Click on the quote below to read the article...

(See part 1 for background information.)

The responses keep coming to my articles on false Christs. Most of you have at least been superficially friendly, which is encouraging. Thank you. However, for the most part, there is a nagging suspicion that the real message I am trying to communicate is still being missed by many of you. There are hints that I should say less, and make it more tolerant (along the lines that everyone is right in their own way, so don't rock the boat). Some are still concerned about my affiliation. (Yes, I do work with a small group of Christian believers. Maybe we should have a competition to pick a name for us!) Others are concerned about which version of the Bible I use, or about various evils that exist in the world today.

But what I am on about is Jesus Christ... the literal Son of God... the historical preacher from Nazareth, who walked the earth 2,000 years ago, and whose teachings are contained in the first four books of the New Testament. I'm convinced that salvation cannot be found without him.

I am also convinced that no amount of praise and worship, religious activity, jargon or theology can take the place of simple, childlike faith in this same Jesus and all that he said.

Jesus ended his sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) with the story of a wise man and a foolish man. Both men heard the teachings of Jesus, but only one obeyed them; and he was the one who was saved.

I want to ask you to try a little experiment. Without opening your Bible, try writing down ten or twenty things that Jesus told his followers to do. Not stories. Not prophecies. Not promises. Not something from the Old Testament or from the Epistles. Just things that our Lord and Saviour is actually recorded as having said for us to do.

I've done this with thousands of people all over the world, and I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of people who were able to get even ten commands of Jesus. Isn't this strange? People who can tell you everything that Paul said about women having long hair, everything that Solomon said about prosperity, what the four horsemen of the Apocalypse represent, all the gifts of the spirit, the difference between a bishop, elder, deacon, and pastor, what is wrong with the Mormon Church, the meaning of various church holidays, the life story of Martin Luther and John Calvin... and yet they could not tell me ten things that Jesus told his followers to do. Why?

Could it be that we have never seriously thought about actually obeying Jesus?

Jesus said, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, but do not do the things I have told you to do?" (Luke 6:46)

Most of us have a theological faith in Jesus as "Lord", but somehow this faith does not translate into obedience to much of anything that he told us to do.

If you asked employees to list ten or twenty things that they have to do on their jobs, the task would be fairly simple. They would just mentally go through their day. They would be able to remember the rules on the basis of their own actions... because they are in the habit of planning their lives around those rules. "I have to be there by a certain time. First I have to check the mail... or sweep the floor... or fill the truck up with gas..." And so on, throughout the day. It's easy to remember, because it's what they do. But it's not easy for us to remember what Jesus told us to do, because the horrifying truth is that we're not in the habit of doing what he has told us to do. We too often take for granted that we are doing the will of God just by doing what "feels right" or what those around us are doing... especially if it's something of a religious nature.

No wonder there are so many disagreements between Christians! We're each following our own personal "revelations" more than the infallible teachings of Jesus Himself, as contained in scripture. And the worst thing about this is that we each get the feeling it must be wrong to question anyone's right to say that whatever they are doing has been personally approved by Jesus. It's OK to ask the Jews to question their traditions... or the Catholics. But when it comes to Protestant traditions, evangelical traditions, Pentecostal traditions, and our own personal traditions, we defend the traditions, even if the end result is that they make the Word of God of no effect. Why not just set them all aside, and sit at the feet of Jesus for a while to get a really clear picture of what it is that he has told us, through his teachings, to do.

The most serious thing about this is that we have come to accept as normal a wide range of teachings about how to obtain eternal salvation... as though each of us (and each denomination) is free to make up our own rules for salvation... as long as our rules put in a plug for Jesus somewhere along the way. And we assume that the various formulas for salvation will all "work".

But only faith in Jesus will save us. Not faith in a doctrine about salvation. If, for example, I tell you that you only need to say a little prayer, asking Jesus into your heart, and I can guarantee you eternal salvation if you do this... If I say this, what you need to ask me is this: "Did Jesus (the real historical Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) say that was all I needed to do to be saved?" If you don't do that... if you just accept this formula for salvation because I gave it to you, then you are exercising faith in me, but not faith in the real Christ (even though you may use his name when saying your prayer). You are, in essence, asking me into your heart. I have become your Saviour. And you are going to be in serious trouble when you stand before God and try to argue that you did what I told you without ever checking to see if the real Christ said that was good enough.

No wonder Jesus said to Nicodemus that he needed to be "born again". Nicodemus was suffering from something that a lot of us so-called evangelical "Christians" suffer from today. He was so sure that he knew it all, that he was spiritually blind to what God still wanted to teach him.

When people ask me what I believe, I say that I am a Christian, and that I believe the teachings of Jesus. I really am seriously trying to follow him. A lot of people say they are, when they aren't; but that should not stop me from saying that I am. Trust and Obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. You can't take him as your Saviour and not take him as your Lord and Master.

Even if you can't remember twenty of the commands of Jesus off the top of your head right now, you need only open your Bible to the four gospels and start looking to find them. But after reading them, you need to ask yourself whether you are willing to get serious about obeying them. (If you do, they'll totally transform your life; believe me!)

In God's eyes, until you get serious about obeying Jesus, you will continue to be a "foolish" person, building your hope of salvation on sand. Jesus said the religious builders had left out the "cornerstone" because they were offended by it. In other words, the real Christ (as represented by his teachings) has been left out of so-called Christianity today, and we have been sold a false Christ. And this has been done because we (or our leaders) think that what Jesus asks us to do is too hard... the way is too narrow. So the Word of God has been made of no effect, because of our religious traditions. And we end up praising and worshipping a christ who is nothing like the real Jesus. Because of this, he says that he will tell us on the judgment day that he never knew us.

Don't you think it is time that we all started getting serious about the teachings of Jesus? Shouldn't His teachings be the basis of our unity? And shouldn't they be what we take to a dying world?

I know that what I have said in this article is going to "challenge" a lot of people. But it's the truth, and if you ignore it, you will do so at your own eternal peril. Please pray about it... fervently.

P.S. I would be curious to hear how many of the commands of Jesus you were able to list without peeking!

(See also The Top Forty.)

Register or log in to take the quiz for this article

Pin It
Don't have an account yet? Register Now!

Sign in to your account