Each year I begin with the preaching of our Passion Statement: Glorifying God by Treasuring Christ above all things and Reaching others that they may find lasting joy in Him.
These first two weeks of the year are for our being reminded of the biblical passion we are to be living out and a vision for just how we’ll do that. It’s exciting, challenging, convicting, and (prayerfully) clarifying. It is so easy for us to get caught up in various ministries and missions that we lose sight of that fact that God has brought us together (locally) for a reason…To Glorify Him!
Biblically we believe that what glorifies God the most, which should be our drive, is to treasure the Son, Jesus Christ, above all other things. Now, this has a positive and negative side. The positive side is exalting and worshipping Christ above all else, because He is supreme and preeminent. The “negative” side of this is that to treasure Christ above all else means we are constantly battling idolatry.
There is a sense, in fact, that our life-long sanctification process is this battle to treasure Christ above all else, glorifying the Father. See, sanctification is not just the killing of idols, it’s the ever-increasing exalting of the Son. So, measure your growth this year by how much more you treasure Christ rather than whether or not you killed a few more idols (essentially, whether or not you think you’ve sinned less). What I mean by this is we get so myopic about particular besetting sins that we often set our goals to kill that sin. But we are sinful and deceptive. Our sin will find a way out (besetting or otherwise). The key to this is to focus on all that causes us to treasure Him more. Then, we will like the writer of Hebrews 12:1-2 view our sin as getting in the way (a hindrance) to the greater joy of treasuring Christ and glorifying God.
It’s my contention / conviction that those who simply battle sin (without the ultimate view of treasuring Christ) do not necessarily share the gospel more. Contrary, it is those who treasure Christ above all things who NECESSARILY and PASSIONATELY share the Gospel more. Your mouth, heart, and mind are interconnected and you cannot help but speak about what you treasure the most. Test this… Think about recent conversations with best friends, mothers, fathers. Think about Facebook and Twitter posts. Look at what you did with Christmas.
Our primary text tomorrow is Jeremiah 2 & 17. I hope and pray that should Christ tarry and God sustain us mercifully for another year, that we will look back at 2010 and see that we, the people of UBC, treasured Christ more than we ever have and it’s evident in our worship, our battling of sin, and our evangelizing the lost.