Summary: The desire of God’s heart is that in everything Jesus Christ might have the preeminence. Paul declares that everything finds its meaning and significance in Christ. Christ must be at the center of all things both in our individual lives and in the church.
THE CENTRALITY OF CHRIST
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence
Introduction: The desire of God’s heart is that in everything Jesus Christ might have the preeminence. Paul declares that everything finds its meaning and significance in Christ. Christ must be at the center of all things both in our individual lives and in the church. We claim that Christ is the center of the church, but is he? A. W. Tozer said, “The present position of Christ in gospel churches may be likened to that of a king in a limited constitutional monarchy. The king (sometimes depersonalized by the term “the Crown”) is, in such a country, no more than a traditional rallying point, a pleasant symbol of unity and loyalty much like a flag or a national anthem. He is lauded, feted, and supported, but his real authority is small. Nominally he is head over all, but in every crisis someone else makes the decisions.” (A.W. Tozer, taken from God Tells The Man Who Cares.) Consider with me the impact of having Christ at the center of our church.
I. When Christ is central in the church, there is harmony in its worship
A. All of creations object is to give pre-eminence to Christ and to stand in awe and adoration of Him.
B. Hebrews 1:6 But when He again brings the Firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”
C. Revelation 13:8 “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
D. The objective of authentic worship is utilizing all the gifts and talents God has placed in the body of believers to bring honor and glory to God.
E. When Christ is not the central focus of worship we get sidetracked and begin to focus on style and modes. If Christ is not central then everything else such as a “sanctuary”, or hymnals, or multimedia, or the soloist’s talent can become unconsciously the center of worship.
F. In man centered worship bringing people in or keeping people by the style of our worship service, whether it is traditional, contemporary, liturgical or charismatic, is the primary goal of worship. Whereas the focus ought to be that of standing in awe of the Almighty God and our Redeemer,
G. Romans 14:5 - 6 “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.”
H. Please note the scene in heaven – Revelation 4:6-11 “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they £exist and were created.”
II. When Christ is central in the church, there is unity in its fellowship
A. Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
B. When Christ is not the central focus of the church conflicts arise. Individuals begin to seek having things done their way and talk about “my” church.
C. 1 Corinthians 3:1 – 5 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?