Sunday, April 4, 2021

He Is Not Here, He Is Risen!

 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why are you seeking the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise from the dead’” (Lk. 24:5-7 NASB).






Happy Resurrection Sunday! He is risen!





Friday, April 2, 2021

His Passion

I stand here and look up to a cross on a hill
All of creation was in chaos but yet I was still
Amazed at the way you were beaten and torn
How could they hate you and show you only scorn?

Do they know that you did this out of such love?
Do they know you were sent here from above?
Yet it must be done so that all is as you have said
Oh Lord your torn body and the thorns in your head!


Oh Lord I helped drive that nail through your hand
Because we all turned away and sinned every man
You were led away as a lamb to the slaughter
Yet you did it to redeem every son and daughter

Oh Lord I pray let not your death be in vain
Or that I take for granted your suffering and pain
May I be faithful to you up until death
May I never deny you till I take my last breath

This was my passion I knew I must die
But not for long would I in a grave lie
For every person of creation was before my face
As I gladly died to pour out God’s grace

I was crucified so that all people will be
Chosen, cleansed and set apart for me
I long to know you and to call you my friend
So that we will be together always to the end

I gave you my body I Am the Bread of Life
You are my spotless bride my beloved wife
I gave my blood poured out just for you
When you drink you are free, cleansed and anew

Take my body and blood in remembrance of me
Remember that I died to set every person free
I long to commune with you and call you by name
I paid the price so that you will never be the same

Piper Green
©2004




































Saturday, March 20, 2021

God Was In Christ: The Doctrine of the Incarnation Part VII

I want to continue with the next part of God was in Christ. We have walked through the Old Testament and where Christ, the preexistent Second Person of the Godhead, made many appearances. We also saw the Old Testament prophets their prophecies concerning the Incarnation of Christ. Let us look now to the New Testament to see what Jesus Himself and that He claimed to be God.  


Jesus presents Himself through the Gospels not only as a prophet but as the object of prophecy. Jesus acknowledged that He was the Messiah on oath at His trial.[1] His ministry, however, is meaningless unless He firmly believed that He was God’s chosen One to redeem His people. In fact, no sense can be made of Jesus Himself “unless we are prepared to acknowledge that Jesus saw in Himself the culmination of Israel’s law and for salvation and God.”[2]

Jesus claimed His divinity and looked to the Old Testament to substantiate this truth, “It was the Old Testament…the Hebrew Scriptures in which he found a rich tapestry of figures, historical persons, prophetic pictures and symbols of worship. And in this tapestry, where others saw only a fragmented collection of various figures and hopes, Jesus saw His own face.”[3] Christ repeatedly stated to the disciples, Pharisees, and others that He existed with and came from the Father.


The Word God (Theos)

The word Theos (God) refers to God the Father in the New Testament, “Nonetheless, there are several passages where it is also used to refer to Jesus Christ.”[4] One of the most well-known is, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). Another is John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” This is a direct reference to God and His essence as Spirit, “This first statement is to be connected with verse one, which also speaks of Jesus Christ in His self-existence is an eternal and infinite Spirit. Then, to show the very special relationship of the Son to the Father.”
[5]


The Word Lord (Kyrios)

Grudem defines Kyrios in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) as the Hebrew word, Yahweh. Yahweh is translated “LORD,” or “Jehovah.” It is used to translate the name of the Lord 6, 814 times in the Greek Old Testament, “Therefore, any Greek-speaking reader at the time of the New Testament who had any knowledge at all of the Septuagint would have recognized that, in contexts where it was appropriate, the word “Lord” was the name of the one who was the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, the omnipotent God.”[6]

In the New Testament, there are many instances where ‘Lord’ is used of Christ, “In what can only be understood as…Yahweh or God himself.”[7] These names of God refer not only to the Father but also Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, attributing to Christ the nature and attributes of God.

The Son of Man

The Son of Man was one of the most prominent names that Jesus’ used in referring to Himself. The Gospels record seventy-eight times that Jesus used this title. The Son of Man is the name associated with the eschatological prophecy in Daniel 7:13. The title is connected to the earthly life of Jesus. He refers to Himself as the Son of Man in the healing of the paralytic, which we see in Mark 9:6. He also referred to Himself as the Son of Man as the Lord of the Sabbath (Mk. 2:28); with His suffering (Mk. 8:31); and concerning His future death and resurrection: “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (KJV). The Son of Man is a title that was used exclusively by Jesus—His disciples did not address Him as such. Jesus uses this title when referring to His humanity, but also as a designation of the Messiah and the Kingdom of God.

