C2.3 The Christ centred message
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; Gal.1:16a
C2.3a To reveal Christ
And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
I Jn 5:11-12
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Many people think that by believing a set of doctrines, even if correct in the technical sense, then they are a Christian. Some think that providing they do good works and keep the commandments, to the best of their ability or following the precepts of their church, they are Christian. Yet this is emphatically false and opposed to the true gospel. Christianity is not adhering to a set of doctrinal statements, or belonging to a particular group or following certain practices. Instead it is having the life of God within, that is Christ on the inside. No one is a Christian unless they have Christ within
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
Notice that Paul says that those in the flesh can not please God, so we conclude that the flesh religion, in whatever form it takes, can never please God.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
To be a Christian one has to have Christ revealed in you. You have to have His Spirit. Christianity is life, eternal life, and God’s life at that in a person. It is vital and real, and consequently can only be placed there by God Himself. We can not give ourselves eternal life any more that we can give ourselves natural life.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Having placed the life of Christ within God’s predestined plan then is for us to be conformed to Christ’s image. And this too is a work of God.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
I Jn. 3:2
C2.3b To preach Christ
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Paul’s preaching was centred on Christ and not on himself. In the Acts and his epistles Paul occasionally mentions his testimony, as far as it is relevant to the point he is making, but his emphasis was always Christ. It would do us good to consider this in these days, and maybe if we were to make Christ the centre of our preaching, then the problem of Galatianism would at least be mitigated.
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Some common problems these days include believers testifying in great detail about their pre and post- conversion experiences – and the more weird the better it seems!- Now it is good to hear people testify of how God delivered them from sin, but the danger is that, by undue emphasis, the vision of Christ is lost.
Again some claim visions and prophecies claiming them to be from God and in doing so make others feel inferior and in bondage by fear. Conspiracy theories, false teachings and teachers are other things which occupy peoples’ attention. With some people every point of conversation is brought round to these things, thus taking hearts and mind away from Christ. This usually means getting believers to fix their attention on someone who thinks they are ‘it’ and is the final authority. Thus Christ is remove from their vision.
Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall he speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Surely no one could fit the picture of the above better than Christ? For who is more true, honest, just, pure, of good report and virtuous than He ? Let us think on Christ. There are times when other issues have to be discussed. But Christ is and always should be our central theme, and anything, or anyone else that seeks to take our hearts and minds away from Christ should be rejected.
The true gospel is indeed Christ centred.