Some time ago, I attended a meeting concerning the youth group at a church I was going to and the topic of discussion was what we should be teaching the kids. There seemed to be some disagreement as to which course of study should be taught and emotions were beginning to flare, just a bit. The leader was trying to go about making the choice in a very democratic way, which, quite frankly was just not working. It seemed to me that the purpose and intention of the youth group had been either forgotten or at the very least overlooked. So, I (throwing caution to the wind) being newer to this conglomeration of well-intending leaders and teachers, decided to ask a question once I was prompted for input. I know, I know, first mistake: I was new. Well I’m still trying to learn that one. Anyway, when asked for input, I asked for someone, anyone, to tell me in their own words what they considered the purpose of the youth group to be. Well, I got a few blank stares, baffled looks, and a moment of excruciating silence. Finally, I had a taker. Now, I have to tell you, because of the way the meeting had been going, I had a pretty good idea of what the answer would be and knew already how I was going to respond to it. The leader speaks up, goes into, actually a very good answer on the function of the youth group but never once mentioned anything about Jesus Christ. Well, yes I did, point it out to him. I told him that his answer was great, but that he didn’t even once mention Jesus Christ. To which he seemed rather offended by that and then someone said it was an issue of semantics. I was actually concerned more with that response than I was the first.
(Honestly, I was (inwardly) a little belligerent during this whole meeting. I was not speaking out of love and concern for my brothers and sisters in the room. After this whole thing, I came under some heavy conviction for the way I had conducted myself. I called the leader of the meeting, and asked him to forgive me for the way I had acted, which he was gracious to do. Even if I was correct in the way I assessed things, that did not mean I was correct in how I used it. We should be careful with what we do with the truth. Are we using it to build or destroy?)
It is so easy for us to lose sight of Christ and His cross. It begins so subtly with distractions and turns into full blown idolatry. Why is it so important to keep a firm, fixed focus on Christ? Is it only an issue of semantics? In the epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul mentions Christ specifically eleven times just in the first chapter. I would ask, why would he mention the Lord so much? Paul new better than we, how imperative it is to be specific about who we serve and who we belong to.
John Owen puts it best:
It is scandalously proposed and answered, “Of what use is the consideration of the person of Christ in our religion?” Such are the novel inquiries of men who suppose there is anything in Christian religion wherein the person of Christ is of no consideration – as though it were not the life and soul that animates the whole of it, that which gives it its especial form as Christian – as though by virtue of our religion we received anything from God, any benefit in mercy, grace, privilege, or glory, and not through the person of Christ – as though any one duty or act of religion towards God could be acceptably performed by us, without a respect unto, or a consideration of, the person of Christ – or that there were any lines of truth in religion as it is Christian, that did not relate thereunto. (Works of John Owen, Vol. I, page 42)