Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] It is key to eternal life to know God the Father and Jesus Christ.
You don’t know Jesus. Now if someone were to say that to you you’d probably be thinking well they must be talking to some unbeliever. They must be talking to some doubter, some skeptic, some pagan or something like, couldn’t be talking to me that I don’t know Jesus.
Well think about that for a minute. I mean few would dispute the fact that a man named Jesus lived 2000 years ago, that He was a great teacher, He impacted the world. But think about the time that He lived. Did they understand His mission, His teachings? The leaders of that day misunderstood Jesus Christ, they didn’t get it. They heard Him but they really didn’t understand. And so what happened over the centuries? People followed what they thought was Jesus but in actuality they didn’t. So we fast forward to today. Is it any different? Are people following the real Jesus? I think the fact is no, no. You have to know the real Jesus. We have to have that understanding because it is basic, it is key. And understanding what the Bible says, what He really taught, what He really did, what did He stand for, what was He really like, that is absolutely key to our eternal life, to life itself.
And in fact Christ Himself said this. John 17:3 notice what Christ says. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” So it’s key. It is key to eternal life to know God the Father and Jesus Christ. And so you have to understand that and so let’s take a couple of moments to think about that and recognize 2 things that you don’t know about Jesus.
Now maybe it’ll surprise you but as you begin to think about that Jesus Christ is God in the Old Testament. Now so many people don’t recognize that fact and they are amazed to find out that that Being who interacted with Israel is the one who actually became Jesus Christ. They didn’t interact with the Trinity, they didn’t interact with God the Father, they interacted with the one who became Jesus Christ.
Now that may be surprising but when you begin to think about Old Testament and New Testament often times people divide things up. You probably know people that say well that God in the Old Testament I’m glad He’s not the one I have to deal with today because He was mean and He was angry and He was judgmental and harsh but loving Jesus is sweet and kind and merciful.
But if you read your Bible it says in Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Forever. And there is so much evidence throughout the Bible that points to that very fact. In fact there is a beautiful passage from the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote to the Corinthians and as he wrote to them in 1 Corinthians 10 the very beginning of that chapter he says something remarkable. He’s talking about the Israelites coming out of Egypt and here’s what he notes. He says those Israelites “were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,” of course we remember the story, the Israelites going through the Red Sea, kind of a baptism. And then he says this, they “all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
He makes it very clear that Rock that was with Israel, that Rock was the one that would become Jesus Christ. He’s the God that the Israelites of the Old Testament knew. He was the one that they that looked to as their hope, their rock, their strength and so you can read a number of passages throughout the Old Testament that point to that. There is a beautiful Psalm that says “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.”
In fact I brought along a little illustration today to make that very point. It’s a stack of rocks so this isn’t some crystal ball or some crazy thing like that. But this stack of rocks is supposed to help us recognize that Christ is our Rock. He was the Rock that followed Israel. And we don’t want to get into this idea that there is one harsh God of the Old Testament and then some kind of sweet loving God in the new.
Maybe just to test your Bible knowledge let’s take a little quiz, a little quiz today to think about passages that are in the Bible. Now, is this passage from the Old Testament or is it from the New Testament? Was this the God in the Old Testament that said this or was this Jesus in the New Testament?
Alright here’s the first one. “But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.” Old Testament? New Testament? That’s Luke 19:27. Jesus Christ said that in the New Testament.
Here’s another one. “The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Old Testament? New Testament? Matthew 24:50-51. Jesus Christ Himself said those words.
How about this one. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.” That’s Old Testament. That’s the Psalms. Psalms 145:8
One last one. “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Well that’s all the way back in the second book of the Bible. Back in Exodus 34.
And there’s no doubt when you compare these passages the God in the Old Testament that became Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ Himself in the New said those very things bringing forth the fact that Hebrews 13:8 is absolutely correct. It tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Forever.
