Why Believe In Jesus Christ?

Why Believe In Jesus Christ?

Chapter Six

Why Believe In Jesus Christ?
No Man Like This Man! 76 The Answer To Man's Dreams! 82
The Initiating Love Of God! 77 The 'Personalism' Of Jesus 83
The Master Teacher 78 Symbolic Meaning Of Jesus' Genealogy 84
The Amazing Miracle Worker! 79 One In Christ Jesus! 85
The Day Death Died! 80 Discussion Questions 86
The Greatest Catcher Of Men's Hearts! 81    

Colossians 1:13-17

No Man Like This Man!

Many who have testified of a personal experience of God have spoken of 'God' in terms of Jesus. Those who seem to 'know' God best are those who speak most often of Jesus. Christians claim that the greatest fact of Reality is this: What Jesus was as a human, God has always been eternally! Doubtless the eternal God is more than the human Jesus, but God is no less than Jesus! Christians claim that Jesus was God in human form! Jesus gives God a face! When one sees Jesus, he sees God! These are startling claims!

Testifies E. Stanley Jones: "In the Congo when those in charge were about to pull up the idol from the idol-pit, the people fell back terror-stricken. They cried: 'If we look on the face of "our father," we will die.'" "But," continues Jones, "as we look on the face of 'Our Father' in the person of Jesus, then we do not die, but live! We see God not terrible but tender, not forbidding but forgiving. We see in Jesus God as He is–really is!… God is like Jesus in character. Transfer every characteristic of character from Jesus to God, and you do not lower your estimate of God–you heighten it… Jesus is God simplified, God approachable, God understandable, God lovable." (Word Became Flesh; E. Stanley Jones; pg. 24, 37)

"There is a picture of a face of Jesus surrounded by dark clouds. Apart from Jesus there are dark clouds of mystery surrounding God. But in the midst of these clouds I see that one dear Face. We smile at the boy who when asked by his mother what he was doing replied: 'I'm drawing a picture of God.' 'But no one knows what God is like, I said the mother. 'They will when I get finished,' said the boy with finality. All attempts to tell or draw what God is like are childish. Except one–Jesus!" (Ibid; pg. 48)

Why believe in Jesus Christ? Because Jesus is believable! Jesus is believable because His unique claims were backed by His unique life and teachings, and ultimately by His victory over death!

Why believe in Jesus? For at least five reasons. Using a series of rhyming words, it can be said: (1) No man ever sought like this man. (2) No man ever taught like this man. (3) No man ever wrought like this man. (4) No man ever fought like this man. (5) No man ever caught like this man. We must look at Jesus' life in view of these five wonderful facts.

"God, because You are infinite and I am finite, I need a visible, approachable God! I need a forgiving God, not a forbidding God! I need a tender God, not a terrible God! I need a God who has lived with mankind and who understands mankind! If Jesus is God, I need Him! Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Jesus' claims are unique! If they are true, He is the greatest personality in History! I will honestly examine His claims!

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Luke 15:1-7

The Initiating Love Of God!

First, no man ever sought like this Man. Who could ever imagine that God, in human flesh, would actually take the initiative to seek out sinful man! No other religion besides Christianity teaches that God, through Christ, actually stepped down to rescue lost mankind! "I have sought thy nearness, with all my heart I called thee, and going out to meet thee, I found thee coming toward me." (Springs of Devotion; pg. 13) Draw near to God, and He draws nearer to you!

But Jesus' seeking love seeks even those who are running from God! This initiating love of God is movingly portrayed in Francis Thompson's 'Hound of Heaven.'

"I fled Him down the nights and down the days: 
I fled Him down the arches of the years; 
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways 
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears 
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
But with unhurrying chase, 
And unperturbed pace, 
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, 
They beat - and a Voice beat 
More instant than the feet - 
'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

And then there comes the time when the fugitive was beaten.

"Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke! 
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me, 
And smitten to my knee, 
I am defenseless utterly."

And then there comes the end:

"Halts me by that footfall; 
Is my gloom, after all, 
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly? 
'Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, 
I am He Whom thou seekest! 
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me!'"

(Quoted by Barclay in Romans; Daily Study Bible; pg. 165-166)

Jesus is like the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep and goes into the wilderness to go after the one sheep which is lost, until He finds it (Luke 15:4).

"O, thou 'Hound of Heaven,' you loved me when I was loveless; You sought me when I was lost; You cared for me when I was indifferent; You pursued me when I was running away from Life. Thank you for hounding me with such Love! Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Religion is the record of Man's proud attempts to reach God; Christianity is the story of God's loving pursuit of sinful Man!

