Monday, July 9, 2012

Christ Alone

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2

What is the enemy's chief strategy in this age of great deception just prior to the coming of Christ?  Simply, it is to change the person of Jesus Christ and to minimize His atoning work at the cross. Why else is there such an outcry when the name of Jesus is evoked?  It is because there is simply no salvation outside of trusting Jesus; therefore, Satan works overtime to sidetrack humanity about Jesus or risk they will come to forgiveness and saving grace.  Just the other day a cult group left literature on my doorstep.  In this particular cacophony of twisted theology Jesus is just an angel raised up by God to show us a better way to live.  Take Jesus out of this teaching and the major tenants of the religion still stand.  Actually, that is how it is with all false religion since they are all based off men's philosophies as to how to get to God.  Take out the founders and the basic teachings can stand alone.  Not so with Jesus.  You can not take Him out of true Christianity and have it stand.  Jesus Christ is Christianity.   Read and heed Jesus' warning in John 8:24b, "for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."  No Christ, no cross, no salvation.  The LORD didn't show us  a way to heaven--He is the way!

It is amazing, truly a work of grace, that God would share such powerful truth to a messed up fellowship of believers such as those attending the Corinthian Church.  The list of sins that Paul had to address in this church was so embarrassing as to make this preacher blush just sharing them.  Already, an early form of Gnosticism was beginning to infect this gathering, and its first target was Jesus, of course.  To this Paul shares the very centerpiece of faith--Christ and Him crucified! He reminded them that he had not come to them to draw a following after himself or take time to promote his own ministry.  Paul revealed that his only goal was to share Messiah's cross for therein is salvation.  The Corinthians, however, being a church focused on the event of meeting in church rather than being an outreach to a lost world, were too busy focusing on their superhero preachers.  Thank the LORD we are not like that today!  Or are we?  Is our entire ministry devoted to entertaining folks at church or elsewhere or are we preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the only available God given means to reach heaven?  As I heard asked recently, have we become a "come to" church offering a good time of worship or a "go ye" church sent to share grace, mercy, and salvation wrought in the person of Jesus Christ and His passion?

Since this church, like the folks rebuked in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22), was so focused on self to the point of excluding their mission to the world, Paul would later remind them of their purpose in 2 Corinthians.  What was the focal point of their purpose? It was to share God's plan of redemption and to act as ambassadors to a world at war and rebellion against the God who created all and loves so deeply.  "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation  (2 Corinthians 5:19)."  We definitely are too obsessed with the temporal.  So, in closing, let me remind you what you can take to heaven with you.  Your car?  No it will burn someday with fervent heat.  That house you prayed so much for?  It too will burn.  Your fancy furniture--burn.  Your bank account filled with all that cash?  It too will fade away as the currency of Heaven is faith.  The only thing you can take to Heaven are your family friends and loved ones.  When eternity arrives, as an old song used to say, the only man made thing that makes it to Heaven are the scars on Jesus.  Don't let the enemy redirect your focus in these last days on the temporary and fleeting.  Focus on Jesus as He is surely Soon2Come!

Signs of the Soon Return

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