The Central Theme

Posted on 01/14/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT:

It's good to see you here today, especially after having to miss last week! Unfortunately it takes quite a bit less to keep us out of virtual church than physical, but praise God for technology anyway! Many thanks to Christian Gide for doing an excellent job leading in worship and choosing an excellent message, "Hidden Snakes."

Let's go ahead and stand to our feet, and begin today's service with prayer.


Lord God, thank you for this brand new day, and for the brand new beginning you give us each and every day.

We open up our hearts to your Holy Spirit today. Come and teach us. Come and shine your light on your Word. Come and point us to Jesus.

Accept our praise and worship, and draw us today even closer to you.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let us worship the King.


WE WILL WORSHIP THE LAMB

We will worship the Lamb of Glory
We will worship the King of Kings
We will worship the Lamb of Glory
We will worship the King

And with our hands lifted high
we will worship and sing
And with our hands lifted high
we come before you rejoicing
With our hands liften high to the sky
when the world wonders why
We'll just tell them we're loving our king
We'll just tell them we're loving our king


HOLY AND ANOINTED ONE

Jesus, Jesus
Holy and anointed one
Jesus

Jesus, Jesus
Risen and exalted one
Jesus

Your name is like honey on my lips
Your Spirit like water to my soul
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet
Jesus I love you, I love you


OPEN OUR EYES LORD

Open our eyes Lord
we want to see Jesus
To reach out and touch him
and say that we love him

Open our ears Lord
and teach us to listen
Open our eyes Lord
we want to see Jesus


Thank you Lord for your presence with us today! Thank you that no matter what else is going on around us, when we enter your presence, everything else fades away. Open our eyes and ears, Lord, so we can see more of Jesus.


You may be seated.


Today's message is titled, "The Central Theme." While I'm not personally impressed with this title, the title most appropriate to what we're about to talk about would actually describe all we stand for and teach and preach, and that one thing is "Jesus."

Recently my wife was visited by two young ladies who were there to tell her about a claimed prophet who revived Jesus' long-dead religion, and who was given the translation to some long-lost tablets which revealed hidden mysteries.

In hearing her account of their visit, one thing really struck me above all else, and that is this: What was the purpose of their visit? What was their message? To what were they pointing? They were unsuccessfully trying to give her an addition to the Bible that is supposed to make it complete. They were telling her about some prophet that revealed the lost truth to us. They were ultimately attempting to convert her from an incomplete faith into an exclusive religion.

If I were to sum up their message, it would be that "Faith in Jesus and a relationship with him alone is not enough. You must believe in our prophet and in the writings he claimed to translate. You must be part of our church, or you are incomplete. JESUS ISN'T ENOUGH."

Years ago I read this book they were promoting. Being raised hearing the Bible read every single night, I knew it wasn't Scripture. Something tasted, smelled, and felt wrong in my spirit. It just wasn't.... JESUS.

In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father except by me." Jesus did not say, "I am life" or "I am one source of life." Rather, Jesus said, "I am THE life."

And again in John 11:25 Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes  in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."

We read in John chapter one verse one, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

And this is why the Word of God is life, because Jesus is the Word, and Jesus is life. And we read in Hebrews 4:12, "The word of God is alive, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

The Word of God is alive because the Word of God is Jesus, and Jesus IS life.

A book is a book. A teaching is a teaching. A religion is a religion. But Jesus is Life!

From the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation, we see Jesus on every page.

In Genesis one verse one we read, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and in John 1:3 we read, "All things were made by him (Jesus); and without him was not any thing made that was made."

So when we read that "God created the heaven and the earth," we are reading about Jesus.

Throughout the Old Testament, we not only have many obvious and subtle prophecies of the coming of the Messiah, but even the laws and rituals point to Jesus.

The blood sacrifices were insufficient, but that's because they were only shadows of the spotless Lamb of God who would be sacrificed to take away the sins of the world.

The Holy of Holies could be entered only by priests who had undergone strict preparation. And yet we now all have entrance into the Holy of Holies by the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus.

The rock that accompanied the people of God through the wilderness, giving them water to drink, was a symbol of Jesus, for in 1 Corinthians 10:4 we read, "And they all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ."

And we know the New Testament speaks even more clearly of Jesus, speaking of his preparation, conception, birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and his promised return, and it teaches us how to walk more closely with him, taking the message of reconciliation to God through Jesus to the world around us.

There are too many examples of how Scripture points to Jesus to mention today, or this month, or this year, and if we spent the rest of our lives discovering all the verses that point to Jesus, we would still not find them all; for every passage of Scripture IS Jesus.

So when someone comes to us with a message centered around some prophet, or some formerly-hidden mystery, or some church, or some religion, they're coming to us with something other than life.

I don't know about you, but I don't have time for things that don't bring life, that don't draw me closer to Jesus, that don't build my faith.

And to go a step further, if something takes our attention off Jesus and tries to place it on prophets, or other teachings, or any other person or thing, then that thing is taking us away from life, and is therefore bringing us death.

