Tag Archives: Jesus is God

The God of the Universe! – Colossians 1:15-16

The God of the Universe! – Colossians 1:15-16
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 16, 2017

We know that God in his natural state, for lack of a better phrase, “is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 NIV) and “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Numbers 23:19 NIV) contrary to several heresies. However, folks have wondered for ages just what God might look like if one could see him and because of this he came in the form of Jesus to show himself to all mankind.

Paul teaches us about God through Jesus Christ. He wanted his readers to be enlightened to who exactly Jesus was and is. Recently I read an article that twisted the use of Lifeway’s VBS literature to teach Modalism where the persons of the Trinity represent only three modes or aspects of the divine revelation, not distinct and coexisting persons in the divine nature; Lifeway uses three states of being in an illustration of ice, liquid, and gas for water to help children understand the concept better. The author truly stretched his argument to fit his paradigm; a tomayto, tomahto kind of argument. Let’s discover for ourselves what Paul teaches us about the God of the universe…

READ: Colossians 1:15-16

There are certain characteristics concerning God that many believers fail to understand. Paul desired that the early church fully understand who God was and what that meant. The Israelites often failed to seek God as he truly is and were easily pulled into paganism. So Paul begins by teaching that…

I. Jesus is the God of the universe! (v. 15)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

1. Paul begins by relating that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God.” Paul had written that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV) The word “image” implies representation and expression. Like the head of a sovereign imprinted on a coin, so Christ is like the writer of Hebrews related, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV) Jesus is both Creator and receiver who is also the perfect picture of God. As Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. (John 14:9 NIV) The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that “Anyone who saw Christ, the visible manifestation of the invisible God, has thereby ‘seen’ God indirectly.” This is why John wrote in his gospel that “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (John 1:18 NIV) Jesus who is the exact representation of the invisible God, because he is God, made him visible when he came as a baby grew to be a man and died for our sins. As Paul would write, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name”! (Philippians 2:6-9 NIV) Therefore, Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation”! Jesus being “firstborn” signifies two very important things concerning who he is: 1) he existed before all of creation, and 2) he is ruler over all creation! The wording here for “firstborn” does not mean as Jehovah’s Witnesses or other heretical groups would have you believe that Jesus was the first created being, but rather he has always existed and since he has he cannot be part of creation if Jesus created “all things.” Paul is establishing that Jesus is the God of the universe!

EXAMPLE: There can be only one God. Now I know there are those who claim there is no God and it is all a myth but have a tough time explaining away his footprint in all of creation. But more than this, if Jesus was before all things and if you see Jesus you see God then Jesus is God! After all he did emphatically state, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1-2 NIV) “‘I tell you the truth’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’”(John 8:58 NIV) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 NIV) and when Jesus prayed to God the Father he prayed that “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.” (John 17:10 NIV) If Jesus is God then his willingness to go and die and rise again is tremendous! Jesus is the God of the universe!

Since Jesus is God who came and died for our sins we cannot and dare not worship anyone else. It is not only sheer folly but extremely dangerous to do so. As Jesus would state to the disbelieving Jews of his day, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24 NIV) From what Paul wrote we also know that…

II. Jesus is Creator God! (v. 16)

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

1. Paul reaffirms his statement that Jesus existed before all things and therefore since he did Paul knew that “For by him all things were created”! Now this is fundamentally of great importance to our theology. Our doctrine and teaching as believers. From this we know certain things concerning Jesus and because of this we are to live our lives accordingly. Here is why: If “all things were created” by Jesus that means us as well. And Paul immediately puts this into perspective by reiterating that “all things” means “things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”! This means we follow the one who created the stars, planets, galaxies, moons, sun, birds of the air, beasts of the field, creatures in the waters, and all of nature! Contrary to those who would worship the earth or Mother Nature, Jesus created it himself! He created the tiniest microbe to the largest animal walking or swimming. God tells the Israelites that he was not satisfied with their worship or sacrifices because they were superficial and phony and he reminds them that “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.” (Psalms 50:10-12 NIV) While we are to recognize our stewardship of nature, we are commanded not to worship it; instead we are to give glory to the one who truly did create it in the first place! But notice that Paul continued by writing that Jesus also created that which was “visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”. He meant that all spiritual beings, including all angels fallen or not, and all pontiffs, potentates, politicians, and presidents! It is truly sad when human beings think they are above God who created them. Succinctly Paul would write, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV) And again Paul would proclaim in his letter to the Romans, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36 NIV) Paul therefore finishes his statement by reiterating “all things were created by him and for him”! Jesus is Creator God!

