Since I was a kid, I have been moving from one place to another because of my parents’ work and my own pursuit for education. With every move comes my own decision to find a local church. Believe it or not, it’s hard. Really hard especially that I am an Introvert. I could go on for weeks just being silent although I have the desire to interact. My first months were like ‘testing the waters’. I need to observe their teachings and their way of corporate worship. I always tend to bargain on the corporate worship style as long as emotionalism is not magnified. But my always concern is the preaching style. Expository preaching is my favorite and Topical preaching bores me a lot. I also consider the closeness of every church members. I easily get discouraged if there is no firm interaction with one another. It doesn’t mirror the Biblical Koinonia if most of the members just go there on Sundays but don’t even recognize one another on weekdays.
Fellowship and doctrine matter for me, and for many years that I have been moving, I was able to meet different kinds of ‘Jesus’.
1. THE ‘JUST-ANOTHER-HUMAN’ JESUS
This Jesus is a powerless person. If you believe in this, you don’t believe in the Triune God as well. This Jesus was a helpless lamb who has no choice but to be crucified. The people who believe this Jesus still believe that he is a savior, but they don’t believe he is God.
2. THE NEEDY JESUS
I met this needy Jesus when I was a teenager. This Jesus annoyed me the most. I was a rebel when I was younger because people told me that he is knocking on the door of my heart — waiting for me to let him in. I used to imagine myself sweeping my heart because he is coming. Such a portrayal of Jesus magnified good works. It taught me that I need to clean myself first because this needy Jesus wants to go inside my heart instead of him changing me. Worse, he validates my relationship with him through my emotions. The more I cry for him, the more he becomes real to me. But if I don’t cry that much, he is far from me.
3. THE HEALTH AND WEALTH JESUS
This Jesus was introduced to me after college. I remember being too excited going to church because, duuuh? Who doesn’t want a Jesus who makes you lazy? I mean, he does everything for you! He serves you and bless you with good health and all the riches you could ever imagine! Just proclaim it, it will be yours! This Jesus taught me that my mouth has the power to change my life. He taught me that my positive thinking will unlock all my potentials. I will be famous and intelligent. It’s all about him serving me and all of my dreams will come true because he is my genie.
4. THE ENTERTAINER JESUS
This Jesus loves entertaining goats inside the church. The more entertaining it is, the more people will come. We could come as we are and let our flesh reign! If the church is not filled, there’s something wrong with the church. The more, the better. Forget about the doctrines, forget about the formality because people only need Jesus. Theology doesn’t matter because people who love theology doesn’t have a heart. This Jesus is seeker sensitive. The church members are the ones who will adjust for the goats. All the colored lights, emotion-friendly atmosphere during worship and the rock christian music are always present. They gather like the world, and they care less if they look like the world. This Jesus loves it when you display your faith — t-shirts, wrist bands and car stickers. The more you show it on the outside, the more spiritual you will become.
5. THE ‘YOU-DON’T-NEED-TO-CHANGE’ JESUS
This Jesus loves the church members who keep on sinning. Tolerant of the world’s definition of marriage and self-love. We must not judge others so don’t mind about the holiness of God. Everyone knows they are sinners, so why talk about it? Sin is such a boring topic, anyway. Afterall, Jesus loves sinners. Having a changed life is not needed anymore because he already died for your sins. Just be who you are and he will love you. You don’t need to change because you are made in God’s image. You are born that way. Just believe. Just love him.
BUT THEY’RE NOT THE JESUS OF THE BIBLE…
For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. So they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Those versions of Jesus could be considered as myths. They are not biblical. They are twisted stories that will make the real Jesus and His message of salvation look less offensive. What motivates people to spread the wrong image of Jesus is this: they don’t want His Lordship.
THE REAL JESUS
Christ is the center of Christianity. If you get Christ wrong, you get everything wrong.
JESUS CHRIST IS GOD
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . .  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (John 1:1,14).
