KNOWING CHRIST AS GOD
A Sermon by Wayne Camp
SERIES TEXT: Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
INTRODUCTION TO SERIES: With this message I am beginning a series of sermons which I am calling, Knowing Christ. Paul begins the text which I have just read with the words, "That I may know him." I would remind you that this man was already saved but he had a burning, ever-present desire to know everything he could possibly know about the Lord Jesus Christ. He counted this knowledge as a wonderful treasure. Listen to what he says in verse 8. Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
And, I am reminded of the words of Jesus in his mediatorial prayer. John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I also member those well-know words of Paul found in 2 Timothy 1:12 I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
The importance of knowing Christ is brought out in the First Epistle of John. He writes in 1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. And again, 1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
This endeavor to know Christ, to know all that we may be able to learn of him from the written word is one of the most important endeavors we can embark upon. In the past I have brought a series on the preeminence of Christ, and another one called Christ is All. Yet, my thirst to Know Christ has not been satisfied nor has my desire to have you know him been fulfilled.
Together, therefore, we will embark upon yet another series of studies in the person and work of the great God and our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. I trust when it is finished we may be able to say with new and greater meaning, "I know whom I have believed!"
TEXT: Jn. 1:1-3
INTRO: We will start at the beginning. John wrote, John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Before the angels were created, before there was a solar system, before there was any created beings or things there was God. There was God the Father, God the Word, and God the Spirit. These three Persons were co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent. These three beings were glorious, holy, sovereign, and one in purpose and will.
If we are to know Christ, we must first understand as much as possible of his deity, his eternal being, his glory before the world was. We must see that he is God of very God. We must see that all things were made by him and for him. We must see that he was God, he is God, and he will ever be God.
How do we know that he was truly God, God of very God, as truly God as the Father and the Spirit? How do we know that he is fully God, not some lesser God, not some minor God, but fully God? There is an abundance of evidence in Scripture to support our contention that the Word who was with God was every bit and eternally God.
I. SCRIPTURE SPEAKS OF HIS ETERNAL EXISTENCE SHOWING HIM TO BE ETERNAL GOD
A. His goings forth have been from everlasting. Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
B. He was with the Father before the world was spoken into existence. John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
C. He was God in the beginning, in eternity. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
D. David ascribes an immutable eternality to Jesus Christ.
1. He declares God to be eternal. Psalm 102:24-27 I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
2. Paul applies this passage to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:10-11 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment.
E. John the Baptist declared the eternality of Christ. John 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
1. John was conceived and was born six months before Christ was conceived and born.
2. Yet, John dates the existence of Christ before his. John 1:30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
F. He, according to his own statement, existed before Abraham. John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
II. THE DEITY OF CHRIST IS DECLARED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AS CONFIRMED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. Isaiah saw Jehovah high and lifted up, surrounded with every circumstance of majesty, and this is applied to Christ. Isaiah 6:1-3 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. John 12:41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
B. Consider also Psa. 68:17-18 and compare these verses with Eph. 4:8-9
1. David speaks of God in Psalm 68:17-18 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
2. Paul applies it to Jesus Christ in Ephesians 4:8-9 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
C. Compare Isa. 7:14 with Mat. 1:22-23
1. Isaiah speaks of a person who will be born who will be called "God With Us." Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
2. Matthew applies this to Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:22-23 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
D. Compare Micah 5:2 with Mat. 2:6
1. Micah speaks of one who will come forth from Bethlehem whose goings forth have been eternal. Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
2. The chief priests and scribes confirm that this is where the Christ is to be born. Matthew 2:4-6 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
E. Compare Malachi 3:1 with Luke 1:76.
1. Malachi speaks of a messenger who will prepare the way for the Lord to come to his temple. Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2. Zacharias, the Father of John the Baptist applies this verse to John and Jesus Christ. Luke 1:76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.
III. THE NAMES OF GOD ARE GIVEN TO CHRIST SHOWING HIS DEITY
A. He is called God's Son in a manner that is not applied to believers or the elect angels.
1. In Psalm 2:7 he is the Son. Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
2. God declared him to be his Son in a manner he never declared anyone else to be his son. Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
B. He is called the great God and is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
C. Thomas called him both Lord and God. John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
D. Paul does not hesitate to call him God. 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
E. John declares emphatically that the word who was made flesh was God. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
F. He is God blessed forever. Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
G. He is the true God. 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
H. He is creator of all things and he who built all things is God. Hebrews 3:4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
IV. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD ATTRIBUTED TO CHRIST PROVING HIS DEITY
A. We have already seen that he has the attribute of eternality. John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
B. He is declared to be immutable. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
C. He is declared to be omniscient. John 2:24-25 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. John 21:17 Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.
D. He declared himself to be omnipresent. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
E. He is sovereign, an attribute that can only belong to God.
1. Even in his mediatorial prayer he set forth his sovereignty. John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
2. Everything comes under his authority. Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
3. All things were created for his pleasure and according to his purpose. Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
V. THE WORKS OF GOD ARE ATTRIBUTED TO CHRIST SHOWING HIS DEFINITE DEITY
A. He is creator.
1. All things were made by him and nothing was made without him. John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
2. All things are by him. 1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
3. God created all things by him. Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
4. Every thing in heaven and on earth, every thing visible or invisible, all thrones, principalities, or powers were established by him. Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.
B. He had power to forgive sins, something only God can do. Mark 2:10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,).
C. Judging of men and angels. John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
D. He is worshipped and only God is to be worshipped.
1. His worship is to be equal to the worship of the Father. John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
2. Every knee will bow to him. Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.
3. Even the holy angels must worship him and did so when he was born. Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
E. When Stephen was dying he worshipped him. Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
F. In the administration of baptism he is worshipped and honored equally with the Father and the Spirit. Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
VI. IF JESUS WAS NOT GOD, HE WAS JUSTLY PUT TO DEATH
A. The law required any who falsely set themselves forth as God to be put to death. John 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
1. He declared himself to be the Son of God. John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
2. This made him equal with God. John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
3. Under examination by the high priest, he did not deny being the Son of God; he affirmed it. Matthew 26:63-66 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
4. God justified him, justified his claims of deity, by raising him out of the dead. Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
B. Under the law, anyone who enticed another to idolatry was to be put to death and a mere man who claimed deity was guilty of breaking that law. Deuteronomy 13:6-9 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
CONC: The deity of Christ shines forth even when it is veiled in his humanity. He is truly the seed of the woman but he is bruising the head of Satan. As prophet he was taken from among his brethren but he is such a prophet that failure to listen to him and believe in him carries the penalty of eternal damnation. He is a child born of a virgin but his is God with us. He is a child given but he is called Mighty God and Everlasting Father. He is the offspring of David according to the flesh but is the Son of God and Jehovah our Righteousness according to the spirit. He is the messenger of the covenant sent by God but the Lord who comes to his Temple also. He is born of a virgin in a stable in Bethlehem but is the One whose goings forth have been from everlasting, even forever more. He is a man who died about the age of 33 but is also a King whose kingdom shall have no end. He is the man Christ Jesus who is also the Lord from heaven. 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
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Last updated on Friday, December 28, 2007