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Why Jesus?

Part1: "Bread of Life?"

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(6/2) Today we begin our new sermon’s series "Why Jesus" answering 6 common questions about Jesus. We’re going to spend 6 weeks looking at 6 questions about Jesus, and today we’re going to ask "Is Jesus the only God?" Is Jesus the only God or are the other gods and other ways to find your heaven, your karma, or whatever you want to call it?

So we are going to be looking at the most important controversial and significant person who has ever lived…Jesus Christ… and we’re going to examine six of the most common and significant questions about his person and work. And you should have a Bible nearby so if you can grab that we will open up to…John 6:38-51

So today we’re going to talk about Jesus. And his name itself, Jesus Christ, is actually very descriptive of his life and purpose. Jesus comes from the name Joshua, which means "Yahweh saves," and Christ means "anointed of God". And so Jesus Christ is the anointed one of God who’s come to save God’s people.

But a name like that really betrays the reality of His humble beginnings doesn’t it?

It really does… ‘cause you know when we’re speaking of Jesus Christ, we’re speaking of someone who was born roughly 2,000 years ago in this little dumpy, hick town… you know the kind of place where guys still change the oil on their El Camino in the front yard… they still think that wrestling is real… and they like women who chew tobacco. And so Jesus came from that kind of town… he was born to a teenage girl… a single mother. And he was adopted by a blue-collar guy… a real down to earth kind of guy, named Joseph, a kind of guy who swung a hammer for a living.

And so, Jesus’ life, up until about age 30, was quiet, insignificant, and relatively obscure. As far as we can tell, he played with his brothers, went to school and did the things that normal kids did. When he got older, like most Jewish boys, he worked with his dad as a carpenter, so he likely was in good shape… had calluses on his hands and walked a lot… which meant he was in good physical condition.

Isaiah, the prophet, says that "there was no beauty or majesty in him that would attract us to him." (Isaiah 53:2)

And so Isaiah proclaims the Word of the Lord saying that the Messiah… saying that Jesus… looked like a normal working guy with a lunchbox and a tool belt who went out every morning to work at his job.

But at about the age of 30, he was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and He began preaching and teaching and healing and performing miracles and such. He ultimately was put to death because in that ministry… in that capacity… he continually said "I am God," which is the subject that we will be examining in greater detail this morning.

And so his resume is rather simple. Jesus never married, never had children, never ran for political office, never oversaw a large company, never played Texas hold’em, never traveled more than a few hundred miles from his house, never visited a big city, never went to college, yet today Jesus Christ is the most extraordinary, the most loved, the most hated, the most widely regarded person in all of human history. More songs have been sung to him, more paintings have been painted of him, and more books written about him than anyone who has ever lived in the history of the world. And today there are a few billion people on planet Earth who worship Jesus Christ as Lord and God.

So when we’re speaking of Jesus, when we consider "Why Jesus", we must carefully consider the warning, in 2 Corinthians 11:3, "I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

So what the Lord is telling us is that we need to be grounded in our beliefs… confident in our God… and secure in our Savior… for it is as Jesus said, "this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day" (John 6:39).

And you know today we find that there are a lot of perspectives about Jesus… a lot of opinions… a lot of false Christ’s… and even more false impressions of Jesus Christ. And so Paul prophesied… he predicted… exactly what has occurred. Today Jesus is as hot as ever... the number of perspectives about him are countless… there are an infinite number of opinions about Jesus. And so, the question is, "Who is Jesus with all of these differentiating perspectives in our culture, religion, the famous, and even the infamous?"

And so we’ll give Jesus an opportunity to speak for himself and to tell us who he says that he is. And in answering the question, "Is Jesus the only God?" I will show you different ways that Jesus repeatedly, clearly, unapologetically and unashamedly said, "I am the only God." And so we’ll look at just a few of the ways that he said it.

The first is in John, Chapter 6 beginning in verse 38 – Jesus says, "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"

"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:38-51) NIV

ONE: Jesus came down from Heaven.

So the people were like… "Didn’t our kids go to school with this guy? Didn’t he play second base on the Little League team? I remember him… wasn’t this the kid who had a hard time hitting the ball? How could he say he came down from heaven? We know his mom and dad. That’s crazy. How can he say that?"

Now when Jesus said this, they understood that He was saying, "I’m God who’s come down from heaven to visit the earth." This is different from someone who says they had a near-death experience. This is different from someone who says, "For a moment, I got to peek into heaven… I was outside of my body… I saw a bright light… I saw angels..."

Here we’re not talking about some near-death experience where a person died… where a person has gone into the great light to discover that Elvis is there… yeah... You know there’s actually a book written on near-death experiences of people who think that Elvis is God. But here we’re talking about Jesus who says, "I am God. Heaven is my home. And I’ve come down from heaven."

You know there are many books written on people’s near-death experiences, but even among the world religions, there are only a few spiritual leaders who claim that they have seen into heaven. One of them who makes that claim is Mohammed, the great founder of Islam. And what he says is that he got to go to heaven. He says he was taken up in the same area as the foundation of the original Jewish temple; a place that is now known as the Dome of the Rock. And apparently he was familiar with the Bible ‘cause he says that there the angel, Gabriel, met him and took him up into heaven where he was introduced to Allah God… not our God… not Jesus… but Allah. And he says that he saw Moses, Abraham, and others, and he says that Allah told him that they were to begin praying five times a day. So five times a day, the Muslim faithful pray toward Mecca in an effort to honor what Mohamed says was the word given to him in heaven on the day he got to visit.

