Do most churches really follow Christ? Is what they teach faithful to what He taught and how He lived?
[Steve Myers] Did you know that Christianity is the largest religion in the world? There are 2.2 billion people who claim to be Christian. That’s over 3 out of 10 people all over the world. All of them believe that Jesus is the Founder of their church. Yet, you’ve probably wondered why there are so many variations and very different teachings.
Is there anything you can do to help wade through the swamp of fact and fallacy, truth or mere tradition that makes up modern Christianity?
Do most churches really follow Jesus? How can you know whether the variety of teachings and customs faithfully represent the way Jesus taught and lived?
Well here’s the key question: What did Jesus really teach? On Beyond Today I’ll examine a shocking teaching of Jesus that surprisingly, most Christians don’t understand.
Stayed tuned to Beyond Today as we discuss “Shocking Teachings of Jesus—The Sabbath”.
[Announcer] Join our host Steve Myers and his guests as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today!
[Steve] There are so many different Christian churches today. But rather than unity, harmony, and cooperation, many are known for their disputes and divisions.
Have you ever wondered why there are sometimes four different churches on the same street? Even when churches appear to get along, they divide into hundreds of different groups, churches, and denominations.
Why can’t they agree on much of anything?
Well here’s what it comes down to: many claim to follow the religion of Christianity, and yet they possess only a weak understanding of what Jesus actually taught.
Well, is there a difference between what Christians believe and what the Bible teaches?
Thomas Jefferson, an American founding father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third President said, “The greatest enemies of Jesus are the doctrines and creeds of the church.”
Could that be true?
How can there be a difference between the teachings of Jesus and Christianity?
After all, is it possible to go to church and not really be following Jesus?
For that matter, is any church just as good as another?
Let me be clear:
There is a difference between Jesus’ teachings and the majority of Christianity. It is possible to go to church and not really be following Jesus. And no, any church is not just as good as another! So what’s the difference?
Here’s the key: Jesus taught people they must follow Him. He didn’t say it three or four times, but over and over, in fact almost two dozen times the Bible records Him talking about people following Him.
Now it may be shocking to hear, but most churches do not follow Jesus. Christ Himself said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
So how can you be sure you don’t fall into that category? We have to stop following selfish desires, or our friends, or pop culture or even our family and do more. Even more than just saying the catchphrase: “I’ve taken Jesus into my heart.”
You see, to truly follow Christ, it means He’s become everything to us. We learn exactly what He taught—and we do it. In fact, to truly follow means we don’t follow anything else. In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” So, if we claim to be Christian, we imitate Christ precisely, because there is no such thing as a halfway, part time disciple.
Now that brings us back to the question: Am I really following Christ? Do I truly follow what He taught? We’re going to examine a shocking teaching of Jesus to help you analyze your own relationship with Him.
Because if we claim to be Christian and we are true followers of Jesus Christ, it also means we strive to be like Him. He always obeyed His Father, so that's what we do. It means I’ve made Him my Master, the Boss, the Lord of my life. So each and every thought and decision is filtered through His Word and His way. I must do what He said, exactly what He taught.
Now if we are going to do just that, we must apply the instruction of 1 John 2. In verse 4 we’re told “If someone claims, ‘I know God,’ but [he] doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That’s how we know we are living in Him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did” (1 John 2:4-6 NLT).
You see, knowing and following what Jesus really taught is crucial. No one wants to be identified as a liar. True followers of Christ are showing God they completely love Him by walking as He walked—living in the same way as He lived.
Now, when churches don’t follow His example and teachings, what can we assume? Well, we’d have to conclude that they are not following Jesus!
So how can you avoid that frightful outcome? How can you live in the truth and know how to follow Christ properly?
The only way to truly know is to read your Bible. Learn God’s Word and decide for yourself—and do it. Don’t let anyone else tell you what to believe, be sure you read it for yourself.
You see, a person who calls themselves a Christian, yet does not obey the Bible is not Christian at all. Now let me say that again: if someone says they’re Christian and doesn’t obey the Word of God—they’re not really a Christian.
