Class Notes: 1/13/2010
The Names and Titles of TLJC cont....
John 1:14 - And the Word (undiminished deity) became flesh (true humanity), and dwelt among us (the Incarnation), and we (James, Peter, and John) beheld His glory (the visual manifestation of the Uniform of Glory), glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (Bible Doctrine).
In our previous lessons we reviewed the doctrines that relate to TLJC in his first advent when he was incarnated via the virgin birth as celebrated on Christmas.
Christmas is about how God so loved the world that he gave his uniquely born son. It is about how God became human in order to solve the problem of man's of separation from God and man's inability to do anything about it.
Christmas is about what God did to resolve man's problem and how he did it while maintaining his perfect integrity that is composed of his perfect righteousness, his perfect justice and his perfect love.
Christmas is about the person of TLJC. It is about knowing him personally as he is revealed in the Word of God who has existed from eternity. John 1:1;
We started our study with a discussion of the doctrine of the virgin birth that was necessary for there to be no transmission of the OSN and then took up the doctrine of the hypostatic union that explains the mechanics of how undiminished deity and true humanity reside in the person of TLJC and then discussed the doctrine of the kenosis that defines God the Father's protocol for the deity and humanity of TLJC in hypostatic union.
In the context of these doctrines, we are now looking at the names and titles for our Lord Jesus Christ so we can see more clearly what God has done for us through him, so we can more completely understand who TLJC is and what he has done for us and from our knowledge of him have our confidence established in him by being occupied with him. Heb 12:2;
Both the Old and New Testaments provide us with names and titles for TLJC and it is from these we are given a clearer awareness of Jesus' person, His deity, His humanity, the hypostatic union and His mission as the Messiah, the King of Israel, the Head of the Church, and the Savior of mankind.
When we stopped last time we were discussing Jesus' title as "the head of the church"
We saw that the New Testament describes the church as a living organism and Jesus as the living head of His spiritual body in Eph.1: 22; Eph 5:23; Col 1:18; Eph 4:15; Col 2:10,19;
As the head of His body, the church, Jesus sustains, protects, guides, and is the source of the church's life.
John 10:28, "I give unto them eternal life. They shall never perish; furthermore, no one shall ever pluck them out of My hand."
In the body and head analogy, church age believers have a common purpose, a common plan and a common life.
The source of our motivation and direction comes from the head, Jesus Christ, just as the real you is your soul where you make your decisions.
The analogy of the body of Christ and Christ as the head emphasizes the organic union of the royal family, and therefore its common life and common purpose.
Being in union with Christ, we are interrelated with Him just as the human body is interrelated with the head.
In the analogy, the body is totally dependent upon the head to provide the thinking, motivation, decisions, and execution of the PPOG.
Just like in the human body where each member has a specific and individual function and each member, though different, is necessary.
All members take their orders from the brain, but all by nature serve the other parts of the body and exist solely for the function of the whole.
The Church is one body, the body of Christ. Every believer is placed "in Christ" at the moment of salvation.
1Cor 12:13; For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
The Head and the body metaphor pictures the unity of believers and the authority of Christ.
Rom 12:5; so we, who are many, are one body in Christ and individually members one of another.
Another title for Jesus is "the door"
In John 10:9; Jesus metaphorically referred to himself as "the door" when He said, "I am the door. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."
In the context, He was speaking about the door of a sheepfold and of himself as the good shepherd.
Sheepfolds were often caves or, when constructed on open ground, were built in areas that were enclosed by bushes or other dense growth that would function as a barrier to wild animals who would attempt to carry away the sheep.
The "door" to the sheepfold was simply an open space in the barrier, where the shepherd slept at night. He slept there to provide protection for the sheep.
No wild animal could reach the sheep through the opening while the shepherd was there to ward it off and no sheep could wander out of the sheepfold into danger while he was there.
So when Jesus said, "I am the door," He was telling us that He Himself was the only way one could enter and he was the One who guards and protects His own and that anyone who enters by Him will be eternally secure in their salvation. John 10:27-29;
Another title of Jesus is "the first fruits"
In 1Cor 15:20-24; Paul refers to Jesus as the "first fruits".
