Believing in the Son of God

Believing in the Son of God

Scripture: 1 John 5:1-12, Matthew 16:13-17, John 12:37-46
Date: 09/05/2009  Lesson: 9
John explores what it means to believe in the Christ of the Bible.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to those of you who are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world. We welcome you to "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. I hope you've had a wonderful week. We are excited to be here this morning to sing with you. And I just want to tell you who this beautiful young lady is up here with me this morning.

This is my niece, emma. And she is 13. And she volunteered to help this morning, which I'm very grateful for, because everybody else is gone. And of course that means my sister, rachel, is here and ann and andrew, emma's siblings. And so I'm very excited to have them all here this morning.

And we just want to, of course, welcome our other visitors that are joining us this morning here in the sanctuary. And of course we don't want to forget those of you listening on the radio, watching live on our website this morning at saccentral.org, or watching on our various television networks. We're gonna start our song service this morning with 331, "o Jesus, I have promised." This is a request from wilhelmina in australia, John in Oklahoma, jezreel and joselito in the Philippines, and cherry in swaziland, 331. We'll do all three verses. "O Jesus, I have promised.

" [Music] Thank you so much for that request. And if you have more, and I know that you do, 'cause we get so many requests from our extended family. And of course, those of you here if you have requests, you know where to go, our website at saccentral.org, and click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in your favorite request. And we will sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath.

Our next song is 470, "there's sunshine in my soul today," 470. And this is a request from jeanene in australia and baxter and eddie also in australia, amylyn in bahrain, marva in Connecticut, Daniel and preto in england, brodi in Michigan, joyann in New York, and nya and ria in trinidad and tobago, , we'll do first, second and fourth. [Music] Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for the sunshine that you do put into our lives, for being our loving Heavenly Father, for bringing us safely here this week. And even if things aren't going so well, we know that above the clouds there is sunshine. And one day you will come and take us home.

And we know that day is going to be very soon. We thank you so much for blessing us with another Sabbath and for bringing us here this morning to worship you. And I pray that you'll be with each one here and our extended family around the world. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor harold white.

He is our administrative pastor here at central church. Amen. Thank you, debbie. And thank you, emma. Last time I saw emma I think she's grown at least a foot.

Yeah, they have a habit of doing that, don't they? Welcome to each and every one of you who are with us this morning in sunny Sacramento, California. All those of you who are joining us from wherever you are joining us, we are glad you are with us also this morning for our lesson study, lesson study number 9, "believing in The Son of God." Now we have a special offer. I'm going to bring that to you. It's special offer number 154. It's entitled, "down from his glory.

" All you have to do to get that is go to www.amazingfacts.org. Or you can dial on your phone, -866-788-study-more or 866-788-3966. Okay, that takes care of that. Everybody doing okay this morning? Amen. Praise God.

Alright. Well, let's read our memory verse this morning. If you have your quarterlies with you, if you'd read along with me, it's taken from 1 John 5:5. "Who is it that overcomes the world, except the one who believes that Jesus is The Son of God?" Amen is right. Now, does it matter what we believe about Jesus? I believe it matters very much.

Does it matter that we have to believe that he was divine, that he was The Son of God, that he was and is God? Or is it okay just to believe that he was a good man? I'm here to go on record this morning that I believe it makes all the difference in the world to know that Jesus is divine, Jesus is God, always was and always will be. Now that is a pivotal foundational truth to all other truths. Now I would imagine, and I know in fact, that there will be people in heaven, we understand, that didn't even ever hear the word, or the name of Jesus Christ. So probably there will be people that didn't have a clear understanding of his divinity, as there will be people in heaven that didn't know anything about the Sabbath, right? But you and I who have the freedom and under the ability to study the Scriptures and know who Jesus is, I think it makes all the difference in the world, because you see it time after time. People who get off track on this, they get off track on other things.

This is the foundational truth of all truths. And what happens if you don't have a good foundation? On a building--somebody was telling me just recently about a building they watched go up. It was somebody building their own little shed or something like that. It looked beautiful. But after you got it all up, it just fell in.

