No. 04 – The Life of Christ
So, who did the works in the life of Christ? If He is our Great Example, then we should find Him in the same situation as us, teaching us how things are done properly. Right?
We read here in Philippians 2:12,13:
12| Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13| For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
We have been learning that the “fear and trembling” with which we are to “work out our salvation” is the fear and trembling that WE will be the ones doing the works in our lives. We have seen that because of our sinful nature, all our best good works are contaminated with sin. And so God is waiting for us to LET Him fulfill verse 13 in our lives – that He may work in us both to will and to DO of His good pleasure. God must be the one who does ALL the works, the big ones and the little ones.
And so when we wake up in the morning, one of the very first things we must do is acknowledge our great need. “LORD! Don’t let me do my works today. You do them, because I cannot!” And as we go through the day, this prayer becomes the heart’s cry moment by moment. First, we tend to learn these things in the bigger experiences in life – I have a huge trial in front of me and I KNOW that I do not have it in me to be able to deal with this situation, and so we cry out to God and He hears our prayer. And then we look back and we say, Wow! God definitely did that. I don’t know how I would ever have got through that situation without getting angry, or stressing or something like that. But you can see ever so clearly that God came in, took control of your life, and worked in you what was needed to bring a positive outcome on your part. And beginning from there, this HABIT of LETTING go of your own will and works and letting God do everything comes down to the smallest things in life, even the very breath that you take. For some individuals it may start with the smaller things and then grow up to the big, either way, wherever we can first see that we have a problem and begin to let God deal with it, it will become a HABIT to cry out to God every moment of our life.
But one thing is certain, we will constantly be afraid to trust ourselves – afraid that we ourselves might be doing the works. Afraid of the consequences, but more so, afraid of offending God by committing sin, and being the cause yet again of our dear Saviour’s crucifixion.
So, how did Jesus live His life? He left heaven, and came to this earth to share with us in our experience. How perfectly do you think that He partook of our experience?
Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from the death, and was heard in that He feared;
When He came to this earth, what was His life like? Very much like what ours will become – a life of strong crying and tears unto our Father in heaven.
Why was His life like this? For the same reason as ours.
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Jesus PERFECTLY came into our experience. He says that He could not do any of His own works either! If He did, the entire plan of salvation would have fallen apart and we would have been lost forever! And so He, day by day, moment by moment, He was working out OUR salvation with fear and trembling, afraid that He would be found doing His own works…
And so if He didn’t do the works, who did?
8| Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9| Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10| Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.
The Father did the works! Christ’s life was filled with the works of the Father in heaven – exactly what we are needing today!
In fact, so perfectly was His life filled with the Father’s works, that He says here:
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
This verse tells us that the Son will reveal who the Father is, but it doesn’t say that the Father will reveal who the Son is. When we are studying the life of Christ and beholding His beautiful character as demonstrated by His works, it is not the character of Christ that we see. It is the Father’s character!
And so when we see Jesus healing the lepers, who is actually healing them? THE FATHER in heaven! And when we see Jesus speaking comfort to a weary sinner, who is talking? The Father in heaven!
And this is an awesome realization because it completely changes our relationship with God. Let’s see how.
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Who spoke these words? Remember, Jesus did not do His own works. Yes, the FATHER in HEAVEN spoke these words through His Son. “THY SINS BE FORGIVEN THEE.” But notice, BEFORE He spoke those words, He said “BE OF GOOD CHEER!”
If you have traveled in Latin America you will have seen the grand cathedrals, even in the poorest villages, and that many are lined with gold on the inside, while the homeless people are begging in the streets outside. Many of these homeless people are poor because they have given all their money to the church to try and get some relative out of purgatory, or to buy salvation for themselves. But the church gives them nothing in return except more superstitions and more fears. As they pass the church, they do the sign of the cross, even as they are riding a motorcycle or riding a bicycle. They believe that if they don’t do it, something bad will happen to them, like God will not keep them safe if they do not show Him respect. They do all this because they have a wrong idea of who God is.
