Many products today are geared toward the “extreme” generation. It carries a particular approach to life, but, in religion, we don’t necessarily want to be extremists. This lesson will focus on three points on which the Bible seems to expect us to be extremists on despite the atmosphere of the religious world.
Three Extreme Areas
The Identity of Christ. We want to water down Christ’s identity today. Perhaps He was a good man or a well-received prophet. However, Jesus did not leave room to doubt who He claimed He was. Therefore, we are forced to either take His claims and demands at face value, or we must reject them completely. There is no middle ground.
- Luke 4:17-21. Jesus is teaching in His home town here, and Jesus makes a bold statement regarding His identity based on a passage from Isaiah. Many doubted this, and some were even reproachful. He was driven out of town, some wanting to stone Him for apparent blasphemy – He claimed to be the Messiah.
- John 8:58. Jesus describes Himself as “I AM.” This parallel between Himself and the God of Moses would not have been lost on His audience.
- John 6:35; John 10:11; John 10:30; John 11:21; John 14:6; Matthew 19:16-22 “I and the Father are one.” He also claims that none can know the Father but through Him. He demands self sacrifice, denying self for Jesus’ sake.
- Matthew 16:24-25. Taking up one’s cross is a death sentence. Jesus demands that people must be willing to put their own lives behind them if they are to follow Him. These demands are not those of a “good man” or a “good prophet.”
What We Accept from the Bible. How seriously do we take this book we claim to adhere to? Some will say only select phrases are inspired. Others will only accept what is agreeable. However, as we explore God’s word, there is no room to alter or omit the words contained in it.
- II John 9. John says that neglecting the teachings of these words removes one from God. There is no picking and choosing. You either have the word and God, or you don’t and are separated from God.
- John 12:48-49. It is written that these words will judge humanity one day. There is no indication that we will be judged by only what we want to be judged by.
- Acts 2:4/John 14:26; II Timothy 3:16. What the apostles taught is not merely what they thought. The Spirit of God is responsible for what we have, and if it is God’s, we have no room to question it.
- Galatians 1:6-12. Again, Paul points out that he has taught only what came from God, and he instructs us to reject anything that contradicts or demeans the message he delivered. If we can’t accept what Paul has said here, we should reject the entire product.
Our Christian Life. We don’t want to be perceived as a “radical” or as a “zealot.” There is no such thing, though, as a part-time Christian. like the name we are given at birth, being a Christian is a part of my identity no matter where I am or when it is. This life is all or nothing.
- Matthew 12:30. Jesus says you are either for Him or against Him. This is a comprehensive statement. if we are not working for Christ entirely, we are automatically working against Him. This attitude does not allow straddling the fence.
- Matthew 6:24. We cannot recognize both God and self as masters. When I am serving self, I am serving Satan and rejecting God.
- Matthew 19:22. The rich young ruler went away sad because he was more interested in serving himself that he was in sacrificing for the sake of God.
- Acts 5:1-11. Ananias and Sapphira were not wrong in keeping back part of their money. Where they went wrong was in their hearts. They were “playing church.” They were going through the motions, but they were skewing it to serve their own purposes, and God struck them dead as a result. We cannot “play church” in our lives.
In an attempt to avoid labels or seem unusual to others around us, we sometimes fall short of being the Christian we should be. There is no room in God’s word for compromise, and the result should be is that our faith and our life should be uncompromisingly in line with the will of our Father.
lesson by Tim Smelser