Why we must put Christ and the cross back at the center of Christianity
There was a time not too long ago that the central focus of the Christian church was Jesus Christ, but today with the churches fascination with man-centered, seeker-sensitive, come-as-you-like theology, it appears that the seeker has replaced the founder of the church in authority and importance. Without a strict adherence to true biblical theology and doctrine the modern church has relegated itself into nothing more than a feel-good social club where the attendees care little for the eternal things of God, and embrace the petty, temporal things of the world. What they fail to realize is when a different gospel is followed, one predicated on a man-centered theology, they unknowingly follow a “Jesus” of their own creation. The bible teaches in 1 John 2:15-17 “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.” God’s kingdom is built upon righteousness and justice and He will determine how those who seek His forgiveness are to approach Him – not through the machinations from the minds of sinful men! Many within the modern church have no clue as to how holy God is and how debased we are. They will decide how they will approach God and whether their methods align with Scriptural truths is inconsequential. In seeking significance among men the modern “church” has succeeded in turning its attendees from the true gospel of Christ to what the bible describes as “the doctrines of demons” (cf. 1Timothy 4:1). Reverence and humility have, in their eyes, been relegated to the church of the past and they will continue to proclaim their mantra of societal relevance, devoid of biblical truth, and champion an easy believism from the highest hilltops. This method in approaching a holy and righteous God is not only foolish but very dangerous. God is not our “buddy” and Christ is not our “pal”. The eternal Godhead must be shown a proper reverence and respect that an infinite and eternal God demands.
To give you an example of exactly how set apart God truly is from sin-filled men we only need look at a few passages from the Old Testament. In 2 Samuel 6:1-7 we read of the account of David and his servant Uzzah. “1 Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the Lord of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. 3 So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. 4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. 5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.” In verse 7 we read that God strikes down Uzzah. Many Christians who approach God’s word flippantly would read this and say, “what a terrible thing for God to do”. But what the scripturally-illiterate seeker fails to realize is that God had clearly commanded in His word that only the Levites (priests) were to bear the ark and that it should be transported with wooden poles – not on a cart! (Exodus 25:13-14; Numbers 1:47-52). God had ordered that no one was to touch the ark as this was the symbol of his presence and majesty on earth. Uzzah’s actions stemmed from either his ignorance of God’s Word or from a lack of reverence for God (cf. 1 Chronicles 15:2). Uzzah’s action reveals the danger of having enthusiasm for God without acquiring the knowledge of his Word and gaining a proper understanding of His character and nature. David’s plan to return the ark to Jerusalem, and Uzzah’s desire to steady it on the cart, may have shown a zeal for God’s kingdom, but it also revealed their careless attitude toward keeping the standards that God commanded. Ignorance of God’s declarations does not provide us an excuse for approaching Him without showing proper respect and reverence. God’s inspired Word reveals to us His will, character, and nature which relates to all things in life. Those who profess to follow God must also follow the instructions and examples that He has clearly laid out in his Word (cf. Leviticus 10:1-3; Joshua 7; Acts 5:1-11).
In many respects the modern “professing” church in America is reminiscent of the individuals which celebrate a popular holiday every third week in March. On St. Patrick’s Day, revelers rise early for an all day and all night bacchanalian- like celebration of carousing, music, and drink – lots of drink – and a slogan can be heard emanating from around every city in the country, “everyone is Irish on St. Patty’s Day!” While this mantra may be humorous when speaking of a pagan holiday, it becomes all too real when applied to today’s Christianity. The fact is that anyone can profess to be Christian (and many do) but very few actually abide by what God’s word says it means to be a Christian! The modern church of today is characterized around experience and feelings rather than on biblical truth, sound doctrine, and the authentic gospel message which was originally delivered to the saints. Many that profess to be Christian would likely be hard-pressed to even provide a partial definition of what the gospel of Christ is! In many modern churches, Christ has been relegated to the status of a “life coach”, instructing the audience in prosperity and personal growth rather than as Lord and Savior! And this is truly not surprising as those same churches rarely if ever preach about the reason why we even need a savior! The preaching of sin and repentance are nowhere to be found inside the seeker-sensitive church because such talk might offend the seeker. Never is there ever a thought that a sanctuary full of unrepentant individuals unabatedly continuing in their sin might be an offense to a holy God! Their “doctrine” is strictly centered around what feels good to the individual and never espouses the biblical truths of sin, repentance, justice, righteousness or the likelihood of eternal separation from God. They speak of God’s “love” but never mention His infinite justice or absolute righteousness. They market half of God’s character and in doing so they teach error and are simply deceiving themselves and preaching a false gospel and are promoting a Jesus that is not found in the Scriptures. For Jesus Himself says in Matthew 7:21-23 “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