Must not have had a good foundation. So it is very important to have a good foundation. I wanted to do something a little different this morning. I wanted to go back to the beginning, which is going to lead us to Wednesday's lesson, instead of starting with Sunday. Will you give me the privilege and freedom to do that this morning? Okay.

I handed out some texts this morning we want to get started with. Somebody has Genesis 1:1? Right over here. And then somebody else has John 1:1-3 and verses 10 and 14. That's right next there. Colossians 1:15-16, does somebody have that? Right behind there.

And Hebrews 1:1-2. Right over here. Okay, we've got 'em all lined up. If we could get started with Genesis 1:1, right there. Need a microphone right-- there we go.

Thank you. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Okay, very clear. You could have said that without even looking in the Bible I'm sure. Alright, next one, John 1:1-3 and then verse 10 and verse 14. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made." Verse 10, "he was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." Verse 14. "The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only who came from The Father, full of grace and truth." Okay, thank you very much. Our next text is Colossians 1:15-16, right behind you, thank you. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

For by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him." Okay, thank you, mike. And if you could hand it right over this way, richard is going to read our next text, Hebrews 1. And that's verses 1 and 2. Hebrews 1:1-2.

"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to The Fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds." Okay, thank you, richard. Couple things about these before we get into it. One, when the Bible talks about Jesus being the head of creation, better rendition of that would probably--i mean talking about the firstborn of all creation would be that he is the head of all creation. You remember when Jesus met the woman at the well? And he talked to her and he said, "you have five husbands and the man that you're with now is not your husband. You said it right," he says.

And the husband or the house-band-man was to be the head of the family, right? And Jesus was the seventh man in her life who was the true husband-man, right? And so he was the head of-- he's the head of all the family of creation. And that's the proper way to look at that verse. And then you'll also notice as we read those verses that each one of those verses talking about the creation, and that creation taken place through Jesus Christ, was in the first book of those new testament books. It's very clear that new testament writers had it very clear in their mind the truth about Jesus and his divinity. Okay, so let's go back to Genesis 1.

We find the word saying, "in the beginning, God--" God created everything. And thus we find further activity about that, further clarification that Jesus was the one who was--let's refer to him as the master designer, shall we? He was the one involved with the activity of creation as the master designer. All of the Godhead was involved evidently in creation, for it says, "let us make man in our image." "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the earth," and so forth. But he was the lead master designer, so to speak. So stop and think about this.

Do we have any reference anywhere in the Bible, or anywhere in the world, where a created being has brought something into existence from nothing, especially life? Is there any evidence anywhere in the world where a created being brought life out of nothing? Nowhere. You can't find it. That's very true. Now here's the situation. Jesus was going to be given the role of creating.

Somebody didn't like it, right? Somebody, the Bible says, wanted to be like the most high God. And to be like the most high God would have involved creating, right? And so especially did not lucifer--he did not like the fact that he couldn't be the one who was going to be the creator. Here it was given to Jesus. And here is an astronomical fact. Underline it in your mind.

Write it down. Don't forget it. And that is this. If Christ had not been divine, lucifer would have had a right to accuse God of being unfair. Now think about it.

That's a bold statement. He would have had a right to accuse God of being unfair. If God picked Jesus out of all the created beings, and put him on this pedestal of creating the worlds and everything that existed and it was something that lucifer really wanted to do himself, he says, "well, you're being unfair. You picked this created person above everybody else and you gave him this role and responsibility. It's something I wanted to do.

" Think about it. If you had ten children and you picked one of those children out to give everything to, all your admiration and all your support and all your belongings, above all other nine, especially if all ten of them served you and were obedient to you, wouldn't that be a bit unfair to the other nine? Indeed. Indeed. Now the angels were obedient. They were diligently serving God until--until inequity was found in lucifer.

And that inequity came about because he was passed over in this process of creation. Now bear with me; I don't do this very often, but this is a passage I must share with you. It's from that classic book, "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 35 and 36. "the King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before him that in their presence he might set forth the true position of his son and show the relation he sustained to all created beings. The Son of God shared The Father's throne and the glory of eternal self-existent one encircled both.

