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October 15, 2022 7:00 am
Well, the da Vinci code movie, which opened last weekend has become as popular as the book upon which it's based. The film took in a whopping $77 million on his very first weekend and that was in the United States alone worldwide the film gross $224 million in its very first weekend, making it the second largest movie to debut in history. Second, only behind the last Star Wars movie return of the Sith. Now Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman of Sony pictures that made the movie said and I quote he said to beat all the Harry Potter films to beats all of the Lord of the rings films is just beyond our wildest dreams.
He went on to say whatever the controversy that surrounded the movie, the public has taken the movie over now and they are embracing it." Well for Mr. Blake's point of view the movie's popularity is a good thing because Sony pictures is making a lot of money from my point of view the movie's popularity is a bad thing because it's filling people's minds with theological error at an alarming rate. People who were so un-taught biblically that they are going to tend to believe what Dan Brown says about Jesus Christ and Christianity and the Bible at face value. Last week, a reporter on PBS's religion and ethics said and I quote she said most people will see the da Vinci code as an entertaining movie. But they will also leave the theater with questions about where the truth really lives." The friends this is the reason why were doing a three part series here entitled cracking up the da Vinci code and really my purpose in doing this series is twofold. Number one I want to make sure that you are sitting here today that you understand and know the real truth about the issues the Dan Brown raises a number two I want to create a resource tool CDs tapes that you can give to your friends or neighbors or coworkers and your relatives to help them fight all the lies that are told by Dan Brown in his book and if you missed last week we talked about the integrity of the Bible. Last week we dealt with Dan Brown's theories about how the Bible was twisted and rewritten in the fourth century by men with sinister political motives, and we saw that none of his theories hold any water. In this regard. If you miss that. I want you to go out in the lobby and pick up a copy of last week's message right after were done and also while you're out there. We have lots of other resources for you to of the best are books 1st by Dr. Darrell Bock of Dallas seminary, and second, a book a little red book by Josh McDowell. But there are lots of stuff out there pick it up and use it. Today we want to go on in part two to talk about the true nature of Jesus Christ.
Now let's begin by asking the question will what is the issue really anyway while the issue is that the Bible claims that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God himself wrapped in human flesh, but in his book Dan Brown takes issue with this.
The claims number one that Jesus Christ himself never claimed to be God.
He claims number two but at the beginning of the Christian faith. Jesus's followers never regarded him as God.
He claims number three that the Roman Emperor Constantine convened a council at Nicaea in 325 A.D., at which time the leaders of the early church reinvented Jesus, making him into a divine figure instead of just a mortal man and they did this to solidify their own power base and finally Dan Brown claims number four.
The Jesus was so human that he married Mary Magdalene and had a daughter with her those of the issues so really there to questions we want to ask today. The first one deals with the issue of Jesus and Mary Magdalene were they really married and did they have a daughter listen to what the Dan Brown says in the da Vinci code and I quote he said the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is part of the historical record, Jesus and Magdalene were a pair.
The early church carried on a smear campaign against her branding her as a prostitute. The church needed to defame Mary Magdalene in order to cover up her dangerous secret he continues. The church needed to convince the world that the mortal prophet Jesus was a divine being. So the church perpetuated Mary Magdalene's image as a whole or and buried evidence of Christ's marriage to her because a child of Jesus would undermine the critical notion of Christ's divinity. This Dan Brown says is the greatest cover-up in human history." Now what about all of this. What about Dan Brown's claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Well, we should say at the beginning that even if Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and even if they had sex as a married couple that that fact in no way would disqualify Jesus from being the incarnate son of God or from having lived a sinless life. The Bible is clear that God considers marriage to be a holy institution. God considers sexual relations with in marriage to be a holy activity. This is why the Bible says Hebrews 13 for marriage is honorable in all ways, and the marriage bed is holy, however, as we just seen Dan Brown wants to use this theory that Jesus was married first of all to reinforce his point that Jesus was a mere mortal, and second of all to reinforce his claim that because the Bible covers this up.
