A. Introduction: A few days before Jesus was crucified, He made a lengthy statement in which He outlined
some of the signs that will indicate His return to this world is near. One of those signs is false christs and
false prophets who show great signs and wonders as they proclaim false gospels. Matt 24:4-5; 11; 24
1. Jesus’ second coming draws closer with each passing day. Are you familiar enough with Jesus and the
gospel He proclaimed to be able to recognize false christs, prophets, and gospels? Would you be able to
recognize a counterfeit supernatural event?
a. If you are not familiar with Jesus as He is revealed in the New Testament, and with the gospel as He
He preached it according to the New Testament, then you are not equipped to deal with the religious
deception ahead.
b. Therefore, to make certain that we are equipped, we’re beginning this year with series on the
importance of becoming a regular, systematic Bible reader, especially the New Testament.
1. To read regularly means to read for 15-20 minutes as often as possible. To read systematically
means to read each book of the New Testament from beginning to end over and over.
2. Don’t worry about what you don’t understand. Don’t stop to look up words. (You can do that
at another time). Just keep reading. You’re reading to become familiar with the text, because
understanding comes with familiarity, and familiarity comes with regular, repeated reading.
2. To motivate you to read and to increase your confidence in what you read, we are also looking at how the
Bible came into existence—especially the New Testament. The New Testament documents (27 books
and letters) were written by eyewitnesses of Jesus (or close associates of eyewitnesses).
a. These men walked and talked with Jesus (the real one). They saw Him die and then saw Him alive
again. What they witnessed transformed their lives. Their testimony was: We saw and heard
Him! We touched Him! We ate and drank with Him! Acts 2:32; Acts 10:38-41; I John 1:1-3; etc.
b. Christianity is based on a verifiable historical reality—Jesus’ resurrection. When His resurrection
is examined with the same criteria that is used to assess other historical events, or in the same way
evidence is examined in a court of law, the evidence for the resurrection is powerful and convincing.
3. Luke 24:46-48—On the day Jesus rose from the dead He commissioned His apostles (the eyewitnesses)
to tell the world what they had seen. And He gave them a vital message to proclaim.
a. Jesus commissioned them to preach repentance and remission of sins. Repentance means to
change one’s mind or purpose and turn from sin. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection,
remission (or the wiping out) of sin is now available to all who repent and turn to Jesus.
b. These men followed Jesus’ instructions and, after He returned to Heaven, they went out to proclaim
what they witnessed to the world. The apostles spread their message orally at first because they
lived in an oral culture, one in which information and events were memorized and shared orally.
1. They did not set out to write a religious book. They began to write the documents that make up
the New Testament as part of their efforts to proclaim Jesus’ death and resurrection.
2. As news of Jesus’ death and resurrection spread, new believers wanted more than one oral
testimony or teaching when an original apostle visited their city. Written documents greatly
expanded their reach and insured that their eyewitness testimony would be preserved.
A. The four New Testament books known as the gospels give historical information about
Jesus from His birth to His public ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and return to Heaven.
B. The epistles were letters written to people who became believers through the efforts of the
apostles. They give further explanation of teachings done in person, answer questions
people had, and dealt with moral and doctrines issues that arose.
c. These eyewitnesses preached and wrote so that men and women would believe on Jesus—trust Him
for salvation from sin so that they can live forever with Almighty God.

1. John 20:30-31—Jesus’ disciples saw him do many other miraculous signs besides the ones
recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah,
the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life (NLT).
2. These men wrote so that people will believe that Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ) and the Son of
God. In this lesson we’re going to look at what those two terms mean. Our goal is to gain a
fuller understanding of who Jesus is—according to the Bible.

B. Jesus professed to be both the Messiah (the Christ) and the Son of God (John 4:25-26; John 9:35-38). And,
His first followers came to believe that Jesus was and is the Messiah and the Son of God (Matt 16:13-17).
What does it mean that Jesus is both the Messiah (the Christ) and the Son of God?
1. One of the most important points in accurately understanding the Scripture is the fact that everything in
the Bible was written by someone to someone about something.
a. Therefore, we must always consider what the text would have meant to the people to whom it was
first spoken or written. To determine what it means that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) and the Son
of God, we have to examine how first century men and women understand those terms.
b. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and informed her that she would give birth to the Son of
God, the angel instructed her to name Him Jesus, which means Savior (Luke 1:31). Joseph (to
whom she was betrothed) received the same instruction (Matt 1:21).