About the throne gathered the holy angels, a vast unnumbered throng, ten-thousands times ten-thousands and thousands of thousands. The most exalted angels as ministers and subjects rejoicing in the light that fell upon them from the presence of the deity. Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven, the King declared that none but Christ, the only begotten of God, could fully enter into his purposes. And to him was committed to execute the mighty counsels of his will. The Son of God had wrought The Father's will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven.

And to him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due. Christ was still to exercise divine power in the creation of the earth and in its inhabitants. The angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ and prostrating themselves before him poured out their love and adoration. Lucifer bowed with them, but in his heart there was a strange, fierce conflict. TRuth, justice and loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy.

" What a struggle that must have been. What a situation. Thus were the beginnings of the great rebellion that started with lucifer, the beginnings of the Great Controversy. And the subject of the divinity of Christ really is at the essence of that Great Controversy, because it was over the fact that he couldn't be like Christ. He couldn't involve-- be the one involved in creation as Christ was.

And then on the other end, divinity is a source to win out over evil. Isn't it? That's right. If it takes divinity to create, my friends, it takes divinity to recreate. And that's what Jesus did on the cross, right? He gave us the possibilities of being recreated or born again. And that took place because of what he did for us.

Now other angels, were willing, as we understand it, to take his place on the cross. That could not be. It could not have provided salvation, right? One angel wanted to take his place in creation. And that could not be. Now just for the sake of supposition, suppose God gave into lucifer for a time and said, "okay, go ahead and create.

I'm going to give you the freedom to create the earth and its inhabitants." And lucifer jumps up and says, "wow, this is wonderful! Alright God, thank you. I'm gonna do this." And he just gets all ready to do this, and he says, "you know, nothing's happening. Nothing's gonna happen." And he says, "okay God, I'm ready to go. You gotta give me the power now so I can do it." God says, "I can't do that. That power was within Christ himself.

If I give you that power--" think about it. If God could have somehow given that power to lucifer, and he was a being that was really in the process of falling, what would have creation looked like? Wouldn't it have been a mess? It would have been a mess. He wouldn't have created like God. And if God worked through him to create things the way he wanted them to be created, think of this, wouldn't lucifer have been nothing other than a robot? Yeah. I was listening to--i think it was on the news or something.

It was talking about a robot that was made that makes noodles from the beginning to actually where you're ready to eat them. It mixes all the ingredients together. And it rolls it out. I guess you roll out noodles. And then you cut 'em, right? And then you let 'em dry.

Most people just let 'em dry. And then when you cook 'em, you put salt, put 'em in salt and water. Is that right? And then you have to drain the water off. Well, this robot was trained and fixed to do that whole process to make noodles from the very beginning until you eat them. And as I thought about that, I said to myself, "that's amazing 'technoodlegy.

'" I couldn't pass that up. That is amazing "technoodlegy." But in the end, you have a robot that is only capable of doing that which those who created it said it could do, right? It can't do nothing less or nothing more. And that's the way--that's the way lucifer would have been. So that's not how God did it, was it? He was the creator. And good thing he was.

We are made in his image, praise God, right? Now, I like to think that after it's all said and done, after the thousand years, I like to picture this in my mind, when God comes back, Jesus comes back, but all the angels and all the saints, city of Jerusalem coming down out of that sky, the wicked are raised. And what does that give satan? It gives him the power to think he has more on his side. And he's going to be able to conquer Christ now. And he Marches toward that city to take--overtake him. And I like to think that God maybe would pause for just a second, before fire comes down.

And pause and say, "okay lucifer, this whole controversy came about because you wanted to be like the most high. You wanted to create. I'm gonna give you a chance to create now in front of the whole universe is looking on. You go ahead and create." And at last satan is incapable of creating one blade of grass. He looks around and he picks up a piece of artificial turf.

And that's all he can muster, because artificial has been the subject of his whole realm of government, right? Artificial pleasures, artificial truth. Everything about him has been artificial. And that's all he's able to produce. Now that may not happen that way, but at least I like to think about it that way. My friends, Jesus is divine, right? And he is one of the Godhead, the mysterious and yet not so mysterious.

