Don Carson preaching at the Chinese Conference in Los Angeles (2 sessions)

The Good Samaritan

The Rich Man and Lazarus

These 2 sermons are from October 26-28, 2012: held in Los Angeles, CA- Chinese Conference sponsored by Kernel of Wheat Ministries. The text is in

Luke 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus. Carson: How shall we understand this story? Is Jesus saying that there is always a simple reversal?-

  • live life well, end in hell
  • suffer pain, enjoy great gain
  • if you’re happy here, you’ll be miserable there
  • if you’re miserable here, you’ll be happy there

d a carsona simple reversal? Now, clearly, there is some kind of reversal here. But, so much of Scripture stands against any notion that there’s always reversal. For example, in Scripture, there are at least some Godly rich people. Think of Abraham, Job, Esther, at least in his early days, Solomon, Philemon, probably Theophilus. Moreover, there are at least some poor who are wicked. The Bible is very compassionate against those who are poor through no fault of their own. And, especially compassionate towards those who are poor because they are oppressed. But, the Book of Proverbs can also consider some poor, who are poor because they’re lazy. The sarcasm drips off the page.

Moreover, one has to integrate this passage with the rest of the Gospel of Luke. All four Gospels, including Luke are rushing towards the cross. If our eternal destiny is founded on the simple reversal theme, we don’t need the cross, all we need is poverty. (That is why) it is important to read our passage within the context. (5:02)…

What is the very essence of idolatry?

Obviously, it’s possible to serve two masters, if neither one is asking for absolute control. But, where there are competing interests, only one can win. And, the particular application Jesus makes here is you cannot serve both God and money. Of course He could have made other applications: You cannot serve both God and power, you cannot serve both God and sex. Now, in all three cases- money, power and sex- there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it. Money can be very useful and do a lot of good. Power, rightly exercised can be reforming. And sex, within its God ordained constraints is everywhere pictured as a good gift. But, even a good thing becomes a bad thing, that (eventually) becomes the supreme thing. That is the very essence of idolatry. For idolatry, you don’t necessarily have to follow a bad thing. All you have to do is make a good thing the supreme thing.

That’s why elsewhere Paul says covetousness is idolatry. Because when you covet something, that’s what you want the most, so that becomes God for you. But Jesus tells us that you cannot have 2 masters. If God is God you cannot most want money. What we most want is what we most fantasize about, what we daydream about, what we thing about. So the task becomes very clear: You cannot serve both God and anything else.

Pharisaism

In verses 14-15, we find Jesus addressing the Pharisees directly. The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. When it says that they sneered Him, almost certainly, they were sneering at him because they had money and He didn’t. So, among themselves, they were saying something like this: „Well, Jesus, you’re just some poor, itinerant preacher from Galilee. You don’t have money, so you don’t understand. We could be very Godly with our money,” they would say. „We tithe. We give alms for the poor. We can follow God and be rich. Don’t you see, that’s what we are?” They’re sneering at him. But, Jesus doesn’t back down. He says, in verse 15, „You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts.

In biblical justification, God justifies the ungodly on the basis of what Christ has done. But, in self justification, we justify ourselves on the basis of what we do. To be quite frank, sometime, when we are formally thanking God for graces that we’ve received, our motivations are so complex that at the same time we are patting ourselves on the back for having them. And, instead of seeing that we should be people that are constantly asking God for His grace, we become people who are quietly self congratulating ourselves. That’s what’s going on in this text.

These Pharisees are justifying themselves in front of others, in the context of talking about money, then they’re saying things like this, „God must like me quite a lot, because he’s blessed me with quite a lot of money.” And so, when they came up to a spotlight in their brand new chariot, and came up to someone who was driving just a broken down donkey, they would not actually say, „I’m better than they are.” But, deep down, when the light changed and they took off in their chariot, they knew that they were better. It’s so easy when you have money to begin to rank yourself, as compared with others, on the basis of how much you’ve got. Now, let me insist again. There are Godly men in scripture with money like Job, for example. So, if you’re a job, you don’t need this comment I’m about to make.

But, if you are not a Job, I warn you that having a lot of money is so easily away of justifying yourself in front of others who have less. You develop a ranking system in the church- not on the basis of Godliness or evangelistic fervor, but, on the basis of money. What does Jesus say about that? Verse 15- „what people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” Now you see, it’s not the money God detests. He detests the money when people value the money so much as to make the money God. When they start to justify themselves on the basis of their money, then God detests it. Once again, we discover that the context is talking quite a lot about money.

The idolatry of possessions

At the end of chapter 15- The Parable of the Prodigal Son- (in which) a prodigal wastes His father’s possessions. Then at the beginning of chapter 16 – a dishonest servant wastes his master’s possession. Now, in the story of ‘the rich man and Lazarus‘, a rich man wastes his own possessions. In fact, we’re in a part of Luke’s Gospel where there’s a lot of emphasis on the idolatry of possessions. But, in principle, once again I must remind you that you could tell a very similar story  if you made sex your god, or if you made power your god, or if you made beauty your god, or if you made being a hunk your god. But here, the focus is on money. (18:30) There are still 40 minutes left of this message, which you can watch below. Uploaded by
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A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 1)

This is part 1 of 3 from A. W. Pink’s book ‘The Law and the Saint’ which is now in the public domain. In this first part Pink contrasts OT and NT law:
The Old Testament saints and the New Testament
saints are both saved in the same way, and that is, by the grace of
God through Jesus Christ alone.
.
„Of course the people did not keep the law. It only brought sin to
light and proved that righteousness could not come that way, as Paul
points out in the Epistle to the Romans. It made all the more
evident that there was a need for the work of Christ. But Christ
came not to put the law aside and introduce another plan. I came not
to destroy’, He declared, but to fulfill’; not to dissolve the
obligations of the law and release us from them, but to substantiate
the law and make good all that it required. In the Sermon on the
Mount He expounded and expanded the law, in all its depth and
breadth, and in all its searching sweep. This Sermon spoke to His
disciples; it was His law for them. It was not intended for another
age and another people; it set forth the kind of life He expected
His own people to live in the present age.

