For the Lord says – See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands – Isaiah 49:16. This is God’s great love for His Church, described in words written some 700 years before Jesus of Nazareth had even been born, and well before crucifixion had even been thought of by man. Now can you see why the watered down seeker sensitive messages of the Purpose Driven Life and the Emergent Church are in truth such as a mockery of the greatest love ever shown?

And then further the Bible says – Was it not I, [Yahweh] the LORD [God of Israel]? And there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I AM God, and there is no other. By Myself I have sworn, My mouth has uttered in all integrity a Word that will not be revoked: Before Me every knee will bow; by Me every tongue will swear. They will say of Me, “In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength” – Isaiah 45:21-24. Very important words for us to keep in mind, and you will see why before we’re through here.

Years ago a Christian by the name of Charles Thomas Studd said -“some want to live within the sound of a church or chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.” Christian writer Nick Harrison then informs us:

The way C.T. Studd–[as he was better known]–implemented the above words, after his conversion at a [D.L.] Moody revival [in the late 1800’s] was first to excel at the British game of cricket. Next he helped found the Student Volunteer Movement which recruited college students to the mission field. Then at age 23, he sailed for China where he served with Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission. He gave away his considerable inherited wealth and lived a simple life with the Chinese and later [with] the East Indians. In his forties he fell seriously ill and stepped back from his work for four years, and then, against his doctor’s orders, he sailed for central Africa. He worked there for another twenty years, until [he went home to be with Jesus]. C.T. Studd knew what God wanted him to do and he did it. We may not have such a dramatic calling (or [then again] we might!), but we all have as firm a calling as Studd did. One thing we [do] know, from the example Jesus set for us: like C.T. Studd our work for Christ will include the well-being of people” (365 WWJD?, pp.190,191).

Be Like Christ

Harrison is quite right; a heart that belongs to Christ will long to bring Him glory by helping others. We turn now to Philippians, chapter 2 and verse 5. The Apostle Paul wrote this letter while under house arrest in Rome sometime around AD 61. Shall we keep in mind as we read that the more we grow in the Lord, the more we will become like Him. As a matter of fact, it is written of the Christian –you have taken off your old self with its [old] practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator – Col. 3:9-10). And Jesus Himself says to us – I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing – John 14:12. And now we come to our text –

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a Man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).

Now you’ll notice in verse 5 – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. This of course recalls what we were just talking about a moment ago; the more we grow in the Lord, the more we will become like Him. In fact that is exactly what this verse of Holy Scripture says we are to do, and it is also right in line with what the Master Himself said – anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. But what I’d like to focus on is found in the last two verses of our text. Did those Scriptures sound familiar? Here are verses 9 and 10 once again – Therefore God exalted Him – [Christ] – to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This is a quote of that passage I referenced from the Book of Isaiah at the very top of this work; only here it is applied to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. What Yahweh–the LORD God of Israel had said about Himself in the Old Testament–is now said of Christ Jesus. The LORD Almighty tells us – there is no God apart from Me. And then Yahweh says – Before Me every knee will bow; by Me every tongue will swear. But wait; here in Philippians 2 – the very Jewish former Pharisee, the Apostle Paul, says of Jesus of Nazareth – God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is [Yahweh–the] Lord. That the inspired Apostle Paul is attributing Deity to Christ here is simply without question.

Dr. Walter Martin has pointed out in his classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults:

The American Banking Association has a training program that [illustrates a great way to protect against counterfeits]. Each year it sends hundreds of bank tellers to Washington in order to teach them to detect counterfeit money,… It is most interesting that during the entire two-week training program, no teller touches counterfeit money. Only the original passes through his hands. The reason for this is that the American Banking Association is convinced that if a man is thoroughly familiar with the original, he will not be deceived by the counterfeit bill, no matter how much like the original it appears. It is the contention of this writer that if the average Christian would become familiar once again with the great foundations of his faith, he would be able to detect those counterfeit elements so apparent in the cult systems, which set themselves apart from biblical Christianity… Close familiarity with the genuine is the best protection against the counterfeit” (p.23).

