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. Is Jesus really God?

IS JESUS REALLY GOD?


John 1:1-2 (ESV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.”

 

Introduction:

 

In John 20:30-31 John states the purpose of his gospel. 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” So, John writes for a verdict so that we can believe in the Logos and he writes so that we may have victory by having life in His name.

In this sermon I want to touch a critical issue and that is the relationship of the Logos to God. Is Jesus really God in the flesh. If the claim of Jesus that He is God is true, He must be worshipped, if this is not true He must be rejected. If Jesus existed before time, then He is eternal, and only God is eternal, therefore He must be God.

Who was and who is Jesus of Nazareth? He was, and He is God who became flesh and by coming to this earth He has revealed God to us. When you would look into the face of Jesus of Nazareth you were looking into the face of God. For our answer today we will look at it from one angle namely John 1:1-2.

1. It teaches us that the Logos is part of a the Godhead.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…" 2 He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2, ESV)

The Greek word for ‘with’ here is 'pros' {pros}. It can be translated ‘towards’ and therefore it could read “the Logos was towards God’, which would not be a problem, but every time ‘pros’ appears in the New Testament regarding persons relating to one another it is translated as ‘with’. John might subtly therefore be referring here already to the person of Christ with the Father who are God. Let me say this at the outset that when you look at what the Bible reveals about God, and specifically what the Living Logos reveals about God we are looking at truths beyond the ability of our minds to comprehend. Our minds are truly baffled and with one of Job’s comforters we have to say: 7 Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” Job 11:7 (ESV)

 

But can I immediately remind us that we do not comprehend these things we merely apprehend these things. We take hold of these things by faith, because God has revealed them. We don’t pretend to be able to conceptualise it or visualise it in any way. You have no scientific process in place to study eternity. I cannot conceptualise or visualise in my mind God as a trinity. The old human argument that I was always taught does not work namely that my dad is a father and a son and a grandfather at the same time and that is how God works. This argument does not work, and you do not need it to prove the Trinity, because my dad remains one person not three. This discussion about the Trinity is the biggest stumbling block in the way of the Jehovah’s witnesses for believing in Christ as God, because they want to figure it all out with reason. This is the biggest stumbling block in the way of many scientists, because they cannot do a physical experiment proving the trinity and existence of God.

So, to understand if Jesus is really God, let’s look at this Trinity from two angles.

 

1.1 The trinity revealed in the relationship of Christ and the Father.


Now, when John says that the ‘Word was with God’ he clearly means that Christ and the Father are distinct persons, because only if they are distinct can the son be ‘with’. This of course explains how they can fellowship with one another. Jesus clearly reveals this fact in John 17 where we are brought into the glorious private prayer life of Christ where He was praying for us who were given to Him before time began. John 17:1-8 (ESV) “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me."

In this section we see various things.

  1. Jesus was with the Father before He came to the earth.
  2. There were people given by the Father to the Son for redemption before the Son ever came into the World. vv. 2 & 3 and 6.
  3. We see that the Father sent the Son into the world to accomplish that redemption.
  4. We see also that the Son by coming laid aside the expression of the Glory of God which He had with the Father.
  5. We also see that by coming He manifested His Father’s name to those the Father had given Him.
  6. Us who have been given to Christ by the Father know that what Jesus has given to us came from God and that Jesus was sent by God.

All this says that there was fellowship in God before the world was ever made. Now look at further phenomenal claims of Christ in this section as we read further. John 17:21-22 (ESV) 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

 

Now, when did the Father love the Son? Before there was anything made, anything created. There was a functional authority in the Godhead without a sacrifice of equality, there was fellowship in the Godhead, there was love and there was affection in the Godhead before anything was ever made.

God is a trinity and indeed this which I’ve said about the Father and the Son is not limited to them only but also pertains to the Holy Spirit.

 

1.2 The Trinity revealed in the person and work of the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit as much as some don’t like it has His own personality and all the attributes of deity. The Holy Spirit is also presented to us in Scripture as God. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV) 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” This is what we call a Trinitarian verse; the grace of Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

 

Look at Ephesians 4:30 (ESV) 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” He is clearly speaking here about the Holy Spirit not as a power or a force or as some present Him as a ‘liquid’ but it is speaking of Him as a person because He is someone who can be grieved.

 

Look at Acts 5:3 where Peter addresses Ananias: 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God. Look at what he says. You have lied to the Holy Spirit therefore you have lied to God.

 

Look at John 15:26 (ESV) 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he (not it) will bear witness about me.” God is a trinity. Look at the combination of words here, sent by Christ, from the Father, the Spirit proceeds from the Father.

