Rejoicing in the Real and Irresistible Jesus
Every Sunday at Naperville Presbyterian Church, we collapse together into the open arms of Jesus Christ, the unfailing friend of sinners and sufferers. Our vision as a church and all we finally care about is that we are a church that is rejoicing in the real and irresistible Jesus. Nothing else matters.
Here's a little more on what we mean.
A central command in both Old Testament and New is that we rejoice in the Lord. Joy is not an optional add-on. It is the basic, controlling summons of the Christian life, within which all other aspects of Christian discipleship are subsumed. Thus, irrespective of our circumstances, we want to be a church that ruggedly rejoices in Jesus Christ, his beauty and glory, and invincible purpose of grace in our generation and in our individual lives, messy and inconsistent as they are.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, rejoice”
Not the decaffeinated, domesticated Jesus we all naturally believe is there. Not a nicer, smiley-er version of us. The real Jesus, the Jesus who loves and embraces us beyond what we find ourselves accepting, and the Jesus who will return in terrifying wrath and glorious triumph one day soon to rinse this world clean and sparkling and joyous once and for all. Many Christians have grown bored with Jesus Christ, thinking they’ve exhausted him. We all tend to do this! But just as Columbus thought he had reached the Indies when he hit the Caribbean islands, not knowing there were vast tracts of land yet unexplored, we too think we’ve exhausted Christ when in fact, there are vast regions of who he is that we have not hit bottom on.
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?”
The Christ of the Bible is not meant merely to be understood theologically, believed in creedally, read about intellectually, or shared evangelistically. He is to be adored. That requires sound doctrine. But doctrine is not an end in itself. It is a means to ensuring a sharply contoured Christ. What we long for—for ourselves and for our people—is that we would not add Jesus to our lives but collapse into him as our life (Colossians 3:4). We can reason and exegete people into right doctrine, and we should, but our deepest calling is to pray and disciple our people into seeing his irresistible beauty. Our calling is to unleash his soul-satisfying gentle glory, surprising and wooing and melting men and women into his mighty embrace.
And they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this?”
It’s all about him. Not even the gospel, centrally—the person. We are nobodies wanting to tell everybody about Somebody. Or, as Scripture puts it, “I decided to know nothing…except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Jesus Christ himself is our most irreducible non-negotiable.
“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus.”