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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON TEN Christianity Is Christ

    1. Saving faith lays hold upon the person of Christ. Acts 16:29-31; John 3:18, 36; 1:12; 2:11; 6:29; 14:1; Galatians 2:16; Colossians 2:6, 7.TDOC 23.5

    2. Truth becomes living in the person of Christ. John 14:6; 18:37; 8:32, 36 (“the truth” in verse 32 is “the Son” in verse 36); Ephesians 4:20, 21.TDOC 23.6

    3. Christ is himself the reality of all doctrines. 1 Corinthians 1:30; Jeremiah 23:5, 6.TDOC 24.1

    4. All the blessings of the gospel are found in Christ. Ephesians 1:3, 7; Philippians 3:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 2:9, 10.TDOC 24.2

    5. Preaching the gospel is preaching Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:23, 24; 2:1-5; Galatians 1:15, 16; Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 1:27, 28; Philippians 1:15-18; Acts 5:42; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Acts 8:5; 11:20; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Acts 19:13.TDOC 24.3

    NOTES: The embodiment of Christianity

    “Study Christ, for Christianity is Christ. All the truths of Christianity, all its motives, all its glory, are summed up in him. He is its alpha and omega; the embodiment of all it teaches, all it prescribes, all it promises.”TDOC 24.4

    “Christ embodied the perfection he taught, and embodies the glory be promises. He is his own religion; the object of its faith, its love, its hope; the soul and secret of its life.”TDOC 24.5

    The truth “in Jesus.”

    “The truth is God personalized in his Son.”TDOC 24.6

    “The truth, in its absolute substance, stands revealed and accessible to all men in the incarnate Word.”TDOC 24.7

    “Truth, the highest truth, the truth it most concerns Christian men to know, is ‘in Jesus.’ Truth can never be rightly known when separated from him.”TDOC 24.8

    “Truth is not a thing of mere words, a string of formula, as the long-established principles of law.”TDOC 24.9

    “Truth, however, as will presently appear, stands here for no merely abstract quality, but is a concrete and eternal reality.”TDOC 24.10

    The life of truth

    “Back of all summaries of the faith, back of apostles and prophets, back of the writers of Holy Scriptures, earlier and later, there must be the life of truth-its eternal reality and root.”TDOC 24.11

    The substance of truth

    “From Jesus Christ in person Paul had received his knowledge of the gospel, without human intervention. In the revelation of Christ to his soul he possessed the substance of the truth he was afterward to teach.”TDOC 24.12

    The written and the incarnate Word

    “In Philippians 2:16 we have the expression, ‘The word of life.’ The same expression occurs in 1 John 1:1. It is here used of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, whereas, in Philippians it is apparently the written word that is spoken of. The written word and the incarnate Word are so identified in Scripture that it is not always clear which is referred to. The same things are said of each, and the same characters attributed to each. The fundamental resemblance lies in the fact that each is the revealer or tangible expression of the invisible God. As the written or spoken word expresses, for the purpose of communicating to another the invisible and inaccessible thought, so Jesus Christ as the incarnate Word, and the Holy Scriptures as the written word, express and communicate knowledge of the invisible and inaccessible God.”TDOC 24.13

    “He is the living power back of creeds, theologies, philosophies, the truth.”TDOC 25.1

    A sevenfold revelation

    “Studying the whole manifestation of God in Christ, we are led, especially in John’s Gospel, to conceive him as light, life, love, righteousness, wisdom, power, and glory-a sevenfold revelation. Christ comes forth from the bosom of the Father, makes an end of law for righteousness unto every one that believes, and brings life and immortality to light.”TDOC 25.2

    Fact and truth

    “The gospel is not speculation, but fact. It is truth, because it is the record of a Person who is the truth. The history of his life and death is the one source of all certainty and knowledge with regard to man’s relations to God, and God’s loving purposes to man.”TDOC 25.3

    Not philosophy

    “The gospel is redemptive fact, not philosophy. It is only apprehended in its own proper sense and scope as it is seen to be a work of grace linked to the divine-human person of Christ, starting in his birth, running through all his history, coming to its consummation and crown in the glory of his ascension one grand, continuous work.”TDOC 25.4

    The person

    “Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, as the object of faith; Jesus, dwelling in the heart by the Spirit, as the object of love; Jesus Christ returning for us, as the object of hope, such was the simple and comprehensive evangelist.”TDOC 25.5

    “What we receive, when from human lips we hear the gospel and accept it, is not merely the word about the Savior, but the Savior himself.”TDOC 25.6

    “Christ is the sum of all Christian teaching, and where the message of his love is welcomed, he himself comes in spiritual and real presence, and dwells in the spirit.”TDOC 25.7

    “Christ is himself Christianity; not any scheme of doctrine to which rightly his name is affixed. His Saviourhood resides, not in his words as such, but even in the mysterious constitution of his Person.”TDOC 26.1

    All blessings and gifts “in Christ!”

