MAJ-7 - The Narrow-Minded Jesus
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MORE ABOUT JESUS
In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the
father except by me.”
As you think about the words of Jesus throughout the New Testament, Jesus, as
it relates to doctrinal matters, salvation, his teaching, was is indeed narrow-minded.
Jesus was open to all who are willing to obey the Gospel, coming to Him. He said, “Not
everybody that says Lord, Lord is going to Heaven but he who does the will of my
Father in Heaven,” Matthew 7:21. And yet, at the same time Jesus said, “Come unto me
all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” We need to think about the narrow-minded
nature of Jesus’ teaching, and exclusivity of some of his principles concerning Christ
himself and Christian living.
As we think about the narrow-minded nature of some of Jesus’ teaching, we all realize
that we live in a world that doesn't like to be narrow-minded about certain things. We
live in a society that wants to be open and have so many open views. Yet is that really
what Jesus taught? We live in a world that says, just choose the church of your choice,
God will be happy with that. We live in a world that says, whatever kind of marriage you
want, whether that is between two men, or a man or woman, or two women, that's okay,
and we should never be exclusive on those ideas. Yet God is exclusive in his teaching
in the New Testament. For example, as you think about the narrow-minded nature of
Jesus, one of the things that the Lord was indeed narrow-minded about was righteous
living. In Matthew 5:20, as he's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says,
“Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and the
Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of Heaven.” What was wrong with
the scribes and Pharisees teaching? They were saying, but not doing, according to
Matthew 23. They went halfway around the world to make a proselyte. Jesus said, “You
making twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” When Jesus thought about things
where he was indeed restrictive about, one of those was righteous living.
As you think about living for Christ, and the seriousness of it and what that really
means, Jesus exemplifies that in Luke 2:49. As Jesus parents almost chastised him for
leaving the group and not being with the caravan, Jesus, was asked, “Why did you
leave? Where were you?” He responds by saying, “Did you not know I must be about
my father's business?” That's the mindset that every child of God needs. Righteous
living is not an optional matter; it is something God demands of his children. Do you
remember Romans 12:1-2? The apostle Paul said, “I beg you by the mercies of God, I
beseech you by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice.”
What do you mean Paul? “Holy and acceptable to God which is your reasonable
service, do not be transformed this world, but do not be conformed to this world but be
transformed, renewed by the transforming of your mind that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
As you think about Christ, and really living and having that exclusive restricted
nature of living for Christ, we’re talking about making real sacrifices every day to live for
Jesus. Listen to Jesus words in Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If any man desires come after
me, let him deny himself take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Paul would say to
Christians in Corinth, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who
is in you? Whom you have from God?” listen now, “and you are not your own for you
were bought at a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are
his.” I belong to Christ. My life is no longer about self. I've got a live for God and for
Christ every day.
A prime example of what we’re talking about when we think about real righteous
living that is exclusive that follows the pattern of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul serves
as a great pattern for what that means. Paul exemplified his life now that’s been
transformed to live for Christ. In Galatians 2:20, Paul said, “I've been crucified with
Christ it's no longer I who live Christ lives in me this life that I now live in the flesh I live
by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” As we think about
this idea, we want to emphasize that Christian living is indeed something that Jesus
wants us to do a hundred percent. It can't be halfhearted. It can't be lackadaisical.
We've got to be serious about living for Christ in every way.
Jesus was really exclusive, restricted, and narrow-minded about being
converted. Conversion, changing one’s process, changing one's mind, to really live for
Christ is indeed a total change. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus illustrated this by saying,
“Unless you are converted and become as one of these little children, you will by no
means enter the kingdom of Heaven.” The context is, some had brought children to
Jesus, and the disciples don't think Jesus needs to be dealing with children. So they
kind of rebuke them for bringing these children to Jesus. Jesus said, wait a minute now,
“let the little children come to me, do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of
Heaven.” Jesus will say, “Unless you become like one of these little children you will by
no means enter the kingdom of Heaven.” What is it Jesus is trying to emphasize about
conversion that is so restricted in its nature there? Unless I'm willing, and unless we're
willing to completely give up, trusting Jesus, following Him and committing 100% to the
conversion process, I cannot be what God really wants me to be. I've got to make sure
that I recognized Jesus must have 100% of everything. A lot of it is about trust. What
made Jesus use the illustration of children? Children trust their parents implicitly and
without doubt usually. That is the way we should be with God. Once we've looked to
the word of God, once we've seen his truthfulness, once we recognize Jesus is the son
of God in that conversion, I need to trust Jesus fully. Proverbs 3:5 is what we’re talking
about, the proverb writer said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your
own understanding, acknowledge him in all your ways, he will direct your paths.”
