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Comprehending Jesus Christ: His Nature (1 of 3)
December 5, 2001
How do you go about getting to know somebody? Ask questions. Spend time together. Talk to others who have known them a long time.
(Story of how I met my wife, Susan.)
Over the next three weeks, I want to help us all get to know Jesus Christ better. I'll be teaching on the theological subject known as Christology. But I'll be focusing on what I call "relational theology." I don't want to settle for knowing about Him. I want us each to know Him, intimately and personally.
Jeremy Bowen, the presenter of a new British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary ("Looking for the Historical Jesus," BBC News Online, (3-26-01 column) on Jesus stated, "The important thing is not what he was or what he wasn't - the important things is what people believe him to have been. A massive world wide religion, numbering more than two billion people follows his memory - that's pretty remarkable, 2,000 years on."
Bowen couldn't be more wrong. Who Jesus is and what he did is the foundation of our faith. Tonight we begin with a familiar passage of Scripture. (Read Philippians 2:5-11.)
Paul wrote this passage in Philippians primarily to compare and contrasts the mind of Christ with the untouched human mind. Paul gives his readers a command in v3. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in HUMILITY consider others better than yourselves." What follows are examples of what he has just identified the defining characteristic of the Christ-follower - humility.
But this ancient hymn is also one of the earliest teachings about the nature of Jesus Christ. It sets down, perhaps for the first time in a systematic form, the three stages or states of his being.
"He continueth to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person forever." -The Westminster Shorter Catechism
A seventh grade science class the studying solid, liquid, and gaseous states of matter. A few days later the teacher tested their memories by asking, "In what three states does water exist in nature?" One fast-thinking student blurted out, "It's in all 50, isn't it?"
The Deity of Jesus Christ
When we talk about the preexistence of Christ, we mean more than that he existed prior to his incarnation. We mean he existed eternally as the second person of the Godhead. That's what verse six is about. Pre-Existence - part of the Godhead who always was. In Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let us make man in our own image.
John 1:1-3 "1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."
John 8:58-59 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."
Exodus 3:14 "God ...
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