Son Of God

One important aspect of His nature that Scripture claims, and vital to His pre-existence, is that He is the Son of God. The term “Son of God” is used to refer to Israel; a man created by God; or a redeemed man in general. Some even assert that the Sons of God in Genesis chapter 6 and Job 1:6; 2:1 refer to angels. However, “There are nevertheless instances in which the phrase “Son of God” refers to Jesus as the heavenly, eternal Son who is equal to God Himself (see Matt. 11: 25-30; 17:5; 1 Cor. 15:28; Heb. 1:1-3, 5, 8).”[8] Christ is referred to as the “Son of God” in a more unique sense than the created, the redeemed, and the celestial creation.

When an individual comes to faith in Jesus Christ, they become a son of God, “But as many as received him, to them gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (Jn. 1:12 KJV). But only Jesus is the Only-begotten of the Father, “And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:6 KJV). The author of Hebrews is drawing from the only Old Testament reference to the “Only-begotten,” as Psalm 2:7 reads, “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” This designation is only attributed to Christ by the Father.

In the next post, we will look at more of Jesus’ claims of how He is the Incarnate Christ and other witnesses who verified His claims.


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[1] Elwell, Dictionary of Theology, 1019. 

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, ed., The Complete Word Study New Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1992), 306. 

[3] Grudem, 544. 

[4] Ibid.

[5] Grudem, 546.

[6] George L. Carey, God Incarnate (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press., 1977), 11.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Christopher J.H. Wright, Knowing Jesus Through The Old Testament (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press., 1992), 108.

 


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Sabbath Sanctuary: Crucible Hill; God Was In Christ

Lent is upon us. This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, and though my church does not follow the liturgy of the church, I love it and miss it; especially Ash Wednesday. 

The Lenten season has me reflecting on the death and resurrection and it has urged me to continue with my series on the Incarnation. How appropriate then that we examine the testimony of the prophets in the Old Testament who prophesied about His coming. Isaiah speaks about the coming Messiah more than any of the prophets.  

 Isaiah prophesies Jesus’ birth, but also foretells His Incarnation; “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). Matthew quotes this prophecy in his gospel in 1:23 to recognize Jesus as the One Isaiah spoke of dwelling with His people. Isaiah prophesied Jesus birth and His name, and each name describes His attributes:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this (Is. 9:6-7).

Again, this is fulfilled in Matthew that Jesus is the long-awaited King, the rightful heir to David’s throne, the Ruler of God’s people.[1] 



Isaiah also prophesied about the suffering and death of Christ, the Man of Sorrows in Isaiah 53:

Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth
(Is. 53:1-7 NKJV).

We reflect on Jesus, who walked up Crucible Hill, the Man of Sorrows, the Suffering Servant, who died on our behalf. He carries those things that hurt, the pain we suffer—He bore it all. He took upon Himself our sickness, our stress, our heartbreak—our sin.

 
The prophet Micah also prophesied the Incarnation. He warns Bethlehem of their coming deliverer and speaks of His pre-incarnational existence, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Mic. 5:2 NASB bold emphasis added). This is the strongest possible language concerning His pre-existence, “The plain antithesis…shows that the eternal generation of the Son is meant. The terms convey the strongest assertion of infinite duration of which the Hebrew language is capable.”[2] The prophets, through God’s Spirit, saw the coming of the Messiah. Matthew calls upon this prophetic verse to proclaim that Jesus is the fulfillment of this Messiah who existed with and came from the Father (Matt. 2:6).

Throughout the history of mankind, God has used numerous methods and mediums to communicate with His creation and to give them His message. The prophets gave us God’s words. But Jesus is the very Word of God. The book of Hebrews tells us that “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1: 1-2). This is just one more claim by Scripture to the deity of Jesus Christ.

I pray that you meditate on His Word during this season of Lent. Christ left the glory He shared with the Father, to suffer and die so that you are no longer captive to the power of sin. Meditate on what He sacrificed for and how much He loves you. His love is eternal.






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[1] Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Craddle, The Cross, And The Crown (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2009), 220.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Psalms To See Me Through: Psalm 29 The Lord Sits Enthroned Over The Flood

I have felt the tugging at my heart to continue with the Psalms to See Me Through series since I have not written one in while. I was embarrassed when I realized that it has been almost three years since I wrote on the last Psalm!

