Archive for the ‘Harvest Youth’ Category

The Jesus of Eternity

Posted: April 12, 2012 in Christos, Harvest Youth

John 1:1-5
(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(2) He was with God in the beginning.
(3) All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
(4) Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.
(5) That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.

We have been in this Christos series now for 5 weeks. We talked about the Jesus of Prophesy, the Jesus of Calvary, and the best witnesses for Jesus, but now we are going to talk about the JESUS OF ETERNITY.

Do you know that Jesus has always existed? He is not a created being, as some people say, but He is an eternal being without a beginning or an end.

This is crucial in our understanding of Jesus Christ. Believe me, if you miss this one thing, multiple heresies and misconceptions can and probably will creep into your life.

Jesus testified to this while He was here on earth multiple times.
John 8:48- Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.

John also describes this to us in John 1 as we have already read; “He was with God in the beginning.”

And again in 1 John 1

1 John 1:1-2
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life-that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us-

But why is it so important that we have the right Jesus? What exactly do we mean by the wrong Jesus?

Many organizations make up an idea that Jesus was somehow a created being. One way or another, God must have created another god, because the Trinity cannot be true to them. They deny the power of the Godhead and they make up another Jesus.

But the Christian that interprets the Bible correctly knows that Jesus has always existed and will always exist.

In Revelations Jesus is referred to as the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.

Jesus is also worshipped by the living creatures in Revelation 4 when they say, “Holy, holy, holy, 
Lord God, the Almighty, 
who was, who is, and who is coming.”

He was before time, and always was.
He is existing now seated at the right hand of the Father.
He is coming back to earth one day to take His church from this sinful world!
This is the Jesus we praise and worship, The Jesus of eternity.
He’s not walking the hillside in a robe, constrained by time and place.
He is everywhere at every moment in all time and always will be there!
He is speaking and will continue to speak.
He will not be shut up!

And this is how he speaks to us now.

Heb 1:2-3
Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His] Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word

the word radiance literally means: The actual reality of the exact character of God Himself.

The God of eternity, came down in human form, so that we could understand Him.

He did this because He wants to know you, and because He loves you.

Jesus is the God of eternity; let no one tell you otherwise.

God bless,

Dan Fogarty.

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The Jesus of Calvary

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Christos, Harvest Youth

It’s amazing how good God is. I planned this series out 2 months in advance, and I did not even take Easter into the equation, yet as we come up to Easter Sunday, here I am talking about Calvary. Praise God.

You do know that Jesus was crucified right? Who believes that to be true?
We have to believe that, because all of Christianity hangs on that.
No other religion has a God who would die for them.

The Muslims reject Jesus as God, because to them God would never humble Himself like Jesus did.
Their god Allah would never die on a cross, he is not a servant; he is a ruler that will not humble himself.
Allah would never take human form because it is to degrading to his godly status.
Muslims do not understand Christians, because to them Jesus was just a prophet.
Allah would never die on a cross, because the cross was the most degrading form of death.
Everyone saw you hanging there on that cross.
You were a spectacle for the people, and an example of what would happen if you defied the rulers.

Remember when we say Lord Liar or Lunatic?
Well Muslims pick d, none of the above.
They say he was a prophet of Allah and not God.
They say Christians are stupid for thinking a prophet is God.

But Jesus said He was God did He not?

Remember when the Jews were gong to stone Him in John 10? Because he called himself God? Clearly He at least thought He was God, and we now know that He is God incarnate (in the flesh) John 1:14

Lets take a look at another Old Testament Prophesy about the Cross of Calvary shall we.

David lived around 1000 years before Jesus Christ, yet he prophesied about Jesus in several Psalms, one of which being Psalm 22, the Calvary Psalm.

Once again, this is 1000+ years before the birth of Christ, and it is an extremely accurate account of the crucifixion.
So accurate, that when read, most people assume it is in the New Testament, or somehow added in later as a forgery. But there is no evidence of a forgery.
Do you remember the Dead Sea Scrolls?
They were found in a cave that was sealed at least as early as 100 BC, that is 100 years before Christ.
Well they contain the Psalms of David among the writings, proving that what I am about to share with you was wrote before Jesus lived.