I've got to give all my heart to the Lord. There can't be doubt. There can't be 95%
the Lord, 5% me. The conversion process must be total commitment to the Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. There a couple of illustrations about this from Jesus’ teaching that
help us to understand it better. A man comes to Jesus, and he's a pretty good man we
might say. He comes to Jesus with the great question. Here’s his question, “Good
teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?” In Mark chapter 10 Jesus addresses this
rich young ruler, and he says, “Keep the commandments, do not murder do not steal,
do not commit adultery, honor your father and mother.” And the man comes back to
Jesus and says, “All this I've done from childhood.” Jesus said, “One thing you lack,”
wait a minute this man has been keeping those commands. What is it that he lacks?
“Sell what you have, give to the poor, come follow me.” The Bible says that man went
away sorrowful because he had great riches. That man hadn’t really been fully
converted. He hadn't fully given up everything to follow Jesus. Are we saying it's wrong
have things? That is not what Jesus is teaching or is it the idea. The idea is full
commitment to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Full conversion to his cause that
would cause one to do what the Lord said in Revelation 2:10, “Be faithful until death and
I'll give you the crown of life.”
What does the Lord want of his children? He wants us to fully convert to the idea
of trusting him, following him, and doing whatever he says, so that ultimately we can
have the crown of life.
A third thing that Jesus was indeed narrow-minded about was the essentiality of
repentance or changing our mind. In Luke 13 we have an illustration of this. Luke 13
Jesus is going to teach about repentance but what leads him to this is certain people
think they're better than others and they’re kind of looking down on maybe people they
believe who God’s wrath has been exhibited toward. They come to Jesus and they say,
“Lord what about these 18 people who are walking down the road and a tower falls on
them? Weren’t they worse sinners than everybody else? Or what about these Galileans,
who Pilot mingled the blood with their sacrifice? Meaning that they were killed by Pilate
and their blood was mingled with that sacrifice. What about these people that these
great acts of vengeance, it looks like, came down upon from Heaven?” How did Jesus
react to these questions? Jesus basically ignored those people and said, “Unless you
repent you will all likewise perish.”
If there's one thing Jesus emphasized from the very moment he began his
ministry, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” John said it, Jesus said it, and
from that point on Jesus restricted the idea of repentance, to being essential to really
living the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When we talk about the essentiality of repentance, it’s kind of important for us to
understand, no doubt what that idea is. What do we mean by repentance? Is
repentance just an outward show? There is an illustration from the Old Testament that
helps us to see that repentance is more than an emotional, outward sign. Joel 2:13 Joel
said to the people who desperately needed to change their ways, “Rend your hearts,
not your garments.” Now friend, the Israelites had been great about a having things that
they thought exhibited true repentance. They might throw dust and ashes upon their
head. They might pull out the hair from their head. They might sit among the ash pile as
Job did, in essence. They might pluck the hair out of their beard even. Was that
something God wanted? God said, “Rend your hearts, not your garments.” True
repentance is a changed way of thinking that leads to a change way of acting. Acts 3:19
Peter preached, “Repent and turn or be converted that your sins may be blotted out.”
“Godly sorrow produces repentance,” 2 Corinthians 7:10. To really be what God wants
me to, I’ve got to repent, meaning that I've got to amend my ways, see what God wants
me to do, and turn to God and His will. Great example, 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10, Paul
says of the Thessalonicans that, “They had turned from idols to God to serve the true
and living God”. They stopped looking at idols. They turned in the right direction of God,
and they started doing, serving God and doing exactly what he wanted them to do.
