The Simplicity That Is In Christ

 

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”   (2 Corinthians 11:3)

 

People have not changed much in the last two thousand years.  Progress has been made in many, many areas; but man basically remains the same.  People have about the same dispositions that man has  always possessed. They need the same kind of salvation from the same kind of sins as they have always needed.  The gospel of Christ is as well fitted answering those needs, as it was when given  more than two thousand years ago.  Paul states in his second letter to the Corinthian church: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. “  (2 Corinthians 11:3)

 

Man has always possessed a nature that opposes God’s idea for him. The fact that the Bible is contrary to every desire of man is proof that the mind of man did not conceive it.   On the other hand, the fact that adherence to the principles that it advocates, produces in man a better quality of living than his own desire can produce, is proof enough that the Bible is Divine rather than human in its origin.

 

Man has always been interested in complex things that are hard to understand ..He is a lover of that which is mysterious,  and with him there is always the need to dig deeper, to explore further than those before him.   All of us are very much aware of the complexity of our modern age.  Books, and technical journals constantly remind us of how sophisticated the systems we have developed are. We hold in our hands electronic devices that take pictures, take or play movies, the same device is a phone, an GPS,  Then we use the same little device to study the bible and other books.  I’m just not amazed any longer at what we are able to do in the field of electronics.

 

 No area is more amazing than the field of medical science.  Body parts are removed, replaced almost like banking at the drive thru. And it is because of man’s tendency to  constantly move forward,  Paul directed his attention to “The Simplicity of the teachings of Christ.

 

The New Testament is a book that the average person can read and understand.  It is not some incomprehensible mystery, that man must study in a religious school for years in order to understand.  The New Testament scheme of redemption is so simple that that anyone with sense enough to know he is lost can understand what he must do to please God and be saved

 

One of the great beauties of the New Testament is its simplicity,  it would be impossible for human beings to write a more simple story Or present a more simple doctrine than that revealed in God's word. The most ignorant and the most educated man alike can hear the gospel story and gain from it.

 

Jesus lived a simple life growing up in a carpenter’s shop in a simple style life,  He would later say of Himself: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.  Matt 8:20   His life was one of meekness and humility, of gentleness and goodness. Jesus was equally acquainted with the marble pavements of the temple, and the dusty paths of the country side of Galilee.   He grew up living on the level of the shepherd,  the farmer, and  the vine dresser.  

 

The service He rendered to humanity was as simple as the life He lived. He unstopped the deaf ears, opened the blind eyes, straightened the twisted frames of men, and yet, things happened with such simplicity that it caused all the people, even the little children to gathered around Him anxious to be in His presence to feel the touch of His hand, hear the gentleness and encouragement in His voice..

 

Although His sayings and His wisdom have engaged the greatest minds of all time, yet His teachings are so plain and simple that humble fishermen could understand them.  The law that Christ gave is the very embodiment of simplicity.  It does not require a learned scholar to expound it. The fellow that can understand the simplest sentences can read the Word of God with much profit. 

 

God has always dealt in simplicity, when dealing with man…  For example, consider His command regarding Israel’s deliverance from the death that would pass over Egypt and  the sprinkling of blood on the door post. The instructions were in and of themselves simple... They understood exactly what God demanded of them. Any other way they could have devised in and of themselves  would have been harder than this to do. This was a command with which all the Jews might comply in order to be saved.  They were to simply kill a lamb at evening tide and sprinkled its blood upon the door post of their houses. Jehovah promised  when I see the blood I will pass over you."  What could have been a simpler instruction? Any other way would have been more difficult than this.  Any other way the Jews might have designed would have ended in failure and death. This was a simple command and compliance to it was the only way.

 

And so it is with us, the commands of Jesus are very simple. Some of them may seem strange.  Often we may see no logic in them from a human standpoint.....   I’m quite sure that Israel could see no logic in God’s command,  and what was to be accomplished.    Yet these very commands are as essential to our salvation as Israel’s sprinkling of blood was essential to their salvation. We must not fail to obey God, on the basis that there is no logic in what the Bible says, and what is to be accomplished.