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Matthew 7:24-29

The Master Teacher

Second, no man ever taught like this Man. Jesus was a Master Teacher. Jesus adapted His teaching to His audience. He was direct, simple, and forceful in His teaching. Step by step He introduced truth in the most interesting way. The crowds followed Him to hear Him. He masterfully used illustrations and parables. He allowed men to think for themselves. He stimulated thinking rather than offering pat answers.

He taught openly. "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret." (John 18:20)

Jesus taught authoritatively. "The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:28-29) No second-hand pronouncements of tradition, or quotations from ancient Rabbis, but rather firsthand declarations of the bedrock facts of Reality! Jesus came straight from God and He spoke directly about God. Who better knew about God than He who had dwelt eternally with God!

Jesus' teaching was authoritative because of its source. Said "I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father taught me." 8:28) "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me." 7:16)

Jesus taught uniquely. Jesus taught that He Himself had brought the Kingdom of God (the Rule of God) to a present reality! "The Kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:21)

Jesus taught compassionately. At the heart of Jesus' teaching was the flame of holy love. Jesus was moved with compassion as He looked at the multitudes who were wandering as sheep with no shepherd.

No man ever taught like Jesus, for Jesus taught His followers to call God 'Father.' Because of commitment to Jesus as Saviour, Jesus' followers had the right–a daring thing–to address God, using the tender and intimate title of 'Father,' the very word which Jewish children used to address their human fathers!

Jesus taught by example. Jesus' teaching was not speculation or theory or abstract principles. His teaching was practical, experiential, concrete! He practiced what he preached!

"God, dare I call you 'Father'? I see you in the stars and feel your power in the wind. I know you are Mighty Power, but are you Fatherly Love? If Jesus is God, then my question becomes exclamation!"

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: If Jesus is God, then everything Jesus taught about God is true! Glory!

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Luke 11:14-21

The Amazing Miracle Worker!

Jesus' uniqueness is becoming increasingly apparent. No man ever sought like this man. No man ever taught like this man. Thirdly, no man ever wrought like this man.

The miracles which Jesus performed were not merely acts of compassion, as important as compassion was to Jesus, but primarily they were demonstrations and signs of Jesus' Kingdom power. Both Jesus' Words (parables) and Jesus' Works (miracles) must be, seen as complementary ways in which Jesus communicated the present reality of the Kingdom. The miracles were further proof of the Kingdom's inauguration.

Notes A. M. Hunter: "The miracles are tokens of the coming of God's Reign in Jesus. They are the Kingdom of God in action–God's sovereign grace and forgiveness operative in Christ. 'If I by the finger of God cast out devils, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.' The miracles are signs, after all, but only signs for those whose spiritual insight enables them to discern the sovereign saving activity of God in Jesus… Jesus regarded not only His 'teaching with authority' but also His 'mighty works' as wrought by the Spirit of God through Him. His 'powers' are manifestations of the Supreme Power. His signs are the creative works of the Spirit operating through Him to save sick and sinful men and women. 'The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.'" (The Work and Words of Jesus; A. M. Hunter; pg. 59)

The miraculous nature of Jesus' works is altogether 'reasonable' if Jesus is God in human form! As one writer so ably said: "If the universe is dominated by a Spirit, miracles are possible; if by a Spirit that is Love, probable; and if that Spirit becomes incarnate, this miracle would make further ones very probable."

The miracles which Jesus wrought were dramatic signs–acted out parables–to demonstrate that Jesus had come to spearhead an attack against the powers of sin, sickness, and Satan. Said Jesus, "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils." (Luke 11:21-22 NIV) Jesus' miracles are foretastes of the kind of power that will be exercised by God for the purpose of totally and eventually destroying the kingdom of evil. Jesus is the 'strong man, fully armed, who attacks and overpowers' Satan. Jesus has come to destroy the works of the devil. The miracles are God's power in action!

"God, the work of Jesus is becoming focused in my understanding. I see that Jesus came to destroy evil and to impart good–to save helpless creatures like me from the harmful works of the Enemy! Thank you for your manifest Power! Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: If Jesus is God, then He should do the works of God–destroying the works of Satan!

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Hebrews 2:14-18

The Day Death Died!

If it is true that no man ever sought like this man, that no man ever taught like this man, that no man ever wrought like this man, it is also true that no man ever fought like this man. Jesus fought and won against Satan! Said Calvin, "There is no tribunal so magnificent, no chariot so elevated, as is the gibbet on which Christ has subdued death and the devil, and trodden them under His feet."

The Death of Jesus on the Cross was altogether unique. The greatest of all paradoxes is this: Through the means of death, death was forever destroyed! The day Jesus died was the day death died!

