Questions #07 – This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 29, 2009.
What do you need to live the Christian life? What is required for you to live in obedience to Christ’s commands and walk humbly before Him? It is clear there is more to the Christian life then just accepting a set of doctrinal beliefs. There is more to it than to intellectually agree that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. It is not enough even to believe that He died on the cross or even that He died on the cross for your sins. It is not enough to believe He died and rose triumphantly from the grave! You must believe in Him. You must put your faith and trust in Him.
To believe or to trust is to rely upon Him.
It is to say, “I am trusting wholly in Christ. I have no backup. If He can’t save me I’m lost.”
Okay, that’s what is means to be saved but what about holiness?
What about living the faith?
Well that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in and the church and Bible Study and prayer and discipleship and fellowship and accountability groups and the gifts of the Spirit and all of those things that God promises and gives. Be careful!
If you are thinking along these lines you are dangerously close to heresy.
You are close to stepping over the line.
You see the problem is when you say there is something else you need you are suggesting Christ is not enough.
In essences you are saying, “Being saved is great. That gets you ‘in the door’ but it’s nothing compared to the victorious life or the spirit-filled life.” Such talk puts Christ in second place and that is a dangerous thing. I don’t believe that any Christian would intentionally downgrade the Lord Jesus but we do it unintentionally when think or say we need something more than Christ to be all God wants us to be.
When something is sufficient it “meets the need.” It supplies all that is missing. Now, is Christ sufficient to restore our relationship with God? Is Christ all we need to put us in right standing with the Creator of the universe? Or is there something more?
What do the Scriptures say?
- Colossians 2:9-10
- Romans 8:9
- 1 Cor 1:30
Whoever accepts me, Jesus said, accepts the one who sent me (John 13:20).
All that you will ever need to live the Christ life is given to you in Christ.
You do not need a “second blessing.”
You do not need a subsequent experience.
You need Christ.
Wait! No Christian is as wise as he should be, nor as dedicated, nor free from sin. Isn’t that proof there is something more?
That is a logical question but it fails to recognize something else plainly taught in the Scripture. We are not born full grown! Our need to grow in these areas demonstrates that God gives out His good things over our lifetime.
That is why we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – 2 Peter 3:18.
And we all grow at a different pace and to different degrees.
What harm is there in thinking there is something more?
What was the problem at Galatia?
They were preaching a Jesus plus theology.
They were looking for something more.
It is God’s will that Christ rescue us from this present evil age (1:4).
Paul was writing to a church that was drifting from the Gospel. They were drifting toward something more. How did Paul address the crisis? He preached Christ. It was not his place, it was not his job to determine who is and is not saved. It was his job to preach Christ. The rest is God’s business.
What is the work of the Spirit?
The work of the Spirit is to lead men to a greater appreciation of Christ. To make an experience with the Spirit a step beyond Christ is to miss the point entirely. “He will bring glory to me,” said Jesus. There is no knowledge higher than the knowledge of Christ.
The writer of Hebrews says Christ is the means of our holiness – Hebrews 10:16; 13:20-21.
Christ is all we need.
Wait! If God guarantees our progress, why all the commands and why am I to strive to be holy?
We are not machines.
It is relational.
We do not all progress at the same rate.
God uses commands as one of the means of accomplishing His work.
To seek something more than Christ is heresy.
But what do we do when the battle is too heavy?
What do we do when the sledding is tough and we just can’t make it?
Jesus answers that for us: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Christ is all you need!