“Who Is This Jesus?”
By Brother Kenneth Ray
August 19th, 2012
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notes in pdf format.
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Who is this Jesus? Why is He so talked about? Why is He so criticized? Why is He so lifted up? Why is His name, you know, even on football, you see His name. You’ve got some guy doing the “Touchdown Jesus.: They hold up a sign that says, “John 3:16.” And who is this guy? I will tell you this much, He is more popular than Tim Tebow. As He should be.
Did anyone ever be doing something and have Jesus talk to you? I don’t mean, when you were kneeling or reading or praying, I mean, you were doing dishes and Jesus spoke to you. For me, for some odd reason, lately, it’s been when I was cutting the grass. And I’m like, “Really? While I’m cutting the grass, God?” All things are possible.
Acts 5:42 …they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Acts 8:35 … and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto Him Jesus.
So, in the first verse, we see that they are going from house to house, teaching and preaching Jesus Christ. In the second Scripture, we see a man named Philip… If you’ve ever heard of Philip and the eunuch, this is that story. The eunuch had been reading a Scripture, and asked who was this that they are talking about, here. I make this point because sometimes you hear doctrine. And because not all churches share the same doctrine, you might get a little confused on what’s going on. When the man of God stepped in, it says he began at the same Scripture and preached unto him Jesus. Not the doctrine of an organization. A lot of times we lose Jesus because we get wrapped up in doctrine. Well, Professor Bubba said this, but this professor here opposes it, and they both publish a paper, and we read it, and we get confused.
Today, well hopefully not just today, but every day, we want to share with you Jesus. Not doctrine of this, that, or the other, but Jesus. Jesus is one of those things in your life that does so many things in your life that you don’t even realize that He did until you stop and take a look at it. Let me take a look at it with you: Jesus is a great time manager. Who is Jesus? Well, one thing that He may be in your life is that He is a great time manager. Some of you are thinking, “Man, I could use Him at my job.” Yes, you could, and also in your day-to-day life.
I have to go to work to pay the bills. Well, I don’t have to; the truth is, there are only two things that you have to do: Die, and pay taxes. Even if you die, you’re going to pay taxes; they’re going to get you. Getting back to the point: The Bible tells us that:
Matthew 22:21 Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's.
Does anyone pay a utility bill? Does anyone pay rent? Anyone swipe your card inside the gas station to pay for the fuel that you’re going to put in the tank? We render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. We pay our taxes out of our check. We do our forty or eighty hour a week so that we can collect our weekly of bi-weekly pay. We show up for work on time. These are all things that we do to get along in the world. We obey the law (sometimes). Our jails are much too full for us to be obeying them all the time. My point being, when you have Jesus managing your time, He helps you make a keen observation as to what’s important and what’s not. The time management system has two very important things in it: The first thing you need to make is a task list (a list of tasks, or a to-do list), and the second thing is you need to prioritize the items on that list. When you know Jesus, He helps you prioritize what’s important to your soul, versus what is important to the word around you. He helps you know what you need, versus what you just want. If you walk into my garage, there’s about ten fishing poles right there; my wife will tell you that’s something I want; I will tell you that’s something I need. Jesus will help you determine who’s right. There are things that you want, and there are things that you need. When you know Jesus, He will help you to say, “I want a Mercedes, I don’t really need a Mercedes,” or, “I need to pray more, even though I don’t want to pray more.” He helps you manage your time. Do you need to listen to the Gospel at work, or the scriptures that leave my life on a solid foundation? How many of you listen to the Gospel at work? don't answer. Sometimes you don’t have the option. You can’t help what comes to your ears; you can only help what you do with it.
Whatever talents you have, you should not be worried about, “I don’t get to preach the message.” “Can you tech a Bible study?” “No.” “Can you pray?” ”Like nobody else.” Jesus helps you to see that that’s a gift, not a burden. Jesus helps you to see that, “I am not the foot, but I am the hand.” Sometimes little things have a big impact. Jesus helps you realize that that is more important than going to work. Work is important, but that’s more important. If you pray a lot, then the Lord blesses you more, than if you just go do your forty hours. Each of these actions has a result.
The Bible says confess your faults, right? (James 5:16) I left my sermon notes at home this morning. Ed had to go get them. Some of you may have noticed that Ed left, and came back right before the sermon; that’s why. I left it on the desk, in pristine condition; it was wrinkled when it got here. I’d have been much more in the hurt locker if it hadn’t gotten here, though. See, Jesus helps you understand which is more important: That it got here, or that it was wrinkled.
Do we make mistakes? every day. If you don’t make mistakes, then I’m going to check to see if you’re grey in color, because you’re not human. You’ve got to be from some other world—not this one—to not make mistakes.
It’s not easy to let Jesus prioritize your life, but it is possible. You know we’re not all wired the same? We have different personalities; we have different things about us. It isn’t always easy for everyone to do what everyone else does, but it is possible in Jesus.
Matthew 19:26 …With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.
Mark 9:23 …all things are possible to him that believeth.
