Fulfilling God's Purpose
Posted on 12/12/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
I'm 51 yrs. old the Lord delivered me from addiction and a truly bad life style a little over 3 yrs. ago my life is so much better but I feel so alone . when I gave up my past I give everything up the people,place's and things I no longer call any of them my friends . I do go to church but I feel so out of place don't get me wrong the people here are great they are a true blessing but I don't know how to make friends or trust anyone now. I know the Lord wants to use me but I just don't know what to do or how . I love the Lord with all my Heart He gave me my life back and showed me I can be happy with out drugs and all the rest but I am so lonly. I feel like no one care's about me Please Pray for me to be open to what the Lord is doing in my Life. Thank You and God Bless
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
HE IS THE KING OF KINGS
He is the King of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
O, He is the King!
His name is Jesus, Jesus
sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prison door
And He's able to deliver evermore!
BLESS THE LORD
I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
be in my mouth
BLESS THE LORD
Bless the Lord, O my soul
And all that is within me
bless his holy name
God is so good
God is so good
God is so good
He's so good to me
He saved my soul
He saved my soul
He saved my soul
He's so good to me
He is coming soon
He is coming soon
He is coming soon
Bless his holy name
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
Well... In three more weeks, it will be Christmas. I realize there are some Christians who believe it's wrong to celebrate Christmas because of the pagan elements which are present either in its origin or its elements. But if you celebrate anyone else's birthday, then you might do well to celebrate Christ's birthday too. Personally, since I realize we don't know exactly when Jesus was born, Christmas seems like as good a time to celebrate as any.
But all that aside, I would like to bring us into this season in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by turning back the pages of time with you, and considering the who, whence, and why, of the only worthy focus of Christmas.
And the title of today's message is "Little Orphan Boy."
First, I'd like for us to consider some of the strongly held beliefs concerning who and what Jesus is, and what He came to do.
First, let's consider a religious group which started almost 200 years ago, right here in the United States. Their founder's claimed translation of ancient hieroglyphics was called "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." Since the writings upon which they are founded are titled in such a way, as a testimony of Jesus Christ, that seems like a good place to start in our trip backwards through time to see who men say that Jesus is.
Now, what we're about to consider is not necessarily found in their additional Scripture. Most of it came from this same founder, who called himself a prophet, and then on down the line.
First, let's consider who God the Father is. They believe that He has a physical body, and that He was once a man, who attained Godhood.
One of His many spiritual children was Jesus. One of Jesus' brothers was Lucifer. In one of their holy books, the Book of Moses, chapter 4, verses 1 through 3, it states that Jesus became the Savior because he came up with a better plan to get people to worship God than His brother Lucifer did.
And so Jesus was to be born. We know about the virgin birth, the Holy Spirit coming to Mary, and then the baby Jesus being born from Mary, who was still a virgin. But wait...
From one of their holy apostles, in "The Seer," October 1853, page 158, we read this:
"The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated in the capacity of husband and wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father: we use the term lawful wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Savior unlawfully ... He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary IN THE CAPACITY OF A HUSBAND, and beget a Son ... Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. It may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity."
Now, I'm not sure if God the Father divorced Mary, or if He was granting women the right to have more than one husband... but this is consistent with other public statements made by the church's leaders during their short history, so, even though they have backpeddled a bit, history confirms this belief.
According to Abraham 3:9 and 16 in the Pearl of Great Price, God the Father lives today on a planet near the star Kolob with his wives having spiritual children. I don't know about you, but I sure hope He doesn't have any more satans.
Anyway, if you are a good Mormon, you will some day become a god with a planet of your own.
So there's our first answer to the question Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"... And that is that Jesus was an angel, the brother of satan, chosen because He came up with a better plan, and then exalted to Godhood in the same way you and I can become gods as well.
Can we believe that report? Well, let's consider the following statement made in the Mormon publication, "The Doctrine of Salvation, Volume 1" on page 188, which says this: "Mormonism so-called stands or falls on the history of Joseph Smith. For either he was a prophet, with divine calling, name and empowerment, or he was one of the greatest charlatans the world has ever known".
That sounds a bit like Christianity's dependence upon whether Jesus was who He said He was, or whether He was just a charlatan. Let's take a look at one of Joseph Smith's statements which he wrote in "History of the Church, Volume 6", pages 408 and 409. He said,
"I have more to boast of than any other man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter nor Jesus ever did. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6 pp. 408, 409)
I'm glad he ended with the word "yet," for it is a reminder that there is hope for Mormons.
