In another city, I dropped in on a church near the hotel for their Sunday morning worship service. The church belonged to a denomination that is unapologetically liberal, so I was not surprised by anything. But there is one thing about such congregations and their leadership that always amazes me.
I’m continually surprised at how thoroughly they leave Jesus out of things.
We use the same Bible, so it’s not like we’re reading from different texts.
We’re working from the same blueprint, so it’s not like we have different architects.
And we all call ourselves Christian.
But how in the world two groups of people who read the same Bible and call themselves disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ can come up with such disparate renditions of the Christian faith is beyond me.
The way I read the Bible, everything there is about Jesus. Not some of it, all of it. Not the major portion, but every blessed thing in there in one way or the other points to Jesus.
SALVATION is all about Jesus.
“As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the children of God.” (John 1:12) “He who believes on the Son has eternal life.” (John 3:36)
“There is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE is all about Jesus.
“I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit. For without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“For me, to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21)
THE CHURCH is all about Jesus.
“Christ also is the Head of the church. He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ…. Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…. we are members of His body.” (Ephesians 5:22-30)
“He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23)
THE HOLY SPIRIT is all about Jesus.
“The Father will send (Him) in my name…He will bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
“He will bear witness of me.” (John 15:26)
“He shall glorify me.” (John 16:14)
THE GOSPEL is all about Jesus.
“And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:35)
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe.”(Romans 1:16)
THE BIBLE is all about Jesus.
“Search the scriptures, for they testify of me.” (John 5:39)
“O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26)
The Old Testament says Jesus is coming. The New Testament says, “He is here,” and “He is coming back.”
THE ETERNAL PLAN OF GOD is all about Jesus.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
And the rest of Hebrews. No sense in typing it all here, but nothing in the Bible puts it plainer or says it stronger.
IN FACT, THE TRINITY is all about Jesus in one way.
“For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)
John Bisagno says, “Jesus Christ is everything God has to say about Himself.”
At Jesus’ baptism, the Father and the Holy Spirit were there, but they were bearing witness of Jesus. On the Mount of Transfiguration, the voice of God came from Heaven saying, “This is my Son. Listen to Him!”
JUDGMENT is all about Jesus.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” (Matthew 25:31)
“…at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow…and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
HEAVEN is all about Jesus.
“And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.” (Revelation 21:22)
“And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:23)
“And He said to me, “Behold I am coming quickly….I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:12-13)
I recognize that I’m treading dangerously close to the “Jesus Only” doctrine of some Pentecostals. But I’m moving back from the edge of that precipice.
None of this erases the identity or Personhood of the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is merely to say that the Father has set it up this way, that since the members of the Trinity are One and there is no division within the Godhead, to worship Christ is to worship God, period. It’s how God has been pleased to order things.
The cardinal sin, it seems to me, is to bypass Jesus on our way to the Father, and that’s why many liberals seem to have done. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s because while Jesus said some wonderfully comforting things, He also said some things that are uncomfortable and uncompromising and narrow. Narrowness makes liberals uneasy, that is, unless it’s their own narrowness.
As a young and very green pastor newly arrived from seminary, I was preaching the gospel as I understood it. Calling people to salvation, I would say, “Come and accept God as your Savior.”
A wise and discerning deacon took me aside one day and gently said, “Pastor, I know what you mean and you know what you mean. But let me remind you, many people speak of God but do not believe in Jesus.”
I took his words to heart. The Bible calls on us to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” for salvation.
It’s how God wanted it. It’s the only way.
Someone asked the pastor of a great, evangelistic church their secret. “No secret,” he said. “Just look on the sign out front.”
Underneath “Northside Baptist Church of Charlotte, North Carolina,” were these words: “Making much of Jesus.”
He said, “That’s what we do, in every activity around here. It’s all about Jesus.”