JESUS – Who is He?

JESUS – Who is He?

One Christmas hymn asks:

‘Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?’

Who is this person? Jesus has profoundly affected the lives of millions and even altered the direction and history of whole nations. Yet there’s an astonishing ignorance of who He really is.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day fully understood what Jesus was claiming by saying He was the Son of God. Jesus was claiming equality with God the Father. The religious leaders were incensed by this claim. They were seeking to kill Him because He was ‘making himself equal with God (John 5:18).’ Jesus was claiming to be God and under Jewish religious law was blasphemy and punishable by death.

The Christian Church makes exactly the same claim today. Jesus, the Son of God, is God. Many today are incensed by that truth claim.

Jesus at one time asked His disciples ‘Whom do people say that I am’. Just like our own day, they replied by saying, the people have many ideas about His identity. But then Jesus made it more personal by asking ‘Whom do YOU say that I am?.

There’s a vague notion about the identity of Jesus, but few find out for themselves, preferring to simply parrot what others say.

When Jesus asked ‘Whom do you say that I am?’ Peter, one of the disciples, replied by saying that Jesus is ‘The Son of the living God.’ In saying this, Peter acknowledges that Jesus is God (See Matthew 16:13-17).

You too may have a vague notion that Jesus is not like everyone else and might even concede that Jesus said some good things. You might even see that it makes sense to see Him as God, but you just don’t believe it. You might say ‘I’m fine, it’s not for me.’ But this has no bearing on its truthfulness. As an illustration: think about gravity. You can’t see it. But it affects our lives every moment. And if you were to jump out of a window you would very quickly be confronted with its reality. Apparently, survivors of suicide regretted jumping the split second gravity took over as they hurtled to their death.

The split second you leave this life and your spirit leaves your cold dead body you will immediately believe that Jesus is God. Tragically, it will be too late. The Bible says ‘now is the accepted time, now is the day of Salvation (2 Cor 6:2).’

The chorus of the hymn I started with answers the ‘Who is He’ question by saying this:

‘Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! Crown Him, Lord of all!

What must you do in the light of who Jesus is? It’s what we all must do. You need to bow before Him. Acknowledge your rebellion towards your God and plead for mercy on the basis that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners 1 Timothy 1:15).


To hear more about The Lord Jesus Christ, join us for a Sunday service.

Service times at Alfred Place Baptist Church

Sunday morning at 11:00 & Sunday evening at 5:00.

Or drop into our regular Coffee morning: Wednesdays 11:00 – 1:00.

 


This is my first attempt at an Evangelistic Leaflet. The errors are all mine but If you can use it, please go ahead.

Is this Christmas? Extracting The Legal Pain!

Extracted is the legal pain. These five words in verse two form a single line in this remarkable hymn by Charles Wesley. This is Wesley at his best as someone said. These hymns are not inspired in the same authoritative sense that the Bible is but they can convey profound truth in a wonderful way. Inspired perhaps with a little i. These five words convey two very important Bible truths. Truths that need to be constantly stated because man in sin always assumes and seeks to state the opposite and to deny the truth. So what are these two truths?

1. ‘Extracted is the legal pain’ tells us of a problem. Any punishment is unpleasant and we all recognise that it’s the result of doing something wrong. Overstay in a car park and a demand for payment will arrive in the post. Get caught speeding and you’ll get a fine. These are trite examples but you get the idea. If you get caught breaking the law of God – and make no mistake we have all been caught – payment is required. The Bible calls it sin. And as we continue sinning, that is, as we continue breaking the law of God we are, as it were, earning a wage. The Bible says very plainly that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). As if that wasn’t bad enough, the reason we continue to sin is because there’s a deeper problem. The problem is that there’s a something wrong with our nature. But we seek to deny it or play it down. What problem? There’s nothing wrong with me, you might say, even though you know full well there is a problem. There’s a deep-seated problem that’s impervious to mere outward reformation. What’s required is a reformation that goes far beyond any outward change. Changes of habit or lifestyle are definitely in vogue and even make good viewing. But these changes will do nothing for us legally before God. In the court of God who can make representation for us when on every hand we are found guilty in thought word and deed. Any earthly representative has the same problem. It’s no accident The Lord Jesus Christ is called our Advocate (1 John 2:1). The problem for us is that we need a nature that is beyond the law. There isn’t one! The law of God condemns all. It slays all! All are guilty and found wanting before a Holy and Righteous God.

