FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
11 January, 1998
Boy is time flying! Weíve got so much to learn about the Almighty Heavenly Father but there just doesnít seem to be enough time to do as much as I would like to do. This could almost become a full time operation without any complaints on my part. Hey, thatís a thought!
But anyway, this week I was planning to go on into what the Christian Science people believe in when it comes to The Comforter (Holy Spirit). And as I was studying in preparation for the message I just saw too many other Scriptures concerning the message from last week; ones that touched my heart and blessed my soul. So believe it or not but I decided that we need to take just one more week to discuss this very important subject of "why we should all believe that Jesus is God".
Weíll start off today in the book of Philippians. And just in case you didnít know it this book was written by the great apostle Paul when he was locked up in prison for preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. You see he was doing a real good job of doing what he had been called to do, but Satan couldnít stand it, and thatís why he ended up in the brig. But that didnít stop him from "preaching Jesus" because before his little prison term was over he had actually done gone and gotten the jailer saved. Glory Hallelujah! What do you think about them apples Satan? You just canít win for loosing can you?
Well Satan is fighting a loosing battle but only if we put our trust in God. Now donít get me wrong because itís a known fact that Satan is going to loose in the end but he can still win our souls if we let him. You see heís fighting to get our souls but he canít have them if we give them to the Lord. It doesnít matter how hard he tries (he can have us thrown in jail or he can cause all kind of earth shaking disasters to come on our lives), we will be the declared winners of the skirmish (battle) if and only if we fight the Good Fight through the help and grace of God. And what we are about to read is Paulís letter to the saints (Christians) of Philippi in his fight against Satan and his demonic disciples. He had preached the gospel that had resulted in these people accepting Jesus and likewise it was his job to make sure they didnít loose it. So even though he was locked up for preaching he didnít stop preaching. He kept right on doing what he had been doing but he did it through the mail; he wrote letters. Hey, thatís not a bad way to do it! I wonder how much they charged for postage way back then?
And it was these wordís of Paul (written from prison) that I just had to show you. Because reading from chapter 1 of Philippians, starting with verse 1, we find Paul saying, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye are all partakers of my grace."
You see Paul was in prison but his heart wasnít. He was shouting the victory because he knew Jesus. Itís kind of hard to describe it but once you really really find Jesus, once you accept the fact that He is God and He died so that you might be set free from Satanís prison cell called death, you will also want to tell the world about it. And that was the way Paul was... and thatís why Satan tried his best to stop him... but he didnít succeed because all he really did was fire him up even more. Paul was on fire for God and every mean and nasty thing that Satan did to him only made him hotter.
So as Paul goes on with his letter to the Christians at Philippi, picking it up with verse 27, "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that for God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me."
Being a Christian (follower of Christ) is great!!!... but it ainít easy... because Satan will try every trick in his book to stop you... even to the point of having you locked up in jail. And itís our job as followers of Christ to never let Old Splitfoot get us in a huff. We must take what he dishes out but all the while remembering that even though it might look as though heís winning heís really not. You see the more Satan beat up on Paul the closer Paul got to God. And thatís how Paul did such a beautiful job of describing Jesus... he personally knew Him. And thatís exactly what we will find as we read on into chapter 2: "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
You see the consolation of Christ is His ability to wrap His loving arms around us and fill us with His comfort of love; and regardless of the circumstances. He can do it anytime and anywhere (even in prison) because He does it through the Holy Spirit. In fact that is what we will be studying next week; the Spirit of God (Comforter) comforting His children. But in order for the Spirit of God to work within us we must not let the spirit of Satan come all over us (strife and vainglory: quarreling and worrying about self). And thatís why Paul goes on to say in verses 5-11, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father."
Now donít get me wrong about what Iím about to say because Iím not perfect either. But if we will only look to God and what He did as Jesus Christ then we wonít end up having a pity party when Satan throws his right hook and we go flying to the ground. What we all must remember is that anything Satan might hit us with is nothing in comparison to what Jesus went through. You see we were all born into this world whether we wanted it or not (none of us had much to say about the matter), but Jesus had a choice. He chose to go through what He went through so that we might have a choice. And now that we are here in this world there is only one good way out, and His name is Jesus. And thatís why He voluntarily did what He did: "Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Now as we go through this discussion of "why Jesus is God" please keep the story of Adam and Eve in your mind; after all that is where it started. You see in the beginning Adam and Eve had it made. Living in paradise meant no thought of death or aging because it didnít even exist. Death didnít exist until Old Splitfoot offered the newly weds the magic fruit which turned out to be the black magic fruit. And from that point on the rest is history because it only took one bite to totally wipe out paradise on earth and life everlasting. In the blink of an eye, as they sank their teeth into the promises of Satan, they created a problem in Godís creation that only Godís death could correct.
