Would Jesus be welcome in the Church Today? Not likely – do you welcome Him?
By Donald Whitchard
John 1:9-13,John 3:19-20,John 7:40-43,Acts 4:12,Acts 16:30-31,Romans 10:9-10
Summary: John tells us in the prologue of his Gospel that the Light of Jesus Christ shines in the darkness that represents the sins of humanity. Some turn to the Light and others reject it, missing out on the blessings of salvation and eternal life.
In the prologue to his Gospel, John presents the Lord Jesus Christ as “the Light” that shines in darkness, and that it was John the Baptist who bore witness of His Light. The Light of Christ is offered to everyone, yet not all wanted the Light of Christ to shine upon them, and they rejected Him. Those who embraced Christ were given the blessing of peace with God, freedom from the bondage of sin, and eternity with the Father in heaven by the work of the Son (John 1:5-9, 14:6). This same mindset is with us in these last days before His promised return to make all things new. Why do people not receive the offer of forgiveness and rest offered freely by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:28-30)? There are several reasons given in the Scripture, and none of them are valid excuses or explanations in terms of where we stand before the Sovereign LORD.
The world in general did not and still does not want to receive the Light, even though it is a free gift from God to His fallen creation (John 1:4, 9-10, 8:12, 12:46) whom He made in His image (Genesis 1:26, John 1:3). He came into His own land and among His chosen people Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6, 18:15-18; Jeremiah 2:7). John writes that Jesus’ own family did not believe Him until after His resurrection (John 7:5; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). John also lists other reasons why Jesus’ teachings and claims were rejected, and again, not one of them are excusable. He tells us that there were some who loved darkness more than light, which is in line with what the Apostle Paul says about the condition of sinful humanity and their rejection of God’s glory, existence, and direction (John 3:19-20, 5:42-43; Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-18, 23). Some were fearful of what others would think of them if they followed Jesus, preferring their approval over the welfare of their souls (Mark 8:38; John 7:13, 9:22, 12:42-43).
Some were misinformed about the facts concerning Jesus, but there is no account of any of them taking the effort to check out the truth about Him, save for Nicodemus (John 3:1-21, 7:40-43). Many of His disciples would not understand His teachings and simply quit following Him (John 6:6) instead of thinking about them and expanding their knowledge of the deeper things of God. Things haven’t changed. We want easy belief and shallow teachings that sooth our emotions and tickle our ears, preferring to remain deaf to His call to salvation (2 Timothy 4:3-4). This goes hand-in-hand with another lame reason why people chose to reject Jesus, and that was they loved their traditions and history (John 9:13-16). People, as a whole, do not like any kind of change or alternate methods of doing things. They have been comfortable with things as they are and anyone who suggests any kind of change usually does not end well for the person who dared to rock the boat or shake up the system in order to make it better.
Jesus came along, casting out the money changers in the Temple, declaring that the religious work and manner of the Pharisees and other officials was no better than rotting corpses in tombs and were hypocrites headed to hell (Matthew 23:27, 33). He cursed cities that saw His miracles, yet rejected Him (Matthew 11:21-23), chastised His apostles for their unbelief and dullness of mind (Mark 8:14-21), and rebuked officials who tried to discredit Him by asking about taxes to Caesar and the issue of the Resurrection (Luke 20:19-40). People who tend to dwell on “gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” need to re-read the Gospels and see that He was not nice and sweet all the time, but laid it on the line in terms of waking up all people to the fact of accountability before God, the reality of sin and its consequences, and that He is the ONLY way to salvation, period (John 14:6). I dare to say that if the Lord Jesus showed up at the average house of worship today and did the things He did in the Gospels, the cry for His death would be as loud as those who lived in His day. However, His resurrection would still take place to the world’s regret and the devil’s fears.
What about those who receive the Light of Christ? John tells us that by giving our lives over to Jesus, we have the authority to be called sons and daughters of God, heirs and joint heirs with Him, a wonderful manifestation of the love of Almighty God (John 1:12; Romans 8:14-17; 1 John 3:1). The privilege of being born of God is not by physical descent, or the work of our flesh, or virtue of power by our will, but is a spiritual rebirth made possible by the Sovereign, merciful, and benevolent act of the Spirit of God alone (John 1:13, 3:5; Titus 3:5). We receive this free gift by repenting of our sins (Psalm 51:1-17) and asking the Lord Jesus to forgive us and save us (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10), and that we give our lives fully over to Him as Lord and Savior. We belong to Him from that time onward into eternity, and we are to serve Him by sharing what He has done for us with others (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 4:12, 19-20), reading His Word to grow spiritually (John 17:17; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21), find and support a body of like-minded believers who teach the Scriptures faithfully and who confess Christ as Lord (Hebrews 11:25), and to follow the Lord’s example by a public confession of faith in Christ and be baptized as a sign of obedience and affirmation to follow Him. I pray that if you are seeking the Light of Truth and you have come across this sermon, I invite and implore you to repent of your sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life. Please quit stumbling around in the darkness and turn to Him today.
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Donald was born and reared in the authentic Cajun country of south Louisiana. He is a 1978 graduate of LaGrange High School in Lake Charles. He is also a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1994) and Andersonville Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, 2000). He is an ACPE Certified Chaplain with training in Trauma/ER, NICU, and Psychiatric Pastoral Care from the McFarland Institute in New Orleans (2003). He has over thirty years of ministry service, which concluded when he was called to serve as pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma from 2017-2018. Due to health concerns, he retired from public ministry in 2020 and now devotes his time to internet evangelism through the writing of Bible studies, sermons, and articles on current issues for varied Christian webpages and ministries. He is a regular contributor to sites such as Rapture Ready and Sermon Central as well as Inspirational Christian Blogs. He and his wife Cathy are both active members of Eastern Heights Baptist Church in Muskogee. Don will often serve as a panel member of the Gospel Rescue Mission Pastor’s Round Table Broadcast, shown monthly on the mission’s Facebook page as his health allows. He has a personal evangelistic blog as well and can be contacted at his Email address.
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