The Simplicity of Christ

2 Corinthians 11

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

June 12, 2016 AM   BBC Ballincollig    22nd Anniversary Sunday


I.       Introduction (2Corinthians 11:3)


A.     There are some things in life that are super, super complex


1.      A single living cell – all that constantly goes on inside a single living cell to keep it alive

2.      The Tax Code – PAYE, Capital Gains Tax, Universal Social Charge, PRSI, Value Added Tax, Deposit Interest Retention Tax, Capital Acquisitions Tax, Corporation Taxes, Local Property Tax

3.      Computer programs – software that controls everything from your microwave oven, to your smartphone, to the engine in your car!

4.      The entire universe – spinning, vibrating, moving

5.      An airbus cockpit – take 10’s of 1,000’s of hours training


B.     But there are some things, some very important things, that were made simple so that anybody could understand and could enjoy


1.      Like getting to ride in an airbus airplane – just takes buckling your seatbelt!

2.      And like getting born again!


II.    Background (2Corinthians 11)


A.     I, Like the Apostle Paul, Am Jealous of People (11:1,2)


1.      It’s a good word

2.      Not envious, but jealous – It means, protective, concerned

3.      There is a lot of competition for people’s hearts and worship, and lives – a lot!

4.      All that ‘competition’ kind of drowns out what I want to talk about this morning


B.     I and Every Bible Believing Pastor has Worked Hard (11:2)


1.      The Apostle Paul did! Tirelessly…

2.      Trying to get people to worry about important things


a.       People worry about their weight, their looks, the kind of car they drive, or don’t drive

b.      They worry about what their friends think, and about how they will do on their exams


3.      My job is to get people to worry about their soul, and whether they have a right relationship with the God who made them

4.      I work hard to get people to follow one Man’s life – Jesus’


a.       To love Him supremely

b.      To be like a young lady getting ready for her wedding!


C.     But There is someone who works full time corrupting everything God does (11:3,4, 13,14)


1.      He and his minions appear so good – as angels even

2.      Soiling, corrupting, ruining


a.       But this ‘enemy’ soils everything God is busy doing in people’s minds

b.      Ruins love, with lust and pornography

c.       Corrupts children, with abuse and hatred

d.      Makes fun of, and mocks anything that is clean and pure and good


3.      Does it Subtly.  Subtle – very devious, deceptive, cunning, a good liar

4.      Been doing it Since the Beginning!


a.       Satan has been at it since the beginning – in the garden of Eden

b.      He did whatever it took to turn Adam and Eve away from God (Genesis 3)


1)      Lied, twisted God’s words

2)      Made God out to be evil

3)      Made Eve the victim


c.       And Satan succeeded - Persuaded Eve, who then persuaded Adam to turn away from God!


5.      And he is still at it today


a.       Giving false confidence! Making people think they are doing just fine without God, or with as little of Him as possible

b.      Promoting false preachers – It’s all about YOU! You have a miracle coming to you today! Get anything you want from God!

c.       Advertising Wrong Jesus’ – Hippy Jesus, Wimpy Jesus, the Failure Jesus, the Genie Jesus, the Non-Existent Jesus, the Designer Jesus

d.      Wrong spirits


1)      Angels, voices, apparitions, dreams, feelings

2)      Causing people to bark like dogs, laugh like hyenas, and fall backwards

3)      Getting people to go where the entertainment is, where the fun is, where they free stuff!


e.       Presenting false hopes and false Gospels


1)      False Gospels that tell you to keep the law

2)      False Gospels that say you can do whatever you want and still go to heaven

3)      Getting people to forget about sin, and about heaven and hell

4)      False Gospels that seek to only help people make money

5)      And False Gospels that tell you that to please God you must destroy your enemies


D.     So I Am Afraid (2Cor 11:3; 4:4)


1.      I know Satan has succeeded in blinding the whole word to their conditioning

2.      He is succeeding with countless millions who are addicted to their tv and internet, their Netflix and sky movies

3.      They just do as they always have done, just following the world around them

4.      I am afraid that He will succeed with believers too

5.      Just like he succeeded with Eve


E.      So This Morning I want to Balance the Influence – I want to PUSH-BACK! Go head to head with the corruption, and present the power of the simplicity of Christ

F.      I want to present just how Simple A Believer Has it ‘In Christ’, and how much better it is!


III. Message


A.     Christ’s Simple Life


1.      One Solitary Life (by Dr James Allan Francis, 1926)


a.       Born in an obscure village called Bethlehem, to a poor man and woman

b.      He worked with His step-father in a carpenter shop until He was thirty

c.       And then for three and a half brief years He was an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a simple message and living a unique life.

d.      He never wrote a book.

e.       He never held a political office.

f.        He never raised an army.

g.      He never had a family of his own.

h.      He never owned a home.

i.        He never went to university.

j.        He was a plain kind of a man, that didn’t stand out from the crowd physically.

k.      He never travelled more than a hundred miles from the place where He was born.

l.        He gathered a little group of friends about him and taught them His way of life.

m.    While still a young man, the tide of popular feeling turned against him.

n.      One friend denied him; another betrayed him.

o.      He was turned over to his enemies.

p.      He went through the mockery of a public trial.

q.      He was nailed to a cross between two convicted thieves.

r.        And on that cross, He died.

s.       And when He was proven to be dead, His body was laid in a borrowed grave because He had left no money for His own burying.

t.        Three days later, He arose from that tomb and appeared to His disciples.

u.      And 40 days later He ascended back up to heaven where He had come from

v.      Today we can look back across two thousand years and see the influence of this Man from Galilee!

w.     All the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely pitiful in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life…

x.      The life of Jesus of Nazareth!


