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Someone Cares Series
Jesus -- Our Friend
All of our lessons are about Jesus and His truth, but this is a special lesson on who Jesus is and what He wants to do for us. Because of Satan's rebellion, and because Jesus loved us too much to leave us under Satan's control, Jesus left heaven and came to this earth to redeem all who want to be saved.
Jesus Divinity and Pre-Existence
1. Shortly after Jesus was conceived within Mary, an angel explained His birth to Joseph and said He would be called Immanuel. What does Immanuel mean?
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:21:23).
Just after Jesus was conceived within Mary, the angel explained to Joseph that He would be called Emmanuel, which means God with us; to accompany us every step of the journey to heaven. Christ could not have come to the earth with the glory that He had with the heavenly Father. Sinful human beings could not have borne the sight. He veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity, but He did not part with His divinity. He might have retained the glory of heaven and the homage of the angels but he chose to step down from the throne of the universe and become one with mankind.
2. Where was Jesus before the world was formed?
"I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:4, 5).
Christ is praying to His Father in regard to a glory which He possessed in His oneness with God, for this glory to be manifested. He declares Himself glorified in those who believe on Him. He had finished the work the Father gave Him to do, that is, He wrought out a righteous character on earth as an example for men to follow. He was with God from all eternity.
3. What work did Jesus do in the beginning?
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1-3).
Christ made all things, therefore He existed before all things. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore (Romans 9:5). As we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the Word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul.
4. What does Paul call Christ?
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Paul refers to Christ as that Rock. Christ is the Rock from whom all blessings flow to mankind. Just as Moses struck the rock and out gushed the water to provide for the thirsty Israelites, so the death of Jesus provides salvation for mankind. Just as the refreshing water welling up in a barren land causes the desert to blossom as it flows out to give life to the perishing, it becomes an emblem of the divine grace which Christ alone can bestow to refresh, purify and invigorate the soul.
Why Jesus Came To Earth
5. Why are all human beings, including ourselves, doomed?
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" (Romans 5:12).
All human beings are doomed to die because all have sinned. As a result of Adam's sin, sin entered into the world and as a consequence death followed. We are all sinners and consequently are doomed to die. The descendants of Adam inherited from him nothing but sin and death. Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the fruit of which he was forbidden to touch. This was his test, but he failed and his sin opened the floodgates of woe upon the world.
6. Life is only in God, and only by remaining in harmony with God can life continue. Through sin the inhabitants of this world have placed themselves out of harmony with God and have received the death penalty. What has Jesus done to pay the penalty for our sins?
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: 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 with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:4-6).
In order to pay the death penalty for our sins, Jesus took upon himself our fallen, suffering human nature which is degenerate and defiled by sin. He endured all the temptations with which we are beset so that He could relate to the sinful and sorrowing descendants of Adam. It was not only by suffering on the cross that Jesus was able to save us. He had to endure all the shame, suffering and humiliation which was all part of the price He paid. This penalty or punishment Jesus bore for the sins of you and me. He has borne the punishment for every person and for this reason can save every soul no matter how far they have sunk in sin.
7. What did Jesus have to do to take our place (i.e. become our substitute) and pay for our sins?
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).
In order for Jesus to become our substitute and pay for our sins He chose to step down and leave His position as Ruler of the universe and took on humanity. Greatness and rank meant nothing to Him, and He chose the lowest and the most humble walk of life. There was no trace of luxury, ease or indulgence brought into His life. No one was to be able to say that Jesus did not know the stress of pinching poverty. He chose the lowly position of the greater number of people so that no one would fear to approach Him.
8. Can we receive forgiveness by keeping God's law?
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20).
We cannot receive forgiveness of sins by keeping God's law by ourselves in our own strength. Anything we might do will not cancel the debt of our sins. All that we can do towards our own salvation is to accept the invitation to come to Jesus with all our sins, and receive pardon and cleansing. Then we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who gives us power to keep the Law.
9. If keeping the law will not save us, then how can we be saved from our sins?
"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30, 31).
