Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Are You Christ-Centered? (Sermon)

 Leonard V. Johnson  About

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GREETINGS EVERYONE! It's so wonderful to be here with you today! Welcome, our brethren and friends in Elkview, West Virginia; Buffalo, New York, Tuskegee, Alabama. And, over in Meuselwitz, Nuremberg, and Frankfurt, Germany - along with Brussels, Belgium, and Kostroma, of the Russian Federation! Welcome! I'm Leonard V. Johnson of the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries. It's a pleasure to be here with you today!

Now, we speak all the time - and in fact, in our latest Think About This... this was the crux of the subject. Are You Christ-Centered? Because, a great many who are in the splinter groups of the Church of God - meaning those who are splintered from the Worldwide Church of God - which is now in all in tense and purposes the Grace Communion International - now a mainstream so-called Christian church boasting 50,000 members in over 100 countries. They claim in their Statements of Belief that there is One God —Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This certainly means that they now believe in - well - certainly this world's most popular self-proclaimed doctrine, the Trinity. Today, I don't wish to speak of this false doctrine of the Trinity. If you have been listening to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries along with our affiliated churches for any length of time, you certainly know what we teach on this subject. We teach the living truth of God - from God's living truth, the Holy Bible.

But, anyhow, a great many of the splinter groups of the Church of God are continuing to be bound up - having a yoke around their neck, and continuing to worship God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in vain. In that Think About This... article, which we also have on our YouTube, UGETUBE (which, if you're unaware stands for Utah Gun Exchange) - we have this Think About This... article also on those channels. But, in that article, I asked the question -

Are you preparing to rule with Jesus Christ, or are you actually (even though you may not fully realize it) preparing to rule with Moses!? And, I used our beloved prophet and leader Moses simply as a metaphor for the three generations of the Armstrongs - which is currently going into the 4th generation. Now, Grace Communion completely went off the rail with God's living immutable Word, Truth, and even Plan for the redemption of all mankind - in which they now teach primarily mainstream Protestant beliefs. So, certainly, they are now teaching another false doctrine (and again one of the most popular among the Protestants), that after dying they fleet off to heaven. Even though our Lord Jesus Christ succinctly tells us in John 3:13 - No one has ascended to heaven, but He (our Lord Jesus Christ) who came from heaven. Now, of course, the Protestants defend their false teaching by stating, "It means that only Jesus, who came from heaven, has the authority to reveal the heavenly things." Of course, when one truly reads the context of the passage, their false reasoning falls flat! Our Lord Jesus Christ was explaining to a Pharisee (one who believed in fleeting off to heaven after death) the concept of being Born Again! And our Lord Jesus, just as plain as day told Nicodemus (as well as all of us brothers, sisters, and friends) 'NO ONE HAS ASCENDED TO HEAVEN EXCEPT HE (speaking of Himself) which came down from heaven.' Truly, I do not see where the confusion comes in - except maybe preconceived ideas that were taught from childbirth?

Now, I ask - Are you ashamed of Jesus Christ? Are you afraid to even mention His glorious and holy name? Most people who are religious are not. Yet, there are some religious leaders, who claim to be Christian, that when they get in front of their congregation - or even write up a RIGHT/WING political rant while standing on their soapbox - they will not speak His glorious name, nor will they write His glorious name. And the so-called leader that I'm thinking of - Question - does he not even mention our Lord Jesus Christ because he is trying to politically Proselytize anyone who will listen to his rantings? Either standing at a podium spouting off political right/wing rants, or sending these rants in a Weekly Update out to his followers? I once read one of these weekly political rants to my wife - and she commented that it appears to her that he is trying to politically reach a vast audience that is not necessarily religious.

However, you certainly could admit - and if you are in this religious organization, you should admit - that this leader of this religious organization is NOT Christ-centered! Are you!? Are you fully and completely focused and centered on JESUS CHRIST? Or are you more focused on the Old Covenant and on Judeo-Christian ideologies?

We have been told that we speak of Jesus Christ too much! I don’t know how that is possible – but we certainly are accused of it – by our detractors. And we speak of our Lord Jesus so much, that one of this world’s 21st century witnesses was thrown out of an Armstrong church! Now, I use that phraseology - Armstrong Church - because it certainly isn't our Lord Jesus Christ that is FRONT-AND-CENTER in those churches! It's Herbert W. Armstrong! And, in the Philadelphia Church of God, instead of our Lord Jesus Christ being front-and-center, they have a Herbert W. Armstrong wanna-be - Gerald Flurry! If you log onto their website - as big as can be - it's a picture of him that you see first and foremost! The same as it was with Worldwide - the whole church organization revolves around him!

Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us – ’ For WHOEVER is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes [with] the glory of His Father with the holy angels.’

