Foundations of Faith: Jesus, God with Me

JesusGodwithmeScripture:  Isaiah 7:14, Philippians 2:5-11

 This morning we continue with part 3 of the foundations of faith series.  Part 1 was the Bible, God’s Word.  Part 2 was God reigns over me.  Now we come to Jesus, God with me.  The very heart and soul of Christianity is found in who Jesus is.  Jesus is both fully God and fully man, without sin.  We see Jesus throughout the Bible, from Genesis all the way to Revelation.  The prophet Isaiah, 750 years before Jesus was born, predicted in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  Names in the OT were more than just a label, they were always a reflection or a prediction of the person’s character.  Immanuel means “God with us.”  It is important that Jesus is fully God, for if He isn’t, then we don’t know God through Him, and God really isn’t with us.  No other religion, no other belief system, claims that its God becoming a human being is essential to it.  It is also important that Jesus is fully man, without sin.  If He was not fully man without sin, then He could not have died in our place on the cross.  We would have no means of being born again to live a new life for God.  The truth that God became man in Jesus is known as the incarnation.  The word karne in the Greek means flesh.  So in-carnation means in the flesh.  In the book of Philippians chapter 2, Paul goes into detail explaining the incarnation.  We find at least three benefits to us of the incarnation.

 First, Jesus as God came so that I could see Him.  Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” The Greek word for equality here is the word “isos.”  How many of you geometry students remember what an isosceles triangle is?  It is a triangle that has two equal sides.  The word literally means, “Equal in size, quality, character and number.”  Paul is letting us know clearly that Jesus Christ was and is in every way God.  Even though He didn’t cling to His equality with God, He possessed and claimed it.  John 5:18 says, “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.”  Philippians 2:6 also speaks of Jesus being in the form of God.  This phrase doesn’t mean that Jesus is sort of like God, that He only resembles God.  The word translated “form” here refers to a Roman stamp.  During the days of Roman Empire, an official government document was always sealed with wax while the wax was hot.  A ring, bearing the ruler’s insignia, was pressed into the wax to produce the insignia that was on the ring.  That symbol wasn’t like the insignia, it was the insignia.  God, through Jesus, has reproduced Himself in man.  So when we look at Jesus, we are looking at God.  Jesus says to his disciple Philip in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”  Then verse 7 speaks of Jesus emptying Himself.  The Greek word for emptying is kenosis.  It doesn’t mean Jesus ceased to be God – Jesus has always been fully God and always will be fully God.  What it means is that Jesus set aside his privileges and rights as God, and chose to become man.  The Creator became the servant of the people He had created.  He put all the things to which He is entitled to the side, choosing not to enjoy for a time, so that He might be born a man and walk among us as one of us.  There was no better way for you to get to know God than for Him to become man.  Jesus as God came that I could see Him. 

 Then second, Jesus as Man died so that I can serve Him.  Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  God didn’t just become man so I could see Him, He also became man so that He could die for me.  Because He died for me, I can serve Him.  From the time that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God’s holiness demanded that someone bear the punishment for your sin.  Unless there is someone else to bear that punishment for you, you have to bear it yourself.  No one else can take your punishment for sin, because everyone else has sinned as well.  It would take someone without sin to take the punishment for sin, someone who had a clean slate.  That person is Jesus.  He was born to die.  By dying in our place for our sins, we are able to live for God and serve God.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  Jesus takes our sin on the cross, and gives us his righteousness in exchange.  All we have to do is to acknowledge we need it and accept it.  In preparing for this message I came across this quote from an unknown author, “The essence of sin is our desire to become God;  the essence of salvation is God becoming man.”  Without Jesus becoming a man and dying for us, salvation would be impossible.  It’s also important to remember that as Jesus died on the cross, He wasn’t dying in the same way 30,000 other crucified Jews had died.  He died an official death as God’s selected substitute.  He died a judicial death to satisfy God’s judgment.  He died a sacrificial death to pay for the sins you have committed.  He did all of those things so You could love God and serve God.  Jesus as man died so I can serve Him.  Why should I want to serve Him?  Because that kind of life is the purpose for which we were created.  You weren’t created to serve yourself, but to serve God.  You will find happiness, joy, deep contentment and lasting fulfillment as you center your life around serving God.  Jesus as man died so I can serve Him. 

 Then third, Jesus as Lord rose so that I could share Him.  Verses 9-11 say, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  The name, or the title that is above every other name or title is not Jesus.  There were a lot of young boys running around the countryside of Israel with the name Jesus.  The Hebrew for Jesus is Yeshua, which can also be translated Joshua.  The name or the title that God has bestowed on Jesus that is above every name is “Lord.”  We have a tendency to look upon the term “Lord” as just a formal addition to the name of Jesus that doesn’t have much significance.  The name “Lord” as given by God has a huge significance.  It means He already possesses all authority, over all people in every place.  That authority gives us great motivation in sharing Him.  He is not dead, He rose on the third day from the grave.  He is alive!  He is no longer the suffering servant, He is the living Lord!  Whenever we share with others about Jesus, we do so knowing the Lord is present with us.  One day every pagan tongue, every atheist tongue, every Buddhist tongue, every Muslim tongue, every humanist tongue, and every demonic tongue will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.  Jesus already has the position of Lord, and one day all people will make the profession of His lordship.  That knowledge gives us great confidence when we share with others.  Since Jesus is living, when we share about Him with others, He is sharing with and through us.  Colossians 1:28-29 says, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”  Because He is risen and because He is Lord, we can share Him.
We don’t have to be silent.
We don’t have to be shy.
We don’t have to be fearful.
He is Lord, we belong to Him, and when we share, we are doing His work.  He is pleased.  We talk often about winning people to Christ and how exciting it is when a person decides to follow Jesus.  How important it is we remember that when we share, we aren’t talking about ourselves, or our family or even our church.  We are talking about Jesus.  When someone is struggling with whether or not to follow Jesus, you aren’t the one who will make the difference.  Jesus Himself is working with that individual, and Jesus is the One who is calling a person to follow Him.  So when I share, because Jesus is risen I share with authority and I share with His power.

This morning do you know God?  You can, because Jesus came.  Are you struggling to serve God?  You can, because Jesus died for your sin.  Are you sharing Jesus with others?  You can, because He has authority and He has all power. 

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