Well, we find ourselves once again in a new year. 2020 had its challenges, yet there was much to be thankful for in the face of a very difficult year. God proved Himself faithful on every occasion—every trying obstacle and hard place. He is so faithful. He is so good.

For much of 2020, my pastor preached on Psalm 29, specifically verse 10: “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood” (ESV). 2020 saw many floods for many people. I do not know anyone who was not in some way affected by the pandemic whether physically, financially, or who did not suffer a loss. I do not think it is an accident then when I looked to see what the next Psalm was in the series that it was this Psalm.


The ESV Bible titles this Psalm “Ascribe to the Lord Glory.” God should always be the first to give glory to. The NASB titles it “The Voice of the Lord in the Storm.” Both are worthy titles.

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness (vv. 1–2).

In this Psalm, David echoes the name of the LORD eighteen times and “the voice of the LORD” seven times. LORD, is the tetragrammaton, which we write Jehovah, Yehovah, Yehveh, Yeveh, Jhuh, Javah, etc. A name so holy that the Jews do not dare to utter it.

“Ascribe” in the Hebrew means to give. God is to be given glory at all times. Who is to give Him glory? The ESV translates heavenly being, the KJV translates mighty ones, the NASB renders it sons of the mighty. It may be speaking to either powerful nobles or mighty celestial beings. The phrase is used elsewhere to denote ‘heavenly beings’ or angels (cf. Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Psalms 82:6; 89:6). 

David is well aware that the powerful on the earth tend to forget God and, in their arrogance, give themselves all the credit for their accomplishments. A stern warning for those in power to remember the Name of the Lord and to give Him the glory for everything. Perhaps some kings of old can serve as our teacher:  

The king began speaking and was saying, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty?’ While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the animals of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes’” (Dan. 4:30-32 NASB).

We all would do good to remember the Lord our God; whatever success we have achieved, whatever crowns we have won, should be cast back at His feet in humility. Those who are in power in the earth or the heavens would do well to praise the God of Heaven, He will not share glory with anyone, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another…” (Is. 42:8 NASB).

His Voice; the Voice. How wonderful, powerful, awesome, and majestic is the voice of the Lord.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’” (vv. 3–9 ESV).

All creation cries Glory to Him. All who are in His temple, cry Glory! He deserves nothing less. His voice can be heard above all creation; over all rulers of the earth; over the animals. The earth and heavens shake at the sound of His voice; all creation is shaken. Each mention of His name illustrates the strength and glory of His voice. If the sound of His voice carries this much strength and authority, imagine the Words the Voice is speaking. They should leave us in awestruck wonder. The God of glory thunders. He thunders in the face of every trial, every hard road you travel, every attack you face. Does His voice thunder in your atmosphere or the voice of the trial? Does His voice thunder or does the voice of the sickness? Does the voice of Yahweh thunder in your ear or the financial trial? Do you tremble at the strength and glory of His voice or do you tremble at the circumstance?


After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain the lightning when His voice is heard. God thunders wondrously with His voice, doing great things which we do not comprehend (
Job 37:4-5 NASB).  

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever” (v.10)

David most likely had the flood of Noah in mind as this is the only place in the Old Testament other than in Genesis 6:9 where this Hebrew word for flood occurs. Yes, the flood was His divine judgment for the evil in the earth, yet He watched over it all and saved Noah, his family, and seven pairs of clean animals and a pair of every unclean. In a world-wide flood that wiped out everything, God was on His throne and He kept Noah and the animals and brought them all to safety. He hid them in the safety of the Ark during the worst storm and flood the world has ever experienced. He stopped the flood for Noah, and He will stop the flood for you. He is enthroned over the flood of sickness; He is enthroned over the flood of financial trouble; He is enthroned over every circumstance you face; He will not allow you to drown. He is Lord over it all. He is the King forever!

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” (v. 11).

Do you feel weak? Weak in the face of the trial; weak in the face of sickness or financial trouble? Do you feel week standing in faith when it is all you have done…for what seems like forever? He will give strength to His people. The strength and authority that is in His voice He freely gives to His people. You have strength to stand. You have authority over the flood of trials that you face. He will bless you with peace. Though the power of God can be a terrifying storm for those who rebel against the Lord, God’s people can be confident and sure that His peace belongs to His children. Be confident that He will bless you and know that His strength comes to comfort you; the destructive storm is relegated for the enemy of your soul. 


 

To read all the Psalms in this series click here: Psalms To See Me Through

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