And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. John 12:32
This week I’ve been reading Speaking of Jesus by Carl Medearis. I’m about halfway through the book, and so far much of it has been spent setting up a distinction between Christianity (a Western, doctrinally-driven, who’s in who’s out system) and following Jesus. When I finish the book I will spend some time unpacking that distinction, it’s validity, and it’s ramifications for discipleship, but today I wanted to share a challenge God has given me through the book–especially for preachers and teachers.
The power of our faith is not a set of doctrines. It is not an organization. It is not a perfect set of apologetic arguments. All these things have their place, but the power of our faith is a person–Jesus Christ. Yet how much of my preaching is devoted to unpacking doctrines, shaping the organization of the church, and arguing for the faith in light of objections? What if I shifted my focus from these things to lifting Jesus up and pointing people toward him? What if I pointed to Jesus and trusted the Holy Spirit to use that to draw people to Himself?
I’m not saying these things are mutually exclusive, but I looked over my past few sermons and while I talk quite a bit about Jesus, it is often in the context of doctrine more than just pointing people to Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So while I’m not committing to cut all doctrine, apologetics, etc from my preaching, I am committing to a focus on lifting up Jesus and pointing to Him. I even added a section to my outline for sermon prep this week–with the simple heading “Jesus.” As I said earlier, it’s not that I haven’t been talking about Jesus, but this heading is meant to remind me to lift Jesus up. Not necessarily to explain Him or defend Him–just to lift Him.
Preachers and teachers–let’s make much of Jesus and trust Him to do the reconciling work He’s promised!