Should You Run From Jesus Always?

The following is compiled from six chapters from the Should You RUN From Jesus Always? book. It presents the test criteria used for one of the evaluations of Jesus Always. You'll need to read the book to find out how Jesus Always does based this test. Order your copy on Amazon.

What Are The Characteristics of False Teaching?

In his book “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones lays out six characteristics of false teaching. Not all false teachers exhibit all six, and it is possible for some false teachers to have none of these characteristics. But, if a teacher (or book), has most these characteristics, they are most likely a false teacher.

To be as fair as possible I’m using biblical criteria from an independent expert to evaluate Jesus Always. In other words, I’m not picking and choosing criteria in such a way as to make Jesus Always look bad. The results of evaluating Jesus Always against these criteria will be published in the book "Should You RUN From Jesus Always?"

Here are D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ six characteristics of false teaching:

Number 1 – There is a Vagueness and Absence of Doctrine

It does not like doctrinal preaching; it is always so vague… The false prophet very rarely tells you anything about the holiness, the righteousness, the justice, and the wrath of God. He always preaches about the love of God, but those other things he does not mention. He never makes anyone tremble as he thinks of this holy and august Being. – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1976, pages 501-502

What I’ll be looking for in Jesus Always is for Sarah Young to talk about the holiness, the righteousness, the justice, and the wrath of God in a way that actually says something specific about these attributes. These are all foundational to Christianity.

Holiness

When Martyn Lloyd-Jones says false prophets tells you nothing about the holiness of God, he does not mean they never mention the word “holy.” False teachers love using spiritual words such as “holy,” but they don’t talk about holiness. They never tell you what it means to be holy.
We have a holy God, meaning that He is separate. For example God is separate from His creation. It also means God is separate from all that is evil and wrong… separate from sin.

Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to do wrong. – Job 34:10

Righteousness

To be righteous means to be free from sin… to be perfectly reflecting the righteousness of God. We were created in the image of God, and thus we should demonstrate the righteousness of God. But we don’t… we sin (disobey God)… and that means we deserve destruction.

God cannot just say, “I love you all. Everyone can come into heaven.” That is neither love nor righteous. What God did was to say, “I love you all. So I will pay the penalty you’ve earned for breaking the law. I will be punished in your place so that you are free to enter heaven.” That is righteousness. Speaking about what Christ did on the cross, Paul wrote:

This was to demonstrate His righteousness – Romans 3:25.

Justice

A simple definition of justice is: the right and appropriate consequences for our actions and thoughts. We see this clearly on the cross. We broke God’s laws, and the penalty for breaking His laws had to be paid. God in His mercy and grace took on Himself the punishment you deserved in order to pay the penalty you earned for breaking His laws. The Got Questions web site describes it this way:

His mercy and grace are not in spite of His justice, but because of it. He loved us so much that despite the fact that our sin demands our death, He sent His Son to be our substitute upon the cross, thus demonstrating that His justice was not violated, but instead satisfied (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9). - http://www.gotquestions.org/God-of-justice.html.

God’s Wrath

The fourth characteristic on the list is God’s wrath. For human beings, wrath is the emotional response, in many cases anger, to something we think is wrong or unjust. But, what is God’s wrath?

God’s wrath is His response to our misrepresenting who He is. We are created in the image of God and should reflect His character. For example, the Ten Commandments describe the character of God. When we don’t reflect God’s character, that is called breaking His law (sin) and there are consequences. Those consequences are called God’s wrath. It is the just punishment for sin.

God’s wrath is sometimes poured out in this life. He may use “natural” disasters (earthquakes, storms, disease, etc.) or human means (war, deportations, oppressive government, etc.), or divine means (a withdrawal of His providential blessings) to bring His wrath for sin on those living in this earthly realm. God’s wrath is also poured out on all of those not trusting in Jesus Christ when they die. This post physical death wrath is sometimes called hell, the lake of burning fire, or outer darkness.

Number 2 – There is Nothing About Final Judgment and the Eternal Destiny of the Lost

There has not been much preaching about the Last Judgment… and very little preaching about hell and the everlasting destruction of the wicked. No, the false prophets do not like teaching such as you have in the second Epistle of Peter. – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1976, pages 502

Jesus talked about hell more than he talked about heaven. Why? Because He loves you.
Imagine a courtroom. Every defendant who comes into that courtroom, no matter what the crime – from murders to jay walkers – is set free. There are no fines. No jail time. No penalty of any kind is imposed. Is that judge a good judge? No. Not at all.

God is good, righteous, just, and perfect. You will stand before Him as your judge… and you cannot hide anything. He knows it all. You are guilty and the penalty must be paid. There must be punishment, a place we call hell. Otherwise God is not a good and righteous judge.

Let me tell you the most terrify truth I can possibly speak to you. Are you ready? Here it is. The most terrifying thing I can tell a man, a woman, a child, is this… God is good…. And what’s the problem with that? The problem with that is you’re not good. What does a good God do with someone like you? – Paul Washer, YouTube video “God is Good, You’re Not!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeIIl44hi8Y

God is good and you are not. What is He to do with you? What He did was to go to the cross and pay the penalty you’ve earned for not being good… for your having broken His laws. If you refuse to believe this is true, you must pay the penalty yourself… an eternity in the lake of fire

Number 3 – There is Nothing About The Utter Sinfulness of Man

In the same way the false prophet’s teaching does not emphasize the utter sinfulness of sin and the total inability of man to do anything about his own salvation. It often does not believe in sin at all, and certainly does not emphasis its vile nature. It does not say that we are all perfect; but it does suggest that sin is not serious. – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1976, pages 502

The song Amazing Grace says it perfectly:

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.

