The Main Event
Thursday, May 5, 2011

 

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt. 28:18-20)

 

                The other day I wrote about sideshows.  As you know a sideshow is not the main event, but often is a distraction to the event itself.  There are more sideshows in the modern church that we can enumerate on.  Liberalism, legalism, and experientialism are all side shows at the theological level.  But within each of those there are many other sideshows which detract from the main event.  What should the pastor wear, how many times a year do you take communion, what is the proper structure of Sunday School, or should there be Sunday School, what makes a person eligible for a prayer team or chain, should we have prayer chains, do you have an alter call every Sunday or just when the Spirit moves, should we take communion sitting down, kneeling, or standing up, how long should a sermon be, what catechism should we use, or should we use any catechism at all, what should our creed say, is the Apostles Creed the best, what Bible translation is the “real” one, should we say the Lord’s prayer every Sunday or is that mindless repetition, should the building be austere, or an edifice that glorifies God (in someone’s opinion), how do we spend the money and who should make that decision, and the list goes on and on.  And these are all sideshows, because you see, you will not find one definitive answer to the questions in the New Testament. 

 

                The question must then arise, “Why is the New Testament silent on these things that seem so important to the modern church?”  To this, there is a very easy answer – because they are not important.  What the New Testament Church is all about (at least according to the New Testament) is recognizing the Supreme Authority of the Church (all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me); under that authority making disciples, children of light, little Christs, of everyone in the world (therefore go and make disciples of all nations); then immerse them in the Trinitarian faith (baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit); teach them to live lives of obedience which means loving God and loving one another as Christ loved us (teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you); and living with the recognition that Christ is with us to empower and comfort us each step of the way (and surely I am with you always even to the very end of the age).  And I challenge you that if this is not the central focus of your church – your church is a sideshow.

 

                The Lord’s Prayer is a beautiful and wonderful theology of prayer and Christian life, but we have made it a legal doctrine – something that Christ never intended.  In this beautiful prayer of instruction from Jesus we learn so many important lessons if we would allow it.  It is a prayer that focuses on the “main event.”  And the main event is simple – glorify God in all we do, and in so doing we bring His light into our own hearts and make a powerful and monumental difference in the world.  We are instructed by Jesus in this prayer to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness,” by hallowing His name; exalting His kingdom, and yearning for His will.  And then we seek to glorify God by asking for His sufficiency of provision (not too much or we begin to be self-focused, and not too little or we steal and bring dishonor to His name [Prov. 30:8]); glorifying Him by our forgiveness of others; and glorifying Him by being morally strong (lead me in the paths of righteous for Your name’s sake [Psalm 23]).  Isn’t it strange that we quibble over how often to say this prayer and in which non-Aramic (the language the prayer was given) we should pray the prayer.  We have made a sideshow of the powerful prayer and thus have made a sideshow of Christ’s teaching.

                 Of course the Lord’s Prayer is only a sample of the sideshows.  And even in singling this prayer out, I am detracting from the main event.  Christ’s commission to the disciples is our commission.  And when we get distracted by constitutions, by-laws, rules of worship, slaying of spirits, hands up or hands down, we take away from the main event.  Look carefully at your church (not with a mean spirit, but with a deep love of Christ and a yearning to want more of Him) and see if it is a sideshow on the way to the main event, or is it an instrument of God to transform the world.  Want nothing less than the main event, for that is what Christ died for.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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