“Keep the main thing the main thing”
I remember hearing this advice long ago, but I no longer remember the context in which I heard it. It is however, good advice for quite a few situations.
We tend to complicate things over time. For example, you might begin the search for a car. You say you just want simple, reliable transportation that moves you from home to work or school etc. But then you surmise a car with low mileage would be better. And you want air conditioning. And power windows and locks. And it needs to have a CD player with a 6 speaker sound system. And you want a red one, but not candy apple red, but more of a sunset red. Before long, you no longer want a simple vehicle but something that includes a long list of extras.
Those “extras” are added onto the main purpose of having a car in the first place, which as to get you from point “A” to point “B.” A black one without power anything will do the same thing right? But we lose focus and no longer, “keep the main thing the main thing.”
I wonder how often we do this in churches? We get caught up in the latest ministry trend and implement various programs with the latest models of ministry. I am all in favor of learning and adapting the presentation of our message, I also think we may be missing the “main thing.”
In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas beginning what we commonly refer to as their first missionary tour, we get some insight into how Paul is presenting his message. Basically, it comes down to three key points that I think must always be part of our ministries – to a varying degree, but these elements must always be part our ministry.
The Word of God MUST Be Our Foundation – Notice how Paul shapes his argument with the Jewish leaders of Antioch. Beginning in Acts 13: 17-25, he uses the scripture to make his point. Going back to Moses, he lays out his case. He quotes scripture from Exodus, 1 Samuel and Psalms. Clearly, Paul knew his ministry had to have a high value placed on scripture.
Here’s a thought I heard awhile back from James MacDonald about the high value ministry’s need to place on the Bible;
“Any ministry not founder upon, committed to, conviction about and passion for, the perfect Word of God and all that it asserts is doomed to failure and it’s eventual relegation to the garbage heap of history.”
I can’t agree more with that statement. Yet I am afraid many ministry organizations that exist under the banner of Christianity, churches and sadly church attendees in our current world do not operate with the Bible as their supreme and final authority.
The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Was An Actual Event – Paul continues this his message by pointing to the actually resurrection of Jesus, starting in verse 30 through verse 35. We know from 1 Corinthians 15, that he believed this was the essential message of Christianity.
Here too, even in the church there are those that openly question His resurrection. The whole Easter event becomes a nice spring time story.
But of course it is so much more than a story. It is the way we know the payment for our sins has been paid and accepted by God. The resurrection is the way we know we can have a right standing before God. It is the key theological concept of Christianity which satisfies all the Old Testament laws and allows us to have a right fellowship with the Father! The resurrection of Jesus must be front and center of our ministry philosophy.
Jesus is the Only Way We Gain Forgiveness of Our Sins – Notice Paul’s statements starting on verse 38 and 39. “by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things…” In context he is talking about sin and how believing in Jesus is how one gains salvation.
Jesus made the claim in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
He isn’t leaving much wiggle room here with that statement. “No one” would seem to indicate, “nobody” is coming to the Father, except if you go through Him – Jesus. You can’t go through your parents or your sincerity or even because everyone thinks you’re a nice person.
Jesus is the only way of salvation.
Is that a claim your ministry makes? Do you stand behind that statement or attempt to explain it away?
Any ministry that wishes to claim the cause of Christ, must stand on these claim points. Oh other things can be debated and we can wrestle with style and presentation preferences, but these three points must be the three legged stool so-to-speak of our Christian walk. Lose any one of those points, you lose them all and then, we cease to have a ministry or any Christian way of any substance.
Unfortunately, we get lost in many small issues which don’t really “drive the car” so-to-speak. We fail in “keeping the main thing the main thing” and in so doing, miss our call and flounder in work which is unproductive for cause of Christ.
So, keep the main thing the main thing, and maybe you can settle for something without the power windows.
Blessings My Friend