Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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A Diet of Jesus Christ


By Dennis Pollock


In my previous devotional I wrote about the sad state in many churches and among many Christians, a state I called "Christless Christianity." This is a deplorable situation in which Christ is either absent or barely present in many sermons, books, classes, videos, and other "Christian" ministry efforts. In this study we will look at more precisely how and why we who call ourselves Christians need to continually feed on Jesus. We will look especially at the writings of Paul in this regard.


Sadly, many Christians only see a need for Jesus at the very beginning of their walk with God. They fully recognize the need to believe on Jesus and be saved, but they wrongly assume that once we have been saved, Jesus is not particularly relevant anymore. They may not put it in those terms, but by the way they live, teach, preach, and attempt to minister they reveal this attitude. At the narrow gate which we enter to receive eternal life there is Jesus. But once inside God's family and kingdom we relate to God, talk to God, and meditate on God. No need for Jesus now He got us through the gate safely and now we can (more or less) ignore Him.


Many pastors will neglect to say much about Jesus from their pulpits because they are convinced that all their audience are already Christians. They have believed on Jesus and therefore need to learn the Bible principles that will help them successfully navigate their way through life.


Paul and His Epistles


This may sound reasonable but Biblically, nothing could be further from the truth. And one of the best ways to demonstrate this is to take a keen look at the writings of the apostle Paul. When it comes to the epistles of the New Testament, Paul ranks at number one among the writers. His letters make up the bulk of the epistles, and soar above all the others in rhetoric, logic, inspiration, and power. It is important to note that Paul's letters are not written to sinners. They are not for unbelievers; they are written to followers and disciples of Jesus every last one of them.


At the beginning of his classic treatise to the Romans, Paul tells us precisely to whom he is aiming his words: "To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." At the beginning of the Book of Ephesians he writes: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus." Notice Paul does not say that he is writing to the sinners at Ephesus or the ungodly at Ephesus or the notorious lawbreakers at Ephesus. No, he announces that he is writing to the saints at Ephesus. The people who would be reading and learning from his letter were Christians, baptized followers of Jesus Christ. In some ways Paul is like the pastor who goes to his pulpit on Sunday morning and preaches to believers. In most smaller churches the pastor knows nearly all the people in his congregation by name and considers them as his brothers and sisters in Christ.


Paul's epistles will not be publicly read in the Roman army camps or in the palace of Caesar or among the criminals locked up in Roman prisons. They will be read in gatherings of believers. And by the logic of some ministers, he would hardly need to mention Jesus Christ in these letters, or His cross or resurrection. After all, these people are already saved. Now they simply need some instructions about how to live and prosper and succeed as Christians. We might expect that Paul would have little to say about Jesus and would spend his time talking about principles of success, methods of boosting self-esteem, and instructions about Christian behavior.


Jesus-Filled Letters


But is this what we find when we read Paul's letters? Is there a noticeable dearth of references to Jesus? This is laughable. Paul's letters are saturated with references to Jesus, His cross, and His resurrection. They are cram-packed and bursting with Jesus!


Once I carefully went through Paul's epistles, noting how many times he referred to Jesus and how many to God. I found that the ratio was around 50-50. He talked about Jesus and God the Father almost equally. I then recorded the sermons of some television preachers to see how their references to Jesus and God compared with Paul. A couple of them almost equaled Paul, but in some cases their references to God completely overwhelmed their references to Jesus. One very well-known pastor with one of the largest churches in America mentioned God about 100 times as much as he mentioned Jesus. I think he averaged about 1.5 references to Jesus in the two sermons I recorded.


Some may see this as only a problem with pastors, but in truth it is a deep and pervasive error within the whole church. Many Christians can go through days and weeks and months and rarely talk to Jesus or even think much about Him. If they have a problem, they may send off a prayer to God and they will perhaps add the name of Jesus at the end, but that is the extent of their walk with Jesus.