Furthermore, Crucifixion was not ever a form of torture/capital punishment until the 6th century BC. SO David prophesied about an event that was going to take place, before the method described existed! How cool is that!
Ps 22:1, 7-8, 16-18
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? 
[Why are You] so far from my deliverance 
and from my words of groaning? (Fulfilled in Matt 27:46)
Everyone who sees me mocks me; 
they sneer and shake their heads: “He relies on the Lord; 
let Him rescue him; 
let the Lord deliver him, 
since He takes pleasure in him.” (Fulfilled in Matt 37-43)
For dogs have surrounded me; 
a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; 
they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; 
people look and stare at me. (Fulfilled in Matt 37-43)
They divided my garments among themselves, 
and they cast lots for my clothing. (Fulfilled in Matt 27:35)

Matthew 27:46, 37-43, 35
(46) About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ” ” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
(37-43) Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:
THIS IS JESUS
THE KING OF THE JEWS.
 Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now-if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.'”
(35)After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots.

David’s Psalm sounds a lot like the death of Jesus Christ does it not? How awesome is that!

Why did Jesus have to die on a cross in the first place?

It’s called the great exchange. He died once (and rose) to pay for all of our sin.
And we can go to the cross now, accept Jesus as Lord one time, and His shed blood, His perfect, sinless blood pays the price for all of our sin for all time.
The great exchange, oh how great.

Jesus died a worse death then probably all of us will die.

He was tortured before he picked up the cross for hours.
They used to use whips with pieces of bone and glass that would grab the skin upon hitting it.
They would whip you with it, and that would hurt, but then they would rip the whip off and tear your flesh along with it.
Jesus was whipped so many times, so badly, that He could not even carry His own cross all the way. A man named Simon carried it for Him, and then they placed Him on it.

If you have never thought about how horrible being crucified really is, you would never reject such a wonderful gift.
Jesus was our substitute, so that through His death, we might have life!

Rom 5:18
So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone.

God bless,
Dan Fogarty.

Isaiah is an OT book that was wrote somewhere between the sixth and eighth century BC. I say the sixth to eighth because liberal critics of the Word date the book at two different time periods by two different men. However there is no justification for this in the text, and no copies of Isaiah 1-39 have been found separate from 40-66.

No scholars, no matter how liberal, date Isaiah past the 6th century, and this is very important for several reasons. The book of Isaiah prophesies about the coming of a Messiah who is born of a virgin.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

We now know (as Christians) this virgin to be Mary, and this Messiah to be Jesus Christ, but the Jews are still waiting on this messiah. To the Jews, Jesus was just a rabbi, a teacher, or perhaps a bad man for leading people astray.

Most Jews know the Torah very well, and the OT, but they miss Jesus in the text.

Martin Luther said that there are two aspects of the Word; Law and Gospel.

We all have the law. That is why is almost every culture we know that murder is wrong; stealing is wrong, and so on. How is it that we all have this universal way of telling right from wrong? I’ll tell you, we are made in God’s image, and even though we have fallen very far, we still have the knowledge of right and wrong.

That is what Luther called Law. That is something we all have, whether we want to or not, and that is something you can read about in the Bible.

Gospel, however, is when we encounter Jesus in the text. Luther said that the reason why the Bible was so perfect and so infallible, was not because the church picked out what books went into it, but because it was Jesus Christ. John 1 says that the Word is God, and Luther claimed that if you did not encounter Jesus in the text, you really were just reading the Law. You missed the whole point of the Bible.

The point is to illuminate Jesus Christ.

And so we have this one prophesy about Jesus that the Jews miss. They miss the point; they miss Jesus.

Is 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Once again a text written 6-800 years before Christ prophesies that a ruler will be born that will forever sit on the throne of David. We know that Jesus is the offspring of David, because Joseph was in the bloodline of David. The book of Luke shows us this when we read all the sons of.

