Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Jeannette Haley

      The other day I had a conversation with a lovely, but sad to say, very deluded woman.  We began by casually discussing health issues, and then the topic easily moved on into the spiritual realm.

       Having previously enjoyed several brief encounters with her, I was curious as to her beliefs, and hoped that my suspicions were wrong that, in spite of being an open, friendly and likeable person, she did not know Christ. It didn’t take long to discover that my suspicions were correct.

       In keeping with most idolatrous “Christians” today, she enthusiastically shared how “wonderful” and “gifted” her pastor is, “even though some people may think he is evil.” At this point, I was biting my tongue because Rayola and I know that this man is not of God, but rather he operates with a familiar spirit. His “church” is an antichrist metaphysical stronghold of darkness in the middle of town.

       Hoping to land on some common ground that would make it possible to share Christ, I agreed with her on certain points that she made about the “hypocrisy of religion” and how “every religion or church thinks they are the only ones going to heaven.” But when she began shredding the validity of God’s Word, I knew there was no point of truth to which I could hold her accountable. The final blow came when she (in so many words) stated: “Everything in this country (she is well-traveled) is about Jesus! It’s not about Jesus! It’s about the Holy Spirit! Jesus would be very upset about people treating Him as if He is God. After all, Jesus was just a man!”

       My heart sank, for I know all too well that when a person has been blinded to this extent, it takes a great deal of prayer, time and investment (as the Lord leads) for them to even remotely consider that they may be dead wrong. The bottom line always has been, is, and always will be who do you say Jesus is? (Matthew 16:13-17.) This is the question that every person must settle in his or her own heart. It is the one question that exposes unbelievers, cults, false churches, religious leaders, and hypocrites for what they are—workers of darkness.

       Obviously, this lady’s view of what is wrong with Jesus is that there is simply too much emphasis put on Him. His miraculous birth, life, death and resurrection, along with over 300 fulfilled prophecies concerning Him, mean nothing to her. The problem is, however, that the highly emphasized and commercialized celebrity Jesus of today, which is promoted through the emergent “seeker-friendly” churches, hip hop and rock music, man-centered) sermons, humanistic philosophies and teachings, moronic and sometimes downright demonic books, and so forth, has nothing to do with the real Jesus of the Bible. Such an onslaught of contemporary and often politically correct “Jesus stuff” only serves to deceive, delude, blind and alter a person’s ability to seek and to know the real Jesus. Is it any wonder that so many people today have a “form of godliness, but deny the power thereof”? (2 Timothy 3:5)

       We know, of course, that the world finds nothing of value in Jesus. That can be expected. However, what can we conclude about those who claim to believe in Him, who regularly attend a “Christian” church, who profess to be saved, yet nevertheless find the Jesus of the Bible “outdated and too controversial?” Is it unfair to conclude that such people are still dead in their sins?

       To find the answer to that question, we must turn to the Bible—specifically the Gospels where we can follow and closely examine Jesus’ life as He lived it on earth—along with the responses of the religious people, that is to say, those who had a “form of godliness,” of His day.

       We find a perfect example of professing believers’ response to Jesus at the very start of His earthly ministry as recorded in Luke 4:16-30. In this chapter we read of Jesus returning from Jordan, “full of the Holy Ghost” and “in the power of the Spirit.”  At that time He “came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” This is what He read, concerning Himself, in the Book of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

       All eyes were upon Him as he sat down. Then he began to say to them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” At this point, they “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?”  Why were they suddenly questioning Jesus’ identity? Could it be because of the power and anointing of the Spirit of God upon Him—a power and anointing so incredible that it set Him apart from anyone they had ever heard before? Not only that, but Jesus was indicating that He came to fulfill this prophesy.

       The turning point in their astonishment, however, came after He prophesied to them about Himself in verse 23, followed by this statement in verse 24: “Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.” Now we see that Jesus is proclaiming to be a prophet whom they will not accept. He continued pointing His finger at them in verses 25-27. You have to admit that Jesus would not last long in today’s political scene for five minutes. His statements of God’s dealings with the wickedness and idolatry of Israel during Elijah and Elisha’s time exposed their own sinful and hypocritical condition. Tragically, the result was not one of repentance, but rather, they were all filled with wrath. Not only were they furious with Him, but they led Him out of the city to the top of a hill so that they could kill Him by pushing Him off the precipice. “But he passing through the midst of them went his way.” (Verse 30)

       Obviously, these religious people found much wrong with Jesus. He was not only offensive, but, in their minds, worthy of death. Those of us who read this account two-thousand years later are shocked at the spiritual blindness and wicked attitudes of these Jews of Jesus’ home town of Nazareth. However, a closer look at what most of today’s popular religious leaders pass off as “Jesus” in light of who the biblical Jesus really is, is likewise just as shocking, if not more so.

