"I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity [the utter exclusiveness] that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Paul warns us not to be corrupted away from "the simplicity that is in Christ." The Greek word for simplicity in this verse means singleness, exclusiveness. In other words, "Christ is not a complex entity. The truth about Him is very simple: Jesus is God. He is divine, born of a virgin, crucified and raised from the dead. But I'm afraid you're being corrupted away from this single, exclusive truth."
Paul then warns of ministers who preach a different Jesus: "If he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him" (11:4). Paul was telling the Corinthians, in essence, "You're listening to another gospel, not to the gospel of Christ. You're hearing about another Jesus, not the One who saved you. And I fear you're going to be corrupted by this different Jesus, who isn't the real Christ at all.
"You don't know it, but you're being led away from the divinity of Christ. And I can't believe you put up with it! You're bearing with these teachers who are corrupting you. You don't even test what they say to see if it's scriptural. Right now, you're losing your discernment. You're sitting under a demonic gospel, with another Jesus being exalted. And you don't know where it's leading you."
My message to you here boils down to this single verse: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Jesus' statement here is absolutely exclusive. No Muslim, no Hindu, no Jew, no Gentile, nobody can come to the Father by any way except Christ.
Just as Jesus asked His twelve disciples, He asks us today: "Whom do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27). The disciples answered, "John the Baptist: but some say, Elias [Elijah]; and others, One of the prophets" (8:28). But Jesus' real question to His followers came next: "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?" (8:29).
Our answer must be the same as Peter's: "Thou art the Christ" (8:29). May this be our confession before the whole world, now and forever.
When the devil's one-world church finally trumpets its message throughout the earth, millions of lukewarm Christians will be deceived. They'll reason, "This all-church union must be okay. Its leaders talk so much about Jesus. Anybody who speaks of Jesus this much has to have a legitimate Christian faith."
They couldn't be more wrong. The very mantra of Satan's devilish union will be, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." Today, evangelical leaders are already asking, "Why can't all groups be one in Jesus? After all, Jews acknowledge Jesus as a prophet. Muslims see Him as a good man and a great teacher. Even Sikhs and Hindus respect Jesus."
Let me stop here to make something clear: I'm thankful for the national unity that rose from the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I'm grateful that Americans of various faiths were able to stand together as a nation united and I prayed that that unity would remain long after our grief subsided.
But the unity of religions we are about to see will involve something much different. What I foresee is contained in Jesus' prophecy, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matthew 7:22).
Almost all religions perform exorcisms. And certain churches claim great successes in exorcizing demons. But many such churches do their exorcisms, teachings and good works in a different Jesus' name. As Christ points out, these people will claim at the judgment, "Lord, we did all these things in Your name. We were Jesus people." But the Lord will answer, "Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (7:23).
Jesus will tell them, "I don't know you and you certainly don't know Me. I was the living Son of God, but you told everybody I was just a man. You tried to take away the power of My gospel. You've got the wrong Jesus. Now, depart from Me for you have no part in My Kingdom."
The issue at the center of this war is the divinity of Jesus. Is He the Christ, the only begotten of the Father, God in flesh, the Savior of the world? Or, was Jesus just another prophet who went about doing good? Was He an ordinary man, not divine, not the resurrected Savior who sits with God in glory?
The apostle Peter testified to the exclusiveness of Christ: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Peter makes it absolutely exclusive: no other name under heaven provides eternal salvation. Jesus alone is the Messiah, the divine Son of God. And He will not share that glory with any other entity.
Likewise, Paul declares, "What is the exceeding greatness of his power . . . which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:19-21). Paul then adds that Jesus is the exclusive head of all things: "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body" (verses 22–23).
Paul also points out that one day every creature will acknowledge Jesus as Lord exclusively: "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
Every tongue in creation is going to testify, not that Mohammed is Lord, nor Allah, nor any of Hinduism's million gods, but that Jesus Christ is the one and only Lamb of God. That is the issue at the heart of this war. Yet, don't be mistaken: The final war isn't over a name. It's over the divinity of Jesus, the resurrected Lord.
The heavenly Father wasn’t willing to lose His beloved creatures to the powers of hell so He formed a rescue plan for us. “Thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people” (Psalm 89:19). The Father said to His Son, “Humankind is going to grow weak and miserable because of their sin, helpless to find their way back to Me. I appoint You as My holy one to help bring them back into My favor.”
We hear the Son’s own covenant words: “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Everything Jesus did on earth was in fulfillment of His terms of the covenant: “I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (John 12:49).
The Bible states these terms clearly. Jesus was to divest Himself of all heavenly glory, taking on a human body: “[He] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). He was to endure reproaches and suffering, “a man of sorrows” acquainted with grief. He was to grow up undesirable to the world: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). After all this, He was to submit Himself into the hands of wicked men, and in great agony lay down His life as an offering for humankind’s sin. In making atonement He would have to endure God’s wrath for a season.
God then laid out the type of ministry His Son would undertake to redeem humankind. He told Jesus, “Your ministry is going to be that of a priest. I’ve known all My children from the foundation of the world, and now I give them as a flock for You to shepherd.” Jesus testified on earth, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
Finally, the Father instructed His Son, “If You choose to go, these works will be required of You: Preach good tidings to the meek; bind up the brokenhearted; proclaim liberty to the captives. Open prison doors to those in bondage; bear with the weaknesses of the frail; bear tenderly with the ignorant; supply their shortcomings with Your strength. Feed the flock; carry them in Your bosom; gently lead the young; lend Your strength to the weak. Guide them all with Your counsel; promise to send them the Holy Spirit to carry on the work of their freedom; and bring them home to glory with You” (see Isaiah 61:1-3).
The list of David’s mighty warriors in 1 Chronicles 11:22 introduces us to Benaiah, whose exploits included overcoming two of Moab’s best men. He also killed a lion in a snowy, slippery pit. Perhaps most amazingly, he took on an Egyptian tall enough to be a starting forward for the Chicago Bulls. This seven-and-a-half-foot giant wielded a spear with a shaft as sturdy as a lead pipe while Benaiah had only a wooden club.
Even so, Benaiah “snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada. . . . He was held in greater honor than the Thirty” (1 Chronicles 11:23-25).
It was not a Ph.D. degree that brought honor to a person in those days. Honor did not necessarily flow to the person with money or leverage or media access. Honor came as a result of doing exploits for the king.
Who is doing exploits for God today? Where is the enemy being driven back? That is the great yearning of all spiritually minded people. They are not enchanted with polished sermons and slick organizational technique. Where are the mighty men and women anointed by God to truly make a difference?
I think I know at least one of God’s mighty people. Rina Gatdula, a Filipino lady, is like a sister to my wife, Carol, and me. God sent her in the early days of the Brooklyn Tabernacle with a valiant spirit that proved to be a tremendous blessing. When our ushers were intimidated by the occasional drunk or hostile person who wandered in, Rina would confront them with a head-on fearlessness granted by the Holy Spirit.
Although not especially gifted as a public speaker, she had a ministry of prayer and intercession that helped to carry us through many battles. Whether it is the need for a larger building or the need for a backslider to return to the Lord, she has the spirit of Benaiah. She will not let go of God when needy people come to the altar seeking help. She knows the fine art of “praying through” with people; many have found deliverance in Christ because she has stood with them at the throne of grace.
Today Rina travels among the churches the Brooklyn Tabernacle has begun, both in this country and overseas, reminding them of the exploits they can do through God. She always seems to spark a spirit of prayer. Whether in Harlem, San Francisco, or Lima, Peru, she is a living example of a heroine of faith.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.