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Subtle Death of Supremacy

January 4, 2011

What a “Vision Sunday” at HWC!  Our focus is the supremacy of Christ over every matter of our church and the announcing of that supremacy to every part of creation.  I love this vision.  

Christian organizations face the temptation to subtly remove Christ from the center and most prominent place if they do not periodically have a christo-centric check up.  They don’t mean to do this, but it does happen.  There is something about having to focus on the structure of organization that strangles the wild spirit of Jesus.  Here are some signs this has happened:

(1) Membership Entitlement.  When members begin to feel entitled to their territory, space, and rights to privileges.  This spirit contradicts the spirit of Christ and is a prime indicator that some competing force has dethroned the King of kings. 

(2)  Content Confusion.  When Jesus becomes one of the issues or subjects of the church rather than the focus, then His supremacy is lacking.  Jesus not only should be the most prominent topic in a church, but also the topic that defines all others topics.  All theology bows to the supremacy of Christ, as do any issues of social concern.  The entire Bible is about Him, from Creation to Apocalypse.   In Him, all things consist (Col. 1:17).  If we cannot teach any given topic within the supremacy of Christ, then we do not yet understand it enough to teach it. 

(3)  The Math of Ministry.  Part of the supremacy of Christ can be quantified in terms of how often Jesus is even mentioned.  I have been to some services and never even heard the name of Jesus.  I have met Christians who have never read the gospels.  Frequency matters when it comes to supremacy.  Pray to Jesus, sing to Jesus, dialogue about Jesus, study Jesus, and imitate Jesus.  

(4)  Cross-eyed Christians.  The church is the body of Christ, and we all remember what happened to His body – it was executed on the cross.  When churches lose the joy and glory of generosity, lowly service, and sacrificial love directed toward a broken and lost world, then we have taken a posture that isn’t congruent with Christ. 

(5)  Poor Portfolio.  Jesus is only supreme in a church to the degree that the church embodies the teaching, example, and mission of Jesus.  Jesus loved sinners.  His very mission was to seek and save those who were lost.  Churches often struggle to invest their resources (money, time, programs, etc.) to those whom we are to be reaching.  Most of our resources tend to be spent on ourselves.  Jesus gave his own life while we were still sinners, and the church will have to do the same for those who are without Christ. 

(6)  Symbolism Over Action. I actually have no problem with symbols in and of themselves.  However, if we think we can surround ourselves with enough Christian culture to make Christ supreme, then we are wrong.  The supremacy of Christ demands making Jesus the guiding force for the mode of operation and ethos within a church.  Budgets, programs, staffing, leadership, outreach, and mission all must bow before the supremacy of Christ by being guided by the ethos of Jesus.  Symbols fool us into believing that we are something without ever having to embody it or act upon it.  To embody the way of Jesus will demand that we act toward the world in the same mindset that he had when He died.

This is not an exhausted list.  Nonetheless, I think it is a good place to start when thinking about the determining and guiding force in a Christian’s life or in the life of a church.  Glory be to the God of Jesus Christ!


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