      For example, today, around the globe, there is a type of “Jesus culture.” This culture overlaps denominational boundaries. People caught up in this movement are in love with their perception of Jesus. This Jesus is “sweet” and non-threatening. Like the fairy godmother in Cinderella, he exists for the purpose of granting wishes, and making people happy. This fantasy Jesus loves everybody, regardless of their sin or whether they believe in him or not, and he enjoys their hip hop, rock n’ roll so-called “worship”. Contrary to Jesus of Nazareth who insulted not only the men of His hometown, but others throughout His earthly ministry, this new Jesus insults no one. He is not confrontational, nor does he intrude into a person’s reality. You could say that this new, fun Jesus is a “seeker-friendly” type of guy because he is always “positive.” And, according to his ministers, subjects such as sin, rebellion, pride, repentance and death to the self-life are no longer relevant. You can rest assured that this liberal Jesus isn’t going to rock anyone’s boat about the judgment to come and everlasting hell.

       This liberal Jesus is popular with the modern multitudes because he somehow saves people in their sin, not from their sin. Therefore, the fashionable “Christian” who is in love with his or her idea of this liberal Jesus, need not be concerned with self-denial, separation from the world, or walking by faith on the straight and narrow. Instead he or she is free to look like the world, talk like the world, and live like the world. Jesus’ admonitions, like those found in Luke 9:23-26, are conveniently ignored.

      Pagan practices such as body piercing, tattoos, sensuous manner of dress (make that undress) fornication and immorality, idolatry and any other worldly practices are acceptable. Remember, the liberal Jesus doesn’t make people feel uncomfortable about their moral deviations and perversions. As “CEO” of the seeker-friendly emergent churches, all he wants to do is make sure that people are “churched” whether they are truly born again or not.

       The second type of Jesus we encounter in these days of apostasy is the weak Jesus. This Jesus is not necessarily politically correct or popular like the liberal Jesus. While he may be given lip service as being the historically biblical Jesus, he is nevertheless subtly presented as weak for any number of reasons depending upon which group is spouting their particular brand of perverted theology.

       For example, if psychological counseling is upheld within a particular church body as opposed to sound biblical counsel, then doesn’t this suggest that Jesus is too weak to solve people’s problems, and that He didn’t mean what He said concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit? In other words, we need man’s so-called “wisdom” to solve our problems, not the wisdom that comes from above. But, God says: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” Hebrews 4:12. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The bottom line is if psychology is right, then the Bible is wrong.

       Another example that presents a weak Jesus is the growing acceptance within religious circles of the theory of evolution as opposed to the creation account as recorded in the Scriptures. Evolution is one of the greatest, if not the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon mankind, yet countless multitudes of fools continue to push this unfounded, ridiculous, idiotic theory upon the rest of us as if it were the ultimate in truth. There is not one shred of evidence that scientifically supports it. Yet today we have “Christians” (such as the lady I mention in the beginning of this article) who talk glibly about how God “used” evolution to create everything. What utter nonsense! Can you see how this presents a weak Jesus? My Bible says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” John 1:1-3. In 1 Corinthians 8:6 we read: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Then in Ephesians 3:9 we read: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” And, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” Colossians 1:16, 17. Hebrews 1:2 tells us that God “made the worlds” by His Son.

       What do psychology and evolution have in common that presents a weak Jesus? The answer is that both elevate the so-called knowledge of man above the wisdom of God. Both are humanistic. Both were founded by base men who were unbelieving, faithless, foolish, and in more than one instance led by demonic spirit guides. Both psychology and evolution rob their innocent victims of faith, facts, truth and reason, undermining the veracity of the Holy Scriptures, and cast dispersions upon the Living God. Both mock the sinful condition of mankind as they seek to blind people to their need for a savior. Both exalt themselves as being a “science” while neither one qualifies as a true science. The Bible warns concerning such in 1 Timothy 6:20, 21: “. . . keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.”

       The third movement that presents a weak Jesus comes out of the Latter Rain movement, also known as The Manifest Sons of God. Their Jesus is weak because he “can’t” return to earth to set up His kingdom until the elite Manifest Sons bring all the kingdoms of the world into subjection (to them) so that Jesus can return and receive His kingdom from them. Much has been written exposing this insidious “Kingdom Dominion” or “Kingdom Now” movement, so we encourage our readers to do their own research.

       Thus far we have briefly touched upon the liberal or tolerant Jesus, and the weak Jesus that is being promulgated upon people today. Yet, what is wrong with the real Jesus that makes these false presentations so universally appealing? Could it be His claim: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” John 14:6? Perhaps His words to Nicodemus go against the grain of our pride and independence: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3. Maybe what is wrong with Him is His claim to be equal to God, making Him God: “I and my Father are one” John 10:30. Undoubtedly many are insulted by His strong statement as recorded in Luke 13:3, 5, “. . . except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

       Next month we will continue to examine more false presentations of Jesus that we need to beware of. In the meantime, ask yourself, “Is the real Jesus of the Bible too controversial for me in light of the Jesus that is being presented today?

       May God grant to us all a heart that truly seeks after Him in Spirit and Truth!