There Can Be No Christianity Without Christ

The point becomes clear; the more familiar we are with Who Jesus really is; the less we will be able to be fooled by an impostor. As in the old style of joking: Knock Knock; “Who’s There?” Jesus. And the question then becomes: “Jesus Who? Which One?” In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus asks the men who have been following Him–His Own chosen disciples–a very interesting question: Who do people say the Son of Man is? In other words the Master is asking them – “Who do people say that I am?” (16:13)

Here is a good time to make an important point that needs to be fully understood. In stark contrast to all other religious leaders like Buddha, or Muhammad, Zoroaster, Confucius, et al. – who asked people what they thought about their teachings; Jesus instead asks: What do you think of Me? As noted defender of the Christian faith Josh McDowell often points out:

In opposition to other religions – which are built on the religious philosophies and teachings of their founders, Jesus built the Christian faith upon His person; who He claimed to be, and His prediction that He would rise from the dead. If you take Muhammad out of the Islamic religion, for example, you would still basically have the religion of Islam. But if you take Jesus Christ out of Christianity, there would be no Christianity, because Jesus built this faith upon who He claimed to be.

And that’s why Jesus asks: Who do men say that I am? Now here’s something else that you will want to keep in mind. Your answer to this question about Who Jesus is will decide where you spend eternity. In everlasting peace with God in Heaven, or in eternal conscious torment in a place that Jesus Himself called Hell. It’s a question well worth your time to investigate very carefully and very thoroughly. After all, there is an old, old saying: In this life there are only two things that are certain; death, and taxes. We will all die, and mankind can’t afford the “tax” necessary for entrance into Heaven. However, the Good News is that Jesus already paid that price for us–if we’ll just believe.

A few years back Christianity Today magazine ran a cover story called “The New Unimproved Jesus.” In this article we are told some interesting things about who Jesus allegedly was and/or supposedly is. One scholar tells us Jesus was a “good Jewish lad, who was a shrewd moral teacher…but he did not rise from the dead.” Another says “he was married–[to Mary Magdalene]–and had 3 children…then he divorced and remarried…he did not die on the cross, but lived on…and even went with Paul in his missionary travels.” This “fact” however, evidently escaped the Apostle Paul, the man who would go on to write half of the New Testament, and never even mention this once. What an amazing oversight; he doesn’t seem to even notice that his own Creator was along on his journeys! And finally, last and certainly least, we have John Shelby Spong–the liberal Episcopal “bishop” from New Jersey–who tells us that “Jesus was not born of a virgin since Mary had probably been raped…he himself was married, the wedding at Cana was probably Jesus’ own wedding.”

Which Jesus Do You Know?

There is certainly no shortage of ideas about who this Person Jesus is. As most of you know, there are many different “Jesuses” running around the countryside these days. The major views about Him that you are most likely to run into are quite varied–and surprising–to be sure. The Jesus who is probably the most widely known in this pagan culture is the so-called “historical Jesus”. Let me be perfectly clear, this Jesus is just as much a myth as any of the “gods” of Greek mythology. As a matter of fact, let’s turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 4. Here you will see that there is such a thing as another Jesus. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the One you received, or a different gospel from the One you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. It is the first part of that verse that I want to draw your attention to – For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached.

Here I must point out to you one of the very important things the Bible says regarding how man is saved from his sins – Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other Name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved – Acts 4:12. The question that needs to asked is: What name are we talking about? That answer is found two verses prior. We are clearly told that the “Name” being discussed here is: Jesus Christ of Nazareth. And that’s why you so often will see me say Jesus of Nazareth when I mention our Lord and Savior. This is in order to distinguish the actual Jesus of history from all these other impostors. When you add the “of Nazareth” you are letting people know that you are talking about a real Person Who lived in real time and space and history upon this planet. It has now become this ridiculous that we almost have to use “double-talk” to make a point about our Lord. But that’s how inside-out and upside-down” Satan has turned this nation.

