Keep It Simple: J-e-s-u-s

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary: Life in the 21st century is complex and often stressful. In such an environment, it’s easy to lose sight of spiritual priorities. A popular buzzword today is “Simplify! Keep it simple!” Many are realizing the importance of getting "back to basics". Apply this to your spiritual life, and you will find great blessings in refocusing on what the Bible calls “the simplicity that is in Christ”.

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

•• The NIV translation warns against being “led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

•• Life on this earth is complicated. Make a determined choice to return to the simplicity that is in Christ. What the apostle Paul calls a “sincere and pure devotion” to Him speaks of a single-mindedness, a focused effort to place Jesus at the center of all that we say, do, and think.

Colossians 1:18  And he [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

KJV:  “...that in all things he might have the preeminence

•• A pastor friend of mine used to exhort us — “Let your all be all!” Ask yourself: Do you make Jesus central, supreme, preeminent in every area of your life? I doubt that I always do, even though that is my sincere desire. And the failure consciously to keep Jesus at the very center of our lives is probably a major cause of many of the problems we experience in life.

•• Here are some examples to ponder. Have you made Jesus and His teachings preeminent...
• in your choice of friends

• in your interaction with your family

• in your career choices

• in your motives for attending church services

• in your seeking of spiritual gifts (remember, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” — Revelation 19:10)

• in your pursuit of divine healing

• in your spiritual warfare against the devil

• and in many other natural and spiritual considerations

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

•• People don’t need fancy speeches to get saved. They need a simple presentation of the Gospel of Christ — that is, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:2-4). The apostle Paul said, “By this gospel you are saved (vs. 2).

•• Don’t get fancy or complex in your efforts to lead people to salvation in Jesus Christ. Keep it simple, tell them that Jesus loved them enough to die for them, to forgive their sins, and He rose again from the dead. That Gospel about Jesus, said Paul, is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Acts 9:33-34  There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. [34] “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up.

•• No fanfare. As far as we can tell, Peter didn’t even offer any preliminary preaching or counseling. He simply declared, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.”

•• I just finished listening to Dr. Roger Sapp’s 4-CD series on Christ-centered healing. He had a very edifying, back-to-basics emphasis that focused on Jesus being your healer today, just as He was in the Gospels.

•• Notice how simple Peter’s approach was: “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up.” I believe that is an excellent model for us to ponder as we seek to see people healed of their afflictions and ailments — “Jesus Christ heals you!”

Acts 10:36, 43-46  You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all... [43] All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” [44] While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. [45] The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. [46] For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

•• Peter’s listeners were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues as they heard the Good News about Jesus Christ!

•• In all four Gospels Jesus is identified as the one who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3;16; John 1:33). If you are seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit, seek it from Jesus!

•• In explaining the mighty outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:33), the apostle Peter said, “Exalted to the right hand of God, he [Jesus] has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” Look to Jesus for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:13-16  Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” [14] Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. [15] [One day] the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” [16] Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

•• These words are very, very significant. The evil spirit said, “Jesus I know ... but who are you?” The demons know exactly who Jesus is, and they fear Him deeply. They are absolutely subject to the name of Jesus spoken in faith.

•• Some years ago I had a major encounter with a demon spirit. I awoke in the middle of the night to see a demon’s face pressed up against mine. I tried to say the name “Jesus”, but my mouth was muzzled to the point I could only eek out a whispered “Jesus” from the corner of my mouth. The second time I did this, I noticed that the demon backed up, and my mouth was freed. Then I was able to holler aloud the mighty name “Jesus!”, and in the spirit (but very clearly) I saw that demon flee in a flash like a lightning bolt. To this day, many years later, I have never forgotten that demonstration of the awesome power of Jesus to rout evil spirits.

2 Corinthians 1:20  For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.

KJV:  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen.

•• All God’s promises are received through Jesus. He is the guarantee for them to work in your life.

•• Remember our opening verse, and hold to the simplicity that is in Jesus Christ. Place Him and keep Him in the very center of your thoughts, your words, your actions.
• Need healing? Jesus is the Healer.

• Need the fullness of the Spirit? Jesus is the Baptizer with the Spirit.

• Are you burdened in your heart for the salvation of a loved one? Tell him or her simply about Jesus, how He loves us and died for our sins and rose again.

• Need deliverance from habits? Jesus is there for you.

• Need victory over the devil? Live a life centered on Jesus, with His Name often on your lips.

In sum, stay focused on “the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3). He is the answer to every need and every problem that we will encounter in this life.

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©2010, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.