Isaiah says that there would be no end to the rule of the Messiah, and there is none. He reigns over all, He rules over all, He controls all.

Isaiah is a good witness for the Lord, but how about Moses. Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Torah. Moses wrote these books sometime between 1200 and 1330 BC, most likely, although there are those who say that Moses did not write them, that someone later wrote them around 400-600 BC.

So these writings are around 1300 years before Christ came, and look at what God says right after the fall. (Explain the fall to them)

Gen 3:15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, 
and between your seed and her seed. 
He will strike your head, 
and you will strike his heel.

This is the first prophesy of Jesus Christ. You will strike his heel means that they will crucify Jesus, like they did. He will strike your head means that Jesus will defeat Satan, and he did.

Satan has been defeated with the cross, but he has not yet been destroyed.

Jesus was prophesied about over a century before He came to earth! These are just three verses I picked, there are many more. The only way that we cannot see Jesus in the scriptures is if we suppress the truth.

Rom 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth

Don’t suppress the truth. Don’t be like the atheist who denies God, or the Jehovah’s Witness who denies the deity of Jesus Christ, or the Mormon who claims that Jesus was born of a virgin goddess, or anyone who denies the fact that Jesus Christ came, died and rose again in the flesh.

We have enough scriptures to back our Christological theories that we know them to be true.

John 21:24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

God bless,
Dan Fogarty.

The most credible witness

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Harvest Youth

Who is the most credible witness for the risen Lord Jesus Christ?

Some say it is the women who came to see His tomb.

Some say it is Peter because he became very bold after the Holy Spirit came.

I want to talk today about Saul, or now Paul of the NT.

Paul was a Pharisee, as he admitted in Acts 23 when He was on trial.

He used to persecute the Christians violently as he describes in Gal 1:13-14
For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I persecuted God’s church to an extreme degree and tried to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.

All of that changed for Paul as we read the next two verses (Gal 1:15-16)
…But when God, who from my birth set me apart and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone.

We have to act when we see the Lord, and that is what happened to Paul.

But lets rewind for a moment and look at Saul before and after seeing the Lord.

Before seeing the Lord:
Stephen was the first martyr for the Lord Jesus Christ. At the end of Acts 7 we see that while the religious people were stoning Stephen, Saul was holding their coats. At the beginning of Acts 8 we see that Saul was pulling men out of their homes and killing them, and then in Acts 9 he had gotten some letters together granting permission for him to kill anyone who belonged to Christ Jesus.

After seeing the Lord:
Saul immediately becomes a Christian and writes 13-14 books of the NT. I say 13-14 because some think that Paul wrote Hebrews. He saw the Lord and it changed his life! And notice immediately he is called brother (Acts 9:17). Before Paul did anything, he is called brother. Paul did not earn his salvation; it was freely given to him.

But notice Paul does not do nothing once he is saved; he goes all over the place and tells people about the Lord.

Once we see the Lord, we are compelled to act. James says that faith without works is dead. So our outward acts express our inward condition. Saul is a great example of what a true conversion looks like, and he is a credible witness, perhaps the most credible witness for the risen Lord.

God bless,
Dan Fogarty.

No other name pisses so many people off than the name of Jesus Christ.

For example, Tim Tebow, a now famous NFL quarterback (who is not exactly the greatest quarterback in the world, yet still manages to win football games) talks about Jesus all the time… so much that his own teammates tell him to tone it down. Tone it down… really?

Have you ever read the lips of an NFL player after they do something good? Or something bad? It usually looks like they are saying FU*& or SH^% or DA%$ or some other swear word over and over and over.

But that’s ok… lets just get Tim to stop talking about Jesus… We want him to tone it down, but trying to get the team to tone the cussing, forget it.

It’s ridiculous. If he were talking about Muhammad or Buddha or any other religious figure they would not give a rip, but the name of Jesus offends people, and they don’t want to hear it.

Why do you think that is?

There are multiple answers to that question, but most of the people who don’t want to hear about Jesus have not taken the 3 L’s quiz. They have not decided if Jesus is Lord, Liar or Lunatic (and He can only be one of those three).