There's the little statement from "manuscripts 111, 1903" that says it about as simplistic and with such clarity. It says this. "In mind, in purpose, in character they are one, but not in person." Can you say it any more clearly than that? In mind and purpose, in character they are one, but not in person. And perhaps that is the reason why we're told on Wednesday's lesson about the issue of the trinity. They got the text in John 5:7-8.

Part of it isn't in the original manuscripts. Did you read that in your quarterly this week? That part of that verse is not in the manuscript. Let me read that for you this morning, 1 John 5:7-8. And I'll point out as the lesson pointed out, it says, "for there are three that bear record in heaven: The Father, the word, and the holy ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.

" And so the translators of the King James version put part of that verse in there as you pointed out in Wednesday's-- brings out the fact that it was added and--the words "in heaven: The Father, the word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth." They appear in the King James, but they didn't appear in the original manuscript. And so the Bible writer added that. And it's a pretty serious thing to add to the Bible, right? Or take away from the Bible. But here's what I think probably happened.

Somebody was translating and they wanted to add as much clarification to this truth as they could. And so they probably slipped in a little bit. And that's dangerous, we don't want to do that. But think about it. Do people write books about the Bible? They do it all the time, right? Do they say things that are not in the Bible, but things that help us to clarify the truths of the Bible, to help us understand it even more clearly? They do all the time.

It should, that's right. Now we can't add to or take any away from the Bible or anything we do when we preach or teach or write a book. But if it agrees with the Bible, you shouldn't get all that shook up, should we? We shouldn't get all that shook up about the fact that there were a few verses that weren't in the manuscript because we shouldn't get shook up, but this is the reason. Because there are so many other places in the Bible that prove the divinity of Christ, right? Your quarterly lesson listed several of those texts. We won't take time to read 'em, but you can read 'em.

John 1, John 8, John 10, John 10, 1 John 2, many, many places giving the authenticity that Jesus is divine and of the trinity. But let me share something with you that perhaps you've never read before or never thought about. And I have seen this in practicality several times. It's a statement taken out of that other classic book called "Great Controversy," page 524. And it says, "if men reject the testimony of the inspired Scriptures concerning the divinity of Christ, it is in vain to argue the point with them.

For no argument however conclusive could convince them." You talk to somebody that doesn't believe in the divinity of Christ, and they start arguing with you, you're just wasting your time." If they don't believe that truth, they're not going to believe anything else that's important, 'cause that is the most important truth. I've seen it many times. Perhaps you have likewise. Jesus is divine. Otherwise there is no need to go on to Sunday's lesson, entitled, "believing in Jesus and victory.

" Must believe in the right kind of Jesus. Jesus got to the core of the issue when he asked his disciples, "who do men say I am?" That was a core question, wasn't it? "Who do men say I am?" Now I believe in a sense it was harder for them, even though he was right there with 'em, it was harder for them to believe who he was than it is for us. And I tell you why. If somebody came in our midst today and they started making all kind of amazing claims about themselves, wouldn't we say something like this in our mind? "Yeah right, and I'm george Washington, the first president of the United States." Isn't that how we would react? But here was Jesus saying, "I am that I am." And they knew what that meant. That meant he was saying he was God.

Yeah, pretty powerful claim for a man to make. And only he could make it, because he was God. That's right. But we have so much written evidence that it's easier for us to believe. It should be easier for us to believe in him.

But now we go into that deep, deep subject, a subject which we'll study throughout eternity. Somebody has Philippians 2:5-8. Does somebody have that one? Philippians, right over here. Somebody have a microphone on this side? Right behind you. Okay, that's Philippians 2, and we want to look at verses 5 through 8, Philippians 2:5-8.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." Okay, thank you very much. Wow. One of the most powerful passages in all of God's Word. Jesus lived as a human being just like us.

But of course, he didn't sin. And so that made him different than us in a big way, didn't it? But it wasn't a difference before. See the difference there? So as you think about this, how did he do it? Does this mean that we can do it? These are pretty powerful questions. Sunday's lesson, "believing in Jesus in victory," I think the key to victory is to really understanding some important aspects and concepts about Jesus and how he did it. Somewhere in our Christian experience, I know we all had questions about this concept.

