Who is Jesus? Do you have a biblical understanding of who He is? How you answer those two questions will have great implications for your life and for your relationships. Ephesians 4 shows us that Jesus proves who He is by changing our relationships, by giving people purpose, and by making people new.
Contending for the Faith
Who is Jesus? Do you have a biblical understanding of who He is? How you answer those two questions will have great implications for your life and for your relationships. Ephesians 4 shows us that Jesus proves who He is by changing our relationships, by giving people purpose, and by making people new.
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God, fulfill prophecy and redeem sinful man. We believe He accomplished our redemption through His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, burial and bodily resurrection. We believe our redemption and salvation are guaranteed by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is the only means of salvation (John 1:1, 14, 18; Luke 1:35; Romans 3:24-26; 4:25; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 2:5).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, and the Head of the church. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is now in heaven, exalted to the right hand of God where, as High Priest to His people, He serves as our Advocate and intercedes for us (Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:3; 3:1; 7:23-25; 1 John 2:1-2).
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” -C.S. Lewis
Well, hello, Watermark. Family and guests who are here and those watching online. My name is Brian Buchek, and I serve as one of the elders here. Todd and JP and some others are out in East Texas this weekend with 1,500 young adults and college students at Launch. Be praying for them this weekend.
We're going to going to continue in our The 7 series. Thus far, we've talked about the Bible, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and I must have drawn the long straw, because I get to talk today about Jesus. I'm really excited. Well…Who is Jesus? There are a lot of opinions out there about that. Watch this.
Male: Jesus is a guy who died on the cross. That's pretty much all.
Male: He is one of the higher powers that is over the many gods that I believe in, as in the sun god and the moon god.
Male: Honestly, I don't believe in Jesus, so I think it's made up religion.
Male: Jesus was a real person, that's undeniable, historical fact. I have great respect for Jesus. He did a lot of good in his lifetime. I don't pray to him because I'm not a Christian.
Female: I'd say the Son of God, but I also do believe other people can see him as someone who was a guide.
Female: Jesus… I guess Jesus is the one that came down here and, you know, died for us and is now up in heaven watching over us. You know, somebody that we should be praying to everyday and having as, kind of, our guardian angel. Yeah. That's who I think of, at least.
[End of Video]
She was so close. I wanted her to get it until the very end. She called him a guardian angel.
For years, when I was much younger, I would have answered probably similar to some of those answers. Then everything changed. I'd love to tell you how. I was born in Houston, and we moved to Richardson when I was about 4, because my dad had died suddenly when I was 8 months old. We moved to Richardson, and I was raised there by a hard-working, loving, single mom, who provided for my sister and me.
I look back at my childhood, and it was fantastic. I have so much to be thankful for. As I got into my teen years I really began to struggle, as a lot of kids do around those years. I was asking questions like, "Who am I? What's my purpose? What's it mean to be a man?" I was a decent athlete and looked to athletic success for affirmation. I loved the praise of coaches.
Also in those years, I began to look to girls for affirmation, so I went down a road of impure relationships and pornography. I was an eighth grader at North Junior High when some friends invited me to come to their youth group at a local church there in Richardson. I went and it was there I began to learn more about who Jesus is.
The time period I'm talking about was about age 14 to 15. Really to be authentic with you, I want to bring you into that time period of my life, so I brought an awkward junior high picture to share with you. There you see a Vikings football game day. North Junior High Vikings Football game day. I don't know if it was the skinny tie or possibly the green jorts with no belt, notice, or it may have been the Jesus sandals that really brought this ensemble together. There is no doubt I walked out that morning thinking, "Man, I look good."
By God's grace over the next year, I continued to learn more about who Jesus is. I went to a camp that summer. I heard a speaker named Voddie Baucham. Voddie is a giant man, former football player. He challenged us to memorize John 1:1-18. He looked at us, and he said, "It'll change your life." I honestly don't remember anything else he talked about.
