Empowering believers to worship God, grow in Christlikeness,
and fulfill our ministries, so we can lead people to Jesus.
1. Statements from the Bible:
"Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ They replied ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.’" Luke 9:18-19
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him, and have seen Him." John 14:6-7
“Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’” John 14:8-9
"Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" Mark 4:41
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Colossians 1:15-16
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1, 14
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:18
“Hear O Israel: ‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’” Deuteronomy 6:4
“’I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” John 8:58
“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.’” Deuteronomy 3: 14
"I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of people would die for Him." -Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor (1769-1821)
"When I was abandoned by everybody, in my greatest weakness, trembling and afraid of death, when I was persecuted by this wicked world, then I often felt most surely the divine power in this name, Jesus Christ... So, by God's grace, I will live and die for that name." -Martin Luther (1483-1546)
"No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshiped; no other man has been so devoutly loved." -John Knox, Scottish reformer (1514-72)
"Socrates dies with honor, surrounded by his disciples listening to the most tender words -the easiest death that one could wish to die. Jesus dies in pain, dishonor, mockery, the object of universal cursing – the most horrible death that one could fear. At the receipt of the cup of poison, Socrates blesses him who could not give it to him without tears; Jesus, while suffering the sharpest pains, prays for His most bitter enemies. If Socrates lived and died like a philosopher, Jesus lived and died like a god." -Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French philosopher (1712-78)
"I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history." -H.G. Wells, British author (1866-1946)
"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene... No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life." -Albert Einstein, physicist and professor (1879-1955)
"Jesus Christ is to me the outstanding personality of all time, all history, both as Son of God and as Son of Man. Everything he ever said or did has value for us today and that is something you can say of no other man, dead or alive. There is no easy middle ground to stroll upon. You either accept Jesus or reject him." -Sholem Asch, Jewish author (1880-1957)
"A man who was merely a man and 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. -C.S. Lewis, British author (1898-1963)
“What Jesus Christ always has been He is today, the transformer of the world's life, the reconstructor of human society, the animator of human progress, the one Master moulder of the world's civilization. And by this I know that He is Divine.” -W. E. Biedersolf
3. A Study on Christian Apologetics: (Taken from: Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, InterVarsity Press, 1994 pp.150-152.)
“Huston Smith notes, in The World’s Religions, that only two people ever astounded their contemporaries so much that the question they evoked was not “Who is he?” but “What is he?” They were Jesus and Buddha. The answers these two gave were exactly opposite. Buddha said unequivocally that he was a mere man, not a god – almost as if he foresaw later attempts to worship him. Jesus, on the other hand, claimed in many ways to be divine.
The problem of Jesus’ identity emerges from the data. The data are the four Gospels, which inform us about the claims he made about himself and the claims others made about him. In all our Gospels the claim is shockingly strong (see pp 173-74)
Jesus called himself the “Son of God” – that is, of the same nature as God. A son is of the same nature, the same species, the same essence, as his father. Jesus called God his Father: “I and the Father are one”, John 10:30, and “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”. John 14:9
He also claimed to be sinless: “Which of you can convict me of sin?” He claimed to forgive sins – all sins, against everyone. The Jews protested: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” They were much more clear-thinking theologians than the modernists, who ‘nuance’ this claim. The only one who has the right to forgive all sins is the only One who is offended in all sins, namely, God. I have a right to forgive you for your sins against me, but not for your sins against others.
Jesus claimed to save us from sin and death. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will never die.” He said he had come from heaven, not just earth, and that he would return again from heaven at the end of the world to judge everyone. Meanwhile, he gave us his flesh to eat, and said that this would give us eternal life.
Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter. For a Jew, changing names was something only God could do, for your name was not just a human, arbitrary label, but your real identity, which was given to you by God alone. In the Old Testament, only God changed names, and destinies – Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel. An orthodox Jew who got his name legally changed was excommunicated.
Jesus kept pointing people to himself, saying “Come unto me.” Buddha said, “Look not to me; look to my dharma (doctrine).” Buddha also said, “Be ye lamps unto yourselves.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”
Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad and other religious founders performed no miracles and did not rise from the dead. Jesus offered his many miracles and his resurrection as evidence for his divinity.
