This is Part II of two articles. The first article challenges Christians to answer three simple questions to determine if they really have learned the simple teachings of Christ.
OK, here’s a reminder of the background to the exam questions.
There are only 3 questions in this exam. These are not trick questions. They are simple, straightforward questions with simple, straightforward answers. The only restriction is that you must answer the questions by referring only to what Christ taught. If you are a follower of Christ, you should know what he specifically taught about these things.
Here we go:
According to Christ, why did he come to earth?
What is the topic Christ talked about the most?
According to Christ, what is the gospel (good news) about?
Simple, basic questions, right? Every follower of Christ should be able to easily answer these questions.
Answers to the Exam Questions
I will give some of the most common answers and then I will give the correct answer using only what Christ’s specifically taught.
1) Why did Christ come to earth?
The Most Common Wrong Answers
a) To be a sacrifice for our sins
b) To reconcile us to God by his death
If you gave either of these answers (or something similar), you are among the majority of Christians who believe this. The fact is that Christ never said this nor did he teach anything about him coming to be a sacrifice. The concept of “paying for our sins” is a legalistic and absolutely false doctrine and it found no place at all in any of Christs’ teachings.
Christ gave quite a few reasons as to why he came to earth. They include:
a) because the Father sent him (Joh 8:42)
b) preach good news (Luk 4:18, Mark 1:38)
c) call sinners to repentance (Luk 5:32)
d) heal (Luk 4:18)
e) to bring division, not peace (Luk 12:51)
f) proclaim release to captives (Luk 4:18)
g) to seek and save the lost (Luk 19:10)
h) to bring people out of darkness and into the light (Joh 12:46)
i) to testify to the truth (Joh 18:37)
j) to fulfill the law and the prophets (Mat 5:17)
k) to serve (Mat 20:28)
l) to give fullness of life (Joh 10:10)
If you answered with any of these, you did well to remember them.
However, please note that Christ never said that he came to sacrifice his life to pay for our sins! If that was actually the primary reason that he came to earth, it is certainly strange that he never mentioned it.
2) What is the topic Christ talked about the most?
Some Common Wrong Answers
b) The church
d) Money (worldly possessions)
The Kingdom of God
If you do a word search for “kingdom” in the Gospels you will find about 126 references. A review of Christs’ teachings is clear that the topic he spoke the most about was the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven (same thing). He told numerous parables about it and referred to it frequently. When the disciples asked Christ to teach them to pray his model prayer included a reference to the Kingdom.
Most Christians speak very little, if at all, about the Kingdom. They don’t know what it is, much less how to seek it and to be a part of it. They have plenty to say about other topics like church (Christ never even used this word), the Holy Spirit, grace, works, the second coming, etc. But, they speak very little about the one topic that was most on his mind: the Kingdom.
One would think that a true follower of Christ would be most interested in the topic that Christ himself was most interested in.
3) What is the gospel (good news)?
The Most Common Wrong Answers
a) God loves us
b) Jesus came to die for us and save us from our sins
The good news is about the Kingdom of God
The term “good news” (or “gospel” in many translations) is used about 23 times in Matt, Mark, Luke and John. Half of the time the “good news” is not specifically defined. However, in the other half of the times it is specifically defined. The good news is about Christs’ favorite topic – the Kingdom. Here are some references:
According to Christ, the good news is not about salvation, love, church or any other topic that many Christians think about.
I will be the first to admit that I “failed” this exam for years (decades, in fact). I came to realize that the primary reason for this was that I had blindly accepted the teachings of people whom I considered spiritually mature. I was listening to people’s interpretations of what Christ said instead of listening directly to Christ.
However, being a committed seeker of truth, I finally learned to stop listening to men and started listening only to the son of God, who brought us the words of the Father. I was forced to go back to basics and start over. My faith and beliefs are so completely different than what they were before, I don’t even refer to myself as a Christian. I am, however, a follower of Christ. There is a HUGE difference.
What about you? Did you fail the exam? If so, what are you going to do about it? Are you a Christian, or do you follow Christ?
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)