Therefore the Bible cannot be trusted to give us a true and accurate picture of who Jesus really is so was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene, will focus there is absolutely no historical evidence anywhere to support this fact. In fact, one of the few things on which both conservative and liberal theologians agree and they don't agree on much but one of the few things they agree on is that Jesus was single.
Dr. Kate Janssen, author of the book, the making of Mary Magdalene. To my knowledge, not a believer in Jesus and I quote there is no historical evidence. Archaeology or letters and no evidence is sin number one for historian. She says there is no evidence that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, or had a child with her." In an article in USA Today Amy Wellborn off the road decoding, Mary Magdalene and the best of my knowledge, not a believer in Jesus said and I quote the Gospels are all very forthright about Jesus is familial relations and they don't hide the existence of Mary Magdalene, either.
If they Jesus and Magdalene had been married, there would have been no reason to hide that fact and friends. What evidence does Dan Brown bring to the table to prove in his theory, the Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married when yours is evidence that I quote the Gnostic Gospel of Philip calls Mary Magdalene.
The companion of the Savior is any Aramaic scholar will tell you the word companion in those days, literally meant spouse" now, since I did my PhD work to Johns Hopkins University in the area of Hebrew and Aramaic. I would like to make a couple of comments at this point, if I may, in fact, I'd like to say for things. Number one, I'd like to say that the Gnostic Gospel of Philip that Dan Brown refers to here was not written in Aramaic. It was written in Coptic, a dialect of ancient Egyptian number two since that's true we don't even know what Aramaic word for companion Dan Brown's talking about because the gospel of Philip doesn't use any Aramaic word bird. I'd like to say that even if the Aramaic word for companion were used that that word literally means friend of and of the best of my knowledge is never used anywhere to refer to a man's wife and finally the word that is used in the Gospel of Philip and translated companion is actually a Greek word that the Coptic language borrowed from the Greek language and what's interesting is that the Greek language has a very specific word for wife.
The word Pune and it is not the word that is used here in the gospel of Philip to refer to Mary Magdalene uses along what you're saying.
If I understand you correctly, is a Dan Brown presents no evidence to support his claim.
Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.
Is that right folks. That is absolutely right Dr. Bart Ehrman, chairman of religious studies department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, not a believer in Jesus and I quote, not a single one of our ancient sources indicates that Jesus was married, let alone to Mary Magdalene and finally Dr. Darrell Bock Dallas theological seminary, and I quote what is the likelihood Jesus was married. The answer is short non-" and that leads us friend to our second question for today and that is what about this idea. The Dan Brown puts forth that the bishops who all came together at the Council of Nicaea that they reinvented Jesus in 325 A.D. and made him a divine being. When before that his followers did not consider him to be that listen to what Dan Brown says and I quote, he says, until the Council of Nicaea, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet, a great and powerful man but a man nonetheless a mortal Jesus's establishment is the son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea, Jesus's divinity was the result of a vote and a relatively close vote at that and why would these bishops have wanted to redefine Jesus like this will Dan Brown says and I quote establishing Jesus's divinity was critical to the further unification of the Roman Empire and to the new Vatican power base. It was all about power. He says they that is the bishops literally stole Jesus from his original followers hijacking his human message shrouding it in an impenetrable cloak of divinity and using it to expand their own power. Brown concludes what I mean is that almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false." Now this really happen to the Council of Nicaea redefine Jesus in 325 A.D. us being God in the flesh or is this what the church believed about Jesus from the very beginning well and give you the evidence friends. The truth is that the Council of Nicaea did not redefine Jesus in any way.
In fact, the deity of Christ was not fluid issue during the first three centuries of the early church leading up to the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. to the contrary, the doctrine of the deity of Christ was set in concrete, from the very beginning of Christianity, and is far as the evidence. Let me put this into the record. First of all, from the first century A.D. we have the writings of the New Testament, Titus chapter 2 verse 13 calls Jesus are great God and Savior. The apostle Paul says.
