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A Simple Gospel

05/03/24


“Keep the main thing the main thing.” Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase. It is meant to direct folks back to what is important, back to the heart of the matter. Keeping the main thing the main thing means to not let externals become a distraction, don’t get off track, stay focused. It’s so easy to do in meetings, as well as in everyday conversations. All it takes is one stray thought and there we go down the rabbit hole!


We have witnessed times when we or others have strayed from the main thing. The workaholic who gains great success at work to the neglect of their family. The pastor who spends so much time being focused on numbers and growing church attendance that pride sets in, and their own marriage succumbs under the pressure. They did not keep the main thing the main thing. 


The Apostle Paul had a laser focus on the main thing:


For I decided to know nothing among you except 

Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2


It was a simple, yet profound Gospel. The reality that Jesus is the Christ, and that He truly was crucified. For Paul, this was the bottom line, the main thing. Everything else in our faith stems from these truths.


When Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth, it was to address divisions in the church. Folks were taking sides based on what minister they came in under or who had baptized them. Fights over personal preferences and beliefs. It was the kind of pride and prejudice that brings disunity and destroys churches (and denominations!). 


In an attempt to draw them to unity and brotherly love, Paul brings their attention back to the main thing: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The existence of Jesus as the Anointed One, the Christ, had been revealed to Paul on the Damascus Road. He was convinced that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. No one could convince him to believe differently.


And Paul was also convinced that the cross made all the difference. Christ and the cross. Because the cross leads us to the resurrection of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness of sins and no life everlasting. He was convinced of those two things, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It was a simple Gospel, but one that shook the Jewish and Gentile world!


Church, if we remember to keep the main thing, the main thing, if we present to the world Jesus Christ and Him crucified, it will shake up the world in 2024 and beyond!  If we lay our own selfish ambitions aside, if we preach and teach the pure, unadulterated message of Christ and the cross, and invite others to come on this journey with us, perhaps our divisions will become less and our unity will increase. That was Paul’s desire, and it is the desire of every good gospel preacher that we would all come under the banner of the cross, the ultimate expression of Jesus’ love for us. There is so much that divides us. But may we remember the simple Gospel that unites us and keep the main thing the main thing so that we may be a house united.


I hope you can join us this Sunday. I just returned from a week of walking in the footsteps of Paul in Greece, so you know I’ve got to share some of it with you! So, we will continue the sermon series on Paul: Man on a Mission with the sermon: A Simple Gospel.


General Conference Updates The 2020 General Conference of the UMC was held from April 23-May 3, in Charlotte, NC. The General Conference is the only body that can legislate our Book of Discipline and Social Principles. Some of the topics that received approval were the lifting of the ban on the ordination of LGBTQ persons, dividing the conference into regions, striking the language in the Social Principles that pertains to homosexuality, and an expanded definition of marriage. For all things related to the General Conference you can click on this link: General Conference 2020 (resourceumc.org)


Vision for 2024:

A House United: 

Strong Faith, Strong Families, Strong Future!



Blessings,

Pastor Linda


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