The Necessity of pointing to God’s Word
There has been a trend in the past few years of very good speakers using their talent of communicating to win a crowd, rather than be obedient to God’s Word. They are failing to preach in a way which challenges hearers to make a decision to agree or disagree with God. Too often their messages are of eloquent (σοφία sophía) speeches intriguing the human flesh, based off worldly wisdom of mankind, full of philosophy and rhetoric. This is in contrast to the work of the great Apostle Paul who wrote, “…preach the gospel – not with words of eloquent wisdom…” (1 Corinthians 1:17) and, “My message to you was not with wise and pervasive words.” (1 Corinthians 2:4) Today, proclaimers of God’s Word must make it clear, their listeners are hearing thus says the Lord on the issues people face today.
Biblical truth challenges hearers to make a clear choice to live for the Lord and be guided by God’s Word. Anyone who would counsel a friend, instruct the misguided or correct falsehood without pointing clearly and directly to the whole council of the written Word, the Bible, is committing a terrible injustice.
There is a phrase in the New Testament, “it is written” (γέγραπται) referring to the Old and New Testament, with reference to the authoritative writings of the Holy Scriptures. (Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1986). A General Introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded., p. 79). Chicago: Moody Press.) It means it has been written, and stands written. (Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 1, p. 28). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.)
The most revealing phrases of Jesus after His entrance in ministry were, “It is written.” (Matthew 4:4) “It is also written” (Matthew 4:7) and, “for it is written.” (Matthew 4:10) His first proclamation to Satan, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3. In His second refute to Satan’s temptations, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:6. On His third rebuke to Satan, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13.
Ninety-two times in the New Testament are expressions of authoritative Scriptures such as: “How is it written of the Son of Man [Jesus]?” (Mark 9:12), “as it was written of Him [Jesus]. (Mark 14:21) “All things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” (Luke 18:31; Luke 24:44) And Jesus spoke the prophetic truth about Jerusalem which was fulfilled, “For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” (Luke 21:22)
In His dealing with the Pharisees the Lord spoke, “Haven’t you read?” (Matthew 19:4) and “Have you never read in the Scriptures?” (Matthew 21:42) Jesus knew His charge to preach the Word and so did the Apostle Paul, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:4) In Romans chapter one we read, “I am obligated both to the Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. …I am so eager to preach… just as it is written…” (Romans 1:14-17) The charge “to preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2) is just as imperative today.
The great evangelist Billy Graham had often been heard saying, “The Bible says.” Obedient servants of the Lord get the Word of God out addressing the issues of the day. Speaking with eloquent words touches the emotions, the Word of God “is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Be careful to teach in a way which proclaims “It is Written!”
Most people who live in a rural small God fearing town find it difficult to understand how people can literally hate Jesus. After all He did nothing wrong, He was kind, healed the sick, raised the dead and stills shows love to all who receive Him. Yet Jesus said, “[The world] hates Me because I testify that it’s work’s are evil.” (John 7:7b) There is a Greek word for hate (μισέω miséō) which means to love less. While we are called to love our wives as Christ loves the church, love our families and are told to love one another, there is a difference in love for them compared to the love we are to have for the Lord. Matthew 10:37 makes the meaning clear on what it means to love the Lord above all else. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Anyone who places anything or anyone higher than the Lord is living out what is in their heart, which is loving the Lord less than someone or something else. Loving the world view more than Christ sets people lives on a course that intrigues them to live in a way which brings guilt because of sinful lifestyles.
According to Jesus, He is hated because He exposes false teachers and hypocrisy. As matter of fact Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Everyone takes note of the preacher who is not hungry to live out what he teaches. (Matthew 23:13-14; Matthew 7:18-20) Those ministry outreaches that touch many, but do not lead people to the holiness of God. (Matthew 23:15) Jesus detest blind guides. (Matthew 23:17) Ministries seeking givers, but neglecting justice, mercy and righteousness. (Matthew 23:16-22) Teacher who outwardly look Godly but the reflection of their lives is self-indulgence. (Matthew 23:23-24; Matthew 7:15) Teacher who were the clothes, but inwardly they are spiritually dead. (Matthew 23:25-26) Lastly, the climax, the killing, dishonoring and degrading of God’s true teachers of God’s Word. (Matthew 23:29-31) To such false teachers Jesus said, “You are of the father the devil…” (John 8:44)
According to Jesus he is hated in certain areas were He has done a work for His Father in heaven. The Lord’s response to those whom He has made His power, authority and love known. The Message Bible tells us, “Jesus, [denounces] the cities where He had worked the hardest, but whose people responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.”