How did Jesus do it? For example, how did he live a sinless life, especially as a boy? That's a pretty amazing concept. Is it not? What is the definition of sin? John 3:4. I think somebody has that to read. John 3:4. Okay, right over here.

Right behind you. John 3:4, some of you can say this without even looking at it. "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness." Okay, thank you very much. Sin is the transgression of God's law, right? That's right. So as a child, Jesus, did he never lie once? Did he never have a hateful thought? Did he never covet something from somebody else? Did he never allow his mind to wander even a little bit in the area of sexuality and adultery and that kind of thing? Did he never do that? Some people might say, "well, you know, before the age of accountability maybe he did do some of those things.

But it wasn't accounted a sin for him." Well, do you think we can dare venture on that kind of ground? If you break a window, is the window broken? And if you broke it, who broke it? Who's responsible? You, right? So we can't venture on that kind of ground. Jesus never broke one commandment. Amen. Now we may break some commandments before we reach the age of accountability. And God may wink at that in us, but God did no winking at Jesus because he never sinned.

He didn't have to. So how did he do it? Doesn't that mean in some way that he was different than us? He was different that he had never sinned. Now there are some beautifully, wonderful children in life. And you meet a child every once in a while that is just so pure and so wonderful, it just seems like they would never think about sinning. Have you ever seen a child like that? Yes, it helps us to realize it's definitely possible.

Yes it is. Jesus did it. He had an earthly mother, but how was he conceived? He was conceived by the holy ghost. So yes, I do believe he was filled with the holy ghost from--in his childhood and yet he never suffered any--he never gave in to any temptations. Listen to this little passage from another classic, "Desire of Ages," 27, "as a child, Jesus manifested a peculiar loveliness of disposition.

His willing hands were ever ready to serve others. He manifested a patience that nothing could disturb and a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity. In principle, firm as a rock, his life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy. With deep earnestness, the mother of Jesus watched the unfolding of his powers and beheld the impress of perfection upon his character. With delight, she sought to encourage that bright, receptive mind.

Through the Holy Spirit she received wisdom to cooperate with the heavenly agencies in the development of this child who could claim only God as his father." Somebody says, "ah-ha! That's how; he--mother had the Holy Spirit." Is that any different than any mothers or fathers today? Can you not have the Holy Spirit in training your children? That should be our first claim when it comes to raising our children. We should not think that we could do it ourselves. We'll get in trouble for sure when we do that. This is all very important for us when it comes to living victoriously ourselves. Jesus lived victoriously, did he not? And he showed us how and promised us grace to do likewise.

Now there were two things that Jesus had more problem with than we do. First of all, Jesus was tempted in more ways than we are, above anything that we will ever be tempted with, right? That's the one problem he had that we don't have. We were tempted, but he was even worse tempted, tempted worse. Second one was that at any time, he could have used his divinity to combat sin. Think about that.

If you had divinity within yourself, and you could use it at any time, wouldn't that be something? But you knew you were not supposed to, so that would be a trial. That would be a test, wouldn't it? He had that, and he never did it. That's an amazing thing. The biggest advantage Jesus had was not in the beginning in overcoming, but the biggest advantage Jesus had was the fact that he did overcome. Think about it.

If you hadn't sinned, if you did not sin for a whole year, just think about it, if you did not sin for one whole year, wouldn't the thought of falling into sin become more abhorrent to you. Just think about that. Before I was a Christian, I smoked. I'm not proud of that fact. God gave me the victory.

And I praised him and thank him for it. It's been so long ago that the thought of taking one puff on a cigarette is just gagging to me. I wouldn't never want to think about that. So the concept that Jesus never sinned, faith begets faith, purity begets purity. And Jesus was always one of full faith and full purity.

And that's the only way he could overcome because he added to that daily. I think the key issue to which we are addressing our thoughts on this so far on Sunday's, "believing in Jesus and victory," is what kind of Jesus to we believe in? If you see Jesus dying on the cross for our sins as our Savior, we all can say, "praise the Lord," to that, right? When we turn to him and accept him as our Savior, then at that moment when we invite him into our lives and confess our sins, we can be justified. Is that true? And we can rejoice about that. He will forgive us our sins and we can know that he is giving us salvation. But there is another way we need to see Jesus.