2. Although the words speak of punishment in an excruciating manner the legal pain is being extracted from an innocent party. The fact is, the legal pain should really be extracted from me, the guilty sinner, but it’s been extracted from another! Secondly then, to ‘Extract the legal pain’ speaks of Substitutionary Atonement. And this is the heart of The Gospel and why The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world. And it’s why at Christmas we realise why The Christ came. It’s not really about stars, stables and shepherds but about a bloody cross, about agony of soul and of body, about punishment and death. It’s about the cost of Redemption! A cost we sinners cannot ever possibly pay. Not even an eternity will extract the legal pain from us! We need another to do it for us. One that is suitably qualified for the awful task. Although Wesley has captured the horror of breaking the law of God putting the frighteners on you is not necessarily a good evangelistic strategy. But on the other hand, you are a fool if you ignore it because you don’t like being threatened or dislike ‘hellfire preaching’. The truth is, there is a Hell. And there’s only one way to escape it (Heb 2:3). That way is The Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Being ‘right with God’ is a legal declaration that God makes. This is the Justification by faith that is celebrated this 500th Reformation year – and every year. Because of what Christ has accomplished on the Cross, God is able to be just and to justify those that have faith in The Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 3:23-26).

So it’s no wonder the Wise men and the Shepherds rejoiced when the Salvation of God appeared. We Christians ought to be amazed at what God did in sending His Son. And we are amazed at what Christ has done by coming to us when we could not and would not go to Him (Heb 10:5). Salvation truly is of The Lord. Will you trust Him? Is your faith in The Christ? Please have a happy Christmas. But don’t ignore or neglect what it’s really all about.

A Very Happy & Blessed Christmas

Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord

Heb 10:5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;
Heb 10:6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
Heb 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'”
Heb 10:8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),
Heb 10:9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
Heb 10:10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Rembrandt, 1632
Rembrandt, 1632 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kindle Surprise!

You’ve seen those Kindle things – all over the place they are. I’ve kind of looked at them. Well, now I have one. My kids clubbed together to buy one for Christmas. Not ever really thinking about buying one, it was s bit of a surprise and the thought ran through my mind – will I really use this. Having played with it for a while and downloaded a few books – the answer is, yes I will.

But what a way they set me up for it. I felt the wrapping and knew it was a book. And from the size of it I hoped it was the  volume of Systematic Theology by Michael Horton – I had dropped a few hints. When I opened the wrapping, it was a book alright! A Gardening Book! I tried to be appreciative, knowing they had my best interests at heart. Gardening is not my thing at all. But! When I opened up the book there inside was a Kindle. Wahoo. They had cut out the inside of the book (The idea of my daughter Lydia)  to fit a Kindle – absolutely brilliant. A real surprise, I had no idea at all.

I have downloaded the sample of Michael Horton’s Systematic Theology, The ESV Bible (print price £22.38 Kindle price £0.00) and put a PDF file on it. If I spot any FREE Kindle books that may be of interest I’ll put up a post about them.

The plan now is to try to modify it. If the modifications happen, and I have some ideas, I’ll post about them here.

