Recognition of Christ Through the Spirit

Let me start today with a bold statement:

“The Christian faith stands or falls with the confession of Jesus as Son of God.” 

That was an issue in the day of Paul, and it is an issue today.  Who is Jesus? 

There were groups in the first century called Gnostics who believed in the deity (the God-ness) of Christ but not the humanity of Christ. They rejected the idea of God becoming incarnate (God becoming a man), dying and rising bodily. 

There are groups now like Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims who believe in the humanity of Jesus but not the deity.  Even the so called Christian New Zealander Lloyd Geering makes the claim that the remains of Jesus lay somewhere in Palestine and that the resurrection had been wrongfully interpreted by churches as a resuscitation of the body of Jesus. But he also rejects the notion that God is a supernatural being who created and continues to look over the world,   yet he still claims to be a Christian and a spokesman for Christianity.
Remember the statement: “The Christian faith stands or falls with the confession of Jesus as Son of God.” 

The issue remains pivotal to our prospects of eternal life. Who is Jesus?

Both denials – that of only the god-ness of Jesus and that of only the humanity of Jesus - lead to heresy.

Denial of Jesus’ humanity means denying the reality of salvation; for if he had only an apparent body, then he only apparently suffered and we are only apparently saved.  

Denial of Christ’s deity also denies our salvation, because Scripture affirms the deity of Christ and the exclusivity of the way to salvation being through Christ alone.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him. (John 14:6-7) 

Belief in Christ Jesus has to identify both his humanity and his deity.

We cannot find God except in Christ; anyone who tries to find him outside Christ will find the devil.”  

1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 

And I want to go a step further and say: (1 Corinthians 12:3)

… no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. 

Only believers, speaking by the Holy Spirit, can acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. Nonbelievers can only deny His sovereign lordship. 

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 

Matthew Henry spells it out: To own this truth [that Jesus is Lord] before men, and maintain it to the death, and live under the influence of it, could not be done without the sanctification of the Holy Ghost. …No man can confess this truth in the day of trial [except] by the Holy Ghost animating and encouraging him.  

No one could believe this with his heart, nor prove with a miracle that Jesus was Christ, [except] by the Holy Ghost: so that the extraordinary operations and powers among them did all proceed from the Spirit of God.  

We cannot know God unless the Holy Spirit reveals him to us.

That interpreter, that enabler - the Holy Spirit -lives within us. 

In Rom. 8:11 it says: If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you

The Holy Spirit interprets who Jesus is for us. 

In 1 Thessalonians 1:5 , Paul writes:  because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction;

It is because we have received the Holy Spirit that we can understand who Jesus is.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13 says
… no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

Isn’t that amazing?  We can know spiritual things only because the Holy Spirit resides in us and explains God to us.

John even uses this as a test about who actually is a follower of Jesus: (1 John 4:6).

“Those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception” 

Part of the Nicene Creed resolved in 325AD and agreed to by all Christians since that time has this to say about Jesus.  

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

This is the basic belief of Christianity.  Knowing who Christ is is paramount in our faith. 

We need to know God in Jesus Christ and we can only do that if the Holy Spirit reveals him to us.

We can say I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ because of the work of the Holy Spirit in revealing him to us.

 … no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.