Posts Tagged ‘Jesus is Worthy’
Jesus said that we were called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). He called us, saved us, transformed us – all this so that we would glorify His name in the earth and that we might be a light to draw others to Jesus Christ.
Sadly, some believe their job is to bring people to their point of view theologically. In other words, their job is to convert disciples to their particular views whether it be Arminians converting Calvinists to Arminianism or Calvinists converting Arminians to Calvinism. I know of two Calvinists in particular who see it their job to a) answer every Arminian out there on their Calvinistic theology and b) to convert as many people as possible to Calvinism. These men are passionate about Calvinism. They adore Calvin. They adore all Calvinists. Their passion is to teach others about Calvinism since, in their minds, Calvinism equals the gospel. They spend hours on Twitter and Facebook and other social sites trying to answer their critics or spread their Calvinism. Oh yes, they will occasionally praise God for something but in the end, it is Calvinism that is their passion and delight.
Why do they want to convert everyone to Calvinism? As I stated, they believe that Calvinism is the pure gospel. They believe that Calvinism along glorifies God and it alone is the true gospel of the Lord Jesus. They believe that Jesus Himself was the first Calvinist and from Him came the Apostles and eventually Augustine and eventually Calvin and so forth to this day. They believe that men such as Arminius or John Wesley are men who tried to pervert the true gospel. They believe that all other systems outside of Calvinism hold to works-salvation. You can assure them over and over again (as I have) that you hold to justification by faith and that you are kept by faith in Christ but they will in turn argue that your “faith” is a work and that you are not saved by God’s grace nor the gift of faith that He gives to His elect but you hold to salvation by works. When you quote passages about God saving you by grace through faith such as Ephesians 2:8-9 or Titus 3:5-7, they again will say that you still hold to works salvation since you believe that God saves you because of your faith. When you argue that your faith is not a work to be saved but is a humble confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 4:5), they will again claim you hold to works salvation since you still deny that your faith is a gift from God that came after He regenerated you so that you could believe. It is a never-ending cycle. I had one of these two Calvinists tell me that I needed to repent even after I assured him that I was saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Yet since I am not a Calvinist, I am lost.
I pray that there are no Arminians like this nor that I am like this. My passion is to preach the gospel of Christ and not Arminianism. I want to see people saved. If they become faithful disciples of Jesus and fellowship with Calvinists, so be it. I only want to see souls saved. I am not interested in spreading the fame of Arminius or Wesley. I only want Jesus to be exalted. I thank God for Arminius or Wesley but do not believe they have ever saved one sinner. Jesus alone saves.
My heart here is to see us all, both Arminians and Calvinists and all in-between, preaching Christ and Him crucified. I asked one of the above Calvinists if he was more concerned that I was an Arminian or a disciple of Jesus. He answered, “A true disciple of Jesus will always be a Calvinist.” I deplore such thinking. I want people to be faithful followers of Christ and not a man. Calvin was a sinner. Augustine was a sinner. Luther was a sinner. Campbell was a sinner. Ravenhill was a sinner. Tozer was a sinner. Only Jesus saves sinners. I believe these men would tell us to look to Christ alone to be saved and not to flesh.
I am convinced that preaching of the gospel must focus in on Christ. He must be the focal point, He must be the One that we are exalting. Our preaching should not focus on ourselves or on the hearers but upon the Lord Jesus. When we do this, we are truly exalting God and calling people to the very One (and the only One) who can save their souls. Whether you are doing open air preaching, house church preaching, preaching in a traditional church, teaching a Sunday School class, teaching a small group Bible study, preaching in the prisons, discipleship, etc., we should focus upon Christ. After all, Scripture elevates Him and exalts Him above all others (Colossians 1:15-20).
In 2 Corinthians 5:11-15 we read:
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Paul’s focus in these verses was upon Christ. He wanted Jesus to be exalted (v.14). That should be our focus as well (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Christ is to be our all in all (1 Corinthians 10:31). Christ is to be the One that we lift up in calling people to repentance (John 12:32). Christ is to be our focus completely. After all, He is our Master and Lord (Ephesians 6:9).
Make much about this Jesus. When people hear you speak, they should focus on Jesus and walk away knowing that they heard about Jesus. Focus on Him alone as the only One who can save us by His grace (John 14:6). Jesus alone is worthy!
During the early days of the Pentecostal movement, whenever a person would get saved the Pentecostals would do three things to the new convert. First, they would baptize the person as soon as possible. That hour if possible. Secondly, the Pentecostals would teach the person how to “pray through” or tarry in prayer until they know that they know that God has touched them and met their needs. This kind of praying was loud, long, and was earnest (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Third, they would take the new convert to the old hang out places whether a bar or a gym or a pool hall or a theater and they would tell them, “Now preach the gospel to your old friends and tell them what Jesus has done for you in saving you.” This method was very effective at proving who was truly saved and who was still dead in their sins. The truly converted would go to their old friends and preach the true gospel of repentance and faith in Jesus to them. This would ensure that the old friends knew that the person was now a Christian and then it would also help the new Christian to grow as they were often persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
James 1:2-4 is a popular verse and rightly so. Here James tells us that God Himself allows us to face trails in our salvation so that we learn to persevere or, as the ESV says, to have steadfastness. Verse 4 says that we are to let steadfastness “have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Steadfastness produces a passion for Jesus as we suffer through our trials and realize that He is better than anything this world has to offer us (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Our suffering is nothing in comparison to eternity with Jesus (Romans 8:18). He is worth any amount of pain and loss so long as we continue to see that He is wonderful and worthy to be praised no matter what may come.
