Loving Jesus Isn’t Enough – Why Sound Theology Matters

By M. Ashley Evans

 “If we don’t know the bible, if we don’t know doctrine, if we don’t know theology – it is virtually impossible for us to identify false prophets” is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite pastors, Voddie Baucham. It, in a nutshell, summarizes why theology and doctrine are so important.

While witnessing to others, I have had several people tell me that they are pagans and they quickly tell me that they love Jesus too, as if that statement alone will guarantee them eternity in heaven. Some professing Christians have said that they just believe that we have to love Jesus and love others – they don’t believe in going to a church that teaches doctrine, because doctrine divides. Some professing Christians have said that they love Jesus – all of that theology stuff just doesn’t matter in the end.

Frankly, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Having sound theology matters – everyone has a theological view.

Having sound doctrine matters – and it is good that doctrine divides.

If you think that Jesus just wants you to love him and NOT repent of your sins, grow in maturity, and warn others of God’s wrath…. You very well may love that Jesus, but that isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. In fact, it is simply an idol that you have created.

We cannot give people an “answer for the hope that lies within you” (1 Pet 3:15) if we do not know the answers ourselves. We have to have sound theology and doctrine

Theology Matters: Everyone’s a Theologian

Far too many people view theology as an intellectual hobby or an abstract concept with no daily applications. The very word Theology means a Word (logos) about God (Theos). Everyone is a theologian because everyone has their own belief about God and about what happens after death. What we do and how we behave flows out of what we believe in our hearts. Theology is what enables God’s people to think and live rightly. It is because of our (Bible-based) beliefs about God that we try to live according to His standards.

Even inaccurate beliefs about God essentially make that person a theologian – just a bad one. Some theologians believe that which is contradictory to what God says about Himself in the Bible. If everyone is a theologian, then obviously some of those beliefs are right and some are wrong.

That is why we cannot look to our own selves to understand God. There has to be an authority outside of ourselves in which to turn. Thankfully, God has given us His Word so that we can know Him. Jesus said that the scriptures were written about Him.

(John 5:39) “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.”

The implications of our theology (whether good theology or bad) will affect every facet of our lives. All of life – the daily minutiae, toiling at work, various emotional ups and downs, to the serious issues of death, job loss, tragedy – all of this requires a sound theological foundation in order to perceive them from a biblical worldview.

Doctrine Matters: Because Doctrine Divides

“No doctrine but Jesus “and “no creed but Christ” is a common mantra plaguing many churches in modern Christianity. And frankly, it is self-contradictory. Both of those statements are doctrines and creeds in and of themselves – the thing is, they are shallow. They either leave one ill-equipped or wanting for more, perhaps sometimes both.

The word Didachē is the Greek word commonly translated as doctrine. It comes from the verb Didaskō, “to teach.” One helpful definition of doctrine that I read in Tabletalk magazine said: “Doctrine is teaching from God about God that directs us to the glory of God.” Doctrine simply means “a teaching,” so if a church is teaching that they have no teachings…. it is just ridiculous. Further, to reject the concept and study of doctrine is dangerous. To do so is to reject Jesus’ teaching, and to reject Jesus’ teaching is to reject Him. (Luke 9:26) Jesus says “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the father and of the Holy angels.”

Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy that sound doctrine is one of the most important things for the spiritual health of the Christian and therefore of the church. Sound doctrine is like a precious treasure that we pass down from one generation to the next. (2 Tim 1:13-14) “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”

Just because all doctrine is not the Gospel doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Some doctrine may very well be “non-essential” for salvation and yet it is still important because it is God-breathed Scripture. Some doctrine, though it may not be the Gospel, is a picture of the Gospel, or a natural outflow of the Gospel. Almost all doctrine is somehow connected to the Gospel. Are there different types of importance? Yes, but the categories can be completely arbitrary. You can categorize them in as few as 4 types of importance – or 10. The most concise way is Primary (Gospel), Secondary, Tertiary, and Adiaphora (unclear, up to the individuals’ conscience).

It’s a great thing that “doctrine divides.” It divides the wheat from the chaff: children of God from false converts who need to hear the Gospel. The doctrines of God tell us how to come to know Him whereas the false doctrines of man lead people astray at the risk of their very souls, for example, false gospels. Scripture warns us that we should be “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15) so that we can “present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed”.

