Just Wanna Talk About Jesus?
We’ve all heard someone say, “I don’t want to talk about theology or doctrine. I just want to talk about Jesus”.
While that may sound noble and profound, it’s really a ridiculous, ignorant, and dangerous statement.
The mere mention of the name “Jesus Christ” calls for all kinds of theological and doctrinal examination. Which Jesus do you want to talk about? Is it the Mormon Jesus who is the brother of Satan, the Jehovah’s Witnesses Jesus who is a created spirit creature, the Muslim Jesus who is just a prophet and teacher, or the Jesus of the Bible who is the very Son of God?
In reality, the name “Jesus Christ” demands that we consider all kinds of theological and doctrinal questions. Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua) means “the Lord is Salvation”. The implications of that are more than I can discuss in this short blog. The title Christ (Hebrew: Messiah) means “Anointed One”. That too is a theological and doctrinal goldmine.
The very idea that we can be DISCIPLES of Jesus Christ and not speak of the doctrines of Scripture reveals a spiritual shallowness in those with this kind of thinking.
Sometimes doctrinal and biblical truth unites, and sometimes it divides. Romans 16:17 says, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (NKJV). So clearly there are times to separate from people who teach false doctrines. We shouldn’t divide over peripheral doctrines, but those doctrines that are fundamental to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” are matters over which we must sometimes part company.
Everyone wants to talk about love these days. But what is real love? The deepest love is called agape in the New Testament. It’s self-giving, self sacrificing love that takes no thought for itself. Yes Jesus wants us to walk in love toward all people, but we can only have that kind of love as we are walking in the truth. The message of 1st John has a lot of emphasis on love, but it is love based in the truth of God’s Word. Without the foundation of the Bible, it is impossible to possess real holiness or have real love for anyone. In John 17:17-19 Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” NKJV. In calling for believers to live a holy life, Peter mentions each of these things.
1 Peter 1:13-25
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. NKJV
Clearly, holiness, love, and truth work hand in hand to bring us to maturity in Christ. Without truth there can be no holiness or love. Without truth everything becomes twisted, perverted.
Sadly, there are a host of so-called Evangelical leaders who are leading the Church away from the truth of the Gospel, away from a real salvation experience through the blood of Jesus Christ and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, away from a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, and away from the God of the Bible Himself. Some of these leaders are merely backsliding, but others have moved into complete apostasy. 2 Peter 2:1 speaks of people like them saying, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (NKJV). Things like doctrine (teaching) and apologetics (a reasoned defense of the faith) used to matter to denominational leaders, pastors, and other leaders in the church, but those days are apparently history. Now it seems to be anything goes. Just mention the name of Jesus and you’re in. But, again, which Jesus? The Jesus of the Bible? Or are we talking about the Jesus of a hundred different cults and false religions? Will the real Jesus please stand up? Or rather, will the real men and women of God please speak up? Let our leaders speak the truth of God in clear terms, or let them leave and go do something useful like selling used cars. At least we expect lies from a lot of those people. And I apologize to the used car salesmen because some of them are truly more ethical than most of the prominent “Christian leaders” we have today.
The bottom line is that if people can be led away from reliance on the Scriptures as God’s infallible revelation to mankind, then they are easy prey for all kinds of damnable heresies. Today the Church has been moved away from the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), and the sheep are being led into damnation by the philosophies of smooth talking hirelings. These so-called postmodernists, and others, reject the authority of Scripture and moral absolutes. They are idolaters who place their minds and intellect above the Scripture, and force their imaginations, opinions, and philosophies upon it. Again, Christianity stands or falls on the inspiration, infallibility, sufficiency, and authority of the Bible as the God-breathed revelation of God to mankind.
A final biblical warning is in order as I close this blog. Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (NKJV). Heed that warning. Believe the Bible above everything and everyone else. Many of the prominent leaders are watering down the Gospel and twisting the message of the Bible. Please wake up Church before it is eternally too late.
Titus 1:10-11 “For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain” NASB.