Summary: At times the church can be focused on too many "issues" and its desire to prove itself right. But what should we really be focused on? What is The Real Issue?
John 5:37-39 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
I have sometimes thought that if I study the scriptures enough we will find the truth. And even if I do, understanding the truth does not mean anything. What counts in the cross existing in me. Many times when I meet someone I want to compare their beliefs with my own to somehow determine their salvation, instead the cross needs to become my measuring stick. I need to go to Jesus, to the cross. When I follow Jesus I follow Him to the cross and die. But I would rather talk about the issues than go to the cross.
Col 2: 6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
Ehp 5: 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
I need to make sure that I am not too focused on the basic principles but instead focus on Jesus. I want to boil things down to principles and rules or guidelines but that has no power. The cross has power. I need to depend on Christ. Paul was focused on people being disciples; he talked about dying for God and how he longed to do just that. The answer for me is to go to the cross and die.
1 Corinthians 2:1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Wisdom From the Spirit
6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
Paul says that the only thing worth talking about is Jesus and Him crucified. What if I told everyone this before I began a conversation with them, “I know nothing except Christ crucified.” The only thing that is important is not if they understand the trinity or this doctrine on the spirit but that I help them become more of a disciple today. Paul said he went in weakness. When I share my faith am I trying to show no weakness, am I following a pattern or formula for sharing or coming in weakness. If I would just follow the cross I could be like Paul in weakness and still know what to say to people. Paul says he was not persuasive. What happens when I argue with people is that I am trying to persuade them to my side and they are trying to persuade me to their side. I don’t need to persuade anyone, because it is too hard to try and persuade someone to die and even if I succeed it may fade quickly. Do I think a BBQ or a fun night or a push service will get someone to die? All I can do is say this is the way to the cross and let them decide. Jesus is the only one that can help me die to myself. I need to do things by God’s power and not my own; too long I have lived a controlled Christianity where I did my religious acts by my own power. My sin is to talk about everything but the cross and when I talk about the cross it is superficial.