The Bible—it is the textbook for students of Christ. The apostle Paul was guided to tell us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed (2 Timothy 3:16-17, GNT).
Clearly, the Word of God must govern our life if we are truly His.
With that in mind, let’s examine a shocking teaching of Jesus. How well do we follow Christ when it comes to worship?
Did you know that you cannot find anywhere in the Bible that Sunday is the day of worship? Search the Old and even the New Testament and you’ll find the biblical Sabbath is not Sunday. History and Scripture show that the New Testament Church worshiped on the true Sabbath—Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Shocking as it may be, most are surprised to realize there is no other day of worship mentioned from Genesis to Revelation.
The Christian Sabbath, remembered from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, is what Jesus observed and taught. Now it may astonish some to realize that this is exactly what He boldly said in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).
Now notice that other translations make it completely clear:
Disciples’ Literal New Testament says: “The Sabbath was made for the sake of mankind.”
The New Revised Standard Version says: “The Sabbath was made for humankind.”
Lexham English Bible says: “The Sabbath was established for people.”
Even the Good News Translation states: “The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings.”
Now can it be any more clear cut? It’s certain that Jesus taught that the Sabbath was not made for the Jews. Jesus didn’t observe the Sabbath only because He was a Jew. Instead, we find the irrefutable truth that the Sabbath was created for everyone—all mankind—all peoples. It’s not an Old Covenant thing made just for Moses and the Israelites—it’s actually a New Covenant thing—established at creation and continuing as true worship in the New Testament Church.
So please, be honest with yourself and read your Bible. You’ll find the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. Not even once do you see Sunday, the first day of the week, referred to as a Sabbath day of rest. The Bible doesn’t ever declare that Sunday should be some kind of Sabbath.
The Sabbath day is mentioned right from the beginning of Genesis and then again in the Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). The Bible tells us that God set the seventh day apart at creation. So Scripture consistently tells the same story of true worship. Even after the crucifixion the apostles and the New Testament Church continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset as the day of true worship.
Now here’s another shocker. If you were to read about this in the Catholic Encyclopedia it will tell you that Jesus and His disciples always observed the seventh-day Sabbath, but the Catholic Church had the right to change the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday. Now some even brag about the reason Protestants observe Sunday—is because they follow the Catholic tradition and not the Bible!
So who do you follow? A church or Christ? Who should you follow? Jesus said, “...the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of [the] truth listens to me” (John 18:37, NIV).
Listen to the Savior. Choose to side with the truth. Determine to follow and live the truth.
The fact is, religion doesn't always go along with the Bible. It’s irrefutable.
Scripture says that “in the last times some in the church will turn away from Christ and become eager followers of teachers with devil-inspired ideas” (1 Timothy 4:1-2, TLB).
Nowhere in the Bible can you find the Sabbath changed to some other day. Imagine if it were changed, there would have been a huge discussion on it, and recorded for us—especially in the New Testament.
But most people, including professing Christians, are blinded to this shocking Bible truth. It may also be shocking to recognize the second part of Jesus’ statement. Not only did He say that the Sabbath was a day of worship created for all mankind—for each of us, He also stated in Mark 2:28: “Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Now think about that stunning statement! Jesus is not Lord of Sunday. He is Lord of the Sabbath.
Now there are multitudes who have been told and who honestly believe, that worshipping on the seventh-day Sabbath was abolished at the cross. They believe that the Sabbath was somehow changed so that now the first day of the week—the day we call Sunday somehow became the Lord’s day. Well, can that be true?
Should you observe the Sabbath—from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset or worship on Sunday? Well consider what was taught by Jesus and the New Testament Church. Remember that the teachings of Christ and the Bible must support and guide everything we do. We follow Jesus. If the Word of God reveals that I am worshipping on the wrong day, then shouldn’t I be perfectly willing to change? What would a true follower do?