The only way we can be saved is to believe in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, to believe and accept all that He has done and apply it to our lives. Belief in Jesus involves more than just acknowledging His existence, for even demons believe that (James 2:19). Saving faith means believing that He can pardon, cleanse, and keep us from falling and grant us victory over all temptations. We must open our hearts and minds that we may behold wonderful things out of the Word of God. To have faith means to find and accept the Gospel with all its obligations, that we might find peace with God.
10. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, what does God do with our "sins that were previously committed?"
"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;" (Romans 3:24, 25).
When we accept Jesus as our Saviour He will pardon us of all our sins of the past. To be justified is to be completely pardoned. We do not deserve His grace (mercy and goodness), but Christ freely pardons without any credit or claim on our part. When a sinner by faith accepts Jesus as His Saviour and Lord, at that very moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Jesus is placed to the account of the sinner, for he cannot earn it. Faith cannot save us, neither can it remove our guilt. It is only through faith in Jesus' blood that He can pardon the believer.
11. In order for us to be forgiven, a change must take place in our attitudes. We must be sorry for our sins. How can we become sorry (repentant) for our sins so that we can receive the merits of Christ's death in our behalf?
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31, 31).
In order for us to be forgiven, we must have a change of heart and be sorry for our sins. There is only one way we may be repentant or sorry for our sins, and that is a gift from Christ. We must come to Jesus just as we are, and He will give us both repentance and forgiveness. Jesus draws the sinner by His love (as shown in His death in our place upon the cross), and this softens the heart and impresses the mind with the need to be sorry for our sins. By faith we see Him as the One who bore humiliation, suffering and death that we might not perish, but have everlasting life.
12. Besides giving us repentance and forgiveness for the sins we have committed, what else does Jesus promise to do for us?
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Not only does Jesus promise to give us repentance and forgiveness, but He also promises to cleanse us. When we, by faith believe that Jesus leads us to repentance, we come and confess our sins, believing that He will freely pardon. He also cleanses our hearts and minds from old desires and habits and renews them with desires to live and to be like Jesus. It is only as we look to Jesus that we see our need of His help. It is only as we see our sinful, lost condition and understand our danger that we will flee to Christ for refuge. When we see the purity of Jesus we will discover our own weakness, poverty and defects just as they really are.
13. How does God cleanse us from sin, transforming our characters?
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ... For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:1-4, 13, 14).
It is our privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed and stand before the Law without shame and remorse. As a result we are without condemnation. We have been bought back with the price of Jesus' blood. Through the simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit begins a new life in the heart. Through the merits of Christ we have access to the throne of God. We need a faith that works by love, and cleanses the soul. As a result of believing God's Word and submitting our will to Him, our heart is yielded, and our affections are fixed on Him.
14. After Jesus came down to live and die in our behalf, where did He go, and what is He doing for us today?
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Jesus the Son of God, fulfilled one phase of His priesthood by dying on the cross for the fallen race. He is now fulfilling another phase in heaven by pleading before the Father the case of every repenting, believing sinner. Jesus was tempted just as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation under every form He gave mankind the perfect example, and through the ample provision Christ has made, we may become like Christ and escape all the corruption and sin in the world. We come with confidence to God in heaven for pardon or cleansing and for strength to resist all temptation.
15. What motive prompted God to give us this wonderful friend and Saviour, Jesus, who can save us from sin and give us eternal life?
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Through the cross we learn that our heavenly Father loves us with a love that we cannot understand and that is everlasting. This draws us to Him with more than a mother's yearning love and sympathy for a wayward child. The death of Christ on the cross is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come. If men would think upon the love of Christ as displayed on the cross, their faith would be strengthened to understand the merits of Jesus' shed blood, and they would be cleansed and saved from sin.
If you believe in Jesus as your Saviour, He will give you repentance and forgiveness, and He will help you in every time of need. God loves you, and He wants you to live with Him forever. That is why He gave His only Son to die in your place. That is why Jesus is still ministering for you in heaven as your High Priest. Will you accept Him as your Lord and Saviour today? Will you ask Jesus to come into your life and make you His child?
Page created: 7/23/98 Updated: 11/15/2006
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