What Did Jesus Say?

Today - at least with regard to religion - stating anything dogmatically or with authority is frowned upon.  That is because we live in a culture that sees any claim to absolute truth as being inherently flawed.  Because, as we apparently now “know”, we cannot really know anything.

Consequently, those who speak with authority with regard to God are considered arrogant, while those who can speak for an hour but never really say anything are considered to be humble.

G.K. Chesterton made this observation about the direction of the world almost 100 years ago:

“What we suffer from is humility in the wrong place.  Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition.  Modesty has settled on the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be.  A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed”.

Do you see what he is saying?  To our fallen world, it is arrogance to make dogmatic truth statements with regard to God or anything religious.  Thus, to the world, it is humble to assert that we really cannot make any definitive statements about God, or what He might want us to do or be.

Yet that certainly was not a description of Jesus, for He constantly spoke with authority, declaring certain things to be absolutely true.  And since we are called to be His “witnesses” (Acts 1:8), we are to clearly and accurately state what He stated, whether or it agrees with the majority in our world, or not.  The world may respond by accusing us of “pushing our beliefs” on everyone else in the culture, but we should and must respond that the truths we declare are not merely “our beliefs”.  Rather, they are the teachings of Jesus, who is Creator and LORD of the universe.  No, we cannot make people believe the truth, but we must nevertheless state it.

And what are the most important truth statements to be made in the 21st century - and in light of cultural debate?  There are many, but four in particular concern me with regard to what Jesus taught.

1.            Jesus was not merely a man, but God.  In John 8:58 Jesus declared Himself to be “I AM”, the one who appeared to Moses in the desert (Exodus 3) who promised to, and subsequently led His people out of slavery in Egypt.  In doing so, His claim was clear: He is, as Isaiah 9:6-7 said He would be, “Mighty God.”  Many religions, like Judaism and Islam, reject this.  So do cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Christian Science.  But Jesus’s words are clear.  So our words must be also.  Jesus was not just a great man or the founder of a great religion.  He is God.

2.            Future judgement is certain, and the place of that judgement is a real and eternal Hell.  Contrary to modern notions, or re-imaginings of Jesus, the real Jesus over and over described hell as a real, eternal, physical place, and warned unbelievers of being cast into it.  Matthew 25:21 records Jesus’ words of warning: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”  And in Matthew 8:12, Jesus further describes that place as characterized by “outer darkness”, a place in which “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  The whole concept of judgement and hell may be mocked by the world.  It may even be embarrassing to some “churches.”  But Jesus declared it to be a real place, to which many will go.  And if we are to be Jesus’ witnesses, we dare not soft-pedal what He warned against.

3.            Jesus is the only way to be saved.  Jesus stated unequivocally in John 14:6 that “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  So all other religions, no matter how much they promote some kind of morality, or how sincerely they worship what they believe to be God, cannot make men and women right with God or members of God’s covenant people.  Saying this may not be easy, just as it may not be easy for a doctor to tell a patient that he or she has cancer that is life-threatening and needs to be removed right away.  But it certainly is necessary.  The Christian’s calling as a witness is not a call to do things that are easy, but things that are necessary.

4.            Human sexuality, sexual morals, and what is legitimate marriage are things determined by God, not man.  This is summed up in Jesus’ answer to a question posed to Him regarding divorce in Matthew 19.  In response to questioners wanting to know if it was legitimate to get a divorce “for any reason”, Jesus immediately took the questioners back to Genesis 1-2, arguing that what had been established “at the beginning” was still in force.  And what had been established by the Father, Son, and Spirit from the beginning of this world? 

- The first humans did not determine their sex, God did. “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” (Verse 4) He alone continues to do this.

- Marriage is between a man and a woman.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.”  (Verse 5) Marriage is heterosexual, not homosexual. That means that even the term “homosexual marriage” is a contradiction in terms, something on the same order as referring to a round triangle.

- There is no legitimate sexual relationship outside of marriage.  That is clear from Jesus’s statement that “what God has joined” (i.e married couples) are “one flesh”.  (Verse 6) The “one flesh” union is part of the sexual relationship and has no part of a relationship between couples not joined by God in marriage.

Certainly there are more truths that need to be declared to the world.  The “whole counsel of God” is more than this.  But in a world that is in rebellion against God, that sees its mission as attacking these specific truths, true Christians must stand firm in boldly declaring what Jesus boldly declared.

May God fill us with His Spirt and give us to courage to be what He has called us to be.

Pastor Dave




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    WIC – will meet May 14th at the home of Susan Leonhard.

    Congratulations! Let’s celebrate Peyton Holley and Juliette Henry. Please make plans to join us on Sunday evening, May 19th at 6:00 PM for a service to celebrate the graduation of Peyton from Pike County High School and Juliette from Covenant College. We’ll have a snack supper afterwards so bring your favorite finger food!

    Vacation Bible School – Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Vacation Bible School – June 17 - 21, 2018. The next planning meeting will be June 2 at 5:00 PM

     The Scottish Sleuths are Returning!

    Invite your friends and neighbors to join Super Sleuth Angus McTavish and Professor Dabney Thornwell as they explore more Bible truths. The Case of the Puzzling Parables will be investigated Monday - Friday, June 17-21, from 6pm to 8:45pm.

    Join the VBS Team

    We need:

    Advertising/Flyer designer

    Crafts manager

    Several crafts helpers

    Recreation leader

    Teacher's Assistant - 4-5 year olds

    Teacher's Assistant - 1-3 grade

    Music leader

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    Angus (5 nights)

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    Gardner (Mon night)

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    Meal or Snack coordinator for Friday night program

    We will meet Sunday, April 28 at 5:00pm to continue plans for VBS.


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