"THE SIMPLICITY IN CHRIST"
I. THE GOSPEL IS VERY SIMPLE.
A. I believe that God intended that it should be, for He desires all to know the way of life.
1. He made it so simple that even a child can comprehend.
a. I love it that so many children call into the "To Every Man an Answer" radio show.
b. I am amazed at how profound so many of their questions are.
2. In fact Jesus said that unless you became as a little child you could not enter the kingdom of heaven.
3. He also said, "Have you never read out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, you have perfected praise."
4. At one time Jesus prayed, "I thank Thee O Father, Lord of heaven, that you have hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes."
5. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he said,
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
B. I sometimes wonder what the attitude of God is concerning all of the theological debates that are going on.
1. People get so involved in a certain theological position that if anyone does not see it just as they do they become the targets of slander and defamation.
2. Jesus did not command us to agree on every little doctrine, but He did command us to love one another.
C. Sometimes as I hear these theological debates, as they argue about Greek tenses and the possible meanings, I sometimes wonder, don't we have something better to do with our time, like sharing the gospel with the lost?
1. I sometimes think that they are much like the Pharisee's of whom Jesus spoke when He said, "You do strain at a gnat and swallow a camel."
2. Jesus spoke of their attempt at being so right in every little minute aspect even paying tithe of their spice gardens. He said however that they omitted the more important things such as judgment, mercy and faith.
3. I have read articles concerning myself in which the writer has declared in a demeaning way, "Well he is not a real theologian." My answer to that is, "Praise the Lord," for if being a theologian would cause me to become involved in the endless argumentation such as they are, I would rather be just a simple preacher who loves the Lord with all of my heart.
a. The prophet Isaiah received ridicule from his contemporaries in his day, they said of him,
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts.
For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:
b. Would to God that I could make the truths of God so simple that a child could understand.
II. WHAT IS THE SIMPLE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL, GOD'S PLAN FOR THE REDEMPTION OF MAN?
A. In the beginning the eternal God created the heavens and the earth. He created all of the animals and the life forms upon the earth.
1. As to how long ago that was let's leave that to the theologians to debate.
B. God wanted meaningful love and fellowship which He could not receive from the animals, so he created man in His own image.
1. The full ramifications of being created in the image of God we will also leave to the theologians.
2. Did he create man a dichotomy or a trichotomy?
3. That has provided fodder for the theologians for many centuries.
C. For the relationship to be meaningful, in was necessary that God give to man the capacity to choose, else man would be nothing more that a robot or automaton, from which God might receive satisfaction but not meaningful love.
1. Having given man that capacity of choice, it was then necessary to give him something to choose. Hence the tree in the middle of the garden, with the command not to eat of the fruit of that tree.
2. For the choice to be truly meaningful that forbidden fruit must be extremely attractive.
3. It was also necessary for God to honor the choice that man would make even though it would be wrong.
D. When man chose to disobey God and eat of the fruit of the tree that God told him not to eat, this was known as sin, and it brought a breech between God and man, it severed their relationship, and man became a sinner, a slave to his body appetites.
E. God still loved man and wanted to be loved by man.
1. Why is a question for the theologians to figure out.
2. God provided a way back for man who wanted to fellowship with Him.
F. God's law had been broken, and the penalty for breaking the law was spiritual death.
G. God's law had to be satisfied, so for a period of time God allowed man to bring an animal to be killed as a substitute for man.
H. But in the fullness of time, because God so loved the world, He sent His only begotten Son to come into this world and teach the people the truth about God and to give His life for the sins of all mankind.
I. God has now ordained that for a man to be forgiven for the sins that he has committed he must believe that His Son Jesus Christ has paid in full the debt for man's sin. Listen to the scriptures.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1. When the people felt the guilt of their sin for killing Jesus, they asked Peter what they should do, and he answered,
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
2. When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved, Paul answered.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
J. You may say "That's too simple" I will agree that it is simple, even a child can ask Jesus to come into his heart and life, but this is exactly what Paul is saying to the Corinthians. He did not want them to be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
K. The church in Corinth was torn by arguments and debates, so Paul declared that when he came to them, he was determined to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
L. He said that the gospel that he preached to them was that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried according to the scriptures, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
M. I thank God that you do not have to become a theologian and understand all of the intricate complexities of the Greek text to be saved. All it takes is a simple trust in the promises of God, that if we will confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Don't let anyone remove you from that simplicity in Christ.