Publically Informing The Misinformed
There is a phrase often spoken among those in Christendom, “Preaching to the Choir.” A term to describe when the preacher is teaching on a topic familiar to and approved by the audience. A truth worth grasping, this is exactly what is happening today. For the most part, Christian radio, writings and preaching in churches are addressing a crowd that is familiar with the topics being taught which are approved by their audiences. Very seldom is the church effectively getting God’s Word out to people who are jaded by their own views, to a people drawn by worldly enticements and to people who are blatantly being lied to by the Devil’s influences. While standing in the pulpit of a church an elderly Pastor told those he was speaking to, “It is a waste of time and money to get the word of God out through the news, radio and internet media.” The church he oversees today is still ineffective in informing their community about the issues of the day. Thus the world view, “The church has no answers for us today.”
The church must reclaim her call, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2) Our charge is made before God and Jesus Christ for the purpose of building the Kingdom of God. The charge, “Preach (κηρύσσω kērússō) the Word… (λόγος lógos)” meaning to publish abroad, announce publicly, [outside church walls] proclaiming the truths of God’s Word along with the privileges and obligations of the gospel of Christ as it pertains for today. (Zodhiates, S. (200) The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament; Luke 8:39; Mark 5:20) The Word of God must be taught weather it is popular or not popular among those who are being informed of the Lord’s view, directions and expectations about the issues being discussed. This charge goes beyond teaching Christian truths in the church, it gives Christians a command to go outside the church walls and proclaim His truth (Luke 8:39; Mark 5:20) about the challenges being faced by people every day.
Christians who study to show themselves approved of God, must reclaim the charge given in 2 Timothy. Obedient Christians publically address [outside the church walls], the Sanctity of Life, Biblical Marriage, Sexuality, God and government as well has other social challenges. There are so many avenues God has for us to use, radio, TV, internet, twitter, texting, as well other opportunities. Is your church publically addressing the issues of today through publishing the whole council of God’s Word?
Being a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ is not easy. It requires that we die to self and die to sin. It requires doing what’s right when all around us are giving no regard to God or giving Him only lip-service. Our lives are not to mirror the world.
The Book of Daniel records that King Nebuchadnezzer had a pride problem. He had a 90 foot gold statue made of himself and then told all the people of his kingdom that they must bow down and worship the idol. In his kingdom, however, were three young men who loved God and were forbidden by His commandment to worship anyone or anything other than the One True God.
In due time, the order was given, “When you hear the sound of the music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.” The disobedience of this order had dire consequences. “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” The faithful young men could have come up with many good excuses and seemingly worthy justifications for following the king’s order. Shouldn’t they honor their earthly ruler? Perhaps they could fall to their knees, but not REALLY worship this image, just LOOK like they were complying. Who would know? Perhaps, then they would live more days to tell others about the One True God. After all, how would all these unbelievers ever have hope of eternal salvation unless they lived to tell them?
So the stage was set. But, when the music sounded and all the people fell with their faces to the ground before the image, three young men yet stood. King Nebuchadnezzer was furious but gave them one more chance saying, “…if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” The three young men, bold in belief and full of faith in God, replied this way, “We do not need to defend ourselves in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, o king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, o king, that we still will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Did you catch that? They knew that even if their understanding of the circumstances was faulty, their God was still perfect and worthy of their devotion and the sacrifice of their very lives, if required. They would not compromise truth for anything! They did not try to find “wiggle-room” in God’s Word. They gave their lives and futures entirely to the Lord. They trusted fully. They obeyed fully. You, too, must decide whether or not you will serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Commit your life to Him today. Trust in Him with all your heart and soul! The cost is high, but Jesus is worth it all!
