“Unto you therefore which believe, HE is precious” 1 Peter 2:7
When I was a young Christian there was a chorus, doing the rounds; we all sang it with great conviction and relish. The words were,
“He is all I need,
Christ is all I need,
Jesus is all I need;
He was crucified,
For me He died,
Jesus is all I need.”
Great words! Great sentiment, but lies for most of us! Was Jesus ALL we needed?------not really. Oh yes He was in theory, but most of us quietly still felt we needed more?
It’s one thing for us to sing Christ is all I need----what if Christ was all we had? Let me ask you, if Jesus was all you had, would HE be enough?
Through years of ministry I’ve discovered there are many, many Christians who are dissatisfied and disappointed with their Christian walk because of one thing, Jesus is not enough for them. Somewhere along the line, something else became more important than Jesus! They’ve fallen for the trap that his satanic majesty lays for God’s Children. The trap?------ to take us away from Jesus. Have you fallen for his snare? Is Jesus enough for you? Can you say with true conviction, HE is enough! You may have been a believer for many years but that does not necessarily mean that, in your Christian life, HE is enough.
So, let’s look at certain areas in which believers have difficulty in allowing Jesus to be enough. Let’s ask some important questions: First, we must start with the foundation as we ask,
1) IS JESUS ENOUGH---- TO GET YOU TO HEAVEN?
Here’s some good news, God is holy, perfect and righteous! Here’s some bad news, we are not! Here’s even worse news, if ever we are to get to heaven and avoid God’s judgment we must be like Him. But this is impossible! Not one of us comes close to being as righteous, perfect or holy as God. As Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “-- there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.”
So how then can any of us get to Heaven? Let’s face it, under these terms no one is going to make it! But the best news is, God Himself, knowing the helpless and hopeless mess we were in, came to earth and lived and died for us. Christ Jesus went to the cross, took responsibility for our sins, and offered Himself as a sacrificial substitute for us. There, at the cross, He poured out His blood and absorbed the wrath which our sins justly deserved. HE was buried, rose again on the third day and after 40 days, bodily and visibly ascended into Heaven there to appear in the presence of God for us. HE now guarantees that if we rest, trust and rely on Him, HE will save us completely and entirely. Is this enough for you?
Now before you say, “Yeah I know that” let me ask, have you any other scheme of getting to Heaven other than resting entirely on the doing and dying of Jesus? Is HE enough? Or, are you trying to supplement the work Christ did at the cross. Are you trying to add something to it? Maybe something like your performance as a Christian? Or, can you and do you rest in Christ alone? Do you build your hope on Christ alone? Is JESUS enough?
If you are trying to impress God with anything other than the shed blood of Jesus, give it up. You are in danger of adding a “damnable plus” to Christ alone! Jesus must be enough! He does not need your contributions to bring you to Heaven! HE is your qualification for heaven; HE is enough. There’s nothing you can do to save yourself.
Ebenezer Wooten an earnest but eccentric English evangelist of another generation once held meetings in a tent on the village green at Lidford Brook. The last service had been conducted, the crowd was leaving, and the evangelist was busy taking down the tent. A young fellow approached the preacher and rather casually asked, “Mr. Wooten, what must I do to be saved?”
“Too late!” said the evangelist, in a matter of fact way, as he glanced up at the inquirer. “You’re too late, my friend, way too late!”
This startled the young man causing him to quickly lose his apparent indifference. “Oh, don’t say that, Mr. Wooten! Surely it isn’t too late just because the meetings are over?”
“Yes, my friend,” answered the evangelist, looking the young man straight in the eye, “it’s too late! You want to know what you must DO to be saved, and I tell you that you’re hundreds of years too late! The work of salvation is done, completed, finished! It was finished on the cross; Jesus said so with the last breath that He drew! What more do you want?”
Then and there the truth dawned upon the young man. There was nothing for him to do! The Lord Jesus had perfected and finished the work of Salvation at the cross. That is, there was nothing for him to do but to accept the Saviour and His redemptive work as a free gift. The person and work of Jesus was enough! Nothing needed to be added.
Is HE enough for you?
2) IS JESUS ENOUGH FOR YOU TO LIVE IN FREEDOM?