EXAMPLE: There are a lot of folks in our day and age who think they are God, that they can dictate what to believe about their fellow man, their sin condition, or how they worship God or not. At their core they are hedonists because they put themselves and their emotions before anyone or anything. For them love is the measurement of what is godly. What they believe has no eternal consequence for them because they live for the here and now. For those who transparently say they believe in Jesus do not give him the honor he is due by their acceptance of immorality and idolatry. They have forgotten that Jesus is Creator God!

Conclusion:

Jesus is the God of the universe and Jesus is Creator God!
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This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Jesus Is God! – John 10:17-42

Jesus Is God! – John 10:17-42
June 21, 2015
By Pastor Lee Hemen

There are those who think they are gods, those who think they will become gods, or those who simply have a psychological god-complex, who think they make their own heaven or hell. When in actuality they just make everyone else’s life a living Hades. Sadly far too many in our word today have no room for God until they get in a physical, personal, or psychological bind, then they want God to solve their problems immediately that they created over years.

Jesus did not have a god-complex, he did not come to try and make individuals realize their god-potential, nor did he teach that we make our own heaven and hell. Rather he taught very specific things concerning him, our sin nature, and what will occur if we do not trust him with our lives. In fact, his revelations both shocked and surprised the religious leaders of his day. Here in John’s gospel we discover that Jesus taught that there is no God but God himself and Jesus is God! Let’s discover what that means for our lives this morning…

READ: John 10:17-42

There are those who actually think that Jesus was some kind of deluded person who wandered around esoterically teaching mystical concepts that only the initiated could understand. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact right here we discover that…

I. Jesus would willingly give his life for our sin! (Vv. 17-21)

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

1. The Jewish leadership thought they had a lock on who God was and how he interacted with his people and the world. They were wrong. Instead of following him out of devotion and love, they followed Yahweh out of a sense of duty in order to maintain their self-righteousness. They had forgotten that God loved the world and wanted his chosen people to introduce him to the rest of humanity. This can be true for some Christians of our day as well when they would rather adhere to a bunch of rules than love God and others! And now these leaders accused Jesus of not knowing God. He responds by telling them, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again.” Only Jesus had the ability to give his life at the time of his choosing and only Jesus could raise himself from the grave to prove he was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God. This is interesting because those who were already plotting how they could murder Jesus were being told that it would not be according their timetable or desire. In fact he would relate, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” Within the trinity of the godhead, Jesus the Son is given the command as a human being to give his life and to live again! Wow! Notice that “At these words the Jews were again divided.” This is one of fifteen times in John’s gospel that we see folks divided by Jesus. (John 6:52, John 6:60, John 6:66; John 7:12, John 7:25.; John 8:22; John 9:16.; John 10:19, John 10:24, John 10:41; John 11:41.; John 12:19, John 12:29, John 12:42; John 16:18.) While belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord unifies folks, he also divides those who would not believe. Notice how they were divided: “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” They were divided over his statement that Jesus would willingly give his life for our sin!

EXAMPLE: It is a hard concept for some to understand in our day because we think everything should revolve around us as individuals. “A white wall in the Veterans Memorial Museum in Branson, Missouri, bears the names of 406,000 US soldiers who died in World War II. Each name points beyond itself to the larger cause for which they died. Nearly every nation has monuments to its fallen soldiers and a day to remember those who died fighting for their country. Whether or not we agree with their ideals, we do well to ponder their courage and sacrifice.” — RBC Jesus would willingly give his life for our sin!

