Another Jesus

By David Stahl

In today’s world our lives often centers around the many choices we have.  I remember when we came back from Germany; Karen, the kids, and I went up to New Jersey to visit Karen’s wonderful dad, mom, brothers, and her sister. Well, one day we went to the Path Mart with Mom Kreiss and I was asked to go select a salad dressing, pretty simple right? Well not so simple if you have been use to a selection of three or four choices.  I turned the corner on the salad dressing aisle and saw a sea of choices. I could not believe the number of different salad dressings I could choose from.  It almost became overwhelming, but I struggled through it and selected ranch.  I never forgot the view of cascading colors and labels in the 100 foot long, six feet high aisle. Sadly the Christian world often is like the salad dressing aisle we have so many different types of churches and denominations to choose from. If we do not like this church we can just simply go to another, who cares what the Holy Spirit wants.  In Kenya they have a term called “churching” to explain the constant shuffling from church to church while warming their hands at others fires.  But even sadder with each different church or denomination also comes another Jesus.  Just by common sense one would have to know they all cannot be preaching and teaching the same message; there must be a different slant, a different understanding, a different doctrine and with each difference comes another Jesus. I really believe the denominational infighting, confusion, and deception has done more damage to the Body of Christ than Satan.  Satan has been defeated, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15), but the willful spreading of outright lies and half-truths (which are also lies) for the sake of money, power, control, and authority by the denominations or non-denominations (large fellowship groups with churches around the world) to further their agenda and doctrine (because everyone else is wrong) on the earth are sharing another Jesus. 

  Paul had to deal with this destructive, deception at the Church at Corinth.  Paul shares, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)  The Gospel messages as is our walk with the Lord is simplistic and if we make it anything more than what the Bible says it is we are getting over into presumption (very dangerous) and deception.  The message, the Gospel message is:  the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus ChristIt is the message of the cross, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18), but this message is not popular with the nominal church collectively and most denominations and non-denominations today, oh no, it is all about them and their special twist or slant to the word of God or some special revelation God has given just them.  To them all I say shame on them and ichabod – the glory has departed. 

 There must be a coming together in the essentials of God.  In Ephesians Paul sets the standard for Christian commonality and brotherhood being “one.” “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”  (Ephesians 4:2-5)  How do we miss this?  Could it be we have failed to meet the requirement of “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” by wanting our way and not God’s way and our revelation and not God’s revelation? Or maybe we have failed to keep the absolutes absolute and the optionals optional.  The absolutes is the Gospel message, the message of the cross (death to our selfishness and self-life), holiness (without having no man shall see God), faithfulness, commitment, perserveance, obedience to God these are the absolutes.  The optionals are all of our feeble religious practices we do to try to reach a holy God, things we have done in the past that worked somewhat so we keep doing them in hope God can be found. Or things that have been handed down to us in ritual worship and if not done God will not honor our worship.  For example in most Pentecostal churches in Africa the ladies and men sit separated; ladies on one side of the church men on the other.  Now is that wrong?  No, but if it is done thinking it will get you to God, yes.  In most Pentecostal churches in Eastern Europe and many Apostolic churches in the States ladies must wear a doily or some head covering. They get this from the Bible and adhere to it as the Gospel.  Is this wrong?  No it is an optional, but it becomes wrong when another lady comes into the church who is uncovered and is shunned.  I remember when I first went to Moldova I was given the ground rules:   to minister within the city you must wear a coat and tie, but if you are outside the city you need only a coat.  Except for those churches where you cannot wear a tie because the point of the tie points down to hell. The problem is we have made the optionals absolutes and the absolutes optionals.  We have made the major things of God minor and the minor things of God major and in doing so we bring another Jesus to the church and to the world.  They have distorted the word of God and now they have a new Jesus to save them from their sins, but Paul in 1 Corinthians tells us if we do this we will have to “well bear with him.”  In other words we will have to put up with or deal with this deception on our own and never receive the intent of God’s wholesomeness, wellness, and grace.