The story in this Scripture was that this man’s son was sick, needed healing, and he came to Jesus. Now, maybe you’re like this father whose child wasn’t doing so well, maybe today you are crying out, with tears, “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) Sometimes life hits you with something that you just can’t believe that happened to you, or you just can’t see how God’s going to work in this one. Who is Jesus? He’s the one that with Him—now, I have to make a distinction here: “with Him” means with Him, not near Him, not around Him; you know you can have things all around you and not have them with you. Jesus is not supposed to have that kind of relationship in our lives. He is all around us, but is He in you? That’s different. If He’s in you, then He can come through you and out of you and to others. So he says, “help thou mine unbelief.” Maybe sometimes you have a hard time believing. If you need help in that area this morning, Jesus is the One who will prove to you, on an individual basis, just how real to you He can be. Now, if someone says to you, “Prove to me that Jesus exists.” I can only say that Jesus proves to me on a daily basis beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is alive.
Jesus is the One that we fell, from time to time, that He doesn’t understand us, or that He has forgotten about us, and our cares, and our concerns, and our hurts don’t quite make it on His radar. Sometimes when we think that Jesus doesn’t care, we get sprayed by the skunk. We want to rebel. “I’m going to go hang out with those friends that I don’t hang out with; I’ll show that Jesus. I’ll show Him how I feel about Him not caring about me.” “I’ll go spend a gazillion dollars, that I know I shouldn’t spend, on a flat-screen TV and the NFL channel.” We feel like God doesn’t care. We ask ourselves, “Why has He forsaken me?” Well, he hasn’t. He allows things to happen to us, because he wants you to realize that your help is Him. He’s your help; He’s your strength. He’s the One that can pull you out quicker than… Remember when peter was sinking in the water, and he called out to Jesus and said, “Help me” and immediately, Jesus reached out His hand, and Peter stopped sinking (Matthew 14:25-34). Whenever you feel like He doesn’t care, and you feel like He no longer understands, I’ll give you a good solid piece of advice: Stop feeling and go with what you know. There’s a difference between feeling and fact. I feel like a dirty dog some days; the fact is, I’m a sinner saved by grace. I feel like I’m better than everyone else some days, but, the fact is, I’m still a sinner saved by grace. I feel like I can handle it by myself; the fact is, my strength, my hope, and my help comes from the Lord. Feelings and facts don’t always line up. Sometimes they’re against each other.
He is the fact of salvation. He is the fact that, if you ask, you can have your sins remitted. If you get baptized in Jesus’ name, in faith, nothing wavering, you too can have your sins washed clean. It is a fact that that is the beginning of a Christian walk. Who is Jesus? He’s the One that provides it to you. We question things because sometimes it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Remember Nancy Kerrigan? I remember the video of her, after she got hit in the knee, holding her knee and crying out, “Why? Why?” We’re just like her, sometimes, as Christians, sitting there yelling, “Why? Why? I don’t understand. Why me?” because it rains on the just and the unjust. Jesus wants you to know that He’s the Great Physician. Whatever hurts you’ve got, you can always come back to Him; that’s a fact. That other guy that tells you to just go out and do your own thing:
John 8:44 …he is a liar and the father of it.
The fact is, that it is a lie for you to stop worshipping God. It is a lie to go hang out with ungodly people just to spite God, and to think that’s okay. It is a lie to forsake what God would have you to do with your talent because of your spite. The Father of Lies is the one that’s in your ear, telling you that it’s not a lie. He’s a liar, and liars have a place in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).
Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie…
It is impossible for God to lie. Whenever He says, “You will fall in your sins,” He’s not lying. When he says, if you turn from your way, He will receive you, He’s not lying. When He says that there is only one sin which will not be forgiven, which is blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, He is not lying. Unless you have blasphemed the Holy Ghost, then you can come to Jesus and get what you need. You haven’t gone too far, you haven’t done anything too bad, according to what God says, and He cannot lie, regardless of how you feel. I can’t prove this, but feelings are of the devil, on some occasions. They come and go. It says in the book of Hebrews that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Anyone know who Mohammed Ali is? Anyone heard of Floyd Patterson? Floyd Patterson is known as the “invisible champion,” because he wasn’t a man that really showboated like Mohammed Ali. Also, at the time, it wasn’t as accepted for him, as an African-American to be the champion. It was a different time, a different era. Jesus doesn’t disappear. He is invisible in the sense that He is a Spirit, but He is present and He reveals Himself to you; He makes Himself known to you. The Bible says just look at the things of the world and you will know that He is real (Romans 1:20). When He touches your heart, that thing you call conscience, that’s the Holy Ghost dealing with you. It doesn’t matter how popular He is amongst the world, He’s always there.