Sounds pretty wild donít it?... but itís true. And thatís what we are going to try to better understand right now. OK, so letís analyze what Paul is saying piece by piece. First of all he is talking about Jesus Christ. And then he goes on to say "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God..." So what we have here is a man named Jesus Who appeared to be nothing more than the son of a carpenter but yet He claimed to be equal with God. Was He crazy? I mean anybody and everybody should know that God Almighty is All-powerful (Omnipotence), All-knowing (Omniscience), and Ever-present (Omnipresent). He is the Only One Who has the power to control it all, He is the Only One Who knows everything that has been or ever will be, and He is the Only One Who can be everywhere all the time (including as far out into outer space as your mind can go... and further). His greatness is something that we canít even begin to understand but yet this carpenterís son named Jesus says He is equal to God. How can that be?
Well this miracle of all miracles is what is commonly called the "kenosis of Christ". And just what might you ask is that (I said the same thing when I first heard it)? Well Iím I glad you asked because I want to tell you. The word kenosis comes from the Greek word kenoo which means to empty out. And as this word is used in the Scriptures, to describe this miracle of God becoming Jesus, it is translated several different ways: to make void, to make of none effect, to be in vain, and to make of no reputation (as in emptying Himself). Thatís what it means and thatís how it is used to describe this process that gave Jesus the rights to claim (as written in John 10:30) "I and my Father are one."
And just to firm up that statement, before we go to much further, letís read from the book of Colossians (one book past Philippians) which is also written by the great apostle Paul. Starting with chapter 1 and verse 1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
I love the way Paul starts his letters. But we must remember that his letters are more than mere letters because they contain the Word of God. And itís this Word of God that is often called the Living Word for a very good reason. You see you can read it until the cows come home and it will continue to grow on you. As the Spirit of God opens up its meaning it will continue to increase your knowledge about the mysteries of God and it will continue to do so forever (it will forever grow on you). And it was this same Holy Spirit Who inspired Paul in writing these words that gives us a very tiny but yet enormous chunk of wisdom into understanding God... it just all depends on how much you want to know.
So, reading on into verse 12, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead: that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."
Wow, this Scripture could be a full length sermonet on itís own! Talk about powerful!!! You see it was God Who made it all possible for the big screw-up of Adam and Eve to be corrected. And it was only when God made Himself as the Son of God (Jesus) that we had a ghost of a chance of being delivered from the power of darkness (Satan and his crew). Now even though God became the Son on earth He also maintained Himself as God in Heaven as God the Father. His Son was only the image of the invisible God in Heaven. Jesus was God but He was only a Part of the Whole. And He was only "part of" because of this word kenosis. He came to earth not as God but as man, yet He was fully capable of whuppin up on Satan... because He was perfect... without sin. But, He was only a perfect human (a piece of God, the Son of God) who had to do what He was called to do the same way we must all do it; through the Holy Spirit.
You see even though He was God He emptied His pockets (kenosis) of all of His Power and His Might when He took on the image as the Son of God. He gave up His rights as God the Creator of the Universe (He made everything that has ever been made) to take on the job of becoming a perfect Man Who would die on the cross for the sin of the world (the one which He never committed). He was God Who became Man Who died an unimaginably cruel death so that all who believed in that perfect death could escape the everlasting torment of death eternal (Hell).
And that takes us back to Paul and the book of Philippians: Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Now we are going to take a mind trip in hopes of understanding just what went on when God made Himself into a baby (the Son of God). And it was the great prophet Isaiah who made the predictions of His upcoming birth and His life that we will use in our mind trip into the past. So first of all reading from Isaiah 7:14-17, " Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good."
What this Scripture describes is the miraculous virgin birth (Mary became pregnant through the Spirit of God) of the Baby Boy Who would be called "God With Us" (Immanuel). And just like any other kid of that day and time He would be raised the same way. He was a very unordinary Baby Who would be raised in an ordinary way. He was the Son of God but as far as He was concerned He was just a baby. I mean He was God but He had to develop Himself like any other child. He cried for His food and He messed in His pants; His development was no different than any other child. He had to come up through the process of growing up just like we all did. And thatís what the part about butter and honey was all about... that was what they fed kids back in those days (curdled milk and honey). It was normal food that would give the baby strength to grow into childhood. And likewise, as the child grew he could develop his ability to think, reason, and make his own choices. And this little tiny baby Jesus (the Son of God, Immanuel: God With Us) was no different.