 We see this deception and confession with the beloved John the Baptist and John’s disciples.  In the Gospel of John we read, “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 23And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. 24For John was not yet cast into prison.”  (John 3:22-24)  To whom was John baptizing?  Jesus was already on the scene and had already started His ministry.  Why did not John the Baptist join Jesus?  After all he recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Messiah, the Holy and anointed One.   Do you know even to today there are disciples of John in Israel still baptizing?  In spite of John’s deep and insightful revelation of who Jesus is (as seen in verses 27-36) John was sharing another Jesus.  Not the one before the people’s eyes, but one that he made up from a prior revelation of God.  We see this deception and confusion again in Matthew when John was in prison, “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3Andsaid unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”  (Matthew 11:2) Did you know there often was a great conflict between Jesus and His disciples and John the Baptist and his disciples and the people.  The people were often confused to who they should follow.  For example, “Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. 26And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.”  (John 3:25-26)  This is why Jesus had to put John in a place (prison) where there was not a lot of water to baptize people.  So too if we bring another Jesus to people in the world God will put us in a place where we cannot do any more damage to the Body of Christ.  Make no mistake my friend God will not allow us to keep messing  things up; He has paid a great price for the redemption of the Body of Christ (His only begotten Son) and He will not lay this sacrifice aside for any of man’s foolishness and religious practices, no matter how well intended. God will be longsuffering (and hopes for a change in our thoughts and behavior), but like Jesus was with John the Baptist there will come a time when His patience conflicts with His plan and His correction is made.  Take heed my friend.  One of Paul’s main themes in all of his writings is, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  (1 Corinthian 1:12)  These words will ring true and sure in our heart and lives today if we bring another Jesus before the people, a Jesus that is not found in the Bible, another Jesus, a Jesus that has been invented by our ambitions, our plans, and our misapplication of the word of God, a Jesus that has no power and no ability to save us from our sins.  This is the Jesus I see today in most churches. And sadly this is the Jesus the world sees.  No wonder the world is confused and hoping for help, but can only be helped by the real Jesus as presented by the word of God and by those people who really love Him.       

 Many today are waiting for Jesus to come back to earth, now I believe He will not because of what I see in the news on TV or what the guessers on Christian TV says, but because the Bible says so.  If the Bible says it then it will happen, but most people in the world expect Jesus (when He comes back) to be the weak defenseless babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying a manger, but He will not. When Jesus comes back He will be THE (one and only) conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords in all power and glory with a sword of righteousness to judge the nations and all souls.  John gives us a fore clue, “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  (Revelation 19:14)  Karen always says, Jesus is coming back to kick our butts.  Jesus will not be the savior of the world in all of His meek and lowly manner oh no, Jesus will, “smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” How can the people of the world see this Jesus as a conquering King, “to rule with a iron rod” when every year around the 25th of December Jesus get’s to be born and then over what we call Easter (translated as “passover” in the Bible) we get to kill Him.  But that is not who Jesus is today, oh no my friend Jesus is (for those who honor, serve, and love Him) Lord, ruler, and master of our lives.  He desires to sit on the throne of our hearts to rule and reign over our lives, but who wants to have a ruler over them when they can be the captain of their own ship, do what they want to do. Well, in God you cannot do and say what you want to say and do.  If we desire to walk in the ways of God so that He can share His heart with us, we must do and say only those things the Father wants us to do and say.  We must restrict our lives to only those things that are found in the Bible.  This doctrine of liberty and freedom in God is from the pits of hell; there is no freedom and liberty in God, only the limitations and restrictions of God’s word and in them is fulfillment and completion.  Liberty and freedom lead us out of God’s way to our way.  Isaiah said, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  (Isaiah 53:6)   What way was that?  The way we wanted to go and not the way God wanted us to go. We must preach and teach only those things in the Bible not those things we think are needed to be shared.  When I pastored I was so tempted at times to preach against sin I personally knew that was moving in lives in our church, but I also knew the Holy Spirit knew far greater than I how to reach minds and hearts.  When we preach and teach the word of God the power of the Holy Spirit is released to do the work of God in our lives.  But when we teach and preach the latest self-help, 12 step, Christian fad from the latest Christian best-seller we release the spirit of the world.  Just look at the deception of the world from preachers and teachers like:  T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Paula White, Joyce Meyers, others, and from the self-proclaimed so called spiritual people like Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil has done in the lives of many Christians.  It seems every other month these charlatans have a new book out for a donation to their ministry or to be sold for great profit in Christian books stores. Now I am a writer, I have written three books, and I know how long it takes to write a book and my friend it takes much longer than 30 or so days.  For the truth to be known most if not all of the “big time” TV celebrity  preachers and teachers get books from ghost writers and they put their names on the work, shameful on both parties. When we preach or teach anything (other than from the word of God) we are preaching and teaching another Jesus. We must get back to the word of God and nothing else! Back in 1996 Charles Haun (my teacher) gave me some of the greatest advice and guidance I have ever heard when we last talked on earth, “just give them Jesus” he said.