So, when John says that the Word was with God, he is saying that Jesus and the Father are distinct persons just as the Holy Spirit is distinct. God is a trinity and each part of the trinity are their own person and have their own work, but they are one God.

2. It teaches us that the Logos is God.

John 1:1-2 (ESV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.”

John does not stop by saying that the Logos was with God, but that ‘the Logos was God’. These four Greek words, "theos yn ho logos" (God was the Word) is perhaps the clearest and most direct declaration of the deity of Christ to be found anywhere in Scripture. We must admit that this language is strange to the human mind and it must be strange because it is expressing truth that goes beyond our ability to comprehend.

I can never say that ‘I was with Mike’ and that ‘I am Mike’. This is an impossible statement when I’m Nicki. Jesus was not just with God, Jesus was God. The Bible is abundantly clear that there is only one God that truly exists. God is one. There are not two Gods, there are not three Gods and there is not an abundance of Gods as believed by most nations at that time. There is only one God and because the Logos is God. He is as much God as the Father is God and He is as much God as the Spirit is God, but He is not the Father and He is not the Spirit.

We see this in the Old Testament in places like Deuteronomy 6:4 that says: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." Then we see Jesus quoting this when a scribe asked Him what the most important commandment is. Mark 12:29 (ESV) 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

The Apostles affirm the oneness of God all over the show and they were the very ones defending the deity of Christ. Were they confused, or did they understand the mysteries of God by revelation? Let me just give you two of many examples. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (ESV) 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

 

Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV) 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

 

So, there are Old Testament claims, there are claims by Christ and by the apostles, this time it has to do with the oneness of God. Yet the same apostles declare the deity of Christ and if Jesus is God, and there is only one God, then what John 1:1 is claiming is correct namely that the Logos is God.

 

Look how clear Paul is on the matter in Titus 2:11-13 (ESV) 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, So the Logos is not just our saviour, He is our God. Paul here writes about the oneness of God but also about the deity of Jesus. But also, Peter has something to say about the matter.

 

Look at 2 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV) “Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Peter is not vague here.

 

Even the enemies of Jesus understood His claims to be God. John 5:18 (ESV) 18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

John Piper puts it so simply; he says: “the Word was with God means that they are distinct persons and can have fellowship with one another, but the Word was God means they are one God, not two. We hold fast to the Biblical mystery; God the Father and God the Son have such a unity that they are one God not two, and yet such a distinction that they are two persons not one.”

Do we realize that Jesus at no time rejected being God? Remember the incident with Thomas when he said to Jesus my Lord and my God.” Did Jesus say to Thomas, hokaai, where are you going with this? No, on the contrary Jesus says in John 20:29 (ESV) 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Here you are dealing with the greatest of all miracles and that is that a dead man rises without any agent having performed a miracle, and Thomas realises that this is big, Jesus is nobody else than God. Jesus is our Lord and our God and we have come to that glorious confession even though we have not seen what Thomas has seen and we are blessed, and in fact John takes this as his launching point for the purpose of his whole book that we saw earlier as the very next two verses contain the statement that he has written these things that we may believe in Christ and that by believing we may have life in His name.

So what John is doing is this. He is inviting others to come to the same confession as Thomas without having seen what he saw, and that is what ultimately brings life. He wants us to see that Jesus is Lord and God. What do all these verses teach us? When you put it all together, what do you see? You see that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead, yet there is one God, and that is something beyond our ability to conceptualize or visualize. It is beyond our ability to comprehend. We believe it because the Scriptures teach it, because God has revealed Himself in this way.

In closing:

So, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." Go back in time when there was no you or me or, speech or sound, or cells or DNA or universe or any type of matter and there was God and Jesus was with God and the Word was God. You know what it tells us. Jesus did not come to the earth to save us, because He needed for us to be saved. He didn’t come to the earth to accomplish salvation, because there was something that we would give Him that was essential for Him to have. Why did He do it? “For the good pleasure of His own will”.

Jesus came to earth for the glory of God, He lived for the glory of God, He died for the glory of God, He was raised for the glory of God, and now He saves for the glory of God, and we who have been saved must see that we exist for the very same purpose. We now recognize that we exist for the Glory of God.

Nothing but grace, explains our existence and nothing but grace explains our salvation. Jesus didn’t need us or our existence, God didn’t need for us to be saved. We needed for God to save us so that our salvation is explained by grace. Jesus was all of this before there was anything created.

For today and this sermon, I pray that all of us will cry out with Thomas; ‘my Lord and my God…”. To draw back from making that confession is the best way to perish, but to believe it is to enter eternal life. Jesus Christ is God and can therefore satisfy all your needs, let us cast our lives upon Him and have life to the full.

Maybe the best way to end this service is to say: “And now, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God our Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you, now and forever more.”

Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: - 29 April 2018