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And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NASB)

Mighty God

In this prophecy we have come to the most controversial note. Anyone who looks at the life of Jesus, even from a natural standpoint, and is not predisposed to hate Him would probably be OK with every name on this list with one exception.

There is enough empirical evidence that He did miracles – wouldn’t historians of the time have debunked all the talk of Messiah if no one ever saw or experienced His powerful touch?

Anyone who reads the Beatitudes, the Golden Rule or the Prodigal Son would agree that He was a great Counselor.

I suppose Father is a bit tricky since He never married or had earthly children, but the way he Fathered the multitudes with His words, healings, feedings, etc – no big problem here.

Clearly a man of peace – never raised His voice in His own defense as He was unjustly accused, tried and executed.

But Mighty God? Has Isaiah gone too far? Is this over the top?

Many Christians would point to His calming of the sea as to where His God robes were in full view, or perhaps when He was walking on the water, or multiplying the loaves and fishes.

But according to Jesus himself, this was not an exposé of Jesus as God, but rather the man, Jesus, full of the Spirit of God, who descended upon Him in the River. (He told us He only did what He saw the Father do, and that the works that He did, we could do the same way – eyes on Jesus)

I do believe there were 5 guys who got to see this “Mighty God” aspect of Jesus when He walked the earth. – Peter, James, John, Moses, and Elijah.

It was only on the mount of transfiguration that Jesus slipped back into the Mighty God Robe that He set aside just before stepping into that Manger.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:5-11 NASB)

[Sorry – I can’t break that bit up – my word processor was offended when I tried to only put the highlights in.]

Jesus emptied Himself, and took on the form of a servant.

But know this: HE IS MIGHTY GOD!

He has picked up that wonderful robe, and is seated on the throne of heaven, rising now and then to greet His loved ones into their eternal home.

Hey - I know the robe is not a perfect image, but it helps me understand the difference between Jesus wanting us to walk like He walked. We are tempted to say, I can't do it because He was God and I am not. Yes, He was, and IS God, but chose to walk as a man filled with the Spirit of God, as a demonstration of the "normal Christian life." He never stopped being God, but that does not excuse you from walking like Jesus.

That’s my Jesus!

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in today.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

We looked at what it was not.

Yesterday, I brought out Paul’s definition of the gospel.

Today I want to look at what it is.

When Paul delivers the gospel to us, he basically states three facts.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
He was buried,
He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (slightly altered)

These are not even principles – they are simply facts.

So, we saw last week that salvation (and great salvation at that) comes through believing, receiving the gospel.

Are you telling me Paul, that believing these three facts makes me a Child of God? That is all I need to do to get into heaven?

Here is my question for you – is believing facts what makes you a Christian. Can your faith be boiled down to a list of things you agree with, or are willing to attest to? Can your “faith” be demonstrated by the recitation of a creed?

It’s more than that beloved. No, I don’t mean more as in you have stuff you have to do, but more as in – more than facts.

These three facts are what set Jesus apart from any other man – and really it is only one of these facts that creates this new abundant life we walk in.

Many people have died (ok – no one else died for my sins, but hold that thought)

Many people have been buried

These facts don’t move me.

Only Jesus was raised up once and for all – and lives on today.

The truth of the resurrection is the lynch pin of all truth. Paul is going to spend the rest of this chapter making his case for the resurrection, and it’s importance and prominence.

Today however, I want to give this one more turn and say we are not saved because we can believe these facts. Facts do not save, doctrine does not save, theology does not save, ideas do not save.

Jesus saves!

It is not believing facts about Jesus that takes us from darkness to light. It is putting our trust and faith in Jesus Himself that saves us.

Let me say it again.

Jesus saves!

The gospel is not facts, it is a man, The Man Christ Jesus.

The Perfect Man Christ Jesus, who lived a perfect life and was therefore a worthy sacrifice for sin.

He died on the cross for our sins, not for His own, but for our sins, yours and mine.

He was buried.

He was raised up on the third day.

He lives to make intercession for you.

I have more to say, but you don't have to wait - You can give your life to Jesus right now.

Give Him your sin scarred life, and let Him resurrect you into a brand new, clean, whole life, with Jesus on the inside.

