Book Sale

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Jesus is God


Image: Unsplash 

Jesus is God Titus 2:13

You can watch the video of this sermon, here.


Last week we explored the beauty of the grace of God. I think we can summarize that message best with the lyrics from Keith Greens song,

“Oh, Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me
Oh, Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me.”

There is nothing else quite like the grace of God. It is both an undeserved kindness, and a transforming power. As Psalm 51:1-2 says, “51 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” The word behind ‘lovingkindness’ here ‘hesed’ carries a similar idea to the undeserved kindness of God’s grace. His loving kindness and his grace are intertwined. As the old saying goes, and as I was reminded after my sermon last week, God’s grace is him giving us what we do not deserve, and his mercy is him not giving us what we do deserve. Because of his mercy he does not punish us as we deserve and because of his grace he gives us lovingkindness that washes us clean from our sins. David expresses both these ideas in Psalm 51:1-2. Grace and mercy.

God has always been this God of grace, but the entry of the king into this world changed everything forever: “9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:9-13). His presence changes everything so thoroughly, because Jesus is God, he is the God who created this world, and this existence, and all that is. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords and the Master of masters.

But some people are not able to fit this together in their head that Jesus is the eternal God the Son. They find it hard to accept that there is God and Jesus, and Jesus is also God. They know this is true, but if you were to ask them to show you from the Bible where it says Jesus is God, they would not know how to do this. Partially because there is no verse where Jesus himself says in these words, “I am God.” This is not the problem that some people think it is, and I am going to show that to you this today, pretty conclusively. So, this morning we are going to start in Titus and see how Paul shows Jesus is God, then we are going to show conclusively from across the Bible that Jesus is eternally God and how this affects you and I.

Our God and Saviour (2:11-14) – We read in Titus 2, this clear and un-ambiguous statement of the divinity of Jesus Christ, “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 Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” We explored what this passage says about grace last week, but we only briefly examined what it says about the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a pretty clear statement that he is God, as Paul says, he is “our great God and saviour” Jesus Christ. But if you were to bring this up with a very well-trained skeptic, they might note that the Greek can also read like this, “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ…” (KJV). This reads a little different.

Both of these translations are faithfully representing what Paul said. Both of them are easily read to say that Jesus is our God and saviour. Though the ESV translations makes it much more explicit.

But the second reading can also be read by some to say that Paul is referring to both God the father, and Jesus Christ here. There are many problems with this reading, but the most important one is this: whose appearing is it that we await? God the father or Jesus Christ?

Who are we waiting to come back for us and fully defeat evil? Who is the only one in the Bible we are told has a “second coming”? Who is the only one we are told “will appear in the clouds to bring the fullness of our hope with him?” Jesus Christ: “27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:27-28). We await the appearing of Jesus Christ.

So, let’s read this verse again: the hope we await, is the blessed “appearing of our great God and saviour Jesus Christ…” The context of this verses demands that we say Jesus is God and Saviour.

Our God and saviour Jesus Christ is coming back for us, is what Paul is saying, it is clear.  

Indeed, the context of Titus requires us to say that Jesus is God, because several times Paul uses this phrase “God our saviour” (1:3, 2:10, 3:4) and he also tells us that Jesus Christ is our saviour (1:4, 2:13, 3:6).

The Bible clearly teaches that it is God alone that saves, Psalm 62:1-2 – “62 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” It is God alone that saves, God the father is our saviour and Jesus Christ is our saviour.

Which is why Paul says in 1:4 – “4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” Who saves? God saves, God the father saves us through his Son. If Jesus and God the father are not equally God, then the whole book of Titus makes no sense.

In fact we see the whole Trinity at work in our salvation in this book: “ Titus 3:4-6 – “4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,..” God saves us through the work of Christ applied to our lives through the Holy Spirit that washes us clean from our sins.

So, the divinity of Jesus is pretty paramount to our salvation and intrinsic to the teaching of Titus. God alone saves, Jesus saves and therefore he is God. But this is a bit of a technical argument. Let me give you some more arguments from throughout the Bible that clearly and simply show that Jesus is God.

He Claims To Be God (Matt 26:62-66) – One of the biggest stumbling blocks that people have to accepting the divinity of Jesus is the fact that there is, as I mentioned in the introduction, no place where he says, “I am God” in those words. But this is just a misunderstanding of the cultural context of the Bible. The word “God” did not exactly mean to people of that day what it means to you and I. They had a much broader understanding of the word.

What I mean by this, is that it was not uncommon for ancient people to claim to be God, or for people to worship human beings as God. Paul and Barnabas were confused with gods in Acts 14. After they healed a lame man the people rush down to worship them and offer sacrifices, but Paul and Barnabas quickly reject their worship.

Paul goes from being worshipped to being stoned in this one passage. But hearing people claim to be a God was something people in this world were prepared for. They were ready to worship miracle workers.

A really illustrative example of this is Simon Magus who we read in Acts 8 tries to buy the Holy Spirit power of Peter, Acts 8:20-22 – “20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.”

Church history teaches us that Simon went to Rome and studied the arts of Magic and became a powerful sorcerer. He was so powerful the emperor Claudius built him a statue and designated him as a god.