You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. That’s the way Jesus taught it in John 8:32. Yet today many of God’s children are living in bondage. They are all tied up with guilt and have still not grasped that Christ has forgiven all their sins. For them Jesus is still not enough! Is HE enough for you? Are old sins casting long shadows? Are you suffering under a guilty conscience for the failures of the past? There is, however, great news; if the grace of God has led you to repentance, if you have looked by faith to Jesus, the failures and faults are gone. The only place the past can now live is in your memory. The only power it has to control you is that which you give it! Jesus has wiped out those sins at the cross. Believe that and let Him be enough.
Another area where many of God’s people are living (maybe even dying) in bondage is in the area of trying to earn God’s blessing. For them Jesus is not enough!
Nowhere is this more obviously seen as in this business of having a quiet time with the Lord. I personally love having a quiet time with Him. I love, at the start of my day, to sit down with a cup of tea and worship and praise the Lord Jesus for all that He is and for all that He has done. However, I don’t do this in any way to gain God’s favor, Why? Because nothing I can do can earn that. But when I look at the Christian world today I see multitudes of earnest believers loaded down with guilt because they are failing to have a quiet time. And with this failure comes a severe loss of joy. For them, the quiet time has subtly become a work that needs to be done to secure the continued favor and blessing of God.
It’s the same with personal Bible study. Countless numbers of Christians are living in guilt because they do not read the Bible enough. They are convinced that God somehow disapproves of them when they don’t read the Word. If they could just maintain a disciplined habit of Bible reading, then, they feel, God would look upon them with more favor. For these people, Jesus is not enough! However, Jesus read and studied the Bible perfectly for us. In Christ, we are as perfect and righteous as He is, therefore in Christ, we are perfect Bible students. For that matter, in Christ, we are perfect prayer warriors. So let’s ask it again, is JESUS enough?
Am I advocating not to study the Bible and not to pray? Am I against quiet times? No, on the contrary, I would love to see all of the Lord’s Children study and pray continually. In fact, Jesus has given us a new heart and nature which cries out for fellowship with Him through the Word and prayer. But what I am totally opposed to is this business of thinking that our prayers and time spent in the Word can somehow gain us more favor with God than we already have in Christ Jesus. Jesus is enough! Is He enough for you?
Right standing with God is not Christ Jesus plus our efforts. If we get caught in that trap we will wear ourselves out on the treadmill of our own efforts. We will turn the grace of God into a law and, as a result, lose our joy and vitality. If this is the case, Jesus will never be enough!
The truth remains, no matter how much Bible Study and prayer we do, we still need the blood of Jesus to approach God. Our devotional life can never become our mediator! If you missed your quiet time today do you feel you are disqualified from gaining God’s favor for today? If so, Jesus is not enough.
Hey, get this, it may surprise you, but nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to spend the first hour of the day alone with God! Now then, if God does not command it why should you demand it?
But, why then spend time with God? After all, if I’m already a perfect prayer warrior and Bible student in Christ, why pray and study the Word? If you have to ask this, then the cross has yet to reduce you to nothing! You are not yet broken. A broken and dependent person knows the answer. When the cross of Christ exposes who you are in your self you will say before God, “I am not strong, I am weak and needy. I need your strength moment by moment for I have none of my own. I need your righteousness for I am incapable of doing anything that is not tainted with sin. I need your blood for it cleanses me from all my sins moment by moment, I need You to give me a desire to pray and to meditate on Your word for in myself I have none. I need you as my source of everything for I am nothing and have nothing. Let my heart focus on You, for You are enough”
The old time English Preacher, John Berridge, knew that Jesus had to be enough for there was nothing in his own performance he could build his hope upon. He said,
“I cannot pray, but I sin; I cannot hear, or preach a sermon, but I sin; I cannot give an alms, or receive the sacrament, but I sin; no, I cannot so much as confess my sins, but my confessions are still aggravations of them. My repentance needs to be repented of, my tears need washing, and the very washing of my tears needs still to be washed over again with the blood of my Redeemer.”
There is no hope in us. We can only find full confidence and hope in Christ Jesus and His doing and dying. He is our only approach to God. He is our only source of blessing. HE is enough! But is HE enough for you?
3) IS JESUS ENOUGH FOR VALIDITY AND RECOGNITION?
