The Genuine Article

Jesus is the sweetest name I know.

Andrae Crouch, in my opinion, conveys the character of Jesus better than any artist–Christian or non–that I've ever had the privilege of listening to.

In today's world, colored by whatever has come after postmodernism, Jesus is viewed by many as a good teacher. This is not new as anyone who sees what good and selfless instruction is all about is bound to touch on the methods and lessons expressed by Him. But when they come across one of His "hard words" as Oswald Chambers once put it, they're hard-pressed to continue on and as it says in John (6:66, no less) "went back and walked no more with Him".

Jesus preached the gospel of total and complete self-abnegation. How can I word this precisely as possible? It means that you deny the very thing that binds you to this earth: the wild, unpredictable drive to progress and succeed. Just reading this is abhorrent to many people...because that's all they have. I'm telling you right now there's more! When you begin with the foundation of Jesus then build upon that, forsaking your self-evident "right" to your own life by putting Him first, then you've effectively "passed over from death unto life" (John 5:24). He says He'll resurrect your drive and curiosity (see Luke 18:30), but not before He shows you that He loves you more than you could ever love yourself. Of course, I'm speaking of Him in the present tense, as if He's still alive. This is a given seeing that I am a believing Christian. An intimation (starting with belief) of the resurrection is the entryway to becoming a Christian. People die. Jesus did. But He also rose from the dead. I have no problem believing this and it's not because I resort to some scientific explanation of re-animation. God the Father resurrected His dead Son because Jesus had never sinned–never done anything wrong. The same could not be said for us. One threshold that many people (myself included) have a hard time crossing is the realization of this fact: Jesus bestows to us his perfect record of obedience. Through no effort of our own. This flies in the face of the very thing that we were asked to abnegate–to give up. It goes hand in hand. "We are the righteousness of God in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:21) upon the moment of belief. And if we're asked to turn ourselves over to Him, we need to also believe that God the Father now sees Jesus' perfect record when He looks at us. And He is always looking at us (see Psalm 11:7). As it says in 1 John (5:12) "He (or she) who has the Son of God has life; and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." Its black or white. It's spiritual life to which John is referring.

Jesus conveys this idea very simply when He asks us to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily to follow Him. (see Luke 9:23)

Another opinion on Jesus is that He never existed. Just as King Arthur is a mythological character based on historical figures who did exist, Jesus must be a product of exceptional storytelling and high-handed casuistry. And as we in our enlightened Western society reject as factual all international myths and legends by the same token, Jesus must be no more than the same. We can do better ourselves—for ourselves. A sad corollary of this secular conclusion is that when Christians act the opposite of Jesus, (in spite of possessing His nature) those who are without, while inclined to believe, have no reason to when Jesus' representatives act like the devil.

The name "heathen" simply means "heath-dwellers". The ones who heard the gospel later than those in the urban epicenter of society. This is why Jesus said to "go ye into all the world" (Mark 16:15)...

Referring again to Andrae Crouch's ministry of music, he cuts through all of the reasonings and arguments and unbelief, because he knows Jesus. No source on this earth comes close to the tenderness and kindness and love that shines through his voice and his chords and his choruses.

If you need time to think about inviting Jesus into your heart (He stands and knocks, see Revelation 3:20), know that you have all the time in the world. That's not very much.

Jesus is the sweetest name I know, And He's just the same, as His lovely name. You may ask me why I love Him so, Because Jesus is the sweetest name I know. (Traditional hymn)

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