Is Your Church Characterized By Commands or Christ?

Is your church characterized by commands the leaders give or by the person and work of Jesus Christ. Sadly, various issues in the church – alcohol use, school choice, political beliefs, positions on tattoos and smoking, dietary choices, positions on dancing and attire – tend to characterize the family of God, when it should be all about Jesus.

Jesus is the blazing center, the one who fills all in all, the beginning and goal of all things in the universe and in His church. Dear local church, does your life and doctrine show that?

Here are six ways to tell:

  1. Sunday Service: When people walk out of your Sunday service, do they remember the music style, the way the pastor dressed, the movies he referenced or railed against, or the gospel?
  2. Conversation & Life: When your church members get together, do they tend to discuss political issues, school choices, and dietary decisions or the great work of God in their lives?
  3. Watching World: When unbelievers talk about your church and its members, do they tend to notice that they are characterized by idiosyncracies or by the living Christ?
  4. Small Groups: When your church gathers in small groups, do the leaders focus on what members should and should not be doing or what they should and should not be believing?
  5. Diversity: It’s not an absolute judge, but is your church is characterized by a specific socioeconomic class, a particular musical preference, a small age or life situation demographic, one or two ethnicities, or by a diversity of people (as much as geographically possible) ralled around Jesus?
  6. Pastors and Leaders: Brother pastor and leader, does your teaching focus more on what your people are to do or not do or on who they are to trust?

Each of these is a strong indicator as to whether your church is characterized by commands or Christ. Together, they serve as a helpful guide to assessing the Christ-centeredness of your local body.

But why care about that? Even if your church does stand out more for opinions than for the Savior, why does that matter? Here are 5 reasons:

  1. Glory: Jesus gets more glory when He is the center rather than issues. And His glory is what He deserves.
  2. Goal: Check out Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 sometime, God doesn’t aim for our divisive opinions to take center stage. That’s for Christ alone.
  3. Good: In the biggest ways, the health of your church depends on your God-given ability to focus on Jesus, not on everything else that clamors for our attention. Politics, opinions, and false laws don’t feed faith.  The people will prosper in the Lord as you point them to Him.
  4. Glue: From places like Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3, we learn that the church becomes very sticky when it is stuck on Christ. And that’s the point – focusing on Jesus leads the church to grow in the gospel, guard the gospel, and go hard for the gospel together. A church united in the gospel won’t be divided over weaker matters.
  5. Gospel: The gospel becomes and remains very clear when we labor week after week, year after year, to keep it clearly shining forth from the Scriptures. It becomes clear to the church, who in turn makes it clear to the world. The endurance of your people and the salvation of the world depend on your single-minded, violently-vigilant focus on Jesus Christ.

So, brother pastor, leader, or church member, is your church characterized by commands or Christ? Even biblical commands aren’t meant to overshadow – but rather point to – the Son of the Living God, perfect, reigning, sacrificed and risen, gracious and just, God and man, powerful and returning. Will your church be ready?

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

3 Responses to Is Your Church Characterized By Commands or Christ?

  1. Pingback: New Series! « Your Cross on My Back

  2. Pingback: Every Command is a Gospel Command « Your Cross on My Back

  3. Pingback: Archives: “Do Stuff” Still Isn’t the Gospel « Your Cross on My Back

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