 

When Israel wandered in the wilderness because of their transgressions, they were bitten by poisonous snakes and faced with inevitable death.(Numbers 21).  Moses was charged to set a brass serpent upon a pole in the midst of their camp. Who ever looks shall be healed.   Brethren I challenge you to think on that thing for a minute.  It makes no sense if we began to think about it from a  human standpoint, but there was nothing hard to understand about it.  All knew exactly what they must do.  Salvation was in the plan that God gave to Moses. And obedience to it was absolutely necessary for healing.

 

Religion today has become much like the Jewish ritual of old doing things to please self rather than God.  Our Lord Himself made this statement regarding the people of His day “This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. 9But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.    Matt 15:8-9

 

Much religion today leans towards those things that please the crowds... rather than the simple things that God has ordained  and commanded. Take the command  Sing and make melody in your hearts...  (Ephesians 5:19)  What could be more simple more logical, Singing the fruit of our lips from the heart, in praise to our Maker. And the command to partake of the Lord’s Supper, he fruit of the vine and the unleavened bread symbolic of the body and blood of Christ.. The very poorest on earth can find and afford to comply with the commands.

 

Is it not time we tear away all human tradition connected with worship?  Human rituals and traditions have obscured  the Word of God. Our bright colored robes and beautiful pageantry have turned the minds of men from the simplicity that is in Christ.  What we are trying to do with entertainment, should be accomplished with the preaching of the gospel of Christ. Jesus stated:  John 12:32

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself. 33But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he should die.”

 

And so Paul concerned that the church was being pulled from God’s simple ways  writes “3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from The Simplicity That Is In Christ

 

Those who devote themselves to reading the New Testament is astonished at its simplicity. There is nothing about it that cannot be reasonably well understood and obeyed......  Far to often we pick the Bible  up perhaps late at night just before we retire for the night,  and read three or four verses from Leviticus, the next day, we read a chapter from Revelation and confused we put it down and say, "Just don't seem to understand it and what its message is for me."

 

We don’t  read any other book that way.  The Old Testament is a historic record of God's dealings with men under that old regime. Begin in Genesis and study it as such.   The New Testament is the story of Christ,  His birth, life and His death.  His ministry is recorded in some detail for us in four gospel accounts.   The simple facts of these first four books of the New Testament written to produce a well grounded faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.  John wrote to tell us in the full deep sense that Jesus is the divine Son of God, that He is eternal, that He never had a beginning, and that He will never have an end of existence.   John wrote to tell us that the very center of his message is,  unless we believe in Jesus as the Christ there is no hope of our eternal salvation. For example, in John 8:24 “ I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.     

 

Then still later in his gospel  John 20:30-31 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name”.    There It Is ...... The very purpose of the gospels in our New Testament, to produce a saving faith in the Son of God.  

 

The simple examples of men’s conversions in the book of Acts are sufficient to guide any man who believes  that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God,   Why I began reading in Acts and in every example where people believed It is stated —  Acts 8:12   But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women”.

 

The book of Acts is sometimes called the book of conversions. Out of the thousands of conversions that took place in the days of the apostles,  several were recorded to give us an example of how we are to respond to  faith produced in study of the gospels.

 

Finally the simple instructions written by the apostles to the churches,  (the epistles) are sufficient for guiding the lives of Christians as they labor and grow in grace and knowledge of the Son of God day to day.  

 

There are wonderful promises throughout the Bible woven like golden threads, giving hope, and zeal to go forward and serve the Lord faithfully.   Rev 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city”.

 

Consider this: There will be one class of people in heaven, those who have obeyed what God has said regarding the obedience to the gospel and keeping their lives spotless from the world about us.  Matt 28:19-20   James 1:27 

 

There will be two classes of people who will spend eternity in torment.....  those who failed to obey the Gospel of Christ. And those who failed to keep their lives spotless by repenting when they have fallen away...  Which class do you represent?

 

If we can be of further help to you in your resolve to serve and obey your God, please contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658