Relevance. The concept has been overused like a tired old dust mop leaving streaks of confusion and stains of compromise.
Hillsong pastor, Brian Houston, expressed his own struggle in maintaining relevance in an increasingly liberal culture, “So the world's changing, and we want to stay relevant as a church. So that's a vexing thing.”
What does the word “relevant” really mean? According to Merriam Webster, it is simply about relating to a matter at hand, a practical social applicability or ability to retrieve information or material that satisfies the needs of the user.
We all need to relate, to connect, to feel that we are part of something. We need, we want, we long for fulfilment. Whether we realize it or not, every single one of us is connected by a basic tenet that marks all mankind – sinfulness.
Something… someone must answer and satisfy this deepest human flaw and need. The church has the answer—it is profound yet simple. It is Christ. Holy God came down, wrapped Himself in human skin and walked among us.
Isaiah 53 describes in unsettling detail Christ’s accomplishment on the Cross. I have always been taken aback by verse 11.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities. (emphasis mine.)
The word “satisfied” has a ring of completion. There is no room for confusion when it comes to what the church has to offer broken, fallen people.
The suffering servant bore our sins – whether pride, fornication, homosexuality, murder, hatred, adultery or envy – and offered us eternal life. When Christ, the Cross, repentance and grace is preached, the sin is engulfed in grace, and the sinner is saved.
Christ is unchanging. We do not have to chase a different version of Christ. He does not sway with cultural tides. There is nothing more relevant to the fallen human race than the gospel of Jesus Christ.