In fact if we go back to our little illustration we have the rock. You know Jesus Christ is our Rock and He is constant, He was sure. And yet our world is kind of like this snow globe. There’s always things like this snow that are changing. People change, seasons change, technology changes so fast you can’t even keep up with it. And nothing ever seems to stay the same.
And yet when things are swirling around us in our life and we don’t know what to believe, we don’t know where to turn, we don’t know what to think, Jesus Christ remains the same. God’s plan, His purpose, the truth it remains the same no matter what and we can count on it. Because God is constant, He is steadfast, He doesn’t fluctuate even though the storms may circulate. God is consistent and Jesus Christ absolutely is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is that God that interacted with the Israel in the Old Testament.
Now that may be a new concept, that may be a difficult thing to grasp, get your mind around a little bit. And that’s one of the reasons that we produced this study aid “Jesus Christ – the Real Story.” Because there is so much to take in and I’ve really got to step back at times and recognize that you know I don’t know everything about the Bible. I really don’t know everything about Jesus Christ so now’s the time to go deeper. Get this study aid. You can go to beyondtoday.tv, you can call us at the number on your screen and by doing that we’ll send you this booklet so that you can study deeper, go to another level, and really expand your understanding about what the truth of the Bible is really all about.
In fact there’s another powerful example in the Bible. In the book of John there’s a number of times that really brings this point home. How God interacted with Israel and then later became Jesus Christ. The Apostle John records that for us right in the very beginning of his gospel. So in John 1 he says something that is powerful and really amazing when you really look at what he says and what he records for us. Here’s what he says in John 1:18. He says very clearly “No one has seen God at any time.” No one has seen God at any time? Well what do you mean? Well as we see what he says, “The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
In other words Jesus Christ who was with the Father came as a human being, God in the flesh, Emmanuel and revealed the Father, declared the Father, made the Father known. And so here we have this little bit of a conundrum then. Well if the Father was the one in the Old Testament talking to Israel and interacting with them why would Christ have to come and reveal Him? Or declare Him or make Him known? That wouldn’t make sense, would it?
And so that message is clear and in fact just a couple of chapters over in chapter 6, in John chapter 6 verse 48 Jesus Christ Himself says the same thing. He says, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.” So here we see Jesus Christ Himself bearing that out very clearly and as when we recognize what He says He leaves no doubt, He left no doubt in people’s minds of that day as well.
There is a remarkable story in the next chapter, two chapters over, John 8 verse 46. Here Jesus is talking to the Jews of that day and He says something very powerful in verse 56. He says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Now that was kind of confusing to the people that were listening to Him and so what did they say? They said to Christ, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” That didn’t make sense to them. Well how did Christ respond? Christ “said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” I AM. He was saying He was the I AM that was with Israel. He was the Eternal. He was God that interacted with Israel and there was no doubt in the people’s minds of that day because what would their reaction have been? If they didn’t understand what He was talking about it would have went right over their head and they would have been oblivious to it but that’s not the reaction. Notice what they did. When He said He was the I AM “they took up stones to throw at Him.” They were going to stone Jesus Christ because they thought it was blasphemy but Christ was making it very obvious that He was the One. He was the One.
Who talked to Abraham? The One who became Jesus Christ. Who was the one that wrestled with Jacob? The One who became Jesus Christ. Who spoke to Moses? Who was the One that was in the burning bush? Who was the God that caused the plagues to come upon Egypt? Who was the One that led the Israelites through the desert? Who was the Lawgiver, the One who gave the commands to Moses? Well as astonishing as it may seem it’s the One who became Jesus Christ.
