Haddon Robinson, in a devotional article, raises the question, What label do you put on Jesus?
It is evident from the media that there are many who compliment Jesus with some worthy titles, such as the most influential person who ever lived. This is a great compliment to which Christians would agree, but it does not satisfy the claims of the Bible that calls Jesus the Lord of Lords and the only Savior of the world.
Dr. Robinson refers to the biographical archives of a leading newspaper in the U. S. where one of the files is marked, “Jesus Christ Ð Martyr”. Jesus is in the company of many great people when labeled a martyr, but the Bible is not content with such a title. Rather, Jesus Christ is God, the One before whom every knee will bow and every tongue shall one day confess him as Savior and Lord. He did not only die for a good cause; He died to be our Savior. His death did not just mark the end of a beautiful life, for He was raised and is victor over sin, death, and the devil.
In our text, Jesus makes two important statements. The first one is, “No one comes to the Father but by me.” Jesus is the only way to heaven. Such a statement is not acceptable to the millions who are members of other religions or who have no religious affiliation. This is understandable. However, what is difficult to understand is that some Christians do not limit salvation to those who trust in Christ alone. These folks believe Jesus’ words are divisive; they do not build good will. Our culture cannot condone such a teaching.
This statement of Jesus is the assigned text for this fifth Sunday of Easter, on which many pastors will build their sermons today. It raises many questions which the Bible has chosen not to answer. One day they will be answered by a loving father who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Our mission for now is simply to proclaim God’s love in Christ and leave the rest to Him.
The second statement Jesus makes regarding himself is also offensive: “Any one who has seen me has seen the Father.” In other words, He claims to be God. In fact, later on Jesus says, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
The Church has summarized Jesus’ statements telling us who He is in the words of the Nicene Creed: “He is the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God; Light from Light; true God from true God; begotten, not made; of one being with the Father. Through Him all things were made.”
With biblical and confessional statements such as these, the Christian cannot reduce Jesus simply to one of the greatest religious leaders in history. He is far more than a martyr. To do this is to make the teachings of Jesus false. So what is the position of the Christian when he or she sits on a television panel with Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists? To give the impression that we are one happy family is wrong. However, this is what the majority of the television audience wants to hear. It is a popular message. The only problem is, Jesus does not give His endorsement to this witness.
People have the right to believe as they do, for it is their privilege as American citizens. We should live together and be good neighbors assisting each other in times of need. But the Gospel is offensive Ð it always has been and always will be to a majority of people in our world. Even today many are dying in their attempt to bring the message of Christ to their people. This comes as no surprise, for the Bible says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” Yet the Church is to proclaim this Word in love.
So it is clear that confessions such as “Jesus is God” and “Jesus is the only way to heaven” are offensive to many in our world. But so are many of the ethical teachings of the Christian faith that are in conflict with our culture.
For sixty-six years Christian Crusaders has been proclaiming the great message of Christ. God has blessed our efforts. While there are many who long to hear of God’s love, the resistance to the Gospel grows stronger as our culture becomes less tolerant of biblical truths. The day has come in the organized church when Scripture is interpreted in the light of our culture. Bible passages get new interpretations that change their meaning so they are not offensive to society as a whole. Let me use an example.
The Bible clearly teaches that the practice of homosexuality is sin. In Romans we read,” Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Romans 1:26-27).
We now live in a time when our culture is more accepting of the homosexual lifestyle. Within the churches, there is a recommendation that we follow the leadership of culture, which means to allow the blessing of same-sex marriages and to ordain practicing homosexuals. While some of our leadership frowns on the homosexual lifestyles, they would rather find ways to accept these unbiblical practices than to divide the Church on this issue.
We, who are told by Jesus to be the salt of the earth, are succumbing to present day cultural demands. Those of us who are opposed to this change are asking, “How do we justify this new understanding of Scripture in the light of our church’s teaching that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the authority in all matters of faith and life?” Culture is not to influence the biblical message. Rather, what the Bible says should influence culture as the Word is proclaimed by the Church.
Christian Crusaders wants our radio audience to know that we are opposed to the blessing of same-sex marriages and the ordination of practicing homosexuals. We are anxious to minister to homosexuals and to serve them with God’s Word. Yet, because Scripture speaks so clearly on this subject, we cannot condone the practicing homosexual’s lifestyle.
We believe that if we are faithful to God’s Word, our Heavenly Father will use the Christian Crusaders radio and Internet ministry to reach people with the Gospel. But we need your help. We need your prayers and financial gifts. Air time is expensive, and our program is dependent upon your gifts. Would you consider sending us a gift each month? Through the years, people who believed that Christian Crusaders proclaims the truths of God’s Word have included us in their estate planning. Some of this money is used today to finance our programs.
Our Board is not panicking. It believes that if God has a place for this program in reaching out with the truths that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord, He will provide the necessary funds. We thank you for your support.