LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Despite a current religious atmosphere of relative truth, Jesus Christ remains the “one and only” hope for salvation, Jerry Vines said March 28.
“Jesus Christ is not just prominent. Jesus Christ is preeminent,” Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., said at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Jesus Christ is not just a way. He is the way. He is not just a truth. He is the truth. He is not a life. He is the life. Jesus Christ is the one and only.”
That belief runs contrary to today’s “supermarket religion,” where Vines said people choose whatever works for them individually.
“If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and it works for you, then that’s your truth,” Vines said of contemporary culture. “But if someone else believes that Ronald McDonald is the savior and it works for them, then that’s their truth. Jesus is just one among many.”
Vines and James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources, were guest speakers during a special chapel service as part of the seminary’s “LifeWay Christian Resources Emphasis Week.” Draper preached from 2 Corinthians 4 on two demands of the 21st century minister.
Preaching from Colossians 1:15-20, Vines said Paul declared the absolute deity and total sufficiency of Jesus to a culture much like today’s.
Christ is the “one and only” over creation, over the church and on the cross, Vines said.
Christ’s preeminence is found in creation, Vines explained, as Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
“Jesus Christ is God in human flesh,” he said. “Jesus Christ is not half God. He is not 99 percent God. Jesus Christ is total God.”
As God, he is the Lord over his creation. “Before anything else existed, Jesus Christ existed,” Vines said. “Jesus Christ not only created this universe. Jesus Christ controls this universe.”
Vines said that since all things were created for Christ, all things are moving toward him. Thus, life is linear and not cyclical.
“You are not an accident,” Vines said. “You were brought here by divine design. … Human existence has meaning and purpose.”
In addition to his authority over creation, Christ also rules the church, Vines said.
“The church is not a monarchy run by the pastor,” he said. “Jesus is the head of the church.”
Even though churches use democratic processes, they are not democracies but “Christocracies,” Vines said.
He went on to say that the term “dead church” is a contradiction.
“When a church understands that Christ is their head and that Jesus Christ is alive, then everything in the church ought to come to life,” he said.
If a church gets separated from its head then it begins to flounder without any sense of direction, Vines said, using this to explain why so many churches and pastors today are influenced by secular culture.
“Since when did a lost, hell-bound world set the agenda for the church of Jesus Christ?” Vines asked. “Christ is the head of the church.”
Christ’s authority over the church stems from his work on the cross, Vines said, where Christians were reconciled to God through Christ’s blood.
“It never gets too old for believers to talk about the cross,” Vines said. “We never get tired of the cross.”
But sadly, many Christians have become embarrassed by the blood of Christ, Vines said, stressing the importance of not being ashamed or afraid to preach about the blood of Jesus.
“There is an eternal truth which says without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins,” Vines said. “The price he paid and the peace he made could not have been done by just one among many. It could only be accomplished by the one and only.”