First of all, heartfelt thanks to all who are reading this who made it to the second annual Bible Focus event on September 29th. I do hope you were greatly blessed by being there. It was good to see so many and I am only sorry that I couldn’t get to speak to everyone. For those of you who were unable to be there – we missed you and hope you can be with us next year: Saturday, 21st September. Alasdair Paine, from St Andrew the Great, Cambridge will be our speaker and further details will be available in due course.
If we are drivers we all know how essential it is to keep our eyes on the road! The writer to the Hebrews urges us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (12:2). Since that is what he is, how foolish to take our eyes off him!
On one occasion I was leading an encouragement day in London for a church that was affiliated to two denominations, with several members from other backgrounds as well. As the day progressed I sensed a timidity; it seemed as if one group did not want to propose anything that might make the other group uncomfortable. So, little if anything was undertaken and the church was in danger of getting into a rut. This became even clearer to me as I reflected upon the surprising statement someone made that it was not a very God-centered church! What is a church if it is not God-centered? My fear is that they had been so distracted through fear of upsetting those of other traditions that they had taken their eyes off the Lord, whom they were there to worship, serve and please. So there they were, at a low ebb, needing encouragement, and needing to refocus on the things that mattered.
One of Satan’s ploys in seeking to undermine the church is to distract our attention, to draw our focus away from Christ himself. If we take our eyes off Christ we shall soon lose sight of the great plan and purpose that God desires to accomplish in and though his church. When we lose sight of that many secondary purposes will claim prominence and the church will become absorbed in non-essentials and also weak and ineffective.
Paul writes in Colossians 1:8 concerning Christ that “he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy”. That is the criterion: that he might have the supremacy: supreme in our church programme, supreme in the use of church finances, supreme in the conduct of business meetings and appointment of leaders, supreme in our worship, our outreach, our fellowship and our mission.
Was it not encouraging to hear from John Risbridger some stories of the Lord powerfully at work in the lives of various individuals? Let’s pray that we shall see more of that in our own churches as we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”.
Warmest greetings in Christ,
Chairman, Saffron Walden Bible Focus