Why Study The Words of Jesus?
by Wayne Childress 10/15/2013 / Bible Studies
There is a wealth of information in the Bible about Jesus. Much of the information in the Old Testament concerns prophecies of His coming. Much of the information in the Gospels of the New Testament describes how He fulfilled those Old Testament prophecies. Many people - both those who profess faith in Jesus and those who reject Him - spend a lot of time and effort in trying to prove or refute His Messianic claim. For those that have not discovered Jesus as their Lord and Savior this type of information may be crucial to know. For those that claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior this information may be good to know for witnessing but it does little else for their own personal relationship with God or Jesus.
There is a wealth of information in the Bible that concerns end time events. Many people, again on both sides, spend a lot of time and effort in trying to decipher the end time prophecies. As with the biblical prophecies about Jesus, this isn't an unfruitful endeavor; but, it does little to bring anyone closer to knowing and understanding God or Jesus. There is much more important information to be had for true allegiance to, and witnessing for, Jesus Christ.
Apologetics has its place, a very important place in fact. But too many people have been turned away or led astray from God and Jesus because too many folks exercising Christian apologetics haven't spent enough time getting to know what Jesus actually said. Many in fact, that practice what they call Christian apologetics, act as if the Gospel Jesus taught was superseded by the gospel as taught by Paul! They unwittingly act as if Jesus, as many Muslims believe, was just another prophet. Most of modern Christianity is based on Paul's words not the words of Jesus Christ! It is no wonder Muslims so earnestly resist "Christian" attempts to enlighten them concerning Jesus' true status when "Christians" try to use Paul to convert them!
Just as there is only one God, there is only one Gospel the Gospel as taught by Jesus Himself. The gospel accounts of Matthew, John, Luke, and Mark, collectively relate the Gospel that Jesus Christ told us. They describe to us, in Jesus' own words, what the Gospel the Good News really is. Nowhere in the Bible is there a prophecy of Paul's coming. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus tell us to await Paul coming to give us The Gospel or to explain it to us. Jesus gave us The Gospel and explained it. Jesus told us that any further knowledge would come from the Holy Spirit. Many "Christians" consider Mormonism a cult because of their adherence to the teachings of Joseph Smith. Wake up folks. Jesus was and is the final authority on the matter. No one, not Paul, not Joseph Smith, not any pope, no one, has authority to supersede what Jesus said! The only true Gospel was given to us by Christ Himself. It is saddening to hear Mormons, Catholics, and "Paulicans" debate "who a real Christian is" because rarely is Christ mentioned in the debate.
This lack of understanding among "Christians" also hinders witnessing to those of the Jewish faith because the Old Testament clearly states that the Messiah will magnify the Law and make it honorable (Isaiah 42:21) yet Paulicans reject Jesus' own words about the law and push for Paul's views against the Law. It is no wonder Jews reject this ideology it is not only against God it is against Jesus Christ's own teachings which did magnify the Law and make it honorable.
Jesus died for our sins. That is why, in each of the gospel accounts, we learn that Jesus says we must repent. When you accept Him as your Lord He becomes the sacrifice for the sins you committed before he was your Lord. You cannot accept Him as your Savior and reject Him as your Lord and Master. When you accept Him and repent turn away from sin and turn to Him you become, in essence, one of His vassals. He, as your Lord, commands you to obey the Law; which in the gospels accounts, we learn that Jesus says that if we love God above all else, with all we have and are; and, that we love our neighbors, we will have fulfilled the Law. When we, as a vassal of Christ, err against the Law, we will be accountable for that sin; which, in the gospel accounts, we learn that Jesus says means we will be judged and forgiven as we judge and forgive others. If we love others we will forgive them; and, we will in turn be forgiven.
Jesus taught us The Gospel both by His words and His actions. He loved and obeyed God and he loved all others. He forgave even those who were to kill Him. The Gospel the Good News - is simple. Jesus said that if you accept God as your only god and act that way (love and obey); and, accept Jesus as the Christ and your Lord and act that way (love and obey); you will have eternal life!
It is not the free ride Paul would have you believe in! Grace is not a free ticket to Heaven. Jesus Himself says flat out that many won't be able to do what it takes (See Note1) to make it to Heaven (Matthew 7:14 and Luke 13:24). Want an easy biblical example of what will hinder many people? James, a true disciple of Jesus Christ, gives us one:
For he shall have judgment without mercy that has shown no mercy; and, mercy rejoices against judgment.
As you sow, so shall you reap. Your sins as a lost sinner are forgiven completely. Your sins as a saved child of Christ will be dealt with in the same way in which you deal with others. Jesus' words - not mine!
Do you think Paul had the authority to free you from the law? Think again Jesus said:
For amen I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law - until all is fulfilled.
Do you think Paul had authority to change what Jesus said? Think again Jesus said:
Heaven and earth shall pass away; but, my words shall not pass away.
Do you find this objectionable or offensive? Better you are shocked now than later. Jesus said:
Matthew 7:21 - Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but, he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
And He directly followed that with:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and in your name have cast out devils and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you. Depart from me, you that negate the law.
If there any doubt left in your heart that you need to turn to Jesus and what He teaches I sincerely hope and pray that you will take the time and effort to pray for guidance; and, that you will see the need to study Jesus' words. The coming articles will focus on the words and teaching of Jesus.
In Brotherly Love,
Note1 Works cannot save us we can't "undo" our past. Only the saving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross can atone for those sins; but, we cannot crucify Him anew with sins we commit after accepting His sacrifice for our past sins by expecting Him to cover sins we knowingly commit in our future those we will answer for.
Works cannot save us; but, the lack of works will damn you. What happens to the unfruitful in the parable of the sower? What happens to the unfruitful tree in the parable of the barren fig tree? Jesus says very clearly in Matthew 7:19 - Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Jesus stresses many times that the unfruitful will perish! His words not mine.