The Christ of God

by Mike Ratliff

18 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
19 So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”
20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” Luke 9:18-20 (NKJV) 

Since this ministry has existed we have looked at the growing apostasy that appears to be consuming the Church. This has caused many of us anguish and grief along with some growing excitement in anticipation of the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, let us not forget that there are many who claim to be “christian” who view what we have been discussing and exploring as the very thing they are trying to accomplish. They view our exposition of it as “interference” and “over reaction.” Among the comments I did not post and ping backs that I refused were some who described our study as a growing train wreck or a study in delusion.

We must never forget that only those who have the truth of God written on their hearts can see the veracity of these things. Only they have the ability to escape the delusion that is swiftly coming upon the earth. Last evening I got into a discussion online with a fellow who had a huge problem with my theology. He was insulting. He called me names. He called me arrogant while I was very patient with him. All he did was return my kindness with rude remarks and insuations about me that, I suppose, were meant to anger me for some reason. When it became apparent that I was casting pearls before swine, so to speak, I politely left the conversation, however, I did not simply leave. I left a departing shot. I said, “I am not the one twisting scripture, but you are. I have shown you where you are taking credit for the very things that only the Holy Spirit or Christ could do. You will have to stand before our Lord and give an account in His timing. I pray you will repent before then because I fear you will not be able to stand on that day.” Why did I say that? This fellow’s Jesus was another Jesus, an imposter.

I came away from that compelled to write something about the real Christ in contrast to the counterfeit. It is important that we know more about Him 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 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece.
4 “Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
6 So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Luke 9:1-6 (NKJV) 

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 of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. 9 Herod said, “John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?” So he sought to see Him. Luke 9:7-9 (NKJV) 

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 that 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 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. 12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”
13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.”
And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men.
Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them. Luke 9:10-17 (NKJV) 

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 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
19 So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”
20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” Luke 9:18-20 (NKJV)

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 warned 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 be raised the third day.”
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:21-26 (NKJV) 

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 daily and follow Him. He is telling us 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 shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”
28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. 30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. 33 Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 36 When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen. Luke 9:27-36 (NKJV)

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 beloved Son. Hear 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. They know that without Him they can do nothing of eternal value.

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 multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the 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 to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Luke 14:25-35 (NKJV) 

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!

4 thoughts on “The Christ of God

  1. Thank you for your message. I hate what is happening in our country, but look forward with joy to the coming of our Lord. I can’t understand people that follow these shysters. They are so lost.


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