What We Believe: Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-11)

He left His Father’s throne above,

So free, so infinite His grace.

Emptied Himself of all but love,

And died for Adam’s helpless race.

‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,

For O My God it found out me!

(Charles Wesley)

The Lord Jesus Christ (Grace Bible Church constitution):  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the unique, eternal Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and that He came to earth as an infant born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and voluntarily died on the cross as the divinely appointed and accepted substitute for sinners.  We believe that He rose bodily from the grave on the third day after His death and now He sits enthroned in heaven, from where He intercedes on behalf of His followers and rules over His Church.  (Matt 1:23, Isa 53:4-6, John 10:17-18, Luke 24:1-7, 1 Cor 15:1-4, Eph 1:21-23, Heb 7:25) We consider this belief to be a definitive doctrine of the Christian faith; it is required of all members of Grace Bible Church.

We began our consideration of the doctrine of our Lord Jesus be noting that He is presented in the Bible as being both fully human and fully divine.  This is more than a mere theological mystery; it is a truth that mere human imagination and comprehension has wrestled with for over 2,000 years—without really arriving at a satisfactory way to explain it!

I.          His divine-human nature  

   A.        He is 100% divine = God

In the gospel accounts, He speaks of Himself as divine, and does not correct others who speak of Him as divine.   (i.e., John 10:30-31  Note, the Jewish leaders to whom He was speaking clearly interpreted His statement as being one of a claim to divinity/oneness with God, for they immediately sought to execute Him for the crime of blasphemy!)

The NT writers present Him as fully divine (Heb 1   3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power..”, Col 2   9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,)

The gospel writer John, especially, notes that Jesus is that very same “Lord” whom Isaiah the prophet saw in a vision as described in Isaiah 6.  (John 12:37-41)  This is an amazing claim for John to make; asserting that Jesus of Nazareth existed, in a sense, before He was Jesus—appearing in human form to Isaiah!

   B.        He is 100% human

Jesus is completely human being; in this regard He is exactly the same as any human being who lives, or who has ever lived. He demonstrated this physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Physically, He grew hungry, thirsty, tired, etc.

Psychologically, He thought, reasoned, planned, etc.

Emotionally, He felt, expressed emotions; weeping, anger, etc.

Spiritually, He worshiped God, attended public worship events at the temple, etc., although He did not confess sin or offer sacrifices for His sin.

After considering this magnificent doctrine, known as the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ, we moved on to a consideration of what His life means for us today…

II.         The life of Jesus Christ, and what it means for us today (Phil 2:5-11)

   A.        The Marvelous Life of Jesus Christ, the Lord God. 5-8

      1.         He did not clutch the life He had with God, and as God, in heaven. 5-6

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped

      2.         He emptied Himself in order to take on the likeness of humans. 7

7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Restated: In laying aside His position and place in heaven, Jesus took on the frailties, challenges, and conditions of being a human being.  As a lifeguard has to get wet to save a drowning man, so Jesus became a human to enter into our world, to save us.

      3.         He humbled Himself so that He could die a horrific, sacrificial death 8   Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

   B.        The Magnificent Response of God the Father to Jesus  9

9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

   C.        The Eventual Response of every human to Jesus 10-11 

10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Restated: At the culmination of the redemption of history, all people who have ever lived will publicly  verbally demonstrate their agreement that Jesus Christ is certainly God Incarnate, which will result in glory being rightfully offered to God the Father.

Cross-ref: Isaiah 45:23 “I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. =  

…in heaven, on earth, under the earth = those who are with the Lord now, who are alive on earth now, and who have died apart from the Lord.

Some implications:

All people will certainly face Jesus Christ.

John 5   26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

All people will be physically resurrected in order to face divine judgment.

Heb 9   27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

All people will agree to the truth about who Jesus Christ is—the Lord!

   The Bible warns of a resurrection to judgment for many: Rev 20:11ff

 Rev 20   11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

   The Bible promises a resurrection to life for believers:

1 Th 4   13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

CONCLUSION:  (from the Grace Bible Church  constitution):Therefore, the sole passion of all we say, do, and will is that of worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ, and appealing to all to join in the worship of the Lord of all, Jesus Christ.

Application for Grace Bible Church today:  Place your trust, your faith, in the marvelous Lord Jesus Christ—today, now!

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What We Believe: God (Isaiah 6:1-13)

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From Grace Bible Church constitution:

We believe there is but one living and true God, eternally existing in three Persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  These Persons are the same in substance, and equal in power and glory. (Gen 1:26, Matt 28:19)  We consider this belief to be a definitive doctrine of the Christian faith; it is required of all members of Grace Bible Church.

Therefore, we strive to give all honor, worship, and obedience to the Triune God alone, and reject any and all claims of obedience or worship that rival that of the Triune God.

