The Christ of God

by Mike Ratliff

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:18-20 ESV)

Those with discernment will have to admit that in these last days it appears the table is being set for one big religion as our dear brother Ken Silva shows us here. Today I witnessed much discussion about Beth Moore’s “prophecies,” but mostly about her warning her followers about those troublemakers (those with discernment who point out the unbiblical nature of what she is saying) who doubt what she is saying. Much of the discussion has been directed toward this “big, persecuting church” in the last days in relation to the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, let us not forget that there are many who claim to be “christian” who agree that those doing the discernment work are “interfering” and “over reacting.”

We must never forget that only those who have the truth of God written on their hearts can see the veracity of His Truth. Only they have the ability to escape the delusion that is swiftly coming upon the earth. With all the false teaching going on right now it is important that we know more about the real Christ of God so that we will recognize the impostor. We will do that in this post along with the markings of a genuine disciple, one who has the truth of God written on his or her heart.

1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. 4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6 ESV)

The New Testament Church was begun by God working through Jesus’ Apostles. They had a divine commission to preach the Gospel accompanied by miraculous works. These men obeyed God and, after Jesus ascended to the Father, they planted churches. When they began these ministries they appointed pastors and elders to shepherd their flocks. These pastors and elders were not given the same commission that the Apostles received. From the time of the first pastors and elders to the end of the age, the Church is supposed to operate in this model.

However, back to this passage. Jesus sent the 12 out to preach and heal. They were commissioned and given everything they needed for the task by God. I have always found it interesting that Jesus instructed them to shake off the dust from their feet for a testimony against those who would not receive the Gospel. They did not change their message in order to appease those who objected to what they preached. Instead, they simply preached the Kingdom. Those who rejected it were given testimony by the shaking off of the dust from the disciple’s feet that they were not of the Kingdom.

In our first evidence that marks the Christ of God is that He already has a Kingdom and it is not of this world. This Kingdom is made up of those who receive Him as their Lord. Those who refuse to receive the real Jesus are excluded from this Kingdom.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8 by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him. (Luke 9:7-9 ESV)

The Christ of God is not subject to earthly rulers in any way. The only time that He was ever under their authority was from the time of Judas’ betrayal until the Resurrection on the third day. When our Lord returns He will not seek alliances and compromises with earthly kings. Instead, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When He returns everyone will know that. Herod was perplexed by Jesus mighty works. We know that the counterfeit Jesus who fools the world actually does seek alliances with earthly kings. He does try to found a world empire. The Lord Jesus Christ already has His Kingdom and it will be fulfilled when He returns.

10 On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9:10-17 ESV)

The Christ of God minsters to His subjects. He does not lord it over them. He heals them and feeds them. Notice that Jesus does not force people to worship Him. The counterfeit will kill those who refuse to worship him. The mighty works of the Christ of God are for the building up of the saints and the glory of the Father. The mighty works of the counterfeit will be to awe the deluded and make people follow him.

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:18-20 ESV)

In this passage we see a poignant moment, a defining moment if you will, in our Lord’s ministry. He has sent the disciples out to preach and heal and they were empowered by God to do so. Then just as they return the large crowd comes upon them. Then our Lord ministers to them and feeds them with just a few loaves and a couple of fish. Then we find Him alone praying. It is as if we are to see the next words from His lips being born from this time alone with the Father. He asks two questions of the disciples. The first was to get the disciples to see that the perception of the crowds of who Jesus was, was very different than reality. Did our Lord go around telling everyone who He was, demanding worship? No, he healed the sick, raised the dead, and preached the Kingdom. These were all fulfillment of prophecy from the Old Testament revealing that He is the Christ, but the people’s sights were much lower. They concluded that He must be a great prophet.

Then Jesus asks the second question, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter got the answer right the first time. He said, “The Christ of God.” We know from Matthew 16:16-17 that Peter got that answer right because it had been revealed to him by the Father. Those born of the Spirit have faith that has been quickened by God. He works in believer’s hearts in their regeneration making them New Creations. All in Christ are now able to not sin. Why? That which is not of faith is sin, but believers can walk by faith instead of by sight. When they walk by faith they are not walking in the flesh. It is these people who are alive and remain at the return of Christ who will have no trouble recognizing Him as the Christ of God.

