Summary: What we need today is not cleverness, but the truth of God.
"Nothing But The Truth"
There is a prominent question that is looming in the minds and hearts of
Americans today. It doesn't have anything to do with the stock market, who
will win the NCAA basketball crown, or if the movie "Star Wars" will meet
everyone's expectations. You will never hear the question asked out loud at
the mall, sitting in the stands at your son or daughter's game, or standing
in line at the grocery store, but don't be fooled - the question is out
there, crying out at us from every angle. Who is Jesus? Is He some guru
who has come to alleviate everything that ails us, all that gnaws at our
soul in the quiet of the night? Is He some kind of motivator? Richard
Simmons, Anthony Robbins, and Laura Schlessinger rolled into one
fine-speaking, self-esteem building, faith-affirming mystic? Is He a great
teacher of the likes of Plato? Who is Jesus and can we trust what is being
said about Him?
How can we know who or what to believe? Does possessing a seminary
education dictate that we believe everything that someone says about Jesus?
Does watching TBN legitimize what a person has to say about Jesus? Does
having Dr. or Rev. or Bishop preceding one's name validate everything that a
person states about Jesus?
All kinds of people are talking about Jesus these days, but not too many
are saying much of anything. Some say that Jesus was a fine teacher. Others
have said that Jesus was a good man. Madonna says that she is drawn to Jesus
because she thinks the image of a man hanging on a cross naked is sexy. Ted
Turner says that Jesus is for losers. Tony Campolo has said,
Our society has taken Jesus and recreated him in our own cultural image.
When I hear Jesus being proclaimed from the television stations across our
country, from pulpits hither and yon, he comes across not as the biblical
Jesus, not as the Jesus described in the Bible, but as a white, Anglo-Saxon,
Protestant Republican.... God created us in his image, but we have decided
to return the favor and create a God who is in our image. (Tony Campolo)
In our society today we see that many different things are being said about
Jesus, but most of what is being said is a far cry from what Jesus said
about Himself or what the Biblical authors said about Him. It seems that
those who dismiss Jesus as less than who He claimed to be are given a free
pass to say anything they want to say about Him, but those who take
seriously Jesus' claims are ridiculed and labeled as narrow-minded bigots.
Josh McDowell once said, "Why is it that you can talk about God and nobody
gets upset, but as soon as you mention Jesus, people often want to stop the
conversation? Why have men and women down through the ages been divided over
the question, Who is Jesus?" (Josh McDowell)
If Jesus was just a misguided mystic who came in from the desert for
conversation with the common folk then we've nothing to lose if we simply
dismiss Him. If Jesus was delusional about His claim to be God then we have
the option of picking and choosing what we like about Him. If Jesus isn't
God come to save us from our sins then there are no consequences for our
ignoring Him. On the other hand, if Jesus did not have His tongue in His
cheek when He made His claims then there are dire, even eternal consequences
for those who are unwilling to bow their knee to Him and cry out, "My Lord
and my God."
With all of the confusion concerning who Jesus is and why He came to earth
I came by this morning to clear the air. I have not come here as some
authority or as some wise sage to dispense wisdom to all of you. I have no
authority whatsoever and wisdom has never been one of my strengths. The
only thing I have to offer you this morning to clear the air for all of us
here is the Word of God, the Word of life. Let's take a look.
12So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and
are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13I think it is right to
refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14because I
know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear
to me. 15And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you
will always be able to remember these things. 16We did not follow cleverly