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Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus – Lunatic, Liar, or Lord.?

The world describes Jesus Christ as a good teacher or a moral philosopher. They’ll heap praises and accolades on Him, calling Him a religious revolutionary who changed the world with a philosophy of self-sacrifice and unconditional love. Mahatma Gandhi saw Jesus as a great moral teacher but not more than that.

But is this idea of Jesus being a good moral teacher sufficient?

C.S. Lewis described the inherent foolishness of claiming Christ as nothing more than a good teacher in his book Mere Christianity. He wrote:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Jesus is the central figure of Christianity. He was born in Bethlehem, Israel, about 2,000 years ago. John 1:1 says “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh.” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Thomas the disciple declared to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. The apostle Paul describes Him as, “…our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The apostle Peter says the same, “…our God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). God the Father is witness of Jesus’ full identity as well, “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the sceptre of your kingdom.’” Old Testament prophecies of Christ announce His deity, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

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The Hound of Heaven – Francis Thompson

THE HOUND OF HEAVEN

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

   I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

   Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

             Up vistaed hopes I sped;

             And shot, precipitated,

Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,

   From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

             But with unhurrying chase,

             And unperturbèd pace,

     Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

             They beat—and a Voice beat

             More instant than the Feet—

     ‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’.

             I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
   Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
             Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
   The gust of His approach would clash it to:
   Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
   And troubled the gold gateway of the stars,
   Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars;
             Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;
   With thy young skiey blossom heap me over
             From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
   I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
   Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
   Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
          But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
     The long savannahs of the blue;
            Or, whether, Thunder-driven,
          They clanged his chariot ‘thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
   Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
             Still with unhurrying chase,
             And unperturbed pace,
      Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
             Came on the following Feet,
             And a Voice above their beat—
‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’

I sought no more after that which I strayed
          In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
          Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
         With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;
          Let me greet you lip to lip,
          Let me twine with you caresses,
              Wantoning
          With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
             Banqueting
          With her in her wind-walled palace,
          Underneath her azured dais,
          Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
             From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
             So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.
          I knew all the swift importings
          On the wilful face of skies;
           I knew how the clouds arise
          Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
             All that’s born or dies
          Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful divine;
          With them joyed and was bereaven.
          I was heavy with the even,
          When she lit her glimmering tapers
          Round the day’s dead sanctities.
          I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
          Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine:
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
          I laid my own to beat,
          And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
          These things and I; in sound Ispeak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
          Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
          The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
             My thirsting mouth.
             Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
             With unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
             And past those noisèd Feet
             A voice comes yet more fleet—
          ‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.’

Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou has hewn from me,
             And smitten me to my knee;
          I am defenceless utterly.
          I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
          I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amidst the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
          Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
          Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amarinthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
          Ah! must—
          Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
          From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
          Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
          But not ere him who summoneth
          I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
          Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
          Be dunged with rotten death?

             Now of that long pursuit
             Comes on at hand the bruit;
          That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
          ‘And is thy earth so marred,
          Shattered in shard on shard?
          Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

          ‘Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
‘And human love needs human meriting:
          How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
          Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
          Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
          Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
          All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
          Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’

   Halts by me that footfall:
   Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
   ‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
   I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’

The Sinner’s Prayer

ACTS 16:30-31

30and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”…

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.  I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

In your name, amen.”

If you prayed this prayer or have questions, please contact us.

Preaching like Paul

Excerpt from Acts 17: 16-33

The Apostle Paul is, next to Jesus, clearly the most intriguing figure of the 1st century of Christianity. The primary impact he has left on Christianity after him is through his letters. The more we learn of Paul, the more we have understood him in his writings. Paul, however, did not consider himself to be a good preacher (2Cor 11:5-6); others were not impressed by his preaching (2Cor 10:10). However, when we read the Book of Acts of the Apostles, we see the immense

I have come up with seven points for which we can understand how Paul preached, and how we can be his followers.

  1. Paul was greatly distressed: What is the first thing you got to do when you want to evangelise? You need a heart to evangelise. The greatest need for humanity is to know the Lord. unless we are not distressed we can never evangelise fruitfully. David Wilkerson in his sermon “A Call to Anguish” says that “All true passion is born out of anguish.” Unless there is no distress in our lives, we cannot go out and reach out to God. God calls us to first be distressed over the place that we are in. As an Indian, I can relate to what Paul went through to see so many idols everywhere. And yet, I have often failed to be distressed. We are not called to be concerned but distressed. Like Nehemiah who was distressed when he heard that the wall of Jerusalem was broken. Like Abraham when he heard that Sodom is going to be destroyed. Like Jeremiah when he was put in the well and like Jesus when he cried and prayed for all of humanity.
  1. Studied the crowd: – When Luke mentions that the Athenians and the foreigners were philosophers doing nothing but learning new ideas – they in-fact studied the crowd. They identified as to what sort of people that Paul is going to address. As Christians, we are to get our homework done before presentation. This is important because we would want them to understand us and hence we got to understand them.
  1. 24. Appreciation: How many of us can actually look at something that we are distressed and turn into something that encourages listeners. Paul exactly did that. Before he presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he appreciated what they have. We do this in order to build a conversation and to create attention. I have noticed that many preachers and evangelists directly condemn the religious acts and then don’t get any audience. In fact, Paul appreciated that they were very religious and then bridged that he is going to speak to them about the very inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD to them.
  1. 24ff The Message: Never compromising on the message. Someone rightly said that if your message does not have the cross then there is no message. Nowadays, there are messages that teaches you how to live a good life on this earth. There are a lot of feel-good messages especially those that comes from the west. When anyone is not convicted of their sins and repent – they have not yet understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  1. 28-29 Knowledge: Paul used his scholarly skills to introduce Jesus Christ to them. He quoted Epimenidus who was a semi-mythical philosopher or seer from the 7th or 6th BCE. Paul also quoted Aratus who was a Greek didactic poet. Today, many such preachers do not even have a clue of what the other religions or philosophy are about. As Karl Barth said somewhere, “read the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.” If we are serious about evangelism, we got be serious about how we do it.
  1. 30: A Call to Repentance: As earlier mentioned, there is no Gospel without the cross and a call to repentance. The cross and resurrection is central to the Gospel and no one will be saved outside of this.
  1. v32 – Some will follow: There will always people who will sneer, mock and persecute. But there are also people who will listen and submit themselves to God.