I took him up on his challenge. I memorized verses 1-18. It starts like this, John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Verse 14 goes on to say, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
I thought, "Whoa." Here is an eyewitness named John who wrote down that he saw the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ, and he was full of grace and truth. That was startling to me. I kept reading in John, and I saw Jesus forgave sins, calmed storms, raised people from the dead, and made this really exclusive claim when he said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
I kept reading. I saw Jesus paid for sins on a cross. My sins. I saw he was buried, and he rose on the third day. I started to get a right and biblical view of who Jesus is. I saw verses like Hebrews 1:3, which says, "… [Jesus] upholds the universe by the word of his power." That was amazing to me. I saw Jesus as this mighty, powerful God, and I began to see me as this small, young man.
I saw in the Scriptures Jesus was this holy and righteous and perfect man. I saw the depth of my own sin. I cried out for a Savior. I was desperately in need of a Savior. I cried out to him, and at 16 as a sophomore at Pierce High School down the road, I trusted Christ, and I went all in. I began to read my Bible, so I grew pretty quickly.
I dove into relationships with other believers. Listened to every Tommy Nelson cassette tape I could get my hands on. My relationships changed. I sought purity in them. I sought peace in them. I didn't date anymore. I didn't date again until I was 20 and I met my wife. I found freedom in not having to feel like I needed to achieve the love of a father, which I was so desperate for.
I could rest that Jesus had achieved and accomplished for me on the cross what I could never accomplish on my own. In short, I changed. I changed because my answer to the question, "Who is Jesus?" changed. I start with telling you my story because what initiated change in my life was having a right understanding of who Jesus is and his great love for me.
It's the same model we see throughout the New Testament. Change comes from a right understanding of who Jesus is, and responding by faith, we surrender our heart and our will to him. Today we're going to answer the question…Who is Jesus? Hear why your answer to this question matters.
This message is really important, especially for two groups of people. The first group is the indifferent. It's those who claim to know him and follow him, but Jesus really has little to no impact on your life. The second group is the uninformed. It's those who think Jesus was a good guy, a great teacher, a moral thinker, a religious example of some sort, anything other than God and Savior of the world. If that's you, this message is important. For both groups, answering this question wrong will prevent you from any hope of peace, purpose, and freedom in this life.
If you're a member at Watermark, you have agreed that you believe certain things to be true about Jesus. It's pretty amazing if you think about it. There are over 8,000 members here, all of whom have agreed to certain beliefs that are true about Jesus. I want to remind us what those are. We have a doctrine statement and a membership covenant to make sure we continue to believe what the Bible says is true about Jesus.
I want to warn you at the top. It's a little wordy, a little hard to get through, but words matter. Don't let me lose you here. These exact words matter. The Equipping team here and the elders have spent a lot of time on words, because we want to make sure they're exactly what Scripture tells us about Jesus. There are over 15 Scripture references here. Read it with me.
"We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God." That's a big deal, folks. Jesus has two natures. He is fully God and fully man, not half and half. "He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God, fulfill prophecy, and redeem sinful man." That was his mission. He was on a rescue mission to redeem us.
"We believe He accomplished our redemption through his substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, burial…" Which proved his death. "…and bodily resurrection. We believe our redemption and salvation are guaranteed by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead…." Because as 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, Paul said if Jesus didn't raise from the dead, we are still in our sins and our faith is useless. "…and that He is the only means of salvation." John 14:6
"We believe that Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, and the Head of the church. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is now in heaven, exalted to the right hand of God where, as High Priest to His people, He serves as our Advocate and intercedes for us." Amen.
One of the most beautifully written passages about Jesus is found in Colossians 1:15-19. It's referenced there at the end. I hold that one next to John 1 and Philippians 2 as just amazing passages about who Jesus is. Did you hear what it said? It said, "He is the visible image of the invisible God." Verse 19 says, "…in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…"
Do you ever wonder what God is like? I mean, we sometimes wonder that, just in a big, macro picture. What is God like? We, I think, can err towards unbiblical, wrong thinking that he is this big, impersonal force out there, and we can't know him. As believers in Jesus, we know that's not true. We know God is a knowable God, a personable God, and he chose to be known by the Word coming to the earth, taking on the form of a servant, and being hung on a cross.
