By Garry Knighton
Church of Christ/North  - Shreveport, La.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD CHRIST
Topical

   INTRODUCTION:

       A.  At the crucifixion - the crowd was startled when Jesus cried, "Eli, Eli,
             Lama Sabachthani" - Matthew 27:46.

            1.  Some said -- calls for Elijah.

            2.  Some said -- calls for a drink.

            3.  Had they known the scriptures they would have recognized that
                 He quoted the 22nd Psalm.

       B.  They misunderstood, but not for the first time:

            1.  HEROD was convinced that He was a threat to his kingdom and his
                 throne.

            2.  Jews were convinced that He made fun of the temple in John 2 - when
                 He spoke of the figure of His resurrection.

       C.  Jesus was widely misunderstood.

       D.  Tonight, let's look at some areas of Jesus' life and His ministry that were
             vastly misunderstood.

   I.  THEY MISUNDERSTOOD HIS MIRACLES.

       A.  They misunderstood the source of His power.

            1.  Matthew 12:22-29... attributed His power to Satan.

            2.  They should have known as Nicodemus did - John 3:2 - "...we know
                  that thou art a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs
                  that thou doest, except that God be with him."

       B.  They misunderstood the purpose of miracles.

            1.  Matthew 12:38 - show us a sign...

                 a.  They wanted some type of side show circus performance.

                 b.  Jesus never intended to be a walking hospital.

                 c.  His miracles were to confirm who He was.

       C.  Miracles are STILL MISUNDERSTOOD today.

            1.  Many have no concept of the purpose of miracles any more than did
                 those unbelieving Jews.

                 a.  READ "HEALING FROM HEAVEN" articles to show
                      misunderstandings.

       D.  Miracles were to CONFIRM the word:

            1.  Mark 16:15-20.

            2.  Hebrews 2:3-4.

            3.  Miracles ceased when the young church was confirmed and strong.

  II.  THEY MISUNDERSTOOD HIS GOSPEL.

       A.  Many misunderstand the relationship of Jesus to the law of Moses.

            1.  He is the fulfillment of the law - Matthew 5:17 - "Think not that I came to
                 destroy the law or the prophets:  I came not to destroy, but to fulfill."

            2.  Galatians 3:24 - "...the law has become our tutor to bring us unto Christ,
                 that we might be justified by faith."

            3.  Hebrews 8:6 - "But now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent,
                 by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath
                 been enacted upon better promises."

            4.  Jesus ushered in a better covenant, not placing greater importance on
                 either:  "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New
                 Testament is the Old Testament revealed."

       B.  Many misunderstand the purpose of the gospel.

            1.  Some say we should have Jesus' teachings to have:

                 a.  a better society.

                 b.  to help the needy.

                 c.  to correct injustice.

                 d.  to provide happiness on earth.

       C.  The gospel is quite different from this:

            1.  It sometimes divides families - Matthew 10:35-36.

            2.  Brings persecution to the righteous - II Timothy 3:12.

            3.  It has a distinct purpose:  SALVATION.

                 a.  Luke 19:10.

                 b.  I Timothy 1:15 - save the sinner.

                 c.  Romans 1:16 - salvation.

       D.  A person can care for the poor, right social wrongs, work constantly for a
             better society without knowing Christ.

       E.  TRUE, the gospel helps this situation, but it is the force that prepares us
             for heaven.

 III.  THEY MISUNDERSTOOD THE CHURCH.

       A.  The church of Jesus began in Jerusalem - Acts 2.

            1.  Spread into Judea, Samaria, and Galilee - Acts 9.

            2.  Acts 24 - Jews looked on it as just another sect of the Jewish religion.

            3.  They misunderstood the church that Jesus built:

                 a.  The fact that Jesus was a Jew did not make the church Jewish.

                 b.  Revelation 21:5 - "I make all things new..."

                 c.  Jesus' church was not an off-shoot of Judaism.

       B.  The church is still misunderstood today:

            1.  Some think it is a sect of Christendom as the Jews thought it was Jewish.

            2.  The church is Christ's because:

                 a.  Built by Him - Matthew 16:18.

                 b.  Bought by His blood - Acts 20:28.

                 c.  Saved by Him - Ephesians 5:23.

            3.  It is not a denomination nor is it any part of denominationalism.

       C.  People often argue, "All churches belong to Christ".

            1.  Shows their misunderstanding:

                 a.  John 17 - Jesus prayed for unity - oneness.

                 b.  The collection of denominations does not have this unity.

                 c.  The denominational system is far from what Jesus prayed for, died
                      for, or even taught.

            2.  They think we are saying, "Leave your denomination and join ours.
                 "  NO!  NO!  NO!  NO!

  IV.  THEY MISUNDERSTAND HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER OF JESUS'
         CHURCH.

       A.  The Lord Himself adds, not by VOTE.

            1.  Acts 2:47.

       B.  Adds believers who respond by faith.

   CONCLUSION:

       A.  Is Christ misunderstood in your life?

       B.  Let the Bible be your only guide back to Him.

       C.  Let an understanding of the Word of God penetrate your heart.