SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
C. H. Spurgeon began his ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London with these words, his very first words from that pulpit: “I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshipers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, "It is Jesus Christ." My venerated predecessor, Dr. Gill, has left a [theological heritage] admirable and excellent in its way. But the [legacy] to which I would pin and bind myself forever, God helping me,...is Jesus Christ, who is the arm and substance of the gospel, who is in Himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth.”
And may it be true for all of us who stand in the pulpits of the world or sit in the pulpits. But, sadly, that is not always the case.
A case in point was the first couple that left my present church. She had met me at the front door my first Sunday asking me what my purpose as the pastor of this church was going to be. After some give and take trying to center the conversation on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, she finally stated that she believed that the churches soul purpose was to proclaim America as a Christ centered country and return only Christians to the halls of congress. We are to lift up America, praise America, honor America. I responded that maybe that is what we as Christian might be about out in the world, but here in this sanctuary we will lift up Christ, praise Christ, honor Christ – not our denomination, not our history and not our country. It will be Christ and Christ alone.
We get our priorities all out of kilter and start majoring in things that ultimate do not matter at all. It is a challenge to find the right mix to make as many people as happy as possible, but we the church (both in the pulpit and the pew) have to get back to the basics of why God has brought us together … namely, to preach Christ and him crucified. Anything else and everything else changes the focus of God’s real purpose.
There are a lot of admiral things that we can push and promote – our country is one of them – but, they are not the main purpose for why God sent his son into our world nor should they be our reason to gather together on Sunday morning or Saturday night or whenever the believers in your neck of the woods gathers together to worship.
The church has tried to be all things for all people. The result is a weak witness to our purpose and the result are the empty pews in nearly every congregation. Remember what Christ said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, (I) will draw all (people) to myself.” (John 12:32 NIV). May he always be lifted up and may he be the reason we live our life.
Help us to keep the main thing the main thing in our church and in our life.