CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES

Psalm 14:1 "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God"

All articles are written in the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Jesus Christ, The Most Outstanding Man

 

Introduction: In our past lessons we have studied reasons for believing in God and reasons for believing the Bible to be the inspired word of God. In our last lesson we entered into the third section or our studies, which is evidence that Jesus is the Christ.

This is the thing which makes Christianity different from other religions of the world. Both the Jews and the Mohammedans believe in God and in the Old Testament. However, neither of them believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This is a distinct point in Christianity. We as Christians (those that pertain to Christ) must be able to defend what we believe. It is this need that provides the importance for these lessons in the divinity of Christ.

The life of Christ is pictured for us in the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John . From these four records we have pictured for us a most unusual and outstanding person. He is so different from the average person that He demands our attention. In fact, He is so different that it is impossible for the writers to invent such a character. This lesson deals with some of the ways in which Jesus Christ was different from others.

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 I. The Character of Jesus Was Different From That of Others.

While others were sinners and confessed that they were such, He never confessed a sin and challenged His enemies to convict Him of Sin.

Paul confessed himself to be the ‘chief of sinners' ( I Timothy 1:15 ). Peter said he was a sinful man and requested that the Lord depart from him ( Luke 5:8 ).

However, note the words of Jesus:

John 8:46 “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?”

The only charges ever brought against Christ were that He loved sinners, that He healed on the Sabbath day, and that He claimed to be King. These three charges were true, yet none of them were sins. It was not a sin to love sinners (only to participate in their evil deeds), or to heal on the Sabbath day, and His claim to be King was not in competition with the rulers of that time, for He was speaking of a spiritual kingdom instead of an earthly kingdom ( John 18:36 ).

In addition, note the words of His chosen (who were admitted sinners):

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

1 Peter 2:22-24 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth";

23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed.”

 

 II. The Claims of Jesus Christ makes Him Different from others .

During His earthly ministry, Jesus made several unusual claims:

•  He claimed equality with God and that He and the Father were one.

•  He accepted worship from men, yet taught that only God should be worshipped. Thus He was one with God or else a liar and a blasphemer.

•  He claimed to be without sin and challenged His enemies to convict Him.

•  He claimed to be the only true way to the Father.

•  Finally. He claimed that His blood should seal His teaching and save men from their sins.

In making these claims, Jesus was either the Son of God or a fanatic and a deceiver, of which there were many in His day, note:

Acts 5:34-39 “Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: "Men of Israel , take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it--lest you even be found to fight against God."

If Jesus was another of these false teachers then Gamaliel's advice was sound and nothing would have come of it. However, since Christ was the Son of God, He could not be overthrown and has lasted the test of time and evidence. Thus His claims, although outstanding and unusual, were true!

 

 III. Jesus' Thoughts made Him Different from Other Men.

His way of thinking was different from others. This is clearly seen when we compare the thoughts of Jesus with those of the Apostles.

•  Concerning the kingdom, Jesus thought of something spiritual, while they expected a kingdom on earth.

•  When Jesus once spoke of the leaven of false teachers, the Apostles did not think of teachings, but of bread ( Matthew 16:5-12 ).

•  Jesus was most unusual when He taught lessons on suffering, sacrifice, and self-denial ( Matthew 16:21-28 ; John 18:10-11 ).

Men do not usually look on these things as Jesus did. Compare for instance, His thoughts on forgiveness with that of Peter ( Matthew 18:21 -22 ). His different nature of thought is best described by the pattern of love that He displayed, note:

Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In His thinking, Jesus did not seek the same end that most great thinkers have sought. The philosopher seeks to explain the universe and its workings. The scientist seeks to study atoms, germs, etc; many theologians seek a religion which answers the origin of evil and other unanswered questions. But Jesus did not think in these ways. He raises no questions, seeks no explanations of things. He did not try to explain such things as God and sin. He merely taught the nature of God, never His origin.

 

 IV. Jesus' Method of Teaching makes Him Different from other Men.

The following are some ways in which His teachings were different:

•  He taught as one having authority.

•  He knew what He said was true without trying to prove it by some outside source.

•  He could teach this way because He knew His subject, He knew men, and He knew God.

These are three things every preacher and Bible teacher must strive to know. There was never a doubt in what Jesus taught. He never said, ‘I think this is right', or ‘this might be true'. He taught without a doubt. His teaching was full. Who could give anything to improve on the Sermon on the Mount? What new moral principle can men add to what Jesus taught? He was complete in His teaching. The teaching of Jesus has a power upon the conscience exerted by no other teacher of any age. Jesus lived what He taught; His teachings are explained by His life and death.

 

 V. Jesus' Attitude Toward Sin and the Circumstances of Men make Him Different from other Men.

Jesus saw the root of all the ills of man in sin and recognized His mission as that of saving men from sin ( Luke 19:10 ). He had a method of remedying the evil of men which was peculiar to Him. Instead of changing the circumstances and surroundings of men so they would not sin, Jesus sought to change men's hearts. Jesus tried to better men, not just conditions. He was more concerned with the character than with the surroundings in which man lived. He wanted men to live right regardless of their circumstances.

 

 VI. The Conquest of Jesus was World-Wide, for All Time, not Local or Temporary.

He tried to change the human family of the entire world and for all time. He was not interested merely in the present, but for all future time as well.

He saw clearly the enormity of sin; He perceived perfectly the greatness of His task, for He knew that He must die. However, He approached it with calm dignity and assurance. We read: John 12:32-33 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”

He understood that He must die for all men of all time.

 

 VII. The Planning of Jesus for the Accomplishment of such a Task as Saving the World was Wholly Different from Plans of Men.

Jesus repudiated the methods of men!

Jesus did not use mere force. His symbol is not a sword but a cross ( Matthew 26:51-52 ). He rebuked the disciples for suggesting force ( Luke 9:51 -56 ). It was love He sought, and love dies under the use of force. Jesus did not use money to accomplish His end. Man and Satan may bribe, but Jesus repudiates and condemns such methods. Money cannot be used for selfish ends without its possessor being a fool for the attempt ( Luke 12:13 -22 ). Jesus did not use diplomacy for His method, which is the art of playing ones selfishness against another's. Jesus said that truth must conquer ( John 8:31 -32 ; John 17:17 ). Jesus never appealed to selfish interests, but demanded complete surrender to Himself ( Matthew 16:21 -26 ).

Jesus only promised His disciples that they should have what was good for them ( Matthew 6:33 ), however, that it should include persecutions ( Mark 10:30 ). He would promise them no more in this world than He Himself has possessed ( Matthew 8:18 -19 ; John 13:16 ; Luke 6:26 ; 12:4-5 ).

 

 VIII. Jesus Taught of a Kingdom that should Never Perish, but He took the Way of Perishing to Establish It.

Here Jesus was different from men. Many times He spoke of dying, but never of a successor to take His place. His kingdom only lives through those who obey and follow Him.

 

 IX. Jesus Christ is Outstanding because of the Influence He has had and is having over the Entire World.

Our method of counting years and time has changed since Jesus came, for years have now been counted as either before (BC) or after (AD) His birth.

No other form of moral sustenance has done more to shape the history of men and governments than His teachings.

We must conclude that a man who was so outstanding in His life and whose influence has been so powerful from that time till now must have been the Son of God.

Consider: Such an End! Such a Plan! Such a Person!

Surely we must say along with Peter, that, ‘ He is the Son of God ' ( Matthew 16:16 ).

 

Next: “The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus