The sermon I preached in view of a call to First Baptist Church, Lafayette was titled, “The Ultimate Resolve of Any Church and Any Pastor.” I find myself a little reflective this weekend as I approach my last Sunday at First Baptist, so here is the summary of that message.
The 2003 football season for the LSU Tigers was certainly a memorable one ending in a National Championship with the 21-14 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. Before the season began, Coach Nick Saban, ever the master motivator, told the team the story of NHL hockey player Jaromir Jagr. Jagr, one of the superstars of the NHL, has always worn the number 68. He wears the number in remembrance of his late grandfather. His grandfather, also named Jaromir Jagr, was killed in the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia during the Spring Rebellion in 1968. Though young Jaromir was not born until 1972, his grandmother told him of his late grandfather’s bravery, courage, and willingness to die for freedom. The hockey playing Jaromir Jagr has always worn the number 68 as motivation and a reminder of his grandfather’s heroism in 1968. As Nick Saban challenged his football team with this story, he concluded by asking each young man, “So, who or what is your 68? Who is it that drives your passion and motivates you to success?” “Everybody,” Saban said, “has a number 68!”
Every church has a number 68.
In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, we see a glimpse of Paul’s passion.
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2 I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power.
We can say that we see in this text Paul’s number 68. First, we see the ultimate resolve of any true Christian and any true church. Second, we see the requirements necessary to carrying out such a resolve. Third, we see the result of carrying out such a resolve.
The Ultimate Resolve of the Church
Pastor Rick Warren challenged all of us in his foundational book, The Purpose Driven Life, that we are to live our lives according to God’s purposes. Near the end of that book Warren challenged us to condense our life’s purpose to a motto or slogan.
For all of us, the ultimate resolve should be to Know Christ and to Make Him Known.
Upon coming to a relationship with Christ, Paul reached the point where nothing else mattered in life, except knowing Christ. One of life’s challenges for all of us is that we will know about Christ, without knowing Christ. Jesus has not called us into a relationship of knowing about Him, but rather has invited us to know Him. Second to that, once we have established a relationship of knowing Christ, then our life’s mission will be to make Him known to others.
The Requirements of Carrying out this Resolve
As you well know, a resolve is only as good as the plan that you have to carry out that resolve. For example, I can resolve to exercise, eat right, and lose weight, but unless I have a plan, my resolve may be in vain. We see in our text a plan, or the requirements, to carrying out the resolve to know Christ and make Him known.
- The revelation of God through His Holy Word must be our primary means of knowing Him and making Him known.
- The redemption of humanity by God through Jesus Christ must be our primary message.
- The power of God available through the Holy Spirit must be our primary resource.
The Result of Carrying out this Resolve
The result of carrying out such a resolve as to know Christ and to make Him known is indicated in verse 5. “So that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power .” Here is the result: faith—not in any man, but in God.
I asked on that inaugural Sunday at First Baptist, “What if First Baptist Church, Lafayette got serious about “Knowing Him and making Him Known?”
Now I ask, “What if the churches of the Louisiana Baptist Convention got serious about “Knowing Him and making Him known?”