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

   
                                Introduction

   It has been said that every unregenerate sinner has the heart of a
   Pharisee. This is true; and it is equally true that every unregenerate
   sinner has the heart of an Antinomian. This is the character which is
   expressly given to the carnal mind: it is "enmity against God"; and the
   proof of this is, that "it is not subject to the law of God, neither
   indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). Should we be surprised, then, if we find the
   underlying principles of Phariseeism and Antinomianism uniting in the
   same mind? Surely not. There is no more real opposition between these
   apparently opposing principles, than there is between enmity and pride.
   Many a slothful servant has hated his master and his service, and yet
   had he pride and presumption enough to demand his wages. Phariseeism
   and Antinomianism unite, like Herod and Pilate did, against the Truth.
.
   The term Antinomian signifies one who is against the Law, hence, when
   we declare that ours is an age of lawlessness, it is only another way
   of saying that it is an age characterized by Antinomianism. There is
   little need for us to pause and offer proof that this is an age of
   lawlessness. In every sphere of life the sad fact confronts us. In the
   well-nigh total absence of any real discipline in the majority of the
   churches, we see the principle exemplified. Not more than two
   generations ago, thousands, tens of thousands, of the loose-living
   members whose names are now retained on the membership rolls, would
   have been dis-fellowshipped. It is the same in the great majority of
   our homes. With comparatively rare exceptions, wives are no longer in
   subjection to their husbands (Eph. 5:22, 24); and as for obeying them
   (1 Pet. 3:1, 2, 5, 6), why, the majority of women demand that such a
   hateful word be stricken from the marriage ceremony. So it is with the
   children--how could it be otherwise? Obedience to parents is almost
   entirely a thing of the past. And what of conditions in the world? The
   abounding marital unfaithfulness, Sunday trading, banditry, lynchings,
   strikes, and a dozen other things that might be mentioned, all bear
   witness to the frightful wave of lawlessness which is flowing over the
   country.
.
   What, we may well inquire, is the cause of the lawlessness which now so
   widely obtains? For every effect there is a cause, and the character of
   the effect usually intimates the nature of the cause. We are assured
   that the present wide-spread contempt for human law is the inevitable
   outgrowth of disrespect for Divine Law. Where there is no fear of God,
   we must not expect there will be much fear of man. And why is it that
   there is so much disrespect for Divine Law? This, in turn, is but the
   effect of an antecedent cause. Nor is this hard to find. Do not the
   utterances of Christian teachers during the last twenty-five years go
   far to explain the situation which now confronts us?
.
   History has repeated itself. Of old, God complained of Ephraim, "I have
   written to him the great things of My Law, but they were counted as a
   strange thing" (Hosea 8:12). Observe how God speaks of His Law: "The
   great things of My Law"! They are not precepts of little moment, but to
   be lightly esteemed, and slighted; but are of great authority,
   importance, and value. But, as then, so during the last few years--they
   have been "counted as a strange thing". Christian teachers have vied
   with each other in denouncing the Law as a "yoke of bondage", "a
   grievous burden", "a remorseless enemy". They have declared in trumpet
   tones that Christians should regard the Law as "a strange thing": that
   it was never designed for them: that it was given to Israel, and then
   made an end of at the Cross of Christ. They have warned God's people to
   have nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. They have denounced as
   "Legalists" Christians of the past, who, like Paul, "served the Law"
   (Rom. 7:25). They have affirmed that Grace rules the Law out of the
   Christian's life as absolutely as it did out of his salvation. They
   have held up to ridicule those who contended for a Christian Sabbath,
   and have classed them with Seventh-Day Adventists. Having sown the
   wind, is it any wonder that we are now reaping the whirlwind?
.
   The characters of the cause determinates the character of the effect.
   Whatsoever a man sowth that (the same in kind) shall he also reap. Unto
   them who of old regarded the great things of God's Law as a strange
   thing, God declared, "Because Ephraim hath made many alters to sin,
   alters shall be unto him to sin" (Hosea 8:11). And because many of our
   Christian leaders have publicly repudiated Divine Law, God has visited
   us with a wave of lawlessness in our churches, homes, and social life.
   "Be not deceived; God is not mocked"!! Nor have we any hope of stemming
   the onrushing tide, or of causing Christian leaders to change their
   position. Having committed themselves publicly, the examples of past
   history warn us that pride will keep them from making the humbling
   confession that they have erred. But we have a hope that some who have
   been under the influence of twentieth century Antinomianism will have
   sufficient spiritual discernment to recognize the truth when it is
   presented to their notice; and it is for them we now write.
   In the January 1923 issue of a contemporary, appeared the second
   article from the pen of Dr. McNichol, Principal of Toronto Bible
   School, under the caption of "Overcoming the Dispensations". The
   purpose of these articles is to warn God's children against the perils
   which lie "in the way of much of the positive pre-millennial teaching
   of the day". Quoting, Dr. McNicol says:
.
     "1. There is danger when the Law is set against Grace. No scheme of
     prophetic interpretation can be safe which is obliged to represent
     the dispensations of Law and Grace as opposing systems, each
     excluding the other and contrary to it. If this were the case, it
     would mean that God had taken opposing and contradictory attitudes
     towards men in these two different ages. In the last analysis this
     representation of the relation of law and grace affects the
     character of God, as everything which perverts the Scriptures,
     disturbing thereby the mirror of His mind, ultimately does.
.
     "So far from being opposing systems, law and grace as revealed in
     Scripture are parts of one harmonious and progressive plan. The
     present dispensation is spoken of as the age of grace, not because
     grace belongs to it exclusively, but because in it grace has been
     fully manifested. When John declared that the law was given by
     Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ', he was contrasting
     law and grace, not as two contrary and irreconcilable systems, but
     as two related parts of one system. The law was the shadow, Christ
     was the substance. The law was the pattern, Christ was the reality.
     The grace which had been behind the law came to light through Jesus
     Christ so that it could be realized. As a matter of fact, grace had
     been in operation from the beginning. It began in Eden with the
     first promise of redemption immediately after the fall. All
     redemption is of grace; there can be no salvation without it, and
     even the law itself proceeds on the basis of grace.
.
     "The law was given to Israel not that they might be redeemed, but
     because they had been redeemed. The nation had been brought out of
     Egypt by the power of God under the blood of the slain lamb, itself
     the symbol and token of His grace. The law was added at Sinai as the
     necessary standard of life for a ransomed people, a people who now
     belonged to the Lord. It began with a declaration of their
