One of the key features of a ‘good’ Church will be the degree to which the minister or preachers and leaders teach about the Lord Jesus Christ.
The way some speakers talk about Jesus you would be forgiven for thinking that He was just a man who lived 2000 years ago and set us an example of good and moral living.
Now that certainly is true, but if this is so in your Church I’m afraid the teaching is sadly lacking.
Ultimately this comes back to their lack of respect for the inspired words of God recorded in our Scriptures.
The point is this: If Jesus Christ is not presented in the way the New Testament writers portrayed Him, then He is powerless to do anything about our sin condition.
In other words, if you don’t really believe Jesus can actually forgive your sins by His death or provide eternal life with Himself in heaven, then He certainly won’t do it for you at all!
If a minister, or anyone, doesn’t believe that God’s Son can do as He promised, then be absolutely sure He won’t.
Occasional doubts are not unbelief – don’t be worried if you have them at times.
Jesus is Truly God and Truly Man
All the New Testament writers testify to Jesus being both human and divine.
As the apostle John wrote in 2 John 7-9:
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded in full. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.’
Now ‘Jesus Christ coming in the flesh’ refers to both His divine messiahship and His humanity – God in man.
We are not supposed to fully understand this, but it is one of the basics which we must accept in faith in order to be saved.
Not only is salvation refused to any who don’t accept it – either from ‘intellectual honesty’ or plain stubbornness, or the temptation to be relevant – the deniers are actually called antichrist by John – and we all know what happens to antichrist in the end!
Unless your Church teaches clearly that we must accept this important tenet of our faith, God [through John] says He will deal with it as He will with the antichrist.
As John says, we must continue firmly in the teaching about Jesus to know we have the Father and the Son within us.
Importance of the Virgin Birth
I have heard some Church leaders, when speaking or writing about Christmas in the newspapers, fail to mention that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin mother, Mary.
Why does this matter? To reject the virgin birth of Jesus not only contradicts the Scriptures, but it also denies His deity and implies He was just another sinful human being.
It matters so much that the Catholics have gone to the opposite extreme and declared that Mary was perpetually a virgin, despite the fact that her other children are named in the gospels. They also think that Mary’s mother must have been a virgin, despite a complete lack of evidence.
The correct understanding is that if Jesus had been conceived in the usual way, He could never have been our Saviour because He would have inherited man’s sinful nature.
But He had to be born ‘of a virgin’ in human form, with flesh, blood, an ability to be tempted and a tendency to tire, or else He would not have been qualified to die in our place or to take the punishment we deserved.
Your preachers should stress the virgin birth.
Christ’s Death and Resurrection
The ‘good’ Church will also teach that Jesus’ death on the cross somehow paid off the debt we owe for our sinful nature and actions.
We know that in God’s plan, ‘without the shedding of blood there is no remission’ of sin [Heb 9:22].
The blood of countless animals throughout the Old Testament times only pointed to the real, future sacrifice of Christ which is now for all time.
The resurrection must also be clearly taught – the physical resurrection of Christ – not just the belief or tradition, but the real, actual, historical event that some leaders like to skate around sometimes.
To the modern world the death and resurrection seem barbaric, foolish and a stumbling-block, just as Paul observed nearly 2000 years ago. Times have not changed in that regard and people as a whole still won’t accept God’s way of salvation, much to their great peril.
Our task, the task of the ‘good’ Church, is to proclaim Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Yet I know of quite a number you could attend any Sunday and not hear this message loud and clear. I hope your Church is not like that.
The Return of Christ
Your Church should also be clearly teaching the wonderful news that Jesus will one day return for us.
Whether we are snatched [‘raptured’], as described by Paul in 2 Thess 4:15-18, or die in the meantime, Jesus is returning physically and bodily one day to judge the earth.
We are told numerous times about this in the New Testament, but still there are preachers who, if they mention this promise at all, tell us that either this won’t happen as described, or that it won’t happen until we, the Church, have made the world ready for Him.
Where do they get that from? From the new breed of ‘dominionist’ teachers on whom I hope to elaborate sometime.