Simplicity in Christ
Simplicity is that which is clear, plain and easy to be understood or done. It is not complex or complicated, but natural. This is what we find when it comes to Christ and to Christianity. Now sometimes we like to make Christianity complicated when it is not necessary. Paul speaks about the simplicity in Christ to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 11:3† But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Paul understood that Christ and His message was simple for us to understand, but their always someone out their that is ready to make His message difficult and when they do this it become confusing and opens the door for false doctrine. To help us see the simplicity that is in Christ lets us begin by looking at the simply life Christ lived while He was on the earth.
Mother Marry and stepfather Joseph were just common people that happened to be
a part of the lineage of Christ. Even when Jesus was born of a Virgin in
Luke 2:6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.† 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. †
Now you might think the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would be born in a great palace with servants attending to His every need, but that was not the case as we just read. It was just a simply place that wasnít even part of the inn because it full up thanks to the Census that was being taken.
are not told very much about Jesus early life but we do know that he was raised
Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
We learn from this that Joseph was carpenter and this means that Jesus was a carpenter as well, because during that time the father would always teach the son the craft he knew so He would have a skill to provide food for himself and His family. Again, Jesus was living the simply life.
Even though Jesus was God in the flesh He humbled Himself before God the Father as He was baptized by John even though He had no sin. This was an important event that showed that Jesus was the Son of God because the Holy Spirit descended on Him and remained there. Then Father spoke out heaven saying,
†Mark 1:11 †"You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Once Jesus identity was revealed you might think he would be given a crown and a thrown, but instead He is led out to the desert for 40 days and 40 nights where He fasted and was tempted by the devil.
Once he survived this and put the devil in his place we find him living and eating with sinners.
Luke 15:1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.† 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."
In fact many times Jesus found himself without a home as he traveled about during His ministry. When Jesus went around teaching the Word of God His message was simple for those who were willing to listen. For instance, notice what He says in,
Mark 12:35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?† 36 "For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." '† 37 "Therefore David himself calls Him 'Lord'; how is He then his Son?" And the common people heard Him gladly.
See His message was simple enough for the common person to be able to understand and receive His words gladly. The Sermon on the Mount is another example of how simply Jesus message was. One of Jesusí main teaching was that the kingdom was at hand.
Then finally Jesus died a lowly death that was designed for criminals. In every way Jesus lived the simple life.
We also learn that Jesus brought forth a simple gospel message based up on his death, burial and resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,† 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain.† 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,† 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
In fact when look through the book of Acts you will find that this was main message that was being taught wherever they went because Jesus death, burial and resurrection is foundation of Christianity and without it we would have no hope.
1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?† 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.† 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.† 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up -- if in fact the dead do not rise.† 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.† 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!† 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.† 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
This was the simple message the apostles taught at the birth of the church and it caused many to pricked in the heart and they wanted to know what they were suppose to do know that knew the Jesus was the Son of God and that He had died for them. Again the message was simple.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.† 39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."† 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."† 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
The people who had believed that Jesus was the Son of God had no problems understanding Peterís message because 3000 of them repented and were baptized into Christ for their remission of their sins. The apostles were teaching the same simple message the Jesus had taught them.
Mark 16:16 †"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Jesus also established a simple church that He purchased with His own blood according to Act 20:28. The church could have been made into something complicated like humans like to do. For instance just look at the Catholic church. They make elaborate buildings and they have a Pope, priests and all kinds of complicated procedures. However, Christ kept it simple.
Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.†
This means that we donít have earthly headquarters or a Pope that is the head of the church not Jesus is our head so this means out headquarters are in heaven. The church is not a fancy building it is made up of Christians. 1 Cor. 12 makes this point clear as it refers to Christians as being members that make up the one body which is the church.
We find out the Jesus is the savior of that one body.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
We also find out at what point a person enters into that one body that Jesus will save in,
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Acts 2:47 †ÖAnd the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
So this shows us that Jesus is the head of the body/church and in order to be added to this church by God you must be baptized into it. We also learn that Jesus had made each congregation responsible for itself and wants each congregation to have qualified elders that oversee the church 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1:5. Deacons who are qualified and willing to serve the Lord 1 Tim. 3. Then finally the rest of the church is made up of saints which includes the minister. You can see all three of this in,
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
We also find that Jesus didnít make our worship to God into something complicated as many humans have done. Some have added all kinds of rituals while at the same time taken away the simple way we are taught to worship God. Jesus said,
John 4:24 †"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
So we must worship God from our heart and from the truth of Godís Word. When you study the pattern of worship in the NT will discover 5 basic things that are included in worship to God.
From 1 Cor. 14 we can see 3 different things that we do in our worship to God.
1. We sing praises to God through song.
2. We read the scriptures and study them in the form of teaching or preaching
3. We pray to God
We learn from 1 Cor. 16:1-2 that we are give our money on the first day of the week when we come together to worship God and Acts 20:7 teaches us that we also partake of the Lordís Supper on the first day of the weak as well. These are 5 things that are involved in our worship to God on the first day of the weak.
We also learn from 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2 that the men are to take the leading role in conducting the worship service. This is how the church is organized and it is simple to understand because Jesus made it that way.
We also learn that Christ gave us a simple book which we call the Bible. Now there are certainly some difficult passages that require a person to dig deep, but most Bible is very easy to understand. Some groups out there would have you believe that on a few select people can actually understand the scriptures and you just need to listen to them if want to know what it says. But, that goes against what the Bible says about itself.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,† 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Notice it doesnít say the scriptures equip a select few but that ever Christian will be equipped for every good work by reading and studying the scriptures. Notice some other passages that bare this out.
John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;† 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
John is letting us know that all of can read the scriptures and learn about Jesus and what He did which will cause us to believe.
Ephesians 3:3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,† 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),† 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:
Paul is telling us when we read the scriptures we will the same understanding as an apostle. So, we donít need some special to explain to use what the scriptures mean because we can all read and study and the Bible will explain itself.
There are other people who like flex the intellect and they will come up with all kinds of theories about scriptures and tell you that every verse has a hidden meaning and so you donít know really for sure what it is saying. People who try and make the scriptures into something harder than they should be remind of Paul told Timothy in,
2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,† 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,† 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,† 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!† 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,† 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
People like this are so busy trying to find hidden meaning or new ways to further their false doctrine that become blind to simple message of the scriptures. So, donít ever forget the Bible has a simple message that you and I can understand and follow.
Since Jesus was a simple man who gave us a simple plan we should do our best to follow in footsteps. We need to learn to be humble like He was and to consider those who around us. We need to love God with whole heart mind and soul and in turn love our brethren. We need to read and study our Bible and then live our life based on what we have learned. We need to put God first in our lives and worship him spirit and in truth without adding to or taking away from the pattern He has given us in His word.
I like the though Paul gives us in,
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,† 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.† 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.† 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.† 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
This is what Christianity is all about. Sometimes it is so simple that causes people to stumble because they are always looking for mysterious and difficult things.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
I hope this lesson has shown the simplicity that is found in Christ. I hope that each us will not allow ourselves to get caught up in all kinds theories and concepts to the point where miss the simply message of Godís Word.