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

   by Jeannette Haley

There is no doubt about it. We live in a day of mass confusion. There is confusion among politicians and world leaders, confusion in the financial world, confusion in our educational system, and confusion between different religious beliefs. It seems as if a blanket has been dropped over the entire earth, causing mankind to grope in the dark for answers.

Meanwhile, in the Christian realm, there is confusion concerning who Jesus really is. There are many voices today which claim that Jesus is the answer—that Jesus is the way to achieve ultimate happiness, worldly success and personal fulfillment, among other things. There are Jesus marches, Jesus rallies and Jesus conventions. But, what does it all really mean? Could it be that the popular Jesus of today who is sung about in rock and roll songs and portrayed as a “fun-loving” kind of guy in many churches is not the same Jesus of the Bible? How do you see Jesus?

There are those who, when they think of Jesus, see Him as the sweet baby who came to earth so long ago, wrapped in swaddling clothes and cuddled in Mary’s arms. This Jesus is not overbearing or threatening. Baby Jesus does not demand anything. Instead, He is helpless and dependent upon human care. This Jesus is easy to sympathize with, love and accept with little or no effort on our part.

While this scenario may seem far-fetched to some, many Christians live their lives as if Jesus was still a helpless babe in the manger. Their spiritual lives lack substance, power and purpose. Jesus is as distant and remote to them in the spiritual realm as the baby Jesus is in the earthly realm today.
The reason for this is they can remain in control of their lives and live as they wish while still claiming to be a “Christian.” After all, they believe that Jesus came as a baby two thousand years ago and they prove it by celebrating Christmas every year.

The problem is, Jesus did not remain a helpless babe in the manger. Just as Jesus “…grew, and waxed strong in spirit” (Luke 1:80), so should we who claim to know Him. It is a dangerous folly to ignore the purpose for God sending His only begotten Son, and shun growing in the knowledge of Him and in a relationship with Him.

Oswald Chambers said, “If you look upon Jesus Christ from the common sense standpoint, you will never discern who He is; but if you look upon Him as God ‘manifested in the flesh’ for the purpose of putting the whole human race back to where God designed it to be, you get the meaning of the Redemption. To the common sense standpoint of His own day, Jesus Christ was ‘the carpenter’s son’ (see Matthew 13:55). We do not deal with Jesus Christ as the Carpenter of Nazareth: we deal with the Carpenter of Nazareth as God manifested in the flesh” (Still Higher for His Highest, pg. 185).

Some relate to Jesus as a teacher. Their relationship to Him is on an intellectual plane where they read His words and analyze them to death. As long as Jesus remains a point of intellectual interest and no more, the heart can remain untouched and unchanged, even though there may be some outward conformity. These people can appear to be informed and knowledgeable about the Bible, yet they have no concept or relationship with the real Jesus, and any writing or teaching they may produce lacks Spirit and life.

Jesus must be recognized as God Incarnate in our heart. Oswald Chambers puts it this way, “Immediately you lose sight of the central, majestic Figure of Jesus Christ, you are swept off your feet by all kinds of doctrine; and when big things hit us we find that our religion does not stand us in good stead; our creed does not agree with Jesus Christ. The revelation of the Deity of Christ does not come to a man’s intellect first, but to his heart and life, and he says with amazement, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ The great point of the bible revelation of God is not only that God was in Christ but that Jesus Christ is God. ‘He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,’ said Jesus. If Jesus Christ is not God, then the only God we have is an abstraction of our own minds” (Ibid. pg. 20).

Many people today stress Jesus as the healer and worker of miracles while ignoring the other aspects of His being and character. This unbalanced understanding of Him is warped and limited because of the fanatical emphasis of healing and signs and wonders that must always be present. Thus, the way is opened for a wrong spirit with a variety of occult activities such as mind-science and metaphysical “healings.” The Bible warns us that in the last days, there shall come a “falling away” from the truth with “all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 9).