"Through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Jesus' parables were parables of the Kingdom. Jesus' miracles were demonstrations and signs of Jesus' Kingdom power. Jesus' death was a redemptive death–the necessary means by which God was given opportunity to demonstrate Jesus' power over death. Jesus' death was a substitutionary death for the guilty sinner. Jesus paid the penalty for sin. Therefore, he who puts his trust in the Christ who paid the penalty for sin, puts his trust in one who proved to be more powerful than death! For Jesus arose from the dead!

The death and resurrection of Jesus are inseparably connected. They are the means by which God irrevocably defeated the powers of darkness! The death of Christ became the death warrant of Satan! Satan overstepped himself when he crucified the Lord of Glory! For Satan crucified one in whom the very power of God was resident! Jesus' power was so great that not even death could silence Him. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work." (1 John 3:8)

'Death cannot keep his prey, 
Jesus, my Saviour! 
He tore the bars away, 
Jesus, my Lord!
'Up from the grave he arose, 
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes; 
He arose a victor from the dark domain, 
And he lives forever with his saints to reign; 
Hallelujah! Christ arose!'

"God, your ways are amazing! I would never have dreamed that you would destroy death by dying, and that you would give healing through suffering! Thank you for your death and resurrection! Amen ."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Because Jesus died, I may live! Jesus' darkest day makes possible my brightest day–victory over sin, death, and hell!

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John 1:5-13; Acts 2:47

The Greatest Catcher Of Men's Hearts!

Jesus sought, Jesus taught, Jesus wrought, Jesus fought. Because of the Incarnation and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God was able to establish His Church. No man ever caught like Jesus Christ!

The Rule of God assumes the Realm of God. Subjects in the Realm of God's victorious Kingdom compose the true Church of God. God is forever reconciled to Mankind through the Cross and Resurrection, and God is progressively realizing His purpose of reconciliation in each sinner's life.

It is the purpose of God that each person becomes a member of the Kingdom of God. It is not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. That is God's perfect will for all men, made possible through the 'Great Acts' of God in Christ. However, God has a permissive will also. He will permit men to reject His offer of eternal life. 'Many are called but few are chosen, because few are choice.' Who are the choice or elect ones? Those who choose to receive Christ.

Does Man's rejection of God's call affect the validity of the Kingdom of God? Does Man's rejection destroy the Kingdom? Indeed not! "God's Reign exists, however men respond. It claims the obedience of men truly; but it is there before the claims are made, and it is still there if men reject them." (Introduction to New Testament Theology; A. M. Hunter; pg. 26)

Jesus is the greatest Catcher of men's hearts, and souls, and loyalties. Jesus may be either accepted or rejected; He cannot be destroyed. His message is like a fire or flame that can never be extinguished. Throughout the centuries, men have tried to destroy the light of the Gospel, but the Gospel continues to send forth its glowing message to all men.

Kenneth Scott Latourette, popular historian, notes that Christianity is today more widely distributed geographically and more deeply rooted among more people than it or any other faith has ever been. He observes that during the past four hundred and fifty years and especially in the last century and a half, Christianity has been more influential in the life of the human race than at any previous time. ('A History of Christianity'; Preface XV, XVII)

The Church of Jesus Christ has grown in spite of almost every conceivable obstacle. Jesus is the Universal Christ who attracts peoples of all ages, all cultures, all backgrounds. Jesus' winsome spirit catches men. He is almost irresistible!

"God, now I see that my seeming resistance of Jesus Christ has really been a rejection of caricatures of Jesus Christ. I would be a fool not to receive the Christ of the Bible! I will receive the True and reject the false! Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Though millions have come to Christ, there is still room for me!

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Luke 1:26-38

The Answer To Man's Dreams!

In the last devotional the popular historian, Kenneth Latourette, stated that "Christianity (during the last century and a half) has been more influential in the life of the human race than at any previous time ."

There is abundant evidence that Jesus is God! If Jesus were not God, could He have influenced so many so much, throughout all of history?

Through prophetic inspiration, Isaiah wrote, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) Who other than Jesus Christ could fit this description? The uniqueness of Jesus is even found in His genealogy, as recorded in the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. In tracing Jesus' genealogy back to King David, Jesus is presented as the long-looked-for Messiah, the Deliverer of Israel, the 'Anointed One' from Heaven. Jesus is seen as the answer to Man's dreams!

David's kingdom was glorious and powerful. During Israel's days of decline, the Jews longed for a kingdom like unto David's to be restored to Israel. Eventually this hope of kingdom restoration was transferred into a spiritual hope. The Messianic expectation borrowed the language of kingdom glory, a glory like unto the glory of David's kingdom, excepting that the glory of the Messianic kingdom would be much greater. Therefore it was natural that Mary should hear the angel announce Jesus' coming in the language of kingdom glory: "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:31-33)

The kingdoms of earth rise and fall; Christ's kingdom abides the same forever! Christ is the only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords! (1 Timothy 6:15) One writer described Jesus' influence in this way: "Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever have sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life, Jesus of Nazareth."