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
The principle of the "first fruits" was recorded in the Mosaic Law.
The firstborn child or animal or first parts of any crop were considered by God as holy and belonged to God.
The first fruits, as a foretaste of more to come, were offered to God in thanksgiving for his goodness in providing them Exod 13:2; Exod 13:12-13;
The entire tribe of Levi from which came the Levitical priesthood was exchanged for all of the first born in Israel. Num 3:42-45;
The wave sheaf offering that occurred on the first day of the week during the Passover Feast was the first of the annual first fruit offerings. Lev 23:10-14;
This was also the day that TLJC was resurrected after 3 days and 3 nights in the grave.
The Feast that is called Pentecost is really the Feast of First fruits. Lev 23:15-21;
This is also the day that the Holy Spirit was sent 10 days after our Lord's ascension.
In 1Cor 15:20; Jesus in his resurrection is portrayed as the "first fruits," that is, the first installment of a harvest to eternal life. As Jesus was resurrected, so will all those who believe in Him.
In verse 21, Paul goes on to state that "since by a man came death, by a Man also came the resurrection of the dead."
It was only because Christ became a man and shared our human nature that He was qualified to bear our sins on the cross.
It is through our identity with Christ the man who died and was resurrected who has ascended and now sits at the right hand of the Father that we have been freed from the slave market of sin and given new life through faith in Him.
It was Christ's resurrection as a man that made Him the first of the first fruits and he is guarantee that all who believe in him will be resurrected just like he is. 1John 3:2;
Another metaphor that Jesus used to describe himself was 'I am the true Vine"
In John 15:1; Our Lord refers to himself as a Vine and provides us with the metaphor of the Vine and the Branches.
With this metaphor we will not only see how TLJC is the Vine, but we will also see how we as believers relate to him as the branches of the vine.
John 15:1; "I (Jesus Christ) am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser."
The "vinedresser" metaphor portrays God the Father as the author of the PPOG.
The "vine" metaphor portrays the humanity of Jesus Christ during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union. The Vine is the basis for the production of divine good or "fruit bearing."
The vine metaphor emphasizes the fact that all precedence and all production of divine good in the Church age comes from the Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 15:2; "Every branch (believer) in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away
(discipline); and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it (suffering for blessing), that it may bear more fruit."
Fruit from the branch is a metaphor for the production of the Church age believer. However, no fruit (or production) can be any better than the vine that produces it.
Because of positional sanctification (our union with Christ) and the grace provision of the filling of the Spirit, it is possible for the believer to produce divine good.
The phrase "in Me" is a reference to the believer in union with Christ. We are the branches in union with the Vine, Jesus Christ.
There are two categories of branches described in the passage: branches that do not produce fruit representing dead works, or the function of production skills without spiritual skills, and branches that are producing fruit representing divine good, where spiritual skills are the basis for production skills.
The branch in Christ that does not bear fruit represents the believer who does not produce divine good. Dead works do not bear fruit and are punishable by divine discipline.
God the Father removes all dead wood and dead branches, branches that produce dead works.
He removes the dead works through punitive suffering under the law of volitional responsibility, which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery,
and divine discipline.
John 15:2; "Every branch (believer) in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away (discipline); and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit "
Pruning is necessary for the proper redistribution the "energy" for production. The branch that bears fruit must be pruned occasionally so that the spiritual skills will increase to the maximum possible potential.
This pruning is suffering for blessing. Just as God provides divine discipline and punitive action for the one who bears no fruit, He also provides suffering for blessing for the fruit bearer.
John 15:3; "You are already clean (saved) because of the doctrine (the gospel) which I
have spoken to you."
Nothing the believer's life before salvation should be a hindrance to their production of
divine good, because they have been cleansed from their past.
Everything they did before salvation has been completely wiped out.
Isa 43:25; "I, even I, am the One who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake;
and I will not remember your sins."
The things that are done after salvation are dealt with through 1John 1:9 and Phil 3:13;, "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead."
John 15:4; "Abide in me (stay in fellowship), and I in you (a mandate for cognition of
Bible doctrine). Just as the branch can not bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me."