And now reading from Isaiah 11:1-5, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with iniquity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
Now for those of you who donít know who Jesse was please allow me the honors. Jesse was the father of David who was Godís choice as king over the nation of Israel. And it was from this same bloodline (David: Godís chosen king) that the Branch (Jesus) was born. In fact both Joseph (Jesusí earthly father) and Mary (Jesusí earthly birth mother) were born in this same kingly family. You see David had a wife named Bathsheba who had a son named Solomon who through his children brought Joseph into the world. And it was also Bathsheba who had a son named Nathan whoís children were responsible for bringing Mary into existence.
So Jesus was God but He was born into this world to live and grow just like the rest of us. Now He was a typical person, born a baby Who developed into a child Who developed into a teenager Who developed into a man, but He dedicated Himself very early in life to doing what God the Father in Heaven (that part of Him in Heaven) wanted Him to do. And as He grew in size and knowledge He also developed His communication path between the Heavenly Father and Himself through the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of God). And it was through the Holy Spirit that He did everything that He did. And everything that He did was of God and therefore it was of the goodness of God (righteousness). So all the miracles that He did on this earth were done through the powers of God that He had available to Him through the Holy Spirit. And we, being people, also have the same capability as Jesus did to do great and mighty things through the Spirit of God (since He was also a people)... but the only thing stopping us is our lack of dedication to God.
There is so much Scripture that I would like to share with you but time and paper is running out. But maybe just a few more words from Isaiah. Reading from chapter 50 verses 1-9 we can see what Jesus said about Himself, before He was even born, on how He was going to do what He eventually did while considering the fact that He started off as a baby. Thus saith the LORD...The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smitters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine advisary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up."
You see Jesus was God but in a little different form. He voluntarily gave up His position in Heaven so that He could be like us but with one exception: He would win the battle with Satan that Adam and Eve lost. He took on an impossible job that none of us will ever totally understand how truly difficult it was. But going on to Isaiah 53:1-5 we can see just a little bit more of the lifestyle God took on as He became a child and then a man called Jesus. Starting with verse 1 and reading, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
So the picture that I am trying to paint in your minds is that Jesus was not the type of person that anybody would make themselves into if they were God. Do you get what Iím saying? If we were God, and had the power to do anything and everything that we wanted to do, would we voluntarily choose to be born a baby and go through the very tough process of growing up just so we could be crucified on a cross?
I am doing such a terrible job of saying what I want to say but Iíve got to wrap it up. Going back to Philippians: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." God made Himself into a child and this child had to learn and grow just like the rest of us. He had to go through all the stages of development; from total dependence on His mother to total dependence on His Heavenly Father. His thought process developed from the simplicity of a child to the full blown Mind of God. God did this and He did it because He loved us.
Itís just too mind boggling to comprehend but the truth of the matter is that it happened. And in closing, reading from Hebrews 1:1-3, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high..."
Jesus the Son of God created the universe. He created everything that we know about (through our awesome space adventures) and even the part of it that we donít know about. Jesus did it all, and likewise the only one equipped to handle a job that size is God. The Christian Science people (and many other religions too) can believe what they want to believe but the truth of the matter is that my God is three in one: He is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. And because of that one fact the rest of what the Bible says is all very understandable. You see He is a Great and Loving God Who will go so far as to make Himself a baby and suffer a life of abuse and ridicule so that we might have just one more chance at that place called Paradise. Heaven is real, itís the Paradise that we lost so many years ago, a place where we will never grow old or die, and we can go there if we will only accept The Truth.
So for those of you who refuse to worship Jesus as God letís read the Scripture of Philippians 2:8-11 one more time, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father."
Whether you like it or not, sooner or later, you will worship Jesus as God. Their ainít no doubt about it because the Good Book says that even Satan and his demons, as mean and nasty as they might be, will fall down on their face and worship Jesus as Lord God. So you see there just ainít no getting around it. You will do it sooner or later. But for those of you who do it now, for a limited time only, you will get free of charge a one way first class ticket to Heaven. What a deal of a lifetime!!! Donít miss it!!!
Thatís it... I quit.
Believe what the Word of God says; keep the faith, and keep your life.
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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