Jesus ~ 20131229 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the
Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
of the Incarnation; How Should We
Respond to This Jesus?
We have spent
the last few weeks looking at the theology of the incarnation.
Jesus, the eternally existent creative omnipotent sovereign Word of
God. The one who always was with his Father and who is himself God,
the only God who is at the Father's side, the one who has come to
make God known. This eternal Son, at a point in history became what
he was not, he humbled himself by becoming human, being born of a
virgin in Bethlehem. He lived a perfect human life, being tempted in
every way that we all are, yet without ever sinning. He died a real
human death on a Roman cross, and he he rose from the dead and
ascended back to the right hand of his Father in his real human
body, where he lives forever to make intercession for us. Remaining
what he was, he became what he was not.
How do we
respond to this Jesus? What do we do with him? If we really believe
that he is who he claimed to be, we cannot ignore him. We cannot
simply go back to life as usual. If Jesus really is God from all
eternity come down to be with us, it changes everything! We must
think differently, feel differently, believe differently, act
differently. Everything must change.
Let's take some
time to evaluate where we are in light of who Jesus is and what he
came to accomplish, and move forward eager to have our minds and
hearts and lives reshaped by Jesus.
One of the first
things that Jesus did when he came was to hold up a mirror so that
we can see ourselves clearly. Jesus said
Luke 5:32 I have
not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
(cf. Matt.9:13; Mk.2:17)
There is none
righteous, no not one (Rom.3:10). By Jesus' perfect sinless life, he
intended to show us what perfection looks like, and how far we fall
short. As long as we continue under the delusion that we are not
really that bad, we will never come to him for rescue. We will never
repent, never turn. We desperately need to see what true holiness
is, and that our self-righteousness is offensive to the all-holy
God. We must confess, which means to agree with him about our
sinfulness and need. J.C. Ryle wrote:
truth is that a right understanding of sin lies at the root of all
saving Christianity. Without it such doctrines as justification,
conversion, sanctification, are "words and names" which
convey no meaning to the mind. The first thing, therefore, that God
does when He makes anyone a new creature in Christ is to send light
into his heart and show him that he is a guilty sinner. The material
creation in Genesis began with "light," and so also does
the spiritual creation. God "shines into our hearts" by
the work of the Holy Spirit and then spiritual life begins (2 Cor.
4:6). Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the
errors, heresies and false doctrines of the present day. If a man
does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease,
you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.
I believe that one of the chief wants of the contemporary church has
been, and is, clearer, fuller teaching about sin.” [J.C.Ryle,
Holiness, 1879. p.1]
Jesus as the light who shines in the darkness
(Jn.1:4-5), reminding us that we are those Isaiah spoke of,
Isaiah 9:2 The
people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who
dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
John 3:19 And this
is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved
the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Not only do we
walk in darkness, but we hate the light and choose to remain in the
dark, because we love the darkness. Light exposes our wickedness,
and we don't want to be exposed.
John tells us
John 2:24 But Jesus
on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all
people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he
himself knew what was in man.
And this is
speaking of those who were believing in him! Jesus did not entrust
himself to people, because we are not to be trusted, we are
untrustworthy. Jesus teaches us that we should be
suspicious of our own hearts.
against our tendency toward greed.
Luke 12:15 And he
said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all
covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of
He warned of our
defection toward short-term pleasure over lasting joy.
Matthew 5:29 If
your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For
it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole
body be thrown into hell.
against our tendency to seek the praise of men.
Matthew 6:1 “Beware
of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be
seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who
is in heaven. (cf. Jn.12:43)
our sense of justice.
Matthew 12:7 And if
you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not
sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
our blind hypocrisy.
Matthew 7:3 Why do
you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice
the log that is in your own eye?
And our blatant
Luke 6:46 “Why
do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
Jesus told us
that we are sick.
Luke 5:31 And Jesus
answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a
physician, but those who are sick.
Luke 19:10 For the
Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
He said that we
are warped and unbelieving.
Matthew 17:17 And
Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long
am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here
He told his
followers after his resurrection.
Luke 24:25 And he
said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of
heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
So, according to
Jesus, we are untrustworthy, greedy, hypocritical, disobedient,
lovers of pleasure, lovers of praise, lovers of darkness, with a
warped sense of justice, sick, lost, unbelieving, foolish, and slow
of heart. To the church Jesus said:
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not
realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
what Jesus has to say about you! Do not be afraid to look in the
mirror, feel the gravity of your situation, and then in true
desperation cry out to Jesus for rescue!
came into the world to save sinners (1Tim.1:15). Until we recognize
the depth of our own sinfulness, we will miss the whole reason for
his coming. God came down to show us our need for him. Once we see
clearly our own lost condition, we are ready to see and enjoy the
overwhelming grace and truth that comes through Jesus Christ.
Jesus came down
to reveal to us our true needs and to satisfy them fully in himself.
Joseph was told by the angel:
Matthew 1:21 She
will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save
his people from their sins.”
