Original Message Date: 11/30/97 Classic Christianity – Bob George Part 1 (1-7-19)
Welcome to Classic Christianity radio with Bob George, where Bob’s clear and timeless teachings on the complete forgiveness and unconditional love of Jesus Christ will transform your life as you learn about God’s amazing grace. Let’s join Bob as he teaches us from God’s word.
Bob shares from scripture about the role of pastors and teachers, as gifts to the church, to equip the saints for the work of ministry. From scripture Bob explains what the work of ministry really is, to believe in Jesus. So the work of a teacher or pastor is the same work of an evangelist, prophet, or apostle, with the only difference being the audience of primary focus. That is, the primary audience for an evangelist is the lost whereas for the pastor or teacher, is the church. Bob continues to explain what a Christian is, that is, what it means to be saved, to have new life in Jesus Christ. Bob elaborates on how a lost person thinks about what a Christian is; about being good or bad, or belonging to a certain church, or being baptized by a certain person or certain denomination in a certain way, or your religious heritage, or about man’s good deeds versus his bad deeds. So if a person is asked if he is a Christian, and has erroneous thinking of what a Christian is, he can react in anger. He reacts because he thinks he is being criticized as not being a good or nice person. By asking certain questions, Bob exposes the faulty logic in such a person’s thinking. For example, were there any denominations during the time of the Apostles? Can you find denominations mentioned in the scriptures, such as in the book of Acts? Or, if you think you have to be a Jew to be saved, then why did Jesus go to the cross? Bob explains how the real problem of man is not his sinful behavior but his condition of spiritual death since birth. Then he elaborates on the person of Jesus Christ, his holiness, his perfect love, and the necessity of his sacrifice on the cross for sin for us. Bob explains how Jesus solved the problem of spiritual death in man by first taking away sin, the cause of death. Then, by his resurrection, he offers eternal life; that is, God’s life put in man the moment he believes. This eternal life is just that, eternal, so that if man should ever sin, having received this new life, he will never die spiritually since sin has already been taken away.
Bob introduces the lesson by reading from 1 Peter 5.
1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV)
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
So the letter is written as instruction to the elders, as instruction to those who are pastors or teachers or those in full time work in teaching and pastoring. Those people are the gift to the church. Teaching and pastoring is not a spiritual gifts. The pastor or teacher is the gift to the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-12 (NASB)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service [ministry], to the building up of the body of Christ;
Those people, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are the gifts to the church for their work of ministry. Whose work? Their work! So both the pastor and the teacher, and those benefiting from their pastoring and teaching, have a shared work, a common ministry.
The person is that gift. We are all in ministry together, for their work and our work.
So the logical question to ask is: “What ministry will I be doing?”
In the culture like America, so much emphasis is on service or doing good deeds, a do-do mentality. Many people erroneously think that if their good deeds out-weigh there bad deeds, then they are accepted by God and God will let them enter heaven.
So how did Jesus answer such a question? What is the work of ministry?
Recall in scripture in John 6, after Jesus performed a miracle of feeding the five thousand with two loaves and five fish, the next day many of them looked for him, not because of what he had to say but because they had their bellies full and wanted to be fed again. Jesus challenged them not to work for food that spoils but for food that endures for eternal life. So the logical question they asked Jesus is essentially the same question: “What is the work of ministry?”
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Yet in America, in a do-do mentality, we just cannot seem to accept such an answer. Our response will typically be: “Lord, I do not think you understood my question?” The asnwr Jesus gave is still the same answer. Jesus said the work of ministry is to believe in me.
So let us ask some more questions of scripture. So what then is the work of the pastor, teacher and evangelist?
What is job of prophets? To teach people to believe in Jesus!
What is the role of an evangelist? To tell the lost to believe in Jesus!
What is the role of the prophet? To teach people steeped in Judaism to now believe in Jesus!
So the work of ministry is the same for a pastor and teacher as it is for us who do not serve in a full time capacity as a pastor or teacher. The common work of ministry is this, to tell people how to believe in Jesus!
Jesus is the source of our work. He is everything. Can we do work in the energy of our flesh, and do man-made works? Certainly! To an outside observer, that can look good. There are benefits to that, but it is a personal benefit, and not really to the body of Christ. A person can even do good works and not know the Lord at all. Sadly, to many, that is what people think a Christian is, someone who does good works.
