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Talking to a Younger Generation about the Divinity of Jesus | Ravi Zacharias and Francis Chan

– Come across an article
the other day where 56% of Christians in America,
in my generation and above, believe that Jesus is God. The rest of it, they believe that Jesus existed historically. And they believe that he
was a good, moral teacher, but they didn’t believe he was God. And then as I read further in
the article, the generations below us, only about 38%
believe that Jesus is God. They believed he existed historically, was a good, moral teacher. And so, when I read that I kind of look at where we are in America today. And maybe why we are the way we are, because we’re not seeing
Jesus from who he is as God. And as a pastor, hopefully
pastoring many more years here in the future, what am I
going to do to convince the generations that are up and coming the divinity of Jesus Christ? Which I think will help us get back to where we need to be as a country. And thank you. – (laughs) Where do you
want to go with that? (audience laughs) – If you just fix the country
Ravi, then we’ll be fine. (audience laughs) – [Audience Member] I don’t
want to be the one that’s– – I didn’t get the first
statistic was, did I hear 56? – [Audience Member] It was 56%. – Okay, and now it’s far below that. – In the 30s. – You know, actually
even that surprises me. I wonder whether that higher
percentage have thought through of what they are really saying. The divine Son of God,
the authority that title would give to him, and
therefore the imperatives that necessarily follow. You know, when people talk
about him as being a good, moral teacher, that’s always the most
puzzling description of all. You wonder whether they
have, think who was it? Was it Becky, that said
this morning about people who never even read the
gospel, but commenting on it. And taking implications from that. If they really believe, if
even 56% at that time, believed that Jesus was the Son of God,
then we didn’t do a very good job of spreading that message
and defending that message. But if they talk about him
being a good, moral teacher, then maybe his good, moral teachings, they actually consider bad. Because they don’t like to
abide by the moral teachings that Jesus had. I would say that it tells
you and me more and more, that in our preaching,
one way or the other, we have to be bringing in
the teachings of Jesus. And why those teachings are true. And why he is indeed who he claims to be. So that apologetic becomes very important at a time like this. Often times I find when
you’re for example, in the Presidential
Prayer Breakfast and all, there’s more and more of this move of having a pluralistic type of prayer. And people from other
places having equal voice at the Prayer Breakfast. Which it doesn’t often
uphold the Christian faith and Christian values. So I would say that it is important, (cough) my voice gave me trouble here. It is important for us, I
think I saw some water here. Give me a moment. – I’ll do that for you Ravi. – Thank you. It is important in our
speaking, teaching, and writing to defend who Jesus is, and why he is so. So often times I will say to people, when they are attacking
Christian democracy, and there’s a lot to attack historically. I’ll say, “Tell me what
you think of Jesus.” You know, what is it
really think of Jesus? And when they start pondering
that, it opens up an awful lot of possibilities for a genuine witness for the birth, life,
death, and resurrection. It is interesting in Mathew 16, when Jesus has spoken to Peter. And Peter has finally
recognized, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said, “Flesh and blood
has not revealed that to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” As soon as he makes that
recognition, the Bible says from that moment on, Jesus
began to teach about the manner of death that he should die. And Peter resisted that. So he just accepted who
Jesus was, then begins to challenge the path that Jesus
was actually about to take. And Jesus, from taking that
compliment, “Flesh and blood has not revealed that to you, but
my Father who is in heaven.” And then he turns around and
now says to him, “Get thee behind me Satan, you’re not
minding the things of God, but you’re minding the things of men.” So even those who recognize
his deity, had a difficulty in understanding the total
message and the mission. So you move on to the next chapter, okay? 17 there, Mathew, if I’m not mistaken. So at the end of 16, Jesus
says, “there are some who are standing here
who will not taste death til they see the glory of the
Son of God coming in glory.” And the very next chapter is the Mount of the Transfiguration. So he takes them up to the mountain, and Peter and James and John are stymied by this glimpse of a transfigured
Lord and Elijah and Moses. And after all of that