     redemption; I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land
     of Egypt, out of the house of bondage' (Ex. 20:2). It rested on the
     basis of grace, and it embodied the principle that redemption
     implied a conformity to God's moral order. In other words, the very
     grace that redeemed Israel carried with it the necessity of
     revealing the law to Israel. The law was given that they might walk
     worthy of the relation in which they now stood to God, worthy of a
     salvation which was already theirs. The covenant of the law did not
     supersede the covenant of promise, but set forth the kind of life
     which those who were redeemed by the covenant of promise were
     expected to live.
.
     "The law was not a covenant of works in the sense that Israel's
     salvation depended upon obedience to it. The devout Israelite was
     saved by faith in the promise of God, which was now embodied in the
     tabernacle services. He looked forward through the sacrifices to a
     salvation which they foreshadowed, and by faith accepted it, as we
     look back to the Cross and by faith accept the salvation which has
     been accomplished. The Old Testament saints and the New Testament
     saints are both saved in the same way, and that is, by the grace of
     God through Jesus Christ alone.
.
     "Of course the people did not keep the law. It only brought sin to
     light and proved that righteousness could not come that way, as Paul
     points out in the Epistle to the Romans. It made all the more
     evident that there was a need for the work of Christ. But Christ
     came not to put the law aside and introduce another plan. I came not
     to destroy', He declared, but to fulfill'; not to dissolve the
     obligations of the law and release us from them, but to substantiate
     the law and make good all that it required. In the Sermon on the
     Mount He expounded and expanded the law, in all its depth and
     breadth, and in all its searching sweep. This Sermon spoke to His
     disciples; it was His law for them. It was not intended for another
     age and another people; it set forth the kind of life He expected
     His own people to live in the present age.
                                     Photo - Tissot's Sermon on the Mount
.
     "Of course we cannot fulfill the law of the Sermon on the Mount                                    
     as an outward standard of life. Our Lord did not leave it at 
     that. He was Himself going to make it possible for His 
     disciples to fulfill it, but He could not yet tell them how.      When He died and rose again and ascended into heaven, and His 
     Holy Spirit--the same Spirit which had fulfilled and                
     exemplified that law completely in His own life--came flowing 
     back into the lives of His disciples, then they
     had to keep it. The law was written on their hearts. Their 
     lives were conformed to the law, not by slavish obedience to an     
     outward standard, but by the free constraint of an inward 
     spirit. The ordinance of the law was fulfilled in them when 
     they walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.
.
     "It is this very feature of grace which seems to make it an entirely
     different and separate system from the law, for it did not exist in
     the Old Testament dispensation. It could not be realized before the
     redemptive work of Christ was done and the Holy Spirit came. The
     Israelites occupied a different position toward the law from that
     occupied by the Christian now. The law demanded an obedience which
     the natural heart could not give. In its practical working,
     therefore, the law necessarily came to stand over man as a creditor,
     with claims of justice which had not been satisfied. These claims
     Christ met on the Cross and put out of the way. More than that, by
     virtue of our union with Him in His death and resurrection, He has
     brought us out of the sphere where the law as an outward authority
     demands obedience of the natural man, into the sphere where the law
     is written upon the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. He has
     created us a new man' whose nature it is to fulfill the law by an
     inward power and principle. This is what Paul meant when he said, I
     through the law died unto the law that I might live unto God' (Gal.
     2:19), and when he wrote to the Romans, Sin shall not have dominion
     over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace' (6:14).
.
     "This new revelation to the law has been created by the grace of God
     through the work of Jesus Christ. But the law still remains. It is
     the reflex of His own character and the revelation of His moral
     order. He cannot set it aside, for then He would deny Himself. The
     wonder and glory of grace consists in this, that it came in, not to
     oppose the law and substitute another plan, but to meet and satisfy
     all its claims and provide a way of fulfilling all its obligations.
     It has pleased the Lord by His grace to magnify the law and make it
     honorable."
.
   With the above remarks we are in hearty accord. [1] It is a superficial
   and erroneous conclusion that supposes the Old and New Testaments are
   antagonistic. The Old Testament is full of grace: the New Testament if
   full of Law. The revelation of the New Testament to the Old is like
   that of the oak tree to the acorn. It has been often said, and said
   truly, "The New is in the Old contained, the Old is by the New
   explained"! And surely this must be so. The Bible as a whole, and in
   its parts, is not merely for Israel or the Church, but is a written
   revelation from God to and for the whole human race. It is indeed sad
   to see how little this elementary truth is grasped today and what
   confusion prevails.
.
   Even the late Mr. F. W. Grant in his notes on Exodus 19 and 20 was so
   inconsistent with himself as to say, First, "It is plain that
   redemption, as bringing the soul to God, sets up His throne within it,
   and obedience is the only liberty. It is plain too, that there is a
   righteousness of the law' which the law itself gives no power to
   fulfill, but which is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but
   after the spirit' (Rom. 8:4). What is merely dispensational passes, but
   not that which is the expression of God's character and required by it.
   Nothing of that can pass ... grace still must affirm this, therefore,
   not set it (obedience) aside; but it does what law does not--it
   provides for the accomplishment of the condition. First of all, the
   obedience of Another, who owed none, has glorified God infinitely with
   regard to those who owed but did not pay. Secondly,--for this even
   could not release (nor could there be blessing in release) from the
   personal obligation,--grace apprehended in the heart brings back the
   heart to God, and the heart brought back in love serves of necessity"
   (italics ours).
.
   With the above quoted words from The Numerical Bible we are in entire
   accord, and only wish they might be echoed by Mr. Grant's followers.
   But second, and most inconsistently, and erroneously, Mr. Grant says:
   "In the wisdom of God, that same law, whose principle was do and live',
   could yet be the type of the obedience of faith in those who are
   subjects of a spiritual redemption, the principle of which is live and
   do'. Let us remember, however, that law in itself retains none the less
   its character as opposed to grace, and that as a type it does not
   represent law any longer: we are not, as Christians in any sense under
   the law, but under grace" (italics his). This is a mistake, the more
   serious because made by one whose writings now constitute in certain
   circles the test of orthodoxy in the interpreting of God's Word.
.
   What has been said above reveals the need for a serious and careful
