“Will the real Christianity please stand up?“
Does not matter who you meet these days you can be guaranteed that people will have their own ideas and opinions about Christianity, many of these ideas will be from a sincere belief imbibed from tradition and the culture around them which so often leaving people duped and misinformed .
In our pluralistic culture who is right? Will the real Christianity please stand up?
Today we will endeavour to answer some of those misconceptions and put the record straight.
Misconception: 1.Surly Jesus was just a good man, a political revolutionary who wanted to over throw the Romans.
The Identity of Jesus Christ?
This is the view sadly portrayed in the media today only last year there was a programme by Jeremy Bowen the middle east correspondent and they were going to unearth the truth in regard to the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was shown as a product of politics and his culture they refereed to Bible manuscripts to unearth His birth details of his life his death and resurrection, but when they came to the Bible picking and choosing and brining their own presuppositions upon the Word of God that is their no such thing as God the miracles could not have taken place and the supernatural is not possible in that we live in a closed system. Statements upon his incarnation his perfect life hie death and resurrection were supposedly explained away in the category of myth. Sadly this showed a deep rooted bias towards the historical Jesus portrayed in the Bible. (Ex 3.14. Jn 8.58. I Am ! ) Jhn.14.9. Rev1.8 God combined with Rev22.13. Jesus, Titus 2;13. Heb 1.3. col In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives. 2.9.Phil 2.6 who being in very nature God. Isa. 7.14. 9.12.
C.S. Lewis said, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the sort of things that people often say about Him”!. I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God. “That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg- or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else as a madman or something worse . You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God . But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about him being a good teacher he has not left that open to us”
Mk 8.29. Who do you say I am ? You are the Christ ! Greek or Hebrew the Messiah the anointed one. The Jews awaited a Messiah called the Son of man. Dan 7. 13-14. Matt 26.63-64.
Misconception 2.Surley all people born in GB/USA are Christians for we are a Christian nation as much as the Arab nations are Muslim ? Family connections
This sort of statement is a very common one you will here today. I suppose this one is really based upon ignorance of Biblical truth and liberal teaching within the Church itself.
How long have you been a Christian ? Well I was born one.
Of course no one is born a Christian. How can any one of use make a conscious decision at our birth to become a Christian.
(The only thing I could do was cry for milk as a baby !)
The Lord Jesus himself made it very clear to Nicodemus in Jhn 3. You must be born again ! to see the kingdom of God We must be born again because the Bible clearly teaches we are all born in sin Rom 3.23. Psalm 51. 1- 5. Sin came into human nature from the fall in creation Gen.3. Hence we are born in Adam as our ancestor and into SIN its like a faulty mutant genetically passed on . Hence the need to be born again in Christ
1cor15. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Can I ask you are you born again its imperative to deal with the sin problem ?
Misconception 3.Well Christianity is full of laws and its boring life who would ever want to become a Christian ?
I suppose from the outside this can easily be perceived that it is all about laws and ritual and very boring indeed . Even I myself perceived it as such. But again its not until experienced for ones self one is really not in a position to form an opinion. 10 years ago I got great satisfaction out of taking a cocktail of drugs and let me tell you at times the feelings were good and sometimes bad but the problem with drugs it kills you ! Now if you’ve never experienced drugs you will not really know what I am talking about. (Illustration child and sprouts.) Psalm 34 v8 Read. Jhn 10.v10 Jesus said life to the full. The law is the Drill sergeant ! Christians are not governed by law but by Gods grace and that is a wonderful thing ! Matt 5.17. Jesus fulfilled the law so that we might be justified through faith in Jesus Gal3v v23.
Misconception 4.The Bible has been changed ? 2 Tim 3.16. 2 Pet 1.16 Jhn20.31
The Bible is written for you do you doubt its Authenticity ?
This was no Mills and Boon event no tales from Narnia. No Greg Forsyth sager these events happened in a historical setting. And as a consequence we must examine the evidence.
Isaac Newton said “The Bible is the rock that all the hammers of criticism have failed to chip !”
The Bible is a historical Manuscript of Antiquity.
(40 authors 1600 years covering 3 continents 3 languages)
To get these authors to concoct such a fabrication would be impossible !
