It seems that there is widespread confusion with regard to those who present themselves as the purveyors of Christianity and its benefits.
Just exactly what do you think people assume Christianity offers? Health, wealth, success, peace of mind, a certain level of tranquility, perhaps the promise of a better job, a better career, the fulfillment of your dreams and ambitions and desires, perhaps even everything you can think of and articulate. That would be a fairly common presentation of Christianity today.
But I think the overall general sense of Christianity today is that it offers you whatever you want. Whatever it is that makes you happy; whatever it is that satisfies you; whatever it is that fulfills your ambitions, your desires, and your dreams, that’s what Christianity offers you. Christian offers to make you everything you really want to be. That is a very confusing message and a very unbiblical one.
It also lays out a complex answer to what should be a very simple answer. In a word, what Christianity offers you is Christ. Jesus Christ – that’s what Christianity offers. That is a very simple, straightforward, one-word answer to what has become a very complicated issue. We offer Christ in offering the gospel.
The surpassing theme of the Scripture, the surpassing theme of the New Testament in particular is Jesus Christ. And in not having Christ, you have nothing; and in having Christ, you have everything. The writer of Hebrews says that Christ makes us perfect forever. The apostle Paul, in writing his first letter to the Corinthians, sums up the significance of having Christ with these words, chapter 1, verse 30, “By His doing” – by the work of God – “you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”
All wisdom, all the benefits of wisdom – divine wisdom; all righteousness, all the reality and benefits of righteousness; all sanctification – that is the pursuit of and the attainment to holiness; all redemption, including not only our soul redemption but our bodily redemption – all of that is found in Christ. Everything is found in Christ.
In Ephesians 1, we read this, verse 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” There is little wonder, then, that the apostle Paul, in that same epistle of 1 Corinthians and that same section in chapter 2, said this, “I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ.” That is our message and our message alone. Christ is Christianity, and He is all there is to offer, because He is all that we need.
The apostle Paul, concerned about the Corinthians, deeply concerned about them, comes to the end of his second letter to them in chapter 11, says in verse 2, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid lest, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity associated with Christ.”
Christianity is very simple; it is very pure; it is about having Christ, knowing Christ. Paul says, in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” He says in Philippians chapter 3 that when he saw the glory of Christ, everything else became manure. Verse 8, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
And so, he says, “One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal which is the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” What is that? What is the prize when we are called up? It is to be like Christ. Paul says, “One day I will be like Christ. Until then, my goal is to pursue that Christlikeness.”
We have only one message, and that is Christ. We tell sinners they can have a relationship with Christ, and in that relationship with Him, they will receive everything they need, all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. And yet, in the name of Christianity, in the name of the gospel, in the name of the church, in the name of evangelism, people are told all kinds of things, promised all kinds of things, sold all kinds of things. And in the middle somewhere is, if recognizable, a significantly diminished Christ. Anything that diminishes Jesus Christ is a perverted presentation; it is another gospel, a false gospel.
Should you want to make an inquiry on how to know Christ, or to live for Him, visit our website, or our Sunday Service, or just give us a call.
Faithfully In Christ
Lagoonside Baptist Church in Knysna of the Garden Route
(taken from a study by JMac)