He chose to make himself known to us in that way. That is our God. If we want to know what God is like, we just look at Jesus in the Scriptures. It's amazing. That's who Jesus is. While he was on earth, he was telling people who he was, but he was also showing people. It's in the showing where we really see the power.
Jesus proved who he was ultimately in his resurrection. That was the final stamp, where he said, "I am who I am" when he defeated the grave and sin and Satan. He also proves who he is today by changing people's lives. Jesus is alive today, and he is still doing the same thing he has always done. Today, I want us to look at a few different sections of Ephesians, chapter 4. We're going to see three ways Jesus still proves who he is.
Just to give you a quick background on Ephesians, Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus. In the first half of it, he is almost entirely focused on making sure this church had right belief about Jesus and salvation. We're going to talk about salvation a lot in a couple of weeks. He wanted them to know and make sure they believed accurately about Jesus and the gospel.
Halfway through the letter, he changes. He focuses on right living, how to live it out. If we say we believe these things about Jesus, what's it supposed to look like in our life? We start with orthodoxy, chapters 1 through 3, and we move to orthopraxy, living it out, faithful obedience in chapters 4 through 6.
The point of this really, is that Jesus has real implications. It's not just belief. "I believe in him." It's "I believe in him, and that changes me. That changes how I live. That changes my priorities and my perspective." It has real implications. We're going to see Jesus proves who he is by changing relationships, by giving people purpose, and making people new. That's where we're headed.
Let's read Ephesians 4:1-6. It says, "I therefore.…" That therefore clues us in he is tying the first half of his letter to this next half. "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit — *just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call* — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." I find that really interesting. The first implication of Jesus in our life that Paul discusses is relationships.
1._ Jesus changes our relationships._ Look at our culture today. Nobody can get along with anybody. You look at the news, you look at social media, you look at politics, look at your own community, look at your family. It's hard to get along. There is a lot of strife. There is a lot of discord. Jesus is still proving who he is, because he has been bringing people together in the church for 2,000 years.
Odds are, you've experienced relationship strife and wanted to see relationships change in your life. I know I have. I'll bet if you mapped out your life, your highs and your lows would have less to do with circumstances and more to do with the quality of your relationships, because they matter.
Without question, my marriage is where I have the most opportunity to live out what I believe about Jesus. Every day, I get lots of opportunities to live out my faith, what I believe about Jesus. It's because Morgan knows me the best, I spend the most time with her, so there are lots of opportunities to try to walk in a manner of humility and gentleness and patience and bearing with one another in love and maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
It doesn't always go as planned. Not too long ago, my wife and I had a great date night planned. We were going to go down to downtown Dallas, see a musical, and then drive over to Arlington, spend the night in a hotel, and go to a conference the next day. We have five little kids, so events like that are major on our calendar. We can't wait for that event that comes up.
We were driving down to downtown Dallas, went to the musical, got out about 10 o'clock. It was awesome. We start heading west on 30 to get to Arlington. It's dark outside, and it is now pouring, a massive Texas thunderstorm. One of those storms that I just love. I'm kind of a nut, I love storms. I love watching them. I think they're amazing, they're powerful. I just don't mind driving in them, even when there is zero visibility in front of my car. I'm like, "I got this. We're good."
That doesn't bless my wife. In fact, I know about her that she gets anxious in storms. Particularly if we're driving in storms, her anxiousness starts to go up a notch. In the humility and gentleness, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit, I put her interests entirely first in this situation. No, that's not what I did. I'm lying. I wanted to get to the hotel.
We just kept heading, driving maybe 10 to 15 miles an hour, just inching along in the storm. As we're going, the tension is starting to go up a little bit in the car. I'm feeling it. She has let me know very kindly and sweetly that I'm not leading really well in this situation with requests like, "Babe, do you think we could just pull over for a little bit?" I wasn't listening. I was focused on my desires, doing what I wanted to do, and not having a regard for my wife's desires or the fact she was struggling a little bit.