   examination of the teaching of Holy Scripture concerning the Law. But
   to what do we refer when we speak of "The Law"? This is a term which
   needs to be carefully defined. In the New Testament there are three
   expressions used, concerning which there has been not a little
   confusion. First, there is "the Law of God" (Rom. 7:22, 25, etc.).
   Second, there is "the Law of Moses" (John 7:23; Acts 13:39, 15:5,
   etc.). Third, there is "the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Now these three
   expressions are by no means synonymous, and it is not until we learn to
   distinguish between them, that we can hope to arrive at any clear
   understanding of our subject.
.
   The "Law of God" expresses the mind of the Creator, and is binding upon
   all rational creatures. It is God's unchanging moral standard for
   regulating the conduct of all men. In some places "the Law of God" may
   refer to the whole revealed will of God, but in the majority it has
   reference to the Ten Commandments; and it is in this restricted sense
   we use the term. This Law was impressed on man's moral nature from the
   beginning, and though now fallen, he still shows the work of it written
   in his heart. This law has never been repealed, and in the very nature
   of things, cannot be. For God to abrogate the moral Law would be to
   plunge the whole universe into anarchy. Obedience to the Law of God is
   man's first duty. That is why the first complaint that Jehovah made
   against Israel after they left Egypt was, "How long refuse ye to keep
   My commandments and My laws" (Ex. 16:27). That is why the first
   statutes God gave to Israel were the Ten Commandments, i.e. the moral
   Law. That is why in the first discourse of Christ recorded in the New
   Testament He declared, "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or
   the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt 5:17),
   and then proceeded to expound and enforce the moral Law. And that is
   why in the first of the Epistles, the Holy Spirit has taught us at
   length the relation of the Law to sinners and saints, in connection
   with salvation and the subsequent walk of the saved: the word "law"
   occurs in Romans no less than seventy-five times, though, of course,
   not every reference is to the Law of God. And that is why sinners (Rom.
   3:19) and saints (Jas. 2:12) shall be judged by this Law.
.
   The "Law of Moses" is the entire system of legislation, judicial and
   ceremonial, which Jehovah gave to Israel during the time they were in
   the wilderness. The Law of Moses, as such, is binding upon none but
   Israelites. This Law has not been repealed. That the Law of Moses is
   not binding on Gentiles is clear from Acts 15.
.
   The "Law of Christ" is God's moral Law, but in the hands of the
   Mediator. It is the Law which Christ Himself was "made under" (Gal.
   4:4). It is the Law which was "in His heart" (Psa. 40:8). It is the Law
   which He came to "fulfill" (Matt. 5:17). The "Law of God" is now termed
   "the Law of Christ" as it relates to Christians. As creatures we are
   under bonds to "serve the Law of God" (Rom. 7:25). As redeemed sinners
   we are " the bondslaves of Christ" (Eph. 6:6), and as such we are under
   bonds to "serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:24). The relation between
   these two appellations, "the law of God" and "the Law of Christ" is
   clearly intimated in 1 Cor. 9:21, where the apostle states, that "he
   was not without Law to God," for he was "under the Law of Christ". The
   meaning of this is very simple. As a human creature, the apostle was
   still under obligation to obey the moral Law of God his Creator; but as
   a saved man he now belonged to Christ, the Mediator, by redemption.
   Christ had purchased him: he was His, therefore, he was "under the Law
   of Christ". The "Law of Christ", then, is just the moral Law of God now
   in the hands of the Mediator and Redeemer--cf Ex. 34:1 and what
   follows!
.
   Should any object against our definition of the distinction drawn
   between God's moral Law and "the Law of Moses" we request them to
   attend closely to what follows. God took special pains to show us the
   clear line of demarcation which He has Himself drawn between the two.
   The moral Law became incorporated in the Mosaic Law, [2] yet was it
   sharply distinguished from it. The proof of this is as follows: -
.
   In the first place, let the reader note carefully the words with which
   Ex. 20 opens: "And God spake all these words." Observe it is not "The
   Lord spake all these words", but "God spake". This is the more
   noticeable because in the very next verse He says, "I am the Lord thy
   God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt", etc. Now the
   Divine titles are not used loosely, nor are they employed alternately
   for the purpose of variation. Each one possesses a definite and
   distinct signification. "God" is the creatorial title (see Gen. 1:1).
   "Lord" is God in covenant relationship, that is why it is "Lord God"
   all through Gen. 2. In Gen. 1 it is God in connection with His
   creatures. In Gen. 2 it is the Lord God in connection with Adam, with
   whom He had entered into a covenant--see Hos. 6:7, margin. The fact,
   then, that Ex. 20 opens with "And God spake all these words", etc.
   prove conclusively that the Ten Commandments were not and are not
   designed solely for Israel (the covenant people), but for all mankind.
   The use of the title "God" in Ex. 20:1 is the more forceful because in
   vv. 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12 "the Lord" is named, and named there because
   Israel is being addressed.
.
   In the second place, the Ten Commandments, and they alone, of all the
   laws Jehovah gave to Israel, were promulgated by the finger of God,
   amid the most solemn manifestations and tokens of the Divine presence
   and majesty.
.
   In the third place, the Ten Commandments, and they alone, of all
   Jehovah's statutes to Israel, were written directly by the finger of
   God, written upon tables of stone; and written thus to denote their
   lasting and imperishable nature.
.
   In the fourth place, the Ten Commandments were further distinguished
   from all those laws which had merely a local application to Israel, by
   the fact that they alone were laid up in the ark. A tabernacle was
   prepared by the special direction of God, and within it an ark was
   placed, in which the two tables of the Law were deposited. The ark,
   formed of the most durable wood, was overlaid with gold, within and
   without. Over it was placed the mercy-seat, which became the throne of
   Jehovah in the midst of His people. Not until the tabernacle had been
   erected, and the Law placed in the ark, did Jehovah take up His abode
   in Israel's midst. Thus did the Lord signify to Israel that the moral
   Law was the basis of all His governmental dealings with them.                                                  
   Thus it is clear beyond any room for doubt that the Ten Commandments,
   the moral Law of God, were sharply distinguished from "the Law of
   Moses." The "Law of Moses," excepting the moral Law incorporated
   therein, was binding on none but Israelites, or Gentile proselytes. But
   the moral Law of God, unlike the Mosaic, is binding on all men. Once
   this distinction is perceived, many minor difficulties are cleared up.
   For example: someone says, If we are to keep the Sabbath day holy, as
   Israel did, why must we not observe the other Sabbaths--the Sabbatic
   year, for instance? The answer is, Because the moral Law alone is
   binding on Gentiles and Christians. Why, it may be asked, does not the
   death penalty attached to the desecration of the Sabbath day (Ex.
   31:14, etc.) still obtain? The answer is, Because though that was a
   part of the Mosaic Law, it was not a part of the moral Law of God, i.e.
   it was not inscribed on the tables of stone; therefore it concerned
   none but Israelites.