Colossians 294 in Christ all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form and you might say when it will suck some stuff… What logic you do that because Dan Brown says that the new Testaments been twisted that the new Testaments been changed so you can present the New Testament is evidence because he says that's all part of the plot. Okay, fair enough. Let's go then look at the early church fathers living between 100 A.D. and the Council of Nicaea in 325 and let's see what they said all right 105 A.D. Ignatius said God himself was manifested in human form. 150 A.D. Clement of Rome wrote it is fitting that you should think of Jesus as God 180 A.D. RNA is said Jesus is God as his name Emmanuel, God with us indicates into 25 A.D. origin said no one should be offended that the Savior is God into 50 A.D. Cyprian said he referred to Jesus Christ as our Lord and our God in 304 A.D. lack temperature said we believe him to be God and that's just a smattering of the evidence friends. The point is that there was no disagreement or confusion among the leaders of the early church when it came to the deity of Jesus Christ. Maybe you know the name Polycarp.
Polycarp was born in 69 A.D. he was a personal friend of the apostle John in 155 A.D. at the age of 86 years old. Polycarp was arrested by the Roman authorities taken before a statue of Caesar, and told that he must either bow down and worship Caesar as God, or else they would kill it. Polycarp refused saying that Jesus was God, not Caesar. The Roman official of the general though the commander would arrested him was so impressed with his age 86 years old, felt sorry for him that he literally begged Polycarp to please reject Jesus so that his life would be spared. Polycarp said and I quote for 86 years I have been his servant, and he has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me and so they burn them alive at the stake. That's pretty strange and that during the 250 years prior to the Council of Nicaea. Isn't it interesting that Polycarp and thousands of other Christians just like him, died for the deity of Christ that they died for a theological idea that Dan Brown claims didn't even exist yet venting into giant listen Dan Brown's claim that Jesus's establishment is the son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea. That claim is absolute rubbish, you say okay long within what the world was a counselor I see about any I've heard more about the Council of Nicaea in the last month that I want to hear about it.
What was the crazy thing about well let me tell you, the Council of Nicaea actually met to deal with a fellow named areas.
Areas was a church leader in Egypt.
He began teaching that Jesus was not truly God and his heresy developed an enormous following. Particularly in Egypt, he was opposed by Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, and the conflict in Egypt became so acrimonious that Emperor Constantine called a church council to deal with this and bishops came from all over the Roman Empire to this Council and friends rather than redefining Jesus as Dan Brown claims they did at this conference. Actually the bishops what they really did is they reaffirmed Jesus. They reaffirmed the full and utter deity of Christ, that the church had believed in the church had preached from the very beginning and the exiled areas in all of his followers for the rest of their life from the Roman Empire for teaching heresy. The Nicene Creed, in part, reads, and I quote that was developed at this Council. We believe in one God the father, the Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, true God of true God, begotten, and not made who is of the exact same substance Homo Lucius in the Greek the exact same substance as the father." And by the way the boat the Dan Brown says was relatively close was actually 300 to 2 I would call that close would you friends. Where did the early church get this idea the Jesus was Jehovah God in the flesh, they just make it up. No, the early church got this idea directly from Jesus himself. Listen to what Jesus said in John chapter 5 verse 17 Jesus said to them, my father works on the Sabbath and I do too. I'm working also. For this reason, the Jewish leaders trot all the mortar killing because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own father, making himself equal with God. John chapter 10 Jesus said I am the father of one.
Therefore, the Jewish leaders once again picked up stones to stone him. Jesus said to them, I have shown you many good works, for which of them are you stoning me and they replied for good work were not stoning you but for blasphemy because you a mere man are claiming to be God. John chapter 14, Philip said to Jesus, Lord, show us the father and we will be satisfied and Jesus answered Philip have I been with you this long and you still don't know who I am. He who is seeing me has seen the father. I don't know how you say it any clearer than that folks don't you ever let anybody my friend tell you that Jesus Christ never claimed to be God. The truth is Jesus claim to be God everywhere he went. This is why the Jewish rabbis who heard them talk every single day. This is why that because they knew exactly what he was claiming. This is why every time he opened his mouth. He picked up rocks to throw at all of what CS Lewis, the famous Oxford professor said and I quote he said 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.
Each of us must make the choice. CS Lewis says either this man was, and is the son of God, or else he is a madman or something worse.
But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.
He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to."
And so let's summarize friends. The Council of Nicaea did not redefine who Jesus is.