Here is the amazing part, you won't believe what happened next. Fifteen minutes goes by. I pull over. I exit the highway. I park in a little parking lot, and then I just owned it. The reason why that's amazing is because that's not how I learned to handle conflict. That wasn't Brian Buchek. That was Jesus. In that moment, when I just owned it, after being a selfish jerk for a good 15 minutes, wanting what I wanted, the Spirit of Christ finally got ahold of my heart and I listened.
I pulled over, and I just said, "Babe, I'm sorry. I have been completely putting my desires ahead of yours. Please forgive me." I owned it. The hero of that story is not me, trust me. That is entirely Jesus who would enable me to be able to do that. The first and most visible fruit that you know the answer to "Who is Jesus?" will be seen in your relationships. Nothing changes until we all realize that we're sinners and we contribute to our dysfunction.
We contribute to dysfunction in our relationships. This is why when people want to meet with pastors or staff or elders here, we hardly ever meet with somebody alone. We ask them to bring somebody with them, their spouse or a friend, somebody from their circle. If they're a member, we ask them to bring somebody from their Community Group or even better, all of their Community Group, because we know it will give us a lot of clarity about what they believe about Jesus, about their walk with Jesus, by hearing from other people in their life how they're doing at treating those people. It tells us a lot.
John 13:35 says, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Do you feel like there is dysfunction in any of your relationships? Paul is telling us right here the answer to "Who is Jesus?" matters to your relationships. The fact is, we can all try and be nice for a little while. We can do that, but it doesn't last. It might last a couple of weeks, but it's not going to last forever.
What I'm talking about here, what Scripture is talking about, is lasting change in your ability to relate to people with humility and peace and to bear with them in love. That only comes from Jesus. Because only Jesus has the power to bring lasting change. Think about what Jesus said in Matthew 28. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
Jesus is not only the one who upholds the universe by the word of his power, but he has all authority in heaven and on earth. Of course, he can bring lasting change into your relationships, into your ability to be healthy in your relationships. That's one way Jesus still proves who he is. Another way is he gives us purpose.
2._ Jesus gives us purpose._ Let's look at verses 11-15. It says, "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head…"
Everyone is looking for purpose, folks. Everybody is. I promise you. One of the big conversations happening right now in East Texas at Launch is around purpose. Jesus didn't waste his life; he spent it. He gave it away for others sacrificially in the most ultimate way. Because he did that, we now have the opportunity to not waste our life. Hear me, church. Don't waste your life on fleeting things. We are like a flower of the field that is here today and gone tomorrow. Our life goes fast.
I love how Francis Chan said this. He said, "Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." That's convicting. The elders here, we have a continual prayer and a concern for our church. It's that we would be succeeding too much in life here in Dallas, Texas, at things that don't really matter.
Look at what verse 12 says. It says, "If you're a saint, a believer in Jesus, a follower of Jesus, then your life is to be about the work of ministry and to building up the church." Some of you just thought to yourself, "That doesn't sound fun. Don't want to hang around church too much. Don't want to work at a church." That's not what we're saying. I'm saying be the church. We talk about it all the time here. Be the church. That's your purpose.
We have opportunity to be the church all the time. Whether you are changing diapers or driving kids around or enjoying a vacation or making a sale or running a business or playing with your kids, you have the opportunity to be the church and fulfill your ultimate purpose. That should be really freeing. It should free us from having to continue to ask, "Okay. What's my purpose? What's the purpose for my life?" Purpose is found when you realize it's giving your life away. It's doing what Jesus did.
This means you have incredible purpose, even if you feel like you've wrecked your life, that you've driven it in the ditch or if you just feel like you're stuck in the mundane. No one is beyond purpose because no one is beyond the love and grace of Jesus. He is full of grace and truth. No one is beyond it.
Giving your life away for Jesus is the adventure we were made for, church. That's the adventure. Second Corinthians 5:14 says it this way, "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."
Did you hear it? There is a purpose statement in there. It says, "…that those who live might no longer live for themselves but [for Jesus] for him who for their sake died and was raised." That's the priesthood of believers. If you know Jesus, you are a pastor, you are a minister. We're all ambassadors for Christ and given the ministry of reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5 talks about.
