Colossians 1:18-19, “And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell… ” (KJV)
One of the drives I have as a minister is a call for discernment on believers we reach with the message of the bible. The name of the Lord and His work is seriously abused out here all done in His name. What is heard and elevated in the name of Christianity may be Christ labeled, the truth of the matter is, most are not CHRIST CENTERED. What is packaged and labeled with Christ’s name is transported locally and abroad. Not long ago I came across one of the most influential pastors in America with a big congregation on TV, as he preached for half hour, I noticed that the bible was never opened or read, Christ name was not even mentioned once leave alone glorified, exalted, or even honored. He did quote some scriptures out of context and wowed the crowd with his man catered message on how to get along with everyone.
If we are to get to the bottom of the gospel, the truth that must be revealed to all is that the Gospel is about Jesus, it must be cross centered, “The bible places Jesus as the center of God’s plan not the sinner,” Keith Green. Most of the preaching I see on TV is about the happiness of man, Martin Luther called it “the theology of glory” how can I climb the ladder and attain the glory here and now after God has promised us after we suffer.” The good sound biblical teachings don’t even make it on TV, if they do, they are very few.
To understand discernment from that which we are familiar with, let me use an example of a bank teller. The bank tellers are trained to identify counterfeit bills by getting acquainted with the real money. The more they spend time touching and studying the true ones, the better they can detect the counterfeit. This is the same with believers, you study the true gospel (God’s word) and you will discern the false whichever way it’s packaged or labeled and distance yourself from it.
In reading 1Corinthians 1&2, what I see in the first chapter is how Paul introduces himself then gets out of the way for the main character Jesus Christ to shine and outshine him. We see the messenger (Paul), his position (an apostle), his call (to follow Christ), his message (Christ and Him crucified) but the center of the opening verse is the person whose Paul is and that is Jesus Christ. In just chapter 1 alone, he mentions Jesus Christ 17 times in most of the verses and God 20 times in the 31 verses in the same chapter. I believe he did this deliberately to show that Christ ought to be exalted above all in every stage.
There was contentions among the Corinthians that brought about division, some were saying they were followers of Apollos, others of Cephas (Peter), others of Paul and others of Christ. They may have followed each of first three based on their teaching, leadership style, or personality. Paul comes in to show them that Jesus is the center of it all so that 1Corinthians 1:31, “…“He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” for “… He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell… ”, Colossians 1:18-19 (KJV).
In the next 5 messages following this, I will share a message by David Wilkerson inspired by Frank Bartleman based on a prophetic warning from Azusa Street 75 years ago, concerning the dangers of a Christless Pentecost!. Frank Bartleman was an eyewitness to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1907 at Azusa Street, Los Angeles. He has been characterized as the Reporter of the Azusa Street Revival. Nearly 75 years ago, during the outpouring, he wrote a tract warning of a Christless Pentecost. Stay Tuned. Blessings, Ev