Many of us judge ourselves by how successful we are in life. However, we rarely stop to ask by whose standard of success we are making the measurement. The World says that a big bank balance is the measure of success but this is untrue. I’ve known many wealthy failures. They have had multiple failed marriages, few genuine friends and countless broken relationships. Success? Far from it!
Our problem, however, is we, even as Christians, often measure our validity by our bank balance. Remember the rich young ruler? Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and come and follow Him. We then read, “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions (Matt 19:22). For this guy, Jesus was not enough! If he gave everything away, all he would have would be Jesus. Perhaps he needed possessions to validate his existence or to mold his identity. We don’t know exactly why he turned down the offer but this we know, Jesus was not enough for Him. He needed more! What about you? Is Jesus enough?
Are you caught up in the game of accumulating things? Why do you do that? Is it to gain validation? Let me tell you a secret, until you learn to authenticate you existence in Jesus Christ you will always look for validation from others, from your work, from your accomplishments and from material accumulations. We would do well to remember the words of Francis Covell who said, “The world has two breasts, at one or the other of which all worldly people suck – Pleasure and Possessions.”
No amount of wealth can validate you. In a short time the sum total of property you will occupy will be an urn or a box in a plot 6ft by 2 and ½ feet. The important question today, therefore, is this, is Jesus all you need? Is HE enough? Are you thoroughly satisfied with Jesus?
Some people, on the other hand, try to validate their existence through power. I once knew a politician, a mayor of a city, who dreamed of National office, not so that he could serve, but so that he could have power and influence. He would not have misused his power, he was one of the good guys, but he desperately wanted the power to validate his existence. For Him Jesus was not enough! How difficult it must be for Christian politicians. John Steinbeck, the novelist, suggests something very interesting, he says, “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” Fear of losing power, or losing wealth for that matter, will always act like a cancer, slowly eating away at the inner core unless Jesus is enough.
Which is more important, your earthly income or your heavenly inheritance? Which is more important, the adulation of men or the applause of Heaven? Is Jesus enough?
Perhaps, on the other hand, you are ashamed because you feel you don’t have a large income. But, why in the world should your bank balance matter? You are not here to win the praise of other depraved sinners. God is not impressed by the amount of money any man has in the bank. What does impress Him, however, is what you think of His Son. IS HE enough?
As for your bank balance, remember how Jesus taught it? We read, “--- a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses” (Lk 12:15). God does not measure your worth by the amount of money you make. In fact, there are many wealthy people who are actually worthless when it comes to the cause of Christ: They are not, as Jesus said in LK. 12:21, “rich toward God.”
You may think you have an unimportant job but your job and how you do it is vitally important. Perform your job as an act of worship; do it to the glory of God. Let your validation come out of the fact that God has loved you, chosen you, called you and adopted you into His Royal family. You are a child and heir of God. So, let’s ask it again, are you satisfied with Jesus? IS HE enough?
Some Christians think that the way to validate themselves is through Ministry: This may sound strange but I’ve known lots of people who have striven for a “big ministry” for no other reason than to validate their existence. Some young guys I’ve known have wanted to become Christian singer songwriters just so they could become famous. But they missed the point! There’s a lesson to be learned by all would be ministers whether preachers of the Word or worship leaders. When Jesus called the twelve into ministry we read that,
“He ordained twelve, that they should BE WITH HIM (MK 3:12). Did you get that? They were ordained, THAT THEY SHOULD BE WITH HIM! With Him….HIM….Is Jesus enough. Would you trade HIM for fame and the adulation of men? Is HE enough? Would you be willing to live in obscurity with no one ever recognizing your gifts---Is Jesus enough
4) IS JESUS ENOUGH FOR ACCEPTANCE, APPRECIATION AND APPROVAL?
Another big challenge for many of us is this business of acceptance. Most of us want to impress other people so that they will like and accept us. Let’s face it, none of want to be rejects. But Paul asks a piercing and heart searching question when he writes, “--- do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10).
I know people who adopt a false personality just so others will accept them. They act like the life and soul of the party but it’s all a cover up. They don’t want us to see what they are really like; they don’t want us to see that they really feel like rejects. What about you? Have you learned to find your acceptance in Jesus? Is HE enough? Just think of it, He was wounded for you and died for you. Is that love enough for you? You are now accepted in Heaven because of Him. Is that acceptance enough for you?
