Messages of Jose Anathanam and
the Covenant Ministries from
|IS JESUS THE PROBLEM? [PART –
IS JESUS A PROBLEM EVEN FOR CHRISTIANS?
" Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ's presence and power more and more within you? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren't at all?"
[2 Corinthians 13/5,Living Bible]
"Get some sense and quit your sinning for to your shame I say it, some of you are not even Christians at all and have never really known God"
[1Corinthians 15/34, Living Bible]
SIN is separation from God. God created us to be in CHRIST JESUS. A person who names himself as a Christian is IN CHRIST JESUS because he abides in His word. That leads him to be disciple of Christ [John 8/31]. It is these Disciples of Christ who live according to the word of God and hence proclaim the name of JESUS CHRIST who are called Christians in God's word [Acts 11/26]. It is the gathering of such disciples that is the Body of Christ - THE CHURCH and the Church is commanded to preach Jesus Christ.
"And he sent us to preach the Good News every where and to testify that Jesus is ordained of God to be the Judge of all living and dead. And all the prophets have written about Him, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name"
Pope John Paul II says: -
"When we say that the Church is Catholic we mean she is missionary, apostolic and evangelizing. If she does not have these qualities she is not the True Church" [Hail: 1983]
" There is no true evangelization, if the Name, THE KINGDOM and the LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH is not proclaimed. " [EN: 22]
The 2nd Vatican Council section on " The Church in the modern world" says, "The Church exists to proclaim the gospel". The Gospel is Good News. JESUS IS THE GOOD NEWS. In the proclamation of the Church, first importance must be given to JESUS CHRIST as the word of God says;
"I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, and that he was buried, and that three days afterwards he rose from the grave just as the prophets foretold"
[1 Corinthians 15/3]
Inspite of all these truths seen in the Word of God, in the teachings of the Church, in the proclamation of the Popes and other sincere and faithful Christian leaders belonging to different Christian denominations, it is very sad to see that, majority of people who call themselves Christians do not even utter the name of Jesus. This matter is going from bad to worse as these Christians not only fail to proclaim Christ; but are too busy to twist and to turn and misinterpret the Vatican councils, to prove that the name of JESUS must not be proclaimed. Can anybody have the right to go against the word of God; to keep away from the great commission of JESUS CHIRST as seen in Mathew 28/19-20?
As we have already seen in [PART - A] of this article, the only goal of Satan is to keep JESUS CHRIST away from people. Are there so called Christians unknowingly siding with Satan? The word of God says, "YES."
"Note this: I will force those supporting the causes of Satan while claiming to be mine [but they aren't - they are lying] to fall at your feet and acknowledge that you are the ones I love "
[Living bible, Revelation 3/9]
IS JESUS CHRIST A PROBLEM TO THESE SO CALLED CHRISTIANS?
He seems to be a problem to them; but, unfortunately, they are not aware of it! That is the GREAT DECEPTION we spoke of in (Part VI) of these series. That is the reason why the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul tells us: -
" I am afraid that as the serpent DECEIVED EVE, by his cunning, your thoughts will be led ASTRAY from a sincere and pure devotion to CHRIST"
The next verse tells us how a person can be LED AWAY from CHIRST:-
1. People preaching another Jesus rather than the one found in the Bible.
2. Receiving a different spirit rather than the spirit of Truth who alone can lead into the Truth revealed in the Word of God.
3. By accepting a different Gospel from the one the apostles preached.
4. By submitting oneself to this DECEPTION IN IGNORANCE
[2 Corinthians 11/4]
"Do you not know, that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey" [Romans 6/16].
And Satan has his ministers to come and preach as seen:-
"Yet I am not surprised! Satan can change himself into an angel of light, so it is no wonder his servants can do it too, and seem like godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve"
[Living Bible 2Corinthians-11/14,15].
Why does JESUS CHRIST become a problem to the majority of Christians?
The most important reason is this: They have been born and baptized into a Church, but have never heard the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST! And even if they have heard, they have not understood it. And if they have understood it, they have not fully accepted it. What happened to the Pharisees and scribes 2000 years ago happens to many in this century also. Because of their religion that demands certain rules and regulations to be obeyed, rituals and ceremonies to be observed, they lived according to the letter of the law and rejected JESUS CHRIST because of their self-righteousness. History is repeated today in this century. Because of self righteousness", the righteousness of God - CHRIST JESUS - is rejected [Romans 10/1-4]. Just as this happened to Saul of Tarsus (ST. Paul) and the other Pharisees and scribes through their ignorance; the same happens to these so - called Christians today through their ignorance, self-righteousness and hard - heartedness.
Another reason for JESUS becoming a problem to such people is: - FEAR. The greatest example for this is none other than Peter. Although Peter told JESUS "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death" [Luke 22/33]; When JESUS was seized and led away to the High Priests house; Peter kept a safe distance away from Jesus, so that he may not be recognized with HIM and he sat with those who shouted -" Crucify Him" [Luke 22/54-55] and he also denied JESUS three times [Luke 22/56- 60]. All because of FEAR. Although he made great proclamations privately to JESUS; he could not make that proclamation publicly to the people because of FEAR. In the same way many Christians today make proclamations privately inside a church building, but cannot make a public proclamation because of FEAR - maybe UNKNOWN FEAR; FEAR of being rejected by people and authorities. This also was the case of many believers in the days of JESUS.