They say, “Inquiring minds want to know,” but often folks are not truly interested in knowing they are wrong, especially where it concerns spiritual matters. We discover here in John’s gospel folks are not the center of the universe, in fact…

II. Jesus declares he is God! (Vv. 22-34)

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

1. Several months pass and we find Jesus back in Jerusalem, “Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.” This is what we now as Hanukah, the Festival of Lights. It is a minor festival not commanded by God but a time of remembrance. It commemorates the reconsecration of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC after its desecration in 168 BC by Antiochus IV. The time for the eight-day feast was in December. And as always “The Jews gathered around him.” The idea is one of Jesus being closed in by an angry crowd. They surround him to pressure him into publicly declaring himself the Messiah so that they could perhaps bring charges against him for blasphemy. They ask him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus had in fact told them, and so had God himself, but they refused to listen to his words or give credit to God for the miracles he had performed! Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Not being of the fold of God, they could not fathom what Jesus was trying to teach them and had rejected out of hand his testimony, God’s declaration, and the miracles! However, Jesus knows his sheep and they willingly follow him. When they do, Jesus stated, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” This is an emphatic statement meaning that when we trust Jesus he always gives us eternal life, we will never ever perish, we can never be taken from him because it is God himself who keeps us! And then comes the clinker, Jesus tells the crowd exactly why he can say and do this, “I and the Father are one.” He does not say he like God, he does not say is one of many gods, he does not say he will become a god; he states he is God! I do not understand why so many are truly ignorant of Jesus’ teaching on this, because the Jews sure weren’t! They pick up stone to stone him to death for declaring he is God! Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” There it is — Jesus declares he is God!

EXAMPLE: This is one of the boldest and most startling statements ever uttered by an individual in history. Sure there were those who thought they were gods, but they died and rotted in their manmade tombs. There have been those declared as gods by their followers but they too all died and are now so must dirt. Even the likes of some flaky movie starlets and star thought of themselves as god, but they are nothing more than the mirror image of the Creator and they will die in their son if they do not trust in the one who actually was God in human flesh; who willingly gave his life for them and rose again from the grave to prove who he was! Jesus is God!

III. Those who know Jesus know God! (Vv. 35-42)

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and the Scripture cannot be broken– what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus.

1. Not wasting anytime to debate the issue Jesus confronts them with logic, which is often lost on those who have a predetermined mindset. He answers their indignation with, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and the Scripture cannot be broken– what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” What Jesus is quoting is the fact that God often used the term “god” in discussing the power and might judges, kings or rulers had. In fact, humans being made in God’s image have the power to judge, create, and or destroy things! Jesus is referencing the power our Creator God has allowed his creation. So, in their own “law” their scriptures, God had declared them “gods” and if he had called men this “to whom the word of God came” why would they object if God’s own Son, “his very own and sent into the world”, would use the term about himself? Jesus could not be blaspheming because he was God’s Son — God in human flesh! Jesus tells them that if they have a tough time with this, then “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Jesus is not saying he is one with God the Father in a mystical mysterious sense but rather that he and God are the same. You see Jesus, you see God. His earlier “I am” statements are clarified. They had just said he had claimed he was God, how could they now stone him for proving he was! “Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him.” And it is here among the common folk that Jesus is seen for who he is, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus. Those who know Jesus know God!

EXAMPLE: Sometimes we can be so busy following God; we never get to know God. This was the problem the Hebrews had during Jesus’ day. They had become so busy trying to follow God through his commands they forgot that he gave them to them as a nation so they would come to know him moment by moment. In fact, a personal relationship with God had become a totally foreign notion that they no longer believed possible and anyone who said it was was deemed demon-possessed! Can you imagine that? While reading our Bible, prayer, church attendance are all necessary for our spiritual development, we would do well to remember to get to know the One we read about, talk with, and follow. Don’t use these things as a check list but rather as a means to understand and know him more. The first thing one must do is come to Jesus, why? Because those who know Jesus know God!

Conclusion:

Here in John’s gospel we discover that Jesus would willingly give his life for our sin, Jesus declares he is God, and those who know Jesus know God!

This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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