At this point it will be helpful to look briefly at the major Jesuses other than the Jesus we – [His Apostles] – preached that you will run in to as you share your faith in Vhrist with others. I’ve already mentioned the so-called “historical Jesus” of non-believing skeptics and of the Cult of Liberal Theology, which is a very rapidly growing segment of apostate Christianity. In liberalism Jesus was simply a human man – no different than you and I, who supposedly earned God’s favor because of his great morality–and who never claimed to be Messiah–as they contend that Jesus never claimed to be God. Liberal theologians make the charge that the early Church later added these things into the Scriptures in an attempt to “deify” their hero.

The sad thing is, this kind of rubbish then finds it’s way onto bookstands through “best-selling books” like The Di Vinci Code. Incidentally this is also the same view about Jesus held by the Unitarian-Universalists, most within the New Age movement, the Mind Sciences–like Christian Science and The Unity School of Christianity–the non-Christian cult located in Unity Village, Missouri. It should also be noted that this idea Jesus was simply a man like you and I is taught by the leadership of another popular religious group, the non-Christian cult of Freemasonry, and this misunderstanding about Jesus is the view of most unbelieving agnostics and skeptics as well. I know, because I was one of those agnostics…that is…until…I personally met the living Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Wait There’s More!

To the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society aka the Jehovah’s Witnesses Jesus is the first and greatest creation of Jehovah God; the spirit creature Michael the Archangel, who came to earth being born the man Jesus. Jesus was later killed on a torture stake, not a cross, he did not rise from the dead in the same body, but Jehovah God recreated him spiritually as Michael the Archangel again. Then Jesus materialized different bodies to appear to His followers and he now rules the universe invisibly from heaven through the headquarters of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in Brooklyn, New York.

In the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–the Mormons Jesus is the firstborn spirit child of a resurrected, exalted man from the planet Kolob whose name is Elohim. The LDS Church tells us that Elohim–who is Heavenly Father–earned his way to godhood the same way as all the other gods before him by following the doctrine now taught by the LDS Church; though wasn’t called Mormonism in those days. And then in the preexistence (where we all lived as spirits before being born on earth) Jesus–who is our oldest brother came up with a better plan of redemption for mankind than did his other brother Lucifer–so Jesus became the Savior and made a way for us to also become gods and goddesses. It all kind of sounds like a bad episode of Star Trek doesn’t it? Can’t you just hear William Shatner as Captain Kirk: “but Spock, I want to be a god!”

In fact, in just 3+ years of public ministry Jesus made such an impact on people’s lives that virtually every religion has had to reserve a place for Jesus on their roster of spiritual “superstars.” And you thought that Muhammad Ali was “the greatest.” Well, He has nothing on Jesus of Nazareth–who is said to be everything from the “liberal” Jesus, which we said was a very good and moral man about whom the Church built a mythology around in an attempt to make him into God–to “an advanced medium from the Sixth Sphere” according to those who are involved in Spiritism. Those Mind Science cults I mentioned previously–such as Christian Science and Unity–along with the New Age Movement teach that Jesus was simply a human man who was able to attain the consciousness to become “the Way-shower to the divine Christ principle that is actually in all of us.”

And finally in “Mysteries of Faith,” a recent publication of U.S. News and World Report, in the article entitled Who Was Jesus we read the following:

Today, as in his own time, Jesus of Nazareth remains one of history’s most intriguing and enigmatic figures… [With the arrival of late-18th-century skepticism], for more than two centuries, biblical scholars and historians have sought to discern to what extent the Christ of faith, as experienced by Christian believers, resembles Jesus of Nazareth, the man who lived and died in Roman-occupied Palestine at the turn of the era…the quest for the historical Jesus is getting a new surge of scholarly energy.