We need to see Jesus living victorious without sin as our example. He is to be our Savior, but also our Lord and master, right? This is called the process of sanctification. Is that correct? Now mary and Joseph had a hard time with this. They didn't understand this concept. And when Jesus was 12-years-old, they took him to the temple.

And afterwards, you know, they thought that he was with them. They later realized he wasn't, so they retraced their steps back to the temple. They found him there with the learned men. And they were blowing these-- he was blowing these fellows away with his theology. Just amazing.

And they came back and they mildly chastised him. And he said, "why did you do this to us? Why did you stay here?" And he very lovingly pointed out, he says, "don't you know I need to be about my father's business?" You can almost read his mind thinking, "you mean with all that has happened, you still don't know who I am and what I'm here for? You had all those angels telling you about the birth and the shepherds and the wise men and the angels singing and the angel coming to take us out to Egypt and bringing us back. And not to mention that I was conceived by the holy ghost and you still don't know. Don't you know that the lambs, these animals are being sacrificed point to me? That has been cemented in my mind as I came here to the temple." As 12-years-old he fully realized he was the lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of the world. And it was probably pretty hard for him to say, "why can't you see this? Why can't you understand yet?" We think of justification by faith as accepting salvation because of his infinite sacrifice.

I'm sometimes wondering if we carry it through far enough. Righteousness by faith is right doing by faith, right? And Jesus did that. Perhaps you've heard this statement that's in the book called, "first selected messages," 372, that says this. "Several--" the person writing says, "several have written to me inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message. And I have answered it is the third angel's message in verity.

" How many of you have read that statement, you've heard that? What does that mean? What does justification by faith have to do with the message about the Mark of the beast? Well, think about it. If you receive the Mark of the beast, what does that mean? It means you will be violating the commandment, right? If you don't receive the Mark of the beast, it means you are choosing to believe in God enough to have faith in him that you don't go along with breaking that particular commandment, the fourth commandment. Now I'm speaking from my own perspective, but I think many of us are just way too lax when it comes to looking at Jesus as our Lord and master and sanctification. In the back of our mind we kind of have this thought, "oh well, I'll just confess my sins. For he is faithful and just to forgive me my sins.

Oh well, if I fall, I'll just go to the cross." And believe me, if you fall, that's a good place to go to. We need to. We have to. We must. But don't get the concept that it's okay to fall.

You see what I'm saying? It's easy to kind of-- kind of just pacify ourselves in these ways. The greatest desire in our hearts should be to live the rest of our lives the way that Jesus lived all of his life. Shouldn't that be? And if that isn't so, I think it becomes way to easy to sin and way too easy to end up being lost if we're not careful. Victory will not come with our most every effort. Do you believe that? To believe in Jesus.

Victory will not come without our best efforts to trust in Jesus. Now think about it. If you were going to run a race in which you wanted to win, you really wanted to win this race, would it help you to study some of the great runners and watch them and study them? Would it help to do that? It would indeed. But if that's all you do, you will not win. If you don't get out and try to emulate what they do, you will lose.

That's why we need to emulate Christ and emulate putting our trust in him and only him. So it is with salvation. On to Monday's lesson, "the Jesus in whom we believe." We're introduced with the phrase, "by water and blood." Jesus came by "water and blood." And of course, if you've read your lesson, I trust you all did, it's referring to Christ's baptism and his crucifixion. He was baptized in water and died shedding his blood. What kind of Jesus does that help us believe in? I find it interesting that there's something not in the Bible.

And I have to share that with you, but first we need to read a verse. Matthew 3:14, who has that? Matthew 3:14, does somebody have that one? Right over here. Okay. And hold that verse because in just a second I want you to read verse 15. So just hold your place in the Bible there and read for us Matthew 3:14.

"But John forbad him saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and cometh thou to me?'" Okay, so here under the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, John recognized that Jesus was the one that he was preparing the way for, right? Now read verse 15. "And Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him." Thank you very, very much. So here's what's so interesting to me that is not found anywhere in the Bible. And that is nowhere do you have anybody accusing Jesus of being a sinner because he submitted to John's baptism.