In Paul’s letters to Timothy he urged Timothy and the others to teach “no other doctrine” (1 Tim 1:3) than what Paul taught since solid biblical doctrine (divisional contrast to false doctrine) would save all who heard it from spiritual error “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Tim 4:16)

Division isn’t always bad since Jesus said that his doctrine would divide even family members. (Matt 10:34-37) “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Division in inevitable for the followers of Jesus. We live in a world marred by sin and full of peoples whose “father is the devil” (John 8:44). We are called to be set apart and holy. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Teaching doctrine is one of the functions of the church. Those who demand a “doctrine-less Christianity” don’t understand neither doctrine or Christianity or are purposefully misrepresenting it.

Love Matters: But What is Love?

Many people who attempt to erase theology and doctrine from Christianity claim to do so out of love for others. But in the end, it’s just love of self and hatred of others.

It is out of love for God that we pour over His Word (His theology and doctrine), carefully so that we may know Him as He has revealed Himself to be.

It is out of love for Christ that we study the Word and its doctrines so that we can become more like Him in our journey of progressive sanctification.

It is out of love for others that we divide the Word rightly and help others to do so too. The Word was given to us so that we could teach others rightly, even correcting others when needed “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim 3:16)

If we refuse to teach these things rightly – we do not love our neighbor, we hate him. If we refuse to correct our brother who teaches these things incorrectly, we are not loving him but hating him.

Love is this: Human beings are the crown of God’s creation, created in His image- Imago Dei. But we have completely rebelled against Him. We committed treason against God. We were born completely and utterly depraved in our sin. There was nothing good in us- nothing. Our sin separated us from the Holy God who created us. We could never be good enough to earn our way to heaven. Our very sin caused us to deserve an eternity in Hell. Yet God granted us grace and mercy. Christ, the Son of God (there is only ONE God, and He exists in three Persons of One substance) wrapped Himself in flesh; he forsook His throne and glory and came to Earth as a man. This God-man lived the perfect life and fulfilled His law to utter perfection. In His perfect fulfillment of the law He was hated by man, so much so that He was tried, crucified and buried. On the cross, He bore the full wrath of God for the sins of those that would believe in Him. On the third day, He rose again in accordance with the scriptures and He ascended into Heaven. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. He offers mercy to those who would believe in Him and repent of their sins. Our love for Him overflows in how we love others. We love others so that we yearn for them to know Him rightly.


Lifeway Research did a study in 2014 on the theological knowledge of 3,000 American adults. These statistics are from Facts and Trends Magazine. The study was to show the differences between Americans and historic Christianity. These statistics are startling.
• 55% believe that there are many ways to get to heaven.
• 55% believe that the Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses.
• 59% of evangelicals believe the Holy Spirit is a force, not a person.
• 33% of evangelicals believe that God the Father is more divine than Jesus.
• 44% of mainline Protestants don’t see sex outside of marriage as sinful.
• 39% of Americans did not believe in the Trinity.
• 43% say the Bible is helpful but not literally true.
• 56% believe that their pastors’ sermons have no authority in their life.
• 67% say that most people are basically ‘good’, even though everyone sins a little bit.

Each one of these is completely contrary to what the Bible teaches. It is imperative that we teach sound theology and doctrine. “Loving Jesus” simply is not good enough if they love a “Jesus” who isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. “Loving Jesus” simply is not good enough if they don’t understand the doctrine of Salvation.

Boldly proclaim the truth of God, out of love for Him and for others.

How to Stay Right with God

My Notes from Revival – 4/21/13 – Don Graham

Ephesians 3:14-21 =  “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

  • “That you may be filled with all the fullness of God” – special emphasis
  • Where there is no Brokenness there is no Blessedness
  • Tuesday night message (authors note: I wasn’t able to attend!) was about the Lordship of Jesus. We are to crown Him Lord. No refusal, no retreat – just accepting the Lordship of Christ
  • Tonight is about how to STAY all together right with God
  • This has nothing to do with SIN-LESS-NESS
  • We are NOT perfect!
  • It is the FULLNESS of Christ
  • He has done this so that we can SERVE
  • Ephesians 1:12-14 “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”
  • Note the presence of the Spirit in the life of the believer
  • Romans 10:16 “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

