Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 39
Titus 2:13 Declares Jesus Christ as God – Part 2
As most of you realize Paul’s letters begin with Romans and I like to give Paul credit also for Hebrews, so that would mean that this apostle wrote over half of the New Testament. But his prison epistle which begin with Ephesians were written from prison in Rome, and are head and shoulders doctrinally and positionally ahead of the other epistles. So these prison epistles are really meat for the soul. Now back to Philippians chapter 2 where we left off in the last lesson in verse 6.
“Who, (speaking of Christ in verse 5) being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”
Now we always have to remember and especially when we get into these succeeding verses never lose sight of who Jesus Christ was, and is, and always will be. He is the Eternal, Sovereign, Creator God of the universe, and nothing less. I know there are a lot of groups that have trouble with that, but He was God in the flesh. Consequently He did not feel that when He claimed to be God that He was grasping for something that was not rightfully His. And that’s what it means here then when Paul said. “…He thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Because He was God. He could rightfully claim to be God. Now verse 7.
“But (as the Eternal, Holy, Righteous, Omniscient, Sovereign God) made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”
Now you want to remember the word servant in the Greek was, “a bond slave.” literally a bond salve. And of course there were various categories of slaves, but I think the epitome of slavery, at least back in the ancient times, was to be that poor fellow on the bottom part of the ship pulling the oars. I mean those were slaves, and they sat down in the holes of those ships and pulled those oars until their hands were like hamburger, and when they died they pitched them overboard and put another one in their place. Now that was a bond slave, and of course they had other categories, but this is the one that I usually think of. It was someone who was delegated to a horrible kind of a life till they died, and that was most of the ancient world.
Very few enjoyed the comforts of life that we do. It was just a small percentage, and most were wealthy that would enjoy life. Now this is what precipitated the French Revolution, not that it was right but the masses had been held down, and caused so much suffering for so long that finally like a seething pot, just boiled over. But whatever, so Christ made of His own violation Himself a bond slave, at the lowest of human categories, made in the likeness of men:
Now come back with to Genesis chapter 18 which I usually teach as an event in the Old Testament account, to show us so graphically how God would come down and appear to the Patriarchs in human form. But of course back here in the Old Testament it was temporary, and as soon as He had accomplished that particular purpose for coming down and appearing in this case Abraham, He would just simply disappear and go back into glory and to the Godhead. But He still appeared to these people in human form which was all just a precursor of when He would finally come in the flesh at Bethlehem, not for a little while, but to be confined to that body of flesh and bone I feel all eternity. Now verse 1 of Genesis chapter 18.
“And the LORD (that’s Jehovah, God the Son in the Old Testament terminology) appeared unto him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day: 2. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him. and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.”
Now men have always looked like men. There wasn’t a time when they had funny looking ears and eyes that bulge. Men have always looked like men. They did not have wings or glowing halos around their head, but rather they were three ordinary wayfaring men from their outward appearances. Now verse 3.
“And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, (ordinary human feet) and rest yourselves under the tree:” And for sake of time let’s come on down to verse 8.
“And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; (these three men) and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.”
All three ate, but who are these three people? Well one is the Lord Himself, and the other two are angels. But do you see what happened? They came down in human form, came walking up to Abraham’s tent, and Abraham recognized them as wayfaring strangers, and show his middle eastern hospitality, and fix a meal for them. Little did he know that one of them would be Jehovah God Himself. Now it was the same way with Jacob. Remember he wrestled with a man, not some figment of his imagination as the scoffers would say, but rather Jacob wrestled with a flesh type human being. But this man was the Lord in a temporary appearance and then He went up from Jacob.
But you see when He comes by the way of the virgin birth, He is the same God, but instead of just all of a sudden appearing, He comes all the way through the birth of a woman. He comes through His childhood, He comes into manhood, and He begins His ministry at the age of 30. He begins to show by His signs and miracles His Deity, who He really was. People could touch Him, they could shake hands with Him, they could eat with Him. But yet when He was on the roaring waves of Galilee He could raise His hand and simply say, “peace be still,” and what happened.? The wind died down, and the waves became normal, and the disciples were just amazed, and what did they say? What kind of a man is this, that even the wind obeys His voice.
Well I’ll tell you what kind of a man He was, He was God! He never, never, stopped being God! In the womb of Mary He was still God! As a little child playing on the streets of Nazareth, and in the carpenter shop, He was God! As He confounded the doctors at the age of 12 there at the temple, He was God! So never lose sight of that. Now coming back to our text in Philippians chapter 2. Remember He didn’t look any different than any other man during His three years of earthly ministry. They couldn’t look at Him and say, “Oh that’s the God-man.” He looked just as normal as anybody else. But when a particular situation demanded it He could show His Deity that He was God in the flesh. Now verse 8.
“And being found in fashion as a man, (from all outward appearances, and His daily activity, not a higher echelon man, but rather a lower echelon man. Joseph and Mary were probably next to poverty. He lived as a bond slave, that was his level amongst humanity.) he humbled himself,…”
The government authorities of Rome didn’t humble Him, the priesthood in Jerusalem didn’t humble Him, but rather He humbled Himself It was of His own freewill, of His own volition, He brought it all to pass. Another verse comes to mind that I hadn’t intended to use, but let’s turn to Acts chapter 2 for a moment, and let’s look at verse 22 and 23. You’ll recognize it as soon as you see it. Peter is preaching to the nation of Israel on the day of Pentecost.