But friends, I must be honest, I have to tell you that I have found that many Christians, even among Seventh-day Adventists that have a very Catholic perception of the character of our Father in heaven.
When I grew up in the church, I had this exact mentality. I tried so hard to do things right, but it seemed that every time I did something wrong, something bad would happen, and I thought that God was punishing me, just like my father here on this earth would punish me with a wooden spoon. And so I tried even harder to do things right because I was afraid of the punishment! I didn’t obey out of love, but out of FEAR! I was also afraid that if God didn’t punish me, then at least He won’t PROTECT me! And all my life I was AFRAID of God Himself. I know that many of you know what I am talking about because when I teach these things in the churches, I see many heads nodding up and down telling me that they have had the same problem.
In the time of the Jews, the Greek teachings regarding “God” had influenced all the world’s religions. Even the Jewish religion. Nobody had a clue what God was like. They thought He was like the Greek Zeus, just watching and waiting to strike man down with his thunderbolts the moment that they offended Him.
Jesus came to this earth, took humanity upon Himself, and became a “transparent medium” for the Father in heaven to show to the world who He REALLY is.
Many of the Jews in the time of this paralytic looked at his paralysis as a punishment from God. They thought that he must have offended God in some way and so He had afflicted him with this terrible suffering. But this was not true. And see how readily the Father through Jesus healed him.
Can you imagine Jesus calling down curses on those that offend Him? In Luke chapter 9 we read of how one day a Samaritan village refused to accommodate Jesus and His disciples. And James and John said to Jesus, “Do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Jesus was horrified at the thought and rebuked them, saying, “Ye know not what manner of spirit you are of.” Evidently, this is not the spirit of God.
In the country of Mexico, towards the end of the year, many people make long pilgrimages from their homes to the main cathedral in Mexico City. Some come from so far away that their journey takes several weeks. Many make the pilgrimage barefoot, and there are those who flay themselves with whips while they walk. It is believed that the greater the suffering that they inflict upon themselves, the greater the mercy and forgiveness that will be given them from God.
Can you imagine if Jesus said to this paralytic that he must walk from Monterrey to Mexico City before his sins could be forgiven? Impossible! The man would never have forgiveness. But our Father in heaven is so merciful and tender-hearted that all that man had to do was come to Him with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. And immediately his sins were forgiven. There was absolutely no reluctance on the part of God.
And notice that before God even forgave the sins of the paralytic, He said, “Be of good cheer!” God hates to see us so miserable in this world. He hates to see us moping around, always depressed, thinking that nobody loves me, nobody cares. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to rejoice in the life that He has given us. And yes, life may be filled with many dark chapters, but there is always the end to that chapter, and the beginning of a new one – new opportunities, new privileges. There may be thorns and briars upon our pathway, but the brightest flowers are found upon the briars and the biggest and most beautiful and sweet smelling roses grow upon the thorns, so that you can barely see them! There is so much around us that God has given us that we might be happy! Whether we choose Him or not! We have all met someone who is genuinely happy – and they don’t even know God! But Christians, are among the most miserable people in the world! This is wrong! Why? Because we have a wrong idea of the character of our Father in heaven.
Another example here:
A woman was caught in the act of adultery. They brought her to Jesus, expecting Him to condemn her to death. Instead, He bent down and began to write the sins of the Pharisees in the sand, and slowly they walked away, self-condemned.
10| When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11| She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Who is talking? The FATHER IN HEAVEN. Remember, Jesus did not do His own works. It was the Father that did the works. And so here is a woman that was caught literally in the act of a terrible sin. But what does the FATHER IN HEAVEN say? I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU. The Father did not condemn this woman! This terrible sinner!
We think that when someone commits a terrible sin, God condemns them, and that if it wasn’t for Jesus intercession, God would strike them down with the thunderbolts of His wrath. But here is the Father Himself in His Son, standing right in front of this woman and He says, I do not condemn you.
Let’s get something very clear about God. God does NOT condemn anyone.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
God did not send His Son into this world to condemn the world, but to save it!
If God doesn’t condemn us, where does the condemnation come from?