Think about it. John was calling people to repentance. What does that mean? It means that all these people were sinners, that they needed to repent of their sins, right? And Jesus came to be baptized. Don't you think that somebody would have stepped forward and say, "ha-ha Jesus, you were baptized by John, therefore you must have been a sinner." Now they accused him of being a sinner because he ate with sinners. And they thought he cast out devils by the power of the devil, by the power of beelzebub, but never anybody accused him of being a sinner because he was baptized.

There must have been such a solemnity there at his baptizing that nobody dare make that accusation. That's right. So again we see the humanity and the divinity of Jesus present. He submitted to baptism as a human, as an example, but the recognition by John that he was the lamb of God shows again his divinity. And likewise the blood testifies to both his divinity and his humanity.

He shed his blood as a man. He died as a man. The earth shook and revolted because of his divinity. The curtain in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom because of his divinity. The lamb that was going to be slain escaped because of his divinity, because he was the lamb of God shedding his blood at that moment.

And I would hate to be the person who would argue against those kinds of testimonies. I shudder to think of anybody believing as Jesus any less than the perfect blend of humanity and divinity. Now do I understand it completely? Absolutely not. Will I thrill to study it throughout eternity? Absolutely yes. Now that's very important.

Let's go on to Tuesday's entitled, "Jesus and the testimony of God." What Tuesday brings out is that the water and the blood were the first two witnesses to the divine sonship of Jesus. And the third one was the Holy Spirit. As we think about the Holy Spirit being a person, the third person of the Godhead, sometimes to me it doesn't seem like we make him personal enough. We have this picture of Jesus and The Father and what a wonderful relationship. But Jesus and the Holy Spirit had a wonderful relationship too.

Do you believe that? Now there's some people who send us material that are making a duality out of the trinity. They're trying to do away with the Holy Spirit. It's just some kind of a form or some whatever. The Bible is very clear about the Holy Spirit. He is a he.

It's in the masculine gender whenever refer to the Holy Spirit. Now Jesus begins his ministry and the Holy Spirit comes down on him in the form of a dove. How comforting and reassuring that must have been for Jesus. Think about this. If you have been away from somebody that you love for a long time and you're going through some severe trial, how reassuring is it for that person to come put his arm around you? Isn't that nice? How reassuring is it for you to hear that very familiar voice of that friend who's come to be with you in this time of trial? Or how would you like this? If you were on trial for a severe, something very severe, and the president of the United States showed up to be your witness; would you like that? Or how about these girls this past week in korea? Open the door, they thought they were going out to hard labor, open the door and they see president bill clinton.

Would that be reassuring or not? Well, for Christ having the Holy Spirit show up like that was that and more so. It was the third person of the Godhead being there for him and with him. So he began his ministry. And the Spirit came down upon him on the form of a dove. Now the lesson asks it this way.

John says that if we are willing to accept the witness of humans, how much more so the witness of God himself? "The result in believing in Jesus," the result of believing in Jesus is what? Eternal life, isn't it? And as far as I understand it, eternal life begins the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior. Is that right? That's right. A gift is a gift, cannot be bought. For the moment you try to earn it or buy it, it no longer is a gift. And here is one thing about this gift.

It's always there. It's on a silver platter so to speak. It was put there the moment Jesus breathed his last. Salvation is a gift provided by Jesus. And the sad thing is that millions leave it there on the silver platter.

They leave it there. Even religious people leave it there. They want to be saved. They want to, but they don't accept the gift. They somehow think that they have to get good enough to accept the gift or whatever.

