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LESSON 1 IS JESUS REALLY GOD BIBLE STUDY

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Harold Smith

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LESSON 1:  IS JESUS REALLY GOD BIBLE STUDY

 

About the subject

The title of this lesson is my reply to the age-old question - Jesus Christ - is He Man, Myth, or God? You see it becomes a matter as to Christ's identity, and as I am a Christian, I must add my voice too many who through the centuries have stated with the intractable assurance that Christ was who he stated He was. I must be another who has no qualms to standing up to be counted. I believe the question of His identity to be vitally important. I join all whether they consider themselves as insignificant, important, or crowned heads who possess no fear of placing their trust in One who stated - "I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” My faith is not based upon a theory, or a moral code, but upon a Person - Jesus Christ - the Son of God. It is not a matter as to virtue, or religion, but upon the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. Here was a Person born in abject poverty and obscurity, in an occupied land of the Roman Empire, who in absolutely every detail, answered to the prophetic description contained in Scripture. I am but another who has considered it anything but foolish to spend hours. days, weeks, months, and years putting all these scriptures speaking of the Messiah to the test, and coming up with the personal assurance that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus Christ was a Jew, and those to whom Christ claimed that He was God were Jews, including the ruling class of Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees, who were under no misunderstanding as to His claims. To the Pharisees, and Sadducees, "God" meant the Being outside the universe, who made it, and was infinitely different from humans. Here were people who rejected categorically any idea of God becoming incarnate in human flesh. We who live today, nearly two millenniums since the birth of Christ are faced with a variation of possibilities as to the truth or fiction of the Gospels, and as to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Supported by archaeological findings it is generally agreed as to the estimated dates of each of the Gospels, as follows: Matthew 37 A.D.; Mark 63-66 AD.; Luke 63 AD; John 85-95 A.D.

As to the claims of Christ there are four questions that need to be considered:

1. Was it a legend that Christ claimed to be God? Was the account a fabrication concocted during centuries of claims and happenings? Some people will believe anything, and are ready to believe a lie. However, after careful study as to dates and facts, the suggestion of a fabrication on the part of the followers of Christ appears as totally ludicrous.

2. Could Christ have lied when he stated He was God, knowing that He was not? Jesus was closely watched. The Pharisees and Sadducees made every conceivable attempt to catch Him. His followers who watched the manner of His life, His actions, His love, wisdom, strength, and the transparency of His goodness, were forced to make a decision as to His identity, that He was who He said he was.

3. Is there a possibility that He thought He was God but He was not? Of course this would suggest that He was mentally deranged. His manner of life certainly did not display One who could be referred to as a lunatic.

4. This brings us to a "shocking alternative,” that He was who He claimed to be, the very source of Truth, the revelation of God in human form. There could be no other possibility. We cannot deny that Jesus was God, and then say he was a good man and a great teacher.

 

Prof. C.S. Lewis expressed it this way: "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be great moral teacher. He would be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he was a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil in Hell. You must make a choice. This man either was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. However, let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

 

The author of all deceit, and his followers

Paul, in his 2nd letter to the church in Corinth, expressed his fear of them being led astray. "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." 2 Corinthians 11.3. We can judge from this scripture that the wiles of Satan had its beginning at the dawn of human history. Let us pause and consider this person as described by Isaiah. "How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." Isaiah 14.12-14. Consider this well! Satan is not a legend. He is a real person. He exists! He was present in the garden where he beguiled Eve, where God pronounced future judgment. Satan was the source of man’s ruin, and the seed of the woman was to be the source of redemption. Satan was well aware of God s purpose. He made every effort to destroy the seed, which was to lead to Christ. Satan, the devil, is compared to a wolf, and a roaring lion. However, in a much different manner he is seen as a subtle serpent, deceiving by means of false religion. Paul deals clearly with this aspect of Satan's wiles. He not only refers to Satan's efforts, but also those of his followers. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming (fashioning) themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed (fashioneth himself) into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed (fashioned themselves), as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. It is not surprising that in these days the servants of Satan are working overtime to delude the masses into a false sense of security. It is no wonder that poor misled souls accept their dished out garbage. The fallacious teachings of Satan's agents are being readily accepted by many, while the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is being scoffed at. "But if our gospel be hid (veiled) it is hid (veiled) to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Corinthians 4.3-4.

 

