In Christ Alone (11-05-2013)

In a lecture on the Gospel of John, pastor and teacher Steve Lawson explained why a jeweler prefers to set a diamond against black material. The darker its surroundings the brighter the diamond shines. It’s a beautiful analogy for the gospel of Jesus Christ. The greater our understanding of the darkness of this world, the greater our awe of Jesus becomes. The more that we see of the Word Incarnate, the less appealing the world appears. In short, we make much of Jesus because compared to Him, all things pale in comparison.

Two weeks into Emmaus Church, and only fourteen verses into the Gospel According to John, we are discovering the endless wonders of Jesus. We have barely scratched the surface of what it means that all of the promises of God find their Yes in Him. Lord willing, we will have many years of Sundays exploring this Savior and still come away thinking we’ve just begun to see what the Word of God reveals about Jesus.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There’s a tremendous pressure on churches today, particularly on new churches, to devise messages that will appeal to people, “to meet them where they are”. This sounds great, so long as we approach people where the Bible says they are – spiritually dead and in need of the life that comes only through the proclamation of the gospel.

The church that truly cares about people will continually preach the gospel, trusting in God to save his people through the means He has determined – the message of Christ crucified for our sins. The church that truly cares about its people will continue to preach and teach Christ, opening Scripture each week to see not ourselves but the King of kings and Lord of Lords.

Calvin’s Institutes begins, “Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” There is a two-fold benefit to intentionally, consistently preaching Christ from the Bible. First, by focusing on Christ, we learn more about His holiness, His sinlessness, His deity and humanity, and His unique ability to serve as the propitiatory sacrifice for our sins. Secondly, by opening the Scripture and teaching what it teaches about God and man, we give our congregations what is often neglected – the truth that salvation is all of God, that there is nothing in us that is makes us worthy of being saved, and that there are no works that we can perform capable of freeing us from our sins.

To give people what they need isn’t the same as giving them what they want. The latter may fill the seats but it will not fill anyone with the light of life (John 1:4-5). The former may not fill the seats but fulfills the ministry of the church.

By God’s grace, Emmaus Church will be always and only be a church that preaches Scripture alone, that by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone, the dead may have life, reborn as new creations, to the glory of God alone.

Sola Deo Gloria!

Jeremy Cooley

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