13 of Matthew 16. Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, who do people say that the Son of Man is? What's the word on the street? What are they saying at the coffee shop? What are they saying at the camel stables about me?

What do people say? He's drawing the disciples out. He didn't need new information that He didn't have. He's drawing the disciples out. He's setting up something here. And notice, beloved, what they say. They said, well, some say that you're John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. And others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

Do you see it, beloved? See the greater principle beyond simply the wrong identities that were being ascribed to Christ. The greater principle here is that there was conflict amongst the opinions of men about who Jesus Christ was.

There was no agreement in the world about who He was. Now does that mean that it was so hopelessly confused that no one could know? Were the arguments among men, the confusion among men, was that a barrier to true belief in Christ?

Does that mean that no one can know the truth? Does it mean that we're wasting our time having spent weeks on declaring the lordship and deity of Christ to you? Is this all a waste of time? Because once you walk out of the church, there's going to be all kinds of people who disagree. Are we just wasting our time here? And are we at the mercy of the disagreements of men simply to continue walking in darkness and having no light in our souls?

Is that it? Is that the reality that God appointed for His people? I love how our blessed Lord cuts through all of the fog, disregards all of the fallen opinions of men, and addresses the question directly to the disciples. Verse 15, He said to them, but notice the contrast here.

Okay, okay, those are the opinions of the world, but let's talk about something else. He sets aside all of that confusion and crystallizes the question for the disciples, and He calls them to make a confession and commitment of faith that is personal based on their own conclusions that are independent of the opinions of men. Verse 15, who do you say that I am? Who do you say that I am?

Obviously, the fact that there were disagreements in the street had nothing to do with the exercise of personal faith. Christ, as it were, I'm speaking somewhat metaphorically here, Christ is calling them out of the world with that question. You're in the world and this is what you've been hearing. Now, you step out of the world and you tell me who you say that I am. You've got to step out. You cannot stay in the world and have the approval of men and belong to Christ.

You have to choose. Who do you say that I am? Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are eternal God in human flesh. And Jesus answered him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

He says, Simon, you didn't come to this through your own superior intellect. My Father has opened your mind to understand these things. Christ puts the question forth. Peter sets aside every excuse that the world would give him to waffle, refuses and rejects, and steps courageously out of the world and says, I'll tell you what I think. I think you're the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus says, Bingo. That's exactly right. That is who I am, Peter.

You are the privileged recipient of divine favor to be able to make that confession. Now, beloved, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed in the intervening 2,000 years. There are always going to be people. There are going to be far more people than not who give us false views of Christ, give us false views of his teaching, give us false views of his person and of his work. There are always going to be groups if Christ delays another 2,000 years. There'll be other groups like Mormons, other groups like Jehovah's Witnesses. There'll probably still be a perverse institution called the Roman Catholic Church leading billions of people astray. And there are always going to be people saying, you know, it's just so confusing we can't make up our minds. It's always going to be that way.

It's always been that way. And it will be until the return of Christ. And Jesus says, okay, but what about you? The only correct answer, the one that I ask if it's in your heart, is the exact same simple, clear answer that Thomas gave when he saw the resurrected Christ. He saw him in the flesh. You see him in the Word. The Spirit of God comes to you and says to the deepest part of your heart, who do you say that Jesus is? Beloved, I pray that for every one of you from the depths of your heart, you say my Lord and my God.

Let's pray together. Lord, we see in the examples of the Jews and the Gospels that there were always opponents to your ministry, always opponents to your person. They weren't content until you were dead. And yet, you call men out from the world. You call them out of false doctrine. You call them to decide for themselves, who do you say that I am? Father, may everyone under the sound of my voice now and into the future hear these things of Christ, what Scripture says about you, your works, your name, your unity with God. May the Spirit of God work through the Word to bring each one to that confession of faith. Yes, I am a sinner, lost and under judgment and deserving the full wrath of God. But you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

You are the one who laid down your life by your own authority. You took my sin into your body on the cross and suffered the penalty on my behalf. You are my Lord and my God.

Father, may that be the confession of each one. And may you fling the Gospel of Christ to every corner of the world. May you fling the Gospel of Christ into future generations.

May this triumphant confession of faith, Jesus of Nazareth, is the Christ, the Son of the living God. May you continue as you've been doing for 2,000 years upon the rock of that confession, O God, to build your church. And may the gates of hell never prevail against it. And Father, may we not be frightened by those who would threaten us, those who would intimidate us. May we not be frightened by the smoke of death rising up from the gates of hell as we battle against them. Father, may we be strengthened by the knowledge that you are with us, to keep us, to protect us, to provide for us, to keep us in your hand that we would never be lost. Help us to that end, to maintain the good confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Father, as we do our part in the brief days that you give to us, Father, may the gates of hell never prevail against us as we commit ourselves into your care. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, thank you for joining us for yet another podcast from The Truth Pulpit. And we wanted to let you know that in addition to these audio resources that you are enjoying, that there are also written resources from my ministry. The Lord has given us opportunity to put some of the things that I've taught over the years in print. And I have one book in particular that I would want to call your attention to. It's the most popular book that I've published so far called Trusting God in Trying Times. It's a book born out of deep personal sorrow and is brought into context, you might say, through the Word of God. How to trust God when you are going through the deepest valleys and the most sorrowful things in life How do you trust God through those times when you can't see your way forward?

I've been there, my friend. And the book Trusting God in Trying Times speaks to that spiritual experience in the life of the believer. You can find all of my books at thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Just click on the link there.

You'll find links to different books and you will find that they take you to an easy place to purchase them for your reading enjoyment. So thank you once again for joining us on The Truth Pulpit. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-16 04:56:53 / 2024-04-16 05:09:33 / 13

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