Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Are You Smarter Than Jesus?

smart student

By Dennis Pollock

There was a day in our nation s history when even the non-Christians at least showed respect for Christianity. They honored the Bible as a holy book, recognized Jesus as the greatest Person who ever walked on our earth, and although they might not serve Him, they would not dare to speak against Him or His teachings. Today our nation sometimes ignores Christianity (if we stay out of their way), but at other times deliberately mocks our beliefs, and indirectly our Savior.

Part of the problem is our relative size. I doubt that true evangelical Christians have ever held a majority of the population in the U. S., but as percentages go, we are far smaller than at probably any other time in our history. Not only that, but those who do not follow Jesus are quicker to disagree with many of the precepts of the Bible. They mock the idea of sexual purity, they scoff at the notion of heaven and hell, and they laugh at the concept of Jesus returning to take His people to Himself.

The collective attitude of Americans to the truths of Scriptures seems to be: We have moved on. Perhaps our grandparents believed these things, but we are more enlightened now. They were primitive and superstitious; we are sophisticated and enlightened. We have grown up. Don t preach to us about an outdated morality; don t try to motivate us with thoughts of some rosy afterlife in a golden city or visions of a place of torment and punishment for bad people. We have gone beyond that today. And never suggest that we must curb our sexual appetites or insist that we limit our sexuality to a marriage commitment between a man and a woman.” In their minds we evangelical Christians are on the wrong side of history. We are ancient relics clinging to a worldview that all intelligent, right-thinking people have rejected.

Rejecting the Scriptures

Modern secular Americans have for the most part dismissed the Bible. If we evangelicals attempt to defend our moral positions through the writings of the Scriptures, their response is to declare emphatically that the Bible cannot be trusted. It is an outdated book written by primitive, uneducated people. The fact that we evangelicals still cling to it in this modern age is but one more proof that we are out of touch, stupid, and simple-minded. They, the secular skeptics, are the wise ones, the tolerant ones, and the progressive ones.

Very few of these secular enlightened ones” will dare to speak against Jesus Christ. Although they have no use for Him in their own lives, they know that the backlash would be tremendous. So for the most part, they leave Jesus alone and confine their mocking to Christians, the church, and the Bible.

What they fail to realize is that by mocking and disparaging Scriptural truths, they are heaping scorn upon Jesus Himself. And, conversely, the reason that we evangelicals love the Bible so much is that we love, respect, and honor Jesus. But the Jesus we love so passionately is not just any Jesus. He is not the Jesus of the new agers; He is not merely the prophet that the Muslims refer to, nor is He simply the wise teacher” as so many non-Christians title Him. The Jesus we love, worship, and devote our lives to is the Jesus we find in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He is God s only begotten Son.” He is the Alpha and the Omega of the Book of Revelation. He is the One who walked on water, who raised dead people, cast out demons, healed lepers, and shut the mouths of the proud Pharisees. And He is the Messiah, the One for whom the Jews looked and referred to as the Son of David.”

And it is precisely this Jesus who emphasized the values, convictions, moral code, and worldview that we Christ-followers cling to in spite of the dizzying pace at which the world around us is departing from them. Jesus did not simply come to earth, carry sheep around His neck, pray blessings over babies, and tell us to love each other. In His short 33 years on this earth He had a lot to say about life, about right and wrong, and He laid down a moral code which He fully expected His followers to embrace. And when we look at what Jesus taught, preached, and believed, we find that these are the same things that evangelicals of every generation have always taught, preached, and believed.

What Jesus Believed

Jesus believed in heaven and hell and had a lot to say about both. Sadly, even many pastors today, especially those in the more liberal churches, are virtually silent, not only about hell, which we might expect, but even about heaven. They consider hell abhorrent, and probably a myth, and they believe that heaven, although a nice subject to mention in a funeral sermon, is mostly irrelevant until it becomes clear that in a very short time you may go there. So rather than hear sermons about heaven and hell today, you mostly hear The Five Principles of Happy Families,” or The Twelve Steps to Freedom from Addictions,” or The Seven Keys to Financial Success.” There is certainly nothing wrong with happy families, freedom from addiction, and financial success, but you would think that somewhere in their preaching they might make a little room for the subject of where we are headed after we take our last breath.