exhilarating experience, Peter said, “Let’s stay right here.” Peter the fisherman wanted
to become Peter the builder, he said, “I’ll build three
tabernacles here for all of you.” And Jesus basically
says, “We got to go down, there’s work to be done.” This Peter, this Peter, who
experienced probably one of the most exhilarating
encounters the human eye could ever have accommodated. Imagine being present at the
transfiguration of our Lord. He has seen this, the
most exhilarating thing, and to see Moses and
Elijah at the same time. This Peter tells us in his epistles, to set apart Christ in your heart as Lord. And always be prepared to
give a reason for the hope that is within you to anyone who asks, and do that with gentleness and respect. He gives us the definitive
statement of what apologetics is, meaning any experience has a shelf life. Because he says, “For now we have the word of the prophets made most certain.” “We were eyewitnesses to
his majesty, but now we have the word of the prophets
made most certain.” “And you’ll do well to pay heed to it, as to a light in a dark place.” So all of the experiences
were given a secondary place. The propositional truth
of Christ was given the primary place, because it is eternal. And the presentation of
Christ as the centerpiece, in answering all of the
questions, became the mission, I think of Peter himself. So I would say as wonderful
as our experiences are, we have to go back to the
sure word of prophecy, “For thy word abides forever.” Expository preaching is
the most powerful way to present who Jesus Christ really is. (audience applause) – Yeah, I’ll obviously echo that. I was going to say the same thing. (audience laughs) I actually was thinking
that the same line of like, we have to be so careful
with understanding what the Holy Spirit of God does. And only He has that power to do. Peter’s confession was like,
“Okay, I didn’t convince you of that, that came from heaven.” “That was a miracle, that you believe that I am the Son of God.” So we just have to be
so careful not to think that’s where apologetics has its place, and then there’s a stopping point to it. And we go, “Oh God, please, please.” Because it’s the spirits,
the natural man’s not going to get that Jesus is the Son of God. It just doesn’t happen that
way, heaven has to reveal it. And so we’re on our faces
begging God, “Please, please.” Because then, when the
Holy Spirit does that thing in your heart, then it’s like
my sheep will hear my voice. They’ll listen to truth,
they’ll actually accept the truth of who Jesus is. But on top of that too,
I think there’s almost a casual attitude about Jesus. Because of maybe not false
teaching in the church, but in complete teaching in the church. Where we may over emphasize
certain things about Christ , because we want to get
people interested in him. But in many ways, it can create like a casual attitude toward his deity. I was thinking about in John
5 verse 27, I’m sorry 22. “The Father judges no one,
but he’s given all judgment to the Son.” “That all may honor the Son
just as they honor the Father.” “Whoever does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him.” To just read the word of
God to someone who’s casual, “Well maybe Jesus this, maybe Jesus that.” It’s like, okay, let me explain something. I grew up in a church
where I just assumed awe, Jesus is so sweet and
God the Father, oh man, it’s hit or miss. Old Testament, right? And to read, no one read verses like this. That do you realize that all
judgment is from the Son? Really? I remember reading Revelations
6, when in verse 15, “The kings of the earth and
the great ones, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and
everyone slave and free, hid themselves in the caves.” And among the rocks of
the mountains, calling to the mountains and
rocks, “Fall on us, hide us from the face of Him who
is seated on the throne.” “And from the wrath of the Lamb.” “For the day of their wrath
has come, and who can stand?” It was me reading this book and going, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, this is Jesus?” “He’s the judge?” Whoever talks about the wrath of the Lamb? And yet, here’s everyone
on the planet terrified, just wishing they could be
hidden, because they can’t– It’s because we’re not being complete. That I think sometimes we
can have a casual attitude about the deity of
Christ and who Jesus is. Because we see him as so, it’s almost like a side note to God. And absolutely that is not the way the scriptures teach about him And I’m still a guy who
believes it, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And it’s when you fear
Jesus, the coming judge, that suddenly you recognize, “Wow, but he’s also full of mercy?” “Wait, how could such a terrifying
God of justice and wrath also be a God of mercy?” And your mind just starts
spinning, and you’re in awe of him all over again.

Jean Kelley