Dan Brown claims that up until the Council of Nicaea, Jesus was viewed by his followers as nothing more than a mortal man. Dan Brown also claims that the at the Council of Nicaea that they voted the deity of Jesus into existence by relatively" and as we have seen today.
Both of these claims are utterly untrue. The church's position on the deity of Jesus Christ has never changed my friends from the day in which Jesus spoke the words of John chapter 5 from the day when Jesus spoke the words of John 10 from the day in which Jesus spoke the words of John 14 the Church's position always has been, what the apostle Paul said in Colossians 29 that in Jesus Christ all the fullness, deity dwells in bodily form and if this is what your father taught you been friends what your father taught you about Christ is right. It's right now to conclude, let me say that you know to claim to be Jehovah God in the flesh is one thing to prove it is a completely different thing. That's why the Bible says, Romans chapter 1 verse three. The Jesus was authenticated with power to be the son of God, how by his resurrection from the dead. In other words, one of the key reasons Jesus rose from the dead.
My friends was to prove to you and me and every other human being alive that he is exactly who we claim to be in the Bible. A Buddha is still in the tomb and did Mohammed is still in the tomb and did Confucius still in the tomb and dead so's Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian science Charles Tate is Russell, the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses. So is George Bernard Shaw Karl Marx Rabbi Schneerson and every other rabbi to ever live there all still dead and in the two and you know what we say here, follow a dead Savior and you'll end up just like you. I said that the only creative thing I ever said now the great news of the Bible is we all have a dead Savior. The great news of the Bible is we have a living Savior. We have a risen Savior, and the converse is just as true follow a living Savior and you'll end up just like him. This is why Jesus said in John 1419 because I live forever. You who believe in me. You're going to live forever to friends. If you're here today and you're already a follower of Jesus Christ. I got some great news for you.
The great news is that Dan Brown is wrong that Jesus Christ is exactly who the Bible says he is and that your eternal destiny is utterly secure in the hands of Jesus Christ.
And if you're here today and you're not a follower of Jesus Christ. Well, I got some great news for you to the great news is Dan Brown is wrong. Jesus Christ is exactly who the Bible says he is and he's got a fabulous offer for you and here's his offer. John 1125 I am the resurrection and the life.
Jesus said here comes the offer.
He who believes in me will live in eternity even though he dies here on earth. Now you get a better offer man so you know before you leave today my friend if you're here and you've never trusted Jesus, we want to give her the opportunity to take God up on his offer right here right now before you leave. So let's bow our heads together. Let's close our eyes. If you're here today and you want to take the risen Christ up on his offer of eternal life, and what were going to do is I'm going to lead us in a short little prayer.
I'm gonna pray out loud. I want you to pray silently one little phrase at the time and regular trade in all of your human effort in order to trade in all your religious activity and instead were going to embrace the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to pay for your wrongdoing and your gonna become a follower of Christ and activate his promise that because he lives forever. Now that you believe in him you will to. So here we go on the pray out loud you pray silently had spelled eyes close to go or Jesus, I come to you today because I want eternal life. I want to know for certain that when I leave this earth. I am going to live forever in heaven with you and so right now I turn from my own human effort in my own religious activity is my strategy for getting eternal life, and I embraced Jesus Christ and what he did for me on the cross, shedding his blood to pay for my soon. I am brace that is my only payment for soon and my only ticket to heaven.
I open my life to you today.
I surrender my heart today and I invite you into my life to be my personal Lord and Savior in Jesus name I pray. Father, I want to pray for the folks who pray that prayer that you would confirm in their heart and spirit right now as they sit here that a great transaction has taken lease in the heaven that they have been transferred is John 524 sales from death into eternal life, and father.
I want to pray for all of us here that you would remind us that the Bible is telling us the truth that Jesus is who he said he is the Dan Brown's book is a bunch of lies and that there is absolutely no reason for our eternal confidence to be shaken or in any way move you can handle.
Our eternal destiny. It is utterly safe in your hands because you are the risen Savior. The living Savior, and because you live every one of us who've trusted you. We will live also. Lord encourage our hearts with the truth and we pray these things in Jesus name, amen