"Keep the main thing, the main thing," was the saying on a plaque in a friend's office. Keep what's important in focus and at the top of your priorities is what that saying means. The longer I live the more complex this world seems to get still the longer I follow Jesus, the simpler things seem my faith becomes.
When the first century church was confused about the Gospel and about the Resurrection, the Apostle Paul wrote them a letter and in the middle of that letter he tells them to keep your focus. Keep what is important in the forefront, or keep the main thing, the main thing.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."
As we approach the most sacred time of the year for Christians, we are reminded about what the basis of our faith is all about. It's about Jesus Christ, and his atoning death, and his resurrection from the dead.
Paul the Apostle brings out three points to keep us focused on what our faith is all about. First, Jesus died for our sins. Propitiation is a big word that means "in our place." When sin separates all people from God, the propitiation of Jesus for the sin of those who believe in him, is the main thing. And it was according to the Scriptures. Long ago the Jewish prophets spoke of this sacrifice of the Messiah being wounded for transgressions, bruised for iniquities, and bearing the sorrows of the saints.
Second, Paul speaks of Jesus being buried. Why is that important? Because that means he really died. Some say, Jesus didn't die on the cross, he simply fainted. Yet the historical evidence shows that the Roman soldiers who examined him said, "Bury him." They were the world's most elite fighting force, acquainted with death and they knew when someone was really dead. Jesus was buried according to the Scriptures.
Finally, he rose from the dead. This time of year, as Easter approaches, we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Bible declares that he rose so that we too might have eternal life. When people in that church in Corinth were being told the Resurrection was a myth or metaphysical, Paul says this to remind them of the main thing.
1 Corinthians 15:17-19, "...If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."
This time of year is a great opportunity to get back to the basics. To remember what is first in importance in your faith. So remember, like Paul told the Corinthians, without Jesus and all he has done, your faith is futile. Keep focused!
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.