8 Marks Of The Church
The Son Confessing Church
There are many common myths about the church that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst
You can believe what you want about Jesus and be a healthy church
This myth, if believed, can be dangerous because:
It can cause people to think they know Jesus when they really know “another Jesus” that’s not really Him
It can cause a church to be schizophrenic at best and apostate at worst when it comes to Jesus.
We know this is a myth because Jesus said a clear mark of a healthy church would be a church filled with people who confess correct things about His nature and character
MARK: The Son Confessing Church
The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of Jesus (John 10:37-39)
Jesus has been teaching at the Temple area during the Feast of Dedication
The Jews gather around Jesus and ask Him a question and make a statement
“How long will you keep us in suspense?”
“If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus’ response is that He had already told them, but they didn’t believe
The miracles He does in His Father’s name speak for Him
They did not believe Him, because they were not His sheep
Jesus then makes His confession and pleads with the Jews to believe
Just believe (vv. 37-39)
I wish we could have heard Jesus’ tone of voice at this point, because my guess is that His tone was one of pleading with the Jews to believe
Don’t believe me
If I don’t do what my Father does, then don’t believe in Me
This would certainly be an indication that Jesus was not from God
He would have been a false prophet or teacher trying to direct them away from God
So, they obviously shouldn’t believe in Him or follow Him
Believe the miracles
While Jesus doesn’t say it directly here, He is saying to them, “Even though you don’t believe my words, believe the works (miracles) from the Father
“Jesus’ works were the window into his words.” [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 344]
PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s people recognize His Son through His miracles.
If you believe the miracles from the Father, you will understand that the Father is in me, and I’m in the Father
“Interestingly, coming to understand is presented as the result, rather than condition, of believing.” [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 317]
Sometimes we have to take the step of faith without having all of our questions answered and then we will be able to understand that Jesus’ works prove His words
PRINCIPLE #2– Jesus and God are One!
Even though Jesus is pleading with the Jews to believe in Him, they aren’t quite ready to take that step yet
Reaction of the Jews
They try to seize Jesus, either to stone Him or to arrest Him
Jesus escapes their grasp, because it’s still not God’s timing for Him to be put on trial and killed
Jesus was confessing that He is the Son of God that the Father is in Him, and He is in the Father – Jesus and God are One!
Jesus confessed His deity and exclusive claims about Himself
The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Early Church (Acts 2:24-36)
We saw last that Acts 2 retells the events that happened during Pentecost in Jerusalem
We know that the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in power and enabled them to share the Gospel in the various languages of the people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks
Peter explains Jesus’ resurrection (vv. 24-32)
Peter is confessing Jesus’ resurrection, to the people gathered in Jerusalem
Jesus is alive!
He is the only person who died, was buried, came alive again, and is still alive today
The fact that He is still alive today sets Him apart from every other prophet, teacher, human being, or god
Peter explains that David, as a prophet, has died and was buried and his tomb is still there to this day
Peter and the other Apostles were witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection
Peter explains Jesus’ ascension and current position (vv. 33-36)
He is exalted to the right hand of God.
Footstool – this was a practice in the Orient where the conqueror would put his foot on the neck of the conquered.
God made Jesus both Lord, kü-rē-os, meaning he to whom a person or thing belongs; and Christ, khrē-sto’s, meaning anointed.
Peter is confessing the deity of Jesus Christ
The teaching of the early church is that Jesus was resurrected by the power of God and is still alive today and that God has made Him Lord and Christ (deity)
The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Apostles (1 John 4:2-3; Philippians 2:5-11)
Teaching of the Apostle John (1 John 4:2-3)
John is helping believers everywhere to know how to discern whether a spirit is from God or not
Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ is from God
Here we see that the confession or acknowledgement is that Jesus came in the flesh
This speaks of Jesus’ humanity
John mentions it again in his second letter, Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7)
Teaching of the Apostle Paul (Philippians 2:5-11)
Paul teaches us that Jesus is God (deity)
Being in very nature God (v. 6)
Jesus Christ is Lord (v. 11)
He also teaches us that Jesus was human (vv. 7-8)
We also learn about Jesus’ substitutionary death (v. 8)
The Apostles’ confession is that Jesus is both God and man and that He died on a cross to take our punishment for sin
We have the teachings of Jesus, the early church, and the Apostles about this mark, but we also have a picture found in Revelation
METAPHOR: The Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:6-10)
This is the end of human history – the hope of every believer
Jesus is the Lamb, the Bridegroom
His disciples are His bride
The hope of every follower of Jesus Christ is to be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!
