A lot of times I get confused about what is really the main thing in life. But 2,000 years ago, a man that history tells us was physically rather small and unimpressive, in marginal health, spent a lot of his life in chains, did not have long to live, figured it out and wrote these words. He talked to the church at Colossae about how the hope of glory is Christ in you. He says, (Colossians 1:28) We proclaim Him. We proclaim Christ, teaching everyone that admonishing everyone with all wisdom so that we might present everyone mature in Christ. Paul says, for this I labor, struggling with all His energy that so powerfully works in me.
What is it we do? We proclaim Christ. That means we do not proclaim clever human insights. We do not proclaim self-improvement or stress management or life balance, or career enhancement. We do not proclaim a system of beliefs. We do not proclaim a political agenda. We do not proclaim a set of traditions. We do not proclaim the superiority of church people over unchurched people. We proclaim Christ. We proclaim Christ because He is the light of the world, because He is the creator and sustainer of all that exists, because He is the head of this church, because He is the kingdom bringer and the sin bearer. He is the death defeater, and the life giver, and to invite Jesus into a life touches a place in a soul that nothing else can touch.
That's what we do. We proclaim Christ. To whom do we proclaim Him? We proclaim Him to everybody. So we want people who don't know Jesus to come to know Jesus because He is supremely worth knowing. Then for people who know Him, we want to come to know Him better and follow Him more closely. Paul knows the best way for Christ to spread to people who don't know Jesus is for Him to be fully formed in people who do know Him.
The main thing for a church is not just to put on great services, not just to attract a whole bunch of people, it's to actually help people become mature in Christ and it ain't easy. But then Paul finds this strange thing right in the middle of all that difficulty, labor, and reality and sin and junk and habit, I find it's not just me at work. Everywhere I turn there is God at work. The main thing is to present everyone mature in Christ, and maybe the most important two words are in Christ. See that is Paul's signature phrase. He uses it scores of times. The reality in which we're to be immersed, to live, the way that a fish lives in water, the way that we're surrounded by air, the spiritual reality that is more important to us than air is to be in Christ and for Christ to be in us, to be connected. We're meant to live in that and on that and from that all the time. Really spiritual growth is just…How do I learn to live in that reality?
You have gifts. You have wounds. You have a calling. See we're a body, and in a body, you need every member. We need you. We need Jesus. We need to be in Christ.
I think part of what the Holy Spirit is saying is calling us to pray and discern…What is the unique way God is calling this church with its gifts and flaws and wounds and wiring to pursue the main thing? But we don't get to choose what the main thing is.