Articole in Limba Romana

 

A challenging video from I’ll-be-honest:The Love of Jesus Christ: The Great Worth of Sinners, Prostitutes, and Drunkards

Thanks to Adrian Martin for this video and for living out this message-

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

and here’s the full sermon- Ryan Fullerton

The Value of Sinners, Prostitutes, and Drunkards – Ryan Fullerton
– Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Spiritual profiling of the 8 groups of people Jesus interacted with – 1st century by Tom Hovestol (essential read)

This is a very good and useful Bible study book and aid, that helps us understand how Jesus preached to different groups of people, and how it relates to our own efforts in proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples, by mirroring Jesus’s own ministry. As you listen to the author describe the groups, you will identify today’s own groups in most cases and will get insight as to why although He proclaimed the Gospel to all, still, Jesus did not spend a lot of time preaching to certain of these groups.

The book is written by TOM  HOVESTOL, who is the pastor of Calvary Church in Longmont, Colorado. A graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wheaton College, he served for three years as a teacher in Swaziland, Africa, and later as a pastor in Texas. He and his wife, Carey, are the parents of five children and reside in Longmont, Colorado.

From the Book cover:

Jesus’ world was far more religiously pluralistic than most of us imagine. He grew up and headquartered His ministry in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” He regularly rubbed shoulders with polytheistic and superstitious Romans, with philosophical and sophisticated Greeks, with hard-partying pagans, and with God-fearing Africans.

The Bible tells us that Jesus, unlike His fellow countrymen, did not avoid the despised and syncretistic Samaritans. Nor did Jesus shun the Jews who were considered persona non grata in the local synagogues, like those who worked for the occupying government, or who rejected Hebrew ways in favor of Greek, or who lived hellion lifestyles. Moreover, Jesus interacted with individuals representing all of the major sects of Judaism – Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, and Essenes. And these included a huge variety of spiritual expression from the emotional to the contemplative, from the spontaneous to the staid, from Bible-thumpers to compassion-lovers, from those who push religion to the four corners of their lives while others passionately seek to push it to the four corners of the globe.

