Romans 5:12-21 is about inheriting the condition of sin from Adam, and the grace of God through allowing us to claim redemption through Christ. Yet it has a few sections that really make one think.
One of the things that I like about the church that I currently attend is that it maintains a very tight focus on Jesus – but what does that mean?
Well, the church has two primary focuses, two goals.
One is to make the body larger, to bring people to Christ. The other is to strengthen the body, to make it stronger, to make the body more knowledgeable or more spiritual – to educate.
Making the body larger is a matter of communicating that Jesus died for your sins and mine, that man is sinful and in a fallen state, and needs Christ to enter into the presence of God. This is what people traditionally think of as the purpose of the church, to make the body larger. It fulfills the commandment to go speak to people around the world, found in Matthew 28:19, and really is the primary mission of the church.
This is a good thing.
However, the church that focuses only on making the body larger is, while a good thing, a seeker church. My family and I have attended seeker-oriented churches and greatly enjoyed them; there’s nothing wrong with them. However they tend to have a basic focus, a tendency to refer to very basic things; man is sinful and needs Christ, over and over again.
For one who isn’t a seeker, it can get a little… tiresome, even while the energy and excitement can be infectious.
For one who wants to become a mature believer, seeker churches tend not to be the ideal place to spend the rest of your Christian life. Because the focus is on bringing new Christians in, the learning tends to be very basic, very introductory.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Some churches go the other way and don’t focus on seekers at all; they focus solely on maturity. They tend to be fairly conservative, and take a lot of things for granted that new believers might have a hard time understanding at first. That isn’t to say that new seekers can come to Christ in such environments but it’s a little bit harder because the energy is different. The knowledge that leads one to Christ is assumed, rather than continually illustrated.
There’s nothing wrong with this, either.
However, there is a medium.
You can focus on Jesus Christ without being solely maturity-focused; you can also focus on Christ without being purely seeker-oriented.
You can actually serve both audiences – the ones who need to grow stronger as well as the ones who need to join the body of Christ – without losing either one and it’s actually one thing that our church does very well.
That’s what being Jesus-focused is really about, being focused on what’s important – pointing everything to Him.
That can present difficulties for people like me.
As a writer, it’s very easy to present my point of view, just like in this paragraph, and therefore, it’s very easy to allow the focus to stray away from Jesus and perhaps on to what Jesus has done in me, without properly focusing on Jesus in a way that illustrates Him to others. It’s a very fine line to cross. I find that many of the things that I do artistically focus on effect rather than cause and that is not really what I want to have happen in a Christian expression.
Consider this expression: “I feel wonderful because Christ is in my life.” Is that a Christ-focused expression? It could be. However the primary focus of the expression is not Christ – that’s the cause. The effect (“I feel wonderful”) is the main things in the expression.
Perhaps it would be more Jesus-focused if it were to be expressed as: “Christ is in my life, this makes me feel wonderful.”
However, I find this wanting as well. It still focuses on me, more than it should. It would be better if I were left out of it and perhaps it focused on us: “Christ has come to us. This is wonderful.”
Now it’s an expression that leaves me, as the believer and author, out of it; it now focuses on the beginning and end of what’s important: Christ.
Originally posted on January 4, 2012.