One odd phenomenon that I have encountered is that lots of people say that they "love Jesus". Obviously more people within the church, but an odd thing is that people that aren't in the church will also say "I love Jesus." The other day I was talking to someone and they said, "ya I love Jesus and I know where I am going".... (meaning that He thought He knew for sure that He was going to heaven). The weird thing was the next sentence He told me how he was fleeing from the law because of this and that while mixing in countless cuss words. It is obvious that this guy (who is so confident that He knows Jesus), doesn't know the Jesus of the Bible and has no authentic fruit to bear witness that He has been regenerate. He actually told me that He thought that Jesus was helping Him flee from the law and blessing Him in it?!?!? WHAT? What Jesus is He talking about... cause it surely isn't the Jesus of the bible.
Another odd phenomenon is that I have had conversations with "believers" (some have been active in the church for decades) who are in blatant unrepentant sin and they actually think that Jesus is OK with their sin.... they say, "OH its not the unforgivable sin..." Jesus loves me.... WHAT? What Jesus are they talking about? Because the Jesus of the bible is not apathetic about sin; the One who suffered the wrath of hell in our stead because of our sin has a deeper hatred for sin that anything we can possibly imagine. (the Jesus of the bible is also more patient with sinners than we can possibly imagine.... but we can never mistake His patience for apathy).
I am stirred right now over so many that say "LORD, LORD...." But don't know Jesus. Strangely enough the church goer who said He loved Jesus, and the deceived unbeliever who said He loved Jesus both would say that Jesus is God. But their Jesus exists to serve their own arrogant schemes; their Jesus is a means to getting what they want; their Jesus is a carnal apathetic Jesus who is unconcerned about His glory or name and won't throw sinners into hell for their lawlessness. I am shocked to see how many versions of Jesus are floating around in the minds of Americans that are utterly perverted and have nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth as revealed in the scriptures.
I have come to find that to find the true reality of a person we must gaze much deeper beyond the facade of the "I love Jesus" statement. What fruits are being produced? A tree is known by its fruits and those trees that aren't bearing the fruits of genuine repentance will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
But the problem is bigger than just the rhetoric of religiosity. We have a culture in the church that slaps Jesus on everything but we don't hardly know anything about Him..... what do I mean by this? I mean people pray to Jesus, they say Jesus did this and that for me, they say that Jesus said this and that to me, however, they have never ever spent any time meditating upon Jesus as revealed in scriptures and their view of Jesus is so far from the actual biblical Jesus that is would be nearly impossible for them to have a real relationship with the person they know nothing about. I think we like the idea of knowing Jesus and loving Jesus but I think many times we are more in love with the Jesus of our own imaginations than the actual person of Jesus Christ.
To know and love Jesus must be rooted in long and loving hours of meditation upon the person of Jesus as revealed in the scriptures. Our starting point for loving Jesus is starring at His pre-existence, His incarnation, His divinity, His authentic humanity, His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and second coming. We have an ocean of the knowledge of Jesus in the scriptures but we don't want to open our bibles and treasure His live as revealed in the gospels. As a follower and lover of Jesus I think its fair to say that the conversation of prayer should surround His live far more than mine. I should be swept up into His most fascinating, and most glorious testimony. I remember when I was engaged with my wife... I was so hungry to know her story, to know everything about her life...what she did when she was 5 and 7 and all her favorite colors and so on.... how much more with Jesus. Do we love the Jesus of the bible? Do we know that Jesus?
The modern hyper grace western church has painted a portrait of Jesus as a long haired hippy that loves to drink wine with sinners and forgives sin without repentance. Beloved, If we would read Jesus' words in the gospels and the book of revelation we would see that Jesus is more intense about holiness, and true righteousness than any preacher who ever existed. Not to mention that Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in the bible. Jesus is often seen forgiving the humble repentant sinner who is the outcast of society, but Jesus vehemently rebukes the self-righteous who is overconfident about their eternal security. So which one are we? Are we the sinner groveling in the dust that is truly sorry for our sin? or are we the over confident self-righteous that think we are ok?
