Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One message man

Paul was a one message man.When he wrote to the Corinthians he described his visit to them as follows. "I resolved to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified." I mean, he was passionate and knowledgeable about many things, but the essence of His life's message was distilled down to 'Christ and Him crucified."

He speaks to a community puffed up with the pride, and divided into factions around their favorite preachers, insisting that the only basis for their unity is their agreement about the centrality of the Gospel. 'I did not come to baptize but to preach the gospel.' He is asking them to be sure what hill they will die on, and to live united upon that hill.

As a church community grows, it usually grows not just in number, but also in diversity.You have people who are passionate about Christ and Him teaching - doctrinal integrity is important and we celebrate it. Then you have people passionate about Christ and Him healing - a demonstration of the Spirit's power is their war cry, and for that we are thankful.Others are more motivated by Christ and Him liberating - the call to help the poor and address social injustice is a vital one.Others are consumed with Christ and Him commissioning - planting churches and reaching unreached people groups is their passion, and we desperately need that. Then there are different worship tastes, and approaches to discipleship, not to mention different end-time theology, and approaches to the Sovereignty of God.

In all this diversity, the deepest seat of our unity must be "Christ and Him crucified." That we agree upon this as the main street of our 'town' allows us to carry diverse passions. The Gospel is the holy ground of our agreement.

And because of this we have ceased boasting in ourselves. We understand that God's Sovereign Grace chose, called and saved us, not any morality or sophistication that we might have had. Salvation is not like choosing a puppy at a pet shop, where God chooses the 'cutest one.' We rest in the fact that we were loved when we were not loveable. The Gospel also stops us from boasting in others, from elevating or fixating on a preacher or leader that we like. Our confidence rests on the power and wisdom of the cross, not on man's eloquence or wisdom. We trust the cross to do its work. We expect the preaching of the cross to have with it a demonstration of the Spirit's power irrespective of the preacher.

Our boasting is in nothing else. Our boasting is in the folly cross.

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