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The Identity of Diety
Scripture: Romans 6:1-4; Matthew 16:13-16; Luke 5:2...
Track 1 of 13 in the Almighty God...Jesus series
Running time: 52 minutes, 31 seconds.
Jesus is no ordinary man. Just as in the Bible, today people encounter Jesus and it is interesting to know what they think. Is He God, someone to submit to or is He just another religious person out there wanting people to follow Him. Only a few see Jesus as someone special and stop what they are doing to consider the possibility that Jesus is more than just a man. The same was very true when Jesus actually walked this earth.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

The Identity of Deity

We all know how important our identity is. Our identity is what makes us who we are. It proves that we exist. In today’s world, identity is almost everything because without one, it is hard to do anything. If you don’t believe that, just ask someone who lost their identity or had their identity stolen. It is a horrible thing having someone out there buying and selling, doing things on-line or taking your money and buying things in your name as though they were actually you. In fact, the person who posses your identity in many respects, is really you.

Your identity is crucial. Who are you? Do you really exist? What is real in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world as well. Our identity is crucial especially when it points to who we really are. The Christian also has identity, but it is not based necessarily who we are but whose we are. When we enter into the covenant relationship with Jesus, be become someone else’s, our identity changes and we become identified with Jesus. The only thing that counts in the end is the identity we have before God. As believers in Christ, we are His. What is important to know is our identity comes directly from our baptism.

Romans 6:1- 4 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

In our baptism we become united with Him. I am no longer Mike Nobis. When I stand before God in the end I don’t stand as Mike Nobis on my own, I stand as one in Jesus and it is that identity that makes me not guilty. It is Jesus that makes me that way and His identity, not mine. Identity is crucial.

But what about Jesus; what is His identity? It is amazing what people actually believe about Jesus, especially Christians themselves. There was no doubt that Jesus was an immensely popular teacher. People today who have heard of Jesus when asked who He was usually say or recognize that fact. There are many answers given for who Jesus is. Even during Jesus time there were many opinions about Him. Jesus even asked His disciples what was being said about Him. But what was important to Jesus is what they thought about Him. Peter was the one who responded and identified correctly who Jesus is:

Matthew 16:15-16 But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Who is this man, Jesus? That was a question that was asked by everyone back when Jesus walked this earth. Even today the question still remains and is as relevant today as it was back in the first century. To the small band of men who was concerned for their sick friend, Jesus was someone who could heal people. They weren’t totally sure who he really was or if he told the right or wrong answers to the Pharisees, all they knew he was someone who could heal their friend. So they located Jesus one night and took their sick friend for Jesus to heal.

Arriving at the place where Jesus taught, they sadly found that there was a huge crowd and they couldn’t get to Jesus so they opened a hole in the ceiling of the house and lowered their friend down to Jesus by rope. They longed to hear those healing words of Jesus for their friend. But instead, they heard something else.

Luke 5:20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus was no dummy; he knew that the Pharisees and the religious leaders in the crowd would understand exactly what he meant. Jesus’ statement had immense implications and something that was outrageous to say about oneself.

Luke 5:21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

I wonder how you and I would have reacted to that statement if we were there. “Who really is Jesus” is a great question to ask people today especially those who identify themselves as members of MPCC. How many would say that Jesus himself is God Almighty? He is the same Almighty God who created everything in the universe. How many would say that He is the same God from the Old Testament as well as the God in the New? Is Jesus just the Son of God or is He God Almighty Himself?

In your circle of influence, what have you heard about Jesus and what are they saying about Him? Is it important that we know who Jesus is or are we being too picky and shouldn’t make an effort to teach the correct understanding of Jesus?

Jesus is no ordinary man. Just as in the Bible, today people encounter Jesus and it is interesting to know what they think. Is He God, someone to submit to or is He just another religious person out there wanting people to follow Him. What about His miracles; were they real or are the accounts of His miracles considered myths by today’s scholars? I think it is safe to say that a vast majority of the world today see Jesus as just a good man who did some nice things for people. Only a few see Jesus as someone special and stop what they are doing to consider the possibility that Jesus is more than just a man. The same was very true when Jesus actually walked this earth.

Does it concern you that we as Christians seem to be a dying breed? Do you think that Christianity has the chance of dying out? What do you think is necessary to turn the pattern around?

I think it all starts again with the question Jesus asked of his disciples back in Matthew 16, who do you say that Jesus is? Who do you really believe Jesus to be in your life? Our actions speak louder than our words and what do your actions say Jesus is to you?

