#1 The Supremacy of His Glory
It’s simple: It is all about Him, end of story. Ephesians 1 illustrates how Father (1:6), Son (1:12), and Holy Spirit (1:14) each work together for the glory of God. His activities serve His own purpose of expressing His character, demonstrating His glory. If we will understand this simple, central Biblical truth, our lives will be more fruitful, and we will have a much better grasp of what He is doing in and around us.
#2 The Supremacy of His Glory
And another thing…we are far less important than we think we are. God doesn’t need us, but He chose us for His own glory (remember Eph 1:6?). Our value comes from Him, and from nowhere else (that is an exciting and liberating truth, by the way). If we understand how amazing He is – like Isaiah (Is 6:3) and John (Rev 4:8) came to understand – then we can also understand our proper (and blessed) posture: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). Realizing our lowliness helps us truly appreciate His amazing grace.
#3 Methods Change. Truth Doesn’t
God has revealed Himself in His word, and His word is truth. It is inspired, authoritative, and sufficient for our adequacy and equipping (2 Tim 3:16-17). We need to seek to understand what He said, and avoid reading our own ideas and opinions into His word. We must handle His word accurately. In doing so we can teach it simply with open printed Bibles, or with ipads, powerpoints, embedded video, simulcasting, or all of the above. We can sing it with electric guitars and drums, or organs, or pianos, or with every instrument, or none. Methods of delivery change with technology and with each generation, but the truth and centrality of God’s word remains always the same. Sometimes changes in method are for the better, sometimes they aren’t. We need to be Biblically discerning to recognize which is which. We need to be Biblically discerning to recognize when consideration for each other demands different methods. We need to be Biblically discerning to recognize when changes in the method begin to distort God’s word. Method isn’t the end; it is simply a means.
#4 Salvation is Still by Grace…and Still Has Consequences
While we would like to think that we earned His favor, we haven’t. And we couldn’t. And we won’t ever. That’s what makes His grace so spectacular: it is truly undeserved. His grace can help bring into our focus that we are equally undeserving, and equally blessed to have life in Christ through faith in Christ, by grace alone (Eph 2:8-9). This central truth should have profound and persistent impact on how we treat Him and how we treat each other. We should walk every moment with Him, recognizing that we have been bought with a price, and it is not for ourselves that we live (Gal 2:20). And at every opportunity, we should demonstrate His grace to others, in love and honor (1 Pet 2:17).
#5 Wait ‘Til You Hear What I Have To Say! Or, Don’t…
In light of His glory, when we speak and act, we ought to say and do things that are honoring to Him. “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). If when people listen to us and watch us they get to know us, then that’s OK, I suppose. But if when people listen to us and watch us they get to know Him, then that is better.
#6 Brothers, We Are Not Chefs
Teaching the Bible is not simply about feeding people. It isn’t about preparing lavish meals for patrons to consume as they become fat and dependent. No, rather teaching the Bible well means teaching people how to handle God’s word for themselves, so that they can grow to independence and spiritual maturity (2 Tim 2:15). Have you ever seen a good parent who raised an otherwise healthy child to be so dependent on the parent that the child never learned how to feed itself? Me neither.
#7 Size Doesn’t Matter, But It Hurts When Our Feet Fall Asleep
There is no Biblical mandate for churches to grow in numbers (on the contrary, He is the builder of the church [Mt 16:18]), but there are many Biblical mandates that churches and individuals grow in maturity (e.g., 1 Thes 4:1). Too much attention on temporal goals will give us only temporal success. Of course, there is nothing wrong with goals and planning, but these should always be driven by God’s priorities. What seems most important to Him is not the size of a local church, but its proper function. That means every member needs to be active and functioning as He designed (which, incidentally, often results in numerical growth). Consider that when we stand up after one of our feet has fallen asleep, what follows can hardly be deemed correct function. We limp about as if we don’t have the foot at all. And, yeah, it kinda hurts a little. It’s no different in the body of Christ. If one member is asleep, the rest of the body can’t function properly and all parties suffer. Yet another reason to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24).