The Queen’s Christmas Speech 2011

Last evening at church our Pastor mentioned in his sermon the Queen’s speech (Elizabeth II) and how she had very strongly mentioned The Lord Jesus Christ. Wanting to check it out for myself I can confirm The Queen, contrary to many a spineless politician, spoke of Christ as a unique person. And in the context it’s not possible to interpret unique in the sense that we are all unique but clearly that Jesus is the Saviour and is Christ The Lord. There can only be one Lord – and It’s Jesus. You will find the full text of her speech HERE. But I’ve taken the liberty of posting the last few paragraphs below. To be honest I’m not really a Monarchist (I like the history though) but from the speech below we perhaps do have a Monarch whose faith truly is in Christ. Here’s a high-profile figure not afraid, or bound by ridiculous political correctness, diversity or intolerant tolerance to speak of faith in Christ and her own need of a Saviour and of forgiveness. God bless you.

Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: ‘Fear not’, they urged, ‘we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

‘For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.’

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed.

God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.

Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.

In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there’s a prayer:

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,

Descend to us we pray.

Cast out our sin

And enter in.

Be born in us today.

It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

Christmas Presents, Lights, Snowmen, Trees, Baubles & Babies

Christmas Presents, Lights, Snowmen, Trees, Baubles & Babies. These are some of the things that make up our modern Christmas and I’m sure there are a good deal more. This isn’t going to be a traditional or seasonal ‘Reformed’ bashing of these things – I love them. I wanted to step back a little from them and see if they point to something.

The important thing is to not miss the reality of The Saviour. And religion or religiosity will act as just a suitable distraction as Presents, Lights, Snowmen, Trees, Baubles & Babies.

I remember hearing a long time ago a sermon by A W Tozer and in it he commented on one of the Psalms and applied it to Jesus. He said vaguely something along the lines of ‘through the midst of all the sin in the world we can still trace the fragrance of Myrrh, Aloes and Cassia left by the one that visited our world’. It’s from Psalm 45:8  ‘your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;’

What I’m trying poorly to say is this: The Christmas Presents, Lights, Snowmen, Trees, Baubles & Babies all point ultimately to the glorious fact that someone was here. We still have some vestige of His walking here on earth and we see it, albeit dimly I grant, but see it we do. Yes, they point not just to something but to a person, a wonderful person, A Mighty Counselor, A Prince, even The Prince of Peace. Many will read some of the following words on Christmas Cards, sent deliberately or perhaps they ring of truth in the conscience. Here’s the verses from Isaiah in full.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

To read more of this glorious person here’s a comment on Psalm 45:8 from the 19th Century preacher C H Spurgeon:

“All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia.” The divine anointing causes fragrance to distil from the robes of the Mighty Hero. He is delightful to every sense, to the eye most fair, to the ear most gracious, to the spiritual nostril most sweet. The excellences of Jesus are all most precious, comparable to the rarest spices; they are most varied, and to be likened not to myrrh alone, but to all the perfumes blended in due proportion. The Father always finds a pleasure in him, in him he is well pleased; and all regenerated spirits rejoice in him, for he is made of God unto us, “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” Note that not only is Jesus most sweet, but even his garments are so; everything that he has to do with is perfumed by his person. “All” his garments are thus fragrant; not some of them, but all; we delight as much in his purple of dominion as in the white linen of his priesthood, his mantle as our prophet is as dear to us as his seamless coat as our friend. All his dress is fragrant with all sweetness. To attempt to spiritualise each spice here mentioned would be unprofitable, the evident sense is that all sweetnesses meet in Jesus, and are poured forth wherever he is present. “Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.” The abode of Jesus now is imperial in splendour, ivory and gold but faintly image his royal seat; there is he made glad in the presence of the Father, and in the company of his saints. Oh, to behold him with his perfumed garments on! The very smell of him from afar ravishes our spirit, what must it be to be on the other side of the pearl gate, within the palace of ivory, amid those halls of Zion, “conjubilant with song,” where is the throne of David, and the abiding presence of the Prince! To think of his gladness, to know that he is full of joy, gives gladness at this moment to our souls. We poor exiles can sing in our banishment since our King, our Well-beloved, has come to his throne.