Our Job As Christians Is To Remove The Confusion

Now we need to be very careful to make sure that we don’t confuse the issues, which is exactly what Satan loves to do. And right now he has so many people so confused that they finally just stop trying to find out the truth. First of all, no one is saying these scholars and their followers haven’t the right to their opinions. Of course they are free to believe whatever they want to believe. My friend Dave Moses had a professor in college who used to say: You have as much right to be wrong, as I have to be right. And as apologist Dr. J.P. Moreland once pointed out – “I’ve even been wrong a couple of times. And do you realize that both times my wife was there? However, in all seriousness, if these scholars and organizations have the right to voice their opinions, then we Christians also have the right to respond with our own opinions. Do you see how that works?

So the Christian is to share the message of Jesus Christ, and we are to defend His Gospel. It is those in the insidious seeker sensitive ecumenical movement who would have us compromise our beliefs for the supposed sake of “love.” Well I hold that if someone is sitting next to me in a church thinking that they are saved, but who have never committed their lives to the Jesus of biblical revelation, I believe the most loving thing I can do is to tell them the truth! As gently, as compassionately, and patiently as I can, but I’d tell them. Sure people will get angry at you sometimes–but then again–they got so angry at Jesus of Nazareth that they nailed Him to a tree and left Him to die! Men and women, we have to be willing–in this tepid generation of compromise–to pay the price to take up the Bible and to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ out into the world – to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in [to the Kingdom of God] – Luke 14:23.

When you get the chance read Revelation 2:4-5 and you’ll see that so many churches today have lost their first love–Christ Jesus of Nazareth. And because of this, they’ve become so boring that most people won’t even come into them! That’s why the Purpose Driven Life and the Emergent Church have been able to slither in and attempt to fill this vacuum. But the time has come to do what the 1st century church did; take the Gospel out to the people and let the Lord “add” them to His Church. You’d be surprised what a few new converts to Christ–fresh from their first filling of the Holy Spirit–can do to light a fire under slumbering Christians. You see these people won’t know yet that you’re only supposed to hear that Jesus expects you to obey Him. O no, these people will even be willing to actually do what God says in the Bible!

The Church of our Lord in this pagan nation today is under tremendous attacks from the predominantly biased liberal media on all kinds of fronts. Our precious young people in this country are sent into an atheistic school system without even close to proper Christian training, and then we wonder why they eventually succumb to the relentless indoctrination of secular humanism through the theory of evolution–its chief tenet. Every day more and more of our Christian freedoms are taken away from us, and yet few speak out. Instead they have just become conditioned to say – “We better not say anything, we don’t want to offend anyone.” Well, permit me tell you Who you don’t want to offend: Almighty God! After all, it is His universe; or have too many of us forgotten that too?

And so we return to our question: Knock Knock – “Who’s There?” Jesus. “Jesus Who?” By now we see that the only answer must be the actual Person from history–Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Since we have been becoming more aware of the utter futility of the man-centered psycho-philosophies of the Church Growth Movement, let me share this from the great Christian statesman and prayer warrior – Dr. E.M. Bounds. This is truly is a word for the wise in Christ:

what the Church needs today is not…new organizations or more and novel methods – but [people] whom the Holy Ghost can use – men [and women] of prayer – [a people] mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men… He does not anoint plans – but men – [people] of prayer.

And now let us all humbly bow before our Lord Jesus and take up the most powerful weapon that He has given the Christian Church–the prayers of the saints–and then take to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in [to the Kingdom of God]. For it was the Master Who said – This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples – John 15:8. Men and women, when all is said and done, there are basically two types of people: the “wish-I-were’s” and the “want-to-be’s.” Those who wish they could be something, and those who want to do something.

Those who wish they could be something, often think about that thing, they talk about it–they might even do that thing on occasion–and somehow that seems to be good enough for them. But that person who really wants to be that something, doesn’t just think about that thing a lot–or talk about it. No, those who really want to be something put in the effort required to become that thing–no matter what others think–and no matter what it costs them. And if our Lord and Master–Jesus Christ of Nazareth–God Himself in human flesh fasted and prayed and studied the Scriptures because He wanted to please the Father, then my fellow Christian, so must you and I. So, what do you say; are you going to be known for all eternity as an I want to be or, as a wish I were?