Matthew 16:13-14 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

We have read this passage many times in our lives but one thing I want you to notice, Peter didn’t just say Jesus was a Christ, Jesus was THE Christ. Already there were different opinions of who Jesus was and there were several people before Jesus who declared they were Christ. But it was Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit that recognized Jesus as THE Christ, the real deal, the actual Messiah Israel had been waiting for.

I love how Jesus put them directly on the spot. It wasn’t good enough for them to understand what others said about Jesus, what was critical is who they thought Jesus actual was. Scripture doesn’t say how long the pause was before Peter blurted out his answer, but I bet the question went right to the core of their very souls. The answer meant everything for Jesus and for the disciples.

It was Peter who spoke up first, but do you think the disciples all agreed with what Peter stated? Did they too believe that Jesus was the Christ? Think about that question a minute, what was important, to get the answer right or to understand the implications of the real answer? If they really believed that Jesus was the Messiah, then what was the next step for them? What about you? Who is Jesus to you? What is your next step?

No Middle Ground

The next step is a very critical step. In fact Jesus makes man decide on a hard truth, Jesus is God, He is actual deity or He isn’t. There is no middle ground. To be honest, that is the difference between a true follower of Jesus and a fan of Jesus.

What does it mean to be a fan of something? Is there a difference between being a fan of Jesus and a disciple of Jesus? What does a fan of Jesus look like? What does a follower look like?

True or False: Divorce Jesus from the supernatural and Jesus becomes totally ordinary.

Think about this a minute. Imagine if Jesus was someone many people claim him to be,”He was a great moral teacher but I don’t accept his claim that he was God”. How foolish is this statement when one really thinks about it? If Jesus was just a mere man, Jesus would not be a moral teacher but a lunatic on a level of a person who has a poached egg for a brain. Jesus either is God or a madman or something worse. Jesus did not leave open to us that he was a moral teacher.

By the end of the first century, few firsthand witnesses to the life of Jesus remained alive. The Apostle John was one of them. Something happened at the end of the century, false teachers started to work their evil. These teachers in the church were the ones who denied that Jesus was deity and was entirely human. They began to twist the story of His life to suit their religious and philosophical views. To combat these false teachings the Apostle John wrote the story of Jesus in response. The purpose of his Gospel can be summed up in what he wrote in Chapter 20,

John 20:30-31 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Even in his letters to the Church his whole purpose was to make the church understand that we can know that we are going to Heaven because of whom Jesus is. He is the Son of God and belief in Him gives each of us eternal life.

When we look at the 4 Gospels in the Bible, Mathew, Mark and Luke are usually grouped together because they took a more classical historical approach in writing about Jesus. But John was different; John approaches Jesus and his life from a philosophical perspective. Due to what was going on within the church when he wrote the Gospel, John opens right up with the foundational truth about Jesus, the Word is God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Why didn’t John just come out and say that in the beginning Jesus existed, He was with God and He was God?

John used something different to make his point. The use of “Word” comes from the Greek term “logos”. We use that term in the printing and advertising world, logos. Logos today has everything to do with “Identity”. Using the Greek term had significant meaning to the philosophers in Jesus day. In fact, the concept of ‘logos” was first used 500 years before Jesus and it grew to become a universal, cosmic and religious principle.

Logos: Expresses the ordered and logical nature of the cosmos. It is equated with God and how the material world was unfolding. It had everything to do with God being the Creator of everything and the revealer of the truths to mankind.

John in his Gospel borrowed the logos concept and gave it new significance as a nickname of sorts, for the Son of God. In crafting the first verse he literally wrote,

“In beginning was being the logos”

What John did was suggest that we cannot identify a past moment to call “beginning”. His concept of the Word (Jesus) existed before past eternity, farther back than our finite minds can conceive. The Word had no starting point. He eternally existed and He was with God and He is God. But John goes one step farther and makes an astounding announcement:

John 1:14 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.

In other words, God became a man. This is what we celebrate on Christmas. How many people today even realized what that was all about or even cared? Even Jesus own disciples struggled to comprehend who he really was. What an indiscernible thought, God becoming a man!

Paul tried to sum all this up when he wrote,

Colossians 1:15-17 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. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Who is this man? He is Jesus of Nazareth. He is God in human flesh. This is how he presented Himself to the world. In the end, you and I must either accept that fact or reject it. There is no middle ground.