Most clearly and shockingly of all, he invited crucifixion (or stoning) by saying: “Very truly, I tell you [i.e., I am not exaggerating or speaking symbolically here; take this in all its force], before Abraham was, I am” (Jn 8:58). He spoke and claimed the sacred name that God revealed to Moses, the name God used to name himself (Ex 3:14). If he was not God, no one in history ever said anything more blasphemous than this; by Jewish law, no one ever deserved to be crucified more than Jesus.
Who then was Jesus, really?
You cannot even ask the question without implicitly choosing among answers. The very wording of the question, in the past tense (“Who was Jesus?”) or the present (“Who is Jesus?”), presupposes its own answer. For those who believe his claim do not say that he was divine, but is divine. Divinity does not change or die or disappear into the past. Furthermore, if he really rose from the dead, he still is, and is very much alive today.
4. The Importance of the Issue:
The issue is crucially important for at least six reasons.
The divinity of Christ is the most distinctively Christian doctrine of all. A Christian is most essentially defined as one who believes this. And no other religion has a doctrine that is even similar. Buddhists do not believe that Buddha was God. Muslims do not believe that Muhammad was God: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
The essential difference between orthodox, traditional, biblical, apostolic, historic, creedal Christianity and revisionist, modernist, liberal Christianity is right here. The essential modernist revision is to see Christ simply as the ideal man, or “the man for others”; as a prophet, rabbi, philosopher, teacher, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, reformer, sage or magician – but not God in the flesh.
The doctrine works like a skeleton key, unlocking all the other doctrinal doors of Christianity. Christians believe each of their many doctrines not because they have reasoned their own way to them as conclusions from a theological inquiry or as results of some mystical experiences, but on the divine authority of the One who taught them, as recorded in the Bible and transmitted by the church. If Christ was only human, he could have made mistakes, Thus, anyone who wants to dissent from any of Christ’s unpopular teachings will want to deny his divinity. And there are bound to be things in his teachings that each of us finds offensive – if we look at the totality of those teachings rather than confining ourselves to comfortable and familiar ones.
If Christ is divine, then the incarnation, or “enfleshing” of God, is the most important event in history. It is the hinge of history. It changes everything. If Christ is God, then when he died on the cross, heaven’s gate, closed by sin, opened up to us for the first time since Eden. No event in history could be more important to every person on earth than that.
There is an unparalleled present existential bite to the doctrine. For if Christ is God, then, since he is omnipotent and present right now, he can transform you and your life right now as nothing and no one else possibly can. He alone can fulfill the psalmist’s desperate plea to “create in me a clean heart, O God” Psalms 51:10. Only God can create; there is even a special word in Hebrew for it (bara’).
And if Christ is divine, he has a right to our entire lives, including our inner life and our thoughts. If Christ is divine, our absolute obligation is to believe everything he says and obey everything he commands. If Christ is divine, the meaning of freedom becomes conformity to him.”
So, again, we hear Jesus ask:
“’But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered,
‘The Christ of God.’"
So, who do YOU say he is?
5. Beginning a Relationship with Jesus:
If you would like to start a relationship with Jesus and invite Him into your life to be your Lord, Savior, Leader and Forgiver... If you would like to now become a follower of Jesus Christ, pray something like this:
“Lord, God, I recognize now that I am a sinner. I have broken your law and deserve the punishment of death that you have decreed for all law-breakers. I realize that now. Please forgive me? I know that I don’t deserve your forgiveness. There is nothing that I can do, myself, or that anyone else could do for me to gain forgiveness of my sins, but, your Word says that Jesus died on the cross for me so that my sins could be forgiven. I claim that now for myself, God. I want to live for you now. Not for myself. I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t work. I offer myself to you. To follow you. To love you. To allow you into my life to be my Leader, Lord, and Lover of my soul. I am Yours.
Lord, thank you so much for this free gift. Thank you for the pain you endured on the cross and for rising from the dead, so that I can now live with you forever. Thank you for loving me and wanting me to be your child, your heir, and your friend. Through the power of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!”
Now... Tell someone! If you would like to tell one of the pastors, please call or email us right away. If you have a friend or family member that has been praying for you, call them right now and tell them! And then, let us help you in this new incredible journey that you are on. Your new life is only just beginning.
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Peshtigo, WI 54157