"God, I am a part of the universal longing of Mankind. I too long for a Great Deliverer, a Wonderful Counselor, a Prince of Peace, an 'Anointed One' from Heaven! If Jesus is all this, then I want Him to be the Lord of my life! Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: He who is the 'Son of the Highest' will have highest place in my life!

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Matthew 1:1-17

The 'Personalism' Of Jesus

The genealogy of Jesus, mentioned in yesterday's devotional, significantly reveals something about the nature of God! Can a long list of hard-to-pronounce names be significant or interesting? Dr. Paul Tournier, famous Christian counselor, believes so! He says, "When I was young I used to think that they (the long genealogies) could well have been dropped from the Biblical Canon. But I have since realized that these series of proper names bear witness to the fact that, in the Biblical perspective, man is neither a thing nor an abstraction, neither a species nor an idea, that he is not a fraction of the mass, as the Marxists see him, but that he is a person." (quoted by William Barclay in Daily Study Bible; Hebrews; page 61)

The genealogy of Jesus helps us to realize the importance of the individual from the Biblical perspective. Throughout Jesus' ministry, He was always concerned with individuals. It is true that He was moved with compassion on the multitudes, but His compassion went beyond the multitudes to the lonely individuals. He saw each person as unique and worthy of His personal attention. Even in the midst of the crowds, He took time for the individuals. Surrounded by a crowd, Jesus healed the woman who had been sick for twelve years with an incurable disease. As the crowds thronged Him, Jesus spotted the curious Zacchaeus, and he became the object of Jesus' special attention and love within the privacy of Zacchaeus' home. The healing of the blind man near Jericho vividly shows Christ's personal compassion. "And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging; and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him, that he should be brought unto him." (Luke 18:35-40)

There is no problem too small but what Jesus is interested in it! Jesus' heart is touched with your personal grief. He cares when your nights are long and when your days are fraught with care. He cares for each person and desires to fold each to His loving bosom. It is important to know that Jesus cares for individuals, and the genealogy of Jesus helps us to realize the 'personalism' of Jesus.

"God, I thank you that I am not 'lost in the crowd,' but that I am an object of your special love! You are so powerful that you can rule the vast universe, and yet so personal that you care for me personally! Thank you for Jesus who has shown me your 'personalism'! Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: If God, through Christ, is so personable, I will never be satisfied until I know God personally!

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Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 1:21

Symbolic Meaning Of Jesus' Genealogy

Each of the three sections in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17) symbolically represents one of the three stages in the history of mankind, and, indeed, in the history of every individual.

The first section of the genealogy which is from Abraham to David is the section which describes Israel's greatness. It represents the first stage in Man's history–the stage of man's greatness. Man, created in God's image, was made only for greatness and fellowship. Innocence, uprightness, strength, and obedience characterized Man's beginning. Man's body was strong, his mind superb, and his spirit was unblemished.

The second section of the genealogy is from Solomon to the Exile and portrays Israel's decline and decay. It represents the second stage of man's history–the Fall into sin. Even though man was born for greatness, man lost his greatness through self-will and rebellion against God's law. Alienated from God, Man started on a course of action that produced civilizations and cultures saturated with crime, lust, hate, greed, and war. As G. K. Chesterton once said of man: "Whatever else is true of man, man is not what he was meant to be." Man was made for communion, but is plagued by feelings of separation and rejection. Man was made to only enjoy peace, but hears constantly the clamour of disharmony. Man was made for love, but is too often a creature of hate. Man was made to be integrated, but is a bundle of frayed nerves. Man's innocence became blemished by guilt, and his capacity for nobility became shriveled by self-centeredness.

The third section of the genealogy is from after the Exile to the Coming of Christ. Christ is the one by whom Israel could have regained her true greatness. This section represents the third stage of man's history–Redemption and Reconciliation. Notes William Barclay, "Man can regain his greatness." (Daily Study Bible; Matthew Vol. 1; pg. 4) Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to rescue the perishing, to restore the downtrodden, to befriend the lonely, and to heal the sick in soul. He came not to condemn, but instead to save (John 1:17). He came to "save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21) Christ came to make an integrated life out of a shattered life, to make a strong character out of a shallow life, to make a confident and radiant life out of a guilt-ridden life. Through Christ, mankind can come once again to know true greatness. Notes Barclay, "In his genealogy Matthew shows us the royalty of kingship gained; the tragedy of freedom lost; the glory of liberty restored. And that, in the mercy of God, is the story of mankind, and of each individual man." (Ibid; pg. 4)

"God, the history of mankind is the history of my personal life. I was born for greatness, but I have lost my greatness through my sin and rebellion. Allow me to regain my greatness through personal repentance and faith. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: The Rescuer of the Human Race came to rescue me! I, who am lost, will allow myself to be found!