47| And if any man hears my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48| He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Not GOD, but His words will judge us, and the condemnation will come from them. BUT notice that those words are the words of life! It is God speaking and offering us LIFE! And if we reject that life, then those words will STAND as a testimony against us and witness to the fact that we were offered LIFE, but we REJECTED it. And so the words will condemn us, but ultimately who is it that condemns us? It is WE, OURSELVES, because we rejected LIFE. Just as this next verse says:
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Because we said, “NO” to the word of life.
GOD our FATHER HIMSELF said to this adulterous woman, “I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU.”
But what I have seen in the churches is this: this story is told and then the preacher emphasizes, GO AND SIN NO MORE. And he forgets all about the “I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU” part. And so among Christians we have this problem where we are always looking and pointing at each other, saying YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE. Don’t do it again! And when a woman in the church today is snared by Satan and commits adultery, what do we do? We drive her out! We make her feel like she is such a terrible sinner, so grotty, so dirty, that she is too filthy to be among us and that she must go from us before she contaminates the rest of us. Yes, sin in the church needs to be dealt with, but in the RIGHT way. In the way that GOD would deal with it. And before He says anything else, He says, “I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU”. May God help us to get this right!
The reason we have so many problems in the church today is because we have a wrong concept of the character of our loving Father in heaven. We justify ourselves in treating others in the harsh ways that we do because we think that this is what God would do. No wonder so many people refuse to come to the church. Who would want to worship a God like that?
When you are looking at the lovely Jesus, when you are beholding the love, the mercy, the compassion that you see in His life, you are not looking at Jesus – you are looking at your Father in heaven.
I always thought that Jesus was someone else – that when looking at Him I was looking at a different character to the Father. I thought that Jesus, as my “intercessor”, was like my older brother, standing between me and this harsh Judge, who was waiting to punish me for my sins. And Jesus would stand between me and Him, reaching out His hands as though to prevent His Father from getting off His seat in anger, and cry out to Him, “No! No! Father, please don’t hurt Camron! Hurt me instead!” Wow, have I hurt my Father’s heart all these years that I believed that disgusting lie. This tells me that there is more to the intercession of Christ than I think.
Let’s read this again:
Then said Jesus unto them, when ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
Jesus says, I am not speaking my own words. It is the Father talking. When I tell you “BE HAPPY!” It is Him. When I tell you, “I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU!” It is Him. And when I tell you that “I LOVE YOU”, It is Him talking.
Of course, Jesus loves us too. And so He came to this world so that the Father might live His life through Him and show us who GOD really is.
He says that when you see me hanging on the cross, you will know that I do nothing of myself. Even though Jesus was God, He had a humanity that was afraid of being blamed for something that He never did, a humanity just like ours that wanted to run away and hide from suffering.
When you see Me hanging on the cross, you will know that it is my Father living His life in Me, because if I LET my humanity have its way, I would be running the opposite direction. Remember the prayer of Christ in Gethsemane? Not my will, but THY will be done?
In the book, Christ Triumphant, page 227, Ellen White translates His prayer as:
Christ Triumphant 227
“Not My human will, but Thy will, be done.”
Come back to John 8 and let’s read verse 29:
And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.
Do you remember what we read in Philippians 2:13? God works in us to will and to DO according to HIS good PLEASURE? Here, Jesus makes a connection for us. His works were always what God was pleased with – because His Father worked in Him to will and to do according to His good pleasure.
But there is something that is needed so that God will be pleased. Do you know the verse?
But without faith it is impossible to please Him…
Aaah, FAITH. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. Without faith it is impossible for God to work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure.
Christ had a faith that brought the perfect right-doing of His Father into His life. And so what did Jesus HAVE? Do you know what it is?
Righteousness by faith! – Right-doing by faith!
And so in our next study we are going to look at what faith is – believe me, you will want to listen to that one, because I spent my whole life trying to figure out what faith is! But God showed me that faith is very simple, all we need is 6 verses in the Gospel of Matthew to understand it!
And then in our study after that we will see how it brought the right-doing of God into the life of Christ.
Praise God for giving us the answers that we need!