a meditation on Christ, the ultimate treasure of our joy in Evangelism
“Christ is the centre of Christianity; all else is circumference.”
Home is where wish to be. Where is home? We believe that home is where we sense that we are fully ourselves. Thus, home is not simply a place. Home is to belong. Man’s greatest desire to love and be loved. That desire is what fills his sense of home.
What plagues us is that we can think we are home and are not or we can think are have found it, but unaware we are still far from it. There are too many distractions which become substitutes for true home. Many of them may be good, but they’re still not home.
Yahweh God has made a cosmos in which man’s true home is not a continent, not a country, an address, not even a set of ideas, of doctrines or philosophy per se. Man’s true home is his heart in God’s heart. That was the desired and designed existence granted to man by the Sovereign LORD. This is what makes Christianity distinct from all other religions and what shows Christianity to be real with reality. The triune God in Christ is home.
Yet, we have both within the Church and without found lesser hearts in which to center our home, to make a place for our joy other than the Great Heart of God. So in the Christian church methods may be good and insightful, but when evangelism methods are not centered in Christ we end up trying to win with our method. The method becomes an end.
So, in Evangelism what or who is home to our heart? Are we aiming to win a debate point? Are we overwhelming them with information? Are we aiming to convince, persuade, even entertain, those outside Christ? It is Christ they need to see, not our methods.
Our “method” should be Christ for he is the fountain and treasure of our joy. Our “method” should be Christ for he is the fountain and treasure of the Evangel. When Christ came to us he did not come with a new method in hand. He came offering himself. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’ (see John 6:68-69).
No wonder John Stott was thoroughly convinced that “Christianity is Christ. The person and
work of Christ are the rock upon which the Christian religion is built. If he is not who he said he was, and if he did not do what he said he had come to do, the foundation is undermined and the whole superstructure will collapse. Take Christ from Christianity, and you disembowel it; there is practically nothing left. Christ is the centre of Christianity; all else is circumference.” (John Stott, Basic Christianity, 21).
Christianity is Christo-centric. At least it should be, but in many places and churches and minds it is not Christo-centric. The fullnesses of who Christ is fill every doctrine of the Church. So then, why should not every Gospel conversation, every hour spent in Apologetics, every defense of a Christian worldview, every plea for Christian ethics, discipleship or whatever be soaked in the aroma of he who has the words of eternal life?
We are grateful that God has disclosed himself in the beauties of the natural world. But in his Word he discloses his mind and heart. In Scripture we are immersed in word wonder, but not just words. In God’s divine Revelation he shows himself. In the abundance of what God is saying we can miss what he most wants us to know. What if God were to say but one word to all mankind? If God said only one word in all of history what one word would it be?
If God were to speak but one word it would be ‘Christ.’ What about love? you may ask. To speaking of love divine God must bring you to see the face of Christ. What about wisdom? To speaking of perfect wisdom God must reveal Christ. What about science? Science is the work of knowing and there is no knowing without the Logos, the Christ. This is why the apostle says, For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory (see 2 Cor 1:20). Christ. Yes!
“…because the fervor of desire must be kindled in us by some taste of its sweetness, let us specially dwell upon this thought, If God contains in himself as an inexhaustible fountain all fullness of blessing, those who aspire to the supreme good and perfect happiness must not long for any thing beyond him” (Institutes, 3.25.10). Christ is in himself the embodiment of all the longings God wishes for us to enjoy him. Motivation for Evangelism be sourced in that – Christ – above all other possible motivations.
God invites us into his joy, joy of the triune God, by inviting us to see, to learn, to live, to be Christo-centric. In Evangelism we do best when we invite others into our joy in Christ.
© Mark Olivero 2017. All Rights Reserved.