Is there some way to categorize, organize and understand the varieties of spiritual expression that Jesus encountered? Is it possible that the kinds of people Jesus dealt with in His day are similar to the ones we face today? Are there prototypical and stereotypical religious patterns to which people gravitate? And why do we do so? If we lived in Jesus’ day, what spiritual “camp” would be most like ours? How would Jesus approach us? What would he do with us? What would our Spiritual Profile be?

Tom Hovestol discusses his book on Conversant life (Unfortunately only these 2 videos are posted and available, the third one has not been posted)
Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for Tom Hovestol – Spiritual profiling interview
Follow my videos on vodpod

Part 2

Other articles of interest:

  1. Some church history – Jesus and the 1st century historian Titus Flavius Josephus
  2. What’s News about Jesus – Ben Witherington, Darell Bock, Dan Wallace video discussion
  3. New Testament – Jesus, Canon, and Theology – Ben Witherington, Darell Bock, Dan Wallace video discussion

No One Ever Spoke Like This Man by John Piper

from DesiringGod.org 02/27/2011John Piper preaching on Christ.

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

John 7:40-52

When they heard these words, some of the people said, „This really is the Prophet.” Others said, „This is the Christ.” But some said, „Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, „Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, „No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, „Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, „Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, „Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

What I want to do in this message is give a quick overview of the double division that happens in response to Jesus, and then focus on the words of verse 46, „No one ever spoke like this man!” and then, with the help of Bono and C. S. Lewis, show why the portrait of Jesus in the Gospels is so offensive and so compelling. And all of this in the hope that many of you will climb down off the fence of your wavering, and give yourself totally to Jesus.

A Double Division

So first, the double division: the division of verses 40–44 and the division of verses 47–52. In verses 40–44, we see that in the crowds there is a threefold division.

  • Verse 40: „Some of the people said, ‘This really is the Prophet'”—referring back to Deuteronomy 18:15 that in the last days, God would raise up a prophet like Moses.
  • Then in verse 41, „Others said, ‘This is the Christ'”—that is, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah.
  • Then in verses 41–42, others didn’t see how he could be the Messiah because they thought he was from Galilee and didn’t know he was born in Bethlehem. „But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?'”

So verses 43–44 it sums up: „So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.” This is the way it happened in Jesus’ lifetime on earth, and it’s the way it keeps happening wherever he is presented faithfully today. Pray that in this very moment you won’t be on the wrong side of this division.

The Officers’ Report: No One Speaks Like Jesus

Then in verse 45, the officers whom the chief priests and Pharisees had sent to arrest Jesus returned empty handed. „The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why did you not bring him?'” This is the hinge of the text; it divides the double division in the text. Verse 46 says, „The officers answered, ‘No one ever spoke like this man!'” Of all the things they might have said about the volatile situation in the crowds and how an arrest might have caused a riot and gotten the Pharisees in big trouble, they did not cover their backsides that way. They said: „No one ever spoke like this man.”

This is the fulcrum of the text: this fact—the uniqueness of Jesus in the world—causes a double division. We’ve seen the first division: the crowds have splintered into three different views about Jesus. Now comes a second division, this time defined by the Pharisees—only this time, there is an intensification because the Pharisees give their diagnosis for each of the three positions. And every time they give the diagnosis of what they think is a false view of Jesus, they dig a hole deeper and deeper for themselves and their own blindness.

The Pharisaical Diagnosis: Everyone Else Is Wrong

First, they say the officers are deceived. Verses 47–48: „The Pharisees answered them [the empty-handed officers], ‘Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?” So the officers have a positive impression of Jesus, and the Pharisees explain it away as deception. But who is really deceived?

Second, the crowds are cursed. Verse 49: „But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” The crowds are in a confusion about Jesus not only because they don’t know the law, but because they are under God’s curse, so they say. This is astonishing. They write off the whole Jewish populace as missing the law, and put themselves forward as the non-cursed who get the law right. But who is really cursed here?

Third, Nicodemus, they think, is blinded by his bias. Nicodemas was himself a Pharisee, and had come to Jesus at night back in John 3, and had been told he needed to be born again. He gives a word of caution. Verse 51: „Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” And to this word of justice and caution his fellow Pharisees accuse him of bias. Verse 52: „They replied, ‘Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.'”

Rather than be open to Nicodemus’s concern to know the facts before they condemn Jesus, they say, in essence, the only reason you would want to give him that kind of chance is that you’re part of his clan—you Galileans must all hang together.

Tables Turned: The Pharisees Are Deceived, Cursed, and Biased

So the officers are blinded by deception. The crowds are blinded by a curse. And Nicodemus is blinded by his Galilean bias. But John means or us to see that in fact the tables are totally turned. All of these indictments are going to show the Pharisees themselves to be the really deceived, cursed, and biased ones.

And at the center of all this division and condemnation is Jesus and the words, „No one ever spoke like this man.” That’s the hinge and the fulcrum of this passage. John means for us to see that it is this uniqueness of Jesus in the world that is causing all the divisions and all the recrimination.

Jesus’ Division-Causing, Utter Uniqueness

When Jesus was born, the old man Simeon said to his mother, „Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed” (Luke 2:34). And Jesus confirmed this destiny when he said, „Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And he meant just what we are seeing in this text. It was his utter uniqueness that was causing this division. No one ever spoke like this man.

What did the empty-handed officers have in mind when they said that? What should we have in mind? Well, the last thing Jesus had said before they returned empty-handed to the Pharisees was in verses 37–38, „If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” What kind of human being talks like that? Come to me and drink. And if you do, rivers of living water will flow from your heart.