Sadly, even TODAY, there are peoples in this world who spit, mock, and laugh at His most glorious name! I saw such a person on YouTube just days ago - a Sean Clark - a rather sad-looking man who looks like a follower of Satan the Devil. And I’m certain he would be proud of that statement. But, he is not the only one – there are literally millions upon millions that continually mock our Lord Jesus! In fact, our Lord Jesus asks -

“ … ‘ Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’

And, as I’ve spoken of before – it’s not just faith in the religion of Christianity, but it’s more akin to faith in a Creator! Faith in God! According to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of U.S. adults who believe in God has dropped to its lowest point since at least 1944. 17% of U.S. adults say they do not believe in God. That’s 45 MILLION U.S. Adults!

We just published an audio booklet entitled, "Does God Exist?" in the language of Spanish - for our Spanish-speaking brethren and friends around the world. You can find this audio article "Does God Exist?" on our Soundcloud channel. I'll be sure to leave a link below so that you can go and listen to this informative audio booklet today! In that audio booklet, we offer several proofs of why there is absolutely a CREATOR GOD - Creator of the entire universe and all things!

Now, why should a leader of any professing Christian organization squirm at the mention of our loving Creator, Elder Brother, and great High Priest!? Now, make no mistake about it ─ if you are expecting to be saved you had better begin acknowledging our Lord Jesus Christ and His New Covenant Promises IMMEDIATELY in your life! Because –

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ alone is the only ONE that can rescue you from the inevitable penalty of eternal death which every single one of us has incurred! He is our only hope of ETERNAL LIFE!

For if you think that our Lord Jesus Christ is a joke, and if you think that He did not die, and if you think He was not resurrected unto life – no Savior – then “…’ you will die in your sins.’” And, like our Lord Jesus tells all of us in the Book of Luke chapter 13 - let's turn there a moment -

Luke chapter 13 -

Beginning in verse 1.

Great confusion concerning the resurrection of the dead was occurring then in the Church at Corinth and is continuing to be taught by this world’s Mother Church and her daughter churches. I noticed that a great many continue to believe in and teach in THREE RESURRECTIONS! Now, in a recent sermon, I did mention that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff - meaning the religious teachings that are not part of salvation. Remember me saying that?

Well, the thing is - the resurrection of the dead is no small matter. It's important to properly understand! It is an elementary principle. An elementary teaching! Turn with me and notice the Book of Hebrews chapter 6, the apostle Paul was teaching and instructing the converted Hebrews of that day - and many of us, brethren and friends, need to continually be reminded of the elementary principles of Christ.

Beginning in verses 1 - 3.

Brethren, whether there are only two resurrections of the dead or three is a very big thing! You either believe God's living word on this subject - or you don't. And you continue to post and share false teachings on this most important elementary principle of Christ - the doctrine - our Lord Jesus Christ's doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Keep a marker here in Hebrews for a moment, but...

Notice the 1st epistle of Corinthians, 1st Corinthians chapter 15 -

Verses 12 - 15.

It's mighty important to properly understand, to proclaim, and to teach God's living truth concerning the elementary principles. Because, if one doesn't understand properly and rightly the elementary principles of Christ, how can one go on to perfection? Because the warning that our Lord God gives us - here by Their servant the apostle Paul, through and inspired by Their Spirit; God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ - notice verse 4, again of Hebrews chapter 6.

To fall away. Not just from the faith. But also from the elementary principles of Christ - as in the resurrection (or rather, the two resurrections) of the dead.

Turning to the 2nd chapter of the Book of Philippians we see the grandeur and awesomeness of our Creator, God, High Priest in the heavenly realms, and our Advocate and only Mediator

Philippians chapter 2 -

Verses 9 - 10.

ANYONE who DOES NOT acknowledge or speak our Lord Jesus Christ’s great and powerful name is not Christian at all!

The Apostle Paul was certainly the most Jesus Christ-centered of all the apostles. For he wrote – under the divine inspiration of God’s Spirit, notice chapter 1 of the Book of Philippians -

Verse 21.

He was 100% with our Lord Jesus Christ! There is nothing more important to preach than to “ … ‘seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His [our Lord Jesus Christ’s] righteousness, …’”

And, there is no other MORE IMPORTANT than our Lord Jesus Christ!

Turning to 1st Corinthians once again, this time chapter 2 -

Beginning in verse 1.

Our beloved Apostle Paul and the other apostles, and the early first-century true Christians were keenly aware and conscious of a living relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Notice 1st John chapter 3 -

Verse 24.

The very mind of our Lord Jesus takes up residence within a true Christian through His Spirit! The Apostle Paul speaks of this – “ … Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

We speak quite a bit about the concept of CHRIST IN YOU!

It actually comes from a phrase that we read about in Romans 8:10 when the Apostle Paul says, “But you are not in the flesh but IN THE SPIRIT, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if ANYONE does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [children] of God.”

