The Jesus We Thought We Knew
Never a Man Spoke Like this Man
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.(NKJ)
This message was preached December 07, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com
The people marveled at Jesus teaching because He didn't teach like all the teachers of the day. And His views were radically different from the belief system of the day. But then I Jesus teaching is radially different from the belief system of our day. As a matter of fact, one thing that concerns me about the church today is how we can say we are followers of Jesus and be so radically different in our views.
- Humility & Pride
- In the Bible there has always been a condemnation of pride as an evil against God.
- Pride precedes a fall & a proud attitude the day of destruction.
- Prov 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (KJV)
- It is pride that led to the downfall of Satan and those who would follow him.
- Isa 14:12-15 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. (NKJ)
- But Jesus takes us beyond a condemnation of pride to an exhortation of the meek, the humble.
- Jesus said blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
- Jesus not only taught this with words but with a living example.
- Humility is being great and not thinking about it or trying to show it to others.
- Although He was God in the flesh yet He behaved like a servant.
- He taught the disciples not to desire overlordship of others.
- Poverty & Riches
- Almost every society has looked up to the rich and down on the poor, the weak.
- Rich people are seen as successful while poor people are seen as failures.
- But Jesus considered the richest of all one who had gained the whole world, Caesar, as the total failure because he had lost his own soul.
- Jesus cautioned His followers from the accumulation of wealth as empty and without real purpose.
- Jesus favored existing this life with little worldly gain and rather laying up treasures in heaven.
- Submission & Rebellion
- Rebellion is dealt with harshly in the OT
- 1 Sam 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. (NKJ)
- It was often punished with death.
- Jesus did not change that except that the persistent rebel was a rebel indeed while one who repented was forgiven.
- But Jesus taught that complacency was rebellion.
- Those invited to the feast but refused to come.
- The two sons, one said yes but did not. The other said no but did.
- Rebellion takes on the face of usurping God's ownership in the parable of the vineyard keepers.
- Matt 21:33-46
33 "Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 "Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 "And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 "Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 "Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 38 "But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.' 39 "So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?" 41 They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons." 42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? 43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 44 "And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder." 45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.(NKJ)
- But to Jesus rebellion was repentable and forgivable.
- His message was one of repentance rather than judgment.
- Mercy & Justice
- It seems to me that most people are one way or the other to an extreme.
- We think of the OT as being mostly concerned with justice & judgement.
- Many people today think that Jesus care only for mercy but Jesus spoke often of judgment up sinners.
- But there are many Christians who live a life of judgment rather than mercy.
- Twice Jesus quoted Hos. 6:6" For I desire mercy and not sacrifice and the knowledge of God than burn offerings.
- In Matthew 9:13 the Pharisees condemned Jesus for eating with sinners, Jesus then quoted this passage in Hos. The Pharisees were very concerned with what seemed to them an injustice, that these sinners would be received by Jesus.
- The second place is in Matt 12:7. In this case the disciples have been walking beside a field of grain plucking a few heads of grain and eating them. The concluded they were guilty of harvesting on the Sabbath day.
- Did the Pharisees really want the disciples stoned for picking a few grains of wheat along a path.
- Jesus was very concerned about their harsh judgment.
- But sometimes we are no better.
- Some of the harshest judgment without any mercy has been handed out by churches.
- In these two places the Pharisees are as guilty as those of Hosea's day
- They want justice and judgment for those who are not as righteous as themselves.
- They had lost sight of God's great purpose to reconcile sinners to Himself.
- 2 Cor 5:18-19 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (NKJ)
- God has given us a ministry of reconciliation and not judgment.
- If God's purpose was judgement He could take care of that now.
- But God's purpose, the purpose of Christmas is reconciliation of a hell bound world.
- Failure & Success
- Death & Life
Time would fail us to speak of other areas where what Jesus taught is contrary to the philosophy of the world and sometimes even foreign to the life and actions of the church in the real world.
How is it that we, His disciples have gotten so far from His teachings. Have we bought into the idea that we are the center of the world and everyone is only here for us?
If we have then we will without doubt have a Christless Christmas. For you see when you are it then Jesus is not.
But remember Jesus does not wish judgment on us but rather that we would repent this Christmas and get Jesus back on the throne of our lives.