Another thing that Jesus was indeed narrow-minded about, as it relates to his
teaching, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was absolutely exclusive concerning the
essentiality of baptism. I know that today we live in a world, environment, and an
atmosphere religiously where people don't often see the importance of baptism. Some
people will say, “baptism, you know that’s something good you ought to do, but it do you
have to do it to be saved?” To that they would answer no. Others would say, “Well yeah,
you ought to be identified and become a member of a certain religious group, but not
essential to salvation.” Regardless of what men say, what matters for us today is what
Jesus says. In John 12:48, Jesus said, “He who rejects me, does not receive my word
has that which judges him the word I've spoken, will judge him in the last day.” As we
think about Jesus teaching on the essentiality of baptism, please understand all that
matters is what this book says. What God says, not what men say.
Let's turn our attention to what Jesus did say. Direct your attention to a passage
in the Gospel of John, and I’d like for you to look in John chapter 3 with me for just a
moment. Look in John 3, beginning in verse 1 the Bible says, “There was a man of the
Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, this man came to Jesus by night and
said to him, ‘Rabbi we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do
these signs that you do, unless God is with him’ Jesus answered and said to him ‘Most
assuredly I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven’
Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he's old? Can he enter a second
time into his mother's womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly I say to
you,’ listen this now, ‘unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the
kingdom of God.’’’ As we think about Christ teaching of baptism, listen very carefully to
exactly what Jesus said, Jesus said unless, that's restrictive. Jesus said except, that
expresses that there’s one way kind of. Jesus said, “Unless one is born of water and the
spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Is it essential that one be born of water to
get into God's kingdom? Absolutely, it is. That kingdom is the place of the saved.
Let me give you a few other examples of this. One example comes from the
teaching of Jesus right after he gives the great commission. Remember the great
commission, Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world, preach the Gospel unto every creature,”
Well Lord what do you want me to preach? “He that believes and is baptized will be
saved; he that does not believe shall be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16. What is it Jesus
said one must do to be saved? Listen to it again, “He that believes will be saved,” that’s
not what Jesus said, “He that is baptized will be saved,” That is not all what Jesus said.
What did Jesus say? “He that believes and is baptized will be saved.” If Jesus said
you've got to believe and be baptized to be saved, why would anybody want to say is
not essential to salvation? Now is that a theme that runs throughout the New
Testament? Indeed it is. Acts 2, and for the first time God's saving Gospel, the message
of salvation in Jesus, is going to be preached. Peter points out, “You with lawless hands
have killed Christ.” They realized that they killed their own Messiah. They cried out,
“men and brethren what shall we do?” They're cut to the heart. They want to know, what
can I do to be saved? “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins,” Acts 2:38. “Those who gladly received his word were
baptized and the Lord added to the church daily those are being saved,” Acts 2:40-47.
So Peter taught baptism was for the remission of sins.
If we were really going to get up a picture of when it is that a person goes from
being lost to saved, we can’t find a better example than that of the apostle Paul. In Acts
chapter 9, the Lord approaches Saul of Tarsus, whom we will later know as Paul, “Saul
Saul why are you persecuting me?” “Lord who are you?” “Jesus, whom you are
persecuting.” “Lord what would you have me to do?” “Go in to the city be told what you
must do,” Acts 9 verses 1 through 6. We get the update on exactly what God said in
Acts 22. God sends a message or a man named Ananias. Ananias comes to Saul and
says, “Saul Saul why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins
calling on the name the Lord. “It is sin that separates us from God. Isaiah 59:1-2, “The
Lord's ears not heavy that he cannot hear, his arms not short that he cannot save, but
your sins and your iniquities have separated you from your God.” And so sin is that
barrier that brings separation, causes one to be lost. If I can know exactly when sin is
removed, I can know when I'm saved. Listen again Acts 22:16, “Arise and be baptized,
wash away your sins,” sounds a lot like 1 Peter 3:21. Peter said, “Baptism does now
also save us.” If God's inspired word says baptism saves us, why would we dare say it's
not essential to salvation? Do we realize that's how you get into Christ? Galatians 3:27,
“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” And
so please understand, Jesus did teach except or unless one is born again, born of water
and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
As I think about things that Jesus really was restricted about, was definitely
narrow-minded about, one of those was the fullness and the inspiration of God's
inspired word. In Matthew chapter 24:34-36 Jesus will say, “Heaven and Earth will pass
away, my words will never pass away.” Jesus will say in the Gospel of John that, “The
Scripture cannot be broken,” and Jesus later said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them.”
