This is an absolutely great video.
This is an absolutely great video.
The Greek word that Paul uses for incorruptible is “aptharsia” which means to literally not break down or to not decay. He is urging this healthy church to have a love that will not break down for the Lord Jesus Christ.
So the question before us is what would make a healthy church like that in Ephesus have their love break down for Jesus?
The interesting thing is…these are all things that could corrupt one’s love for Christ, however, this is not what fell upon this church in Ephesus. And if your church is healthy, expositing the Word of God, discerning of poor theology and false teachers, has strong and Godly leadership…you may still have a love for Christ that may be corrupted. So how would it get corrupted?
See it’s all about Christ. It’s not about nearly loving Christ. It’s about fully loving Christ.
You can be doing all the right things, believe all the right things, and yet your heart grows cold for Jesus.
You may ask, how does a church get like that? Well, a church gets like that when the people get like that.
And so I ask you – how is your relationship with Christ? Are you consumed for His glory and His Word and His will and His pleasure? Are you growing in your love for Christ?
Don’t let it be duty, don’t let this be dead doctrine, don’t let your exuberance for the savior dwindle, don’t let your joy decline, don’t let your passion weaken – love Christ.
Tomorrow I will write a post about “what to do when you fall into the ditch.”
The most amazing thing happened a little over 2,000 years ago, God Himself was born in humanity to redeem mankind. He came down to rescue us since we could not go up to Him through our works and merit. Jesus who is co-equal, co-substantial, and co-eternal with the Father became a man and surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but none of His divine essence This is called the incarnation and there are implications if this doctrine is not fully true or fully defended.
Jesus had to be fully human or else He could not have died for your sins. In order for there to be a perfect blood sacrifice which can atone for your sins, one has to be fully human and perfect as well. There must be a propitiation for sins, a sacrifice by death to turn away God’s wrath. One has to die in order to be a sacrifice and one has to live in order to die.
The consequence if this doctrine is not true and Jesus is not fully man is that we would be stuck in bondage fearing death. We would still be under God’s wrath, storing it up on a daily basis only to be poured out on us in Hell.
But Jesus was fully man and He was a satisfying propitiation of God’s wrath against sin.
Jesus had to be fully God or else He could not save us from our sins. The most he could do is help us clean ourselves up a bit on the outside. Sin is a heart issue, it is an inward contamination of our entire being. Only God can recreate you from the inside out and make you born again. If He was only a man, the best he could do is change your outside, give you moral principles to live by, and give you a few rules to make your life a little better.
However our nature needs to change and we can not change our nature. We need to be born again, a new creation, and only God can do that.
So without the truth of Jesus being fully man and fully God we would be left holding the bag to a nature that no human being, including ourselves, could hope to change. There would be no hope because there is no deed of self-sacrifice, no religious practice, no act of courage, no level of achievement, no demonstration of merit that could raise us one inch towards God.
But Jesus was fully man and fully God, therefore the incarnation was all about grace in that He does ALL the work. The good news is that He entered our world to die for your sins, to transform you from the inside out and He did it freely as a gift of His grace.
Michael Horton quotes:
There is no passable route from us to God. We cannot climb the ladder of mysticism, speculation, or merit. In pride, we try to rise to Heaven but God descends to us in humility and self-sacrificial generosity. We seek the truth within ourselves or in universal laws of morality but God surprises us, and His name is Jesus.
We prefer to climb up to God through argument, experience, and our activity. But God has climbed down to us not in meeting us in the high places we are at, but in the lowest places, in a barn, suffering our scorn, fellowshipping with sinners and hanging on a cross.
I’ll lay the setting for you. R.C. Sproul is a brand new Christian and at college and he is with a vehemently anti-Christian professor. She told him to stand up in front of the class (knowing he was a new Christian) and she grilled him by saying, “Mr. Sproul, do you believe that Jesus is the only way to God?” R.C. writes: I wanted to jump out the window or find a hole to hide in because the question put me on the horns of a dilemma. It was a terribly embarrassing situation because I knew what the New Testament said. I knew that Jesus himself had said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except by me.” And other passages in the New Testament say, “There’s no other name under heaven through which men may be saved.” I was aware of those passages of exclusivity that we find in the New Testament and that focus on the uniqueness of Jesus. This professor pressed me on it and asked if I thought Jesus was the only way. If I said yes, then obviously I would be understood by everybody in the class to be an unspeakably arrogant person. I certainly didn’t want that kind of label during my college career. But if I said no, then I would be guilty of denying that unique exclusiveness that Christ claimed for himself. So I kind of hedged a little bit and tried to whisper my answer and said, “Yes, I believe that Jesus is the only way.” Well, the wrath of that teacher came on my head, and the teacher just began to lay me out and said, “That’s the most bigoted, narrow-minded, arrogant statement I have ever heard.”
