Saturday, January 20, 2024

Where Christ Is Not Preeminent

Wherever Jesus Christ is not preeminent, wherever there is a tendency to knock him off his throne or bring him down a notch, wherever we decline to give him the preeminence he alone deserves, you may be sure that in that situation the Holy Spirit is being quenched. When the Holy Spirit is not quenched, he will bear witness to Christ, and Christ will be magnified and glorified. 

J. I. Packer, in his book Keep in Step with the Spirit, likens the Holy Spirit to a floodlight. 

I'm reminded of the Basel cathedral, which Becky and I often visited for evening organ concerts. 

Packer writes:

The Holy Spirit's distinctive New Covenant role is to fulfill what we may call a "floodlight" ministry in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. When floodlighting is done well, the floodlights are so placed that you don't see them. What you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are trained. Just so, the Spirit is the hidden floodlight shining upon the Savior .... The Holy Spirit is Christ-centered in his ministry. He is self-effacing.

If you are a church leader, remember: Healthy leadership is vital to a church. Congregations rarely rise above the level of their leadership. It is astonishing that New Testament writers like Peter and Paul time and again used a term of opprobrium to describe their relationship to their Lord -- "slave." "But," you say, "my role is that of primus inter pares, "first among equals." Okay. Then let me ask you a question. How did Jesus describe "first"? Did he not define it as last? Did he not insist that if you wanted to become a leader you had to become not just a slave but the "slave of all"? Churches that today have co-equal elders (without a "lead" or "senior" pastor) are very rare indeed. But I find them extraordinarily attractive. In 1 Cor. 4:13, Paul could even refer to himself as "the scrapings from a saucepan." The wise leader will follow his example. 

Any achievements we have, any positive qualities we possess, are gifts from God. We do not boast about them. We are thankful for them.