Whenever Pastor Miles goes to visit his parents, he loves to walk around the house and look at the pictures of his family, especially the ones he is in and can remember. If we were to visit his parents' house, we would expect to see lots of pictures of Miles, because he is their child. In the same way, if Jesus is really God, there should be consistent pictures of Him throughout all 66 books of the Bible.
"Who Is Jesus Really?" is a series designed to maximize the ability of people at the Rock to understand and defend the identity of Christ as outlined in the Bible. In the Old Testament, Jesus is the Lamb, the Light, the Bread, and the Shepherd. He also appears in the Old Testament as a man, a figure who you can interact with. This is known as theophany, an appearance of God before man.
Throughout the Old and New Testament, Jesus relates to man through fire. He is always interacting with fire, whether by leading the Israelites through the desert or by judging the disobedient. Pastor Miles shared six ways Jesus validates his divinity through fire.
Jesus validates His divinity by establishing His divine presence and introducing His name "I AM."
Fire attracts attention to itself and provides light in darkness. God caught the attention of Moses with fire when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush. Moses had to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. Angels are not to be worshipped-the ground was holy because the Angel of the Lord is Christ.
This is also the first time God reveals Himself by His name. Exodus 3:14 states, God said to Moses, "I am who I am." God is eternally past, eternally present, and eternally future.
Jesus confronts the Pharisees with this truth in the New Testament. John 8:58 states, "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" This is the most blatant confession of Jesus' deity in the Bible and it also confirms that He is the one who appeared in the burning bush.
God always reveals himself through Christ, and when we become Christians, people should be able see Christ through us.
Jesus validates his divinity by executing divine judgment on sinful man.
Fire seeks to consume everything in its path. After the Angel of the Lord rescued Abraham's nephew Lot and his family from the sinful city of Sodom, He used fire to enact His righteous judgment of sin. Genesis 19:24 states, Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah-from the Lord out of the heavens.
The Lord's judgment will also take place in the future. Matthew 25:41 states, Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Fire is a place of judgment for those who reject God's salvation.
Jesus validates his divinity by initiating a purifying process through baptism.
Fire is never static. It is always moving, always rising, and always transforming its victim. When we are baptized, it is not the physical water that does the cleansing, it is the spiritual fire.
John the Baptist makes this clear in Matthew 3:11, which states, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." When Christ baptizes us with fire, He burns the junk out of our soul and elevates our sensitivity to His will.
The baptism of Christ was evident in the life of Jeremiah, called the weeping prophet because no one would listen to him. Jeremiah 20:9 states, But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name" his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. God wants to ignite a fire in our hearts like the fire in Jeremiah's heart.
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples experienced Christ's fire in an incredible way. Acts 2:3 states, They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Peter spoke to the people that day, and about three thousand were saved. It was the disciples' submission to the fire of the Holy Spirit that allowed God to work.
Jesus validates his divinity by displaying divine approval for our intentions.
Fire does not destroy but separates the impure from the pure. 1 Corinthians 3:13 states, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. God sees the motives behind our actions. Only sincere work for Him will withstand the fire; insincere work will be burned up.
Elijah is an Old Testament prophet who sets up a competition with the prophets of Baal, a false god. He tells them that whichever god answers by fire is the one, true God. After the prophets of Baal pray all morning without response, Elijah dumps water all over his sacrifice, and prays a single prayer to God. 1 Kings 18:38 states, Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
Jesus validates his divinity by exercising divine vision.
Fire reveals things hidden in the darkness. As we learned last week, Jesus is Logos, the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 states, For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Jesus uncovers the darkness in our hearts through the Bible.
In the book of Revelation, the first five words are "the revelation of Jesus Christ." The book was written to reveal Christ. Revelation 2:18 states, These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. Jesus not only interacts with fire, but His eyes are like fire-a fitting image of His divine vision.
Jesus validates his divinity by displaying His ability to deliver believers from judgment.
Nothing can protect you from the destructive powers of fire except God Himself. In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar creates an idol and commands everyone to bow to it, threatening those who do not with a blazing furnace. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to worship anyone but the true God, and are thrown into the furnace.
Daniel 3:25 states, He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." In another example of theophany, Jesus protects the three men while they are in the furnace. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar decrees that no one can say anything against God, "for no other God can save in this way."
In a parable, Jesus describes a rich man who calls on Abraham from hell, asking him to let Lazarus, a poor man who went to Heaven, place a drop of water on his tongue. When Abraham denies him help, Luke 16:27-28 states, "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'" Abraham answers that they can listen to the words of Moses and the Prophets.
There are no second chances. Jesus is the only one who can save us from eternal fire. The Bible makes it clear that He can and will, through theophany and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.