Dear HTC family and friends,
Increasingly the Church, and indeed Christians in general, are becoming more and more distracted from our central and core focus, which is Jesus Christ and building His Kingdom. Personal agendas, preferences, opinions, traditions, and cultural practices are distracting us and causing a shift in our focus – a shift away from Jesus and building His Kingdom.
There is a well know saying: ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.’ For Christians it is simple: the main thing is Jesus and building His Kingdom. There are no grey areas here! The Scriptures are clear: ‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 3:11) and again ‘Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.’ (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Our denomination, style of worship, church traditions and cultures can never be more important than Jesus and can never be the foundation of our Christian faith. Jesus is the foundation of our faith. He is the prime focus and the reason for our existence, as Christians. The well-known strap line of Christianity is this: ‘to know Christ and to make Him known’. There is no space for me to proclaim and champion my own brand of Christianity above the main brand of being a follower of Jesus Christ. The very work of the Holy Spirit in the Church is to glorify Jesus and to bring people under the Lordship of Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:3).
Peter reminds us that our Heavenly Father has so ordered it that Jesus name is the only name under heaven by which men and women may be saved. Salvation is found in no one else (Acts 4:12). There are no subtractions, additions or alternatives to Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
When we come to faith in Jesus, we embrace a new culture – the Jesus culture (2 Corinthians 5:17). Based on this truth, everything in my culture, tradition or ways that conflicts with the culture of Christ, must die to the culture of Christ. The reason is quite clear: ‘Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.’ (Colossians 3:11). Our Heavenly Father’s will is always that Jesus shall have the first place and be all in all.
Christianity’s main message is the gospel message – the good news of Jesus – of which Paul declares: ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.’ (Romans 1:16). When we get distracted, and Jesus is no longer in central view and focus, we lose the core of what makes us Christians and what our mission is.
One of the greatest traps for Christians, which the evil one successfully uses to move our focus off Jesus, is the notion that we must not offend people. Under the banner of not offending people, we choose words and responses, that are more inclusive, relative, and non-definitive. In so doing, we often deny Jesus, His name, His saving work on the cross and indeed the definitive truths of His Word. Jesus, Himself, clearly reminded us that His coming and presence in the world did cause offense and did cause division, and that it will be no different for us (Matthew 10:34/ John 15:18-22).
Jesus can never be a choice among many other acceptable choices. He never gave us that option: He is not a way, a truth, and a life; He is THE way, THE truth and THE life (John 14:6). Jesus is the foundation, the cornerstone, the reason, the goal, the centre and indeed everything for the Church and indeed all believers. He can never be anything else.
‘Who has the power to raise the dead? Who can save us from our sin? He is our hope, our righteousness. Jesus, only Jesus… Who can command the highest praise? Who has the name above all names? You stand alone, I stand amazed. Jesus, only Jesus… You will command the highest praise. Yours is the name above all names. You stand alone, I stand amazed. Jesus, only Jesus… Holy, King almighty Lord, Saints and angels all adore. I join with them and bow before, Jesus, only Jesus!’ (Matt Redman, Jesus only Jesus)
Join in me in recommitting yourself fully and only to Jesus: ‘For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ (Philippians 1:22)
Jesus, only Jesus!
Bless you all