“As the Bridegroom, Jesus has confessed His love for us and union with us, and as the Bride, we likewise confess our love for Him and union with Him. He has intimate knowledge of us – who we really are, and we have intimate knowledge of Him – who He really is.” [Matt Kyser]
How does this apply to us?
APPLICATION (how will we know if this mark of The Church marks Our Church?)
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the deity of Jesus (John 1:1-4)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we will confess that Jesus is fully God
He is not just another prophet, teacher, or good human being – He is God!
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the humanity of Jesus (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. (John 1:14)
While it may be difficult for our finite human minds to comprehend, Jesus is also fully man
He is fully God (100%) and fully man (100%) and yet He is one person
Colossians 2:9, For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
Luke 24:39, Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.
As human beings, we do not have to understand how Jesus can be fully God and fully man at the same time, we just have to believe
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the sinless life of Jesus (Hebrews 4:15)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus was the only One who could take our punishment on the cross, because He was perfect, without sin
We are human and fallible, Jesus is both God and man and perfect
We will have intimate knowledge of and will confess the substitutionary death of Jesus (1 Peter 2:24)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26b-28)
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
Jesus’ resurrection is what sets Him apart from everyone else – He is still alive today, interceding for us before the Father
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the exclusive claims of Jesus (John 14:6)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Hebrews 4:15)
There are those in our culture today, that want everyone to believe that there are multiple ways to heaven and since God is loving, He will let everyone in to heaven
The old saying is, “all roads lead to heaven.”
That saying is false
I would modify the saying to say, “all roads lead to God.”
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
During the final judgment, all the nations will appear before Jesus and He will separate the people like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
Jesus is the only way to heaven and the Father
We have to confess the exclusive claims of Jesus
Our desire is to have a church filled with people who confess correct things about Jesus’ nature and character
Idaville Member Survey from RESTOR Renewal Ministries
Four of the five questions from The Son-Confessing Church section of the survey were in the top ten of the least difficult for us as a church
That is encouraging, because it means that these are things we readily believe and embrace
“The people in our church believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God, fully God and fully man, and the way, the truth, and the life – no one coming into a relationship with the Father but through Him.” (1 of 10)
“I hear the name of Jesus consistently in sermons, teaching content, small groups and interpersonal conversations in our church.” (2 of 10)
“Our church consistently teaches on the Person and work of Jesus on the cross, connecting the truth of the Gospel with any particular passage or theme.” (3 of 10)
“The leaders in our church consistently and publicly point to Jesus as the Head and primary Leader of our church.” (6 of 10)
“It is obvious that love for and obedience to Jesus is the reason our church exists.” (12 of 12)
Encouragement and Challenge
If you believe and it is a settled fact in your heart and mind that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to encourage you to continue in that faith
These are the truths of Jesus that the world needs to hear
We have been called and commissioned to confess these truths where we live, work, learn, and play
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Commit to confessing the truths about Jesus to my family, friends, fellow students, and coworkers.
If you are struggling in your heart and mind about any of these truths, that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to challenge you to do a couple of things
Pray and seek the Lord’s face concerning the truth(s) that you are struggling with
Spend time reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and ask the Lord to make these truths evident to you through His Word
Reach out to Pastor Marc, myself, or another fellow believer, so we can walk alongside you as you pray and read God’s Word – accountability is so important
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Commit to praying, reading God’s Word, and reaching out to other believers concerning the truths of who Jesus is and what He came to earth to accomplish.
“We are a church that reaches out, spreading God's Word, God's glory, and God's promises to those that do not know Him.”
“Our leadership strives to be led more by Jesus, to lead more like Jesus, so we can lead more to Jesus.”
We are committed as a church and as leaders to confessing Jesus to those we live, work, learn, and play with
One of our annual goals for 2022 is to have a 10% increase in the number of people attending Sunday school and/or discipleship groups
Another annual goal is to have 10% increase in the pursuit of holiness as evidenced through salvations, baptisms, and accountability
“The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That's why Jesus' question to his disciples [in Matthew 16] is so important: ‘Who do you say that I am?’
The question is doubly crucial in our day, because [no one is as popular in the U.S. as Jesus]—and not every Jesus is the real Jesus. …
There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
There's Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life's problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.
There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).
There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
There's Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.
There's Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).
There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that ‘all you need is love.’
There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
There's Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding ‘the god within’ while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.
There's Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.
There's Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on ‘the system.’
There's Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.
There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.
There's Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.
And then there's Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham's chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God's reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a New Creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the Serpent; the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood; the Christ promised to Abraham; the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites; the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died; the Christ promised to David when he was king; the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a Suffering Servant; the Christ predicted through the Prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.
This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father's Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins—more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.”
Used by Permission
Source: Kevin DeYoung, "Who Do You Say That I Am?" from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog (posted 6-10-09)