1)    You hear the Word

2)    You trust in Christ

3)    Repenting, Praying to accept Him

4)    Making Him Lord, asking Him in

5)    He comes in, through the Holy Spirit

6)    At that moment you receive all of God that there is to receive

  • John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
    • FULL of grace and truth
    • John 1:16 “For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
      • FULLNESS we have ALL received!
      • Grace for Grace / Grace upon Grace
      • The invasion of the Spirit of God in all His fullness
      • INDWELT by God
      • Temple of the Holy Spirit
      • Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
        • Not my own life
        • My life is now to be lived for Christ, who lives in me
        • Colossians 1:15-16 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.”
          • The one by whom spoke the world into existence
          • God don’t make no junk! He said “it is good”
          • God don’t INDWELL junk
          • That makes you somebody to be contended with
          • You can never have a pity party when you grasp that GOD is inside you
          • You have available to you the dynamic power of God who created the universe
          • Realize this will cause you to be braver for God than you have ever imagined possible
          • When you go you go inhabited by God
          • The presence of the Spirit of God in your life – this is the key to living a life ever right with God
          • Ephesians 3:17 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”
            • The preeminence of Christ
            • At this point in the letter to the Ephesians, Paul had already established that Christ was in your heart – why would he say it again?
              • In Greek, the word used implies that He would firmly and permanently settle down and BE AT HOME in your heart.
              • Taking Jesus on a tour of your home: You know Him everywhere except ONE room, and you try to rush past that door. That would be not letting Jesus feel at home
              • That would be an area of your heart that you have not fully given over to the Lord
              • Jesus is a courteous guest, and he will not invade! You have to give Him every room
  • How do we make Jesus feel at home?
    • Warmly and sincerely welcome Him in
      • Get saved!
  • Give Him the run of the whole house
    • All of my life, every aspect of it
  • Offer the best of all I have
    • Not hand-me-downs or leftovers
  • Made to feel loved and welcome
    • Don’t make Jesus feel uncomfortable
  • Make Him feel like a member of the family
    • You speak to family
  • Made to feel like everyone like him and takes his advice
    • Every conversation and decision should involve Him
  • Respected as the Divine Host
    • Jesus will host at the wedding feast in heaven
    • We need to let Him be in charge of every aspect of life
  • This has to be done moment by moment – day by day
  • This is a process – not perfected overnight
  • This is an Act followed by an Attitude
  • Pray “Lord fill me with your Spirit”
  • Paul wrote 13 books, only in one of which did he address speaking in tongues (letter to the Corinthians) The church of Corinth is the weakest and most corrupt church. If it was more important to base your faith on “feelings” or in having “an experience” wouldn’t Paul have spent more time on the subject?!
  • Be filled with the Fullness of God! That isn’t a FEELING. It is an ACTION followed by an ATTITUDE! It is a WAY of living!
  • Ephesians 5:18 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” The Holy Spirit is a PERSON he is not a liquid that can rouse up feelings
    • You need to bring your life under the control of the Holy Spirit
    • That will only happen when we live in the fullness of Christ
    • Be filled with the Spirit – that is a COMMAND in the Imperative mode. It is NOT a suggestion!!!
    • The subject is in the plural – it basically says: “All ya’ll be filled with the spirit” it is for EVERYONE
    • The verb tense – is in the present tense. Continuous action. So it really says something like “All ya’ll go on a-being filled with the Spirit”
    • Don’t be afraid to talk about it or you will NEVER get it
    • It don’t matter how high you jump when you get filled with the Holy Spirit, it matters how straight you walk on the way down
    • Being filled with the Spirit may lead to Crisis because we are in the flesh – but Crisis must follow with a process
    • Don’t be seeking an experience!! He is the small still voice!!
    • Luke 11:9 “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” How much more will He fill you with the Holy Spirit if you ask Him!
    • You have to ASK

Fellowship with Jesus

My notes from Revival Night #2 – 04/19/12 – Don Graham

Luke 22:31-34 =  “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,[d] that he might sift you like wheat,32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesussaid, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Luke 22: 54-62 – “Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance.55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”62 And he went out and wept bitterly.”

