Soren Kierkegaard once said:
“The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly . . . you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?
Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. [emphasis added] Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”
Oh, how right he is. For a long time now, we have been convicted at how important it is to the salvation of our souls that we do not rely on human reasoning, even if it’s considered Christian reasoning. The only reasoning we know is infallible is what God tells us in the Bible itself.
Yet although the Church has gotten so far from basic Biblical teachings in the 2,000 years since Christ, we can stand confidently on this verse: “But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel was preached unto you.” I Peter 1:25
I happened across a pamphlet that I will share with you. The authors of this pamphlet/article gave us specific permission to share it with you. *More information at the end of the article*
What If Jesus Really Meant Every Word He Said?
Have you ever read the words of Jesus Christ and been shocked at how radical and intense some of them are?
What would your life look like if you actually obeyed everything that Jesus taught?
Have you thought it through to the utter end in your imagination what your life would look like if you lived out Jesus’ teachings literally…if you just followed His example and instructions without explaining anything away or ignoring any of His advice?
As you are aware, there are so many different ideas and interpretations about what Jesus meant by what He said, but what if Jesus just simply meant what He said at face value? What if His message was so simple and so straightforward that a child could understand it? Do we really need special training by college professors to understand our Master?
What if the goal of Christianity and the standard of the final judgment is not so much knowing the truth as doing it?
It is a scary thought to consider how radically your life might have to change if you actually started to put into practice everything that Jesus said. It would mean immediately adjusting some major aspects of your daily life and rearranging many of your personal goals. It would mean being totally misunderstood by friends and family members, most of who profess to follow the same Jesus, and forging out on a narrow path that few people are traveling. It would mean reproach, poverty, persecution, suffering, and loneliness. It would interrupt and change the very fabric of our society and personal lives.
But did Jesus come to do anything less?
You see, we have been taught or formed the idea that Jesus meant only some of the statements He made. If we are honest, we would have to admit that we believe Jesus only meant certain things that He said. For example, most professing Christians would readily admit that what Jesus says in John 3:16 means exactly what it says and we can take it face value. Our hearts rejoice, we memorize it and make it foundational in what we believe and practice. We believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He is the bread of life, that no one can come to the Father except through him, that He is preparing a place in heaven for us, and that He is coming back again because, well….He said so.
But then He turns around and says that if you are a rich man trying to get into God’s kingdom, you would be better off if you were a camel trying to get through the eye of a needle; you would be better off gouging out your eye than to continue lusting; marrying divorced people is adultery; He forbids us to resist evil people; we must take up a cross, deny ourselves, and actually follow Him.
Suddenly, we are not so sure that He really meant those words.
What if Jesus was just as serious and straightforward about those words as He was about everything else that He said? What if you were not really on your way to heaven if you were not carrying a cross? What if storing up provision for the future meant that you were actually a fool? What if you would actually eternally perish if you did not forsake your sin?
What if you are not really a follower of His because you have not yet forsaken all that you have? What if you are not a servant of Christ at all, but a slave to sin because you continue to sin? What if not forgiving others truly means you will not be forgiven?
Do you believe Jesus meant these things as much as everything else He said? Well, in reality, He did. If we are honest, it becomes clear that the reason we don’t believe that He meant the hard things that He said is because, well…that’s just it, they are hard. We quickly embrace Jesus’ easier sayings because…they are easier.
And so we have opted for discipleship without a cross,
a Savior without a Lord,
Christianity without Christ-likeness,
the Kingdom of God without forsaking the world.
Somehow, the devil has tricked us into viewing Jesus’ teachings like a buffet line in which we can pick and choose whatever we want and fill our plates with only what we like. We then are continually feasting on the words of Jesus that don’t interrupt our lives too much but allow us to comfortably make it to heaven.
But is this what Jesus did? Is this what He taught?
No, this is what many modern systems of theology teach and what men have come up with to excuse themselves from suffering. The age old enemy of the faith knows how dangerous it is to his kingdom to have people living like Jesus. He has done everything he possibly can to convince Christians that they can follow Jesus without walking like He did. Have you bought into the lie?
Have you longed to see a dynamic, vibrant church powerfully bearing witness of the kingdom of heaven to a lost world? Maybe you have wished that you could spend just one day with the early disciples in the book of Acts, just to experience what the church used to be like. What was it that made those saints so impacting on the souls around them? Well, empowered by the Holy Spirit, they simply counted the cost and obeyed the words of their Master! And this is what is available to us today.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and if we would simply believe everything that He said and that He expects and will enable us to obey Him, we too would enter into genuine discipleship.
I invite you to join me and others who are daring to believe that…
Jesus Really Did Mean
Every Word That He Said!
*This is a tract written by Scott Schones and the authors of www.walklikechrist.com and is posted here at Living in the Shoe with their permission. You can view all their articles here – I am enjoying reading them myself. *Most emphasis added in the article is my own.
May we all be daily challenged to take the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ seriously
. . . as He meant them.