Bob shares about a time when his wife Amy got a call from an elderly lady. She had a hard time with her daughter. The daughter had asked her if she was a Christian, and that just made her mad. Her response was like this “How dare she have the gall to suggest I am not a Christian! Doe she not know how nice a person I am.” So this elderly lady consider a Christian as a person who is nice. The general thinking she had was if you are in trouble then study more religions. Why did she get mad? She had erroneous thinking of what a Christian is. If I believe being a Christian means I am a nice person, and I consider myself nice, then I am quite offended when someone says I am not a Christian. The thinking is like this: “Christians are nice people and I am nice person so obviously I am a Christian.” So what she is processing or hearing is this: “So you do not think I am a nice person?”
All of us would naturally like to think we are a good person. But what does it really mean to be a good person? When I get up on the wrong side of the bed, and I wake up grumpy, am I at that moment a good person? People erroneously hold assumptions about what a good person is.
Jesus was once told that he was a good teacher and this was his response.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
Jesus’s response was with a question: “Why do you call me good?” Jesus was in essence saying “Unless you call me God, don’t call me good. Only God is good.”
So is it ridiculous to think you are a good person?
Erroneous assumptions people hold. Some days I am nice, other days not nice. Some days pleasant, other days grumpy. All of us are inconsistent. So, to really say you are a good person, then you must be good all the time. That is, you must have sinless perfection.
Why is it that people ask, like the person who asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” That is really the wrong question? Have you ever sinned once? Then you are not good! Have you ever been able to stop sinning?
How then can you answer this question? Are you a Christian? The answer is a simple yes or no. But if you think by asking that you are questioning whether I am a good person, then you get angry.
Being a Christian is not credited based on behavior. The issue is not how good or bad you are. Have you come to recognize that you will never find acceptance in the sight of God based on what you do? As long as I think that way, I missed the point of the totality of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:20-23 (TLB)
20 Since you died, as it were, with Christ and this has set you free from following the world’s ideas of how to be saved—by doing good and obeying various rules[a]—why do you keep right on following them anyway, still bound by such rules as 21 not eating, tasting, or even touching certain foods? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings, for food was made to be eaten and used up. 23 These rules may seem good, for rules of this kind require strong devotion and are humiliating and hard on the body, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. They only make him proud.
So religion, a set of rules, the world’s ideas of being saved, only makes one proud and have no effect on conquering a person’s sinful thoughts and desires.
Yet, even Christians can get so duped in doing work of ministry as if that impresses God or pleases God or gains God’s acceptance. So why do you keep on following such rules of doing good to obtain God’s acceptance. Were you not completely accepted the moment you believed in Jesus Christ’s finished work?
Do you see that God is not interested in what you can do for God? God wants us to see reality. Christianity is realistic, not mystical. Some denominations teach about the “mystical body” of Christ. Indeed the mystery has already been revealed. Paul explains this mystery that has been revealed to the saints.
25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith—
4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Christianity is total logic, unadulterated truth. Let us reason together declares the Lord.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
So what is the condition of man, born in Adam?
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
If you and I are born dead spiritually, what can a dead person do for the living God to impress Him? Not much. Nothing at all! Nothing is impressive about a corpse. You and I have a condition that needs to be corrected. You can change behavior but you cannot change death. You must come to total surrender to God.
I came into this world with nothing to offer God, with nothing to improve His being. I come to Him empty handed. I have nothing to offer God. Like a blind man, I have nothing to offer for you to see, because I cannot see anything. I have nothing to offer God visually because I am blind. Recognize your condition of spiritual death.
People who think salvation is about being good or bad, then let us reason together. How bad do you have to be? Do you have to be Hitler before you go to hell, or if you kill just one person, or just thought about killing someone? What is the standard? How would you know you if you crossed line?
So let us check out what God’s word indicates what the standard is.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it
The standard God has set is absolute perfection, having never sinned even once.
How good do you have to be? As good as Jesus, who is God in the flesh.
This is what Jesus said the standard is.
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
And what did the Apostle Paul recall about his righteousness in his former way of life as a Pharisee of Pharisees when he went by the name of Saul?
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
Measure yourself by Apostle Paul in accordance with legalistic righteousness, which he testified as faultless, yet now considers but loss, or dung, having now Christ’s righteousness.
Now, seriously try to answer these questions. How bad do you have to be before accepted by God? How good do you have to be before accepted by God?