Now, there are, of course, some who say it doesn’t make any difference which day you keep, so as long as you keep one day in seven. But wait, does it make a difference? Is any day acceptable to God?
Well let’s look back to the Book, back to the Bible and see what we discover. We already read Mark 2:28, but there’s more! Here is another crystal-clear statement by Christ: “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8).
There are many more unmistakable passages about the true day of worship. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah about the Sabbath and plainly calls it “My holy day” and “The holy day of the Lord” (Isaiah 58:13). And nowhere in Scripture does He designate another other day as His.
So, we see that the Lord has a day. And that day is the Sabbath—Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. When asked if Sunday is the Lord’s day, we’d have to say: “most certainly not!” Over what day is Jesus Lord? He said it Himself, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. On what day do faithful followers of Jesus observe and worship?
At the very heart of the Ten Commandments we are told, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”.
What will you do about that shocking truth? The fact is: we can’t be true Christians and not follow Jesus. To claim to be Christian means we must follow Christ.
It’s also important to realize that God instructs all of us to examine, to test and to prove what we believe. It isn't good enough just to believe something or even to reject a doctrine just because it has been taught. The apostle Paul tells us to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV).
You see, when we’re challenged by a teaching, we should ask ourselves: “Do I practice 1 Thessalonians 5:21—proving all things?” You should prove Jesus’ Sabbath teaching.
There is an example of doing just that recorded in Acts 17. Paul was preaching the truth and it most likely shocked the people of Berea. How did they handle that surprising message?
Verse 11 says: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV).
Now when their beliefs were challenged, they reacted in a way that we can learn from. First of all, they “received the Word”—they listened attentively. They wanted to know what he had to say and make sure they clearly understood him before making any judgments.
It would have been easy for them to listen and then conclude, Paul’s crazy, and then dismiss what he said without much thought. But, that was not their approach. They understood that the Word of God should be handled with respect and care, and not taken lightly or taken for granted. So they “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
But also notice this: Not only did they open their Bibles and study it for themselves, but we’re told they did so daily. They didn't just look up a few things—they made a study of the Word of God as a part of their lives every day! They wanted to know whether or not the teaching was truly accurate.
Now if they could confirm the teachings from Scripture, then they would have to accept it, change and follow. Put another way, it was important for them to know what they believed, and it was just as important to know why they believed it!
Their example is a wonderful lesson for us all. Will you examine, and test and prove what you believe? I hope that you’ll carefully examine these things in the light of Scripture.
Now don’t believe it just because I say so. Don’t believe something just because you grew up in this version of religion or in that church. If you do, you are at risk.
Look to the Bible. God’s Word tells everyone that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). No wonder He inspired Hebrews 4:9 “There remains, therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God to keep” (ISV).
Now what will you do? God moved the apostle Paul to warn us all:
He wrote: “But Eve’s mind was tricked by the snake’s clever lies. And here’s what I’m afraid of. Your minds will also somehow be led astray. They will be led away from your true and pure love for Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3, NIRV).
Don’t be deceived. Be sure that you choose the right direction and are never led away from truly following Christ. If it could happen then—it could happen now. If it could happen to them—it could happen to us!
Up next, I’m going to discuss the shocking teachings of Jesus with our Beyond Today panel, but first let’s recap what we’ve covered today:
Even though there are 2.2 billion people who profess to be Christian, how many actually know and keep God’s Word and way? The fact is: we can’t be true Christians and not follow Jesus.
To claim to be Christian means we must follow Christ.
To follow Jesus means we must observe the Sabbath!
To discuss this surprising teaching of Christ further fellow hosts, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty join me.
Now here’s a question: Should we really be surprised at Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath?
[Darris] Absolutely not, Steve. Christ was the creator. He is described as the one by whom all the heavens are created. And in Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 where we find that creation account, He created man in His image and then the very next creative act was the seventh-day Sabbath. And that comes before the giving of the law, any of the covenants of Mt. Sinai and the other covenants of the New Testament. Sabbath has been in effect since creation. Christ gave the Sabbath when He said that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. He was describing exactly what Genesis tells us and what the entire Bible is about on that particular point.
