Who Do You Say Jesus Really Is?

 "Romans 10:1-13"

The title of this morning's message asks a pretty profound question. Have you ever really stopped to think about who Jesus really is to you and what he means to your life?

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" (16:15) This really is the ultimate question of Christianity isn't it, because our faith in many respects hinges on how we answer this question.

So who do you say Jesus Really is? When asked I suggest many folks would perhaps answer:

  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • He was the child born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph
  • He was the person who was crucified on the cross and resurrected from the dead
  • He is the one I can pray to "
  • He's the one who performed many miracles
  • He's the one who died for my sins
  • He's the one through whom I receive salvation

And all of these characteristics are true, but they don't really get to the heart of the matter.

Having a clear understanding of who we say Jesus really is is an important question because who Jesus is to us will define how we live, and how we relate to others. " You see far too many people just view Jesus as the guy holding a sheep or child in a stained glass window. " Far too many people just see Jesus as nothing more than a great moral teacher " Far too many people just view Jesus as a reason to celebrate Christmas " Far too many people just view Jesus as the one who lives in the church building

As I get around the community some people stop and ask me, "What's going on at Trinity, I hear great things are happening." Of course my first response is, "What do you mean" and then I follow up quickly with, "Why don't you stop by and see." What these folks are hearing about is the excitement, passion, and renewed energy, of a church that doesn't blend into society, but is impacting our society.

And whether these folks realize it or not they're asking a very real theological question.

The reason Trinity has become vibrant and vital over the past several years, and why is Trinity growing, and why people are taking notice is because we have a clear focus on the person, work, and authority of Jesus Christ. He is the reason behind everything we do, period! "For in Christ we live and we have our being" (Acts 17:28). Nothing more, nothing less, Jesus Christ is the answer, period!

The focus of Christ's church must be Christ himself. Any other focus, and the church ceases to be the church, it becomes something else. It just blends into the world and has nothing new and exciting to offer.

The only way an individual or the church as the body of Christ can be all that it was created to be is to have a clear understanding of who Jesus really is, and then live into that understanding.

The earliest Christians had a simple creed to express who Jesus was to them; it was "Jesus is Lord!" Can we make the same claim? I know some have, and I know as a corporate body we have, but can each of us stand tall and proclaim with absolute confidence that Jesus is Lord?

Over the past several years I've seen a number of folks experience transformation in their own lives because they've taken on a new life in Christ, and have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior fully, not just saying the words but literally receiving Christ in their hearts. As a result their lives are no longer theirs, they're Christ's. These folks as Paul states in our scripture reading, "confess with their mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in their heart that God raised them from the dead, and they are saved." (Romans 10:9) Do you count yourselves among this group of people?

Have you confessed with you mouth that Jesus is Lord, and do you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead? If you have say Amen, Amen, Amen!

Now what does it really mean to say, we believe, and to live with Jesus as our Lord?

Well the Lordship of Christ is acknowledging the power and authority of Jesus Christ over the cosmos, over all creation, and over all human life, especially the lives of those who believe in him and follow him. When we acknowledge Christ as Lord and recognize Christ's saving work within our own lives, we gain eternal life with all its rewards.

By God's grace, through faith in his Son Jesus, all our sin, not just some, but all of our sin is washed away. And throughout our life, we are continually renewed by the Holy Spirit, a gift from God to us, not earned, but freely given to us from God.

Jesus was the perfect servant, the perfect model for us, since he "humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death." (Philippians 2:8) As Lord of our lives, Christ's life in us is a life of obedience to the law and love of God. Jesus is Lord of our lives, means our lives are his; we have given up complete control of our lives to Jesus. Jesus Christ as Lord is the unique and supreme authority for life, meaning there is nothing more needed to understand the nature of God.

We acknowledge that in Christ everything, implicitly or explicitly, we need to know about God is revealed to us. And the authority of Jesus Christ is found in the immediate experience of God in Christ, transmitted by the Holy Spirit to the life of all believers.

Faithful Christians proclaim the sovereignty of Christ as the Savior and Lord of the world, even in a world that seems to becoming less and less Christian. And to maintain that Jesus is Lord is to imply that we live under Christi's rule completely, seven-days a week, 24 hours a day and that no other area of our life is out side of his control.

As our society falls further into individualism and narcissism, we need to emphasize more boldly than ever that Christian maturity is corporate - not individualistic. Christianity is about relationship, our relationship with God through Jesus Christ and our relationship with one another. Christianity is also about commitment and accountability to Christ, his church, and to our brothers and sister of the faith.

It's important to remember that when Jesus asked his followers, "Who do the people say that I am?" they were a minority of people in a world dominated by Judaism and a variety of other ancient religious traditions. We find ourselves in a similar position today. Christianity is by no means the dominant world religion, but it's a religion that has had and will continue to have a tremendous impact on the world.

You see to confess that Jesus is Lord is to make an exclusive claim that other religions simply do not. We stand firm in our belief that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that the way to the Father is through faith in Jesus Christ.

Now this brings up an important question, does this mean anyone outside the Christian faith is destined to hell, or separation from God for all eternity?

Well I contend it's perfectly consistent to hold that Jesus is the exclusive way to God, and to claim that people can encounter God outside Christianity, without knowing Jesus at all. Now let me explain this position.

I hold scripture to be true that the way to the Father is through the Son, namely Jesus Christ. I know of no other truth, but who am I to say that there isn't another way to God. I don't know what it is, but God can do what God wants, so if God has or will create another way to be in relationship with Gods-self then that's up to God, not me.

It's also important for us to remember that all humanity was created in the image of God not just some of us, so we have no right to condemn others because they may believe something different then we do. We don't have to agree with them and say that it's alright, but our role is not to judge and condemn.

As Christians what we can do is be a faithful witness to Christ by the way we live and by the way we interact with people who don't know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, with the hope they will be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and will ultimately come to know Christ themselves.

We can also pray for folks. We can pray that their hearts might be softened and that they may come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

So I'm suggesting we don't get so caught up in what we believe that we in turn become less than Christian ourselves by the way we treat those who do not yet believe. But again, we shouldn't compromise our faith either. What I'm saying is only God can do the saving; our role is to help by being a faithful witness.

The ultimate fate of those who don't believe in Jesus is left in the hands of a loving and righteous God.

The more immediate issue we have to deal with is who do we, you and I, say Jesus is? So our concern shouldn't be the fairness of God dealing with others, but rather what our lives say about Christ as we relate to others and the world around us. Do our lives demonstrate the reality that Jesus is Savior and Lord of the world, or do we just give this confession lip service?

We know of Christ, we know what the scriptures say, so we will be held accountable to this truth and we will be judged based on our knowledge that "Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life."

Our purpose in life isn't to spend all our energy trying to prove other religions wrong, but to live as though Christianity is true. This is one of the greatest challenges facing Christians in the world today. We so much want to condemn others and tell them their wrong, when what we ought to be doing is showing folks the way, the truth, and the life by how we live. I'm fully persuaded that as we live a Christian life, others we will be drawn to a life in Christ, just as a moth is drawn to a flame. As Jesus instructs, "Let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

God's salvation is right in front of us. He will come to where ever we are. All we need to do is respond and accept his gift of salvation.

Paul tells us that if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead we will be saved, we will live eternally with Christ and the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.

So who do you say Jesus Really is?


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