In Matthew 24: 24, Jesus provides a stern warning that “false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible…”
In the old “To Tell the Truth” game show, you had to question three contestants to determine the true identity of the person who would then stand up to be recognized. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for the true Jesus these days, you have more than three “contestants”.
The cults and false religions of the day have produced some such as these: Jesus #1: Jesus was Michael the archangel, the first being created by Jehovah God, “a god” but not Almighty God, was invisibly raised from the dead as a “spirit being” and has already invisibly returned to earth. Jesus #2: Jesus was the “spirit brother” of Lucifer, a man who evolved to godhood and was married to more than one woman while on this earth. Jesus #3: This is a Jesus who never came in the flesh, but is simply a divine idea or principle inherent in every person. Jesus #4: Jesus is one of many great prophets but has since been superseded by a greater prophet. He did live a sinless life but was not crucified nor did he die to pay the penalty for anyone’s sins.
All of the above are the creations of men although they bear the same name as the true Jesus revealed in the Holy Scriptures. However, as eternally dangerous as all of the above “Jesus’s” are, there may be some that are even more dangerous. There are many people, some even sitting in church week after week, who have created a Jesus in their own minds with whom they are comfortable. He may be a Jesus that is all “love” but no judgment. He may be a Jesus that tolerates all lifestyles and life choices even though they conflict with His Word. But, he is not the true Jesus revealed in the entirety of God’s Word.
In 2 Corinthians 11: 4, the apostle Paul warned the believers at Corinth, “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” There are other Jesus’s, other spirits and other gospels. Are you “putting up” with a false Jesus, one that cannot save? At one point while Jesus was walking this earth, He turned to His disciple Peter, and asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, answered boldly, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” There is only One Jesus who is God in the flesh, only One who died on the cross for your sins, only One who rose physically from the dead and is alive forevermore, only One who sets you free from the bondage of sin, only One who grants eternal life to those who believe. Do you know Him?
Your Ideology, True or False, Part Two
Jesus said, “…for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” (John 18:37) The “truth” (ἀλήθεια alḗtheia): “What is true in itself, purity from all error or falsehood…” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary) Absolute truth is given to those who hunger and thirst for the Lord’s righteousness.
The Bible gives all of mankind stern warnings, “The heart is deceitful above all things…” (Jeremiah 17:9) “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25)
We live in a day were people are questioning Biblical truth. Jesus made a statement that gives all a clear direction for life, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) John, in his Gospel used the Greek word Logos as a title for Jesus, “God’s revelation” for mankind. (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)
In the Farrier Trade (the art of shoeing horses) there are absolute truths. These truths are learned from horseman of the past, given to horseman of the present and passed on to the horseman of the future. All horseman know: 1.) A horse’s foot lands to height. 2.) A horse’s foot flies to weight and 3.) A Horse’s leg must have the proper line of support. No matter what task the horse is asked to do, racing, working cattle, jumping, etc. – avoiding these truths will certainly lead to the horse becoming lame, making it ineffective to perform at its peak level and possibly crippling the animal for the rest of its life..
There are three absolute truths to sound Christology: 1.) God the Father, (John 6:12) 2.) God the Son (John 14:9-11) 3.) God the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 2:11). The only way to God, is through the Son, Jesus Christ. (John 14:6) Salvation is found in no other Name, Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12) “…If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ [the Holy Spirit] they do not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9) Jesus said, “…everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” To Jesus, truth in not merely some intellectual concept of correct teachings, it involves life-oriented integrity that please the God who created mankind. Many can quote the Bible, speak religious precepts and tell others what Jesus said, yet they lack Biblical integrity in life. “Listen to My voice” means to hear, giving attention, causing one to strive for obedience to God’s Word.
The Psalmist wrote, “All Your commands are true.” (Psalm 119:151) “All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.” (Psalm 119:160) The Gospel of John tells us, “…whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:21)
People with a false ideology use as their resources, teachings outside of God’s Word, often quoting celebrities, politicians, or studies not based on absolute truth. Born again Christians strive to live by true ideology, their philosophy of life is birthed from, guided by and substantiated by the whole counsel of God’s written Word.
Each person has an ideology, does yours move you to live a life of integrity before the Christ who died for all of mankind?