Others focus on Jesus as the Prophet of things to come, and ignore their own spiritual lives and relationship to Him as their Savior and Lord. While prophecy is not only fascinating, but undeniable proof of the accuracy of God’s Word, it cannot preserve the soul from eternal damnation. The Apostle Paul said it well in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”

Multitudes, when they think of Jesus, relate to Him as being on the cross. They never see Him in any other light except upon the cross. While it is important to never forget what Jesus did for us on the cross, we do not serve a Jesus who is still nailed to the cross! On the contrary, our Lord was buried and rose again on the third day. We serve a risen Savior who sits on the right hand of God.
If we only see Jesus as being forever nailed to the cross in our daily walk, we can fall into the trap of being sympathetic with the suffering Jesus, but never know Him in His victory over sin and death. Furthermore, we can slip into a type of sordid remorse for our sins that has no solution. We must understand the complete Gospel…the death, burial and resurrection of Christ…in order to be set free.

Oswald Chambers, concerning Christ’s resurrection destiny, declared, “Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life: His resurrection means that He has power now to convey His life to me. When I am born again from above, I receive from the Risen Lord His very life” (My Utmost for His Highest, pg. 99).

Of course, there are those who think they are “saved” because they believe in the historical Jesus. The fact that Jesus was a real Person who lived and died two thousand years ago is a well-documented historical fact. Yet, this type of “belief” does not result in eternal life any more than the belief that Jesus was a “good man” secures one’s salvation.

According to James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” The key is who do you say Jesus is? When Christ asked His disciples who He was, “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

The truth is, according to scripture, only a remnant will be prepared for Christ’s return. Contrary to popular false teachings blanketing the world today, there is not going to be a “third reformation” and “big, world-wide revival” (thanks to “spiritual mapping” coupled with “territorial warfare”) that will “establish the Kingdom on earth.” Furthermore, this alleged “Kingdom” will not be ruled by “dominionist overcomers” in “Joel’s militant army” made up of “apostles and prophets” who are “little gods” so that “Jesus can come back.”

These false teachings, along with “signs and lying wonders,” are sweeping millions of people into the clutches of hell. If you have fallen for these “doctrines of demons” or if your pastor is preaching such lies, WAKE UP! The Bible does not teach any such thing. Repent and separate yourself from these satanic lies before you find yourself in total delusion from which there is no remedy. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4, 13-15.)

And, if you are really serious about separating yourself from demonic delusions, turn off TBN. (I realize some tune in as “watchmen,” but that is the only reason any born-again Christian should view it. Otherwise, it destroys any discernment you may have.)

The New Age version of Jesus puts Him in the same category as Buddha or Mohammed or any other so-called “great teacher.” To them, He is a “Master of Wisdom,” but definitely not the only begotten Son of God who died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day.
Hindus believe that Jesus was merely one of many “enlightened teachers,” while Moslems believe He was a prophet and nothing more. And, while we are touching on the subject of Islam, Allah is not to be confused with the God of the Bible. Allah is the pagan moon god of Mesopotamia. To mention him in the same context as Jehovah God (or use his name interchangeably with the God of the Bible) is blasphemous.

If you want to “see” Jesus, then study the book of Revelation. Revelation is about the revelation of Jesus Christ and it promises a blessing to all who read it, (Revelation 1:3). In the first chapter of Revelation, we read of the appearance of the resurrected, glorified Christ, and the Apostle John’s reaction to this revelation. “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:13-17a). Remember, John was called the beloved disciple—the one who laid his head on Jesus’ chest.

This vision of Jesus is a far cry from the popular “All American Jesus” who is always smiling and fun and who loves sports, approves of the Republicans, encourages the American Dream, jumps up and down in churches to a pagan form of hypnotic “worship,” and who loves so-called “Christian” rock n’ roll.

Well,” you may be saying, “the Jesus I know wants me to be happy. After all, I have a big poster of Him on my wall that shows Him surfing, and my church is growing every week because we have so much fun. We don’t have to sing those old hymns, we can dress and act any way we want, and besides, it’s entertaining!” Really? Then you do NOT know the Jesus of the Bible and you are NOT born again. Period.

I am looking forward to the return of the King of kings, not some wimpy little goody-two shoes or cartoon character Jesus who has no power over His enemies. My Jesus is coming in power and great glory! Revelation 19:11-16 describes Him thus, “And I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

THAT is my Jesus! Which one is yours?