Pastor Jonathan's Monday Reflection:
"Now I want to make clear to you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you..." This is Paul's reminder to the church. After the discussion about how gifts function in the church, what is most important in worship he brings us back to the center of it all, the thing that forms the church and gives us our purpose, the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
It is in this death for our sins that we find forgiveness and relationship with our Creator and it is in Jesus' resurrection we find life and hope for our secure future. It is the defining thing about us as believers. The thing of "first importance." Always and forever in the church.
It is striking to me that as we studied this text (1 Cor. 15:1-11) across the globe brothers and sisters were killed for believing it. It is so offensive, that people would be lost in sin, or pursuing something others than God himself, so the hatred turns violent... We didn't worship in a place where the thought of a bombing crossed our minds but it is the same gospel that challenges and generates such opposition.
If that is the case, goes the argument, why not change the gospel to be more appealing? Maybe make it more about success stories or personal fulfillment and living as you choose without judgment etc. What if we just take the whole idea of sin out of the picture and soften the tone a bit.... Of course over the course of history movements that make such changes die quickly because there is no power where the cross is not central. And higher than surviving, if we change the thing of first importance, people are still lost in their sin and destined for death.
So we keep on. We live our lives centered on the gospel as the most important thing and the church functions to remind us and proclaim to outsiders the grace found in Christ and his good news. Forgiveness, acceptance, purpose, and life. That is exactly what we will do come high water or drought.
My prayer for us as a church today is that the gospel would be our overwhelming center... that the grace of Jesus would saturate everything about us. Let's live from this good news.