Tuesday, June 13, 2017

                                   By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
     “But Thomas one of the Twelve was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But, he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the prints of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20: 25)
      Of all the disciples of our Lord, only Thomas made the statement: “Except I shall see in His hands the prints of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” A week later he is confronted by the Resurrected Christ and all his doubts and fears were swept away!
    “And after eight days again, His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, PEACE be unto you.
Then saith He unto Thomas, Reach hither thy finger and behold My hand; And reach hither thy hand and, thrust it into My side: and be not faithless but believing.
     “And Thomas answered and said unto Him, my LORD and my GOD. And Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20: 27-29)
                         MY LORD DENOTES SERVANT HOOD!
    When Thomas called Jesus Christ his 'Lord', he was saying: “I will serve You, my Lord. You are my Master and I am Your servant. You may call upon me for whatever You desire and whenever you desire and I will be ready to answer, “Yes, Lord.”
     And when Thomas called Jesus his 'God', he was saying: “I will worship You and only You. There is none other. I will worship and praise You with all my heart, my spirit, mind, and body. You alone is God.”
     The first of the Ten Commandments is: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3). Thomas knew the Ten Commandments and when he saw the risen Christ in all His glory, he knew that Jesus of Nazareth was truly the glorified Son of God. He could do nothing else but fall before Him in worship, praise and obedience!
     Our Saviour stated: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than this.” (Mark 12: 30,31)
     Without the revelation of Who Jesus Christ really is, there will never be a genuine love for Him and certainly no worship of Him as the Eternal God, Creator, Saviour, Redeemer and Lord.
                       MY GOD DENOTES TRUE WORSHIP!
     That Jesus Christ was true God from Eternity together with God the Father and God the Son, is an undisputed fact. And that He was True Man through His virgin birth is a proven fact confirmed by the authority of the Holy Scriptures. That there is eternal salvation only through the shed blood of Christ, the Word of God by the blessed Holy Spirit, and the Name of Jesus Christ is True!
     Our Saviour stated: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14: 6); “I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief cometh not but for to steal, kill and to destroy. I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 9,10)
     JESUS said: “I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so knoweth I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. Therefore doth my Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take it again.
     “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself; I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This command have I of My Father. (John 10: 11,14-18): “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5: 24)
                              JESUS IS THE GREAT I AM!
     When Jesus was questioned before the chief priests on the eve of His crucifixion, they asked Him if He were the Christ: “Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I AM: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the Right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14: 62). Jesus Christ is the Great I AM.
      Jesus Christ was True God from eternity together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but entered time and space to redeem the human race! He was incarnated (God in human flesh) and became true man by virtue of His virgin birth, and atoned (paid the penalty) for the sins of the world through His vicarious (substitutionary) death on the cross as God's Paschal Lamb.
    The Bible says: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a PROPITIATION through faith in His BLOOD, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Rom. 3: 23-25)
     The word propitiation means satisfaction, a covering, expiation. God the Father was satisfied with the vicarious death of Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of the world; past, present and future. The shedding of Jesus Christ's pure and holy Blood and His glorious resurrection from the dead met the demands of Divine Justice in the Courts of Heaven!
     The Word of God states: “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Lev.17:11). “It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.” (Heb.9: 22 ); “...And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (John 1: 7)
                                  JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION!
     At the grave of Lazarus, JESUS stated categorically: “I am the Resurrection, and the Life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25, 26)
     The Lord Jesus stated, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh His own glory: but He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” (John 7:16-18)
     “Then cried Jesus in the temple as He taught, saying, ye both know Me and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, Whom ye know not. But I know Him: for I am from Him, and He hath sent Me.” (John 7:28,29)
     “And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath: I am from Above: Ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8: 23, 24)
                               JESUS IS THE BREAD OF LIFE!
    Jesus stated: I am the Bread of life, he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth in Me shall never thirst. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I AM the bread of Life. This is the bread which cometh down from Heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
    “I am the living BREAD which came from Heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My FLESH, which I will give for the life of the world.”
     He was foretelling His substitutionary death for the sins of the world. Through His vicarious death and glorious resurrection He would restore the lost fellowship between God and man, and we would become His children by the process of Divine Adoption. His shed blood and broken body would become life to us!
    Seven hundred years earlier the Prophet Isaiah had seen the Divine process of God's Redemptive Plan for man. It unfolded before his eyes. God's Son would be incarnated (God in human flesh) and die as God's Paschal Lamb to purchase our eternal salvation by meeting the demands of Divine Justice. He would be the propitiation for our sins. His death would satisfy Almighty God in the Courts of Heaven.
     The Bible says: “Surely He hath borne our sicknesses (heb. makob), and carried our pains (heb nasa): yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted, but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is.53: 4-5)
    St. Paul makes this awesome disclosure about the eternal plan of God involving His Church: “Wherefore I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God; even the MYSTERY which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to is saints:
   “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory,” (Col. 1: 26, 27)
                         CHRIST INDWELLS US BY HIS SPIRIT!
     “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man, drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me and I in him.
      “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father. So he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This is that BREAD which came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth of this bread shall live forever.” (John 6:35, 51,53-58)
      Many of His disciples were offended at His Words. He was speaking about the New Birth, and that through the Holy Spirit He would become one with each believer and we one with Him. Jesus stated: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the Words that I speak unto you are Spirit and thy are Life.” (John 6: 63)
    Our Lord promised: “And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of Truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
   “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come unto you. He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father and I will love him and manifest Myself to him... If a man love Me he will keep My Words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make our abode with him.” (John 14: 21, 23)
                        ALMIGHTY GOD DECLARES HIMSELF!
     We need not be ignorant of Who is God and What is He like! He has declared Himself through His creation, His Prophets, His Immortal Word and His Son Jesus Christ!
     The Bible states: “Then the Word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jer. 32: 26).
     There is absolutely nothing our God cannot do. Naturally, it is impossible for God to change, lie, fail, make a mistake, get sick or die! He is totally gracious, merciful, pure, righteous and holy. Our God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, transcendent, immutable and present in time of trouble. Hallelujah.
     When He makes a promise, it will be fulfilled. King Solomon stated: “Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant.” (1 Kings 8: 56)
     “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is NO God beside Me... That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is NONE beside Me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Is.45: 5,6)
                           JESUS CHRIST IS LORD & GOD!
    St. Paul made that crystal clear: “ God Who at sundry times and divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets hath in these last days spoken into us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High; Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
     “For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. And again, I will be to Him a Father ,and He shall be to Me a Son. And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He sayeth, Let all the angels of God worship Him.
     “...But unto the Son, He sayeth, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, even Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.
     “And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hath laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thy hands; They shall perish, but Thou remainest; and they shall all wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Heb. 1: 13)
      Will you, my dear friend, bow before our Saviour Jesus Christ as did St. Thomas with a heart felt prayer, saying: “My Lord and my God”? Amen.