Now to put that in perspective, some 600 years earlier, Jesus says, "I’ve lived in heaven forever as God and I’ve come down from heaven to be here with you." And so this is the big difference between Christianity and other religions. Other religions are about people ascending up to God. Christianity is about Jesus Christ, our great God, on a rescue mission, descending down to us, becoming a man and living with us in love.

So Jesus’ first claim that he is God is that he came down from heaven.

TWO Jesus is the way to Heaven.

He said in verse 48, "I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:48-51).

So not only did he come down from heaven, but he said he is the only way to get to heaven… He is the living bread… the bread of life.

So do you want to die and live in a better place forever…? I don’t mean right now, but in the future... Do you want to go to heaven? Do you believe in heaven like most people do? Do you want to be in heaven forever… a world without sin, sickness, and death… a place without war, injustice, racism, sexism, and abuse?

Go ahead let’s just say it together. "I want to go to heaven."

Well Jesus said that he is the only way that we can possibly get to heaven. He says this in John chapter 14:6. Now this is the narrow way of Jesus... This is the exclusivity of Jesus. He says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

Now how many Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists… how many Agnostics… how many good people… how many of those with differing opinions? How many of them will come to the Father? Well Jesus was very pointed, very singular, and very exclusive. He said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." He said, "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

This is an amazing claim... a bold claim… and if Jesus were alive today and made this sort of claim, he’d get killed again wouldn’t he? If he walked into the Jewish synagogue… if he walked down to the mosque… if he walked into the philosophy department at the local college and said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one gets to heaven but through me". He would be mocked… He’d be ridiculed… abused and even assassinated.

No one else in history has ever made such a claim. Other people have said, "I know this path, and if you walk on it, you can have eternal life." But Jesus says, "I am the path. There is no heaven. There is no forgiveness of sin. There is no eternal life. There is no peace, no reconciliation, no relationship with God the Father but through me. I am the way. There is no other way. I am the truth. Everything else is a lie. I am the life. Everything else leads to death."

So Jesus made some amazing claims. He was very clear. And now you know why they killed him. It wasn’t just because he fed homeless guys and told cute stories.

They killed him because he said things like this. Because Jesus said he was the only God come down from heaven… because Jesus claimed to be the way to heaven… and because Jesus has all the authority of Heaven.

THREE Jesus has the authority of Heaven

So the last way in which Jesus said he was God is that Jesus claimed authority over all people… over all political parties, all races, all genders, all nations, all religions, all cultures, all beliefs and all sexual orientations. Since this is MD I’ve tried to include everybody, and that is exactly my point or let me rephrase that. That is Jesus point. He is supreme over everyone and everything. Jesus is a category all by himself as the only God. He is the Bread of Life.

He says it this way in Matthew 28:18. After his resurrection it says that "Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."

What that means is that Jesus rules over angels and demons. Jesus rules over gay, straight, bisexual, transgender. Jesus rules over Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Unitarians, Atheists, Agnostics, and Scientologists, whatever other ians, isms, its, or ics are out there. Jesus rules over all men and women. Jesus is God over all children and adults. Jesus is God over all nations, kings, and kingdoms. Jesus rules over all.

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" he says. And so, for those of you who think that Jesus was just a nice guy, Jesus says, "I’m a whole lot more than that." And then he rose… he ascended back into heaven where he said that he came from… and in doing so, he showed us the way, so that if we pray… if we come to him in faith… if we give our sin to him… he can forgive it. And then when we die, we will rise as he rose, and we will ascend as he ascended.

So the question then is simply this: What is your response to these amazing and unparalleled claims of this man Jesus… this man who said he was the "Bread of Life"… this man who claimed to be God? The right response… the one I encourage you to… is to worship Jesus Christ as your God and your Savior.

If you’re here today and you’re a sinner… if you’ve done some wrong stuff… some mean stuff… you need Jesus. You can become a Christian by simply asking him to forgive you… asking him to be your God… and he will. He knows your heart and mind. He hears your prayers and he will answer them. He told you to pray to him. So pray to him. Become a Christian. And worship him as God.

That’s the right response… the worship of Jesus. And in worshiping Jesus, we are declaring there is one God, who is Jesus, and we worship him alone as God. A God who has presently, powerfully, and eternally revealed himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And the Bible says, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," (that Jesus is Yahweh… that Jesus is God) and believe in your heart that God (the Father) raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).

And so as we close, I ask you today to believe this in your heart and to confess it with your mouth. My whole goal is to point you to Jesus; to reveal to you Jesus; to introduce to you Jesus; to show you the exalted Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. And so now as we close, I give you the opportunity to respond to him as we sing together a song of worship and praise. Together we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is in fact our Lord. And so when we leave here, we live our lives as acts of worship to Jesus… and so now it’s between you and Jesus… and that is so precious… so personal… lets pray.

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