After class, R.C. went up to the teacher and said, “I know you’re not enthusiastic about Christianity, but do you allow for the possibility that people who are not arrogant and people who are not narrow-minded could for some reason or other actually be persuaded that Jesus Christ is at least one way to God?” The professor said, “Oh yes, I can certainly understand that intelligent people could believe that. But how can you believe in a God which is so narrow-minded that He would only provide One way of salvation to the world? Who is this God?”
He then went on to explain the reasonableness of the exclusivity of Christ in this statement:
I don’t know why God hasn’t given us five saviors or fifteen religious ways to satisfy Him? I don’t know the answer to that question.
But let’s just take a hypothetical situation.
Suppose there is a God. Let’s start with that supposition.
And suppose that God is altogether absolutely Holy. And suppose that God, not out of any necessity for Himself, but out of sheer love and graciousness creates a world and He inhabits this world with a vast array of animals and plants. And then when He is finished, His crowning act of creation is a creature that He shapes in His own image. And He breathes into this creature His own breath and gives this creature preeminence over all creation, dominion over all, and gives him the task or mirroring and reflecting God’s own Holy character. And God gratuitously heaps all kinds of benefits on this creature but gives one restriction to this creature and says “You are not allowed to touch or to eat of this particular fruit.” And as soon as God turns His back, suppose this creature, totally ungrateful, which owes his creator everything, turns around and grasps for equality with his creator and openly willfully defies the law of God. And God had told him, “You do this, you die.” And suppose right then that God would erase mankind from the earth. He would have been perfectly just to do it. Wouldn’t He? Yes.
But supposed God was so patient, so kind, that he said I will cover this creature’s nakedness and I will provide a way of salvation for him and I will promise to deliver this ungrateful sinner from his desperate condition. I am going to send to this people that reject everything I do for them, I am going to send my only begotten Son. And I am going to take the sins of My people and transfer them to the back of my own Son who is perfectly righteous and perfectly innocent.
And they kill the Son.
And God said that’s ok, you killed Him. But if you will just put your trust in Him and honor Him, I will forgive you of every sin that you have ever committed again Me and again Him and I will give you eternal life where there will be no more death, no more tears, no more wickedness, no more pain, no more suffering, and you will live forever in unending bliss. But My only requirement is that you honor the One you has died in your place.
Buddha didn’t die for you, Moses didn’t die for you, Mohammed didn’t die for you. And I require you that you honor and embrace my only Son. Would you dare to stand before God on the Day of Judgment and say, “God, You have not done enough.” Would you look into the face of God and say “One way of salvation is not enough?”
How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Beloved, I don’t think that people who believe in Christ are any better than people who believe in something else. We are not talking about the superiority of the people. But I’m sure it rankles God Almighty to hear any human being even mention Buddha in the same breath as Jesus Christ. Because Christ alone is sinless. Buddha was a sinner and Buddha couldn’t save himself let alone anyone else. Mohammed was a sinner and Mohammed never saved anybody.
Only Christ is sinless. Only Christ has offered an atonement. Only Christ has provided redemption for us.
The world was full of war, death, disease, and despair. God had not spoken in 400 years. God had not sent any prophets, any miracles, any Messiah – it was as though He was silent.
And then one day, what the world has been waiting for…a savior.
Who was that savior’s name?
No, not Jesus…Gaius Octavius Thurinus.
This man became the first Roman emperor in 29 BC and he restored the Roman Empire into power and initiated an era named Pax Romana, or Roman peace. For the first time in the history of man since the Fall, there was peace and each Roman citizen was living their most affluent, healthy lifestyle ever. Success, innovation, technology, knowledge, everything was flourishing with this savior of the world in power.
He even renamed himself to account for being the savior of the world. In doing so Gaius Octavius Thurinus sent out his wisest men into all the lands to find a name suitable for this messiah to the world. And they came back with Caesar Augustus which meant “Caesar of the Gods” or “the exalted one.”