"Nevertheless many even of authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God"
And so they have an out ward form of religion but deny JESUS CHRIST and the POWER OF THE HOLYSPIRIT [2 Timothy 3/5]
"Then he said to them, " You were a noble pious expression in public, but God knows your evil hearts. Your pretense brings you honor from the people, but it is an abomination in the sight of God"
[Living Bible, Luke 16/15]
It is to be noted that Peter and other believers denied Jesus, because they had not yet received the Holy Spirit, but the moment they received the Holy Spirit, they proclaimed CHRIST boldly How is it that those who claim to have the Holy Spirit are not able to proclaim Jesus Christ?
Yet another reason for Jesus becoming a problem to many is that want an easy life. They seek a comfortable Christianity contrary to what the scriptures tell us: -
" Enter by the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life and those who find it are few."
Many seek the broadway looking for the respect of people, love and praise from people, recognition by the authorities as seen in [John 12/42-43] and they loved their own lives contrary to the scripture which says:
"Unless you hate your own life, You cannot be my disciple"
And they, clinged to their own possessions and pleasures so much, that they are afraid that Jesus will make a demand on them Hence they finally reject him. This rejection of Jesus in individual lives of many believers is unknown to many of them; for it sprouts from the unconscious level of the mind. Outwardly; there is definitely a sincere and faithful proclamation that they belong to Christ; Yet, inwardly they are unaware that Jesus has no place in their hearts. This is clear from the words of Jesus recorded in [Mark 7 /6-7]
"These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the percepts of men".
The following examples taken from scriptures may help a honest seeker who would like to know how one can reject Jesus unknowingly in the unconscious level of the mind. The first letter of St. Peter tells us that to those who trust in Jesus; He is precious. But for those who do not trust Him; he is a stumbling block.
"To you who therefore who believe He is precious, but for those who do not believe, the very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner, and a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do"
Peter very clearly tells us that many will stumble because they do not obey the Word of God. One of the ways they stumble is mentioned in
"You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the TRADITION OF MEN. You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!"
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit both advices and exhorts his listeners in
"As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanks - giving. See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to HUMAN TRADITION, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority"?
Paul himself; once upon a time rejected Christ Jesus because of the credentials he held on to; such as mentioned in [Philippians 3/4-6]
which were :-
1. Confidence in his circumcision ceremony.
2. In belonging to the people of Israel
3. Of being the tribe of Benjamin.
4. A Hebrew born of Hebrews.
5. According to the law, a Pharisee
6. So zealous for God; that he persecuted the church.
7. So righteous, because under the law, he was blameless.
8. As far as education; he sat at the feet of the great teacher Gamaliel
It is only when Paul considered all these as useless and worthless that Christ Jesus came into his life [Philippians 3/7-9]
Even Nicodemus, a Pharisee, ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus got the shock of his life; When Jesus spoke to him straight to his face and told him that he will never see the kingdom of God with all his religion, rules and regulations and TRADITION unless he is BORN AGAIN by the Holy Spirit [John 3/3-5]; by accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Master [John 1/12-13].
Today, Many so-called Christians seem to be in the footsteps of the Pharisees like Nicodemus and Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul).
Another way of Jesus becoming a problem to many is seem in the life of Zacchaeus. He wanted to see Jesus. At the same time he did not want Jesus to see him nor interfere in his life. So he found a comfortable Christianity on top of the sychamore tree from where he could see Jesus and still hold on to all the injustice in his life. But Jesus had to deal with him, in order to bring him and his entire household into salvation [Luke 19/1-9].
Similarly; in case of the Samaritan women, she wanted to see the messiah and drink from the living waters that only he could give; Yet not prepared to separate herself from her sinful pleasures. And so unconsciously; she was preventing him from coming into her life with all kinds of excuses; until Jesus dealt with her sin and enabled her to come to repentance. The moment she gave away her sinful pleasures; she found the Lord Jesus.
Yet another example of the rejection of Jesus is seen in [Mark 5 /1-17]. Here, Jesus had set the entire town free from a demoniac who was a terror to them. But when they saw that two thousand pigs were lost in the bargain" they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood" [Mark 5/17]
Similarly; many want favors from the Lord but not the Lord Jesus Christ himself; Because if he remains too long; he may make demands - is the UNKNOWN FEAR lurking in the hearts of many believers.
Yet another way of rejecting Christ Jesus is spoken of by Jesus himself in [Luke 10/16] where, the real Disciples of Christ who preach the word of God uncompromisingly is rejected, criticized, condemned and persecuted:
" He who rejects you, REJECTS ME and he who Rejects me; rejects him who sent me;"
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who have been send to you"
To Saul of Tarsus who persecuted the disciples Jesus said:
"Saul, Saul, why did you persecute me? it hurts you to kick against the goods"
To those who claimed to be God's people but persecuted the Disciples of Christ, Gamaliel said:
"You might even be found opposing God! "
And so too; Jesus Christ is indeed a problem to the so-called Christians who claim to be the people of God. Hence Jesus Christ is denied and put down much more by Christians than anybody else. Whether, the same voice - "AWAY WITH HIM, WE WANT BARRABUS" [Luke 23/18] is still lurking in the atmosphere, is a question to be pondered.
To such people, the voice of Jesus will be heard one day:
"If you DENY ME before Men, I will DENY you before my Father"
The Covenant People
P.O. Box: 20, Kanjirapally
Kottayam District, Kerala - India