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man (see, Peter doesn’t call Him the God-man) approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God (in His whole triune being of course) did by him in the midst of you, (up and down the towns and villages of Israel) as ye yourselves also know: (most of them had seen at least some of those miracles) 23. Him, (Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered (up to the cross) by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, (God had programmed all of this. God had drawn the blueprint, that when men would sin, He would provide a Redeemer, and that Redeemer would have to go to a Roman cross) ye (Israel) have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
So that was all in the foreknowledge of God. Now coming back to Philippians chapter 2 again. So when Christ sent His eyes of flint toward the cross it was His own volition, although the whole Godhead is certainly involved in the operation of it all. Now verse 8 again. I’m going to spend the rest of this lesson on that verse.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became (again because of His own volition) obedient unto death (not just an ordinary death) even the death of the cross.”
Now this is what I want people to realize, it wasn’t just the crucifixion by itself that made this so unique, because thousands of people were put to death by crucifixion under the Roman emperor. Nero at one time had 2000 crucified and placed on each side of one of the Roman roads so that he could ride up and down the road between them with his chariot and gloat at their suffering. So you see the crucifixion alone was not what made our faith in the Gospel unique. But I’ll tell you what made it different from everything else, and if I don’t teach anything else today that will sink into the minds of people, this is what I want it to be.
When Christ died on that Roman cross every sin of the whole human race from Adam until the last person before we go to eternity was laid on Him. Now imagine all the horrible sins and guilt of a Hitler was laid on Christ. Every sin, thought, and deed of a man like Nero was laid on Him. Every wicked person that you can ever conger up in your mind, every sin, was laid on Him, on that cross. That’s what we mean by the death of the cross. So nothing short of the power and the might and the Holiness of an Omnipotent Creator God could have even thought of doing such a thing.
Listen, there is not another religion, if you want to call it that, on the face of this earth that can claim to have someone within their belief system that can claim to have all the sins of the world placed upon them. Mohammedism couldn’t do it, because he was human regardless what the Moslems may think, he was still human. The head of the Buddhist religion couldn’t do it or the head of Hinduism couldn’t do it, Joseph Smith couldn’t do or any of these other cult leaders couldn’t do it. There has never been another individual that could have ever come close to taking every sin of every human being and have that sin put on him, and this is what we have to understand. Now let’s look at a verse in II Corinthians, chapter 5, and maybe this will sort of explode in your mind, at least I hope it will. This is a verse that we all know, but do we really contemplate the impact of a verse like this? What does it really say? God, up in verse 20 is the point of reference here.
II Corinthians 5:21
“For he (the God of verse 20) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, (in other words He took my sin when He was on the cross. He took your sins, and took the sins of every human being, even the most wicked, the most ungodly, to be sin for us,.) who knew no sin: (of course not for He was God, He was sinless, and for what purpose?) that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Now there’s another verse in Isaiah chapter 52 that we haven’t used in a long time that fits here also. The last time I used this Scripture I got several letters from people who were all shook up because they never knew that this verse was in their Bible.
“Behold, my servant (there’s that reference to bond slave again) shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. (and we’re going to see this a little further on in the Book of Philippians) 14. As many were astonied at thee; his visage (His outward appearance) was so marred (or disfigured) more than any man, and his form (His whole bodily appearance was so disfigured) more than the sons of men;” (more than anyone in human history)
Now you know what that tells me? No wonder Mary in the garden the morning of the resurrection, couldn’t figure out that it was Jesus. Just put yourself in her shoes. This description in verse 14 is what she saw hanging on the cross as they left to go home. This is the mental picture of the Christ hanging on the cross before Joseph of Arimathaea put Him in the tomb. And then to suddenly wake up and see Him in the dim early light, seeing someone standing there who looked very normal, – do you see what I’m driving at? This is why she couldn’t comprehend that it was Him, because as He stood there in front of her He had come back in His resurrected body looking very normal. That’s why she thought He was the gardener.
But listen the sins of the world were all placed on Him and that’s what makes this verse in Philippians so outstanding. That Christ was obedient to death, not just a death of taking away His life or an ordinary crucifixion, but when it says, “even the death of the cross.” This is what I feel is what the Scripture is trying to tell us, that His death was so horrendous, and that no one but the Sovereign, Eternal, Creator, God could have attempted to do such a thing, but He could, and did for you and I. See that’s what makes Christianity all by itself. This is why no other religion of the world can even come close, because they have no one that could make the claim that He has taken all their sins and put it on Himself.
So here again this is where you and I have to stand up and let it be known that all the religions of the world are just so much fluff, because they can’t make this kind of a claim. They can’t deal with men’s sin. All they can hope to do is evaluate man morally that maybe by his works he can make it to heaven, and we know that God will never buy into that. I was so thrilled after our seminar up in Minneapolis the other day about a very distinguished looking gentlemen that came up, and told me that he was a retired pastor, from a different denomination than mine. But he and told me, “I am so thrilled that you proclaim the same exclusive Gospel that I do.”
Well I’ve used that word before, because it is exclusive. It excludes everything else, and stands head and shoulders by itself! We’re going to see that a little later on in this chapter, that the name of Christ stands above every name. And then we have people dare to claim that they have another way of access to God. How ridiculous can they get when they have no sin barrier such as we have! See this is what you have to have. You have to have a sin barrier, because we can’t take our sin into glory, and eternity, it has to have been dealt with, and it was at Calvary! And then all we do is appropriate it by believing it! By just simply believing it.
Hitler could have believed that his sins were paid for, realizing that Christ had done it all, and had been raised from the dead, and he could have gone into glory, just by believing that for his salvation. As horrible as he was, his sins were already paid for, they were already laid on Christ, but you see he no doubt rejected it in unbelief. And you can think of any other horrible individual, and that’s exactly what Paul mean in Romans chapter 5. Let’s look at that portion for a moment. This says it a lot better than I could.
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence (or sin) might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
So no matter how hideous the sinner, or how heavy his sin load is, it’s all been laid on Christ, even the death of the cross.