And since JESUS CHRIST is the Spirit. AH! Did you catch that!? Since JESUS CHRIST is the Spirit. And since God the Father is the Spirit - and your body is the temple of the Spirit – which is Christ in you, we must be nourished daily by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! Christianity is a growth process. The begotten child of God MUST grow! And this growing process requires TIME!

We MUST overcome these three – Satan the Devil, this world, and our own SELVES!

Now, no human being is righteous in the sight of God of and by himself. It is the righteousness of our Lord Jesus that makes us clean in the sight of God.

Notice the Book of Romans chapter 3 -

Verse 10.

We are all sinners – without exception.

Verse 23.

Without proper repentance and the belief in the gospel, and if one never properly repents or believes or obeys the gospel message they are doomed to pay the ultimate penalty for sins, which is eternal death in the lake of fire.

But, the LORD God be praised from ages to ages, there has been provided – from the beginning – a Master Plan for the redemption of all mankind! Despite ourselves! Our Lord Jesus Christ says, ’ I am the Way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’

THROUGH our Lord Jesus anyone can be made righteous in the eyes of God the Father!

How are we saved by our Lord Jesus!?

We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

Staying here in the Book of Romans chapter 3 -

Notice verses 21 - 22.

Verses 24 - 26.

Turning to chapter 5 -

Beginning in verse 1.

Our Lord Jesus Christ – and Him alone – is our source of salvation. This is why He is called the ‘Captain of our salvation’

Anyone who would be saved MUST be willing to recognize, acknowledge, understand, and admit that JESUS of Nazareth is their “Lord” or “Master.”

There is no other way through which one may obtain mercy, justification, and ultimately eternal salvation.

The keeping of the Law – or the law of Moses – will save no one! What is also called Judeo-Christianity. The ways of the Old Covenant will save no one!

The Apostle Paul makes this abundantly clear. Notice verse 20 of Chapter 3. The Book of Romans.

The Law of God - which is not a part of the law of Moses - the Law of God (summed up with the Ten Commandments) merely points out what sin is. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” The Law of God simply convicts all of us of sin. We are condemned by the Law of God as SINNERS! Not one person – past, present, or future – has or ever will obey the Law of God perfectly – except our Lord Jesus Christ.

“For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”

So, keeping God’s Law cannot make one righteous. It cannot justify past sins. It cannot save us from the penalty of past sins.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ alone can do that!

Our whole future is entirely in the glorious hands of our Lord Jesus Christ –

Chapter 14 of the Book of Romans.

Verse 8.

Anyone who is not CHRIST-CENTERED is not a true Christian!

The Apostle Paul writes, again, 1st Corinthians chapter 1. This time reading from the New English Bible!

Beginning in verse 29.

Any righteousness that a true Christian may possess is not their own, but is of Christ Jesus!

It is our Lord Jesus who sets us apart (who sanctifies us), and purchases us from certain eternal death (who redeems us).

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

So, then, our Lord Jesus Christ – no man – is the Head of His Church which is the Body of Christ!

Turn and notice the Book of Colossians chapter 1 -

Verse 18.

Our Lord Jesus Christ leads His Church through His Spirit and the seven Spirits who are before His throne – THERE IS NO HUMAN MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN! “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

Our relationship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is through JESUS CHRIST! It is not “filtered” through any man. We are fully accountable to our ultimate Judge (Jesus Christ) for our actions and our sins in this physical life. He will judge “the secrets of men” on the last day. He tells us, brethren, and we see this in the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation chapter 3 -

Verse 11. He tells us.

Of course, our Lord Jesus has true servants, but there is no “Vicar of Christ.” Meaning, that no person is acting in the place of Jesus Christ.

A true Christian must internalize his belief and his faith in Jesus Christ.

God the Father first calls out a begotten child for the kingdom and brings him to true repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands – receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. And once begotten, the true Christian walks in “newness of life”

Then, a begotten child of God is “hidden with Christ in God.”

The begotten child of God believes explicitly in Jesus Christ to save him. He knows and believes that is only by faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood that he can be justified in the eyes of God for sins. The begotten child of God looks to no other for eternal salvation.

Hebrews, chapter 7 -

Verse 25. Again, The begotten child of God looks to no other for eternal salvation.

The begotten child knows that “ … having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

And, the begotten child of God knows that “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [children] of God.”

The shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ “cleanses us from all sin.”

We are reconciled to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

And brethren, we certainly look forward to receiving the glorious promise of eternal life and immortality upon the first resurrection.

Again, I thank you for listening today, and I ask for your prayers on behalf of a great servant of our LORD God - Mr. Richard Ames. He began experiencing serious health issues toward the end of Unleavened Bread. Brother Ames turned 88 this month, and it is evident that he is in an end-of-life condition. Please remember his wife and his family in your prayers. They will certainly need the LORD God's strength and comfort in this time of loss.

So, until next time, this is Leonard Johnson for the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries. God Bless, and God Speed!

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