We all have a constant opportunity to be at work of the ministry, to partake in the ministry of reconciliation. Do you know what that is? The work of the ministry, the ministry of reconciliation, it's just telling people and showing people how they can be reconciled to God through Jesus. It's helping them be reconciled with other people in their life. That's the work of the ministry. That's the ministry of reconciliation.
The truth is, gang, for the first half of my marriage, even though I was a believer, I was really focused on me. I wanted to live where I wanted to live. I wanted to work the kind of job I wanted to work. I wanted to play and recreate the way I wanted to with not a whole lot of regard for my wife and putting her desires and needs, wishes ahead of mine. Certainly with not a whole lot of regard for my King.
It was pretty unfulfilling, really unfulfilling. Because I was mostly living for me. Then something changed. We got here. We came to Watermark, and we kind of entered this second half of our marriage, these last nine years. I got a picture of the priesthood of believers, that "Oh, okay. I'm a believer in Jesus so I should be about the work of the ministry." Todd talks about it all the time.
My purpose is to be the church, so I started to view myself as a pastor in whatever situation I was in, whether with my family or at work or actually up here meeting with folks. It was revolutionary for me. You know what I also realized? I realized my best opportunity to give my life away was right there in my own home with Morgan and now our five kids.
We say often up here if you're married and have a family you don't have a ministry if you don't have a ministry at home. We mean it. We don't want people giving their life away to ministry up here and not tending to their little flock at home. That is the primary ministry. If you're not married and you don't have kids, then be about making disciples. It's the same thing.
Be about making disciples. Set an example for the rest of us in how you prioritize that. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of singles who are getting after it, making disciples in this church. We're so grateful. I want to restate. Our central purpose is enjoying God and making him known.
First Peter 2:9, the royal priesthood, tells us we are "…a royal priesthood…that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." That we would be faithful in proclaiming Jesus. Jesus proves who he is by changing our relationships and by giving us purpose.
3._ Jesus makes us new._ Look at verses 17 through 24 with me. "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
But that is not the way you learn Christ!** — ***assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."*
We have a picture here that Jesus doesn't make you different. He doesn't give you a makeover; he makes you new. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." It's the only way to describe the depth of change when somebody encounters Jesus deeply. Jesus makes them new. He and he alone can do that.
One of the best illustrations of someone being made new is my friend, Greg Crooks. Some of you may know Greg. Greg is our executive pastor here. I knew Greg when he was just Little Greggie. I think I met Greg when I was 20, and I had just met my wife. My wife's family and Greg's family, the Crooks, were really close friends. I think Greg was about 15 at the time. We spent a lot of time together at holidays and other meals and just things we did together as families.
I figured out pretty quick, getting to know Greg, that Greg was a punk, to say it nicely. Not all that different than I was when I was 15, but he was a punk. I asked him, for this message, I said, "Hey. Describe yourself. Give me a few words." He just shared his story up here before, but he said, "Lost. Prideful. Mean. Angry. Self-absorbed. Passive." That's who he was. That's who I knew him to be at that time.
I was at college at the time and kind of lost touch with Greg for a few years. Then Greg went to college and we reconnected. My wife, Morgan, and I spend some time with Greg, and we are blown away by the new Greg. We're like, "Who is this guy? Where did he come from?" He is now this caring, thoughtful, joyful, humble, self-disciplined, patient, wonderful guy.
He was new, and the reason why he was new was because his answer to "Who is Jesus?" changed. See, while he was at SMU, some friends there introduced him to Jesus. He trusted Christ, and he began hanging out with a group of people who were out of a high school called Lake Highlands who were calling themselves Watermark. He was over there in the early days.
My wife and I were like, "Okay. We haven't seen that type of newness, that type of crazy change very often." We've been around church for a while. We thought, "Let's go check it out. Let's go hang out with the people he is hanging out with. Let's go hear what he is hearing and experience what he is experiencing, because something's different here."
That's one of the primary reasons we came to Watermark back in 2004. We saw our friend, Greg, become new. It's happening all the time around here. It may be the very reason why you came. I hope it is. Well, there is a battle that begins for us as believers. We're made new in Christ, but then we also must learn to walk in our new life, to wear our new clothes.
