“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Jesus Is My Lord and My God (Kyle Pope)
2) Why So Few Study the Bible (Bill Crews)
3) News & Notes
Jesus is My Lord and My God
There is perhaps no other biblical book that places more emphasis on the picture of Jesus as God in the flesh than the gospel of John. In its opening words John affirms boldly what he calls “the Word” that was “in the beginning”—“with God” and “was God” (John 1:1). We are not left to wonder for long the identity of that which is called “the Word.” Only a few verses into the text John explains through the Holy Spirit, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NKJV). The rest of the gospel tells the story of this personified “Word” of God—Jesus Christ.
Before we leave the opening chapter we have already learned a number of things about Jesus as the “Word of God.” First, He is the Creator: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). The Bible begins with the declaration, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). If Jesus (as the “Word of God”) is said to have made “all things,” the clear assertion is that Jesus is God. Next, Jesus is described as existing within “the bosom” of God the Father. John explains, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18). Some translations have taken this figuratively in just the sense “at the Father’s side” (NIV, ESV, HCSB), but that may miss the point. In Scripture to speak of something in the bosom of another person is a way of describing something as belonging to the person or sharing a unique intimacy with him or her (cf. Gen. 16:5; Exod. 4:6; Deut. 13:6; 28:56; Ruth 4:16; 2 Sam. 12:3; Job 31:33; Psa. 35:13; Prov. 6:27; Luke 6:38). While it can refer to those maintaining separate identity (cf. Luke 16:22; John 13:23), in the context this is likely an affirmation of Jesus’ unity with God the Father. Jesus would say later, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me” (John 14:10). While Jesus may be described as “standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56), the Bible also clearly describes the Deity of Christ.
This is clear in other statements Jesus makes throughout the gospel. He affirmed to Nicodemus while on the earth that although He “came down from heaven,” He was also “in heaven” (John 3:13). On a separate occasion when speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem He declared, “I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me” (John 8:16; cf. 16:32). Only God may be said to “fill heaven and earth” (Jer. 23:24).
When Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath He declared, “My Father has been working until now and I have been working” (John 5:17). The clear inference of this statement was that Jesus had been working from the beginning, just as God the Father had. John explains that the Jews understood that by saying God was His Father they considered Him to be “making Himself equal to God” (John 5:18). How interesting that John felt no compulsion to explain that Jesus was not equal to God! Why? Because John understood their conclusion to be correct!
In the same context Jesus affirmed His power to call forth the resurrection on the last day (John 5:21, 25-26) and proclaim judgment (John 5:22). Later, Jesus would declare that His words would judge all people on the “last day” (John 12:48). In fact in this gospel, Jesus was said to “know what was in man” (John 2:25). Only God knows the thoughts of man (Acts 15:8), and the Bible teaches that only God is the “judge of all the earth” (Gen. 18:25). If Jesus is the Judge, Jesus is God!
Jesus claimed to be “from above” (John 8:23) and on another occasion “from the Father” as One who had “seen the Father”—yet in the same verse He declared that no one else had “seen the Father” (John 6:46). In this He claimed a status for Himself different from all other human beings.
Perhaps one of the most striking declarations Jesus made came in a discussion with the Jews about Abraham. As Jesus affirmed that they did not display the character and attitude of Abraham, they questioned His claim to know Abraham’s attributes. Jesus declared, “before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). With this statement, Jesus used the very words by which God had told Moses to identify Him to the children of Israel—“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exod. 3:14). By identifying Himself as “I AM” Jesus deliberately demonstrated His Deity. This was clear to the Jewish leaders. They picked up stones to stone Him (John 8:59).
Jesus declared His power to resurrect Himself after His death (John 10:17-18), and yet the Bible teaches it is “God who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:9) and even concerning Jesus that “God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). Clearly, Jesus and New Testament writers are affirming Christ’s Deity.
Jesus said it quite simply in His declaration, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). The Bible doesn’t teach three Gods, but Jesus is a part (or person) of the One God of the Bible. While He possesses distinct will (cf. Matt. 26:39), as do all persons of the godhead (cf. John 16:13), He is One God with the Father, and Holy Spirit. When Jesus said this, once again they tried to stone Him, “because You, being a Man make Yourself God” (John 10:33). Isn’t it interesting that once again, nether John (nor Jesus) feel compelled to explain—No, Jesus isn’t God! What Jesus did was refer them to the scriptural use of the word for God in application to human judges (John 10:34-35; cf. Psa. 82:6). Why wouldn’t Jesus rebuke them for accusing Him of something that He was not claiming? Because He was affirming His Deity! In asserting that He was “one” with the Father He was declaring Himself to be God manifested in the flesh.