So do you really know the real Jesus? There was an interesting study that was conducted just a few months ago. Really caught my eye because it said a couple of things that were very interesting. It was a study that was conducted by Life Way Research and they were talking to religious people and their survey found two things that really caught my eye. One of them was that they found that there were quite a number of Christians who they surveyed that they said didn’t fully understand what they think they believe. Just the way that was worded really caught my eye. Do I really understand what I think I believe? That’s what they said. In fact another important thing they found was they found that most evangelicals, in their words are, they’re confused about the person of Jesus Christ. And that just burned in my mind thinking do we really know Jesus Christ? Do we really understand our Bible? Because if we do when we look from Genesis all the way to Revelation, Old Testament to New Testament, that Old Testament God who dealt with Israel is the one who would become Jesus Christ and He is shown to be a God of love, a God of mercy, a God of caring and patience and both in the Old Testament and the New Testament it reveals that. And it also reveals a God that doesn’t put up with sin, a God that hates sin and so we see both sides represented in both Testaments. So to think that the Old Testament is one God and the New Testament depicts some other God is, it’s really ridiculous. Because our God is consistent, our God is a Rock, and so if we think we know what we believe maybe it’s time to rethink things a little bit and really recognize what the Bible says because that survey said most are confused about the person of Jesus Christ.
Now that brings us to a second thing that you don’t know about Jesus. That’s Jesus’ true message. Now when you think about it well what did Jesus preach? What did He teach? I mean most of us would say immediately well the gospel. It was the gospel. Okay how do you define the gospel? What is it? Well oftentimes people say it’s the good news because literally that word gospel means good news. Okay good news about what? Well often times the answer would be pretty straight forward that well it’s the good news about Jesus Christ, about His life, His birth, His ministry, His death, the fact that I can be saved and I can go to heaven after I die. And it seems to fit in that little package.
Wait a second. Is that what Jesus actually preached? What did He actually teach, what did He say? Well when you look at your Bible and you look at the very beginning of that ministry of Jesus Christ it records it for us and it says something interesting as Jesus Christ begins His ministry.
So here’s God in the flesh, Immanuel, God with us and as He first begins Mark records for us in Mark 1:14. Here’s what it says, “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel” and of course many stop there well better not stop there. If we keep reading He was “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.” The gospel of the kingdom of God. And then it actually records His words. So if you’ve got a red letter Bible these words will be in red. And this is what He said, Jesus’ own words. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
And so what we find, that message that Christ preached was something that we better understand. In fact He says you’d better believe it. You better understand it and believe it because Jesus brought a message of good news about the Kingdom of God.
In fact it didn’t stop there. This was that same message of consistency, something that happened over and over again. Old Testament, New Testament.
So when we look a little bit farther in the book of Luke Jesus went about preaching that same message about the Kingdom of God in every city in every village He preached the Kingdom of God. It says that in Luke 8. In fact a page over Jesus sends out the 12 disciples. What do you think they preached? Same message. Message of the Kingdom of God. In Luke 9 it actually talks about that. Then in that next chapter, Luke 10 Christ sends out 70 others to preach and to teach. Yeah, you guessed it. Same message.
That message was the Kingdom of God. Is that a message that you can explain? If you have your doubts you need clarity.
Our booklet Jesus Christ – the Real Story it can help you understand that message of Jesus Christ. Go to beyondtoday.tv. Call us on the number on your screen. Get this booklet so that you can dig deeper and really understand what that message of Jesus Christ was all about. In fact we need to be able to sum up that message, to really be able to digest it so that we can understand what it was all about.
And if you had to say well this is the message of Christ, what would you say? That special phrase the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of God. The government of God on earth. Bringing sons and daughters into His family, into His Kingdom. You see that’s the message of the Bible. That’s what Jesus Christ preached. That consistency that’s always there. We have a Rock and so whether you look in the New Testament and whether you look in the Old Testament it describes that Kingdom and that message. In fact a very familiar passage to most Christians rings true even though so many people miss it.
There’s a passage in Isaiah. Isaiah 9:6 begins a familiar section of scripture. It says this. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;” of course many people stop there and say oh that’s a Christmas passage. Yeah we read that at Christmas time, right? Well read the rest of the passage here. What is this really talking about? It goes on and says, “And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end.”