Realize that Jesus’ response to you, about the cares and concerns of this life is, Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Don’t carry them; don’t dump them on somebody else. All your cares, all your concerns, He said cast them on Him, because He cares for you. That’s a fact. He said it, and we’ve already read that He cannot lie. He cares for you. Who is Jesus? He’s the One who cares for you. He’s the one who’s willing to take your cares. Do you know that He already took the weight of the world once, you read about it at the crucifixion, He took the weight of the world (John1:21). He’s still willing to take your cares and burdens, even today. That’s who He is; or, in the common vernacular, that’s how He rolls. That’s the way Jesus lives in our lives day to day. Kind of like the guy that comes around and cleans up the trash, or that picks up that big dumpster, depending on whether you have little problems or a big dumpster load. You know, it doesn’t matter if it’s nuclear waste, biodegradable, plastic, paper… He will not refuse them, if you’ll turn them over to Him.
Now, I’ve been told on more than one occasion that if I didn’t talk with people, to deal with stress, that I was going to blow up. I said, “Maybe so, but not today.” I was sixteen; I knew everything. We tell people to shun the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), love not the world (1 John 2:15); okay, so, how do I do that? Here’s a help: The Bible says to think upon this:
Philippians 4:8 …if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Virtue means valor. I get plenty of stuff at work, and I’m sure you do too. If you watch TV, you get plenty of stuff. Are any of those things true? honest? just? pure? lovely? of good report? If they’re not, then let them go. If they are, then think on these things. I find myself in life sometimes in distress, concern, disagreements… I was listening to the radio the other day and someone at Yale University has determined that stress, over a long period of time, actually, physically shrinks your brain, and that causes you difficulty in remembering things and processing emotions. How true that is? I’m sure they have some findings, now, whether they twisted the facts to prove their point or they actually have facts that prove it right, I don’t know. I just know that long-term depression isn’t good for me. Long-term bickering isn’t healthy for me. Long terms of worry—You know what? I’ve found that I can’t really change anything by worrying about it. It’s not healthy.
The name of Jesus is more than just a name. That’s an important point; if you don’t get anything else out of today… Who is Jesus? He is more than just a name. Jesus is a name above all A-L-L names (Philippians 2:9). As much as I like my name, Jesus is above it. As wonderful as Texas is, Jesus is above it. As wonderful as—whatever it is—Jesus is above that name.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That name is not just some nice name. God has exalted that name above every name. Here are two things I want you to know about that name (there’s more than two things, but for right now): There’s more than one god, but Jesus is the only name given for salvation to mankind.
Acts 4:10 … by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified…
It references the fact that they are speaking about the name of Jesus, so you know when I read verse twelve that they are talking about Jesus:
Acts 4:12 …there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved…
The little note to that, that I want to make: There is no other name we should be giving out for souls, that they might be saved. That is His name, by the way. God is not a name. God’s name is Jesus. That is the name that we will all stand before in judgment. You and I will stand before Jesus. We’re not going to stand before Buddha. We’re going to stand before Jesus, according to the Scriptures on the Day of Judgment.
Roberto Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was also a great humanitarian. When they had an earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua, he loaded up three planes with supplies, and had them flown down there, and the government of Nicaragua kind of re-routed them. So, he loaded up another plane, and he got on board, himself, to try to ensure that the aid reached the survivors. There was a man who helped load up the plane, and said, “I want to go with you.” He said, “No, enjoy your New Year’s Eve.” The plane took off, and two minutes later, crashed into the ocean. All five people onboard died. Clemente wore number 21, and played right field. There is now a twenty-foot wall in right field in Pittsburgh’s stadium, in respect to him. This many years later, the starting second baseman, Neil Walker, is the son of the man that Clemente wouldn’t let get on the plane (Tom Walker). Every game, when they play the national anthem, he stares out at right field to honor a man that he never knew could have such an impact on his life. Jesus is our Roberto Clemente, church. He said go, He said, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.” Though we never met Him in person, it is because of His sacrifice that we have life. Without Him there would be no salvation. That’s who Jesus is. He’s more than a name.
He knows our thoughts, He knows our interests, He knows how we judge, He knows why we’re judging, He knows when we forgive, and He knows when we don’t forgive. I share that not to scare you, but to let you know that He has that much of an interest in us. “Wow; He has that much interest in me?” Yep. Every last one of us.
I close with this: The Olympics just ended, right? I’m going to name off a few sports, and you tell me if they are individual sports or team sports: Fencing? both. Track and Field? both. Swimming? both. Jesus has an interest in you as an individual, and as an entire body of believers. Just like those Olympic events, He’s both. When you are alone, He is with you. When we are together, or when two or three are gathered together, then He is in the midst also (Matthew 18:20). Christianity is both an individual and a team sport. The Bible says, save yourselves from this untoward generation (Acts 2:40). It also says, do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). If you see your brother in need, you’re supposed to help him out (1 John 3:17). If you see your brother in a fault, ye which are spiritual, go and restore him (Galatians 6:1). It is both an individual sport and a team effort, church. That’s who Jesus is. He is a Spirit (John 4:24), and He is God. So today, and throughout the week, take the time to get to know Him a little bit better. Maybe for the first time, or maybe for the first time all over again. He desires to be your salvation, your Lord, and not just a name you know.
God bless you, church, thank you. May Jesus be with you.
Sermon notes by Pete Shepherd