It seems to me, therefore, that the kind of thing John wants us to have in mind when we say, „No one ever spoke like this man,” is the breathtaking claims Jesus made about himself. It wasn’t only or mainly his wisdom or his intelligence or his forcefulness or meekness or courage or clarity. It was the over-the-top claims he made about himself. No man ever talked like that!

Eight of Jesus’ Spectacular Claims

Let me give you eight examples of Jesus’ spectacular claims from this Gospel. And we could give more. No one ever spoke like this.

1. He claims to be God.

„I am telling you this now [Judas’ betrayal], before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he” (John 13:19). Literally, „that I am.” I tell you the future to show you that I am the incarnation of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament who identifies himself in Exodus 3:14 as „I am.” „Tell them ‘I AM’ sent you.” Or as he says in John 10:30, „I and the Father are one.”

2. He claims to exist before he was born.

„Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am'” (John 8:58). Not only does he claim to have existed before he was born, but that he existed as „I am.” He is Yahweh.

3. In this deity, he claims to have come as a shepherd to die for his sheep.

„I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). „I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He claimed his death would be the key to the eternal life of his sheep.

4. He claims to be the only way to God.

„I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). „I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The way, the truth, the life, the light. If we don’t believe on him, he says, we „remain in darkness” (John 12:46)—forever (John 5:29; Matthew 18:8 25:42, 46).

5. He claims to be the bread and water that impart eternal life.

„I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). „Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). „My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28).

6. He claims that we can do nothing without him.

„I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. . . . I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1, 5).

7. He claims to be the one who raises people from the dead at the end of history.

„I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). „For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

8. He claims to be the supreme glory that will satisfy us forever in the age to come.

„Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

And of course these are just a few from the Gospel of John. There are many more here, and many more in the other three Gospels—like claiming to forgive sin, and return to earth in glory, and fulfill the whole law. But we turn now to draw out some implications of the fact that „no one ever spoke like this man.”

Listening to Lewis

I want you to listen to C. S. Lewis and Bono. You’ll see why. Lewis is famous from this quote about how you simply can’t have Jesus as a great moral teacher while rejecting him as God.

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: „I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 55–56)

In other words, the way Jesus spoke—like no one else ever spoke—makes it irrational to speak nice things about him while rejecting his deity. He was not nice, if he wasn’t God.

Listening to Bono

C. S. Lewis’s fellow-Irishman, Paul David Hewson, otherwise known as Bono of the rock band U2, seems to have read Lewis and been persuaded. A few days after the Madrid terrorist bombing in 2004, Bono did an interview with a French journalist named Michka Assayas. When the subject of religion came up as the cause of terrorism, Bono turned the conversation to Christianity and the theme of grace.

When Bono said, „It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven,” the journalist replied,

Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?

Bono’s answer is really quite remarkable, and makes Lewis’s point again, only perhaps more forcefully for our day in view of who he is and the context where he said it. Isn’t all that „Son of God” talk farfetched?

No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says:

No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: „I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: „I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the „M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you.

And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was, the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. . . . I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched. (Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas [New York: Penguin Books, 2005], p. 227).

Is Bono born again? I don’t know. If he’s not, I pray that he would be. And I call attention to my uncertainty because I want to make sure something is clear: It is possible to be persuaded by the logic of Lewis and Bono and not be saved—not be born again and have eternal life.

More Than Being Persuaded He Is God

Which brings us back to our text and last week’s message. The last thing the empty-handed officers heard Jesus say, before they said, „No one ever spoke like this man,” was this: „If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'” (John 7:37–38)

In other words, believing on Jesus, means more than being persuaded that he is God. The devil is totally persuaded by Lewis and Bono. But believing on Jesus means coming to him to drink. That is, if you and I and Lewis and Bono are going to have eternal life, we must come to Jesus as our supreme and all-satisfying Treasure. Our thirst-quenching Water, our hunger-stilling Bread, our ever-guiding, all-illumining Light, our infinitely precious substitute, sacrificed Lamb of God.

No man ever spoke like this man. He is true. He is who he said he was. But don’t leave it at that. Come, eat, drink, trust, find in him eternal joy.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

No One Ever Spoke Like This Man!

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John 7:40-52

When they heard these words, some of the people said, „This really is the Prophet.” Others said, „This is the Christ.” But some said, „Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, „Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, „No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, „Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, „Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, „Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

What I want to do in this message is give a quick overview of the double division that happens in response to Jesus, and then focus on the words of verse 46, „No one ever spoke like this man!” and then, with the help of Bono and C. S. Lewis, show why the portrait of Jesus in the Gospels is so offensive and so compelling. And all of this in the hope that many of you will climb down off the fence of your wavering, and give yourself totally to Jesus.

A Double Division

So first, the double division: the division of verses 40–44 and the division of verses 47–52. In verses 40–44, we see that in the crowds there is a threefold division.

  • Verse 40: „Some of the people said, ‘This really is the Prophet'”—referring back to Deuteronomy 18:15 that in the last days, God would raise up a prophet like Moses.
  • Then in verse 41, „Others said, ‘This is the Christ'”—that is, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah.
  • Then in verses 41–42, others didn’t see how he could be the Messiah because they thought he was from Galilee and didn’t know he was born in Bethlehem. „But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?'”

So verses 43–44 it sums up: „So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.” This is the way it happened in Jesus’ lifetime on earth, and it’s the way it keeps happening wherever he is presented faithfully today. Pray that in this very moment you won’t be on the wrong side of this division.

