Romans 1 . There are no ‘great men of God’. It’s preposterous language spoken by those who need to be a little more refined in their theology. There are only weak, and pitiful, and faithless men of a great and a merciful God. Anyone who has been used by God to any degree is almost ashamed of the fact that he or she has been used. It almost seems as though it’s not right. When I look at my own life and many of my shortcomings that are there, I can only be amazed at the grace of a very, very gracious and compassionate God. You see, to preach to an auditorium like this, or to one much larger, or to stand out on the street and to share the Gospel while people are throwing things, that does not take a great deal of godliness or Christ likeness or purity of heart. The way you know that a person is truly Christian, is by the way that they live with those who have the closest relationship with them. The great point of discernment regarding as to whether or not a man is a man of God is not his speaking. The devil speaks well. It is his relationship to his wife, to his children, to his brothers and sisters in Christ. It is his personal piety in a secret place, when no one is watching. And we all fail in those areas and that is why we are all in need of the grace of God.
I remember when I first read of Peter and Jesus told him to art his net and Peter obeyed. But then, when his net was filled with fish, Peter collapsed on the boat. He just seemed to fall to pieces ad he said, “Depart form me Lord, I am a sinful man”. He saw Christ do something magnificent and his response is, “Depart from me. Get away from me. I am a sinful man”. And I think that what Peter was saying is this, “Christ, I should not be allowed to see what I am seeing! Maybe you don’t understand, let me explain to you: I am not the man that you think I am! Lord, it’s not even right that I should see something this great with my own eyes.”
Every man of God, every woman of God who has ever been used by God will have the same thought in their heart. As I stand here today or I preach in Nepal or India, in Peru or anywhere else in America, I am constantly amazed that God would have such mercy on a man like me. I hope that I am not a hypocrite, I hope that I am something of an honest man, but the best of men are sinners and we constantly need to be told that because as Jean Calvin said: You and I, our heart is like an idol factory. We want someone to put someone in front of us that we can see, when in fact the One in front of us that we need to see is someone who at this moment we cannot see, and that is Jesus Christ. If I say something fabulous here tonight- it’s just the pathetic words of a pathetic man. What we need is the word of God and for the word of God to talk to us, not simply by a fallible man, but we need God to speak to us through His word. And the only hope this preacher has is that God is powerful enough to use the weakest among us to speak.
If you’re here tonight and you’re thinking, “What is this Christianity”? Well, it’s not what you think. It’s not about men and their crazy ideas. What you see on television and what you see in the churches, even what’s called ‘the evangelical churches’, it’s not biblical. It’s not true Christianity. It’s just noise and confusion. A wasteland of confusion.
- We need to return back to a biblical Christianity, a Christianity that is modeled by Jesus Christ, a Christianity that was proclaimed by the apostles. We have to cut through our North American culture, all our secularism, all our psychology, all our ideas and return to what Christianity is truly about. And it is about the work of God in redeeming sinful man through the person of Jesus Christ. That the greatest revelation of God and the greatest work of salvation from the hand of God, comes from one singular person: The man, Christ Jesus!
- I do not mind being mocked. I do not mind when people are extremely angry, but the greatest defense that you can ever pour on the head of any man is to patronize him. That is, to listen to him and say, “Oh, that’s nice. That’s nice, what you believe. I mean, everybody needs their own belief. Just go on and have your little life with your belief that’s unique to you, live out the dream that you choose for yourself and I hope that it ends up happy in the end”. Listen to me: You cannot patronize Jesus Christ, you cannot come half way! You have only 3 options when you’re talking about Jesus:
- He is the worst of all liars that the world, the human history has ever known because He told everyone He was the Son of God, God in the flesh (and) He knew He wasn’t, He did it to deceive and He has deceived more peole than any human being of a movement, in the history of humanity. So, the first possibility is: Jesus Christ is a liar.
- He was a raving lunatic because any man who stands up and says he is God in the flesh and he sincerely believes it , when He is not God in the flesh, that man is a raving lunatic.
- Jesus Christ was and is exactly who He said He was. He is God in the flesh, the eternal Son of God, that for the salvation of men left His throne and glory and walked upon this earth as a perfect man. He lived before God the Father as a perfect man, obedient in every command, fulfilling the covenant n every way, according to the predestined plan of God He went to the cross. It was God’s doing to put Him there. It was Christ’s choice to go to the cross and on that cross, He took upon himself the sins of His people and all the judgment of a good God that should fall upon men fell upon Christ and right before He died He cried out , “It is finished’, meaning “Paid in full”, that with his death he had satisfied the justice of God to appease the wrath of God and made it possible for a just God to justify and forgive wicked men because their crimes had been paid for. And then, on the third day He rose again from the dead. His resurrection was a public declaration, from the very throne of God about two things: (1) According to Romans 1:4, that He is the Son of God, declared to be so with power, and (2) according to Romans 4:25 that God accepted His sacrifice as a payment for the sins of His people and now all who would come, could come freely and be reconciled to God, through Jesus Christ who died in their place.
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