A Defense for Jesus

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Christian Living

A Defense for Jesus

In the late 1960s the western church began to experience what was then called the “Jesus Movement”. It flourished, with college-aged kids from all spectrums of life getting turned on to Jesus. There was a sweet sincerity about it this movement with kids in every walk of life becoming open to the move of God and the Holy Spirit baptism. God began to baptize these hungry people with His Spirit!  This movement literally overturned and upended mainline protestant churches and even the Catholic church.  The move of the Spirit of God would not be stopped!  Folks that experienced this experience would become known as “charismatics”.  Although things are MUCH different today, in the beginning, with the Jesus movement, it began with a love for truth and with the emphasis on Jesus Christ.
Over the years, our teaching over “charismata” has evolved into some very interesting avenues of study. There are teachings of healing and prophecy and the Holy Spirit and His personality; gifts in the church and of the Spirit, the five fold ministry and gifts TO the church; eschatalogical studies and timelines.  We have biker ministries, recovery ministries, bingo, food services and various social programs.

These programs are good in their place but they can never replace the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, His death, burial, resurrection and Kingdom hope of eternal life!

The Church is led by a King and is a spiritual kingdom. (John 3:3,5; Romans 14:16; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Hebrews 1:8). It is a mistake to teach ABOUT the Kingdom without teaching a personal relationship with the King. This is not an earthly kingdom.  It is NOT about positive self-awareness Christianity, self-help, becoming wealthy, achieving the “American Dream” or anything having to do with THIS world (Isaiah 2:7-8).  It has nothing to do with materialism, capitalism or collectivism.  It is a Spiritual kingdom!

The Kingdom is Church is about having the testimony of Jesus and not loving our lives unto death“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” Revelation 12:11.

The very testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, … worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10.

Is Jesus Christ the central focal point of every spiritual “transaction” in your church?  Is He the focal point of all discipleship?

Influenced by the Jesus Movement, many churches in the west modified their liturgy somewhat after the “newness” of the charismata.  Eventually, even the modifications became liturgical and rigid, to the point that the freshness of Jesus Christ and the manna He offers new every morning would become packaged on the internet in borrowed sermons. Preachers can now go online to get their messages or borrow visions and dreams from television or Christian magazines, all the while overlooking Old Testament prophets who scathed the preachers of their day for doing similar things!  (Jeremiah 23:25-32)

Sunday services have again become predictable.

We have preachers that get Bible study topics from the latest popular Christian author or reflexively default to a denominational or organizational theme for Sunday school.  Instead of mining for truth they skim for it with topical rather than textual sermons.  All too often these studies focus on (*OTJ) issues leaving Jesus on the outside knocking on the door. (Revelation 3:20)
(*Other Than Jesus)

Denominations and organizations MUST transform into a Jesus-Centered organism as it was in the days of the primitive Church and the Jesus Movement of the 1960s.

The use of organizational default will miss the freshness from Jesus that is new every morning!

As Christian ministers of the gospel our goal and purpose in life is to know the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Paul said, “…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10

God is calling His Church to “… press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14.

With all due respect, not the high calling of God in you, the high calling of God in your church or of your pastor.  Not the high calling of God in your denomination or the high calling of God in your organization!  It is only the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!

The gospel of the primitive church in the book of Acts, the historical church until the middle of the 3rd Century and the Jesus movement of 40 years ago were all centered upon the life, work, death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ! The apostles didn’t have denominations or church organization by-laws in which to default. Nor were they spinning their wheels over end-time issues, pre or post trib or who the anti-christ was.  But they were very interested in spreading the gospel to the known world through every means possible!

When you are filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, you will talk more about Jesus than Jerusalem, more about His resurrection than your persecution, more about the goodness of God than your gifts, more about His glory than your reputation!  You won’t be ashamed to fast, pray, evangelize, baptize or disciple in the name of Jesus Christ!

And you will not be ashamed to become as Paul, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” 1 Corinthians  9:22!
The humble early church was consumed with the world knowing about Jesus Christ, from Barnabas to Chloe, from Lydia to Paul.

The western church seems to be consumed with a lot more than Jesus these days.  Just watch Christian television for a couple of days.
When on trial for preaching the gospel, Paul’s defense was, “For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” Acts 28:20.

This HOPE of Israel was not about the temple being rebuilt, a red heifer as a future sacrifice, the reinstitution of temple worship, Gentiles becoming like Jews in worship, The presumed inferiority of Gentiles to Jews, superiority of Jews to Gentiles or the creation of the nation of Israel in 1948.

This HOPE wasn’t the Holy Ghost, the gifts of the Spirit, the gifts and callings of God, nor a positive, “feel good about yourself” message.  In Acts 28, the apostle Paul would soon die with the HOPE of resurrection deep within him. To Paul, the hope of Israel was found in Jesus.

“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:36-39

The focal point of Paul’s apology in his preaching was not spiritual gifts, the godhead, or Oneness.  He was preaching Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!

He told the Corinthian church, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified“. 1 Corinthians 2:2.

The church growth explosion is all about Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega!  (Revelation 1:8).
In other words, the ONLY thing Paul wanted the church to understand was the knowledge of Jesus Christ and the atonement He provided with His death on the cross!

The gospel in the book of Acts centered upon the Person of Jesus Christ.  God is re-directing the Church BACK to the basics of preaching Jesus. To preach Jesus is to preach the law and prophets!

To preach Jesus is to deliver all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27; Mathew 5:17; Acts 28:23)

The transformed Church is the same one that is preaching the Lamb of God as the Church’s sole Foundation.  This Church understands that denominations or buildings and organizations do not define her.  She knows the Church is a Spiritual building made without hands, and exists at the design of the Master Architect, Jesus Christ,

“In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord”. Ephesians 2:21
To reject the God-breathed narrative of the early church is to reject its foundation, and as Paul put it,

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ”, 1 Corinthians 3:11

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone”. Ephesians 2:20

The foundation of the Church is the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Church will stand the tests of time is the one grounded squarely in the Lamb of God.  He is the fulfillment of ALL the law and the prophets.  He is the great High Priest, the Son of God, the final sacrifice for sin and the one in Whom “…we live, and move, and have our being;…” Acts 17:28a

To preach Jesus is to preach the New Testament spirit of prophecy,
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, … worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10.

The Gospel is completely about preaching Jesus Christ and his completed, finished work, accomplished by his atoning death for sin and his resurrection from the dead.  You see, it’s all about JESUS!


The Victor, Keith Green

Dale Royce, DMin


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