Jesus did not go around trying to impress people but He was very impressive. In fact, He was the most impressive person who ever lived. Consider this, the most impressive person who ever lived, loves you and has loved you since before you ever were born and before time existed. Is this love enough for you to rest in? Until HE becomes enough for you, you will yearn and strive for the acceptance of fellow sinners. You will develop an acceptance addiction. That’s just another form of bondage and is no way for a Child of the King to live. Let Jesus be enough!
Another related trap we often fall into is seeking appreciation and approval from others. As John says,
“They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” Jn 12:43.
Our lives are filled with all these “important others”. Throughout life many of us accumulate an invisible jury whose approval we are desperate to obtain. This gets scary. One man I know earned his Ph.D. because his Father had always told him he would amount to nothing. The tragedy of this story is, however, that his Father was long dead before my friend graduated. Yet he completed his studies still yearning to gain the approval of his dead father, still trying to show his father that he was not worthless.
Self worth and approval must be found in Jesus. He must be enough if we are to make it through this life. When you are feeling fractured, tell your self what the Word says. Tell yourself that you have been redeemed by blood, precious blood, the blood of the Lamb. Tell yourself that Jesus loves you. Does this sound strange? Let me tell you something, often when I feel fragile I have a talk with myself and confess those three words, JESUS LOVES ME! I confess them till I possess them and they possess me. His love and approval is enough because He is enough.
5) IS JESUS ENOUGH FOR TIMES OF TROUBLE?
In the Christian life you will have trouble! Mark it down, there’s no way to get out of this life alive. Jesus taught, “In the world you shall have trouble”. What He actually said was, “In the world you shall have tribulation,” but it amounts to the same thing!
Do you think Jesus lived a trouble free life? From the word go He was in trouble. Herod hated Him and tried to kill Him, that’s trouble! He became a refugee in Egypt, that’s trouble! Several assassination attempts were made on His life, that’s trouble! People hated Him without a cause, that’s trouble! People used Him for what they could get out of Him, that’s trouble! People broke His heart, that’s trouble! His family thought He was mad, that’s trouble! He was betrayed and forsaken by His friends, that’s trouble! And if all that wasn’t enough, He was railroaded by injustice, tried by a kangaroo court, falsely accused and executed as a blasphemer. Now that’s trouble!
So you want a trouble free life? Is the servant greater than his Master? Jesus said it like this, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Jn 15:18-19
We should therefore not expect everyone to love us! So how do we respond when they don’t? Do we crumble? Do we get all huffy and hissy? People can and will cause you lots of trouble but in the midst of the trouble, Jesus is enough? Is HE enough for you?
For example, not everyone in your family may love you for standing with Jesus and they can cause you trouble. Jesus taught it this way,
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt 10:34-36).
So let me ask you, is Jesus enough? Look what He says in the next verse:
“He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt 10:37-38).
So let me ask you again, is Jesus enough?
Some years ago, at a conference, I heard a pastor Chen from China. Chen had spent 18 years in Jail for being a Christian. Talk about trouble! While in jail, the communist authorities tried to indoctrinate and humiliate him. In order to break his spirit; they gave him the most difficult task in the camp. They sent him to work in the cesspool!
This cesspool was the sewer pit, which served 60,000 prisoners. His assignment? To scoop out human waste for use as fertilizer. The stench of the place was horrible and the maggots and worms so plentiful that the guards rarely came near the place in case they caught a deadly disease.
But for Pastor Chen, Jesus was enough! He was thrilled because there, in that cesspool, he could meet with the Lord every day without interruption. Every day he would start by singing:
‘I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.’
The Lord transformed a sewer into a Garden for Pastor Chen because Jesus was enough for him!
Is He enough for you?
6) IS JESUS ENOUGH FOR LIFE?
I love this prayer:
“Dear God, so far today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper, I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help. Amen”
Not only do we need Jesus every moment off the day but also we need HIM to become our life! Our life pursuit should be to know Him, to win Him and to glorify Him. Is Jesus your life? Do you exist for His glory? IS HE enough?
