Friday, February 06, 2009
The Foundation: Jesus Christ
Simple church. That’s what I want. I want to lead and build and participate in a church that embraces the truth of the Bible and lives out the implications in everyday life. I think this is probably the goal for most churches and church plants.
But simple church is not easy church. It takes work to make things simple. It takes more effort to define and dismiss the unnecessary than it does to create and execute. Simple church means saying ‘no’ to good things so that the right things can be accomplished. Simple church means understanding what is important and what should define your values.
The Corinthian church was not a simple church – it was the definition of complex. It was confused on many issues, ranging from spiritual gifts to holiness to marriage to the Lord’s Supper. It needed clarity. It needed guidance. It needed repentance. Ultimately, it needed a clear understanding of the foundation of the church.
And so the apostle Paul arrives and sizes up the situation. And he speaks a word of simplicity to cast away the fog – church is about Jesus Christ. Relationships are about Jesus Christ. Life is about Jesus Christ. And so he writes in 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
At the center of the believer’s life, and the corporate identity of a church, is the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the Savior, he is the only mediator between God and man, he is the ruling Lord of the world. And he achieved this status not through force, but through humility.
“...who (Jesus), though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name that is above all names, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:5-11
He was crucified to defeat sin and death. He was crucified to redeem us. He was crucified so that all things would be made new under his Lordship. He was crucified so that we could be brought to God. And that’s why Paul begins by laying the foundation for the Corinthians – Jesus Christ is the center of redemptive history and is the center of every genuine believer and church. He is the foundation upon which the church will stand.
Is there more to the foundation of Grace Church than this? Sure there’s more, but there’s never less than Jesus Christ and Him crucified for us.