Main Thing?

  “..teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19).       

          Above is the second part of Jesus Christ’s “Great Commission” for the making of disciples. This teaching follows His instruction for Holly Baptism in the Triune God.

          “Observe all,” does that include only what we find in the red letters of a red-lettered Bible—just Christ’s exact words while He resided in the flesh (and a couple other times)? No! “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

          I have heard a phrase concerning Christian proclamation that does not coincide with the above verses. The phrase is “Keep the main thing the main thing.” To explain it in the kindest way, this phrase is usually applied to the initial presentation of the Gospel, God’s love for mankind. There is a time to present this rich, nutritious, easy to consume “spiritual milk.” However, we are instructed to follow through with “solid food.” “…you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity…” (Hebrews 5:12 - 6:1, see also 1 Corinthians 3:2, and 1 Peter 2:2).

          “Spiritual milk” is important and is part of all that is to be observed. Should we say it is the main thing? No! Let me give an example. I have a 2 ¼ inches long by ½ inch diameter brass machine bolt with a hex head that is right hand fine-threaded 1 ¼  inch sitting on my desk. What is the main thing of this bolt? What if it were left hand threaded, or not fine threaded, or had a square head, etc? Problems could arise for each detail. I have used a bolt on my bike that was not exactly right, but it “kind of” did the job for a while. It was not the right length, was to be secured with a flat head screwdriver instead of an Allen wrench, and had course threads instead of fine threads. That bolt could not be secured more than a partial turn and damage was done when it was cinching it.

          When Christianity sets aside details of our faith--Christian doctrine, teachings of Scripture--people are damaged. Someone might say, “But they just need a Savior. Don’t worry about the details.” I had thought, “But it just needs a bolt. Don’t worry about the details.” My fix did hold together for a while, but not as long or well as a proper bolt would have. My fix also damaged the threading. This caused more extensive work to be needed. For Christianity to omit details of all that Christ commanded, just to force in the “main thing” (whatever that subjectively is) causes damage. More extensive work will need to be done.

          The bolt on my desk reminds me of the importance of all the details of Christianity. In the Great Commission, Christ commands “teaching them to observe all.” All the details of Holy Scripture are “breathed out by God.” Christians shall be diligent in the full truth of God.

The Lord be with you,  

Pastor Wiseman