Friday, November 18, 2005

"Who is YOUR Jesus anyway?" Part 1

Matthew 16:13
"When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi,
He asked His disciples, saying,
"Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
Preaching the Gospel across this country affords me the opportunity to minister in many different churches and denominations. Additionally, when you minister beyond the proverbial "four-walls" of the church buildings and venture into the market places of Americana--you are confronted with so many varying ideas and definitions of "who Jesus is."
I learned long ago never to merely ask the question, "Do you believe in Jesus?" and just leave it at that. The reason being, is that not every version of Jesus is the One spoken of in the Word of God. Not every "Jesus" that people claim to believe in can stand up to the scrutiny of "who the Word says that He is."
Evidently the disciples of our Lord Jesus were also finding many defintions of The Christ as well.
"Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Verse 14
Hmmm, John the Baptist-- that's a pretty good guys from what I read. Jesus even offered some pretty strong compliments concerning him. He even "leaped" in his mother's womb when he and Jesus met prior to their births. But, there was already a John the Baptist--and by his own addmission, "There was one coming after him (Jesus) who he wasn't even worthy to unbuckle His shoes."
What about this Elijah---now THAT'S a Bad Dude! Calling down fire from heaven, making the rain stop for 3 1/2 years, causing the widow's food to last indefinitely and THEN raising here dead son back to life. I could sure think of worse people to be compared with. But, then again--he did run from Jezebel and the "Real Jesus" would never do something like that!
There is Jeremiah---it's funny that some would dare liken Jesus to this prophet considering his message to Israel. While he did enjoy a great period of longevity (40 years) and he was the last prophet to Juday (and Jesus was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah), yet Jeremiah never saw any marked success--as a matter of fact he was called to a deliver a message judgment--wherein the Word says that "Jesus came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." Jeremiah came to bring some unfortunate bad news, and Jesus was the bearer of the ultimate Good News!
Strike one...strike two...strike three (You're out) Next Question please...

Matthew 16:15 "He said to them, But who do you say that I am?"
At the end of the day, it won't really matter who anyone else tells you Jesus is---because He will look into your heart and into the fruit of your life for the answer to that question. I hate to break the news to you, but the Jesus that you will one day stand before will probably look somewhat different that your: Baptist Jesus, your Pentecostal Jesus, your Catholic Jesus, or your (fill in the name of your sect or denomination) Jesus.
It seems that the more we try to hedge Him in and limit Him by our own fears, traditions, and worthless personal opinions--the more we sound like those saying, "uhhh, well maybe He is John the Baptist or Elijah the Pentecostal or Jeremiah the Catholic."
Worse yet--some have even digressed to the point of saying that He was just a "good man" or "a prophet" or "an alegorical hoax."
The Jesus, so discriptively described in both the Old and New Testaments seems to far surpass the power, holiness, love, and majesty that most churches, denominations, and therefore people "say that He is" by the fruit manifested in their lives.
Matthew 7:20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them." or another way of saying this could be:
By their conversation (or)
By their faith (or)
By their willing to witness to others (or)
By their love, compassion and mercy for the lost and hurting (or)
By the attitude of their heart (or)
By the way that they worship Him (or)
By their desire for His will know them.
Without opening your mouth, who does your life's testimony say that Jesus is?
(look for part 2 of this blog)


steve Ignowski said...

Good Word!!

The Church in America is in urgent need of coming back to this simple truth which seems to be muffled in light of "greater gospel truths". However, having an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus is not only the foundation to our faith, it is the very life breath of our faith. Without intimacy with Jesus, we are dead religionists who go through the forms of godliness with no real power in our lives. The Apostle Paul warned that in the last days the church would "have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof:". 2 Tim. 3:5
John Wesley once said that "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions." I agree but would add that the vehicle which drives most of the souls to Hell is "good religion". I would dare to say that a good majority of the damned will be faithful church members who knew all about Jesus but never knew Jesus.
I believe the greatest evil spirit to damn the souls of men is the "religious spirit". Hell's most powerful strategy against the Church is to woo her away from a love relationship with God into this dead formalism. It is to strip her of her "first love" and substitute it with merely outward forms of obedience.
Deception has a friend named "slow transition". The Church (as a whole) has been seduced little by little and dead religion fills our sanctuaries. Love has been replaced with legalism, good works with dead works, joy for entertainment, peace for compromise, holiness for hollowness, truth for lies and a relationship with a Resurrected Messiah for graveside "religion".
I know of a parrot that can speak fluent English. Yet no matter how well he articulates the human vocabulary, one certain fact remains... he is still just a bird! Likewise, there are so many people who can speak the Christian lingo- "Praise God", "Hallelujah"- who talk about God and His Word but do not have a personal walk with Him. Yet the truth is, no matter how educated in Christian principles or how many scriptures they can quote, the sad fact remains... They are only hypocrites, needing a relationship with God.

Anonymous said...

gibberish. absolute gibberish.

Pastor Troy D. Bohn said...

Funny how someone will post a comment like "gibberish.." and not be bold enough to identify themselves. THAT about sums it up! Good word Steve.

steve Ignowski said...

who ever wrote gibberish will probably be back and check to see if anyone commented.... So here's a little teaching for "Mr or Mrs Gibberish".......
I have learned that there are four kinds of people. First there is the sinner. He is not saved and acknowledges it. Then there is the hypocrite. He is not saved but he pretends to be. Thirdly, there are the deceived. He really believes he is saved, but he is not. And finally, there is the saint. He is genuinely saved.
Paul wrote and said to examine ourselves and see if we are truly saved. The Living Bible paraphrases it in this way, "Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ's presence and power more and more within you? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren't at all?" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The only way to know if we are really saved is to know what it means to be saved. I have come up with an acronym to help us remember what it means to be saved. To be saved means that we are:

S = Separate from the World
A = Abiding in Christ
V = Victorious Over Sin
E = Excited About Jesus
D = Doing the Word

So do what the Bible says and "examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith;test yourself. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless,of course, you fail the test."

Terry Shuff said...

Another awesome message. Todd Agnew has a song that fits this message. Some of the lyrics are:
Which Jesus will you follow, which Jesus will you serve? (I wonder what Jesus the "Gibberish person" is serving)
If Ephesians says to immitate Christ (Ephesians 5:1) why do we look so much like the world?
He sings saying that "My Jesus" would not be welcome in my church because the blood and dirt on his feet might stain the carpet.
He sings that "My Jesus" would prefer the Beale Street crowd to the stain glass crowd.
I strongly feel that "My Jesus" would have nothing to do with many of the so called churches today!

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