Simon claimed to be the Son of God, God the father and the Holy Spirit at different points. Claiming to be a god was not that uncommon in the days the Bible was written. Roman Emperors were worshipped as gods after they died, and some before they died. Caesar allowed himself to be worshipped as a god.  

So, for Jesus to claim to be “a god” or “the God” would not have been specific enough. He would have been asked, “the God of who”. Which is likely why he never made the claim that way. He went much further than that.

He claimed to be the God of the Israelites and all creation, he claimed to be Yahweh. We read in Matthew 26:62-66 - “62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.””

Why did they respond with such anger? Because in Semitic culture only the Chief Deity rode on the clouds of heaven. Prior to the coming of Jesus, the Jews understood that there was a plurality in the godhead, their scriptures required it: “13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him” (Daniel 7:13). This verse literally describes the God-man coming to stand before God on the throne.

Jesus was claiming to be part of the godhead. The Jewish leaders understood this claim instantly. So, never let it be said again that Jesus did not claim to be God, he did it very publicly and explicitly.

He is equal to God – To falsely claim to be equal with God is the source of all sin. It is at the heart of the sin of the garden of Eden. It is the source of the wickedness of equality in our world. When Lucifer aimed to be like the Most-High God he fell into sin. When the kings of Babylon, Egypt, Assyria and elsewhere claimed the same thing, they became the worst kinds of sinners. So, to falsely claim it is a great blasphemy.

Jesus claimed to be equal with the Father – “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.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”” (John 10:29-33).

Notice how the Jews responded to Jesus in this passage? They understood exactly what he was saying. When Jesus says, “I and the Father are one” he is making a claim about absolute divinity. This is him saying, “I am God.”

Jesus had done only good, and they had seen this, but they still wanted to stone him, because he claimed to be their God in a way which they could not misunderstand.

So, it either had to be true, or Jesus was a liar who deserved to be stoned. It was true, he proved it by defeating death. But we see again that he explicitly claimed to be God in a way people of his culture completely understood.

Only God Knows People’s Hearts – Solomon, in his great prayer of dedication for the temple tell us that God alone knows the hearts of man, 2 Chronicles 6:30 – “30 then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind,…” (John 2). Solomon is very clear that it is only God and God alone that knows the hearts of man, he emphasizes it here.

Well, John says this about Jesus, John 2:23-25 – “23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 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.”

God alone knows the heart of man, Jesus knows the heart of man, therefore Jesus is God. And as we know God the son. The New Testament is not shy about claiming the divinity of Jesus.

John knew Jesus to be the Lord God, after all it was him who wrote this, “1 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. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).

John knows Jesus to be the creator God, and only the creator God knows the hearts of man.

He is worshipped – I think by now I have conclusively proven that Jesus is God, and this last point only seals the deal. We see in heaven the Lord Jesus Christ being worshipped, Revelation 5:11-14 - “11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

If claiming to be equal with God is the source of all sin, as we saw in Genesis 3, then worshipping anyone or anything other than God is the greatest sin of all, because it breaks the first and second commandments. You shall have no other gods and shall not make a likeness of other gods.

This is core biblical belief. Christianity 101 is worship of God and God alone. That we do not do this properly is at the heart of sin, it is the height of sin, it is blasphemy, and was to be condemned to death in the Old Testament.

So, there is no way to take Revelation 5 other than as consistent with saying that the father and the son are equally God, because they are equally worshipped, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

Even the demons recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ, because they obey him do what he commands, and even proclaim he is the Holy One of Lord, “23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him” (Mark 1:23-26).

These demons know who Jesus is and yet do not have faith. They know Jesus is the Holy One of God and yet refuse to worship him.

Because he is the Holy One of God, he is worthy to be worshipped, and he is worshipped. Therefore, Jesus is divine.  

Application – So how does this apply to you and I?

-        There is no other way to be saved than through Jesus Christ. God alone saves, and he is God.

-        Because he is your Lord and God, therefore you should acknowledge him as such and bow before him.  

-        He is equal to God the father and therefore he has every right and authority to tell you to turn from your sins, and tell you to trust in him alone.

-        He knows the state of your heart better than anyone else, and even better than yourself, and he knows how sinful your heart can be and also how to heal it, touch it, and redeem it. Only he knows how to do this.  

-        He alone is worthy of worship, and therefore we sin when we worship anyone or anything above him. And because of this we are guilty and deserve to be punished. Therefore, we should trust in him.

-        And if you ignore his call, you ignore the one true God who has every right to judge you according to that decision. You set yourself against the one who has every right to exclude you from his kingdom in heaven and his gift of eternity.

-        But if you heed his call, then he has every power, ability and right to make you new in his sight, and reward you with an eternity with him.

Conclusion – Today we are going to have some Baptisms, there are a few confirmed, and others thinking about it. But if you have not contemplated it, let me remind you that the king of the universe commands everyone to repent and trust in him and to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the kings will, and in this and every other part of our lives, we should seek to live out his will in faith. Let’s pray.

List of references

No comments:

Post a Comment