Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Who Do You Say I Am?

          There are many voices in the Earth today clamoring to be worshipped, both in the secular and spiritual realms.  Some are subtle, others not so much. There a multitude of religions in the world as well, by some estimates at least 4,200.  All claim some sort of deity as their head, and each of them offer varying degrees of spiritual enlightenment. All of them promote an eclectic diversity of paths leading to “inner peace,” “holiness,” and disentanglement from worldly pursuits. 

So how, then, do we know where the truth lies? 

Because that simple question evokes a multitude of answers, for the purpose of this particular post I’m going to confine myself to answering that question in the context of anyone who professes to be a Christian—a follower of Christ, or Meshiach. The Anointed One.  I’m going to do so by answering the question with a question. In Matthew 16:13-17 we read:

             When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

            Who we believe, and say, Jesus is lies at the heart of our faith.  If we answer that critical question with anything less than, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” then we might claim to be a Christian, but we are not a follower of Christ.  Why?  Because we know from Rev. 19:11-13, Phil. 2:5-8, Col. 1:15-16, and other scriptures that Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate.  That is, He was, and is, and will always be the Word made flesh. We also know that Jesus is the Name above all names, that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess He is Lord, and that there is no other name under Heaven by which we might be saved. (Phil. 2:8-11; Acts 4:12) We also know that if we publicly deny Jesus is who He says He is, then He will deny us before the angels, and Father God. (Luke 12:8; Matt. 10:32) 

This view is certainly not a politically correct in a increasingly secularized world, and it offends many, even some who profess Christianity as their Faith. However, to anyone who has spent any time reading and studying the Bible and desires to have a deeper relationship with Jesus through Holy Spirit, the statements above are foundational to legitimate faith. 

So why am I writing this post?

            Many western churches have become “seeker friendly,” and in so doing they have significantly watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the “Good News” of Jesus Christ) in a variety of areas.  Many of these “seeker friendly” churches do not talk about the inherent sinfulness of mankind because of disobedience and the fall, the need for a redeeming Savior, the importance of salvation, Eternal Life, or the Blood of Jesus, etc. They also seem to be quite squeamish about taking a biblically-based stand on homosexuality, abortion, repentance, salvation, etc. In many cases, those who preach “another gospel” (Gal.1:8; Rom. 16:17; 2Cor. 11:14; Jer.23:6, 36) also spend a great deal of time talking about how God wants everyone to be wealthy so they can live the same kind of extravagant lifestyle the preacher lives.  I’m not saying the Lord doesn’t want our soul to prosper, He does, and there are numerous scriptures that support that contention.  But Jesus also tells us that the poor will be with us always.

Anyone who preaches a gospel that distorts or misrepresents the Truth in any capacity is risking much.

            We know, for instance, that the Lord is not willing that any should perish.  But many do, because they refuse to accept Jesus for who He is.  Therefore, not everyone will be saved and go to Heaven, as some preach.  We know that Jesus desires us to be healthy, that by His stripes we are healed. But many are continually sick, some because they don’t respect their “temple,” others because they succumb to diseases that are the result of living on a fallen planet. Yet many preach that there is something wrong with those who are sick, that they don’t have enough faith for healing.  Some even preach that there is no Hell, or that Jesus sinned while walked among us as a man.  I can go on and on providing examples of Truth that is distorted by those who have an agenda that isn’t from the Lord. 

The question is, “Are we who claim to be Christians, followers of Christ, faithfully representing Him to a lost and dying world?

            Another false teaching is watering down, or denying, the divinity of Jesus.  Jesus Christ is not a “higher power.”  Nowhere in Scripture is He referred to as such.  He is called the Ancient of Days, The Holy One of Israel, The Lord of Lords, The King of Kings, The Prince of Peace, The Great and Mighty One. It was not a “higher power” that was nailed to a cross for six hours, died, and resurrected on the third day so that we who believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that He is the Son of God might escape the “sting of death” and appropriate eternal life. There is not a “higher power” that still bears the nail holes in its hands and feet. It is not the Blood from a ‘higher power” that cleanses us from all unrighteousness and makes our sin as far from us as ‘the east is from the west.”  It is not a “higher powerwho sits at the right hand of our Heavenly Father ever interceding for us.  It is not the stripes inflicted on a “higher power” that healed us. There is no salvation, no gateway to Heaven, no access to Eternal Life available through any so-called “higher power.”

The doorway was, and is, and will always be Jesus Christ. Jesus the Anointed One.  The one and only Son of God, who, “in the beginning was God, was with God, and is God . . .  yesterday, today and forever.”

Who then do you say He is?

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