Are we putting Christ first? part three

11 Feb

If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you realize that the presidential race is well under way.

It seems like we can’t turn on our televisions or open up a newspaper without seeing or reading about the latest news on the presidential campaign.

Many times during a race for political office, one of the key issues is credibility. Both candidates want to get us to doubt the other candidate’s credibility. To get us to think that what the other candidate says isn’t trustworthy.

There’s even a special term for a lack of credibility, it’s called a credibility gap.

A credibility gap is a discrepancy between what someone claims to value and how they actually live. If someone consistently says one thing and does another, you’d say that person has a credibility gap.

 As a church, when it comes to the Lordship of Christ, we don’t want to have a credibility gap. We say Christ is Lord. That’s our fundamental confession as a church.

But it’s not enough merely to say Christ is Lord or Christ is our life.

We want this confession to be more than words. We must live as if it were true.

To make sure we don’t have a credibility gap we need to evaluate our lives, and in Colossians 3:15-17, Paul gives us several places to begin:

1.) Are we controlled by the peace of Christ?

2.) Are we devoted to the Word of Christ?

And in Colossians 3:17, we find one final means to evaluate whether or not we are putting Christ first.

3.) Are we dedicated to the name of Christ?

Paul writes,

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

It’s as if Paul is summing up his discussion of what it means to live for Christ by saying while I’ve talked about some of the specifics, let me give you a general overarching principle which pretty much covers it all.

Whatever you do, do it for Christ.

Now, hear that.

For Christ.”

Because, that’s what at the most basic level it means to do something in the name of Christ.

It means that you do it for Him.

If I’m in the hospital and you buy me flowers and sign at the bottom of the card from Living Hope Church, you are the one buying the flowers but you are doing it in the name of Living Hope. You are acting as a representative. You are not doing it in your name, but in the church’s name.

That’s the idea here.

Whether you are talking to someone or doing something, it’s as if you should be able to sign at the bottom of the card – this one’s for Jesus Christ.

It’s not about me. It’s all about Him.

Obviously that term “whatever” is completely comprehensive. You can’t get around it. It means to paraphrase Abraham Kuyper that “there’s not a single square inch in any part of your life over which Christ who is the Sovereign over all does not cry: Mine!”

That belongs to Me.

Your money, your speech, your family, your pleasures. All Mine.

We can’t keep treating Jesus like He is just one little part of our lives.

We’ve got work, we’ve got family, we’ve got the way they talk, we’ve got pleasures, and we’ve got Jesus.

And so work, family, the way they talk, their pleasures, it’s basically about us.

And church, well that we do in the name of Jesus.

No!

If He really is our Lord, then everything we do, should be done for Him.

You know how sometimes when you are reading an advertisement in the newspaper, perhaps say for a car, there will be this amazing statement in bold print on the top of the ad, like get this car for only $69 dollars a month. But if you look real carefully, there’s an asterisk right beside the $69 and then you look at the bottom and it has about a paragraph explaining why you can’t really get the car for $69 dollars a month.

I think, we can be like that with a verse like this in Colossians.

We say that we’re doing everything for Jesus in bold print. But then if you look real carefully there’s an asterisk right beside our statement. Everything, except this and that and this and that, and in this situation and that situation.

But, Paul puts a stick of dynamite into that way of thinking and completely blows it out of the water. We’ve got to look at each area of our life and say “For Christ.” There can’t be an asterisk beside that statement.

We’ve got to be done with the rationalizations and the compromises.

The way I talk, the way I work, the way I relate to my family, the decisions I make about what I am going to do, the pleasures I enjoy, absolutely everything is for Him.

I hope you feel the force of that.

Is that the goal of your life?

I’m afraid too many of us have a cheerleader’s attitude towards the Christian life. We cheer on the apostle Paul when he says things like “To me to live is Christ and to die is gain…” Go Paul go! We cheer on great missionaries like Robert Moffat who said, “Oh that I had a thousand lives and a thousand bodies, all of them should be devoted to no other employment than to preach Christ…” Or missionaries like David Brainerd who said, “I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gained souls to Christ.” Yeah, missionary yeah!

This verse makes it very clear we’re not merely cheerleaders, we’re in the game. We’ve been created and we’ve been redeemed to live our lives with one single, consuming passion and purpose, whatever we do, we’re to do in the name of Christ. We exist to make much of Him. The people who put Christ first make Christ’s glory first priority. There is not one aspect of their lives in which they do not recognize His lordship.

 

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One Response to “Are we putting Christ first? part three”

  1. Glenna February 12, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    Very convicting, Josh. Thank you!

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