Constantly Reminded


As Paul writes to the believers in various churches, he constantly reminds them of Jesus, who He is to them, and what He has done for them. At the beginning of 1 Corinthians, he writes:


To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him… (1 Corinthians 1:2-5)


Notice how many times in these few verses Paul mentions Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus! These folks are not just sanctified; they are "sanctified in Christ Jesus." They do not just call on God; they "call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." Paul does not merely wish them grace and peace from God the Father; He wishes them grace and peace "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." And if you read through this entire first chapter of 1 Corinthians you find he mentions "Jesus" 10 times, "Christ" 17 times, and "God" 20 times. What a far cry from so many modern pastors who can preach an entire 35-minute sermon and barely mention the name of Jesus!


The Bible says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and Paul's heart was surely filled with Jesus! And we must assume that Paul, being the "wise masterbuilder" that he was, felt that it was incredibly valuable and important that the believers he addressed were given a full diet of Jesus. In the realm of nutrition, we are constantly told of the importance of eating a healthy diet. Choose spinach over sugar-filled snack cakes, drink water rather than soda, eat vegetables far more than ice cream.


Steady Diet of Jesus


Spiritually it is no different. Paul knew well that believers thrive on a steady diet of Jesus Christ. He told the Corinthian believers, "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). He rebuked the Galatian believers for losing their constant focus on Jesus, writing: "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6). He prayed that the Ephesian Christians might have a revelation of "the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:19-20).


Even though he was writing to men and women who had presumably been born-again through faith in Jesus, he constantly reminded them of the cross and resurrection of Jesus:


  1. "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
  2. "Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel" (2 Timothy 2:8).
  3. "…buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).
  4. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…" (Romans 1:16).


You may wonder, "Why was it necessary for Paul to keep reminding these believers of Jesus and His cross and resurrection?" They were already saved, they were on their way to heaven, their sins had been forgiven, they were children of God. Would it not have been wiser for Paul to give detailed instructions about marriage, about family relationships, about self-esteem, or about how to become rich? Instead, the anointed apostle keeps hammering home the theme of "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." He does teach on Christian living and behavior, but Jesus is sprinkled liberally throughout His words in all his epistles.


Bread of Life


Jesus is the "Bread of life." He is our sustenance, our strength. Paul calls Him "our life," and states, "For me, to live is Christ." Jesus is not merely a door through which we enter the family of God and receive the blessing of eternal life; He is our daily bread. He not only gives us initial life, but as we feed on Him daily, we receive continual life, strength, and spiritual nourishment. No one would eat a large meal and then decide they would never need to eat again the rest of their days. No, we may fill ourselves up with a large dinner on Sunday evening, but by Monday morning we are eager for breakfast. So it is with Christ. He is our nourishment, our strength, and our life. We are to feed on Him continually. This is at the heart of the abiding life, the life which guarantees much fruit and answered prayers.


When we are born again, we are created with a constant need of Jesus. To be strong and spiritually healthy we need to hear about Him, to sing about Him, to read the four gospels which tell of His life over and over, and to fellowship with Him frequently. Children who are poorly fed and live on foods which are nutrient-deficient end up malnourished and are constantly sick. They become stunted in their growth and often have poor eyesight. They are simply not getting the important vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health and growth. And church members who are being fed pablum and spiritual junk food, with lots of cute quotes and funny stories but almost nothing of Jesus Christ, will end up spiritually malnourished with terrible spiritual eyesight. It cannot be otherwise. We were created in Christ with a need for Christ every day of our lives. Paul knew this and wisely made sure that in his letters as well as in his preaching, he fed his congregations huge helpings of Jesus.


As he encouraged his readers toward godly behavior, he could not help but remind them of Jesus:


  1. "Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us, to the glory of God" (Romans 15:7).
  2. "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us" (Ephesians 5:2).
  3. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church" (Ephesians 5:25).


The key to spiritual success and godly lives is our focus – a steadfast focus on Jesus, not merely at the beginning of our spiritual journey, but from the first step to our last breath. As the hymn declares:


In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus,

When I am alone, give me Jesus,

When I come to die, give me Jesus.


Amen and Amen!





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