In Colossians, chapter 1, verses 15-23, Paul writes about a few profound biblical realities. He’s writing to new Christians. In verses 21-23, he says that by giving himself completely at the cross, Christ “brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in His presence.” He continues with a powerful, challenging statement: “You don’t walk away from a gift like that.”

Really? In nation after nation—where Christianity flourishes, after several generations, secularism becomes the standard. In truth, people do walk away from “a gift like that”! It makes you consider bad theology: “The cross has lost its power.”

Look at the United States. It was never a 100% theocracy, but Christian values dominated. People were never perfect, but faith and biblical wisdom permeated much of the daily life at all levels. Today that is rapidly diminishing. What happened?

Don’t blame Jesus or think His death and resurrection power has become anemic or out-of-date. Jesus didn’t lose America. Christians lost it. The church lost the majority of influence in the nation—just like much of Europe and Canada and elsewhere in the world.

This is an appropriate connection, based on the context of Colossians 1:15-20. Paul says, “…when it comes to the church, He (God’s Son)—organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.”

Could it be that the millions of people who have walked away from the thriving Christian faith actually drifted because the church—the body—drifted away from the Head? Think about it: Most Christian churches aren’t organized with Christ as the Head. Some are organized around a pastor as the head. Others swap out Jesus for a board of directors—the American secular, corporate model.

Other churches drift from the teaching of Jesus, the Head. They are focused on social fads, political ideas, human care minus eternal realities. They aren’t centered in the Head of the church because they don’t think like Jesus. God doesn’t lose millions of people from faith. His people

So many Christians don’t live in the head of Jesus. Even though God speaks from His Word, Scripture, they are biblically ignorant. This occurs in two most important areas: how to be and do church, and how to be and do missions—effective, biblical outreach.

Many Christians know Jesus only and primarily from preaching focused on “what God has for me.” Therefore, most Christians are worthless in outreach, because they never apply it to their personal mission: what it means for me to reach those in my social network for Jesus. Paul’s right: “You don’t walk away from a gift like that”—without disaster!

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