During the final Passover meal Jesus ate with His disciples, He taught them that reception of Him is equal to reception of God the Father (John 13:20) and hatred of Him is equal to hatred of God the Father (John 15:24). During the same lesson, when Philip asked Him “Lord, show us the Father” (John 14:8), Jesus declared plainly, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Think of it—how arrogant this would have been, how blasphemous this would have been if Jesus was not God in the flesh! Can you imagine Moses, Elijah, Peter, or Paul saying such words—“If you have seen Me you have seen the Father”? Jesus’ Deity is the only explanation by which these words are not an act of sin. Because Jesus is God could it be true that one who had seen Him could be said to have seen God the Father—not in the fullness of His glory (cf. 1 John 4:12), but in the Divine image of Jesus as God in the flesh.
Jesus asserted Himself as the only way to a relationship with God the Father (John 14:6). Jesus claimed that knowledge of Him is equivalent to knowledge of God the Father (John 14:7). Jesus claimed that in loving Jesus and keeping His commands both He and God the Father would make their “home with” such a person (John 14:23). While Jesus did declare, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), this probably referred to Jesus’ fleshly state, or was said as a demonstration of Jesus’ submission toward God the Father (cf. John 8:29).
In the last pages of John’s gospel, the Holy Spirit continues to assert plainly the Deity of Christ. In the extended prayer Jesus offers just before going into Gethsemane He claims to have shared glory with God the Father “before the world was” (John 17:5). In His prayer for the unity of His disciples He repeatedly appeals to His own oneness with the Father as the pattern He desires His disciples to follow (John 17:11, 21-22). In this, once again Jesus proclaims, “You, Father, are in Me, and I in You” (John 17:21). After the horror of His trial and crucifixion, Jesus demonstrated His Deity in His resurrection (John 20:1-8) and in His ability to appear in the midst of the disciples inside a locked house (John 20:19). When Thomas, one of the disciples who did not see this appearance, saw Him and believed in His resurrection, he proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). If Jesus was not God in the flesh, this would have been the perfect occasion for Him to clarify a false perception. That’s what Paul and Barnabas did—they said, “We also are men with the same nature as you” (Acts 14:14-15). Jesus didn’t say that, even though one of His disciples called Him “my God.” In the verses that follow this, Jesus praised Thomas’ belief (John 20:29); and John affirmed that his gospel was written to motivate this same kind of belief (John 20:30-31). What is this belief that was praised and the gospel was intended to motivate? The firm belief that can move one to speak of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as “My Lord” and “My God.”
— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 22, Issue 33 (August 16, 2020)
Why So Few Study the Bible
The Bible says, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime [in the Old Testament] were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4).
And, “From a babe thou hast known the sacred writings [the Old Testament] which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
And, “Whoso readeth [here it refers to something written in the book of Daniel — BC] let him understand” (Matthew 24:15).
And, “And He called to Him the multitude, and said unto them, Hear and understand” (Matthew 15:10).
And, “And he that was sown upon the good ground, this is he that heareth the word [Luke 8:15 says that the good ground represents one who has an “honest and good heart” — BC], and understandeth it; who verilybeareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23).
Philip asked the Ethiopian, “Understandeth thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30 — he was reading in the book of Isaiah; the passage shows that God wants us to understand what is written in His word — BC).
And, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
And, “Howthat by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, whenye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3 :3-4 ).
And, finally, “Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).
What Men Say in Contrast
The Bible contains all of the will of God for men (read John 16:13 — the apostles by the Holy Spirit were guided into all the truth; 2 Peter 1:3 — the apostles were given all things pertaining to life and godliness; 2 Timothy 3:16-17 — the Scriptures are able to make the man of God complete and to furnish him completely unto every good work). But some men say the Bible contains only part of God’s will for men. They thus destroy confidence in the Bible.
