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Jesus as Lead Pastor: Think Sufficiency


Think Sufficiency

Colossians 2:8-10—Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Every true believer learns through the ups and downs of our “earth-suit” existence that our spiritual formation to Christlikeness takes a lifetime which ushers us into the glorious presence of Christ when we will see Him as He is (I John 3:2). This hope has a purifying effect on us.

Through it all, however, there are turning points along the way where we see a little more of Him than we had seen before. Paul actually prayed for the Ephesian church that they would be given by God the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him—and that their spiritual eyes would see their riches in Christ (Ephesians 1:15-23).

Sometimes those “eye-openers” come in the form of a sentence which changes our lives forever. Here’s one of mine: Jesus Christ obviously present and actively in charge. Here’s the story.

By the time I heard this, I had been teaching and pastoring for 22 years. God had graciously helped me understand my union with Christ for personal victory, and we had experienced a great deal of reviving in our church. We wanted to become a praying church and had scheduled a speaker to speak about prayer to help us. A few days before the meeting, I called to get his message titles in order to inform our people. His name was Oliver Price from Dallas, Texas. Oliver said, “Joe, I’m going to speak on Jesus Christ obviously present and actively in charge.”

When he said that, my whole world focused! It was like all the lenses of a spiritual camera focused. Everything I needed for life, home, and church was defined in these eight words.

  • Revival happens here.

  • Wretched circumstances are confronted here.

  • Pathetic relationships are healed here.

  • Spiritual authority is found here.

  • Graced-filled enablement flows from here.

Clearly this is nothing other than what we believe to be the sufficiency of Christ. I’m speaking to the ordinary pastor, who like me, is in the trenches, engaged in hand-to-hand combat for the power of the gospel and the glory of God. We and our church must think “sufficiency.”

We must not reveal our wavering hearts with worrisome words like, “I know Jesus will build His church, but . . .!? Often what we say after the but betrays what we believe and gives us a sort of illegitimate permission to look for other saviors.

So, let’s take a sort of sufficiency inventory. Remember our title:

Jesus Christ Obviously Present and Actively in Charge

Ask yourself:

  • Is there any need in any church of any size in any place that this biblical reality doesn’t supply?

  • What is the only limitation to this truth?

  • Should we not start here and stay here and end here?

  • Are we totally immersed in believing the supernatural sufficiency of Christ and His Word to build His church?

  • Do we know how to bring His sufficiency to the forefront in our leadership practically?

If Christ is to be in the lead, then He must be believed and received in both His authority and in His sufficiency.

I love John Stotts statement that the centrality of the gospel will determine the circumference of the gospel. I would add that the sufficiency of the person of Jesus Christ must be the centrality of the gospel or else we have nothing at all.

Nothing is more deadening to a church than the constant busy dealing with the outer shell of lifeless religion. So, think always at all times—sufficiency.

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