Jesus came to
save us from our sins. John the Baptist:
John 1:29 The next
day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus is the one
who meets our deepest need; he demonstrated with the woman caught in
the act of adultery, with the paralyzed man let down through the
roof, with the woman of the city who washed his feet with her tears,
that he has authority to forgive sins. By his once for all death on
the cross, Jesus satisfied his Father's wrath against our sins. This
is the reason he became human. Jesus said:
Mark 10:45 For even
the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his
life as a ransom for many.”
For some of you
what we are saying today might be new information. I would invite
you to believe, receive, trust this Jesus who is everything we need.
But for most of you, I expect this is old news. You've heard it all
before. I would especially challenge you to listen with fresh ears,
to really drink in who Jesus is and let him satisfy and nourish your
souls. He is here! Experience his presence. Enjoy him. Let him touch
you. Let him serve you today.
Jesus is the one
who satisfies our deepest thirst. He said to the woman
at the well:
John 4:13 Jesus
said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be
thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give
him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will
become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 7:37 On the
last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out,
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever
believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart
will flow rivers of living water.’”
Jesus fills our
John 6:35 Jesus
said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me
shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
John 6:51 I am the
living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this
bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the
life of the world is my flesh.”
John 8:12 Again
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the
light of life.”
Jesus is our
protection and abundant provision
John 10:7 So Jesus
again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door
of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but
the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters
by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they
may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:14 I am
the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the
Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for
Jesus is our
John 10:27 My
sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give
them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will
snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,
is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the
Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
John 11:25 Jesus
said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever
believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone
who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus grants us
access to the Father.
John 14:6 Jesus
said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No
one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is the
true rest for weary souls
Matthew 11:28 Come
to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and
lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my
yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus is the
source of our fruitfulness and joy.
John 15:1 “I
am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. ...4 Abide in
me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless
it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I
am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in
him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do
nothing. ...8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much
fruit and so prove to be my disciples. ...11 These things I have
spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be
full. ...16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed
you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should
abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give
it to you.
revolutionizes our thinking and worldview.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be
comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the
earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the
merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the
pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the
peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed
are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile
you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you
falsely on my account.
what true happiness consists of among his followers. Spirit-poverty,
mourning, meekness, longing for righteousness, mercy, purity,
peacemaking, persecution. Joy comes through our connection with
Jesus, not from our circumstances. In Jesus, our sins are forgiven,
our soul's hunger and thirst is satisfied, our darkness is overcome,
we find in him protection, provision, security, access to the
Father, rest for our souls, fruitfulness and real joy. Jesus came
that we might have life, and life abundantly.
Jesus came to
transform everything. He came to rescue and restore how we think,
how we feel, how we live. He came so that we can experience real
human life as it was meant to be. He came to restore our purpose.
Matthew 4:19 And he
said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
We are to follow
Jesus. We were created to follow. We were created to live under
God's good rule, to obey. Instead, we rebelled, rejected God's good
rule, and chose to live according to our own twisted desires. We
became slaves to sin. A fisherman takes a fish out of
its natural element where it will eventually suffocate and become
dinner. But as fishers of men, we lure men and women out of the
sewage of sin and set them free to live and thrive in their true
element, restored to a right relationship with God. Fishermen employ
fake lures and deceptive bait. But we are to attract people with the
real thing; real life, real light, real joy, real peace, real
fruitfulness, real love.
Jesus said that
we are to be the salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:13 “You
are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall
its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except
to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
things from spoiling, gives flavor, and makes people thirsty. We are
to live in such a way that people become thirsty for God.
Jesus said that
we are the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14 “You
are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a
stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way,
let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good
works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Light is meant
to shine out and overcome darkness. The light of our good works is
meant to bring glory to God, to attract people to God, to put on
display the transformation that only God can produce.
that as we abide in him we will bear good fruit.
Luke 6:43 “For
no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good
fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not
gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble
bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart
produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces
evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
As we follow
Jesus our lives will have a firm foundation.
Luke 6:46 “Why
do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I
will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house,
who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood
arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it,
because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does
not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a
foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell,
and the ruin of that house was great.”
Jesus came so
that we would follow him. Jesus came so that our lives would reflect
his life. This is a life of wisdom. This is a life founded on the
Rock of Jesus. Listen to how he describes it:
Luke 6:27 “But
I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate
you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29
To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from
one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30
Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your
goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would
do to you, do so to them. ….35 But love your enemies, and do
good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be
great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the
ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is
merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn
not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be
forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure,
pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your
lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
While we were
his enemies, Jesus loved us. Jesus extended mercy to sinners who
rightly deserved the fury of his wrath. Jesus accepted undeserved
abuse. Jesus freely gave us the greatest gift at great cost to
himself, expecting nothing in return. Instead of condemning us,
Jesus came to rescue us, to forgive our sins, and to transform us.
As we look to
Jesus, as we see Jesus for who he is, allow him to reveal the sin in
your heart, let him apply the cure and satisfy your soul, and allow
him to totally transform how you think, how you feel, how you live.