Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 25, 1964
NUMBER 8, PAGE 2,12-13a

Taking Issue With Jesus

Jack L Holt

"Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them and so passed by" (John 8:59). In the immediate context we see one of the many examples of the Jews taking issue with Jesus. Time and again they ridiculed His claims, opposed His teaching and gradually came to hate Him because He set forth the truth. When we behold the treatment our Lord received at the hands of men during His life on earth, and when we consider the manner in which His teaching was despised we severely criticize such actions. When we reflect upon the unbelief of the people in His day, we ask: "Why did the people not believe Him?" Why take issue with the Son of God?

Yet when we consider the conditions today we see that they are precisely the same. There are multitudes today who take issue with Jesus. Many there are who reject His teachings and gradually come to hate Him because He is the truth. This attitude is the reason why we have so much unbelief, division and confusion in the religious world. In this article we will notice some specific ways in which men take issue with our Lord.

Claims All Authority

Men take issue with the claim of Jesus to all authority. After His resurrection from the dead, which clearly proved His claims to be the Son of God, Jesus said: "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18). Hence, Jesus claims all authority in religion for Himself. This claim is valid by virtue of the fact that He is "King of kings," and "is now at the right hand of God exalted" (Acts 2:32-33).

Yet, in spite of this clear and valid claim of Jesus, men take issue with His claim. Men contend that they have a right to legislate in religion. As a result the world has been flooded with the creeds and precepts of men, which are supposed to guide men in religious matters. But regardless of the efforts of men to set aside the authority of Jesus, He still has all of it and to Him all men must come and before Him every knee must bow and every tongue confess. To reject the authority of Jesus and to take issue with His teaching is fraught with serious consequences. Peter said. "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:22-23).

We must hear Jesus or be destroyed. The extent that we are to hear Him is very clearly set forth: "him shall ye hear in ALL things." Christ speaks in His word and when we hear His word we hear Him. When we reject His word we reject Him. This leads us to a consideration of the next point.

His Word Is Final

Christ has revealed His word in the New Testament. His will for man is found therein. This testament is complete and is sealed with His blood. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). In 2 Pet. 1:3, we read, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." The word of Christ is therefore, a perfect and a complete guide. Everything that we need to know, to be or to do is set forth in the word of God. It perfectly instructs us. It alone is the true standard of what is right or wrong in religious matters. When we differ with the word of God, it is not that the word of God becomes wrong — those who differ with the Bible are wrong! We may have the praise of men and differ with the word of God but when we reject the word of the Lord and refuse to believe it as God has revealed it we do not have God with us. This is set forth very clearly in 2 John 9: "Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ he hath both the Father and the Son." Thus to have God with us in any religious act we must have the authority of God with us in the act.

But in spite of the plain teaching in the Word of God, men still take issue with the word. The Bible declares: "Woe unto him that striveth with his maker" (Isa. 45:9). The Bible completely furnishes, and guides, yet men in the face of such will pray for a direct revelation. Or, they will reject the word of God, the "lamp to our feet and a light to our path," and seek for some "inner light," of truth. Or, again some will exalt what they feel above what the Bible reveals. When you read to some what the Bible plainly says, they answer, "I know the Bible says that, but I feel..." Thus they set their feelings above Him who has all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16). No matter how a man may feel about it, unless he believes and obeys what Jesus said he does not believe nor accept the truth. Men may say that they do not think baptism is necessary to salvation, but it is not a question of men's feelings or thinking. The question is simply, What did the Lord say? But men take issue with Jesus. They say in effect, "I know that the Lord said 'he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,' but I really do not think it is necessary." Hence, what men think is in such cases regarded as more important than what the Lord said. And yet some say men will not argue or take issue with the Lord today!

He Reveals His Church

In His word our Lord reveals His church. He sets forth its importance and its mission. But men are not satisfied with the church as the Lord gave it. They take issue with the teaching of the Lord concerning the church. It seems that some men think they know more about the church, and what its mission is and should be, than the Lord Himself. Men say that the church has nothing to do with salvation. The Lord teaches that salvation is in His church. "For he is our peace who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make of himself of twain one new man so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (Eph. 2:14-16). Thus it is very clearly set forth that reconciliation to God takes place in the body. But what is this body? In Eph. 1:22, the question is answered: "And hath put all things under his feet and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all." We see then that reconciliation to God takes place in the body and that the body is the church. Hence, men are reconciled to God in the church. In view of this why do men say that the church has nothing to do with salvation? Is such not pure unbelief?

The Bible further teaches that Jesus purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Hence, the blood of Christ cleanses those who are in the church. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the "Savior of tha body," but as we have seen the body is the church, Hence Jesus is the savior of the church. (See Eph. 5:23). But often when men hear these plain passages of Scripture they become angry, they take issue with Jesus. In effect they tell the Lord that He is narrow minded and bigoted. In effect men say to the Lord that they do not see it that way, and their views are as good as His! The only way to believe the truth about the church is to believe Him who is the truth when He reveals the truth about the church.

His Plan To Save

While all who believe in Christ at all admit that Jesus is man's savior, many refuse to submit to His plan to save all men. They take issue with the Lord's plan of salvation. Jesus has plainly revealed what we must do to be saved. He said: "If ye believe not that I am he ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). Men must repent. "The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). Men must be baptized. "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." (Acts 10:48).

In the book of Acts He has given us examples to follow. In these examples of salvation he teaches us what to do to be saved. On the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2) Peter preached the Gospel of the risen Christ. He set forth the fact that He was crucified, buried and then raised from the dead. He revealed that God had made the same Jesus whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ. The inspired account then tells us that "when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts and cried out saying, Men and brethren what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (vs. 36-38). Thus these men were commanded to "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins." This is what they had to do to be saved.

Yet, in spite of this plain teaching, men say, "Well, that may be what is said there, but really salvation is by faith only and if you believe only that is enough." Hence, they take issue with the Lord. The Lord said repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, men say: "believe only for remission of sins." Friends, which is the truth? Which do we believe? In addition there are some who may say, "Well I know many preachers who say that baptism is not essential." Yes, this may be true, but no inspired preacher ever taught such. And no preacher can preach the word of God and not preach the essentiality of baptism.

In reality it matters not what some preachers may say nor how many or learned they may be that say baptism is not essential. Here is what God's Son said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). In I Peter 3:21, we read, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us...." This passage clearly teaches that baptism saves. These passages set forth the word of the Lord. Do we believe the Lord or do we take issue with Him? If every preacher in the world denies what these passages say, it does not mean that they are not so. The truth is still the truth. While the earth remains the "book" will declare these truths, and when we come to the judgment seat of Christ we will be judged by these truths. "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my word hath one that judgeth him, the word that I have spoken the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). These verses either tell the truth or they do not, and we either believe them or we do not.

Of course instead of taking issue with Jesus over the teaching of His Word, there is another course to follow. We could say: "Lord you said to 'repent and be baptized....for the remission of sins.' I am going to believe you and obey your word." On the day of Pentecost the Bible teaches, "then they that gladly received his word were baptized and there were added unto them that day about three thousands souls" (verse 41). Will we also gladly receive the word and be baptized? Or shall we "strive with our maker"?

There Is No "Second Chance"

The Lord teaches very clearly that there is no other time to be saved except NOW. "Today is the day of salvation." When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ we shall give an account for the "deeds done while in the body" (2 Cor. 5:10).

— Garland, Texas