[Gary] Putting those two points together are real important. I mean, here we have Paul says that God created all things through Jesus Christ. So, we look in Genesis, the Creator there, the one doing the creation is Jesus Christ. And it’s He who created the Sabbath and rested on the Sabbath. Then we see Him come as a man and He says the Sabbath is for all humanity, not just Jews, for all humanity. You put those two things together and it is obvious the Sabbath was created for everyone, and it hasn’t been done away.
[Darris] Every race, every ethnicity, not just for the Jews or Israel, but for all mankind.
[Steve] Yeah how critical to know that creation is where that Sabbath began and even the fact that God Himself rested on the Sabbath and set it apart, which is sometimes shocking for people to realize that very thing.
One of the challenges we have then when we hear things like this, what do we do when we recognize that this is something surprising that, I’m not sure what to do now? How should we handle these kinds of things?
[Darris] Well you come to a point in life that you must recognize that either this Word is the Word of God or it isn’t. We believe that it is and if you believe that it is, it tells you then what day is the Sabbath and it must be observed to have a true relationship, in truth, with God. And so, you’re at a point in your life where you have to either do what the Bible says and reap its blessings or reject its instruction and its guidance on your life. There are consequences for that.
[Gary] There is a God. He created us. He knows how life works. He wants us to be happy and productive and to obey Him and follow Him. I mean, yes, we need to go in there and find out what our God wants. And to worship our God.
[Steve] And we put Him first, we do what He says. We do what He says.
And that can be a challenge because sometimes we may find ourselves in a whole different place. So, how do we avoid the deception? How do we avoid that perspective in our life?
[Darris] By obeying. You can only prove God, prove that He is the God that He describes in the Bible by taking Him at His Word and then acting upon the instructions that He says. God says, prove me now herewith on His law and on the Sabbath then we can and should do that and by doing so, we enter into a relationship with the God of creation, who then is working with us.
Understand, if you’ve gotten this far already in the program with us and on this topic, God has begun to lift the veil off your mind. And that then puts a decision upon you to act. God may be already acting in your life and you’ve got to begin to act your part. I think that’s where we’ve all found ourselves and it’s the most important point on this topic.
[Gary] I have been studying that Book since I was a child and I am still constantly surprised by it. What God has for us, what God wants for us is there. We should be surprised by it which means we have to be humble. We have to at times, not trust ourselves, but trust in God.
[Steve] There’s so much that we can learn when we actually do the things in the Bible. Always interesting to know that hearing is one thing but doing puts it into practice and we can learn so much about God and develop that relationship when we actually follow.
There’s been a lot to consider regarding Jesus’ true teachings on today’s program. The truth of the Bible, it certainly stands in stark contrast to traditional religious concepts.
Now throughout today’s program I’ve covered some important differences between Jesus’ teachings and Christianity itself! It is hard to imagine that it’s actually possible to go to church and not really be following Jesus!
How can you discern the genuine teachings of Jesus Christ from those that are false? Well, to help you do that, we have a free Bible study aid: Jesus Christ: The Real Story. This valuable booklet will help you better understand who Jesus Christ truly was and what He actually taught during His 3 and 1/2 year ministry.
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It’s a fact: modern Christianity often opposes the teachings of Christ. Jesus plainly said that many would listen to false teachers and false Christs instead of Him.
We must decide to follow Him on the right path. So remember, we can’t claim to “believe on Christ” without understanding and obeying what He taught. The only way to truly understand is to read your Bible and learn His teachings. Pray for God’s inspiration and direction.
Christ doesn’t want you to claim to be religious and only possess a weak understanding of what He actually taught.
If you are shocked by the teachings of Christ, take that opportunity to act. Study those instructions and choose to change. Always rely on Jesus Christ to help you live by every Word of God and strive to follow His example in all things.
That’s the program for today. Don’t forget our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again for another edition of Beyond Today and join me in praying, “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today I’m Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
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