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Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:13-18

One In Christ Jesus!

The appearance of four names in Jesus' genealogy reveals something very significant, and foreshadows what was accomplished through Christ's ministry. What are the four names? Rahab, the harlot of Jericho. Ruth, the Moabites. Thamar, an adulteress. Bathsheba, the woman whom David seduced and took deceitfully from Uriah. The appearance of these names in Jesus' genealogy symbolically declares that Jesus came to earth to destroy the man-made barriers!

First, there are no longer barriers between male and female. The appearance of women in Jesus' genealogy shows that God considers women important–so important that women are named in the ancestry of the Son of God! Jesus came to destroy all contemptible attitudes towards women. We see the tenderness of Jesus as He wept with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus. Jesus won the heart of the despised Samaritan woman. In restoring life to the son of the widow of Nain, we see the great love of Jesus for this woman.

Second, there are no longer barriers between saint and sinner. Great joy is experienced in heaven when only one sinner repents (Luke 15:7). Christ takes the despised woman of Samaria and makes her an honored messenger of love. Christ takes a demon-possessed outcast and makes him a respectable citizen. Christ takes a high-browed Pharisee and makes him a humble and faithful follower. Christ takes a doubting Thomas and makes him a flaming evangelist. Christ takes a thieving Onesimus and makes him a faithful servant. Christ takes an adulterous outcast and makes her a pure and respectable lady. Christ takes the dying thief and makes him a son of paradise. He takes the guilt-ridden publican and makes him a free and justified believer. Christ restores a wandering prodigal to the status of full sonship. Christ breaks the shackles of sin and sets the prisoner free! Christ seeks and finds the lost sheep. He restores the downtrodden! "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)

Third, there are no longer barriers between Jew and Gentile. Christ came to break down all racial barriers. All in Christ's genealogy were not Jews! Ruth was a Moabites. Wrote Paul, about Christ's mission: "For Christ is our living peace. He has made a unity of the conflicting elements of Jew and Gentile by breaking down the barrier which lay between us." (Ephesians 2:14) We are one in Christ Jesus!

"God, I thank you that you love all indiscriminate1y–Jew and Gentile, male and female, saint and sinner. Teach me, like Jesus, to destroy the barriers that divide persons from one another. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Jesus is the Universal Christ! I will seek to follow Christ, and be universal in my concern for all humanity!

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Discussion Questions On "Why Believe In Jesus Christ?"

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "What Jesus was as a human, God has always been eternally!" (Why or why not?)

  2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "God is like Jesus in character. Transfer every characteristic from Jesus to God, and you do not lower your estimate of God–you heighten it." (Why why not?)

  3. Give at least five reasons (as listed in the chapter) for believing that Jesus is God.

  4. What makes Jesus' unique claims regarding his own deity believable?

  5. In terms of 'initiating action,' what does the Christian Faith claim, that no other Faith claims?

  6. What elements in Jesus' teaching made His teaching so unique?

  7. What was the primary and the secondary significance of Jesus' miracles?

  8. What great paradox in the Christian Faith is revealed in Hebrews 2:14-15?

  9. What is meant by the expression: "Jesus' death was a substitutionary death"?

  10. Why are the death and resurrection of Jesus inseparably connected, as these events relate to man's personal salvation?

  11. What is meant by the phrase, "No man has ever Caught like Jesus Christ"?

  12. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Most non-Christians who appear to be rejecting Jesus Christ are not really rejecting Christ; instead, they are rejecting caricatures of Jesus Christ." (Give reasons why you agree or disagree with this statement.)

  13. Cite evidence from Scripture and from history that shows that Jesus was the long-looked-for Jewish Messiah.

  14. What does the genealogy of Jesus teach us regarding the person of Jesus and the nature of His ministry?

  15. What is the symbolic meaning of each of the three sections in the genealogy of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 1:1-17?

  16. Discuss three barriers that Jesus came to destroy, as foreshadowed by the significant appearance of four names in Jesus' genealogy, as recorded in Matthew 1:1-17.

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“Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven”

"Thy Will be Done In Earth As It Is In Heaven."



SUBJECT: Pray this Way – "Thy Will be Done In Earth As It Is In Heaven."

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Let your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth." (Matthew 6:10)


When God's will become man's will, God's purpose for the world is fulfilled.


This prayer involves inner submission and also outer commitment.