    “Whatever perfection of righteousness, whatever depth of peace, whatever intensity of joy, what great fullness of divine knowledge, reveal the power of the Spirit of God in the spiritual life of man, every spiritual blessing has been made ours in Christ.”TDOC 26.2

    “We cannot get his gifts without himself.”TDOC 26.3

    A personal Savior

    “The power of redemption is lodged, not in theories of the atonement, nor in theologies, nor in doctrinal systems, nor in confessions, nor in creeds, nor in sermons, nor even in the Bible as such. These all are but finger-boards. One is our Savior, even Christ.”TDOC 26.4

    “Christ offers himself, not in the way of mere verbal sympathy, but as the absolute, personal source of all true and solid comfort.”TDOC 26.5

    The Christian teachers theme is not to be a theory or a system, but a living Person. One peculiarity of Christianity is that you cannot take its message and put aside Christ, the speaker of the message, as you may do with all men’s teachings. His person is inextricably intertwined with his teaching, for a very large part of his teaching is exclusively concerned with, and all of it centers in, himself. He is not only true, but he is the truth. His message is, not only what he said with his lips about God and man, but also what he maid about himself, and what he did in his life, death, and resurrection.”TDOC 26.6

    A threatening error

    “The, error that was threatening the Colossian church, and has haunted the church in general ever since, was that of fancying Christianity to be merely a system of truth to be believed, a rattling skeleton of abstract dogma, very many and very dry. An unpractical heterodoxy was their danger. An unpractical orthodoxy is as real a peril. You may swallow all the creeds bodily, you may even find in God’s truth the food of very sweet and real feeling; but neither knowing nor feeling is enough. The one all-important question for us is, Does our Christianity work? It is knowledge of his will, which becomes an ever active force in our live.”TDOC 26.7

    Our need

    “What we poor men need! A certitude of a God who loves us and cares for us, has an arm that can help us, and a heart that win. The God of pure theism is little better than a phantom, so unsubstantial that you can see the stare shining through the pale form; and when a man tries to lean on him for support, it is like leaning on a wreath of mist. There is nothing. There is no certitude firm enough for us to find sustaining power against life’s trials in resting upon it, but in Christ.”TDOC 26.8

    The science of salvation

    “Christ crucified for our sins, Christ risen from the dead, Christ ascended on high, is the science of salvation that we are to learn and to teach.”-Testimonies for the Church 8:287.TDOC 27.1

    The truths of the third angel’s message have been presented by some as a dry theory; but in this message is to be presented Christ the Living One. He is to be revealed as the first and the last, as the I AM, the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Through this message, the character of God in Christ is to be manifested to the world....TDOC 27.2

    “There is a great work to be done, and every effort possible must be, made to reveal Christ as the sin-pardoning Savior, Christ as the sin-bearer, Christ as the bright and morning star.”-Testimonies for the Church 6:200, 201.TDOC 27.3

    The Comforter’s witness to Christ

    “The Comforter bears witness to the Crucified. No other theme in the pulpit can be sure of commanding his co-operation. Philosophy, poetry, art, literature, sociology, ethics, and history are attractive subjects to many minds, and they who handle such themes in the pulpit may set them forth with alluring words of human genius; but there is no certainty that the Holy Ghost will accompany their presentation with his divine attestation. The preaching of the Cross, in chastened simplicity of speech, has the demonstration of the Spirit pledged to it, as no secular, or moral, or even formal religious discourse has.”TDOC 27.4

    The preacher’s theme

    “The true Christian minister has to preach the person and the office—Jesus the Christ. To preach Christ is to set forth the person, the facts of his life and death, and to accompany these with that explanation which turns them from being merely a biography into a gospel. So much of ‘theory’ must go with the ‘facts,’ or they will be no more a gospel than the story of another life would be. The apostle’s own statement of the gospel which he preached distinctly lays down what is needed—‘how that Jesus Christ died.’ That is biography, and to say that and stop there is not to preach Christ; but add, ‘For our sins, according to the Scripture, and that he was raised again the third day,’—preach that, the fact and its meaning and power, and you will preach Christ.”TDOC 27.5

    Preaching Christ and preaching about Christ

    “Thus there has been, to a great extent, text preaching instead of word of God preaching. The word ‘outside’ of us, instead of ‘dwelling’ in us. And our testimony is different in tone and power from that of the apostles and primitive Christians; for their testimony was in the Spirit and of Christ according to Scripture, while ours has become testimony concerning the Bible in reference to Christ and the Holy Ghost. The apostles spoke of Christ, and confirmed and illustrated their testimony by the prophecies of Scripture. They looked to the Man in the first place, and secondarily to the portrait given of him in the Book. Whereas the pseudo apostolic preaching fixes its own eye and that of the hearer in the first place on the Book, and deduces from it the existence and influence of the Person. The impression in the one case is: that the preacher announces a message from Christ, who is a reality to him; and this his experience of Christ, he asserts, is according to Scripture. The impression in the other case is that Isaiah, Paul, John teach, according to the preacher’s exposition, such and such doctrine. The one is preaching Christ; the other, about Christ. The one is life and spirit; the other is possible without the spirit and vitality. The one is testimony; the other is an exposition of another man’s inspired testimony. The one is preaching the word (with or without text); the other is text-preaching without the word. Paul preached Christ; our tendency is to preach that Paul preached Christ.”TDOC 27.6

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