Greg wasn't perfect, he still had to learn how to wear his new clothes and how to be faithful and obedient. He still is. All of us are who are believers. We don't figure this thing out perfectly in this life. There is a battle here, a struggle. The reality is, Greg will be the first to tell you, Jesus is the hero of his story, both then and now. He continues to make Greg new, to allow Greg to walk in the new life he has given him.
Same story for me and for many of you. Verses 17 and 18 here tell us, "Non-believers have futile thinking and they're darkened in their understanding." Second Corinthians 4:4 says, "…the god of this world [the Devil] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of [Jesus] …"
The battle for change starts in our minds. It's a battle for what we believe. What we believe about Jesus matters, how we think. Then this battle for change moves to our will, and we have to surrender daily. It's not a one time, but we have to surrender daily, even moment by moment. Romans 12:2 says, "…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." By the truth we're absorbing.
Look at verses 22 through 24 with me. "…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God…" Who is Jesus. Paul uses some very specific language here. He is talking about crucifying your flesh. He is very clear.
In Colossians 3:5, he says it this way, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…" Galatians 2:20, he says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." He is getting that language specifically from Jesus, because what did Jesus say in Luke 9:23? He said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
That's the call to follow Jesus and to walk in our new life. It's a call to deny ourselves and to crucify our flesh. We don't reform our flesh, we don't teach behavior modification here, like Todd talked about last week. We have to crucify our flesh continually, over and over and over, until the day we die.
Because Jesus is the one who upholds the universe by the Word of his power and he has all authority in heaven and on earth, he can make you new. He can give you the power to walk in the new life Paul is talking about here. We have everything we need for life and godliness in Jesus. Jesus proves who he is by changing our relationships, by giving us purpose, and by making us new.
Let me close with this. Have you ever noticed how many products out there promise to change your life? It's amazing. They're everywhere. Here are a couple of examples. Think back to 2007, and Steve Jobs stood on a stage and he said, "Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything." He was talking about the iPhone, of course. I'll give him credit. The iPhone changed a lot, but it didn't change everything.
SMU uses the tag line, "World Changers Shaped Here." Maple Leaf Foods went in a little bit different direction. They said, "Change your life with bacon." That might be true, actually. We hear these words life-changing and our ears perk up, because we all want our life to change. We can't help but be interested and pay attention.
What I find interesting is we all keep being drawn back over and over, continuing to fall for this lie that's out there, put out there by the advertisers and the marketing geniuses who promise us life change that never works. It's why we're on the iPhone X, because the first nine didn't work. It didn't change everything.
The only hope of lasting change, my friends, is Jesus. If you don't hear anything else today, I want you to hear that Jesus is God, he has the power and authority to bring you lasting change, and he and he alone can do it. If you know Jesus and you're feeling stuck, like you're just not changing, you're changing at the rate you wish you were, let me just encourage you.
Don't give up. Don't grow weary. Be steadfast. Stay in the Word. Spend time with your community. Be authentic with them. Tell them where you're at. Tell them what you want to change, what you need Jesus to change in your life. Ask them for wisdom and counsel about, "What is the one next faithful step I can take to be obedient to Jesus?"
To the indifferent crowd I mentioned at the beginning of the message, let me encourage you to not be content with your life not changing. Today is your day to start living in all the freedom and joy Jesus wants for you. To the uninformed, I want to tell you, don't be deceived that Jesus was just a good teacher or a moral man. Today is your day to trust him as God and Savior.
Let me end with this quote from C.S. Lewis. He says, "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.
Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." Let's pray.
Father, we thank you that you love us so much that you wanted to be known, that you made yourself known to us in the person of Jesus, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and didn't just dwell among us, but gave himself for us. We know and believe the name of Jesus is exalted above every other name.
In the future, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess the name of Jesus. My heart, my prayer for my friends today, is that we would not be content with confessing Jesus someday in the future when we are forced to but that our hearts would bow before him today. Lord Jesus, be King of our hearts and help our unbelief. In your name we pray, amen.