STAGE OF THE END TIMES

It has been stated that Paul the apostle died of decapitation in 67 or 68 A.D. On his last visit to the church in Ephesus Paul called for the overseers of the church. He advised them that this would be his last visit, and that they would see his face no more. These are some of his words, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise. speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Acts 20.28-30. Paul could sense the stage being slowly set for the end times. The year following Paul's release from imprisonment, (64 AD.) a great fire consumed more than half the city of Rome. It is believed by many historians to have been instigated by the Emperor Nero. The character of this monster supports this belief. He accused the Christians of this fiendish act, which directed suspicion from the real villain. He then began the most awful persecution of the churches. One of the victims of this persecution was the Apostle Paul. He was brought to Rome and imprisoned the second time. It was during this time, which was close to the time of his death that he wrote his second letter to his beloved brother Timothy. Contained in this letter are these words, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent (without self control), fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: ..." 2 Timothy 3.1-5. Do these words describe anyone you know, see on TV, or hear on newscasts, etc? Believe it, these words are descriptive of the days in which we are living. Lovers of themselves produces individualists who boast in their false sense of freedom. Charles Colson had this to say of such people who become captive to this, "Freed from the archaic impediments of family, church, and community, these men and women cannot see how their liberty has enslaved them to alienation, betrayal, loneliness, and inhumanity. They have grown so accustomed to the dark, they don't even realize the lights are out." Isaiah who lived 700 years before Christ, wrote these words which are certainly descriptive of the last days, "The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men." Isaiah 59.8-10. John the apostle was exiled to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. It was here that he wrote as received by vision The Revelation. Patmos was around 35 or 40 miles southwest of the city of Ephesus. He must have peered longingly northward, thoughtful of the small group of Christians gathered in the church in Ephesus. No doubt he would have had a special longing to be numbered with them each Lord's Day, to remember the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread, and the drinking of the cup. It is believed that after his departure from Patmos, he was shipwrecked and landed at Ephesus. The timing would be a number of years after the death of Paul, and also of that night when Paul warned the overseers of the church in Ephesus. What Paul had warned would happen after his departure was no doubt now becoming a reality. What would these now present grievous wolves be assailing? There can be no doubt that it was a frontal attack on the teaching concerning the Deity of Christ. It is stated in Unger's Bible Dictionary that John at this time penned the 4th Gospel, the Gospel of John. He commenced this Gospel with these words, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God  and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory. the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the father, He hath declared Him." John 1.1,14,18. John wasted no time in sweeping aside the fallacious teaching that was already in progress. The Eternity of the Being of the Lord Jesus Christ is immediately brought to the forefront. F.B.Meyer eloquently deals with this vast subject:  "The Eternity of the Being of the Lord Jesus - 'in the beginning was the Word' Is there not here an evident reference to the opening of the Book of Genesis, ' In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But what a contrast! At that moment, described as the beginning, and which may be pushed back far enough to include all the demands of modern geologists, you do not find the heavens and the earth, which as yet are not; but you do find the Word already in existence. The words in the case expressly exclude the eternity of matter; but in the other they expressly include the eternity of the Word. Moses strikes the chord to descend the stream of time; John strikes it to look out on the expanse of Eternity lying beyond created things, but in, which the Word was already existing. It is not so difficult to wend one's way slowly back in the past, or to imagine the successive ages during which the world was being prepared for man s habitation. But when we reach the place where the links of the time-chain stop, and we stand at the first moment of the creation of time and matter, and look out into the void on the other side- it is then that thought staggers and gives way. There is no light to guide us - sun, moon, and stars are not created. No spirit to lead us;..... No stepping - stone for our feet; for space is unoccupied save by the all pervasive presence of God If it be true that before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth was formed, the Word was, then, from everlasting to everlasting He must be God. The Deity of our Lord Jesus - 'The Word was God" He is not said to be the God; for that assertion would ascribe to the Son the totality of the Divine Being, and contradict the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. And He is not said to be Divine, which would lessen the emphasis. But He is said, distinctly and emphatically, to be God. 'God manifest in the flesh." The signs of the end times was realized by John. "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." 1 John 4.3. "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." 2 John 7. When apostasy crept in before the death of John, the stage was set for the end times. It was realized then, and today it is rampant.

 

THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT

Opposite the great UN building in New York stands another building, which is the headquarters of the New Age  Movement. The basic premise of the New Age Movement is Monism, a belief that all that is, is one. The ultimate end of this belief is to get their followers to accept that there is no difference between God, a person, a carrot or a rock - all part of one continuous reality with no boundaries, no ultimate divisions. It all melts down to a belief that God is more an 'it  than a 'h'. It declares that really humanity is God. One has said, "Kneel to your own self. Honour and worship your own being. God dwells within you as you." The key element of hope in the New Age agenda is the transformation from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. They place this element of hope in the computer chip, which will 'globalize and unify' consciousness. Of course, this is expected by them through the Internet. They want you to be touched by this new order, this new-world view, this New Age, that you may envision a spectacular planetary transformation, and be touched by a spark in your hearts and minds. What utter nonsense! They want freedom from Christian doctrine, to free them from the idea of redemption by a God external to themselves. They want you to believe that really man is no sinful worm, but a potential divination. This new cosmic humanism would see them all as gods in disguise. It has been said that 'secular man' killed a God in whom he could not believe, but whose absence he could not bear. They ask you to ignore the reality of the Fall and resulting personal sinfulness, and in place offer you a fresh vibrant hope totally apart from any sense of reconciliation with a holy God, through Jesus Christ. They deny sin, and seek to be their own saviour. This is the effect of occultism that tries to deny and escape the effects of the Fall. Rather than turn to God - just simply become him. The New Age states that there is no Deity, but humanity. The New Age science ends up bowing to the mysteries of creation, instead of worshipping the creator. How true the words of Paul - "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God.. neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations (reasoning’s) and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped the creature more (rather) than the Creator, who is blessed forever.. Amen." Romans 1.20-23,25.


TEST LESSON 1- IS JESUS REALLY GOD?

TRUE (yes) or FALSE (no)

1. It is good to put your faith in a moral code, like the law - TRUE .................. FALSE ..................

2. Jesus merely thought He was God - TRUE .................. FALSE ..................

3. Satan is not a real person - TRUE .................. FALSE ..................

4. Paul said that there would be certain men that would draw disciple after themselves - TRUE .................. FALSE ..................

5. Isaiah lived about 200 years before Christ - TRUE .................. FALSE ..................

Fill in the missing word:

6. Paul wrote that some would "Have a ........... of ........... but deny the ........... thereof."

7. Every ........... that ........... not that Jesus ........... is come in the ........... is not of ...........

8. The ........... premise of the New ........... ........... is ........... (all is God)

9. And the ........... was made ........... and ........... among us.

10. The New Age ........... that there is no ..........., but ...........


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