Ask Him. He will!

Ben NelsonI love Jesus.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

Let’s start with what the gospel is not.

  • The gospel is not the Beatitudes.
  • The gospel is not Great Commission.
  • The gospel is not the Golden Rule.
  • The gospel is not the story of the Prodigal Son.
  • It’s not even a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all good news, and they are important, life changing elements of our faith.

They are not, however, the gospel.

Last week we looked at how the gospel is delivered and the impact it has on those who receive it.

Today we are simply going to break it down.

Paul says this:

For I delivered to you as of first importance … ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

Notice first that the gospel Paul is getting ready to share is of first importance. This letter to the Church in Corinth has addressed many issues from divisions to how to run a meeting.

But now, Paul comes to the most important thing.

It’s not just the most important thing in this letter. It is the most important thing, period.

So here goes – get ready – the most important thing –

what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

Three facts. Three simple statements. Three non-negotiable.

Christ died for our sins
He was buried
He was raised on the third day

There it is. That’s the gospel.

I have heard folks tell me, that they can't memorize scripture so they don’t feel they could ever preach the gospel. But look at this.

I would be hard pressed to believe that anyone reading these words could not remember those 3 facts.

Hey – if it’s still too much boil it down to 4 words

Christ (I like the name Jesus, but Christ has it’s own implications about being anointed and the sent, chosen one)  -- let me start over

Christ died buried raised

These 4 words change everything – EVERYTHING!

I promise I will dig a little deeper tomorrow, but really – how much deeper does it get than this:

Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead.

GOOD NEWS!

Oh - But there is more to this - so please come back tomorrow!

Ben NelsonSee you then

Ben

Of Spoon and Shovel
Of Spoons and Shovels

For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:2 NASB)

This is one of the four things Jesus talks about in the sermon on the mount that is reciprocal. This means that judgment, like mercy, forgiveness and money, come to you using your unit of measure for spreading it.

If you hand out judgment with a teaspoon, judgment comes back you by by the teaspoon, but if you spread it out front loader, you better build a bigger barn for all the judgment that is coming your way.

Here is the thing about judgment. It is in fact important for us to be discerning, and to be willing to halt the progress of sin in our lives and in the lives of those we love. But there is a very important HOW TO we must get.

Jesus lays it out in verse 12

Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NASB)

This must become our personal MO (TV cop lingo – modus operandi – method of operation)

So when doling out mercy, forgiveness, when being generous with your money – take out the old shovel, but when it comes to judging others, you might want to get your implement from the silverware drawer.

BenThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

Four times in Matthews telling of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us we can expect to be treated in direct relationship to the way we treat others.

The first shows up in the beatitudes. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." (Matthew 5:7 NASB)
The next is in the Lord’s prayer
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:12-15 NASB)
In the next chapter Jesus tells us: “Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2 NASB)
Finally Jesus tells us to live our lives by one simple rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NIV)
Oh and by the way, just for the record, in Luke's gospel it happens that this same principle is true with your time, talent and treasure. "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." Luke 6:38 NASB
What would happen if you actually treated your wife, sister, brother, husband, boss, neighbor, pastor, enemy… the way you want to be treated? What if when someone hurts you, you gave them the same amount of mercy you give yourself when you mess up? Did you get that question? If you are like me, when you screw up you cut yourself a lot of slack. You rationalize a thousand mitigations  and totally excuse yourself. But when others hurt you, will you even listen to their apology?
Many times we find ourselves with no mercy, no forgiveness, and full of judgment especially toward  those closest to us. Those who have paid the highest price of relational time with us get the least consideration and mercy.
God’s kingdom is upside-down, isn't it?
The lengths to which God expects us to go to protect relationships amazes me. But on the other hand God crucified His only son to restore His relationship with us! If I am ever to look like Jesus, I am going to have to put a much higher value on relationship.
What could you do today to improve a relationship that is not where you want it to be? [Tweet This] Ask the Lord for some ideas, if you don’t already know where to start. Even if it is only a baby step toward reconciliation, it will be worth it. Take a deep breath and go for it.
 
Thanks for reading!
Ben
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