The Christian Message

by Dr. Ken Matto

(1 Cor 1:22-23 KJV) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: {23} But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

Many times we become students of the Bible and we forget the basics that we need to include in our spiritual repository. When we look at the above set of verses, it reminds me that some things never change. The message of Christianity has never changed throughout the whole New Testament and we continue to find, in our present day, the same situation that the Apostle Paul faced. There were people who were seeking after signs and those who were seeking after wisdom. These people caused as much consternation for the Apostle Paul in his day, as they do for the stable Christian in our day.

Today we see the rise in Charismaniac Christianity where everyone who partakes of that particular strain of Christianity needs to see signs and wonders. While they claim they have faith, their faith based Christianity is foundational upon the signs and wonders which God performed in the early Church, being operational today. However, God is not performing any miracles like handkerchief healing or raising the dead to confirm the Gospel like He did in the time of Christ and the early church. (Mark 16:20 KJV) And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. Christ even warned against those who seek signs and wonders and called them an evil and adulterous generation. ( Matthew 12:39-40) If Christ warns against these types of false things which are going to come upon the church, then why do so many millions seek the very thing that Christ decried? It is because there is no light in these people who must have sight for faith. You know the old saying, “Seeing is Believing,” and unfortunately that is what rules the Charismatic movement. The problem is, they believe in the miracles and the false preacher.

Then there is the other group which criticizes Christianity and that is the intellectual group. They claim that Christianity cannot possibly be true because God does not exist. Schools of philosophy have been formed from the time of the Ancient Greeks up till today who create systems of unbelief with their many words. Existentialism, Rationalism, Pragmatism, Empirical belief systems and on and on. (Charismania would fit well into the Empirical system.) The Apostle Paul faced the philosophers on Mars Hill. Today we call them “Think Tanks.” Many well-educated people find Christianity a very primitive religion and not worthy of consideration simply because they cannot explain God’s salvation plan. However, God does save intellects and then uses what they have learned to present the truths of Christianity to the other unbelieving intellects. Some will be the Elect and some will be hostile.

As we look at our two opening verses, we see that the message which we are to preach is “Christ crucified.” We are to speak the basic message of the cross as the basis of our verbal testimony and witness. Now there is nothing inherently wrong in discussing the cross of Christ in intellectual terms as long as those terms bring the person back to the cross. Christ did not chide Nicodemus for not understanding the basics of Christianity, instead He continued to speak with Him on his level. Eventually Nicodemus came into in the Kingdom. God does not condemn us for using the intellectual abilities He gave us. Humanistic Philosophy or Evolution is man’s intellect gone awry through sin. When a person becomes saved, they can reclaim the use of their mind to the Glory of God. The Christian has two basic functions in terms of witness: The first, is we are to present the truth of the Gospel; the second, is that we are to be an apologetic for the Gospel.

(Phil 1:17 KJV) But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

The word “defense” is “apologia” in the Greek and it is where we derive the word “apologetic” from which simply means we need to go beyond “turn or burn” as our defense of the Gospel and Christianity. We need to declare and defend the Gospel. The secret of being a good salesman is to thoroughly know the product you are selling and to be able to derail the arguments another company may make against your product to the client. If a product salesman can responsibly do this, how much more should we, who hold the eternal truths, be astute at declaring and defending the Gospel? The verse below says, “be ready always,” it doesn’t say, “if you feel like.” God is not glorified by the ignorance of His people.

(1 Pet 3:15 KJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  (5/23/03)