2.      When He taught people, He sat amongst them, speaking eye to eye and heart to heart!

3.      He spoke with great authority, and yet with complete humility!

4.      That’s why fishermen like Peter, Andrew, James and John left their nets to follow Him

5.      That’s why tax collectors like Matthew left their wealth and income to follow Him

6.      That’s why children ran up to Him and sat in His lap

7.      All because His life was so amazingly simple

8.      And so captivating!


B.     His Words Were Simple (Mark 2:1-12; John 7:45,46)


1.      Read through the four Gospels – four entire books devoted to the words of Jesus

2.      You will find He used mainly 1 and 2 syllable words when He spoke and taught the crowds

3.      Short sentences (Mark 2:1-12) – no huge theological explanation!

4.      Often He would just be silent while everyone else around Him would argue and debate

5.      See John 7:45,46


C.     His Expectations Are Simple


1.      “Come unto Me” (Matthew 11:28,29) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

2.      “Follow Me” (Matthew 9:9)  “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.”

3.      “Believe on Me” (John 6:28,29) “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

4.      Just Worry About what I think you should and should not do


a.       Don’t worry about priests and imams

b.      Don’t worry about parents or siblings

c.       Don’t worry about questions and confusions

d.      No expectations of weight, or looks, or intelligence, or skin colour, or past failures!

e.       Just do as He did. Speak as he did. Love as he did. And leave the rest to Him


5.      I am so grateful for Christ’s simple instructions


a.       Not easy - But they are simple!

b.      Like, Husbands love your wives

c.       Like, Children, obey your parents in the Lord

d.      Like, Give unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, and unto God the things that belong to God


D.     His Warnings Were Simple (John 3:18,19)


1.      Before we will ever accept the good news, the Gospel, we need to hear and know the bad news

2.      Jesus spent 3 ½ years warning and waking people up to the facts!

3.      No mincing words – no political correctness!

4.      Jesus didn’t waste time warning of Global warming, and cooling; WWIII, nuclear holocausts, or financial disasters

5.      We are in trouble with God, (under the condemnation of God) and need saving!


a.       And we know it - we know we are a mess

b.      That’s why each of us and billions of people all over the world try very hard to be good, and do good, and worship something


6.      Not only that, but We do not even know God on our own (John 8:17-20) – like a blind man trying to find a light bulb! More Religion is not the answer! Jesus warned people away from religion


a.       (Mt 23:15) Beware of scribes, Pharisees who are hypocrites – only make people twice the children of hell

b.      Mat 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.


7.      We live out our lives doing the will of our father the devil (John 8:44)

8.      And the saddest part is, we do not know how to get right – not on our own (John 8:21-24)!


E.     His Gospel is Simple – the best part!


1.      The devil, and religion, and society make everything so complicated!

2.      God made getting saved, forgiven, born again very simple!

3.      When Jesus is asked by someone how to be saved, He responds with no more than 1 or 2 sentences, and that’s it!


a.       Mark 1:14,15  Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

b.      John 1:10-12  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

c.       John 3:13-18  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

d.      John 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

e.       Act 16:27-31  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

f.        Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

g.      Romans 10:8-10,13  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

h.      Isaiah 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.


4.      Could it really be that easy? That simple?


a.       YES!

b.      You see… If God didn’t make it so simple, then only Theologians would be able to get eternal life. Only very very good people would have the chance to get forgiven. Only very hard working and energetic people would be on their way to heaven!

c.       But He made it so simple a CHILD could get it. A thief on the cross dying next to Him to get saved.

d.      It is easy for you and me

e.       But it was not easy for God

f.        He had to account for every wrong doing – every sin – every broken law – every debt

g.      And God had to completely pay off every last debt of every last person who will ever live

h.      To do that, He had to live an absolutely perfect life from start to finish – all according to God’s perfect laws

i.        He had to love without partiality

j.        He had to humble Himself constantly

k.      And in the end, He had to suffer horrendously the punishment that was due to all of us!


5.      Some people I have read about have quite strange events happen that make them think they are okay with God


a.       Bright bolt of lightning striking next to one man, knocking him to the ground

b.      An angel spoke to someone else, giving them secret prayers to pray

c.       Another woman claimed to have died and visited heaven before being revived


6.      When the great day of judgment comes and I stand before the Lord God Almighty, and He looks into my face and He says, “By what right do you enter My beautiful city and walk on My golden streets?” 


a.       Suppose I say, “Lord God, because I saw an angel of light from heaven.  It was such a great experience.” 

b.      Satan will laugh, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, listen at him, listen at him.  He says he saw an angel of light.  He thinks he’s been converted.  Ha, listen to him.  I was that angel of light.  I transformed myself into an angel just to fool him, just to deceive him!  He belongs to me!”  And he drags my soul down to hell.  What could I say?  And what could I do?