The Officers’ Report: No One Speaks Like Jesus

Then in verse 45, the officers whom the chief priests and Pharisees had sent to arrest Jesus returned empty handed. „The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why did you not bring him?'” This is the hinge of the text; it divides the double division in the text. Verse 46 says, „The officers answered, ‘No one ever spoke like this man!'” Of all the things they might have said about the volatile situation in the crowds and how an arrest might have caused a riot and gotten the Pharisees in big trouble, they did not cover their backsides that way. They said: „No one ever spoke like this man.”

This is the fulcrum of the text: this fact—the uniqueness of Jesus in the world—causes a double division. We’ve seen the first division: the crowds have splintered into three different views about Jesus. Now comes a second division, this time defined by the Pharisees—only this time, there is an intensification because the Pharisees give their diagnosis for each of the three positions. And every time they give the diagnosis of what they think is a false view of Jesus, they dig a hole deeper and deeper for themselves and their own blindness.

The Pharisaical Diagnosis: Everyone Else Is Wrong

First, they say the officers are deceived. Verses 47–48: „The Pharisees answered them [the empty-handed officers], ‘Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?” So the officers have a positive impression of Jesus, and the Pharisees explain it away as deception. But who is really deceived?

Second, the crowds are cursed. Verse 49: „But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” The crowds are in a confusion about Jesus not only because they don’t know the law, but because they are under God’s curse, so they say. This is astonishing. They write off the whole Jewish populace as missing the law, and put themselves forward as the non-cursed who get the law right. But who is really cursed here?

Third, Nicodemus, they think, is blinded by his bias. Nicodemas was himself a Pharisee, and had come to Jesus at night back in John 3, and had been told he needed to be born again. He gives a word of caution. Verse 51: „Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” And to this word of justice and caution his fellow Pharisees accuse him of bias. Verse 52: „They replied, ‘Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.'”

Rather than be open to Nicodemus’s concern to know the facts before they condemn Jesus, they say, in essence, the only reason you would want to give him that kind of chance is that you’re part of his clan—you Galileans must all hang together.

Tables Turned: The Pharisees Are Deceived, Cursed, and Biased

So the officers are blinded by deception. The crowds are blinded by a curse. And Nicodemus is blinded by his Galilean bias. But John means or us to see that in fact the tables are totally turned. All of these indictments are going to show the Pharisees themselves to be the really deceived, cursed, and biased ones.

And at the center of all this division and condemnation is Jesus and the words, „No one ever spoke like this man.” That’s the hinge and the fulcrum of this passage. John means for us to see that it is this uniqueness of Jesus in the world that is causing all the divisions and all the recrimination.

Jesus’ Division-Causing, Utter Uniqueness

When Jesus was born, the old man Simeon said to his mother, „Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed” (Luke 2:34). And Jesus confirmed this destiny when he said, „Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And he meant just what we are seeing in this text. It was his utter uniqueness that was causing this division. No one ever spoke like this man.

What did the empty-handed officers have in mind when they said that? What should we have in mind? Well, the last thing Jesus had said before they returned empty-handed to the Pharisees was in verses 37–38, „If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” What kind of human being talks like that? Come to me and drink. And if you do, rivers of living water will flow from your heart.

It seems to me, therefore, that the kind of thing John wants us to have in mind when we say, „No one ever spoke like this man,” is the breathtaking claims Jesus made about himself. It wasn’t only or mainly his wisdom or his intelligence or his forcefulness or meekness or courage or clarity. It was the over-the-top claims he made about himself. No man ever talked like that!

Eight of Jesus’ Spectacular Claims

Let me give you eight examples of Jesus’ spectacular claims from this Gospel. And we could give more. No one ever spoke like this.

1. He claims to be God.

„I am telling you this now [Judas’ betrayal], before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he” (John 13:19). Literally, „that I am.” I tell you the future to show you that I am the incarnation of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament who identifies himself in Exodus 3:14 as „I am.” „Tell them ‘I AM’ sent you.” Or as he says in John 10:30, „I and the Father are one.”

2. He claims to exist before he was born.

„Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am'” (John 8:58). Not only does he claim to have existed before he was born, but that he existed as „I am.” He is Yahweh.

3. In this deity, he claims to have come as a shepherd to die for his sheep.

„I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). „I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He claimed his death would be the key to the eternal life of his sheep.

4. He claims to be the only way to God.

„I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). „I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The way, the truth, the life, the light. If we don’t believe on him, he says, we „remain in darkness” (John 12:46)—forever (John 5:29; Matthew 18:8 25:42, 46).

5. He claims to be the bread and water that impart eternal life.

„I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). „Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). „My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28).

6. He claims that we can do nothing without him.

http://www.desiringgod.org/player.swf?embedCode=p5bnRhMjrg7giIETtLRZatvbP0tMvvLO&version=2

„I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. . . . I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1, 5).

7. He claims to be the one who raises people from the dead at the end of history.

„I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). „For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

8. He claims to be the supreme glory that will satisfy us forever in the age to come.

„Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

And of course these are just a few from the Gospel of John. There are many more here, and many more in the other three Gospels—like claiming to forgive sin, and return to earth in glory, and fulfill the whole law. But we turn now to draw out some implications of the fact that „no one ever spoke like this man.”

Listening to Lewis

http://www.desiringgod.org/player.swf?embedCode=owb3RhMjrB5TIMbhHy8nGCyryU1Uj94K&version=2I want you to listen to C. S. Lewis and Bono. You’ll see why. Lewis is famous from this quote about how you simply can’t have Jesus as a great moral teacher while rejecting him as God.

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: „I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 55–56)

In other words, the way Jesus spoke—like no one else ever spoke—makes it irrational to speak nice things about him while rejecting his deity. He was not nice, if he wasn’t God.

Listening to Bono

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