“My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.” (John 7:16-17)
“Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings has one who judges him; the words I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 12:48)
The Day of Judgment for all men is a very frightening thought. It should be. In our post-Christian day there are many who still talk about Jesus. After all, he was a very prominent religious teacher in his day. Emergent Protestant churches, which have changed their names in an effort to avoid being associated with denominations and creeds, are still talking about Jesus. But are they talking about the Jesus of the Bible, or are they making Jesus a religious leader who only taught what they prefer to believe?
Jesus, during His earthly ministry, knew there would be many pseudo followers. Not all of His disciples were true believers. As in our day, there were those who treated Christ’s words like a wax nose – bending and distorting them to mix with their heretical ideas and teachings. They, like many religious leaders in our day, spoke in His name. And to the religious leaders of His day and ours, He declared and continues to declare,
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
In current emergent Evangelicalism, theology or doctrine has become verboten in preaching. Since theology divides and will separate the sheep from the goats, most emergent preachers have surrendered to their constituent’s desires. Their sermons avoid theology and dwell on more therapeutic themes that satisfy the attendees itching ears with words that build self-esteem and their hope for health, wealth and happiness.
A happy-clappy church service, topped off with a cup of Starbuck’s and a pastry is what suffices. Should we assume that all who crowd the auditorium are Christians? Do we really need preaching against sin and proclamation in every service of the Cross, the Empty Tomb, and the Risen, Ascended Christ?
Show me a religious teacher or ordained minister who fails to believe and propagate every word that Jesus Christ uttered and I will show you someone who needs to read again Christ’s words and fear righteous judgment to come.
The Apostle Paul was obedient to the Holy Spirit and wrote,
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
There is no greater expression of lawlessness than to fail to love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul. To fail to proclaim all of Christ’s teachings – His theology – is to fail to love Him, to call Him a liar, and to eventually incur the judgment of His very words!
“He who does not love Me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” (John 1:24)
Christians need to realize that there are two kinds of belief: intellectual and spiritual. The Greek idea of belief was to believe “in” something, an intellectual assent. In the New Testament there are two prepositions for the word, “in.” The first, or intellectual is spelled “in” (en). It does not demand commitment or allegiance. I believe in a lot of things intellectually. I believe in Abraham Lincoln. I am neither committed to what he believed or said, nor do I have allegiance to him. Satan believes in God, everything about the Triune God; but he is against God. He is the enemy of God. He trembles, knowing his fate is sealed.
The second word for belief, and that used to describe commitment and allegiance to Jesus Christ is the word “into” (eis). As opposed to the Greek, intellectual sense of belief, it is the Hebrew, spiritual sense that means a belief that results in a union with the person believed in. In relation to conversion to Christianity, its initiation is not from within man but is a spiritual capacity derived from the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit of God within the human spirit. It means believing “into” Christ and “abiding” or remaining in union with Him. It is a “gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It affects more than our opinions. It expresses our union with the Triune God to whom we yield our allegiance and to whom we willfully commit ourselves. It is a result of His life in us.
In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Incarnate Son. He has spoken to us through His chosen Apostles. His words continue to flash from the pages of holy writ into the darkness of our 21st Century, post-Christian world. The dangerous phenomenon is lack of those who will join the Reformers of old and courageously proclaim the truths of Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, to the Glory of God Alone.
The world sleeps in the darkness. The Church sleeps in the light. Awake, O Church of Christ! Obey your calling to pierce the darkness with the Words of Jesus Christ!