The Main Thing Should Be The Main Thing

Some time ago, a speaker gave an introduction to his sermon by pointing to Jesus’s statement identifying the two most important commandments. I don’t remember which gospel he preached from, but Matthew says it this way:

And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (22:37-40)

The preacher then went on to speak about loving our neighbor and what that entails. Which is fine, but I remember thinking, What about the FIRST commandment? Why does it seem like more and more of our sermons are about the second, about our horizontal relationships, and less about the one that is the main thing, our vertical relationship with God.

Before he became our pastor, Darin McWatters spoke at my church as one of the guest, and he provided, what I think, are some keys to obeying this “love God” part of the instruction.

He spoke from John 3, a passage about John the Baptist and his answer to his disciples who were upset that Jesus seemed to be stealing away their followers. John showed four particular reactions: dependence on God, deflection of attention aimed at him, dedication as a friend of the bridegroom, and a willingness to decrease in importance so that Jesus would increase.

I think all four of these are aspects of loving God.

A couple points stood out to me, but one in particular seems to put the two commands Jesus related in their proper order. People actually need Jesus more than they need us. In other words, if we love them well, we will first want them to meet Jesus. We can still paint their house or hand out sandwiches—all kinds of things that our neighbors need—but our eyes need to be focused on what they need first and foremost.

Which kind of leads to the next point. Drawing people to US is a mistake. If we have a big following, so what? The goal should be to draw people to Christ

Third, like the friend of the bridegroom, we need to remember that we, the Church, don’t exist for our own sake. We are there as servants to attend to the One who ought to be the center of attention. Our desire should be for the advancement of the good name of Christ, not the comfort of His people.

And finally, our culture loves fame, craves the spotlight, and it’s easy for us (me included) to assume that the more famous a Christian becomes, the more attention God will receive. So, our thinking becomes, we must increase so He may increase.

Sadly some congregations fall into false teaching, and they’re formula then becomes, He must increase so that we may increase.

But John didn’t say either of those. He said, I must decrease so that He may increase. Which pretty much rules out “marketing” the gospel. No one wants to buy from you if you say, I don’t have it, but I know who does. It’s not the kind of sales pitch that makes the top ten.

But it’s where God wants us to be. We are, after all, here so we can give Him glory, so we can put Him center stage, so we can turn the spotlights on Him.

I know some people think that’s selfish of Him for “hogging” the attention. But shouldn’t the star get star treatment? Shouldn’t the gold medal winner get the most press coverage? Shouldn’t the King receive the acclaim as head of state? How much more does God deserve our praise?

Published in: on January 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: