The recent Pope has been quoted to say that it is dangerous to have a relationship with Jesus Christ outside of the church:
“Pope Francis described as “dangerous” the temptation to believe that one can have “a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.”1
A Relationship with Jesus Christ Outside of the Church is Dangerous?
I think Not, but, What Do You Think?
Is the Church the Mediator Between God and Man?
I would like to quote what Jesus said:
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
I would also like to quote from Paul’s letters to Timothy and the Romans:
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2: 5-6
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, Who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
So if Jesus Christ said He is the only way to the heavenly Father and eternal life, and He is the only mediator between God and mankind, and continues to be the intercessor for all believers, then it is safe to say that any other way is the wrong way and is not only dangerous but leads to eternal death:
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
Jesus Christ is the only Way not the Church
A personal relationship with God comes through hearing the gospel message through the Word of God. Therefore, we can determine the way is neither through any church nor is it through faith in Peter, Paul or Mary, nor by faith in the words spoken by the Pope.
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ comes through hearing the Word of God and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Jesus Defines the Church and the Family of God
Ephesians 5: 22-30
“Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12: 49-50
One does not join the church to be converted. Rather, after conversion the believer in Jesus Christ automatically becomes part of the Body of Christ by believing and obeying the Truth.
Jesus is to be Lifted Up not the Church
Jesus didn’t say if Christianity or any church is lifted up He will draw all mankind to Himself, but rather if He is lifted up He will draw all mankind to Himself through knowledge of His death on the cross and His salvation. (John 12:32)
What Does the Word of God Say?
Isn’t it time we forego religious doctrine and find out for ourselves what God said, and is still saying today?
The Apostle’s Conversion
Acts 22: 6-10, Matthew 16:15-17
It was Jesus Christ who stopped Saul who later became Paul in his tracks and turned him around. Upon hearing the Lord’s Words Saul was converted and later called as the Apostle to the gentiles (Acts 22:6-10).
In the same way it was not the persuasion of any man, but only through the Word of Jesus and the confirmation of God’s Holy Spirit that Peter came to believe He was the true Messiah ( Matthew 16:15-17).
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”
Matthew 16: 15-17
The Thief’s Relationship with Christ
Luke 23: 33-43
One of the thieves who hung on the cross beside Jesus was converted by acknowledging his sin and Jesus Christ as His Savior. Jesus confirmed His position in Heaven with His Word:
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-43
The thief on the cross was not saved by mediation of a church or any man’s words nor through any baptism but only through Christ’s baptism, the Word – Who made him clean.
The Samaritan Woman’s Relationship with Christ
John 4: 1-42
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4: 21-24
The Samaritan Woman was converted by hearing the Truth directly from the Word – the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Upon hearing the Truth, she believed, and was converted. Immediately she went out to tell others about Jesus Christ. Upon her testimony of faith she became part of the Body – Christ’s Church (Ephesians 5: 23-30, 1 Corinthians 12:27)
The Ethiopian’s Relationship with Christ
Acts 8: 25-39
After Christ’s resurrection, an Ethiopian eunuch was searching for the Truth. As he was reading the Word of God he came across Isaiah 53 describing the suffering of Jesus Christ. By way of the Holy Spirit, Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples was sent explaining to him the meaning of the scripture and the gospel of Christ. Following the Eunuch’s conversion he became a member of the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12: 4-5).
Two Disciples’ Relationship with Christ
Following Christ’s resurrection, two disciples journeyed to the town of Emmaus. They were discussing the events of Jesus’ death and rumors of His resurrection. Jesus appeared beside them and explained the scriptures beginning from Genesis to their present day. Upon hearing the Truth about why He had to die and how He was raised from the dead, they believed, were converted, and upon their conversion ran out to confess and give testimony of what they had seen and heard. At that moment, they became members of the Body of Christ, not by any man’s persuasion but by hearing the Word and confession of faith.
God’s Grace and His Word
Ephesians 2: 8-9
Salvation comes only through faith by God’s Grace in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. It does not come by any man’s doctrinal beliefs, but only by hearing and receiving the Word of Truth. (Romans 10:17)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9
The Gospel Message Saves
You don’t go through the church to be saved. You go through the way of faith in Jesus Christ to be saved:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
It is hearing the Word of God and believing it which brings about salvation. So whether you hear the gospel message by picking up the Bible in the privacy of your own home, or hear the message on TV or radio or in a church, the Truth is this; if it is the pure gospel message it has the power to save you by believing the message and confessing your faith.
Salvation is Imparted through the Word of God
The impartation of the gospel comes only through the Word of God and not by any interpretation by man, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ Who are One – calling all believers to faith into One Body, Whom Christ is the Head. (Colossians 1:18)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16
God Protects – Preserves – and Multiplies His Word
During the Age of Enlightenment whereby more people were given access to knowledge and information, Martin Luther a devout Catholic monk was converted by seeking after God.
He became disillusioned with the doctrine and rituals of the Catholic Church. So he set out to study the scriptures (Word of God) to see what was missing in His relationship with God. It was when He read the gospel message He became converted and disputed the false doctrine of the church. He was called of God to speak the truth about God’s Grace and the free gift of His salvation. This brought about the time of reformation, and what soon followed was God’s provision to multiply the Word with the invention of the printing press, and the translation of the Bible into all languages until this gospel reaches the ends of the earth. The distribution, multiplication and the translation continues on today.
Today, there is no excuse for not hearing the Word of God. There are more copies and more translations of the Bible printed than any other book. You can begin reading the New Testament starting with the gospel message of John. The New Living Bible is an easy translation understood by most people.
The Beginning of the Body of Christ – His Church
(Acts 2: 1-47)
When the believers gathered together in Jerusalem, God sent His Holy Spirit as evidence of His power to convert mankind. It has always been God’s plan to translate His Word into all languages and it began at Pentecost which marked the beginning of the Church of Christ.
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:4
“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 47
Isn’t it Time to Seek the Truth Ourselves?
Finally, it is not dangerous to have a relationship with Jesus Christ outside of the doctrines of any church, but it is absolutely dangerous to think you have a relationship with Jesus Christ because you belong to a church. Even the temple which impressed the disciples came down 70 years following Christ’s death and resurrection. (Luke 21: 5-6)
The Gospel Message According to the Word of God
We are all Sinners
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3: 23
God Loves us so Much!
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For God loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
What Should We Do?
“But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for:
“WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” Romans 10:8-13
Today is the Day of Salvation
Just as the thief on the cross recognized his sin and turned to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, you too can receive His forgiveness and know you are SAVED.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 13-14
Therefore, Believe, Repent, and Receive His Holy Spirit as confirmation of your faith and your salvation today. DF
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
My Prayer for You
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1: 18-21