  • Step 1:
    • Come frankly to admit / see our own sin
    • Sin must be exposed
  • Step 2:
    • Peter ‘had’ Hoof & Mouth Disease = he was always putting his foot in his mouth
    • We can identify with Peter!!
    • We make shortcuts:
      • We make little of penance, repentance, etc
      • Quick to find a way to kill the pain of guilt
      • Story: “Oh God is there any mercy for a sinner like me?” cried out a man one time in his kitchen just after revival. He was a cruel husband. The wife called the preacher to come over. The Revivalist came in the room. The wife of the man said “let him be a while preacher, let the sinner stew.” This was the beginning of a historical revival.

1)   The cock crowing the third time:

  1. IMMEDIATELY after his 3rd denial it crowed
  2. Peter looked into the eyes of Jesus
  3. Jesus TURNED and looked at him, in the eye. Peter was in the shadows lurking.
  4. These led to the Sanctification of Peter

2)   The LOOK of Jesus had 4 Attributes:

  1. a.     The Look of Penetration

i.      He knows you SO WELL – as if someone who you are SO close with can read your thoughts and look straight through you

  1. b.     With Stunning Force

i.      Jesus knew!

ii.      Peter was so stunned with the reality that Jesus knew

iii.      His look was as if He was saying “You don’t know me?! Look in my eyes

and tell me you don’t know me?!”

iv.      In Revelation the message to the 7 churches (Revelation Chapter 2 & 3) “I

know your works”

v.      The Lord knows our works – all that there is of us

  1. c.     Call to Repentance

i.      Jesus says to all of us “I know your works”

ii.      NO matter how secretive, Jesus knows

iii.      His penetrative, searching eyes, looking into our heart

  1. d.    Look of Reproach

i.      The silence of Jesus. He never said a word to Peter.

ii.      Jesus was kind. So kind that He didn’t want to single Peter out. Jesus was

letting God work in Peter’s heart

iii.      Jesus didn’t want to bring further shame

iv.      In the silence, we see the anguish of both Peter and Jesus

v.      We all hurt and have been hurt. We hurt those we love most. We can remember their face when they feel the hurt. So magnificent would be the face of Jesus towards us.






  1. You grieve someone you LOVE, you don’t grieve  when an enemy betrays/hurts you
  2. How many times have you fallen short? How many times have you made empty promises to others or to Him? How many times have you flippantly referred to God? How many times have you referred to God with irreverence? How many times have you referred to God with a lack of loyalty?
  3. You HURT the Lord with sin and irreverence
  4. You GRIEVE the Lord – cause Him pain
  5. Not being obedient, unfeeling – turning off, refusing to give money/time/etc, by refusing to serve, by refusing to forgive = all are ways of grieving God
  6. A Look of Tender Compassion

i.      Jesus could have spoken words and cast Peter off into Hell

ii.      Jesus had no intention of casting him off.

iii.      He wasn’t angry with Peter

iv.      The same love Peter ever saw in His eyes was still there

v.      Jesus had NO INTENTION of casting off Peter when he denied Him

vi.      It was a look of tender pity and restoring love

vii.      It was a look of compassion


ix.      Mercy holds our Hope

x.      Peter became someone God could use, once he entered the midnight

of his soul and went through the journey of penance

xi.      Jesus’ eyes still hold the look of tender forgiving mercy to us



  1. A Look that Brought Repentance

i.      The typical pulpit never mentions the word “repentance”

ii.      The average Baptist when telling someone about how to come to Jesus

says “Just repeat this Sinner’s Prayer” – BUT YOU CAN’T GET SAVED


iii.      Peter ran out, fell and wept bitterly

iv.      If the average Baptist preacher saw Peter he would say “Oh don’t worry,

here say this prayer, no reason to be so upset, it is all ok now!”