Jesus Christ as revealed in the scriptures is a Jealous bridegroom God who will not share His prized image bearers with another. He has fire in his eyes and a sword in His mouth and He is coming to strike the nations with a rod of iron. His love is an all consuming fire and He will execute wrath at His coming on all those who don't obey His word, and don't submit to His leadership. Don't be deceived God is not mocked the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. If you live in sin all your life and have some ambiguous faith in some so called Jesus but you don't obey Jesus' words in the scriptures then be sure you will hear these words.... "away from me you workers of lawlessness". The demons believe in Jesus and they tremble but they won't follow His leadership. We say we believe in Jesus but we don't tremble and we don't submit to His words either.... (so I guess the demons are one step ahead of us in one sense... at least they tremble).
It is time for us to open our bibles and get lost in long loving hours of meditation upon Jesus as seen in the gospels; as seen in the book of revelation, and as pre-incarnate in the old testament, etc. Its time for us to get back to an orthodox theology of who Jesus is with a devotional spirit fueled by prayer. We need the true theology of Jesus to inform our relationship with Jesus. How are we to relate to a person who we know nothing about? And its time that we read His words and obey them... especially the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-7). Its time for His life to be precious to us, rather than our own. Its time for preachers to preach Christ.... to preach on all the different facets of His person, His identity, His glory, His divinity, His humanity...etc.
Its no accident that we don't care about His second coming... we simply don't care that Jesus isn't here. We don't long and mourn for our bridegroom Jesus to return, and we are totally content without Him here. As long as the Holy Spirit will make us feel good and God provides for all our needs and we get to have a cool ministry/assignment then we could care less if Jesus is here or not. Do you mourn and long for Jesus to come? Did you wake up today with an ache in your heart because He isn't here? You know Jesus isn't going to come back until His bride longs for Him to come in the same way that He longs to come for her. The Father is not going to present Jesus with a half-hearted narcissistic church that isn't longing in love for the Son of God. In the end, the church will be blazing with love for the true Jesus and she will be crying out night and day longing for His appearing and she will thrust herself into the hardest and darkest places on the planet that Jesus might have the full reward of His suffering.
All of our problems can be summed up in the reality that we don't know the true Jesus; and therefore all our problems are solved in the authentic revelation of Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit unveil the revelation of Jesus to us! Give to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of HIM!
Please open your Bibles and make His life a treasure to you; listen to His words and obey them. If you are a Christian then that means you follow Jesus.... following Jesus means you obey His commands primarily as put forth in scripture. The great commission is: "go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to OBEY everything I have commanded you..." How are you going to follow Jesus if you never open your bible and you don't know His words? Its His words that will be our judge on the last day.. john 5
The last thing I will say is that there is an infinite difference between the immature repentant believer that hasn't been fully brought into maturity, and the person who is just flat out unrepentant. I have so much love and mercy for the repentant, I will walk with them and help them out of the mire. But the unrepentant one needs a kick in the pants a slap across the face for spitting on the blood of Jesus, and a strong exhortation to repent or face the vengeance of God. (obviously I am talking about major sin.... as John puts it: sin leading to death as apposed to sin that isn't leading to death). And if its an overconfident unbeliever that has a false sense of security then we need to wisely, shrewdly and boldly rebuke them and preach the gospel to them and call them to repent or perish. Their needs to be a restored witness of righteousness in the church... If the world is so bold to call people to live in sin, all the more should we the redeemed call people to live righteously. May we shake off the spirit of this age and hold the line and call out the false brethren and bold sinners to account, mostly through our righteous living, but also by bold and very clear proclamation. (obviously this must be done in humility and according to Matt. 18.... you go to the person in private first, and if they won't listen then you bring another person into the situation, if they still won't listen then you openly declare their sin in public as an example. This is for the believer who falls into sin.... for the unbeliever, you still want to confront them relationally and in private... for our goal is never to shame anyone, but we do need to confront people with a witness of truth so they don't end up lost in deception and on their way to a lake of fire)