We may not like to think of ourselves this way, but we are wretched sinners. Jesus said:

No one is good except God alone. – Mark 10:18

Even the very best we can do… our very best “good deeds” (our righteousness) are like maggot infested filthy rags:

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; - Isaiah 64:6

Until we accept that we are sinners (there is nothing good in us), we don’t know we need a savior. A law-breaker needs saving from the consequences, but a good person does not need saving. As long as you are thinking you are good, you will not see a need for the cross. (Take the Good Person Test at: www.911Christ.com.)

Number 4 – The is Nothing About the Cross Being the Only Way

The false prophet talks about “Jesus”; he even delights to talk about the cross and the death of Jesus. But the vital question is, what is his view of that death? What is his view of that cross? …The one test is this: does he realize that Christ died on the cross because it was the only way to make expiation and propitiation for sin? – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1976, pages 503

The cross is the only way. The Son had to die, taking on Himself the sins of the world and the full wrath of God for those sins. Books such as Jesus Always tend to speak to our emotions. They build up self-esteem and present a very sentimental type of Jesus whom everybody likes. They rarely mention the cross.

The problem is that the cross is offensive. It is a stumbling block to the Jew, and foolishness to the Greek (anyone who is not a Jew).

The Offensiveness of the Cross

  • The cross is offensive because it is exclusive. It is the ONLY way to salvation.

  • The cross is offensive because, before we can come to the cross, we must admit we are not good. I’ve talked to thousands of people, asking them why they think they’ll go to heaven. I’d guess that over 90% of them said, “Because I’m a good person.”

  • The cross is offensive because we need to come to it poor in spirit… meaning that we know we are totally helpless and there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.

    We want to be in control of our destiny. We want to be the one who is in charge. But, to come to the cross we need to fully accept Jesus as Lord… He is the one who is in charge and the ONLY one who can save us. There is NOTHING we can do to contribute in any way to our getting to heaven. It is 100% God, or nothing.

  • And the cross is offensive because it is available to everyone. Charles Spurgeon in his sermon “The Offense of the Cross” said:

    The Cross makes moral and immoral persons go to Heaven by the same road! The Cross makes rich and poor enter Heaven by the same door! The Cross makes the philosopher and peasant walk on the same highway of holiness! The Cross procures the same crown for the poor creature with one talent that the man with 10 talents shall receive. Therefore, the wise man says, “What? Am I to be saved by the same Cross which saves a man who does not know his letters?” Your fine lady asks, “Am I to be saved in the same fashion as my servant girl?” The gentleman says, “Am I to be saved the same way as that chimney-sweep?” And he who boasts of his selfrighteousness cries, “What? Am I to jostle against a harlot, to elbow a drunk on the road to Heaven? Then, I will not go to Heaven at all

The cross is offensive, and because of that false teachers do not teach the full truth about the cross. They may mention the cross, but to say it is the only way… well, that’s just too offensive.

Number 5 – The is Nothing About Real Repentance

It does not emphasize repentance in any real sense. It has a very wide gate leading to salvation and a very broad way leading to heaven. You need not feel much of your own sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart. You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd. – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1976, pages 503

In Matthew 7 Jesus talks about the wide gate on the broad path leading to destruction, and the narrow gate that leads to eternal life. The wide gate and the narrow gate both offer the same promises… eternal life in heaven. But only the narrow gate actually delivers on that promise.

The wide gate and broad way are easy because they satisfy our human desires. They are easy because they do not require repentance, nor do they require you to give up your pride and humbly accept Jesus’ free gift of dying to pay your penalty for sin. The wide gate is easy because it requires is that you say a prayer or ask Jesus into your heart… and then you are pronounced saved… as you head through the wide gate of destruction.

The narrow gate is small and not many find it. It requires repentance… turning away from sin and obeying Jesus Christ our Lord.

Scripture says:

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; - Acts 3:19

Number 6 – There is Nothing About the Jesus Being the Only Way

The false prophet does not emphasize the absolute necessity of entering this strait gate [the narrow gate] and walking along this narrow way. He does not tell us that we must practice this sermon. If we only listen to it without practicing it we are damned; if we only comment on it, without carrying it out, it will rise in judgment against us and condemn us. – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1976, page 504

A couple of years ago I was handing out gospel tracts and talking with people who had come to the annual Cannon Beach Sand Castle Competition. There were thousands of people admiring the sand sculptures, including one woman who, when I approached her about the gospel, said that she was fine. She her life based on the Sermon on the Mount.

BUT… she had her own interpretation of what Jesus said and it did not include Jesus as her savior. She talked about being a good person because she was living according to what Jesus taught. But, the Sermon on the Mount shows us that none of us can be good. None of us can even come close to the standards Jesus sets in the Sermon on the Mount.

We cannot take Jesus’ words and spin them to mean whatever we desire them to mean. We cannot make Jesus’ words conform to our desires. We must listen to the words of Jesus and believe what He says… and Jesus says He is the only way:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. – John 14:6

 

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All quotes from Jesus Always are copyright 2016 by Sarah Young
Hebrews 7:25 -- 2 Corinthians 2:14 -- John 8:29 -- Matthew 28:19-20 -- Isaiah 57:16 -- Psalm 103:9