But a gift is a gift is a gift, right? Amen. One of the worst feelings in the world is to go to a great deal of trouble, time and even expense to get something to give to somebody and they don't like it, or they don't even take it from you. Isn't that disappointing? Jesus has to be disappointed over and over, many, many times. When Jesus was baptized, how did the Holy Spirit appear? As a dove, right? When the disciples were gathered together after Jesus is ascended to heaven, they were praying and all in one accord. The Holy Spirit came down in the form of tongues of fire, right? Those are two very different manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Now that happened over ,000 years ago. Many people witnessed both those occasions. And there again, I have never seen any ancient writings or writings from 2,000 years ago of people coming forth and saying, "I was there. And it didn't happen that way." Wouldn't you think somebody would have came forward and made those kind of accusations if it didn't happen? It surely did happen. And yet for those who choose not to believe, there's not much you can do, is there? Except, except if the Holy Spirit gets through.

And there are people sitting here in this sanctuary that was hardened--hardened to religion, hardened to God, but the Holy Spirit got through to you, right? That's right. Moving on, let's see. We should know we have eternal life. Is that correct? We should know, as 1 John 5 says, "I have written these things to you that you should know that you have eternal life." Now appropriate to what I'm saying here, we all should know we have eternal life. You may not know you have eternal life, whether you do or you don't, but I have a pretty good idea.

And I'll tell you why. And here's this little story that is very applicable. Some gold-mining miners in Montana many years ago, one fellow found this strange rock, cracked it open, and inside was gold. And they discovered that they had found a lot of gold right in that area. And they were jumping around, excited and happy, "we found gold! We're rich! We're rich!" And yet they had to stop their celebrating because they had to into town to buy some supplies.

They all got together and they agreed with everybody, "we must not tell anybody." And so sure enough, they went into town and none of them said a word. But how disappointed they were when hundreds of men were ready to go with them back out to where they were. And they said, "wait a minute. Who squealed?" They asked the people with them that was going back with them, "who squealed?" And they said, "nobody squealed. Nobody had to.

It was written all over your face. You found gold and we know it!" And salvation is worth more than all the gold and all the hills and all the world and all the paved streets. Salvation should be on our face at all times. Right? If we have salvation, we should show it. Somebody put it in poetry this way.

"The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are read by more than a few. But the one that is most read and commentated on is the Gospel according to you. You are writing a Gospel, a chapter each day about the things that you do and the words that you say. Men read what you write, whether faithless or true. Say, what is the Gospel according to you? Do men read his truth and his love in your life? Or has yours been too full of malice and strife.

Does your life speak of evil, or does it ring true? Say, what is the Gospel according to you?" That's what it's all about, isn't it? What kind of Jesus do we believe in? Do we believe in? Does Jesus--how does Jesus appear to others who look at you? Do they see a harsh and dictatorial Jesus? Do they see a liberally-careless Jesus? Maybe they see a fearful and fretting Jesus. It could be a conniving and cruel Jesus, maybe a lazy and uncaring Jesus. What kind of Jesus are we lifting up before the world? Is that the question we should be asking ourselves? Every day. What kind of Jesus do we believe in, what kind of Jesus are we sharing with the world around us? Is that what we're here for? We are here to study the life of Jesus. As we are told in one place, we should spend a thoughtful hour meditating on the life of our dear, beloved Savior, especially the closing scenes of his life.

Is that right? We should do that. This morning, we have the wonderful privilege of sitting in this place, studying the Word of God freely. While time lasts, let us do our very best to know Jesus in the proper perspective: fully divine, fully human, coming to pay the price for our salvation. Let me remind you this morning again, once again, that our free offer is number 154. It's entitled, "down from his glory.

" Www.amazingfacts.org. You can go online there and order that. Or go to 1-866-788-3966. I want to thank all of you who have come here to join us in the sanctuary here at Sacramento this morning. And all of you who have joined us online, by radio, internet live streaming, we are glad and happy that you joined us.

It is my privilege to communicate with many of you online. And it's a highlight for me, I assure you. We thank you for joining us. May God bless each and every one of you. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast.

If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live," and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared toward answering some of your most difficult questions. And our online Bible school is just a click away. One location, so many possibilities, amazingfacts.org. If you've been encouraged by today's message and would like to know more of what God's Word says to you today, Amazing Facts invites you to visit our educational website at www.Bibleuniverse.com. At Bible universe, you'll discover exciting truths that will fill you with peace and purpose. The mysteries of the Bible will unfold for you at your own pace. Visit www.Bibleuniverse.com today; expand your universe.

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