Friday, October 7, 2011

It Begins And Ends With Jesus

There is a lot of craziness going around in the Church these days as some leaders are trying to make the gospel relevant for today. It's a crazy notion that love and forgiveness are ever not relevant. What Jesus Christ offers to the world is more desperately needed now then ever before. It doesn't need gimmicks, or hooks, and it certainly doesn't need to be dressed up. We don't need "professionalism", "business principles", or "spit and polish", just Jesus.

I am not saying we shouldn't do our best and present the gospel with the best quality we can but that should not be our focus. When the vehicle of the message becomes more important than the message itself we have entered dangerous waters.Imagine if all the fancy stuff disappeared, no more building, no HD projector, no music, no kids', teens or adult programs; only you and your Bible. Would Christianity still seem all that attractive?

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

There are times we can be accused of "tricking" people into the Kingdom with our food, kindergarten, kids, adult fellowship, and senior programs. Some churches run these but never mention Jesus. They don't even have a plan to do so. They are becoming community centers with no aim at presenting Jesus Christ. They want to make the church of some benefit to the community. We are attempting to lay a foundation other than that of Jesus. We need to be careful. In fact, there is a warning here for the trainers in the Church. We refer to these trainers as leaders but really we only have one leader and a lot of trainers taking direction from the leader, Jesus. We are warned:

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

The trainers must be wise according to God's standards of wisdom and must be mature in handling that wisdom. We must insure that before anything is built the foundation of Jesus Christ is solidly in place. He can't be part of the building process, he must be what everything else is built on. If Jesus Christ is not our focus, our everything, we are wasting our time on this earth. If we are not building on this foundation with materials that will survive the testing fires then we are wasting our time. We should be building with materials that build up a person's faith and helps them move into maturity. It is only with maturity that we can survive the fires.

Let's set aside our foolish and useless ways and assure that the solid foundation of Jesus Christ is in place. Enough of positive thinking and the humanism that has crept into the Church. It is only by Jesus Christ that we are saved and it is only by him that we can do the work of the Kingdom. There is nothing of any worth in us but Jesus and it is Jesus who produces good things through us. So let's give to Jesus what is due him, all our praise, all our strength, all our love.

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