The things of God are serious business and should never be taken in a flippant or indifferent manner. The human mind is incapable of comprehending the concept of what infinite righteousness truly is or what ‘eternal separation’ from God truly means; and if it could, those that handle the things of God with indifference would likely be clinging to every letter contained within God’s holy word! For the Scriptures teach us in Hebrews 10:26-31 “26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” The Scriptures teach that God desires that all should come to repentance and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). But this does not mean that He will compromise His righteousness in the process. Christ came to this world in the form of a man and died an excruciating death on a cross so that those that humble themselves and confess that they are sinners and turn from their sinful ways and repent can find forgiveness and acceptance before a righteous and holy God. Those that have created a theology based on a false understanding of the true relationship of God’s love and God’s righteousness are no different than David’s servant Uzzah and can expect a similar outcome in the eternity that is to come. God’s word is clear on this subject and those that have hardened their hearts and declared to themselves that they are “good” people and not in need of repentance are to be the most pitied, for they are going to one day stand before an infinitely righteous God, without the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and will have nothing but their sin-filled earthly works to offer as payment for their sins, as the Scriptures declare in Matthew 13:40-42 “40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Christ God designed Adam (and his descendants) to live in a sinless state, a state which God’s Spirit could inhabit and live within Adam. But when Adam sinned, God’s Spirit could no longer indwell man and this left a void in the heart of Adam and his descendants. As nature abhors a vacuum, a sin-nature immediately indwelled Adam. We can only be reconciled to the eternal Father through faith in the death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Adam sinned and chose to follow the percepts of Satan he separated himself from his Creator and in essence said that he no longer needed God and that he would decide his own fate. This is why the Scriptures teach that “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” Spiritual Void SinSpirit of God When we accept Christ, God is righteously able to indwell us once again through the perfection of Christ’s sinless life and perfect atonement which paid the cost of all of our sinful rebellion. “ 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
“21 For he (God the Father) hath made him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we (the true church) might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit” 1 Peter 3:18
In order to understand how egregious God views our sins, just consider the terrible price that Christ paid on the cross at Golgotha to redeem those that call out and seek his forgiveness. When men take a flippant attitude toward sin they are in effect denying what God’s word has declared and Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross. For in 1 John 1:8-10 it declares: “8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” But the seeker-sensitive movement (and others like them) are completely apathetic to these biblical truths as they are more concerned with the growth of their “churches”, their supposed relevance in society, and the happiness of their “customers” rather than being true to God’s inerrant and eternal word. And this is why sin and repentance are never discussed, as it would likely alienate those that have come to trust their self-proclaimed “good works” and “righteousness” for their salvation. There are many people today that actually think they are doing God some kind of favor every time they attend a Sunday church service. They have completely bought into Satan’s favorite lie… “3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted — you may well put up with it!” 2 Corinthians 11:2-4
This is why we must return Christ and the full understanding of what the cross truly means to the center of every Christian initiative. Christ declared in Matthew 20:28 that “28 … the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” If men are able to seek God through any means of their own creation then why did Jesus have to die a horrible death at the hands of the Roman and Jewish authorities? Christ tells us in John 15:13 “13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” If it were God’s righteous will that men could come to Him in any manner that they see fit then then execution of Jesus was meaningless and unnecessary. This is why groups like the seeker-sensitive movement and others are dead wrong in their man-centered approach to Christianity. It is only when we come to an understanding of the true holiness of God and our complete un-holiness that the meaning and purpose of the cross becomes clear. For without Jesus and His willingness to give Himself to be the payment for our sins, we would have no hope of attaining forgiveness and God by his infinite righteousness would be compelled to judge us guilty and sentence all men to eternal separation from Himself and a Godless eternity in the Lake of Fire. Revelation 20:11-15 “11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
“If ye by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh ye shall live!” “If you live after the flesh…” “You’ll Die!”
The purpose of this PowerPoint ® presentation is not to scare people or to make them seek God out of fear but to explain the realities of what the bible teaches and to expose the apostasy that has risen within many modern churches. None of these developments are of any surprise to those that have studied the Scriptures, as the bible openly declares in 2 Peter 2:1-10 “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. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) — then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise (biblical) authority.” When we come to the true God within His prescribed method (a faith in the death and resurrection of Christ), God is faithful and will forgive us of our transgressions. When we accept Christ and His gift of salvation, God forgives us of all of our sins (past, present, and future) and His Holy Spirit enters to reside in us and He begins to transform us into the similitude of Christ. We then can pass from death (our present sinful state) into eternal life and the terror of a godless eternity in hell exists no more for those who trust in Christ and believe God’s written word.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:33-34 In closing, I would like to encourage you to investigate God’s word for yourself. Do not be led astray by false forms of Christianity that preach another gospel and another Jesus. Stick closely to Christ, the Cross, and His holy word and never allow yourself to be deceived. Remember and take to heart the following verses from the Book of Jude “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:15-20 “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:11-12 “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.” Matthew 24:24-25 Never forget the promises of Jesus or allow yourself to become discouraged, as the victory has already been won by Christ. Simply obey God and leave the consequences to Him.