Trials help us to persevere. I think that we should not shy away from our trials. When our faith is tested, it is the opportunity for us to focus more and more on Jesus and see His beauty (Hebrews 12:1-2). I love Hebrews 11:13-16 that describes the faith of Old Testament saints. It is this kind of faith that Hebrews 11:13-16 is speaking of that keeps us focused on Jesus. When we have this type of faith, this Hebrews 11:13-16 type of faith, absolutely nothing begins to hold our affections like the love of God given to us in Christ (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:1-3). When we face trials and we come out stronger in our faith, this is the work of steadfastness in our trials that James 1:2-4 is speaking of. That steadfast, immovable faith that remains focused on Jesus and His cross (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Trails come in many ways. Some face financial trails. Some face marriage trials. Some face disobedient children trials. Some of us are persecuted for our faith in Christ. Others suffer through diseases and the effects of the Fall in our world. Trials will always be a part of life. God has never promised that we would not face trials as disciples of Jesus. Instead, He assures us that we will face trials but we can learn from our trails and remain focused on Jesus through our trails and God can use those trails for His own pleasure to exalt His name. That is the chief aim of the disciple no matter what (Colossians 3:17). We want Jesus exalted and us brought low (John 3:30).
No matter what you face today, allow the Lord to teach you through your trials. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you to pray as you should (Romans 8:26-27). None of us truly understands others trials. All our trails are different but our God is faithful and He is always the same. He led His people through the wilderness (Psalm 107:28). He can do the same for you and I (Psalm 107:43). None of us will ever cease to face trials but we can begin to learn from our testing of our faith. As we are tested, our faith grows stronger as we trust in the Lord and not in our strength. He becomes our focus. He becomes our passion. He becomes our all-in-all.
Be steadfast in the work of the Lord and remain focused on Jesus always (1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:24).
Jesus is worthy to be praised. Let us rejoice that He is our Savior and our King! Revelation 19:11-16.
Jesus is the glorious theme of the Bible. He is the reason for all things. He is the wonder of all. He is the most lovely, the standard of perfection, the greatest human being who has ever lived or ever will live. He is the Lord of the Church, the One that we worship and exalt. Jesus is the One that I long to be like. He is the One that I want to see when I die. He is the One that I long to see coming again (Acts 1:11).
As I was meditating on the person of Jesus and how glorious He is, I turned in the Scriptures to meditate on the following New Testament passages about His preeminence above all others and all things. I encourage you to do the same. Make Jesus your life (Colossians 3:1-3). Make Jesus your passion and your everything!
- Matthew 3:11
- John 3:31; 3:13; Acts 2:36
- Romans 14:9
- Colossians 1:18
- Hebrews 1:4; 3:3; 8:6
- Revelation 5:11-12; 17:14; 19:11
Jesus alone is the One that we need to exalt and He is the One that we should preach. May we be Christ-centered in all that we say or do.
A sure sign that a theological system is not following the Lord is when God is no longer great. If your theology exalts an individual person, people in general, a particular point of theology (such as baptism or the Holy Spirit, a Bible translation, etc.) but does not seek to make God big, great, holy, exalted, worthy, and glorious then abandon such theology! If your theology allows you to sin and not exalt the Lord in holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) then abandon such teachings.
Our theology must make much about God and little about everything else. If the focus of my theology is Arminius or Wesley or any other human being then I have missed the mark. Jesus is the only perfect one and He alone is to be the focus of our theology. From Genesis to Revelation, the focus is all about Jesus. It is not about the Church. It is not about prophets. It is not about prophecy. It is all about Jesus. The focus of Scripture is the exaltation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the one who came to shed His blood for our salvation. This is the focal point of Scripture.
And this is to be the focal point of my life as well. Jesus is to be Lord of all of my life (Luke 6:46-49). He is the one that I follow (Ephesians 5:1-2) and He is the one that I worship and adore (John 4:23-24). Jesus is the one that I pray to and seek (John 14:13-14). He is the one that I preach to others (Acts 1:8; 4:12). He is the focus of my studies. He is the focus of my passion. He is the one who died to save me (Romans 5:8-9) and He is the one that I want to follow all the days of my life (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). He is the one that I declare as great.
So often in theology we get sidetracked with other good things. We study Arminianism or Calvinism or any other forms of theology and we can forget that Jesus is our reason. Those of us passionate for souls to be saved (which should be us all) know that our focus should not be simply to make disciples but we are to make disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19). We should love the Church, the Spirit, the Word of God, etc. but I ultimate attraction should be Jesus. He is the focal point of Scripture and He is to be the focal point of our lives.
This is where the cults go astray. Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus is Michael the angel from the Old Testament. Mormons teach that Jesus is the brother of us all including Satan and was chosen to be the Savior of the world. But in the Bible, Jesus is exalted to His rightful place of worship as God (John 1:1). Jesus is not god among gods. He is God alone. He is co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14) but Jesus is the focal point of all of Scripture. The Bible does not seek to tear Jesus down from His exalted place (Philippians 2:5-11) but it seeks to exalt Him far above all others. As should we.
Jesus is worthy. Jesus is exalted. Revelation 5:12-13 is one of my favorite New Testament passages because of its exaltation of the Lord Jesus. We see Him high and lifted up in this passage. The elders around God’s throne cry out before God the worthiness of Jesus. There is none that compares to Him. Notice that the elders never exalt a man or woman. They only exalt the Lord Jesus Christ who is God manifested in the flesh (John 1:14). Forever and ever in eternity we will not praise Arminius or Luther or William Birch but we will praise Jesus Christ for He alone is worthy.