Although I’ve never been into a church that doesn’t affirm that Jesus is God, but the teaching that says he is not God has influenced a lot of people in my country. To say that Jesus is not God is equivalent to saying that He is only a man who can commit sin. And if he is a sinner, then the atonement he did for our sins has no power. God needs Someone righteous to become an atonement, and there is no one among us could reach the high standards of the righteousness that God demands from us.
And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed (1 Peter 2:24).
The 10 commandments should mortify us. God’s standard for holiness is too high that everyone falls short. Only Jesus Christ who is blameless could atone for our sins — and He is truly God and truly man.
JESUS CHRIST IS SELF-SUFFICIENT
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. Nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things (Acts 17:24-25).
God is self-sufficient, immutable and sovereign. To form an image of a needy Jesus is to form an idol out of what you want, and idols are hated by God. The real Jesus is powerful and doesn’t need anything. He doesn’t knock on the door of your heart and waits for you to open it. Jesus knows we are helpless beings. In the Bible, we have the parable of the lost sheep to tell us that Christ is the one who seeks for the lost. A sheep that was led astray has no power to seek God on his own (Matthew 18:12-14). Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers, we cannot experience genuine change. Our lives will still be a mess without God. Morality without a genuine love for God is still filthy rags. Good works apart from Him are worthless.
JESUS CHRIST DID NOT PROMISE US HEALTH AND WEALTH ON EARTH
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus Christ did not die to make you wealthy here on earth. He commanded us to store up treasures in heaven and not on earth. The disciples did not became rich and famous. They were persecuted and killed. The cost of becoming Christ’s disciples is too big that it costs us everything.
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27).
There are many workers of God today that are not wealthy and they are fine with that because you can’t become a servant of both money and God (Matthew 6:24). The Word of Faith Movement has portrayed humans as powerful beings as if positive thinking and declarations has more power than God’s sovereignty. That’s a pagan belief. Instead of saying positive things, let us trust God more. We may have sufferings here on earth, but we can still rejoice for our hope is in Him alone (Psalm 39:7). We don’t need to fill ourselves with lies. His truths are more than enough.
JESUS CHRIST DID NOT DIE TO ENTERTAIN YOU
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it (Luke 9:23-24).
There are many preachers nowadays that made their churches look like the world so people who don’t even love God can fellowship with them. To come as you are is like saying that we shouldn’t deny ourselves, but we should be dead to ourselves (Galatians 2:20). We must not feed the flesh when we gather. We must worship Him for who He is and what He has done for us. We cannot define worship in our own terms. God has commanded us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). Thus, even as we gather, we must learn how to respect Him.
JESUS DOESN’T TOLERATE SIN
No one who remains in Him keeps on sinning (1 John 3:6).
Sin is sin and yes we are sinners. But do we keep on sinning if we already have Christ in our lives? We don’t define sin in our own terms, and we cannot keep on sinning after Christ saved us. Yes, we do struggle with our flesh but a genuine Christian mourns over his sinfulness. He reads the Bible to renew his mind. He knows that apart from Christ, he is nothing. Obedience is our only validation that we are saved. Thus, we can’t profess to be a believer of Christ yet still live in sin. The Holy Spirit regenerates us. He teaches us that Christ’s atonement is all that we have, and God will keep us from stumbling (Jude 24).
LET’S PRACTICE DISCERNMENT
Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, But a man of understanding walks straight (Proverbs 15:21).
Without knowing God for who He really is through the Scriptures, we are going to believe anything that the world feeds us. It doesn’t matter who Jesus is for you. Personal accounts of who Jesus is can become an idol if your definition is not even Biblical. What matters most is who He really is even if you do not believe it. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). You do not define Him based on what you want Him to become. We are the ones who will bow down before Him and not the other way around.
The Bible is there to show us who He really is. So let’s stop all this superstitious beliefs regarding Jesus. Let’s worship Him beholding all His attributes and believe what it truly means to ‘worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)’.