If they had, they would say it.

They would say, “Stop talking about Jesus, he was mentally disturbed,” or “Jesus was a liar, I don’t want to hear about a liar.”

Instead, most people sound pretty… stupid.

The usual response I get is, “Jesus was a good man, I just don’t want to hear about Him.”

Let me tell you, that the ones, who do not want to hear about Him, cannot even tell you why they do not want to hear about Him.

If I want to talk about cars, trucks, motorcycles, beer, women, you name it, I will be welcomed with open arms.

I can drink beer with my military buddies every day, and no one is ever going to say, “hey quite talking about beer will ya.”

No one ever says that. No one ever says, “Hey stop talking about hot girls,” or sex, or anything else.

We understand earthly things, but not heavenly things.

When we start to talk about something that we do not understand, that is when we are confused, and usually refuse to hear or talk about it.

That’s where we are with Jesus Christ (or where many people are).

Lord, Liar or Lunatic, those are your choices with Jesus Christ.

1) Jesus is Lord

No one ever spoke like Jesus Christ.

Take the example from Matthew on the issue of forgiving sins.

Matthew 9:1-7
So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own town. Just then some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the scribes said among themselves, “He’s blaspheming!”
 But perceiving their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”-then He told the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.” And he got up and went home.

C.S. Lewis said, “a man who says something like this (if He is not God) is so preposterous it is actually comic. Surely a man can forgive someone who sins against him personally, you tread on my toes I forgive you and so forth… but what do we make of a man who forgives the sins that are done to other men? (i.e. I forgive you for wronging Tommy, ext)… Asinine fatuity is the only way to explain this if the person forgiving the sins is not God.”

Asinine fatuity by the way is not a curse word, it means something really, really, really, really stupid!

Jesus said He could forgive Sins? He is either telling the truth, or lying.

Which brings us to option number 2…

2) Liar

Was Jesus lying when He said He could forgive sins?

Was Jesus lying when He claimed to be God?

John 10:24-33
Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, “How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish-ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?” “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You-being a man-make Yourself God.”

Some of you have maybe heard that Jesus never said He was God, but that is not true. This is just one of the times He either calls Himself God, or lets others call Him God and does not rebuke them.

Jesus tells the Jews that He is the Messiah, and then He calls Himself God! Do you believe Him? Or do you think He was a Liar?

He certainly is not a good man if He is telling people He is God and He is not…

Do you think a good man leads millions and billions of people to follow a lie? How good could He be?

Does a good man tell people that He is the only way to Heaven when He is not? John 14:6 I am the way, truth, and life, no one comes to the Father except through me… Would a good man say this?

HES NOT GOOD IF HES NOT GOD! He’s a horrible sinner, or a devil if He is not God.

So He is either telling the truth, or He is lying. Do you think that He is lying?

3) Lunatic

The only escape for Jesus if He is not God is that He must have been crazy. Only a lunatic would tell people He could forgive sins when He could not… Only a lunatic would claim to be God and not be God…

It is possible for someone to be sincere and also wrong, so maybe Jesus just thought He was God.

Some have suggested that possibly Jesus was a schizophrenic, someone who wants to escape the reality of the world. They say that Jesus could have been under the impression that He was God and did not realize He was not because Jesus wanted to escape reality.

But there is a problem with that…

Jesus gave the most profound sermons on earth. 2000 years later, we base our calendar on the death of Jesus Christ. He was able to keep a small following, have conversations with religious leaders, and so on.

Somewhere along the line, someone would have stopped and said, “this man is obviously crazy, lets go home.”

But no one did that did they?

Jesus never gave any indication that He was a crazy person. He answered confidently and didn’t flinch.

A man who acted the way that Jesus did could not have been a crazed man.

So you must make your decision.

He is either Lord (yours or someone else’s), Liar or Lunatic.

But we must not say that He was a good man, or a prophet, or just a carpenter, because He has not left that option open for us.

The most important choice of your eternity is the answer to the question: who is Jesus Christ to you?

God bless,
Dan Fogarty.