Christ Must Come First

Category: Excerpts

When Christ comes to us, He brings all that He is and all of His blessings. But we can’t seek those blessings apart from seeking Christ Himself. We can’t seek to live the Christian life and obey the word of Christ without having Christ Himself. So many of our problems are traced back to seeking something other than Christ.

Excerpt taken from the full sermon: Rooted and Grounded in the Love of Christ


Christ may dwell in your hearts, then you are being rooted and grounded in love. This is critical. The love does not come first. Christ comes first. I say this for this reason: We can want the experience of love. We want to feel loved. We want to feel warmth. But if you start there, that's the wrong place to start. We may want a sense that somebody outside of us loves us. We may want a sense that God loves us. But if you start by looking for that experience, you'll never find it. Nor do you want to seek to try to love God first. Some people, you come along with the Gospel, and it's like, "Well, I'm trying to clean up my life." "I'm trying to make myself presentable to God." I'm trying to do this or I'm trying to do that. No! That cannot come first. We must not seek the blessings that Christ can give to us apart from seeking Him and His salvation. Look, even if it's salvation that you want, you don't start by seeking salvation apart from Christ. You'll never end up there. That's what people are doing in religion all the time. Why do people get religious? Because they want to try to escape what their conscience is telling them is coming when they die. But you don't want to try to go down any road like that except you first start with Christ. Don't seek the blessings Christ can give apart from Him. We must not initially - anything - seek the ability to love others; we shouldn't seek holiness first; good fruit first; some deeper experience first. Don't seek revival first. We need Christ to come. We need Him. It's Him. See, when He comes, He brings all that He is. He brings all that He imparts. He brings all His love. But you've got to have Him. If you try to get all of the other stuff - anything else - without Him, you totally missed it. All experiences of His love for you will come at once, once you have Him. The experiences. The realities of it. Yes, I recognize the experience itself, it ebbs and it flows. All ability to love Him, to love others, to grow spiritually - they flow from Him. He said, "without Me, you can do nothing." It's Him. Him. The roots have to go down. He needs to come in. The roots go down into His love. But see, that love, it's a package with Him. You can't go after the one without the other. "Whoever abides in Me, and I in him..." See, I have to be there. I have to be in Him. That's the one that's going to bear much fruit. "For without Me, you can do nothing." That's what He says. This is no small matter. Listen, I'll tell you this, if you look at the very heart and soul of everything that the Apostle Paul is writing to the churches, it always comes back to this. He is seeking to make Christ preeminent in the life of these churches. All the time. He's answering that reality. This is no small matter because literally every single problem in believers and unbelievers can be traced back to this: looking for and seeking something other than Christ. Now look, this is obvious with unbelievers. They're unbelievers precisely because they don't believe that Christ is everything. All in all. That He's their only hope. And if they do seek Him, it's not really that they're seeking Him, they're seeking money or happiness or something that they perceive that He can give. But listen, believers can go just as wrong. Just as wrong if they seek holiness first, or if they seek some kind of morality first, or some kind of perceived arriving at the keeping of the law or the commandments. They seek to love first. Or they seek any experience of the Christian life first except this experience: the experience of Christ coming into their hearts. And then He comes. And when He comes in - see, this is the connection Paul's making - when He comes in, if you have Him settle down, He comes in bringing this aroma of love into your soul. And it's Christ residing and abiding, settling down. It's Him. And when we have Him, He's present. He's powerfully present dwelling there. Then things happen. This clip was taken from the full sermon: Rooted & Grounded in the Love of Christ.