1. Christ is a title that was added to Jesus’ given name. Christ is from the Greek word Christos
which means anointed. When the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek in
the 3rd and 2nd century BC the Hebrew word for anointed (mashiyach) was translated christos.
A. Among the Jews, anointing with oil was a symbol of consecration for sacred purposes.
Priests, kings, and prophets were all anointed with oil when they were set apart for those
offices. Anointing with oil was also a symbol of endowment with the Holy Spirit.
B. Those Old Testament offices foreshadowed Jesus as our High Priest, Prophet, and King.
Following His baptism, Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost. Matt 3:16-17; Acts 10:38
C. The Old Testament prophet Daniel also used the word mashiyach (anointed) in a prophecy
about the promised Redeemer (Savior). Dan 9:25-26
2. The KJV renders the Hebrew word as Messiah, the Anointed One. The Greek form of the
word Messiah (Messias) is used twice in the New Testament (John 1:41; John 4:25). The
name Christ (Christos) is used instead of Messiah throughout the rest of the New Testament.
c. The name Son of God is used two ways in regard to Jesus. It refers to the fact that Jesus is God
Incarnate (Matt 14:33; Matt 16:16; John 1:49). It also refers to the fact that God is the Father of
Jesus’ humanity (Luke 1:32-35).
1. Two thousand years ago, God entered time and space, took on flesh (a full human nature) and
was born into this world. Jesus is God become man without ceasing to be God. Jesus is fully
God and fully man. While on earth He lived as a man in dependence on His Father God. John
1:1; John 1:14
2. Jesus became a man (took on flesh) so that He could die as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus’ death
opened the way for men and women to be freed from the penalty and power of sin and restored
to God through faith in Christ. Heb 2:14-15; I Pet 3:18; John 1:12-13
3. In the culture Jesus was born into, son often meant on the order of or one possessing his father’s
qualities (I Kings 20:35; II Kings 2:3; Neh 12:28). They understood the phrase to mean
sameness of nature and equality of being (Eph 2:2-3; Eph 5:6-8). That’s why the Jews took up
stones to stone Jesus when He referred to God as His Father (John 10:33; John 5:18; etc.).
2. Before we continue, we need to make some comments about God. The Bible reveals that God is one
God (One Being) who simultaneously manifests as three distinct Persons—the Father, the Word (the

Son), and the Holy Spirit.
a. These three Persons are distinct, but not separate. They co-inhere or share one Divine nature.
They are Persons in the sense that they are self aware and aware of and interactive with each other.
1. God is not one God who manifests three ways—sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son,
and sometimes as the Holy Spirit. You can’t have one without the other. Where the Father is,
so is the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is all God and so is the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2. This is beyond our comprehension because we are talking about the infinite God who is eternal
and without limits—and we are finite or limited beings. All efforts to explain the nature of
God fall short. We can only accept what the Bible reveals and rejoice in the wonder of God.
b. My intention in this lesson is not to do a teaching on what is referred to as the doctrine of the Trinity
(the oneness of Being and distinctiveness of Persons in the Godhead). My goal is to show clearly
that Jesus is God and that His eyewitnesses knew it and believed it.
1. This transcendent, infinite, invisible God wants to be known. He has revealed Himself to us
through His Word, the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s clearest expression
of Himself to mankind. He is the visible manifestation of the invisible God. Col 1:15
2. Heb 1:3—He (Jesus) is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature (Amp). Very
image in Greek refers to the imprint made by a stamp. Jesus is the exact representation of the
Father, the same essence with the Father, since He is God. Col 2:9
3. Paul the Apostle was not one of the original apostles. Jesus appeared to Paul two to three years after the
resurrection and Paul became a believer and a zealous preacher of what he saw, as well as what Jesus
taught him in subsequent appearances. Acts 9:1-6; Acts 26:16; Gal 1:11-12
a. Paul wrote 14 of the 21 epistles (letters) in the New Testament. In his epistles, Paul recorded
several creeds (statements of beliefs) and hymns which date to within two or three years of Jesus’
b. These oral traditions were in use before the New Testament documents were written. These early
traditions tell us what Jesus’ followers believed about Him from the very beginning—right after He
returned to Heaven—before any inspired writings were penned.
c. Consider one, Phil 2:6-11. This creed makes it clear that the first Christians knew that Jesus is
God become man without ceasing to be God.
1. v6-7—According to this creed, Jesus was in the form of God, but took on the form of a slave
and was made in the likeness of men.