v.      Lack of repentance is why we have churches so full of unconverted


vi.      Peter was a big ol’ grisly man – he was large, boisterous, Type A, not



vii.      The forgiveness of Christ was IMMEDIATE

  • Peter had a broken heart because he knew that he had hurt God, so he was sorrowful over SIN
  • Peter did not get depressed or feel sorry for himself or feel hopeless
  • God deals with each man ALONE
  • We all will stand ALONE at the Judgment Seat of Christ
  • Repentance is a lonely thing
  • You have HURT God PERSONALLY, thus your repentance needs to be personal
  • Don’t short change / short cut the process of repentance
  • Once you have repented, we don’t rush into the limelight telling others about all the bad things we have done, or the dark places we have been
  • We have to learn that it is a very PERSONAL thing
  • We like to see response – we like Immediate reactions – we are too much in a hurry
  • Repentance is a sensitive thing
  • We are never more alive/sensitive as when we are repenative
  • God seems to remind us of forgotten sins when we are repenting – when we are broken
  • We first repent over an issue, then God reminds you. Then He is loving and doesn’t overload us, but once we can bear it He gives us a little more to our memory. Things we didn’t previously regard as sin. He does this so we can be set free from the bondage of our sin. He wants to give us abundant life – it can’t be abundant if we are bound in slavery to sin!
  • And Peter remembered – he remembered all that he told Jesus “I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death” Jesus then told him “I tell you , Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
  • Peter remembered
  • Repentance is very intense
  • Sometimes you have to just stand there quietly when someone near you is repenative
  • If you haven’t cried over sin, maybe you don’t know how much you have hurt Jesus.
  • Peter NEVER again denied the Lord – that is because repentance is LASTING
  • We should SHUN any shallow profession of Jesus
  • Repentance is – you will NEVER be the same
  • 1 Peter 2:23-25 “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins on His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls”
  • 1 Peter 4:14 “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
  • One look – and he never denied Him again
  • One look and he was REDEEMED AND JUSTIFIED

Spiritual Restoration

Sunday Morning: Revival Message; Don Graham 4-18-12

Easter Sunday

  • It is important to keep in mind the Cross – Salvation – Redemption – as the central focus of our life. Our entire being needs to be geared towards living the Truth of His Agape Love. Chaos will ensue to attempt to divert our eyes away from Jesus. Easter reminds us to stay centrally focused on the Lamb of God, whose blood was shed for our sins in order to JUSTIFY & REDEEM us.
  • Luke 24:15 “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.”
    • He was known to them in the breaking of bread – some translations say it this way
    • This is the moment when they finally recognized that they were looking at the Resurrected Jesus
    • This passage in Luke 24 is then followed by verses of BEING BROKEN
      • Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to those who are broken”
      • James 4:1-12 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.[d] The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

1)   Admit your Spiritual Alienation:

  • ANY and ALL sin alienates us from God. It breaks our fellowship with God
  • We have to confess “I am altogether not right with God”
  • Any kind of quarrel comes because we do not have our lusts, our deepest desires under control due to our self seeking ways

2)   Uncontrolled Desires:

  • We are to set aside our deepest desires and submit to God
    • To let Him show us His desire for us, and go after it over our own personal desires. We have to let our hearts seek only after what God wants more than what WE want.
    • Our deepest desires can be idols
      • If I have to be without this desire of mine (be it person, item, goal etc) will I feel like life is not worth it anymore? If the answer is yes, then the desire IS an idol!
      • As we become more like Jesus, our desires CHANGE – they becomes the same things that Jesus wants

3)   Uncontrolled Passions:

  • Friends with the world are enemies with God. God wins – ALWAYS. All it takes to be an enemy of God is to be a friend of the world
    • In the way you think, act, talk, etc
    • If you are like the world and go to church on Sundays, then “you are an adulterer”
    • You are nothing more than a whore if you are a friend of the world is more close to the imagery in the original Greek
      • The word adulteress used to be shocking to be heard from the pulpit, now it is laughed at. Oh see how far we have fallen to look like the world!

4)    Unbroken Pride:

  • Vs 6 “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
  • This will alienate our fellowship with God.
  • “A proud look” is the #1 of the deadly sins. It is what caused man to fall in the Garden of Eden
  • God HATES pride
  • It is what caused Satan to fall from heaven
  • God RESISTS the proud and gives strength to the humble – say other translations
    • Resists literally means that God sits Himself up in full battle array against the proud.  GOD GOES TO WAR AGAINST THE PROUD!
    • Nebuchadnezzar was so proud and he set himself up to be a god and then in an instant God cursed him to walk on the ground like an animal
    • Herrod in the book of Acts was proud. As soon as he set himself up like a god and in an instant he fell dead and the worms ate his flesh
    • God sets Himself up against you if you are proud!
    • Everyone suffers from pride in some form