Jesus taught that sexual immorality is wrong. In His day, all sex outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman was known by the name fornication.” Jesus made it clear that the sins that defile us come from the heart, and then, just to make sure that we understand what He was talking about, He lists them, saying: For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man…” (Matthew 15:19,20). No matter how far our world drifts from the idea that sex outside of marriage is a sin, Jesus’ words never change. He said those words 2,000 years ago, and they still read the same today as they did then. And one reason we evangelicals seem so out of touch with our society is that we believe Jesus is a far better authority on morality and expert on what displeases God than Hollywood, the American media, or left-wing politicians.

Jesus taught that He was exclusive, saying, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Celebrities, talk show hosts, and famous people are constantly spouting the mantra: There are many ways to God,” or There are many paths to God,” or We each have to find our own way to God,” or We all must discover our own truth.” But according to Jesus Christ – you know, the One who walked on water and raised dead people – there are not thousands or hundreds or dozens or even a few ways to God. There is exactly one way, and Jesus Christ, the One born in Bethlehem, the One that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote about, tells us with authority that He is that Way! Today, this is not popular. It is considered intolerant, bigoted, and definitely not cool. But Jesus never pretended to be cool. He, whom John called The Word” who was both with God and was God from the beginning, tells us that He is the truth. We cannot search for our own truth.” We must fully embrace Him as our truth.

What Shall We Say?

Anyone who reads through even one of the gospel accounts would find that these were indeed the attitudes, teachings, and beliefs of Jesus. Once you see this, you have only a few choices in dealing with these things. First, you could say that Jesus was deluded and was a megalomaniac who had mental illness and a messiah complex. But almost nobody has the courage to say that. Second you could suggest that Jesus didn t really say these things. These words were put in His mouth by his overzealous, primitive, bigoted followers many years after He lived. In this view, Jesus was a simply nice guy and good moral teacher, but His disciples spoiled everything by turning Him into something He never claimed, as they wrote His story. And some people today hold to this opinion.

Or you could argue that Jesus was merely a man of His times and was just as unenlightened as everybody else in those days. Today we know better; we are more sophisticated, and there is no need to cling to Jesus’ literal words and teachings, The other option is to do what evangelicals have always done, and that is to embrace Jesus as Lord and God, and fully accept His teachings, values, and morality. This sets us apart from most people in our world. We who follow Jesus do not have the luxury of coming up with our own, personalized morality, or creating our own truth,” or basing our beliefs and values upon whichever direction the current winds are blowing. We will hunker down” on the words and theology of Jesus, just as men and women did in the days of my parents, and in the days of George Washington, and in the days of Martin Luther and the apostle Paul.

For those who protest that heaven is a myth, hell is a superstition, there are no boundaries for sexual expression, and there are a multitude of ways, religions, and practices through which to experience God, they are, in truth, declaring that they are smarter, wiser, and more enlightened than Jesus Christ. In many of their minds Jesus was a simple Jewish peasant who grew up in a fishing community, but they have the benefit of a far superior education and knowledge base. Jesus was obviously backward in His thinking. He had no Internet like we have today. He never carried a cell phone, never did research through Google, never had access to the vast amount of information available to us today, never read the works of the great philosophers, never watched CNN… We shouldn t expect too much of Him; the poor guy did the best He could with the limited resources He had!

Are You Above Jesus?

Really? Are you smarter than Jesus? Are you a better source of knowledge about life and death, about God and men, about heaven and hell, about all the important and eternal truths of life than Jesus was? How many lepers have you ever healed through the touch of your hands? How many billions of followers do you have, who would lay down their lives for you? How many storms have you commanded to be still, and they obeyed you? To how many blind people have you given sight? Were you with the Father, co-creating the world in its beginning, as Jesus was?

The key to the entrance to eternal life is faith in Jesus. The Bible says, By grace are you saved, through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8). But there is a certain attribute that makes that faith possible, and that is humility. Jesus called a child to Himself and told His disciples: Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Mark 10:15). Small children have not yet learned much about pride; they have almost no self-consciousness. But as adults we are proud. We are cool, we are clever, we are fashionable, we are sophisticated. Don t tell us to become one of these simple-minded evangelicals. We are so far beyond that!

But that is precisely what we must become in order to live forever. We must come humbly to Jesus and acknowledge that He was right after all. We must receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and receive His teachings, His morality, His exclusivity, His views about heaven and hell, and sexual immorality, and all the rest of the things He taught. And we must trust His death on the cross and His resurrection as our passport to heaven. In a statement that rings across the ages, Jesus stated: He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father s who sent Me” (John 14:24). And this means that the words of Jesus that we read in our Bibles are the very words of God. We would be most foolish to ignore or despise them.


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