Let's turn back the pages of time just a little further. And as we do, let me stop here for just a moment and comment on why this look at these ideas and beliefs is important. Just as Jesus asked His disciples who men said He was, we can ask ourselves that question today. And at the end of the day, Jesus is asking each and every one of us, "but who do YOU say that I am?" And I pray that, just like Peter did, you leave here today with a fresh revelation from God.
Okay. Let's turn back to almost 1,400 years ago, about 600 years after Jesus rose from the dead; and let's travel to the East, to a man who, just like Joseph Smith, met with an angel and declared himself to be a great prophet of God.
Who do they say Jesus is? What do they say about his conception and birth?
Well, first of all, they believe Jesus was born to a virgin. Unlike the Mormons, they don't believe Jesus was conceived in the same manner you and I were, but believe it was a spiritual, holy, supernatural conception.
They do not, however, believe that He was the Son of God, and their writings very clearly state that God has no Son.
And then we are taken in a very interesting direction, when Jesus was barely one month old. We read the following from their holy book, the chatper of Mariam, verses 30 through 33, which Jesus, as a 40-day-old baby, said to a crowd of people who came to accuse Mary.
"I am a slave of God. He will reveal the Book to me and make me a prophet. He blessed me wherever I am. In the rules revealed to me there will be a special attention given to prayers and charity. God predestined that I will be kind to my mother and not a tyrant with a bad ending. Peace was on me the day I was born. Peace will be on me on the day I will die and on the day I am raised alive again."
So here we have a 40-day-old baby talking to a group of angry people. That's very interesting, to say the least.
Years later, after Jesus had chosen His disciples, we read the Bible text which I mentioned, in which Jesus asks the disciples who men said He was. Then He asks who THEY say He is. And Peter, having received divine revelation from God, said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
But according to this new 6th Century religion, the disciples doubted, and asked Jesus to send down a table filled with food to prove that His message was true. And so He did.
They did not receive a revelation of Jesus as the Son of God, but instead were convinced by a sign alone that His message was true.
And then in chapter 6 of their holy book, verses 157 and 158, we read this:
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, God raised him up unto the himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise."
So Jesus was neither God nor the Son of God. Instead of commending His followers for receiving divine revelation that He was the Son of God, He performed a miraculous sign to prove that His message was true. And then, instead of dying on the cross for the sins of the world, God caught him up into heaven, and it is believed that God caused someone else, perhaps Judas, to die in Jesus' place.
Maybe that's why they have their story about a 40-day-old baby Jesus talking to the crowd: if his purpose for coming was His life, and not His death, then His miracles and His spoken words become His purpose.
Just as we did with Mormonism, let's look at their foundation, and consider whether it is a solid rock or sinking sand.
Their confession of faith contains the following words: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet."
So we need to look at what Muhammad taught to determine if the foundation of the Muslim religion is truth.
They claim that the Quran is the same as it was 1400 years ago, while the Bible does not exist in its original form, which has been corrupted or concealed.
But this claim is completely false. First of all, the "original Quran" was a large collection of notes written on bark, leather, bone, and whatever else was available at any given time. After Muhammad's death, these were compiled, and that compiled work is considered the original.
Someone named Uthman copied what was considered the original manuscripts, distributed copies, and ordered that any other copies be burned.
We can compare this to the books of the Bible. As earlier manuscripts are found, we continue to discover that they were not changed over time. We don't have any such measure of authenticity for the Quran.
I'd like for us to consider just one more thing, and then we'll move on: The Quran states that the Gospel of Jesus and the Old Testament books are true, in their original form. So if we were to have reliable translations of the originals, we could know if the other things Muhammad said were from God, really came from God or from some other source.
If we didn't have any unaltered books of the Bible, then God would not have told us to believe them. It's no leap at all to say that, if the Quran were true, then since it tells us to believe the unaltered books of the Bible, then we DO have unaltered Scripture. Because of this and since there's overwhealming evidence that the Biblical manuscripts we have are indeed correct, let's just compare the Bible with the Quran, and then determine the credibility of Muhammad's claims to be a true prophet of God.
In the Quran, chapter 2 and verse 31, it says that God taught Adam the names of all things. In Genesis 2:19, it says that God brought the animals to Adam to see what Adam would call them, and whatever name Adam gave them, that was their name.
The Quran expressly states the God has no Son. But in Proverbs 30, verse 4, speaking of God, it says "What is His name or the name of His Son?" And in Matthew 3:17, when Jesus was baptised, God spoke from heaven and said "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
The Quran states that Mary was the daughter of Imran, and the sister of Aaron. However, in the Bible, the only daugher of Imran and sister of Aaron was Miriam, the sister of Moses. Sounds like Muhammad got his stories crossed.
The Quran says King Saul was told to weed out his troops by watching who drinks out of the stream with his hands. The Bible says it was Gideon.