7.      So, In that great and final day of the Lord, when I stand at the judgment bar of Almighty God, and I’m asked, “By what right do you dare to enter the beautiful city?” 


a.       Suppose I say, “I know I’m a Christian.  Because a ball of fire burst over my head, and struck me to the ground!  I know I am okay because, I saw a ball of fire!” 

b.      And Satan will laugh, “Ha, listen to him, a ball of fire.  Ha, ha, listen to him.  I sent that ball of fire just to deceive him.  He belongs to me,” and he drags my soul down to death and down to hell.  What could I do?  And what could I say?


8.      Well, one day, when I stand at the judgment—you’ll be there, I’ll be there, we’ll all be there—and the Lord will look into my face, and He will ask, “By what right and by what prerogative do you dare to enter My beautiful city and to walk on My golden streets?” 


1)      Do you want to know what I’ll say? 

2)      I will turn over here to the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and open up to my favourite verse, and I will hold it up and I show it to the Lord. 

3)      And I’ll read what it says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” [John 1:12].  

4)      I will then remind the Lord, “Way back yonder, when I was 17 years old, in a little town just north of Austin Texas, just after hearing Pastor Jack Humbert preach to me and 250 other people the gospel of Christ again.  And that Sunday evening, when the preacher had done his best, pleading for people like me to respond, ‘Is there somebody today who will trust Jesus as his or her Saviour?  Don’t join the church tonight. Don’t give up all your sins tonight. Don’t decide to be a better person tonight! Just cling to Jesus! Cry out to Him with all your heart, and accept His offer of eternal life!

5)      I will remind the Lord God how that Pastor Jack repeated over and over, ‘Is there someone here?’ It was THAT NIGHT I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour.’ 

6)      And I will tell the Lord, “I’m not trusting any miracle, and I’m not trusting any angel, and I’m not trusting any light from heaven, and I’m not trusting any great experience… but Lord I’m trusting You to keep Your Word. “I’m counting on You to keep Your promise Jesus:  ‘But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.’ 


b.      Then let Satan laugh, if he dare.  Let him mock. He wouldn’t dare.  He wouldn’t dare! 


1)      For my salvation is based upon the perfect Word and the absolute promise of Almighty God.

2)      And heaven and earth may pass away, but that Word and that promise will never pass away. 

3)      So, when I wake up at two o’clock in the morning, and start to panic, am I still okay? Am I still saved, I can open my Bible and see that that verse is unchanged.

4)      And I can go back to sleep, and rest in my Saviour, who loved ME and gave Himself for ME!


IV.  Let’s Review




Only One Life to focus on – Jesus

4,000 leaders, 28,000 religions

Simple words to believe and live by

135 volumes of Catholic Tradition, The Quran and Haddith in Islam, The Hindu Vedas, and The Bhagavad Gita, and so the list goes on and on

Simple Expectations

Look at the stress today of just about everyone trying to live up to impossible expectations!

Simple Warnings

Innumerable, conflicting warnings!

Simple Good News

No Good News! No assurance

One All-Important personal experience

Zillions of experiences needed to be happy



The Way, the Truth, and the Life! (John 14:6)

Satan’s deception that leads to hell


V.     Invitation


A.     What it is to trust in Jesus?  What is it to believe in the Lord Jesus? Second Timothy 1:12


1.      “For I know whom I have believed,” Believed, trust, “for I know whom I have trusted, for I know whom I have believed,

2.      “and I am persuaded” – convinced, sure

3.      “that He is able” – not me, or some religion

4.      “to keep that which I have committed unto Him” – my soul, my forgiveness, and my destiny

5.      “against that day.”  Judgment day!


B.     So,  What is it to trust in Jesus?  What is it to believe in Him?  This is it:


1.      It’s to commit to Him your soul and your very life. 

2.      Trusting Jesus, not trusting myself, not trusting the church, or your religion, not trusting sacraments, but simply looking to Jesus, simply trusting Jesus to save you and keep you forever!

3.      “Lord, I lay it in Thy hands.  I can’t keep myself, I can’t save myself.  When I die, nobody wants me, even those who love me will put me away and bury me out of sight, no longer could they stand to look upon my face.  But Lord, I commit to Thee in life, in death, in this world, and in the world to come, I commit to Thee my soul. All because Jesus paid for my forgiveness. And I accept it by faith”

4.      Will YOU accept it now?


C.     Someone may say, “Preacher, I have done that, my humble best, I have taken Jesus as my Saviour, I have opened my heart to Him.” Great! Stay faithful! Keep your eyes ONLY on Jesus, doing HIS will from your heart, with ALL your heart! And I will see you tonight!