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Monday, July 13, 2009

Claims of Christ

I was intrigued recently by a new web site and an advertising campaign from an Islamic association here in Texas. This web site, advertised as, purports to give Jesus his due credit - and thereby making themselves seem more approachable and agreeable to traditional Christians.

It's touching to see such things. After all, who wouldn't like someone that loves Jesus! But alas, there is a significant chasm between true Christians and these other religions. The sad part is that the other religions aren't even aware of it.

These religions express unity of mankind, evolution of humanity, oneness with God, and many other attractive concepts. But they stop short of putting themselves on equal ground with Christians. And if you've read this blog enough, you know I don't give credit to just anyone who calls themselves a Christian --- rather I look for the person who has consistent behaviors that line up with the character and nature of Christ --- a true Christ-follower.

So what is it about true Christians, Christ-followers, that differentiates them from other religions that might seem to embrace him? It's simple really. You see, true Christians believe that Jesus is who He said He is. During His time on this earth, Jesus made several claims about Himself. True Christians believe all of them. And our behaviors ... our choices, priorities and actions ... give testament to that belief --- that everything Jesus said about Himself is true.

So what were the claims of Jesus, that true Christians take so seriously? I can think of about eight (8) that seem most relevant. I'll list them, along with some Scripture references.

1. Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament (Jewish) prophecies.
Matthew 5:17; 14:33; 16:16-17; 26:31 & 53-56; 27:43
Mark 14:21, 61, 62
Luke 4:16-21; 7:18-23; 18:31; 22:37; 24:44
John 2:22; 4:45-47; 6:45; &;40; 10:34-36; 13:18; 15:25; 20:9

2. Jesus is the Son of Man (fully human).
Matthew 8:20; 12:8; 16:27; 19:28; 20:18, 19; 24:27, 44; 25:31; 26:2, 45, 64
Mark 8:31, 38; 9:9; 14:45; 14:41
Luke 6:22; 7:33, 34; 12:8; 17:22; 18:8, 31; 19:20; 21:36
John 2:22; 5:45-47; 6:45; &;40; 10:34-36; 13:18; 15:25; 20:9

3. Jesus is the Son of God (divinely born).
Matthew 11:27; 14:33; 16:16, 17; 27:43
Mark 3:11, 12; 14:61, 62
Luke 8:28; 10:22
John 1:18: 3:35, 36; 5:18-26; 6:40; 10:36; 11:4; 17:1; 19:7

4. Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ (Savior).
Matthew 23:9, 10: 26:63, 64
Mark 8:29, 30
Luke 4:41; 23:1, 2; 24:25-27
John 4:26, 26; 10:24, 25; 11:27

5. Jesus is the Teacher, the Master (leader).
Matthew 26:18
John 13:13, 14

6. Jesus is the One with authority to forgive (sins).
Mark 2:1-12
Luke 7:48, 49

7. Jesus is Lord (fully God).
Mark 5:19
John 13:13, 14; 20:28, 29

8. Jesus is the Savior.
Luke 19:10
John 3:17; 10:9

So here is what sets true Christians apart from the rest of the world's virtuous religions. We believe Jesus. We not only believe He existed - but we believe what He said. He said He is the first and the last. He said there would be no others after Him. None.

You see, Jesus won't be relegated to the status of an important historical figure. He refuses to be considered an important prophet. He can't be a teacher ... He must be the teacher. Jesus is fully God, disclosed to us in fully human form, and with us now in fully spiritual form. It's what Christians believe. In fact, we stake our lives on these truths.

Interestingly enough, I didn't grow up in a Bible-thumping Baptist church. As a kid and young person I attended a variety of mostly Protestant churches. As a man I searched for God. I searched for truth. I considered most of the world's progressive religions. Church of Scientology, Unitarian Universalists, B'hai, Mormon, and several others. What I realized was that no religious denomination can get me into heaven or bring me into a right relationship with God. Some can help, and all can hurt.

I had to get grounded in the truth of the Bible. My prayer is that you too will get grounded in the truth of God's Word - and not be persuaded by the convincing words of mankind. Then we will truly have much in common. We shall be brothers and sisters in Christ!

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