Read: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
In a sporting event, if the players in a team begin to experience difficulties with each other off the field, the chances of their performing well on the field will be threatened. The same thing applies to a business, a family, or a church. Good leaders know this and, therefore, spend considerable time and effort seeking to maximise good relations and minimise personal frictions. Good leaders do this by constantly reminding the group about their objectives and helping them to focus on what is of prime importance. Good leaders teach their people that “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
Paul was dealing with a particularly insubordinate group of people in the church of Corinth. They were divided on a number of issues. In Paul’s view, all of these issues were less significant than the “main thing.” So, having dealt with some of the issues that were dividing them, and having reminded them that they were called to love each other, Paul turned his attention to sharpening their focus once more on the main thing. He wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand” (1 Cor. 15:1). The main thing was not who was the best leader, or who exercised which gift, or which ministry was most important. The main thing was that God had done something in human history to change their lives for time and eternity, and that he had alerted the people of Corinth to what he had done through the preaching of the Good News. Without the Good News there would be no church, no gifts, no ministry, no apostles, no forgiveness, and no salvation. In fact, without the Good News, there would be no Corinthian church at all.
What precisely is this Good News? “That Christ died for our sins, . . . He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day” (1 Cor. 15:3-4) – that is the Good News. Many men have died bravely, some even voluntarily and vicariously. But no one has ever died with the intention of raising himself from the dead. No one, that is, except Jesus (John 10:17-18), which demonstrates that His death was unique. It was so unique that it alone could be the basis for the forgiveness of sins.
The main thing is that Christ died to bring forgiveness and rose from the dead, conquering sin, death, the devil, and hell. As long as Paul was alive he would never cease to remind people. When the risen Christ is central, you know what is peripheral. Never confuse the two.