I. To Pray 'Thy Will Be Done' involves inner submission.

A. Submission assumes belief in God's wisdom.

1. God uses 'sunny' experiences to mold character.

2. God sometimes uses 'cloudy' experiences to mold character.

B. Submission assumes Belief in God's Love.

II. To Pray 'Thy Will Be Done' involves outward commitment.

A. Motives Behind Commitment.

1. This is a prayer that God will enable us to do His will on earth with the same motives as those in heaven who do His will.

2. This is a prayer that God will strengthen our will to do His perfect will.

3. This then is a prayer that holy motives may issue forth in practical obedience and active involvement.

B. Results of Commitment.


"The maximum achievement of any man's life after it is all over is to have done the will of God. No man or woman can have done any more with a life." (Professor Drummond)


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SUBJECT: Pray this Way – "Thy Will be Done In Earth As It Is In Heaven."

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Let your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth." (Matthew 6:10)


The life which is patterned after God's will is the most satisfying life. To face the future with one's hand clasped in God's Hand is challenging and reassuring. Each circumstance – be it 'sunny' or 'stormy' – is used of God to bring good to the trusting soul. Before one can believe that his circumstances are ladders to higher plains of living, he must first be convinced of God's wisdom and of God's love. Convinced of God's wisdom and love, submission to God's will is much easier. Inner submission to God's will issues forth in a life of active involvement and commitment. It is God's will that His Kingdom be established in the hearts of men. When God's will becomes man's will, God's purpose for the world is fulfilled.


Let us carefully note what this prayer involves. (1) This prayer involves inner submission, and (2) this prayer involves outer commitment.

I. To Pray 'Thy Will Be Done' involves inner submission.

One cannot honestly pray 'Thy Will Be Done' without submission of his will to God's will. Submission to God's will assumes that one has confidence in God's wisdom and confidence in God's Love.

A. Submission assumes belief in God's wisdom.

Says Barclay, "Sometimes when we want something built or constructed, or altered or repaired, we take it to the craftsman and consult him about it. He makes some suggestion, and we often end up by saying, 'Well, do what you think best. You are the expert.' God is the expert in life, and His guidance can never lead anyone astray." (Barclay)

Michelangelo was a great sculptor. One time he said that as he viewed a large shapeless block of stone, he envisioned an angel coming out of that rock. Before Michelangelo began shaping a rock, he had a vision in his mind of what that rock was to become. Through his skillful and patient molding, that vision became a reality. God, who is all-wise and all-knowing, has a vision for every man's life. God has a plan and purpose for each person. When we pray 'Thy


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Will Be Done', we are submitting ourselves before the Hand of the Divine Sculptor to let Him shape and mold our lives according to His divine plan.

1. God uses 'sunny' experiences to mold character.

No flower could grow without sufficient sun. Neither can a life be properly molded without sunny experiences. As one man say, "The good things in life far outweigh the bad. There are more sunrises than cyclones." (God's Psychiatry, p. 104) God often uses the normal and appealing things of life to mold character. The beauty of a flower, the majesty of a mountain, variety of changing seasons are all normal experiences which God uses to mold our esthetic capacities. The warmth of friendship and the joy of kindred are circumstances that mold deep emotional and soul capacities. The challenge of involvement and the offering of talents are situations that mold spiritual capacities. The great majority of circumstances are favorable and appealing to us. In God's great wisdom He uses these circumstances to better our life.

The God of wisdom knows that we sometimes need sunny experiences in order for the bud of our abilities to blossom. There is no fragrance without the flower, and there can be no flower without sufficient sunshine. Sometimes the potential of our lives will never be realize without the sunshine of honor which makes potential talents realized talents. This is not to say that there is no need for clouds, rain, and storms in our lives, but oftentimes there is more need for sunshine than there is for the storm.

God uses the gentle instrument of honor to shape and mold character. Barclay notes an interesting example of how a man's life was molded through the gentle instrument of honor. "Ambrose was one of the great figures of the early Church. He was a great scholar; he was the Roman governor of the province of Liguria and Aemilia, and he governed with such loving care that the people regarded him as a father. The bishop of the district died, and the question of his successor arose. In the midst of the discussion suddenly a little child's voice arose: "Ambrose – bishop! Ambrose-bishop!' The whole crowd took up the cry. To Ambrose it was unthinkable. He fled by night to avoid the high office the Church was offering to him; and it was only the direct intervention and command of the Emperor which made him agree to become bishop of Milan." (Barclay's Philippians; p. 39) This man was inaugurated into office on the wings of honor, and is remembered in church History as a great man.


