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I heard it said one time, “The church is not here to meet the needs of the people, but to connect them to the only one who can.” How true that is.
Early one morning my telephone rang. The call was from the senior leader of our work in India. He called to speak with me about a problem he was having with an older staff member. This particular man had served with our ministry for quite some time and was responsible for overseeing a vital part of the ministry. However, a few days prior to this phone call, a younger brother was placed over the older staff member as his leader. And because this man was older and had been with the ministry longer, he would not submit to the younger man. He refused to carry on any work with a young man as his leader.
When I heard about the situation, I said to the senior leader, “Somehow, somewhere along the line, he has lost sight of Jesus. Now he is looking at his ability, his skill, his position and his wisdom. Somehow he thinks that he should be above this younger leader.” I continued, “This didn’t happen overnight. It is only that it just came into the light through this situation.”
I continued to speak to the senior leader, saying, “I will pray with you, and you should gather the rest of the leaders together and pray as well. I encourage you to re-read Watchman Nee’s book Spiritual Authority and look in the Scriptures at the life of Korah, Saul and others. Look at the fall of Lucifer. See how these didn’t submit and how they resisted God’s authority. And then, in contrast, see Jesus. See how the Son of Man lived and died in total surrender to the Father and to those the Father put over Him.”
Then I said, “After that, call the older brother and share with him the things you read. Always remember, you must point him to Jesus. If you can paint Jesus before him, you will have succeeded.
“Pray that he is able to see what you are saying. Pray that he is able to see Jesus. Then give him the opportunity to be restored. Restoration is what we want. That is our goal. Always remember that if you have to err, err on the side of grace. But after you have pointed him to Jesus, if there is no repentance, then please ask him to leave. You have no other recourse.
“Even if you have to shut down the whole operation that he is in charge of, that won’t be a problem. There are other people who can step in to run it. Running that part of the ministry is not important compared to his following the Lord.”
And you know what? A few days later I got a message from the senior leader saying that the older man had repented. He was able to see Jesus, in His humility and submission, and the problem was solved. The answer is always Jesus.
The best thing we can do for anybody is to point them to Jesus. Only when we keep Jesus before us can we then live and work with one another in love and humility. But if we are not connected with Him, if we lose sight of Him, then we have thousands of reasons for disunity, fighting, discouragement and all kinds of problems.
Remember Job? God said he was the most righteous man in all the earth (see Job 1:8, 2:3). He endured horrible trials with no knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes. His wife and his friends didn’t help him. They didn’t point him to God; they only got him more confused. Job despaired of life because it seemed God had deserted him.
But then we see what pulled Job out of his despair. It says in Job 42:5–6 (NIV), “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Isn’t that interesting? Before Job had heard a lot about God, but now he saw Him. And when he saw Him, everything made sense. The questions stopped. The arguments with his friends stopped. The struggles stopped because Job saw Jesus.
The same thing happened with Isaiah. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he said, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). After seeing the Lord and repenting, Isaiah became the man God could use to speak to His people.
The best disciple, the most effective witness of Jesus, is one who points everybody not to himself, but to Jesus.
This is exactly what the Holy Spirit came to do—to point people to Jesus (see John 15:26). And all of creation—everything—points to Jesus. The entire Old Testament points to Jesus, while the New Testament is a fulfillment of who He is. The Bible is not a book full of doctrines; it is a book full of Jesus.
Why do we point to Jesus? When I see Jesus, I see the truth—that I am nothing. He is all there is. I have nothing to offer you, I have nothing to offer the beggar and I have nothing to offer the lost world, except Jesus. Paul asks a very good question in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “And what do you have that you did not receive?” Think about that for a moment. Paul goes on in that same verse to say, “Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” That understanding helps us to always look to Jesus and point others to Him. We have nothing but what we receive from Him.
This is our purpose in studying the Word—seeing Jesus so that we might point others to Him. You can study book after book of the Bible and still never see Jesus. A friend of mine once said, “You will never find more carnal, self-centered, ungodly people than you find among the so-called fundamental, Bible-studying, Bible-memorizing group.” They know the whole Bible, but somehow they miss Jesus. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39–40).
So, I encourage you, when you read the Bible see if you can find Jesus. Don’t study just to know how to do something. Don’t study to find another rule you can follow. Some people are not really following Jesus; they are following the teachings of Jesus. That is the problem with us many times. But study to see Jesus. Desire to see Jesus.
1 Watchman Nee, Spiritual Authority (New York: Christian Fellowship Publications, 1980).