A. The Greek word translated form (morphe) literally means shape. When used figuratively
it means nature. A number of Bible translations translate the word that way—Who being
in very nature God (NIV; 20th Century; Montgomery); For he, who has always been God
by nature (Phillips); He was God (NLT);
B. The word likeness describes more than mere similarity or resemblance. Jesus truly
became man. Jesus differed from the rest of humanity only in the sense that He was
sinless, not only in behavior but in nature—like Adam and Eve before they sinned. 2.
v8—He was found in fashion as a man. Fashion refers to external conditions. In outward
appearance or condition, Jesus was no different than any other man. Jesus looked like a Jewish
carpenter. He needed food and sleep. He was tempted to sin and He died. Mark 4:38; Mark
11:12; Heb 4:15; etc.
A. He humbled Himself and took a lower, subordinate position for the purpose of securing our
redemption through His death on the Cross. He limited Himself to all the limitations of
being human.
B. Because the Holy Spirit formed the human nature of Jesus in the womb of Mary, He did not
partake of fallen human nature. God was the Father of His humanity. Luke 1:35; Heb 10:5

4. You and I live two thousand years after Jesus came to earth. There have been and are countless debates
about Jesus’ nature. Is He God? Is He man? Is He less than the Father?
a. The eyewitnesses didn’t get caught up in all of that. Jesus’ original followers knew that He was and
is the God-man (fully God, fully man). He is the fulfillment of what was promised in the Old
Testament, Emmanuel, God with us. Isa 7:14; Matt 1:22-23
b. Paul recorded another creed in I Tim 3:16. A complete explanation of this verse requires another
lesson. For now, note one point that is directly connected to our topic: Great is the mystery of
godliness—God was manifested in the flesh.
1. The Bible is progressive revelation. God has gradually revealed Himself and His plan of
redemption through the pages of Scripture until the full light given in Jesus. Mystery refers to
something above human insight that can’t be known unless God reveals it. Godliness is used
figuratively in this verse to mean the gospel plan.
2. God’s plan was to incarnate and die for the sins of men and women. The Old Testament hinted
at this plan, but it wasn’t clearly revealed until it took place two thousand years ago.
c. Luke 20:41-44—Jesus, in one of the many encounters where the religious leaders of His day tried to
trap Him in His words, posed a question that stumped them: How can the Christ be David’s Lord
and David’s son? How do you explain that? They couldn’t, but we can.
1. God (David’s Lord) took on a human nature and was born into the family of David. Through
the mystery of the Incarnation, the Christ is both David’s Lord and David’s son.
2. The first Christians witnessed Jesus confirm everything He claimed about Himself by rising
from the dead—including the fact that He is God become man without ceasing to be God.
(Jesus) was declared to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead (Rom 1:4, NIV).
C. Conclusion: Jesus warned His followers that prior to His second coming false christs and false prophets
who perform signs and wonders will come on the scene and deceive many. Matt 24:4-5; 11; 24
1. We have a tendency to think of false christs as crazy people that no one will take seriously (especially
us). If that is true, then why does Jesus warn us to beware that no one deceives us?
a. Satan is able to transform himself into an angel of light, and his workers can appear as ministers of
righteousness (II Cor 11:13-15). Our only defense against deception is the Truth—the Living
Word, the Lord Jesus, Who is revealed in the written Word, the Bible. John14:6; John 17:17
b. Federal agents who work to stop people from making and using counterfeit money don’t study fake
money. They study genuine money to the point that they can instantly recognize a fake. We need
to do the same with Jesus. We must get to know Him as He truly is according to the Bible.
2. There are difficult times ahead for this world and there will be increasing pressure to abandon the real
Jesus. In John 6 Jesus made a lengthy statement about the fact that He is the Bread of Life and that His
followers must eat His flesh and drink His blood. (He was speaking figuratively of the union that will
occur between Himself and those who believe on Him. Lessons for another day.)
a. The point for our topic is this: Many of Jesus’ disciples did not understand His words and quit
following Him. This led Him to ask the twelve apostles if they too would leave. John 6:67
b. John 6:68-69—Peter answered: Where would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.
We believe and are sure that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
1. Because they knew Jesus as He truly is, they had the confidence to resist the pressures of a hard
teaching, the crowd walking away, and being left in the minority.
2. When you know Jesus as He truly is you will not only be able to recognize false christs who
preach false gospels, you’ll have the courage to stay true to Him no matter the pressure, no
matter the cost.
3. We have much more to say next week!!