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One man whose potential blossomed in the sunshine of God's high call is Myron F. Boyd. As a youth, he had an impediment in his speech. He was called to preach, but Myron Boyd at first felt that that was the last thing he could do. Some men reinforced Myron Boyd's own conviction, and told him that he would never be able to preach. However, God knew better, for the God who made Myron Boyd knew him better than he knew himself. In God's great wisdom, God called Boyd to preach. He preached on the "Light and Life Hour" Radio program for 20 years to countless multitudes who heard him. Later, he became a Bishop of his denomination!

2. God sometimes uses 'cloudy' experiences to mold character.

If one truly believes in God's wisdom, he will submit not only to the 'sunny' experiences, but he will also submit to the 'cloudy' experiences.

Sometimes God has to use rough mallets as well as delicate and gentle instruments. The Arabs have a proverb: "All sunshine makes a desert." Circumstances which lead to prosperity can be dangerous to some men. As Barclay says, "The danger of prosperity is that it encourages a false independence. It makes us think that we are well able to handle life alone. For everyone prayer that rises to God in days of prosperity ten thousand rise to Him in days of adversity. As Lincoln had it, 'I have often been driven to my knees in prayer because I had nowhere else to go.'" (Barclay's Corinthians; p. 192)

God uses the cloudy and stormy experiences to bring ultimate good to the submissive and humble man. Joseph was mistreated by his brothers, but the day came when they bowed before him. Joseph expressed his faith in an all-wise God when he said to his brothers, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20)

After great loss, Job as able to make a declaration of faith: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 42:12 a)

It is recorded that when Bunyan was due for trial he said: "With God's comfort in my poor soul I went down to the justices, I begged God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, then that I might be set at liberty. But if not, His will be done." (Barclay's Hebrews; p. 146) Bunyan's words of submission


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were possible only because he believed in God's wisdom. Ultimate good came from that submission, for his posterity is blessed with 'Pilgrim's Progress', that he wrote will spending many years in prison, because of his faith in Christ.

To believe in God's wisdom is to submit to God's will even when we don't understand.

"Lord, that I may learn of Thee, 
Give me true simplicity; wean my soul and keep it low, 
Willing Thee alone to know. 
Let me cast my reeds aside, 
All that feeds my knowing pride, 
Not to man, but God submit, 
Lay my reasoning at Thy feet."

(Prayer and Life's Highest; p. 121)

Prayed Augustine, "Grant that we may never seek to bend the straight to the crooked- that is Thy will to ours – but that we may bend the crooked to the straight – that is, our will to Thine." (To Tell the World; p. 114) That is the prayer of submission – submission to an all-wise God.

B. Submission assumes Belief in God's Love.

Associated very closely to a belief in God's wisdom, is a belief in God's love. As Barclay says, "We (Christians) do not believe in a mocking and a capricious God, or in a blind and iron determinism." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 214) In the face of an unknown and uncertain future, the Christian is able to submit his will to God's will simply because he knows he is serving an all-wise and all-loving God.

Confidence in God as a God of love is absolutely essential if one is to find out God's will for his life. Why is this? Simply because knowledge of God's will is only learned after one has submitted himself to God. Submission is always a prerequisite to spiritual knowledge. It is only after one can honestly say to God "I gladly accept thy will, regardless of what that will may be," that he can actually come to know God's will. To adopt this submissive attitude, clearly demands a deep conviction in God's love.

The Christian must declare the same triumphant faith that Browning declared:

"God, Thou art love! I build my faith on that... 
I know Thee who has kept my path and made


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Light for me in the darkness, tempering sorrow 
So that it reached me like a solemn joy. 
It were too strange that I should doubt Thy love."

(Barclay's Matthew; p. 215)

Although the future is unknown, the Christian has confidence in God's loving care. Wrote Whittier:

"I know not where His islands lift 
Their fronded palms in air. 
I only know I cannot drift 
Beyond His love and care."

(Ibid; p. 215)

One can commit his very destiny to God because of his conviction that God's love is eternal. God's love will outlast time. That is certainly reason to submit ones will to God's will. "He that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (1 John 2:17 b)

"All things that are on earth shall wholly pass away 
Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.

And the great globe itself, so the Holy Writings tell, 
With the rolling firmament, where the starry armies dwell, 
Shall melt with fervent heat, - they shall all pass away, 
Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye."

Prayer and Life's Highest; p. 125)

II. To Pray 'Thy Will Be Done' involves outward commitment.

We have seen internal submission is important. Submission assumes a belief in God's wisdom and a belief in God's love. We must next note that submission issues forth in active and outward commitment. Let us first note the motives behind commitment and also note the results of commitment.

A. Motives Behind Commitment.

What are we really praying when we pray 'Thy Will Be Done in Earth as it is in Heaven'?

1. This is a prayer that God will enable us to do His will on earth with the same motives as those in heaven who do His will.