This man was what the world was looking for. A man who could provide temporal peace and prosperity to suit their worldly desires.
And this Caesar of the Gods, to build his empire of peace and prosperity, decided to institute a census in order to tax all the inhabited earth. And so he decreed that each person go to their hometown to be counted as such.
Although this emperor believed that it was him pulling the strings of history, the true God was in total control, totally sovereign over His plan that He put into action before time began.
Unbeknownst to Augustus, there was a teenager – deep into her third trimester, engaged to a no name carpenter that was forced by what looked like the hand of Augustus to move 80 miles south on a donkey to the husband’s hometown of Bethlehem. How else would you get a woman vastly pregnant to ride a grueling journey on the back of a donkey – I’m sure she wouldn’t have listed to Joseph. So God used the hand of the world’s savior to fulfill a prophecy spoken 700 years before by the prophet Micah.
And so born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born in a back alley cave. Dark, dirty, disgusting – that is where this baby was born in Bethlehem. This baby, today so commercialized and cleaned up, was born amongst the filth and excrement of animals and placed in an eating trough just cleared from the feed and spit of beasts. This was God Himself.
No coronation, no parade, no clean hospital room, no one waiting for Him. This was not the Savior the world wanted or the world was waiting for. The people pleased with their own god of their own making and content in their sin and pleasure had no room for the true God, the true Savior. The only people to visit this King of Kings were lowly shepherds – the armpit of occupations in Judea.
And so God, coming off His throne in Heaven, from a world of perfection with no sin and all that is righteous and good, came to Earth, full of sin, corruption, and unrighteousness. And He, although existed in the form of God, emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave and was made in the appearance of man. He humbled Himself to take upon hate and ridicule, being despised and forsaken, not given any esteem or glory at all.
And why would the Lord of Lords do this? Why would He be born in this way and live His life in this way?
The Bible, God’s Word, says it was to live a perfect, sinless life, to die a gruesome death on a cross for God’s wrath against sin, to pour out His blood as an atonement for all that would repent and trust in Him, and defeat death as to attain to the resurrection from the dead. It was so that if you repent and believe on His name alone for your salvation and surrender to His Lordship – that when God would look at you, He would see this Savior and when He would look at His Son, He would see your sin.
That is this baby, that is the true Savior, that is the true God, that is the Truth.
That is Jesus.
The keystone is the central piece located at the apex of an arch. This is the final piece that is placed during construction and locks all other stones into place allowing the arch to bear weight. Without the keystone in place, the arch is unable to stand and the structure will certainly collapse.
The same can be said for Resurrection Sunday.
This is why Paul went to such lengths to record in detail the evidences for Jesus’ resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. He shows the church, the Scriptures, the eyewitnesses, the apostle Paul himself, and the common message as hard evidence for what occurred that great Sunday morning. And this is why the secular world, from that Sunday on, has been trying to get rid and cover up the evidence.
Not only has the resurrection of Christ always been the central part of the Gospel for the early church, but it was clearly predicted in the Old Testament (Psalm 16:8-11, 22; Isaiah 53) and by Jesus Himself (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34). There were over 500 eyewitnesses to the risen King, many who were still alive at the time of Paul’s writings. The most important being Peter (who had so recently denied His Savior), James, Jesus’ half-brother (who had previously been one who denounced his very brother’s identity), and the rest of the Apostles. All of these men suffered extreme persecution and gruesome deaths on behalf of the Gospel and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
In these verses, Paul gives 6 fateful consequences if there was no resurrection:
After detailing the consequences of not putting your faith in the resurrection of the dead, I love how Paul brings 1 Corinthians 15 to a close:
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Easter Sunday is the keystone of our Christian faith and with that in place, our faith will certainly hold strong and fast forever.
Stauros is probably the most dangerous Greek word ever devised. It is foolishness to many, a stumbling block to others, unknown to some, despised and ridiculed by countless, and eternal life to those who are chosen.
Stauros (σταυρός) is the Greek word for cross which was used in the Bible for the method of execution of Jesus on that fateful Friday. And that execution was done with a planned purpose to put God’s ultimate glory on display for all to see throughout history.
There were four ways that Jesus’ death on the stauros glorified God and all are found in Romans 3:21-28 (from a sermon by John MacArthur):
21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27Where then is boasting? It is excluded By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.2For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)