The Bible claims to be verbally inspired, inspired in its very expression or wording (2 Timothy 3:16-17 — see the same reference above; 2 Peter 1:20-21 — no prophecy of Scripture came by the will of man, but the prophets spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 — the hidden wisdom of God was made known unto men like Paul by the Holy Spirit, and those men spoke those things, not in words taught by man’s wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit; Matthew 10:19-20 and Mark 13:11 — Jesus promised the apostles that when they were arrested and brought to trial, the Holy Spirit would give them the words to speak). But some men say that the Bible is inspired only in thought or substance. They thus erode faith in the inerrancy of the Bible.
The Bible was given to be understood (see the passages quoted in the beginning of this article), but some men say it was not given to be understood. They thus discourage men from even reading it.
The Bible shows that men as they are can understand the Scriptures as they are to the salvation of their souls ( according to the book of Acts, a book that records the conversions of various individuals, this is exactly what happened over and over in response to the preaching of the apostles and others), but some men say that only with the help of qualified and authorized clergymen (the position of the Roman Catholic Church), or the help of the Book of Mormon (the position of the “Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints”), or the help of the writings of Ellen G. White (the position of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church), or the help of the staff of anonymous writers at Watchtower headquarters (the position of the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”), can anyone understand the Bible. They thus discourage men so they will not even try to read and understand for themselves.
God obviously wants men to understand His word and is perfectly capable of giving it to men in language that can be understood, but so many denominations have been saying for so long (a) that it isn’t necessary for men to understand the things written in the Bible, and (b) that different people can never understand the things written in the Bible alike. The unfortunate result is that few people are ever encouraged to engage in a personal, individual study of the Bible.
1. Was God able to make known His will to man? Was He able to make His will known in words or language that men could understand? Did He do this?
2. Did God give His word (the Bible) to man, thinking that man would be able to understand it — but not realizing till later that man would be unable to understand it?
3. Did God give His word (the Bible) to man and deliberately couch it in such language or with such words that He knew man would be unable to understand it?
4. Does God want man to understand His word (the Bible)? Can man understand that word (the Bible)?
5. Should you set aside time to read and study and even meditate upon the Bible? Will you?
Why not become a daily student of the Bible, the revelation of God and God’s will to man,the only book Divine in origin.
— Via Roanridge Reader Volume 32 Issue 47 Page 2, November 19, 2017
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Let us continue to remember in prayer the family and friends of Pamela Arnold and Patricia Gill Lariscy who both recently passed away.
Alan and Darlene Tanner have both tested positive for covid-19.
Michael Rittenhouse, who has covid-19 and also pneumonia in his lower right lung, was running a fever of 102.9 yesterday and is to go to the ER if he develops any pain in his stomach. He will be seeing his doctor Monday for a reassessment. Michael’s son Michael will have to be tested again for covid-19, and Rebecca who had tested positive for it last week is now experiencing symptoms. Shirley Crews (Rebecca’s mother), who also tested positive for covid-19, had to be readmitted to the hospital where she is now on life support. Also with covid-19: Sarah Rittenhouse Wright and Susanne Rittenhouse.
Doyle Rittenhouse ended up having 4 nerve ablations Monday on one side of his spine. The pain continued until Friday. This Wednesday, he will have 4 more nerve ablations on the other side.
Martha Lively has found some relief from pain through chiropractic treatment. Though the pain is still there in the early morning and evening, at least it is not all the time as it had been. So, for a while, she will continue on a weekly basis with these treatments.
Cameron Haney is going through illness and some difficult times.
James Medlock is now over his congestive heart failure, but hasn’t been able to receive therapy, due to being quarantined in the nursing home. He has not had covid-19, but there are others there who do have it. An appeal has been made to see if James can stay another 21 days.
Penny Medlock is now in a group home in Augusta, Georgia.
Deborah Medlock received a good report last week. The lymph nodes that were removed tested negative for cancer. Everything else that was removed also tested negative, except for that small nodule (1 cm), which was also removed. It had not grown nor moved since previously examined. She will be seeing her doctor this Thursday and will soon begin radiation treatments as a precautionary measure.
Rick Cuthbertson had to temporarily discontinue his cancer treatments, due to some adverse reactions he began having. He is to remain off the medication for a week and then resume with only 2 pills a day for 21 days straight.
Others to also be praying for: Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates (healing from a double lung transplant), A.J. & Pat Joyner, Elaine Abbott, Pat Brigman, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Jim Lively, Judy Daugherty, Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother,Rex & Frankie Hadley,Mark Owen Mixon, and Ginger Ann Montero.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.