Reflect or Repel?

I've mentioned before that our Young Adults are all on a trek through the New Testament this year. We read a chapter a day, five days a week, and will complete the entire New Testament right after Christmas. In addition to our private readings each day, we're teaching through the portions we've read on Sundays. It hasn't been a perfect strategy - there are some kinks we'd need to iron out before we did it again - but you can't complain about the fact that the young adults who have been around the whole year will at least be exposed to lessons through the entire New Testament in 2008. That's not a bad thing.

We just finished 1 Corinthians (we're not going in order). I wrote a huge paper on 1 Corinthians in seminary, and have studied it several times before, but felt a freshness as we studied through the book this time.

It's hard to get away from the simplicity of the book. The point of the book is the point of the Church: Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:2).

Paul reminds them of the importance of a singular focus on Jesus Christ and Him crucified(chapters 1-4), talks about things that were distracting those outside the church from that message (chapters 5-6), things that were distracting those inside the church from that message (chapters 7-11), and then paints the picture of what a church with the correct focus should look like (chapters 12-14) before wrapping up the book with a reminder of the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ and Him crucified (chapters 15-16).

The church in the United States isn't too far from the Corinthian church. We're divided, distracting, and distracted just like they were. And as I studied through 1 Corinthians, I couldn't help think how simple it would be to solve a majority of our problems by placing everything on the grid of Paul's message. "Is the thing we are doing reflecting or repelling the singular message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified?"

There are big issues out there to deal with today. There were big issues in Paul's day too. But sometimes, when we're chasing down big issues we forget all about bigger issues... like the Gospel.