Manuscripts backing the authenticity of the NT alone are over 24,633 copies no other historical document begins to approach such number. Many of these were written 30- 60 year period after Christ. The earliest O.T. WRITTEN A.D895 called the massoratic text how accurate well in1947 the dead sea scrolls were found which were dated 125 BC. which contained 40,00 inscribed fragments with a whole copy of Isaiah show identical wording to the newer version( standing on solid ground )
Nearest secular writer and Secular historians
Example. Aristotle lived 384 -322 b.c. nearest manuscripts 1400 years after his death. 1.We have fragment of Johns gospel dating back to 1st century ( Magdaline college Oxford. )
Tactius ( Roman historian governor of Asia ) born A.D52,54, Alludes to the Death of Christ and the persecution of Christians under Nero.
Pliny governor of Bithynia A.D..112., Speaks of their persecution in Asia minor. He speaks of how he got them to curse the name of Christ.
Josephus( Jewish historian ) born A.D.37. Commander of Jewish forces in Palastine A.D.66 Wrote about Jesus Christ, his death, his third day resurrection and of the foretelling by the prophets
Nelson Glueck. Jewish Archaeologist said “No archaeology discovery has ever controverted a single Biblical reference “I assert an almost credible accurate memory of the Bible.” Isaiah 1. 18. Come know let us reason together. We need to read the Bible for our selves nobody can really form an opinion till the Bible is read.
Misconception 5.Its just another religion like thousands of others ?
Religion is works versus Christianity which is Grace.
Again this is a very common misconception what is the uniqueness that surrounds Christianity. Well firstly Jesus never came to start a religion but a relationship with individuals. A religion is something which is man orientated and created by himself for his own desires in reaching his/her god, basically its man trying to reach God.
Karl Marx was right about religion when he said “Religion is the opium of the people.”
Religion has become a drug that man has become addicted to ! Religion has set laws set down to follow to earn salvation and even then they have no assurance of eternal life.
Muhammad Ali, once said, “I am trying to do as much good as I possibly can so that ALLAH will look favourably upon me.“ He has no assurance of a right standing with God what so ever, its based upon what he does!
The Uniqueness of Christianity
Rather than man trying to attain to Gods standards here we have God reaching down to man and saving him despite his inadequacies this is salvation by grace (undeserved favour ). The relationship with Jesus is brought about by God and again not man. It’s God choosing man amd man choosing God. And rescuing him through the cross of Christ not by man’s endeavours will anyone be saved but by Grace Eph2:8. Rom 3.24 - 26. justified freely by his grace through the redemption through Christ Jesus.
The unique resurrection
The founders of all religions are dead (full stop) and more often than not if you are an adherent to them you will have to visit the tomb before your own death. But when you look at Christianity Jesus Christ tomb is empty for he has risen! We have historical documents which bear witness to this very fact with eye witness accounts 1Cor15: 3 -8. The witnesses. even secular history never refuted this claim it wasn’t till the 18th and 19th centuries we came to history with our presuppositions.
The unique holy Spirit
He was given on the day of Pentecost to all believers (Acts2.38.) it is he who changes peoples lives who lives within the Christian, who drives their life to holiness and love towards God who transforms their life radically turning them around from sin to eternal life ! 1Cor 6. 19-20
Misconception 6: Surly I’ve been baptised and christened and confirmed that makes you a Christian ?
Following ordinances of the church will not save us at all this is outward ritual what is needed is a inward transformation of the heart has Jesus said Jhn3 v3 You must be born again! When Jesus lived upon this earth he had encounters with such people who went through rituals
Matt. 9. 9 -13. I desire mercy not sacrifice He saw that the people went through these rituals as a matter of course, or tradition their hearts were far from God .
David Beckham said “I want to baptise my son but I haven’t decided which religion yet !”
Illustration my own life.
For instance before I became a Christian I had two children I was not married and we had them christened why ? Well out of tradition and for selfish reasons also so that we could have a big selfish party! I had no idea on the relevance and meaning of such things .things like Baptism in adult cases and the Lords supper are good but the Lord requires conformity from the heart. God requires our hearts not our outward observances.
Real Worship: Worship is the submission of all my nature to God.
It is the quickening of my conscience by His holiness;
The nourishment of mind with His truth;
The purifying of the imagination by His beauty;
The opening of the heart to His love;
The surrender of will to His purpose;
And all this gathered up in adoration.
And this can only come about when we ask the Lord to save us from our sins Ezekiel 18 31.Rid yourselves of all the offences you have committed, and get a new heart and a new Spirit. and we will become a new creation
2Cor 5. 17. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.
So hopefully I have clarified a few misconceptions for you today with answers, I pray that these answers will lead to acceptance for many of us and that we will walk and live in the light of the truth thus being set free!
Pastor Aubrey Vaughan