Do you remember, my beloved brethren, that passage out of Luke chapter ten that shows the focus of two sisters, two godly women? One, Martha, was busy serving others out of a sense of necessity. The other, Mary, was sitting at the feet of Jesus, adoring Him and absorbing His word. Martha was overcome with the amount of work that she had to do and approached Jesus demanding that He admonish her sister to help her with serving. Jesus kindly rebuked her and told her that Mary was fixed upon what was truly necessary.
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
The need to focus upon Jesus is a constant theme throughout the holy, inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Word of God. In the letter to the Colossians, Paul, explained his impetus when speaking about his ministry. He revealed to the Colossians in the first chapter of this holy letter that has been preserved for us by our most gracious God what is necessary; what is of most value and of greatest importance.
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. Colossians 1:27-29
The Holy Spirit inspired Paul’s goal, which he worked mightily at through his preaching and his teaching, the presenting every man perfect in Christ Jesus. There is no other goal! That is the summation of all work that is done for the Lord Jesus Christ, to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Sadly, so many who have a “Christian” ministry focus on peripherals rather than concentrating on the central aim, which is Jesus Christ in you the hope of glory. We can get so caught up in life here and now that we relegate Jesus Christ to an inferior position of prominence and forget that He is central to all. Let’s continue in the letter to the Colossians and witness the place of prominence that God has given His Son Jesus Christ and be encouraged by His Word to concentrate on Him, this is necessary.
1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. 11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:1-15
Paul’s great motivation was to present every man complete in Christ because in Christ is all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in Christ dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily; in Christ we are complete; in Christ all of our trespasses against the infinitely Holy God have been forgiven; in Christ the law, which was reckoned against us, is counted null and void; in Christ we are alive to God and dead to sin; in Christ dwells complete power and authority which He exercises on behalf of His body. These are the many reasons that preaching and teaching should be Christ centric, not world centric or egocentric, but focused wholly on Christ Jesus our glorious Lord and Savior. All of our life in Christ from first to last and for all eternity is all about Him because of who He is and what He has done.
Jesus is the Savior of the world, sent by the Father to reconcile the world to Himself through Christ’s death and resurrection from the dead. He is the propitiation for our sins and the life giving Spirit. Jesus alone rescues us from the wrath to come and makes us beloved children of God. Through repentant faith in the gospel of our salvation (that Jesus Christ died in our place, taking our judgment and punishment and that He arose victorious from the dead conquering death and sin and giving us eternal live), we are saved from our sin and the wages of death accrued to our account because of our sin, the wrath of God of eternal judgment in fiery hell. As we continue in Him we grow mature in Christ and are no longer tossed to and fro by the winds of false teaching.
It should be a simple thing to preach and teach Christ, right? We have His Holy Word the Bible for that purpose don’t we? Instead we see the other half of why Paul was mightily striving to present every man complete in Christ, we see that Jesus is always opposed by the ruler of this world system through the false ministry of the world. The vain and empty philosophy and religion of this world doesn’t revive the dead corpse but continues the decaying process. The false teaching of the world brings our focus from Jesus to the poisonous wisdom of fallen man leading to either compromise with error or apostasy. Flee from the deceitful lying spirits who endeavor to make you captives to the devil doing his will. Jesus Christ has equipped the church through His gifting to protect His body from this pernicious attack.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He lad captivity captive and gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this , “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, the He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and some teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which very part does its share, causes the growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:4-16
The abundant supernatural gifting of our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is enough for the building up of His body in love. There is not one thing from the world that we need. We are complete in Christ, have His Holy Spirit dwelling in us to equip us for works of service, and have His Holy Word with which we can encourage one another through preaching and teaching the truth of the Scripture, always having as our focus Jesus Christ. Dear brothers and sisters please do not get distracted from Jesus by the lies of the world. Dear brothers and sisters please realize that Jesus Christ is all that we need; if we are His through repentant faith in Him then we are complete! Dear brothers and sisters, if you are under the loving care of a God-called under shepherd, please insist they always make the preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ. Dear brothers and sisters, if Jesus Christ is not the focal point of the ministry of your assembly, then perhaps it is time to move on. You could try to exhort the leadership, but it probably won’t turn out well. May Christ equip us to sit at His feet and learn from Him, because this is what is necessary.
20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
Lord Jesus Christ, we are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, we ask that You would draw us close to You, to know and follow You alone, for Your praise, honor, and glory. Amen!