Satan, or Lucifer, wanted the attention God was getting, and we see he was allowed to choose his pride. Since sin cannot stay in God's presence, he was ejected from heaven, along with those who followed him. And a place of total separation from God, which is what they had chosen, was prepared for him and for those who choose death instead of life.

And we see this all around us today -- teachings, religions, supposed prophets, and leaders, who crave the attention placed upon Jesus and try to share in his glory.

But anything that comes along and tries to take your focus off of Jesus, is something that is false and has come to steal your life from you.

In John 10:10, Jesus tells us, "The thief comes for nothing but to steal, kill, and destroy; but I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it in overflowing abundance."

The thief takes our eyes off Jesus and thereby steals our faith, brings death to our spirits, and destroys us. But Jesus came to give us an overflowing abundance of life, because Jesus IS Life.

So that which tries to share in the glory and central focus due to Jesus, is a thief. It brings death and destruction, even if it poses as a source of life.


Many times, when other people and things try to steal Jesus' glory, they will also demote him from God made flesh into an angel, or a prophet, or some other created or lesser being.

And yet we return to John 1:3 which says, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

Therefore, trying to imagine Jesus is a created being is utterly obsurd. For if Jesus was created, that means there was a time when he did not exist, because creation is a point in time in which something that did not previously exist comes into being. And since there was not one single thing created that was not created by Jesus, this means he existed before any created thing.

Angels are created. The heavens and the earth are created. Mankind is created. Lucifer, the leader of the fallen angels, is created.

There is only one thing, one being, who is the Creator of all things, and that one being cannot have been created.

That one being is God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, supreme above all principalities and powers, without begining and without end, completely limitless in power, endless in knowledge, unequalled in wisdom. And Jesus IS that Creator.

How dare any mortal man or any fallen angel try to demote the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords from the one and only true and living God!

So when someone or some teaching crosses your path that dares to lay a finger on the Godhood or centrality of Jesus, don't give those lies even a moment of your attention.

To dispell darkness, we don't try to analyze it and prove to it why it isn't light. Rather, to battle darkness, we simply turn on the light. And to expose falsehood, we need only know and point to the Truth.

"I am the way, the truth, and the life," Jesus said; "no one comes  unto the Father except by me."

No prophet can connect you with God. No religion can connect you with God. No good deeds or rituals can connect you with God.

Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life, and no one comes to the Father except by him.

Mary can't save you. Joseph Smith can't save you. The First Church of Such-and-Such can't save you. Your good works can't save you.

Only Jesus Christ can show you the way, because he IS the Way.

Only Jesus Christ can bring you truth, because he IS the Truth.

Only Jesus Christ can bring you life, because he IS the Life.

Any other way, teaching, religion, prophet, or leader that demotes Jesus or tries to place other things along side him will lead you away from God and away from life.

But the more you keep Jesus,
 The Word made flesh,
 The Creator of all things,
 The First and the Last,
 The Alpha and the Omega,
 The Beginning and the End,
 The Bright and Morning Star,
 The Rose of Sharon,
 Emmanuel -- God with Us,
 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
 The King of Glory,
 The Resurrection and the Life,
 The Lamb of God,
 The Good Shepherd,
 The True Vine,
 The Tree of Life,
 The Bread of Life,
 The Hidden Manna,
 The Dayspring from on High,
 The Sun of Righteousness,
 The Horn of Salvation,
 The Rock of Salvation,
 The Sure Foundation,
 The Living Stone,
 The Chief Cornerstone,
 Our Advocate,
 The Firstborn from the Dead,
 The Head of the Church,
 The Captain of the Host,
 The Author and Finisher of Our Faith,
 Our Healer,
 Our Deliverer,
 The Lion of the Tribe of Judah,
 Our Shield,
 Our Strong Tower,
 The Prince of Peace,
 The Righteous Judge,
 The King Over All the Earth,
 The One at whose name every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord!

...the more you center everything in your life around HIM, the more you will clearly see the way, the more you will clearly know the truth, and the more you will be filled with life in great, extravegant abundance; because it's all about Jesus.


I would like the ministry team to come stand across the front now.

And as they come, I'd like each of you to ask yourself this question: "Does everything in my life, my mind, and my heart revolve around Jesus, and around his Word? Do I have a personal, intimate, growing relationship with him? Is there anything in my mind, heart, or life that is coming in between me and Jesus?"

And if the Spirit of God is speaking to you today, quickly get out of your seat and come to this altar. I know the cares of life so easily get in the way, and so often slip in between me and Jesus. So often other things succeed in sharing the glory that is due to only him. But today God is calling us to refocus our hearts and minds on Jesus.

So if God is speaking to you today, let's say to him by our actions of coming to the altar, "Here I am Lord, coming to allow you to work in me, to change me, to burn out that which is keeping me away from you or keeping me from drawing closer to you."

In a few minutes we'll meet next door for a time of fellowship, so please don't leave. If you need someone to pray with you, instant message one of the ministry team.

Come to this altar or kneel where you are, and let's make sure OUR Central Theme is THE Central Theme, the center of the universe -- Jesus Christ, the Risen Lamb of God.

Come.