Archive for January, 2009

The Doctrine of Christ

Resurrection and Ascension
Greg Brandenburg
Grace Community Church Tyler
January 18, 2009

1 Cor.15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.

Did Jesus have a physical body after His resurrection?

Yes but not one that would be subject again to death unlike previous people who were resurrected such as Lazarus. Christ’s resurrection is unique in that way which is why He is referred to as the “first fruits” of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Cor.15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 15:21 For since death came through a man, 11  the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 12  15:22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him.

Christ said “I am the resurrection and the life” Jn.11:25


We know that when we die our spirit lives on in the presence of the Lord. But that is not our ultimate state – God did not intend for us to live detached from a physical body. Our ultimate destiny is an eternal physical existence on a new earth that is free from the distortion of sin (Rom.8:21) just as Christ is enjoying now. Our physical existence is not evil – God intended for us to have bodies and His creation is good.

See Rev.21 ( for a description of the new heaven and earth
What is the doctrinal significance of the resurrection?
1. Through Christ’s resurrection, we have hope for a life beyond death
1 Pet.1:3 Blessed be 8  the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1:4 that is, 9  into 10  an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, 1:5 who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Eph.2:5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! 16 2:6 and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
“When God raised Christ from the dead, He thought of us as somehow being raised ‘with Christ’ and therefore deserving of the merits of Christ’s resurrection.” – Grudem p.264
2. Christ’s resurrection insures our justification
Rom.4:25 He 1  was given over 2  because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of 3  our justification. 4 
Christ’s resurrection was the sign of God’s acceptance of His sacrifice

Phil.2:8 He humbled himself,

by becoming obedient to the point of death

– even death on a cross!

2:9 As a result God exalted him

and gave him the name

that is above every name,


“There was no penalty left to pay for sin, no more wrath of God to bear, no more guilt or liability to punishment – all had bee completely paid for and no guilt remained.” – Grudem p.265


So to be “raised up with Him” (Eph.2:6) means that we too are seen as having no penalty to pay, no wrath to bear, no guilt or liability. I’m with Him!


3. Christ’s resurrection guarantees us a body like His


 See 1 Cor. 15:12-58


Where did Christ go when He ascended?
He lived on earth for 40 days – Acts 1:3 then ascended into heaven in the presence of His disciples Luke 24:50-51. He now sits at the right hand of the Father Heb.1:3 in the glory which was His before the incarnation – Jn.17:5.
The right hand of God gives Him authority over all things
Eph.1:20 This power 55  he exercised 56  in Christ when he raised him 57  from the dead and seated him 58  at his right hand in the heavenly realms 59  1:21 far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
What is the significance for our lives? 
The power to live free from enslaving sin and the fear of death: Phil.3:10; Rom.6:4, 11-14
Encouragement to continue “steadfast, immovable, and abounding” in the work of the Lord – 1 Cor.15:58 So then, dear brothers and sisters, 34  be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Don’t get too caught up in the things of this life – Col.3:1 Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 3:2 Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, 3:3 for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ (who is your 1  life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him.
Christ ascension to heaven secures a place in heaven for me John14:2-3
The Doctrine of Christ 

The Atonement
Greg Brandenburg
Grace Community Church Tyler
January 4, 2009
January 11, 2009
Was it necessary for Christ to die? What happened in the atonement? Did Christ descend into hell?
I. Definition
A. The action of Christ in His life and death that secured our salvation.
II. Cause
A. God’s love
John 3:16
B. God’s justice
Fellowship with God could not be restored without the payment of the penalty for sin.
Rom. 3:25-26 – God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, {[25] Or as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin}through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–  26  he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
III. Necessity
It was not necessary for God to save anybody – 2 Pet.2:4 – God did not spare angels
Two motivations: God’s love and the fact that we were created in His image
Once He decided to save – then it was necessary for Christ to die (consequent absolute necessity)
Mt. 26:39 – Jesus prayed “if it is possible, let this cup pass…” – clearly it was not possible
Luke 24:25-27 – “Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer these things?”
A better sacrifice than the blood of bulls and goats (Heb.10:4) is required
IV. Technical Things
A. Active obedience – Christ ‘s obedience for us
Securing forgiveness only would not grant us access to heaven. Perfect obedience is required to maintain fellowship (see Adam and Eve)
We need a clean slate (forgiveness) but also get positive, active moral righteousness. His righteousness becomes ours. We get the penalty paid but also get to enjoy perfect standing with God as if it never happened.
If a perfect sacrifice was all that was needed, Christ could have died a day after birth.
B. Passive obedience – Christ’s suffering for us
1. At the cross
He experienced suffering not just at death but His whole life in this fallen world. (Heb.5:8)
b. the weight of sin
2 Cor.5:21 – 21  God made him who had no sin to be sin {[21] Or be a sin offering}for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
God the Father considered our sins to be Christ’s
c. abandonment
Mk.14:34 – my soul is sorrowful unto death
Mt. 26:56 – all the disciples fled
Mt. 27:46 – my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
d. bearing God’s wrath
the concept of “stored up wrath”
Heb.2:17 – 17  For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for {[17] Or and that he might turn aside God’s wrath, taking away}the sins of the people.
1 Jn.2:2 – 2  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for {[2] Or He is the one who turns aside God’s wrath, taking away our sins, and not only ours but also}the sins of the whole world. 
1 Jn.4:10 – 10  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for {[10] Or as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away}our sins.  
each verse has the word hilaskomai – a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God making God favorable (propitious) toward us
Our Need His Remedy
Sentenced to death by our sin Sacrificed to pay the penalty – Heb.9:26
Under God’s wrath Propitiation takes away wrath – 1 Jn.4:10
Separated from God Reconciled – 2 Cor.5:18-19
In bondage to sin Redeemed – Mk.10:45; Heb.2:15
V. Views of the Atonement
A. Penal substitution – Christ bore our penalty when He died as our substitute. AKA vicarious atonement
B. Ransom to Satan – the ransom Christ paid to redeem us was paid to Satan
1. No confirmation in scripture
2. few supporters in the history of the church
3. Satan requires the payment rather than God
4. Gives credit for great power
C. Moral Influence Theory -Christ’s death was a way for God to show how much He loves us. God did not require a payment for sins. Our grateful response gains our salvation.
1. Contrary to scripture
D. The Example Theory – God did not require a payment for sin. Christ’s death is an example of how we should trust and obey God.
1. Christ is an example for us, but not just an example.
2. Teaches that man can save himself
E. The Governmental Theory – Christ’s death did not pay the price of sins but He suffered to show that when God’s laws are broken there has to be some kind of penalty
1. Contrary to scripture
2. Changes the atonement from satisfying God’s justice
VI. Did Christ Descend To Hell?

suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell. [See Calvin]

The third day He arose again from the dead;


The phrase was not used in the creed widely until after 650. Before then “descended into hell” may have been synonymous with “He was buried.”


Arguments against the idea:

Lk.23:43 – “today you will be with Me in paradise”

Jn.19:30 – “It is finished”

Lk. 23:46 “into Your hands I commit My spirit”


1 Pet.3:18-20 – For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,  19  through whom {[18,19] Or alive in the spirit, [19] through which}also he went and preached to the spirits in prison  20  who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

Roman Catholicism – Christ went to limbo to give those in waiting a second chance

(see current teaching on limbo )

Lutherans – Christ descended to Hades to pronounce a sentence of condemnation

Anglicans – Christ went into the paradise side of Hades to teach the full truth of salvation


It seems best to restrict these preaching to the time of Noah’s flood (v.20). 

It could be literally that the preincarnate Christ preached through Noah the way of salvation from the flood.

Or figuratively that Jesus preached in the power of the Spirit the way of salvation during His life but the people were just as unresponsive as those in Noah’s day

The Doctrine of Christ
The Person of Christ – Fully God and fully man
Greg Brandenburg
Grace Community Church
Christmas Carols:
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining – O Holy Night
Rejoice, Rejoice, Immanuel has come to you O Israel – O Come, O Come Immanuel
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled – Hark the Herald Angels Sing

The Person of Christ – Fully God and fully man

A. Humanity
1. Virgin Birth
Conceived in the womb of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit with no human biological father.
Mt. 1:18  This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. (Lk.1:34-35; 3:23)

Why a virgin birth?
a. this can only be from God
b. the only way to unite humanity and deity
c. Avoids inherited sin

2. How human was He?
a. Human body
born like babies are born
he experienced being tired, hungry, thirsty, all the stuff that comes with our bio presence
He came back to life physically and although perfected it was still a physical body – Lk.24:39

b. human mind
Luke 2:52 – he increased in wisdom
Heb.5:8 – he learned obedience

c. had human emotions

He was not 50/50 – He was 100/100 God and man
Docetism – heresy that Jesus was not a man
1 John 4:2-3 – This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  3  but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
Why it is important to understand Jesus as fully man:
Representative obedience – As in Adam all sinned, by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous – Rom.5:18-19
Substitute sacrifice – Heb.2:16-17

3. Sinless
Heb.4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.
1 Pet.3:19 a lamb without blemish or defect.

Rom.8:3 – “in the likeness of sinful flesh”
Could He have sinned?
Impeccability – not able to sin
If He was fully God, was He able to sin?
James 1:13
Jesus could not have sinned because He was never less than fully God.
Nevertheless, the temptations were real because He overcame them with the power of His human nature (thirst, hunger, pain are all issues for a human, not God).
The temptations, while intended for evil on Satan’s part, were allowed by God to verify the perfect humanity of the Son of Man.
B. Deity
1. Direct claims
a. Theos – John 1:1 with 1:14-18; Titus 2:13 13  while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
b. Kurios – Lk.2:11; Mt.3:3 John quoting Is.40:3
c. Other claims – Jn.8:57-59 (I Am); the Son of Man – see Mt.26:64-66 and Daniel 7:13-14
2. Attributes displayed
a. Where did Jesus reveal omnipotence? (calming the storm, water to wine, multiplied food)
b. Where did Jesus reveal omniscience? (He knew who would betray Him, knew the Samaritan woman had many husbands)
c. Sovereignty? He forgave sins, He spoke as one having authority (instead of saying “so says the Lord” He said “but I say to you.”
3. The kenosis – Phil.2:5-7
Jesus did not give up attributes of God in order to become a man. He merely “took on the form of a bondservant.”
4. Why is it important to understand Christ as fully God?
a. to bear the full penalty of sin of all who would believe
b. salvation is from God alone – no man can save, not even himself
c. a perfect mediator would require someone who is 100% God and 100% man
5. Why is it necessary that Christ is fully God?
a. only infinite God can bear the penalty of sins – infinitely
b. salvation is only from God
c. a true mediator between God and man requires it
C. The Incarnation
1. Inadequate view of the person of Christ
a. Arianism – Christ, though superior to all creation, was created at some point by the Father
b. Apollinarianism – Christ had a human body but a divine mind and spirit (see Heb.2:17)
c. Nestorianism – two persons in Christ – one human, one divine
d. Monophysitism – the human nature of Christ was absorbed by the divine nature leaving one synthesized nature
2. Chalcedonian Definition (451 A.D.)
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood;
truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body;
consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
in all things like unto us, without sin;
begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;
the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ;
as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.