Believing what Jesus believed, #5

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed?

#5

Perhaps I should have started this series with this question. A kind and honest inquiry was brought to me, “did Jesus have faith? Was He a believer?”

Was Jesus A Believer?

On one level, it can be said that He believed what He said was the truth. In that use of the term Jesus was a believer.

The question goes to the humanity of Jesus. All inquiries must take into account that He was both God and man. His dual nature is affirmed in Scripture (notably in John 1:1-14, in particular verse 14; likewise Heb. 2:14-18).

Now look further into that reference in Hebrews. And note how these words are attributed to Him: “I will put my trust in Him,” (Heb. 2:13). Jesus put His trust in God, believing every word of His plan. Later in Hebrews, Jesus is called “the founder and perfecter of our faith,” (Heb. 12:2).

The robust trust Jesus had in the Father is part of the whole example of living given for our imitation. And here is another Hebrews reference that implies that Jesus had faith: “…without faith it is impossible to please” God (Heb. 11:6). If Jesus pleased God (no question that He did), the activity of that way of life was founded on trust in the Father. Therefore I will answer in the affirmative. If faith is trust or dependence on God and taking Him at His word, thus producing obedience, Jesus had faith.

I’ll continue to ask us: Do we believe what Jesus believed? Watch for the next installment in this series.

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed #5

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed?

#5

Perhaps I should have started this series with this question. A kind and honest inquiry was brought to me, “did Jesus have faith? Was He a believer?”

Was Jesus A Believer?

On one level, it can be said that He believed what He said was the truth. In that use of the term Jesus was a believer.

The question goes to the humanity of Jesus. All inquiries must take into account that He was both God and man. His dual nature is affirmed in Scripture (notably in John 1:1-14, in particular verse 14; likewise Heb. 2:14-18).

Now look further into that reference in Hebrews. And note how these words are attributed to Him: “I will put my trust in Him,” (Heb. 2:13). Jesus put His trust in God, believing every word of His plan. Later in Hebrews, Jesus is called “the founder and perfecter of our faith,” (Heb. 12:2).

The robust trust Jesus had in the Father is part of the whole example of living given for our imitation. And here is another Hebrews reference that implies that Jesus had faith: “…without faith it is impossible to please” God (Heb. 11:6). If Jesus pleased God (no question that He did), the activity of that way of life was founded on trust in the Father. Therefore I will answer in the affirmative. If faith is trust or dependence on God and taking Him at His word, thus producing obedience, Jesus had faith.

I’ll continue to ask us: Do we believe what Jesus believed? Watch for the next installment in this series.

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed, #4

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed?

#4

To express confidence in Jesus Christ must go deeper than ordinary admiration. To say, “I like Jesus,” or “I’m confident He was a good man,” may be one’s first impression. But genuine trust in Jesus Christ must move beyond these initial feelings. To truly be a disciple of Christ means abiding in His Word, and “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked” and “keep His commandments,” (Jno. 8:31-38; 2 Jno. 2:1-6).

Do you believe what Jesus believed about marriage?

When modern acceptance of divorce is common and when, even in most religious communities, there is dispute about marriage and divorce, you might think that New Testament teaching must be really difficult. Just New Testament teaching is very simple. The lack of clarity and confusion enters when men begin to “re-write” or spin what Jesus said.

He said: “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matt. 5:32).

He said: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:4-9).

Do you believe what Jesus said?

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed, #3

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed?

#3

To express one’s favor toward Jesus Christ is not uncommon. The real test of belief in Jesus Christ is accepting all He said and translating that truth into your life consistently.

In this series I’ve noted cases where belief in Christ might be claimed, but without full confidence in what He said. Not just what He said (in the red letters) recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He also spoke through his chosen apostles (see John 14:25,26).  The question is important: Do you believe what Jesus believed and revealed? It is all written in the New Testament.

What Did Jesus Believe About Divine Authority?

Sadly, the concept of divine authority doesn’t have much of a place in common religious thought or in popular religious institutions. More typically, the idea is “it doesn’t really matter what you do in religion,” so long as it is directed to God and Christ is named.

There is this pragmatic, outcome-centered approach to religion, that says about worship and the work of the church: Whatever! It’s all good.

The question that struggles to be heard is – What is good in the sight of God? Let’s acknowledge divine authority and let God tell us what is good in His sight. What does He want us to do? Belief in Christ always means obedience.

Jesus was very clear about obedience to God. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’.” (Matt. 7:21-23)

Jesus is called “Lord,” by many who downplay what He believed and said. He once said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) Do you believe what Jesus believed and said? Is He your Lord in the daily reality of your response to Him?

Apathy

Overcoming Apathy Every Day

Warren E. Berkley

Apathy is something that has ill effects in every area of human enterprise. In matters of politics and government we hear the expression “voter apathy.” In the retail industry and in all areas of business and manufacturing, one problem is people who are employed to do a certain job but they simply don’t care about excellence, competence or customer service. We may know people who are apathetic about their health, their appearance or their finances. This simply means, they don’t care.


The word “apathy” is interesting. It is from the Greek apatheia, which means without feeling. In English we have the word pathos which means strong passion and emotion. The prefix “a” means without, so again, apathy means without feeling; no passion, no emotion. One common expression that captures this is, WHO CARES? Apathy toward God is exemplified by the Laodiceans who were “neither cold nor hot,” (Revelation 3:14–16). “Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all—the apathy of human beings” (Helen Keller).