You see this isn’t just a little fluff passage of the Bible. This is pointing to the plan of God, His purpose, bringing His Kingdom to earth. And that consistent message of the Bible preaching the Kingdom of God, the return of Jesus Christ to this earth and setting up His Kingdom it certainly reflects that fact that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
And in fact there is a passage in the book of Malachi that says something very similar. It says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” And that message was one that Christ brought that as God of the Old Testament brought that message, even the Apostles after Him, the first century church preached that same message, the Apostle Paul. There’s a beautiful passage in the book of Acts where Paul is defending the gospel. He’s in Rome and in Rome the Apostle Paul speaks to that very fact. In Acts 28 he’s speaking to the people there and it’s interesting the way he describes the truth of God. It says “So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging,” here’s Paul in prison in Rome and under house arrest. He’s preaching the Truth. What does he do? It says “he explained and solemnly testified” — about what? – “of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” In other words he was getting out his Bible and at that time we’re just talking about the Old Testament, from the law, from the first 5 books of the Bible, and the prophets — the prophetic books. And what was he doing? Showing them all about the Kingdom of God and that Kingdom of God was not a church. That Kingdom of God was not something just in my heart. He was pointing out the fact this was a literal Kingdom. A real Kingdom. The Kingdom that Jesus Christ is going to establish on earth and we have that hope that Christ will return and that future Kingdom He will be King and all things will be restored.
And so He preached about that Kingdom, He taught about that Kingdom and the Bible is clear that that Kingdom is coming not only what that Kingdom is but why. Why do you need the Kingdom? You see if you don’t understand why, order this study aid. Beyondtoday.tv or the number on your screen, call it. Get this booklet because it will help you understand the why behind the Kingdom of God. Why does Christ need to return? Why will the Father send Jesus Christ to this earth? All we have to do is look around us and I think we get a pretty good understanding of why.
You know has man done a very good job in ruling this earth, in governing himself? Do we know the way to peace?
You see the Bible teaches us that we can become heirs of that Kingdom and that we can inherit that kingdom and that is so critical for us today that Jesus Christ will return and He’ll be King of that kingdom. And we often sing about that. We hear songs about that. You know that passage at the very end of the Bible in Revelation 11 where the kingdoms of this world will “become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.” That’s a literal real thing that’s going to happen. And God wants to give us eternal life in the Kingdom of God and so we can look forward to that very thing.
We can look forward to the fact that God always remains the same. He is consistent. And we can know when we follow Him and we are in a repentant attitude and we dedicate our lives to following God that we can enter that Kingdom.
When we follow what Christ said, when we repent and we believe the gospel and we change our lives to follow the example of Jesus Christ, He promises us eternal life. He’ll give us eternal life. And if you don’t understand, learn about it. Learn about it. Get out your Bible. Understand what the true message of Jesus Christ was all about. Understand how God the Father wants to give us that Kingdom because our God is a rock, He is constant, He is sure, and we can count on it. So let’s seek first that Kingdom of God and look forward to the return of Jesus Christ.
So if we don’t know, find out about it. Study it. You can know. And when you open your Bible and look to the truth you can understand what God is like and who He really is and we can understand His true message and when we do that we can certainly understand Jesus Christ and understand the real story.
[Narrator] Call now for the free booklet offered on today’s program “Jesus Christ The Real Story.” Many Christians who read through the gospels are surprised to find a different Jesus than the one they were taught. This free study aid will help you understand the life and mission of Jesus Christ. He presented Himself as a way to everlasting life for those who followed Him but He also proclaimed the good news of the coming Kingdom of God right here on earth. Order now. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. “Jesus Christ The Real Story” is a study aid that you won’t want to pass up. You will read the Bible in a whole new way. When you order this free study aid we’ll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to our Beyond Today magazine. The Beyond Today magazine brings you understanding of today’s world and hope for the future. 6 times a year you’ll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family, and godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet “Jesus Christ The Real Story.” We’ll also send you a free one year subscription to the Beyond Today magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv