Friday, November 05, 2010

Who is at the Center of Our Universe?

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. --Habakkuk 2:14

Tucked into a small book in the Old Testament is a Prophet named Habakkuk. Habakkuk is bewildered by his circumstances and brings his dissonance by way of inquiry to God. Among other things, God tells him that there will be a day when God’s glory will fill the earth and there will be no injustice ever again. God’s ends have always been His glory. Leave it to humans to make God’s great end human beings, as if His world revolves around us!

On Sunday I shared a segment from a book called Radical: Taking Your Faith Back from the American Dream by David Platt.* I invite you to sit in the segment and wrestle with it, for I believe it means everything to our ministry at PCC.

“If you were to ask the average Christian sitting in a worship service on Sunday morning to summarize the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something along the lines of…'The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me.'
As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn’t it incomplete, based on what we see in the Bible? 'God loves me' is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Because if 'God loves me' is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?
God loves me.
Christianity’s object is me.
Therefore, when I look for a church, I look for the music that best fits me and my family. When I consider the house I will live in, the car I will drive, the clothes I will wear, the way I will live, I will choose according to what is best for me. This is the version of Christianity that largely prevails in our culture.
But it is not biblical Christianity.
The message of biblical Christianity is not 'God loves me, period,' as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is 'God loves me so that I might make him – his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness – known among all nations.' Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is.
This may come as a shock to us. You mean that God has an ulterior motive in blessing us? We are not the end of his grace? And the answer Scripture gives is clear. Indeed, we are not at the center of his universe. God is at the center of his universe, and everything he does ultimately revolves around him.
If this is true, we may wonder, then does this make God selfish? How can God’s purpose be to exalt himself? This is a good question, … until we ask the follow-up question: Whom else would we have him exalt? At the very moment God exalted someone or something else, he would no longer be the great God worthy of all glory in the universe, which he is.”

This Sunday, we continue in our Different series on The Sermon on the Mount looking at the topic of worry. Walt Gerber, one of my favorite preachers will join me in the pulpit this Sunday. Remember to turn your clocks back an hour this weekend and read Matthew 6:25-34 to prepare your hearts.

*Radical: Taking Your Faith Back from the American Dream by David Platt (Colorado, Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2010), pp. 70-71.