Before we can defeat apathy we need to understand the nature of it. When I preach about this I tell about the basis, the fuel, the behavior, the attitude and the language of apathy. Unbelief is the basis of apathy; ingratitude is the fuel of apathy; inaction is the behavior of apathy; indifference is the attitude of apathy and silence is the language of apathy.


Once defined and identified, our next work is to defeat it and to re-defeat apathy every day. How can we overcome apathy every day? I have three answers: Faith, Love and Hope (1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Colossians 1:3–5).


This is the way to overcome apathy on a daily basis; through faith, love and hope! If I open my heart to the Word of God so that saving faith is produced within me—faith in God, in Christ, in the Word—and if that faith is sufficient to move me, cause me to act, to walk in the light of God’s word; to obey and please Him, that faith rules over apathy. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (See 1 John 5:4, 5; Hebrews 11:6).


And as that faith works within me one product is love; genuine affection for God, a passionate love for Christ; a deep affection and devotion to the truth. That love drives apathy away. (See 1 Corinthians 13; Matthew 22:38–40) Apathy has no ground to grow out of in a heart occupied with this love. “… you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:38–40; see also 1 Corinthians 13).


With that faith and love an associated quality is HOPE; assurance that God is faithful; that every promise will be kept; that at the end of this life we will not be left in a grave but raised to glory. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20, 21; see also 1 Corinthians 15).


If we do not open up our Bibles and seek the development of faith, love and hope—there isn’t any doubt, apathy will kill us! It will slowly kill us individually, collectively and will do lasting damage in our marriages and families. If apathy is allowed to do its daily damage, it will be a slow extinction that will deliver us to spiritual death. What we have learned is this: When there is faith, love and hope working in us—apathy has no basis; apathy suffers from a lack of fuel; action takes the place of laziness; indifference is conquered by zeal and silence cannot prevail.

Berkley, W. E. (1999). Overcoming Apathy Every Day. (B. Lewis, Ed.)Christianity Magazine, 16(12), 16.

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed, #2

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed?

#2

“Belief in Jesus” means many different things to many people. In some cases it is simply an acknowledgment that He existed and was a good man, a prominent figure in history: “Yes, I believe that” these people would say.

To others their belief in Jesus goes a little further. “He was a good man and I want to follow His example of kindness and justice.”

For Christians belief in Jesus Christ runs much deeper. We believe Jesus Christ to be the Only Begotten Son of God, deity in the flesh, who came in fulfillment of prophecy, lived perfectly, died on the cross, was raised from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He is now – as Head of His church and our Mediator. Our purpose is not just to affirm these truths, but to live in every way as He has directed, written in the New Testament. We believe what Jesus believed! Do you?

What Did Jesus Believe About Creation?

In our post-modern world, many would put this question into the arena of debate or speculation. Some would offer, “we don’t really know what Jesus believed about creation.”

Here’s where I start: JESUS WAS THERE! Not only was He there. He was not just a witness or observer. He was active in that miraculous work. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made,” (Jno. 1:1-3). If you are a Christian, this is what you believe! “All things were made through Him.”

Further, Jesus spoke clearly about the creation of man and woman. He said that God “created them from the beginning,” making them “male and female,” (Matt. 19:1-6). The first couple were not biological accidents. The original pair was fashioned “male and female” (two genders), not an asexual blob. Adam and Eve existed “from the beginning.” This is what Jesus believed about creation. He knew this “For by Him all things were created … all things were created through Him and for Him!” (Col. 1:16).

Once we get the identify of Jesus right, what He believed about creation becomes a clear and objective conclusion. He was there.

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed, #1

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed?

#1

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him,” (Col. 3:17).

If you are a Christian, that means you regard everything Jesus said to be the truth. You not only believe what the Bible says about who He was, who He is and what He did. You believe everything Jesus said is the truth. Thus, whatever you do in word or deed, you do “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

It is to be observed and then regretted, there are people in our time who speak with favor about Jesus Christ, even voicing their trust in Him. Yet, when they begin to vent their opinions and beliefs, it is clear they don’t believe what Jesus believed.

In this series of articles I’ll describe this conflict with what Jesus believed, urging readers to accept in full everything Jesus believed, and live by that truth.

Do You Believe What Jesus Believed About The Old Testament?

The Old Testament documents God’s creative work, His dealings with His nation prior to the cross, including the prophecies that the Savior, Jesus Christ, would arrive and, doing God’s will, offer Himself for sinners.

“The Old Testament books provide vital background for what we read in the New Testament.”[i]

What did Jesus believe about the Old Testament? He made it clear. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” (Matt. 5:17). Did Jesus not believe in what He came to fulfill? His words fervently articulate His belief in what He came to fulfill.

“Jesus’ attitude toward the Old Testament Scriptures now becomes unmistakably clear. Because they are His Father’s words, far from being abolished or subverted, they are to be fulfilled to the last-minute detail, and, even more significantly, He was to fulfill them!” ii

What about those stories in the Old Testament many reject, like Jonah being swallowed by a great fish? Jesus spoke of that event with full confidence that it really happened. He said, “Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish,” (Matt. 12:40).

Jesus acknowledged the Old Testament, appealed to it for authority and in a case of rebuke toward the Sadducees, He said they did not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matt. 22:29-32).

If I believe in Jesus, I believe what He believed about the Old Testament. And I believe He came to fulfill it. He is the mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15).

i Foundation for Growing Christians, by Doy Moyer, p.#11

ii Earnhart, Paul. Invitation to a Spiritual Revolution . DeWard Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.