Last Sunday was week #21 of our study through the book of Revelation called The Reckoning. Almost every Sunday since February 19, we’ve been in the book of Revelation, and we’re loving it! There are many great things about expositional, verse-by-verse teaching, but one of my favorites is the variety of topics I end up teaching on. Expositional teaching forces me to teach things that I might naturally want to skip over.
Case in point: a message I called “Under the Knife” from Joshua 5, where Joshua circumcised a bunch of guys on a hill that became known as “the hill of the foreskins.” Yeah. You read that right. Imagine showing up to a church for the first time and repeatedly hearing about foreskins and circumcision!
Last Sunday, I taught on the Antichrist and his Satanic worldwide domination at the end of the world. Not exactly an easy text, or one that’s filled with tons of uplifting, encouraging verses.
Before we started Revelation, I spent 2 weeks doing an overview of the entire Bible – a series I called “The Book.” It was so fun and a great review for everyone before we dove into the final book of the Bible. Week 1 was on the Old Testament, and week 2 was on the New Testament.
One thing that all 3 of those messages had in common (among a few things) was that God used all of them to bring people to repentance and make public professions of faith!
Only God could use a review of 39 Old Testament books, a message about foreskins and circumcision, and a message about Satanic world domination through the Antichrist to bring new life in Jesus! Of course those are just 3 of many messages that God has used that way at Awaken, but those are a few of the most memorable ones.
Here’s the point: I make a concerted effort, every time we gather, to always take it back to the common theme of Scripture (and Awaken Church): the cross of Jesus Christ. Like Paul said…
1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
When Paul left a city, church, or group of people, he wasn’t content with knowing that they thought he was a good speaker or that he had persuaded them into a new line of thinking. He had a special gift and made a conscious effort to take every conversation, topic, and witnessing opportunity back to the common theme of the cross. He lived for that. He would do anything necessary and make any sacrifice he needed to when it came to the Gospel. He wasn’t about winning arguments or debates; he was all about winning souls.
That’s what I want my ministry and life to be focused on as well. Whether I’m teaching about circumcision, Satanic domination, the Old Testament, or any other topic, when people come to Awaken, I want them to know this: they WILL hear about their need to be saved and Jesus’ ability and desire to save them. In other words, they WILL hear the Gospel. I refuse to waste an opportunity.
As Christians, we carry the name “Christ” within the title of our beliefs. Our lives should also be lived with a common theme in mind: pointing people to the cross!