What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
(1 Corinthians 3:5-7)
Sermons were preached all over the world this weekend. Maybe you sat under one of them. This weekend worship songs were sung all over the world. Maybe you sung them.
Did your church exalt Christ?
Churches are unique, and each church reflects the beauty of diversity within the body of Christ. Some are reverent, with candles and robes. Others are more contemporary, with fancy lights and fog machines. Each church is the collection of a body of followers in Christ, and is thus a mosaic of image-bearers pursuing the glory of God. This diversity is not only okay, it is to be celebrated.
While the look and feel of a church may vary, the gospel of Jesus Christ must be the foundation. In order for a church to faithfully proclaim God's good news for us, the entire fabric of a church must be weaved with strands of the person and work of Jesus Christ. If a church is to be a church, she will exalt Christ as her primary aim. He will not be an afterthought, a bolt-on, or a means of power — he will be the aim.
He will not be an afterthought, a bolt-on, or a means of power — he will be the aim.
Now here is the problem. Many churches don't. Sure, their statement of beliefs does, but their actions do not match their statement of beliefs. And you should care very much about this incongruity, especially as it relates to preaching Christ. This can be tricky, and by no means am I trying to stir up suspicion or division within you about your church or the church in general. Churches are imperfect because they're made up of people like us: sinners in need of grace and transformation. But for a church to be a church, it must exalt Christ.
And some don't.
Paul knew this would happen, and thus he warned the body of Christ in Acts 20:29-30:
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
If you are told that God wants you to be rich and happy, run.
If you are told your salvation is contingent upon your performance, run.
If you are told "the world" is the problem and not your sin, run.
If you are told God hates a certain people group, ru
The people of God are family in exile. This world is not our home. We are in enemy territory, and absent the intervention of Jesus, we will die here chained to our sins. But there is good news! Jesus came that he might break through our chains and follow him out of darkness into light.
We have one hope, my friends. There is but one way to rise from the grave of our sinfulness. Jesus is our only hope, and he is the only hope we need. In this world we will have trouble, but take heart, Jesus has overcome the world.
This good news — which we call the gospel — should explode out of the doors of our churches like great rays of light. It should make us glow as we go into our homes, schools, and offices — not because we're monuments of righteousness because we are like smooth river rocks shaped by the flowing blood of Jesus. We Christians are walking miracles, dead people made alive in Christ.
Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. If you want your soul to be fed, make sure you tether yourself to a Christ-exalting church so you can experience the banquet of joy in Christ. In such bodies, the Spirit moves mightily to reveal the glory of Christ, and it's an indescribable gift.