We didn’t stay for long on a doctrine-based consideration of the Person and Nature of the Tri-une God, but instead jumped right into Isaiah 6.  The chief question that we sought to answer as we unpacked this chapter: What should a person expect as he or she comes to church to worship this holy God?  Such a person can expect…

…to be confronted by the collision of the seen and unseen world, and the presence of a uniquely holy (morally perfect in all of His attributes and nature) God. (1-4)

…to be convicted of sinfulness and failure. (5)

…to be graciously cleansed and forgiven of sin. (6-7)

…to be called to obedience in the pursuit of a completely new direction and purpose in life—serving God and calling the surrounding culture into a restored relationship with Him. (8-13)

What We Believe: The Bible

In our series, What We Believe, today we considered our doctrinal belief regarding the Bible, taking a look at Paul’s second letter to Timothy, particularly chapters three and four.  We broke our consideration into two parts, each to answer a question:  Part One: Why is the Bible so important to us at Grace Bible Church?  And Part Two: What we actually believe about the Bible.  To listen to the sermon, click here.

Part One: The Bible is critical to our ministry because…  (3:1-4:8)

…we believe that with the passing of time the church of Jesus Christ will increasingly struggle with faithfulness to the demands and standards of Christianity, and will actually drift further from faithfulness. (3:1-5a)

…we believe that the greatest threat to the church of Jesus Christ will continue to be the incessant attacks of unprincipled, abusive, false leaders who infiltrate the church to gain satisfaction of their own desires, and not to service the Lord Jesus. (3:5b-9)

…we believe that the need for bible-saturated, faithful leaders will always be one of the primary needs of the church until her Lord returns. (3:10-17)

…we believe that the as the church continues through the ages she will increasingly battle the influx of members whose primary desire is to acquire and “call” only those teachers and preachers who will implicitly agree to NOT challenge or convict those members with the application of biblical truth, but will instead cater to their listeners self-centered, culture-pleasing desires. (4:3-4)

…we believe that with the close of the text of Scripture (the death of the apostles), the Bible itself became a one-and-for-all-time completed book, and is thus the only remaining source of authoritative, divinely provided insight and instruction for humans. (4:5-8)

Part Two: Therefore, because we believe the Bible is inspired, we believe it is… (3:16-17)

(An easy way to remember these points is to remember them according to the vowels, “A,E,I,O,U”)

ADEQUATE: …it contains sufficient information for me to know God and live a life that pleases Him and those around me.

Example:  When hungry and tempted by Satan to turn stones to bread, Jesus quoted Scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God…”

EFFECTIVE: …it is able to do exactly what it says it can do.

Example:  In the Sermon on the Mount:  “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.”  (Also, see Isa 55:10-11)

INFALLIBLE: …it cannot lie or mislead.

Example: In praying for His disciples, He said, “Sanctify them in truth, Thy word is truth.”

OBLIGATORY: …it must be obeyed.

Example: When tempted by Satan to bow down and worship him, Jesus’ reply:  “For it is written,” each time He was tempted to disobey.  For Jesus, the Word of God must be obeyed!

UNDERSTANDABLE…people must be able to know what the Bible means by what it says.  God chose to communicate with us, and He must be a perfect communicator, despite the limitations of those He intends to communicate with.

Example: Numerous times in Scripture Jesus asks His opponents, “Have you not read…”, and He expects them to be able to understand the point He is making from the Scriptures.  It would not have been fair for Him to make this challenge if indeed they might not be able to simply understand what had been written. (Cross-ref: Mark 2:23ff)

What We Believe: The Lord’s Supper 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Over the next few weeks, we will hear sermons that cover the basic doctrinal beliefs of our church, as found in the Grace Bible Church constitution.  In this sermon, I’ve began our series with a look at the Lord’s Supper, and what we believe about it.  You may notice that my sermons are not exclusively limited to the assertions of our statement of faith, but usually focus on a specific passage or person who presents a good springboard to get us into the particular doctrine under consideration.  (Also, note that this portion of our doctrinal statement addresses both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but we are only considering the latter in this sermon.)  Today, we join a church in Corinth, pastored by a slave named Stephanos, who bears a heavy burden in his heart for the health of his church, and a letter in his pocket from the Apostle, Paul…

Blessings, Pastor Ken

Feasting with the family on Christmas Eve, cover illustration from 'Le Petit Journal' December 1907 by French School/ Private Collection/ Roger-Viollet, Paris

The Two Ordinances of the Church

We believe there are but two ordinances commanded of the church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  We believe that baptism is an ordinance to be administered upon a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and is to be done by immersion, except in cases where such a mode is physically impractical.  While we do not believe that God’s grace and salvation are mechanistically dispensed to any who simply participate in the ordinances, we do acknowledge that He consistently pours His gracious blessings upon all who by faith, in obedience and trust, sincerely observe them. (Matt 28:19, Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:23-26)

Therefore, we treat the ordinances of baptism and of the Lord’s Supper with the utmost seriousness and attention to biblical detail, and enjoin all who participate to do so only after prayer and personal, spiritual preparation. The Grace Bible Church Constitution, Article II

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