Some people come up with the idea that maybe salvation is based on my birth. Some will say: “If I am Jewish, then I am saved?” Then what was Jesus going to die on a cross for? Jesus being a Jew, then why did he go to the cross, if saved by being a Jew? If saved by birthright, then what can be said about a half-Jew? Half heaven! About a quarter Jew? How pure do you have to be?
Others say you have to be Catholic to be saved, partaking of the mass or sacraments? Others say you have to belong to the Church of Christ, dunked in their water. Do you really have to be saved by belonging to a certain denomination? If so, which one? Then what about those during the time of the Apostles? How were they saved? Denominations did not even exist then!
Others say you have to be baptized to be saved? If so, by whom? And, who were saved before the Church of Christ came long? Was the Nazarene church in existence in Christ’s days? So what if you did? Jesus did not have any grandchildren or great grandchildren. He just has children, children born again spiritually, a new birth! (Read John 3)
So you are begging now for the answer! How then can man be saved if he cannot do any good work to be saved and he cannot save himself?
Man is saved from the wages of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life. This is the most practical and logical as anything presented to humanity. God sees man in a fallen state of spiritual death, being born dead. God’s master plan to save man who is separated from God, alienated from God, is through the work of Jesus Christ alone! Why does man think he is alienated from God? He thinks because of the sinning he does. For in his own mind, he thinks of his behavior as separating him from God. But is that really true?
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
In your own mind you thought because of your behavior you were alienated from God. You are alienated from God not because of sinful beahviaour but because of your condition of spiritual death.
The only solution of death is life. So what did God do? What is the work of ministry again? To make Christ known so people may put their faith in Him!
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting sins against Him. Wow!
But what good is it to give life when sin is not taken away? It would be useless to receive life for a short period of time and then to only let him die again. It would be like Dracula, dead to day, and alive tomorrow. What would that be like in your own being? So you are in this rut of thinking. “I can’t quit this sinning – leave me alone – just let me die.” God had to have a permanent solution. That solution is eternal life, life that lasts forever and can never be taken away, not even if I should sin again.
In order to do that, God had to deal with what caused death, which is sin. First thing Jesus had to do, was to provide a way, a sacrifice worthy of taking away sins of the world, a perfect sacrifice! A sacrifice unlike that of the blood of bulls and goats. Not a sacrifice that just covers sin but a sacrifice of such value that is able to take away sins of world, of the sin of Adam to any person yet to be born.
The prophets foretold of this day, and John the Baptist testified of the work Jesus was going to do when he said:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus came to this earth. He who knew no sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin [a sin offering] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
He walked in perfect holiness, perfect love. That perfect love is the fulfillment of the entire law.
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He fulfilled the entirety of the Old Testament. The Old Testament has two categories, the law and the prophets.
The Pentateuch, the first five books, is the prophets, and the remaining of the Old Testament is the law. Jesus fulfilled it all.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Jesus also spoke to the two men he appeared to on the road to Emmaus after his brief time walking on the earth after his resurrection. From Genesis to Malachi, Jesus explained to the two men all that had to be fulfilled that was written about him.
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Do you want to know what Jesus has done for you? Then read the scriptures! Indeed, that is why the scriptures were written so you may know the author, God, and come to faith in Jesus Christ to have eternal life in His name!
After walking on the earth, fulfilling all of the prophecies and all of the law, then he was able to usher in a New Covenant, introducing a new dispensation of grace, a new way of dealing with men. All new, leaving all the sacrifices and ceremonies under an Old Covenant behind. The law is a shadow, not the reality. The shadow casts a light,showing what is to come. Jesus has already come and finished the work. The reality is in Jesus Christ. Now that reality has come, there is no longer the need of the shadow any more. The shadow is the picture box, or shadow box, of the Messiah coming. If a poor picture then you have a poor picture of the Messiah coming. Ceremonies, and religious feast, of atonement, were so strict. Why? They were a perfect picture of the coming of Jesus Christ. All feasts were kept to precision.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, leave these other things behind.
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[a]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
Where these have been forgiven, no longer sacrifice for sin? Did the Jews still perform animal sacrifices? No. When did they last do it? Prior to 70 A.D. befroe the temple was destroyed. THere is now no place for handling sacrifices. Israel did not even become a nation again until 1948.
All the things fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
Perfect holiness. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus became a sacrifice worthy of shed blood, tortured, beaten (Isaiah 53:7-9). All suffering was on him, suffered and punished for our sins, all of them.
He died a death like ours so three days later we could experience a resurrection like his. Physical part of Jesus died, and entered into our spiritual death with us. All punishment of sin went on him.
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