— 7 —
The most important doctrine or teaching of the church is none other than "Jesus Christ." So many churches, in the worthy exploration of scripture sometimes begin to place their primary emphasis upon other things, or various aspects of scripture or doctrine. Obviously, every church should teach and proclaim the "whole counsel" and the broad scope of God's Word — but as it relates to Jesus. You see, Jesus is the focal point of all doctrinal teaching. He is the intersection at which all teachings converge. When anything else begins to take center-stage — that is, when anything other than Jesus Christ, such as traditions, doctrines, or interpretations become the primary focus — problems and even deception can enter in.
We are reminded of the Pharisees who held such high
regard for the scriptures. They equated their intellectual knowledge of
scripture as the basis for spirituality and eternal life. However, Jesus
explained to them that the scriptures, themselves, were not the "end," but a
"means" to bring them to the true objective which is Himself — Jesus Christ!
He said to them, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have
eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39).
We live in an hour in which people frequently claim
revelations of so-called deeper truths, which have sometimes served as a
diversion away from the basic character and practical life application of
Jesus Christ. Some claim that they now have so much "deep spiritual
understanding," that they really cannot relate to those who are "less
spiritual" or inferior. This is ridiculous. Such persons may not realize
that although Jesus was our highest example of spirituality, yet he was so
humble, so down-to-earth and simple he could relate simple practical truths
Any intricate, exotic teaching, regardless of how
Biblical or spiritually deep it may seem to be, unless it lifts up Jesus
Christ, together with His character or the practical truths and principles
He taught, is probably irrelevant to you as a Christian. It may even lead
you astray into an attitude of intellectual arrogance, false spiritual
superiority, or heresy. Always remember that the doctrine of Jesus Christ is
Christ-centered, simple and practical. Paul warned believers from being
confused by complicated teachings which would lead away from the simplicity
of Jesus. "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his
craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in
Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3).
Although Paul was an intellectual giant, trained as a
Pharisee at the feet of the great Jewish scholar, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), he
limited his preaching to one basic thing: "For I determined not to know
anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). It
is Jesus that has all the answers to life's problems. It is Jesus that
changes men's lives, if we will but proclaim Him and present Jesus to the
world. "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to
Myself" (John 12:32).
In particular, the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and is the great cornerstone of the entire Christian faith. The Apostle Paul said that without the resurrection, the whole concept of Christianity would be invalidated. "And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain" (1 Cor. 15:14)