Gazing at the Son

05/12/2010

 

“If you hear a real Gospel sermon, it directs you to look to Jesus Christ. That teaching which leads you to think of the priest and to think of the church, whatever there may be about them that is good, is not ‘the doctrine of God our Savior.’—C.H. Spurgeon

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You didn’t have to wait long for a Spurgeon quote today, did you? Ironic, in a way, because his legacy underscores the warning he gave us in 1895. He was dubbed the “Prince of Preachers” and I find myself thinking that he would be very uncomfortable with that title.

 

Some churches are growing very rapidly today in terms of attendance and one of the common reasons given by people who will even fight traffic to get there is that they like the pastor—his messages, his personality and so on. Certainly that’s important and a pastor it would be gratifying to know that someone was coming to my church because I was there.

 

But that would not be the right reason for you to come. You should come to a church because Jesus Christ is there.

 

Whenever we try to make it about anything other than Jesus, things eventually go horribly wrong, don’t they? You put your faith in a minister and he gets taken away in handcuffs…you look to your boyfriend to validate you as a person and he decides to go validate someone else instead…you take pride in how your body can perform compared to someone else’s and then are diagnosed with a debilitating disease.

 

In his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, Jim Cymbala recalls being told by a visitor,  “You can tell how popular a church is by who comes on Sunday morning. You can tell how popular the pastor or evangelist is by who comes on Sunday night. But you can tell how popular Jesus is by who comes to the prayer meeting.”

 

God has seen us make idols out of just about everything—from rocks to cows, from parents to pastors. We’ve always done that. We wait in hushed silence until Oprah speaks from within the magic cube! Knowing this, God hashed out a plan. He would reveal himself to us as a person! Now we have someone to look at instead of wondering what’s behind Cloudy Curtain #1.

 

Spurgeon tells us that if your faith experiences are pointing you toward a building or a person instead of Jesus there is something wrong. Our misdirected gazing will even blind us to our own gifts! Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:11 “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” Why? “To prepare God's people for works of service.” Why? “So that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

 

What happens then? “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:14-16)

 

Growing up into Christ should be our goal and we need each other to do that—all parts of the body functioning as one. We will also need mentors and teachers to help us along the way, but only those mentors and teachers who understand that it is about Jesus, not about them.

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There are 2 comments

Deb,

we really like you, too! Praying for an awesome trip to see your little peeps across the pond!!

kent
May 26, 2010 - 20:54

A powerful message, Kent, and a good reminder to me to keep focusing on Jesus. (Although I really do like all of our pastors! )

Deb
May 19, 2010 - 13:47
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