Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Doctrine for Dummies (week 2)

The Apostles Creed is our basis for this study, and this week I'm addressing the line, "I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, Our Lord."

1. I believe in Jesus Christ
a. Christ is the Greek word for Messiah which means "chosen one," "anointed one" or "deliverer." He has come to deliver us from the penalty, power and punishment our sins deserve.
b. Jesus is the beginning of faith, and He also is the object we place our faith in.
c. Jesus was a real person who lived a life on this earth for 33 years, worked miracles, taught with authority, died on a cross, rose again from the dead, and is now a man forever in heaven seated at God's right hand. This we believe!

I once had an interaction with a group of Mormon missionaries who asked me if I believed in Jesus Christ. I said, "yes, of course I do." They then asked me which one I believed in. "I wasn't aware there was more than one!" I replied. No matter how funny this is, there are many people out there who do hold to this view. I believe in the one and only "from the Father full of Grace and Truth." Let us not be tempted to make up a nice Jesus that fits everything we want and need like Thomas Jefferson did. He took the Bible and edited it to remove the supernatural elements, miracles, and perceived misconceptions of things Jesus could not possibly have said. Frankly, the only way we can get to know the true Jesus is to read the Bible and know what Jesus actually said. When I was in college, I had a project in which, with no assistance, I had to go through all the gospels (the books directly about Jesus' life) and find all the direct commands of Jesus. It was groundbreaking and eye-opening for me; I know it will be for you as well if you do it. We cannot forget Peter's classic confession- in Matthew 16:13-17, Peter says of Jesus, "you are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God." Who do you say He is?

2. God's only Son
a. John 1:14 & 3:16-18 describe Jesus as God's one and only Son
b. In these passages John the Revelator uses the Greek word monogeneis to describe the special relationship between the Father and Son. This word means "the only generated one." This refers to Him as the only eternal generated of the Father. This word implies that the Son and the Father are of one and the same nature. This means that the Son is also eternal. The prefix "mono" is attached to the word meaning "one" or "only" and thus Jesus stands alone as the only "unique" or "incomparable" Son of God. This we believe!

3. He is our Lord
a. John 20:28 is Thomas' declaration of Lordship. When faced with the presence of the Risen Lord, he said "My Lord and my God." Thomas went on (according to Foxe's Book of Martyrs and native southern Indians) to give his life as a martyr in India for this Lord.
b. Definition of Lordship (this is the simple version): There is no part of my life that is not turned over to Jesus for him to be in charge of. When I was in high school, I had a hard time letting Jesus be in charge of my athletic life. I thought He would make things no fun anymore. That was a wrong assumption. He made things better for me athletically when I bowed the knee to His control of that area. It was not always the path I would have chosen, but it was always better for me to take the road of His choosing. It helps to think of Lordship as we would our bosses. We all have bosses, some good and some not so good. When I think of bad bosses, the image of Michael Scott from the popular show The Office comes to mind. If you go back a little further, there's a movie that set that show up called Office Space. Here's a clip from that movie showing how bad a boss can be. It's pretty funny- enjoy!

After having viewed that, you might now be subject to nightmares or daymares of terrible bosses. But we can know and trust that Jesus is never a bad boss, never uses His authority to keep you under His thumb, never fails to love and care for you! Wow. What a Lord! What area of your life do you need to give to Jesus to take charge of today? What thing have you kept back for yourself? He is a good Lord and an even better boss. Release that one thing to Him now to take good care of for you. Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you!
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