On the other hand, those deluded into following the counterfeit Christ will not be seeking Jesus the Christ of God, but will be looking for another Jesus who will unite mankind into one government and one religion that encompasses all of the religions of the world. He will become the focus of them all. Jesus Christ says that only those who know Him as the Christ of God, not some other way, are His.

21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:21-26 ESV)

Jesus informed the disciples that what Peter said about Him being the Christ of God was true, but they must not tell anyone. Of course they were to tell the truth about Him after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Then our Lord tells them that His future glory as the Christ of God must come after He suffers many things and is rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. Then He tells them and us that if we are to come after Him then we must also deny ourselves and take up our crosses and daily and follow Him. He is telling us the that there is a high cost to genuine discipleship. That cost is our lives. We are to live as if we are nailed to the cross with our Lord, that is, to be dead to this world and alive to God. It is a walk defined by submission to others as Jesus commands. It is a walk of being immersed in the Word of God and prayer. It is a walk of utter obedience to Him even if it costs us our lives.

What are the marks of those who want Jesus, but not this life of discipleship? These are the ones who seek to save their earthly life for themselves. They seek the world and its ways. They are ashamed of Him and His words. On the other hand, the genuine disciple of the Christ of God loses His life or the rights to His life in order to gain Christ. The Genuine Christ of God will return in His glory. The counterfeit Jesus will not do this. Instead, he will simply become famous and adored and powerful. Even so, he will not be seen coming in the clouds in great glory as our Lord will.

27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” 28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”— not knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. (Luke 9:27-36 ESV)

About eight days later the Lord took Peter, John and James up on a mountain to pray. As the Lord was praying, the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white. Moses and and Elijah appeared in glory and spoke of His departure through the events about to come in Jerusalem. This was the fulfillment of Jesus’ words to the disciples that there would be some standing there listening to Him who would not taste death until they saw the Kingdom of God. This was their very brief glimpse into the reality of our Lord’s Kingdom. Then a voice came from the clouds saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” This is the mark of a genuine disciple. He or she listens to the Son. Jesus said that He was the vine and His disciples are the branches attached to the vine. Genuine disciples remain in the vine, the abide in Christ. They mourn over their sin. They repent. They obey their Lord.

The Christ of God is Lord of all. Those who are His follow Him because they know His voice. However, they will not follow a stranger because they don’t know his voice. When the counterfeit Jesus comes he will be a stranger to the sheep of our Lord’s fold. On the other hand, those outside of this fold are fair game. Later, our Lord made the following statement.

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish. ’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. 34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35 ESV)

My brethren, the Christ of God is going to return. Those who are His will recognize Him because they are not looking for Him to return as a man, even a powerful charismatic man. No, they are looking for Him to return in His glory. Those who are genuine disciples of the Christ of God are the ones who have counted the high cost of discipleship and seen that, even so, it is far better to lay up treasure in Heaven instead of here on earth so they commit their lives in every part to the Lord’s glory. In contrast to that commitment, their love for others and the things of this world is much lower. This commitment goes as far as bearing ones own cross out of the city. This is an analogy of dying to self to the point that self-focus is overcome with devotion to the Lord. Please read this passage from Luke 14:25-35. Mediate on this as you prayerfully ask God to show you the areas of your life that you have not surrendered to Him. Jesus says that He is Lord of all or not Lord at all. This should sober us up quite a bit my brethren.

The Christ of God says that only those who trust in Him for their salvation, not their works, are His. The counterfeit Jesus will demand worship as god, but will do so with the threat of death if one does not. The Christ of God says that we are to walk by faith and trust Him now and when are joined with Him when He returns, we will worship Him because He is God and is worthy. I pray that God has spoken to your heart from His word as you read this humble piece. I pray that you will not worry or be fearful of the man of sin. We must trust that God will keep us from the great deception when it comes. Even so, Come soon Lord Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria!

3 thoughts on “The Christ of God

  1. Amen, thought provoking and convicting… Lord, I pray we are true to your word and walk I your ways!

  2. Excellent Mike…I am printing this to hand out. May the Lord uphold us, strengthen us, and guide us ’til the end. There is much going on in the world, but I am reminded that this world is not my home; for that I am grateful…

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