Paul said, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” Phil 3:7-8.
Thirty years before he penned this, Paul had been the ringleader of the self-righteous and a fearsome enemy of Jesus. But the Lord graciously saved him and from that moment he never took off his eye off his Savior. From that moment he lived his life 'looking unto Jesus.' For him Jesus was enough! He saw in Jesus more than enough to make him turn his back on earthly glory and the praise of men. His life became a pursuit of Christ. He had discovered a new focus and purpose. Christ Jesus was enough for Him. Christ had become his life.
What about you? Is Christ your focus? Are you satisfied with Him? Is there a passion within you to know Him Do you know what it is to win Christ?
To win Christ is to gain Him. It means to gain out of Christ the riches that are in Him. We have a vast inheritance in Jesus. He is a mine of treasure with more riches and resources than the world can muster. Yet His people stand outside this treasure store yearning for everything else other than the inexhaustible riches of Christ.
But, Paul says, 'I want to win Christ,' In other words, I want to possess all that I can possess of Christ. I want all of Him, for He is enough. Paul does not say, 'my goal is to win souls?' Winning souls is important but winning souls will only follow the person who wins Christ. Paul’s life was totally wrapped up in Jesus.
Is the Person of Christ precious to you? No one like Him has ever walked onto the stage of History. He is the God-man. He is humanity married to Divinity.
What a mystery, the person of Christ, God, yet man! Is HE enough for you?
Is it enough for you to know He was perfectly obedient on your behalf? Are you satisfied in the knowledge that HE was perfectly righteous for you? Everything He has done has been credited to your account. Look at Him, the God/man, perfectly obeying the Law on your behalf. Surely HE must be enough? What a wealth of accomplishments we have to present to God. We have the obedience and righteousness of the God-man. We have all His goodness and wonderful works. We are complete in Him. Is this not enough for you?
Look now at His suffering – Look at Him hanging between Heaven and Earth like a disinherited Son. Look at Him exhausting the wrath of the Holy God whom we had outraged by our sins. Is HE enough? HE was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him' - (2 Cor. 5:21) He was 'made a curse for us, that the blessing might come upon us.' (Gal. 3:13,14.) Is HE enough?
Look at Him now, He is our mediator. We belong to Him, He represents us as He appears in the presence of the Father for us. He has rescued, redeemed and reconciled us. There is no way, therefore, that He will release us. We are safe at last. All that is in HIM belongs to us. Why would we look elsewhere for our validation, acceptance, approval, appreciation and recognition. HE is enough!
Look at Him again, He is coming back in Glory. Your Savior is the King of the Universe before whom all shall bow. He’s coming back for His purchased possession. That’s you! Did you think He would leave you Fatherless. Did you think He would forget you? He’s coming back and you are in His heart. He loves you, He’s crazy about you. As Paul says, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.” Col 3:4. Is HE your life? If so, then He’s enough!
7) IS JESUS ENOUGH FOR THE FUTURE?
“More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” -Woody Allen
No one knows what the future holds. There are enough weapons of mass destruction stockpiled and hidden in various places to obliterate us all in a few short moments. What does the future hold? I don’t know: None of us know. But this we do know, Jesus is enough! Listen to His word; “The LORD (that’s Jesus) is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Ps 121:5-8. Jesus is enough!
Can you trust Him for your future here on earth? Is He enough? But what if I lose everything? Could that happen?…of course it could, just ask Job. But let me tell you this, If HE is not enough now, HE won’t be then.
There’s no point in sitting around worrying all day. If we do, Jesus is not enough. If we worry all day we should sing “All glory to worry” for we obviously think it has more power that the Almighty. For William Freeman Lloyd, a brother from another generation, Jesus was enough. He left us these powerful words,
My times are in Thy hand;
My God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul I leave
Entirely to Thy care.
My times are in Thy hand;
Whatever they may be;
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
As best may seem to Thee.
My times are in Thy hand;
Why should I doubt or fear?
My Father’s hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.
My times are in Thy hand,
Jesus, the crucified!
Those hands my cruel sins had pierced
Are now my guard and guide.
My times are in Thy hand,
I’ll always trust in Thee;
And, after death, at Thy right hand
I shall forever be.