5)   Breaking the Bread:

  • This is what was going on when they realized it was Jesus with them
  • It was so to tell us that we have to allow our pride to be BROKEN
    • A) Admit you have a need
    • B) Accept your spiritual obligation
    • Vs 9 “Come to God in utter brokenness”
    • It is not time to laugh, to act like it is all ok – this is the time where we mourn and weep and wail. We are NOT ok. God has set Himself up AGAINST US because of our Pride!
    • TO BREAK – literally to crush, to grind. Imagine corn in a grindstone.
    • In Mark 4 the paralytic was lowered onto the floor to see Jesus
      • They broke up the roof to lower him in
      • It would have been a GREAT honor for the home owner to host this meeting. Jesus Himself was going to be there to speak. Everyone in the countryside has heard about Jesus. The owner would have been excited. It would have made him a big somebody! His home would have been the very center of the activity. Jesus was there and ALL the neighborhood was gathered together.
      • When the entire roof was “broken up” the man was lowered and healed
      • Your life has to be broken up before you are healed!!
      • You have to be broken sufficiently enough for you to be healed!
      • It means – EVERYTHING. You must be willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING
      • Your healing is worth MORE than what you will be giving up!
      • Vs 8 “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

6)    Come with Utter Forgiveness:

  • Vs 11-12 “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
  • If you don’t forgive you are judging others
  • Humble yourself and seek to be reconciled! It is not always possible to reconcile – but make sure your heart is willing to seek reconciliation, and make every possible attempt to reconcile if it is physically possible

7)   Accept Your Spiritual Restoration:

  • Draw near to God AND HE WILL DRAW NEAR TO YOU
  • That’s EASTER! That’s GRACE! That’s the CROSS!
  • Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
  • If you allow God to break you, you can be right with God
  • If you are a Christian, the Spirit of God dwells inside you. He is fiercely jealous of your allegiance
  • You can be Forgiven of your Pride

The Central Message of the Cross

My sermon notes for Bro. Gary’s message on Sunday Morning 4-1-12 – Palm Sunday – Passion Week


Romans 10:1-13 “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.  For Moses writes about  the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven’ (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘who will descend into the abyss?’ (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says ‘Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the  name of the Lord will be saved.’”

  • There has to be a cross to has a resurrection
  • Story of salvation started in Gensis
  • It was ALL pointing to the Cross of Christ


1)   Conditions of Salvation (vs 3-4)

A)  Reject our own Self Righteousness

  • Your own goodness and self righteousness
  • “going about to establish” = works
  • Self righteousness is when we feel like we  can give God something or add to what God has done
  • “The worst kind of Badness is human goodness substituting the righteousness of God.”
  • “I have nothing to offer Him!!”
  • Even as Believers we struggle with this
  • “The more I do, God will love m more” is a LIE STRAIGHT FROM HELL. The Lord loves you – INFINITELY. PERIOD.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by Grace are you saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that on one may boast.”
  • It is inherent in us to struggle



  • The law was given to us to show us our sinfulness and how far we are from God
  • No one can ever measure up to the law
  • Embrace and receive Christ’s righteousness
  • He came to end the law
  • It is just a matter of me receiving His righteousness
  • You either have:
    • Your old self righteous ways
      • What you are trying to do
  • The righteousness of Christ
    • What you are allowing God to do




  • Where do you find God?
  • Bible says Man is looking for answers, and Man never looks for God
  • The Lord is as close as when you confess Him – when you tell what He has done for you
    • Be grateful for what the Lord has done
      • Broken and Shed his Blood for ME individually
  • Embrace salvation
  • He is as close as when you proclaim Him
  • Vs 9 – we have to confess the Truth of His Resurrection
  • We HAVE to embrace the Truth of His Resurrection
  • The Disciples were willing to die for the resurrection, they were not dying for a dead man
  • We MUST testify of our RELATIONSHIP
  • You need to be WILLING to go further and confess Salvation
  • If you are not willing to confess Jesus, you are not saved



  • The inclusiveness of salvation (vs 11-12)  “For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him.”
  • The inevitability of salvation (vs 13) “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”
  • God has to reach down for all of us!