Thursday, February 9, 2017

Beautiful, Part Seventeen

How can we be sure there is only one God?

His very name, “I AM” (Yahweh in Hebrew, abbreviated as Yah) declares that He is the ONLY God, and that there never has been and never will be any other. (If you don’t think you’ve heard of God being called Yah before, you probably didn’t realize that Hallelujah means Praise Yah. Names ending in “ah” in Hebrew mean to, by, from or of God–such as Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah. Names ending in “as” in Greek are the same way. e.g. Zechariah and Zacharias.) God has existed forever—before He invented time for us to live by—and will exist after time ceases to be kept—for eternity. We can know by His name that He will never change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

God has always been holy and perfect, and always will be. When we see ourselves and our situation from the perspective of His greatness, it truly does fill us with awe that He could love us and want us to be with Him forever. It is incredibly humbling. Knowing what it cost Him inspires tears of true repentance, gratefulness for forgiveness, mercy and grace, and an overwhelming desire to worship the only One who is worthy of all praise, glory and honor: our beloved, cherished and adored Maker, Redeemer, Lord, King and Sovereign God.

“Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:11 "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22

To you, Lord, belongs the greatness, and the valor, and the splendor, and the endurance, and the majesty because all that is in heaven and on earth is Yours. To you belongs the kingdom, Lord, and you are exalted as Head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. Isaiah 24:14-16 a

Do Christians worship three “gods”?

No. When we refer to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are acknowledging God is three distinct Persons, who are all One God. (The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, but neither are many other words that are accepted and used by Christians.) Here are just a few of the verses that make this truth plain:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My [Jesus’] name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 14:26

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he [Jesus] has poured forth this which you both see and hear. Acts 2:33 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14 According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: may grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. 1 Peter 1:2

Is Jesus God?

Many people say that Jesus never “claimed to be God.” They say He was a good man and a prophet and nothing more. That is simply not true. Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath, to which He replied that He is Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12, Mark 3, Luke 6, Luke 13, Luke 14, John 5, John 7) He was given authority from the Father to forgive sins. (Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 5) The “crime” with which He was convicted was the “blasphemy” of claiming to be God’s Son. He accepted worship because He is one with the Father. Those who refused to believe were not interested in the truth, but only in condemning Him and retaining their power over the people. (Matthew 23, Mark 2:27-28, Luke 6, Luke 13:10-17) He is the Word who was with God and was God before the beginning of the world. (John 1:1-2, John 17:5) He is the Alpha and Omega. (Revelation 1) When people mistakenly worshiped anyone other than God in the Bible, they were chastised. (Acts 10:25-26, Acts 14, Revelation 22:8-9) No one was ever chastised for worshiping Jesus.  Those who worship the beast and take his mark in the hour of trial coming on the whole world will be punished in the Lake of Fire eternally. (Revelation 19:20)

“I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”  They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” John 8:18-19 

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.” John 8:42 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’  But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”  So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”  Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. John 8:54-59

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!” Matthew 17:5 

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,”  we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.  And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,  knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:16-21 

So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,  but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.  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.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”  The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.  Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”  The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”  Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?  If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—  do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?  If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;  but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”  Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. John 10:24-39

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” John 14:6-11  “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” John 14:20 

And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”  But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.  What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Matthew 26:62-66 (Also Mark 14:61-64)

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,  and were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke 24:50-53 

When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “This man really was God’s Son!” Matthew 27:54 

Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”  And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. Luke 23:47-48

My prayer is that each of our hearts will cleave to our Lord's heart and that our most intense desire would be to please Him. I pray that when He returns for us, whether it is for those who have passed away before us and all of us still living, or just our own time to go, that we are ready. “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” Luke 12:40 Let’s not let a day go by without thanking and praising God for all that He has done for us, for making us His dear children, for the promise He made that He will take us to be with Him forever and never cast us out.

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 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 6:37-40

This is Part Seventeen of a series.  You may download the entire devotional in a "pretty" format here or in a basic, small file size format with highlighting here.

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