Praying to the father, “Sanctify them by your truth your word is truth.”
Think about things that Jesus definitely wants us to stand firm upon, one of those
is the inspiration of God's word. Without the Bible, without understanding, without
knowing, and being fully committed to the fact that this book is absolutely word for word
the word of God, where is our faith? What faith do we have without that? This book is
the foundation of our faith. In fact scripture affirms throughout its inspiration. 2 Timothy
3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for proof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete
thoroughly equipped unto every good work, holy men of God spoke as they were moved
by the Holy Spirit.” Yes, Jesus absolutely affirmed God's inspired word is something we
need to stand firm upon.
There's another great teaching that Jesus emphasized and definitely want us to be
ready for and it is his final coming. In Matthew chapter 24:36 Jesus said, as he thought
about his coming, as he answers that final question, Jesus made the wonderful
statement that, “Of that day and hour no one knows not even the Son, the Father in
Heaven is the only one who knows that,” Is Christ going to come again? He absolutely
is. The day, the Bible teaches there is a day coming, when Jesus will come back to this
earth. We desperately need to be ready for that great day. That they’ll be great sound,
according 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, “A shout, the voice the trumpet, the voice of an
Archangel, and the dead in Christ will arise, will meet him in the air.”
The truth is that God has sent His Son to this Earth to save mankind. Christ is
coming back to claim his own and ultimately the world will be destroyed at that point. I
want to live in view of that and always be ready to be with the Lord. Mark 13:35 Jesus
said, “What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch and be ready.”
Tying that idea into the fact that Christ is one day going to come back, into Jesus
words in John 14:6, helps us to see our need to truly follow Christ and do what he says.
Do you remember it? We began with this verse John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way the
true and the life, no man comes to the father except by me.”
Is there any other way to be saved outside of Christ? He's the way, He's the
truth, and He's the life. Outside of Jesus you cannot; it is impossible to get to the Father.
That's why God sent his son. “God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He made
salvation available so that all of us could one day live with the Father in Heaven.
It's God's desire that all men be saved. 1 Timothy 2:4, “God wants all men to be
saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” He, God is not slow concerning his
promises as some men count slowness, but he is long-suffering toward us, not willing
that any should perish but that all should come to repent,” 2 Peter 3:9.
There's nothing wrong with having a definite, a definitive plan, and a definitive
way, something that I can be assured of, and Jesus does, indeed provide us with that.
And so, today we ask of you, are you sure you're a child of God? Have you obeyed the
blessed Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Have you heard the message that
there is a Savior, that Jesus brought salvation to the world and that He is the only way?
John 14:6. Do you really believe in Christ, as the Savior in the son of God? John 8:24. If
so, are you willing to repent and turn from sin and turn to God? Acts 3:19. Would you
confess the name of Jesus before men? Matthew 10:32-33. Would you do what Jesus
said? “He that believes and is baptized will be saved,” Mark chapter 16:16.
As always, we want you to know that this message is motivated out of a love for God
and out of a love for souls. Why speak on things like this today? Because friend, more
than anything God wants people to be saved. We want people to be saved, and we
don't know how much time we’ve got. Let’s make sure that we’re ready to live with God
for eternity, before it's everlastingly too late.
Study Questions for: “More About Jesus: Lesson 7”
1. In Luke 2:49, how does Jesus answer his parents when being questioned
about leaving the group?
2. According to Luke 9:23, what must a man that desires to follow Jesus do?
3. In Mark 18:3, who did Jesus say we must become like to enter the Kingdom
4. According to Revelation 2:10, what will we get if we are faithful unto death?
5. According to Acts 3:19, what can be blotted out if we repent and are
6. In Mark 16:15-16, what does Jesus say one must do to be saved?
7. What separates us from God according to Isaiah 59:1-2?
8. From Mark 13:35, we must watch and be what?
9. How can we come to the Father according to John 14:6?
10. According to 1 Timothy 2:4, who does God want to be saved?