The fact that "Abide in Me" is a command indicates that this is an experience
after salvation that is dependent on our volitional decisions and it is not a reference to positional sanctification that is a permanent result of regeneration and therefore is not dependent on our ongoing volition.
We are never commanded to be in union with Christ because we are irrevocably placed into union with him at the moment of our salvation.
This is a command to remain in fellowship with God through the use of 1John 1:9; in order that divine good may be produced in our lives.
The believer can only produce divine good when filled with God the Holy Spirit. The "branch in Christ" described in John 15:2 is the believer in positional sanctification;
When the branch is commanded to "abide" in Christ, the believer is being commanded to enter into experiential sanctification through the filling of the Holy Spirit and the application of Bible Doctrine.
The phrase "I in you" is a mandate for the believer to learn and metabolize Bible doctrine. When we have Bible Doctrine, the "mind of Christ," in our souls, Christ abides in us.
Our Lord demands that His thinking be in us. The Vine has provided for us the precedent, the pattern, and the information necessary to produce divine good.
Just as the Lord produced divine good, we can also produce divine good. However, we cannot produce fruit apart from the function of spiritual skills: the filling of the Spirit; the perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine; and the execution of the PPOG.
John 15:5; "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me (fellowship with
God), and I in him (through residual doctrine), he bears much fruit; for apart from Me
you can do nothing."
Here the "Vine and Branch" metaphor is repeated. Our Lord is the Vine; we are the
branches. Abiding in Christ is the filling of the Spirit. Christ "in us" is a result of
cognition of Bible doctrine. These spiritual skills are required for us to produce what this verse calls "much fruit."
The phrase, "for apart from Me you can do nothing," refers to dead works that are the function of production skills without spiritual skills.
The production of divine good is a grace provision from God, so it meets God's perfect standards. God provides the means for bearing fruit through the filling of the Holy Spirit, the cognition of Bible doctrine, and the attainment of spiritual adulthood.
John 15:6; "If anyone does not abide in Me (the believer out of fellowship), he is thrown away like a branch (the judgment of the dead works of a believer), and dries up; and they (angels) gather them, and cast them (dead works) into the fire, and they are burned."
The believer who does not abide in Christ is out of fellowship and therefore lacks
the first spiritual skill, the filling of the Spirit. All dead works are judged and burned at the Judgment Seat of Christ immediately after the exit resurrection of the church.
2Cor 5:10; For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be rewarded for his deeds done in the body, on the basis of what he has done whether good or worthless.
Many things in life that are considered commendable by other believers are absolutely
worthless before God because they do not measure up to divine standards.
The drying up of the branch in John 15:6; refers to the believer without spiritual skills who "dries up" through the production of dead works.
Production skills minus spiritual skills equals dead works.
John 15:7; "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you."
There are three concepts revealed in this verse: the believer in fellowship, the
believer in doctrine, and the believer in prayer.
"Abiding (or remaining) in Christ" is a reference to the Church-age believer in fellowship with God.
The word "abide" is used because the filling of the Holy Spirit only occurs when the believer resides in the PPOG. Being filled with the Spirit is synonymous with living in the PPOG.
The believer has fellowship with God on the basis of the fact that the Holy Spirit controls their soul. The believer in fellowship can perform good deeds and Christian service, which are produced in the execution of the PPOG.
Only the filling of the Holy Spirit can produce divine good. The filling of the Holy
Spirit is the first spiritual skill, and the only way through which the believer can have
fellowship with God.
"My words" in verse seven are the thinking of Christ, or Bible Doctrine. Therefore, the
phrase, "My words abide in you," is a reference to consistent PMA or inculcation of Bible doctrine. This is the second spiritual skill.
The third spiritual skill is the execution of the PPOG by advancing through the three stages of spiritual adulthood (spiritual self-esteem, spiritual autonomy, and spiritual maturity).
Spiritual maturity results in maximum fruit bearing in three categories: visible production of divine good, which can be seen by others who observe the believer's Christian service; invisible production of divine good, which has maximum impact in life; and prayer.
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