When referring to Jesus being neither God nor the Son of God, the Quran says "God does not command you to take the angels or the prophets as lords." But in John 5:23, Jesus said, "That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who has sent Him."
We could go on and on all day, but those examples more than make the point, I believe. There's a link in the notecard to one of many website which point out clear and often severe contradictions between the Quran and the Bible. Either God radically changed His mind, or Muhammad was not His prophet.
So there are two pictures of Jesus -- Jesus as the brother of satan, who became a mere man with God genes who worked his way to godhood, and Jesus as a prophet, born by the sister of Moses, who spoke as a one-month-old baby and who was not crucified.
So far, from these stories, we don't know who Jesus is, or even who His mother and Father are. So far, Jesus is just a Little Orphan Boy lying in a manger.
Let's step back just a little bit farther, about 600 years. Let's turn back to the point at which the calendar is divided. And let's look at the only consistent written history, penned by those who knew Jesus first hand.
In Luke chapter 1, verses 26 through 35, we read this:
Luke 1:26-35 (NKJV)
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."
And so Jesus was born of a virgin. He lived in submission to Mary and Joseph. He was tempted in every way mankind has ever been, yet He did not sin. He performed many miracles. He was crucified, and laid in a borrowed tomb. He rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into heaven where He sits on the right hand of the Father making intercession for us, or "standing in the gap." And He is getting ready to come again in power.
This is what those who saw Him face to face said about Him. These are the first-hand accounts, and are therefore the most reliable, not to mention the most consistent.
And even before these witnesses to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, prophets spoke of Him for thousands of years.
In fact, not only did prophets speak about Him; but they saw Him face to face. Keep in mind that John 1:18 says this: "No one has seen God at any time." That's NO one. And that's at ANY time.
And yet, consider the places in the Old Testament in which people saw God face to face.
In Genesis 32:30, Jacob writes, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
In Exodus 24:9 and 10, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and 70 elders, went up a mountain, and in verse 10, "and they saw the God of Israel."
In 1st Kings 11:9, we see that God appeared to Solomon twice, and in Isaiah 6:5 Isaiah said, "my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
These are just a few examples of people who saw God, even face to face, and yet John 1:18 says that No one has seen God at any time. No one. At no time.
That word translated "God" is non-specific. It could me the Father; it could mean the Son; it could mean the Holy Spirit. Of course they had already seen the Son, and they had seen the Spirit descending as a dove, and were about to see Him as tongues of fire.
"No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."
The bosom of the Father. Yes, we'd have to conclude this verse is saying "No one has seen the Father God at any time." And since the Holy Spirit appeared as symbols, a dove and flames of fire, it's pretty safe to say there's only one possibility left.
This Jesus, who the world would leave as a Little Orphan Boy, was the Lord of Hosts, the Great I Am, the Word of God through and by which everything was created.
So, while the religions of the world and the doctrines of men would make Jesus a Little Orphan Boy, the Bible, from beginning to end, in history, law, and tradition, show Him to be not only the Son of the Father God, but to be God Himself, with no beginning and no end.
And yet, while He is far from being a Little Orphan Boy, He says this in Matthew 25, verses 31-46:
Matthew 25:31-46 (NKJV)
31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'
45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
So just maybe.... just maybe Jesus IS that Little Orphan Boy or girl... maybe Jesus IS that drunk in the alley... maybe Jesus IS that person who just cut in line in front of you... maybe Jesus is that person you just can't bear to deal with.
It's not what they do that represents Jesus; rather it is how we treat them that represents how we are treating Jesus -- for HE represents THEM. He became THEIR sin just as much as He became yours and mine.
THEY are the reason Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger 2,000 years ago. Let's make sure WE represent Jesus to them, rather than satan or our own selves and interestest.
And this is the true reason for this event we celebrate during Christmas. This is why He came, as we read in Isaiah 61:1-3,
1 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
This is who you represent when you call yourself a Christian. We tend to represent a Little Orphan Boy instead, with no clear direction and no purpose beyond trying to survive. Let's pray that God causes us to grow and mature so that we represent Jesus and His mission here on earth.
I'd like for us to close today with a time of prayer and dedication. And if you want to present yourself to God as a living sacrifice, a sacrifice of your own plans and ideas, and a full surrender to truly represent Jesus in the earth, then I'd like to invite you to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front, as we spend some time in the presence of the Lord, offering our all to Him and His service.
Whenever you need to go, you're dismissed. If you need prayer, please instant message me or anyone else on the ministry team, and we'll pray with you.
After this time at the altar, you're all invited to meet us in the Fellowship Room to your left for some informal chat.
Come. Come to this altar. And let's give ourselves to God, as obedient children who give Him glory in everything we do.