What characterizes those who perform God's will in heaven? It is perfect obedience and love for God. When we constantly seek perfection in our


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motives and constantly strive to express love to God, we are helping to bring God's Kingdom to earth. To pray 'Thy Will be done in earth as it is in heaven', is to pray that God will enable us to possess the same spirit of love and obedience as the inhabitants in heaven possess.

God's will is not done in heaven out of a spirit of bitter resignation but out of a heart of active love. This is a prayer that we will perform God's will out of the same motive – love and obedience. To feel compelled to do God's will in a tone of defeated resignation or in a tone of bitter resentment is to do God's will out of the wrong motive. There must be a willing and glad submission to God's will. The attitude of the Christian is: "I delight to do thy will, O God."

2. This is a prayer that God will strengthen our will to do His perfect will.

It is one thing to know and to desire to do God's will, and it is another thing to have the strength actually to do that will. As John Drinkwater wrote:

"We know the paths wherein our feet should press, 
Across our hearts are written Thy decrees, 
Yet now, O Lord, be merciful to bless 
With more than these.

Grant us the will to fashion as we feel, 
Grant us the strength to labor as we know, 
Grant us the purpose, ribbed and edged with steel, 
To strike the blow.

Knowledge we ask not - Knowledge Thou hast lent, 
But, Lord, the will - there lies our bitter need, 
Give us to build above the deep intent 
The deed, the deed."

(Prayer and Life's Highest; p. 72)

3. This then is a prayer that holy motives may issue forth in practical obedience and active involvement.

To pray 'Thy will be done' involves a willingness to give up one's most valuable possession, in order to advance Christ's cause. "Two men stood on a dock in New York City. They were watching an ocean liner as it left for far-away shores. One of the men said to the other: 'That ocean liner is carrying a gift from me to the mission fields. It


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has on it thousands of dollars worth of supplies for a mission hospital'. The other man replied: 'That ocean liner also carries a gift from me to the mission fields. It has on it my only daughter. She is going as a missionary. I have given her to the Lord's service.' Tears came to the eyes of the first man. He said: 'My friend, you have given far more to the Lord than I have, I have given money . You have given your only daughter.'" (Quoted in This Is the Will of God; pgs. 57, 58)

B. Results of Commitment.

What is the result of actual and active commitment to God's will? To do God's will with the same motives that the inhabitants do God's will, will result in seeing God's Kingdom further established on earth.

Notes Barclay: "Paul was haunted by the regions beyond. He never saw a ship riding at anchor or moored to the quay but he wished to board her and carry the good news to the regions beyond. He never saw a range of hills blue in the distance but he wished to cross it and to carry the story of Christ to the regions beyond." (Barclay's Corinthian; p. 273) Because Paul had a passion to do God's will, he was most influential in establishing many churches and thus seeing God's Kingdom advanced on earth.

Through one of the most influential sermons that was ever preached, William Carey was instrumental in seeing the Baptist Missionary Society formed. In that sermon he made his famous statement: "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God." (God's Psychiatry; p. 107) William Carey's submission to God issued forth in earnest and practical commitment.

The story of Adoniram Judson is an outstanding illustration of this point. Dr. Boyd tells the story: "When the East India Company would not allow the American missionary, Adoniram Judson, to remain in India, God directed him to Burma. Conditions there were repulsive. Notwithstanding all the difficulties and hardships through which Judson passed, he was used of God in establishing one of the greatest and most successful missions in the world at that time. For nearly one hundred fifty years Judson's heroic sufferings have kindled missionary fires, and quickened missionary zeal in the hearts of multitudes of Christians in every land. God overruled the selfish materialism and hatred of the East India Company and, by fulfilling His own will, brought untold blessings to millions." (To Tell the World; pgs. 111, 112)

Livingstone was a great 19th century missionary whose missionary vision for Africa resulted in a great spiritual quest. Livingstone's sole passion was to keep constantly submissive to God's will. On the last day of his life he wrote in his


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diary, "My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All, I again dedicate my whole self to Thee." (God's Psychiatry; p. 101)

What wonderful examples to follow! To pray that God's will may be done in earth as it is in heaven is to pray that personal involvement may result in soul- salvation and Kingdom Building. The result of doing God's will is the establishment of God's Kingdom in the hearts of men.


To pray 'Thy Will Be Done' involves inner Submission and it also involves outer Commitment. Professor Drummond says. "The maximum achievement of any man's life after it is all over is to have done the will of God. No man or woman can have done any more with a life." (To Tell the World; p. 116)

"God's will is peace, and plenty, and the power 
To be and have the best that He can give, 
A mind to serve Him and a heart to love Him, 
The faith to die with the strength to live."

(Ibid; p. 116)


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