Sometimes, I make things more complicated than they need to be to make sure I haven't missed something important. That might work when you visit your future mother-in-law the first time, and you eat more than you should while bragging about how good a cook she is! That no longer works when you are in your sixth decade of life and visiting your mother-in-law. She sees through your compliments and worries that you are ruining your health with your overeating. Trying to say too much when writing about clear and simple truth can have a similar effect.
As I have focused on "What is CORE" in the New Testament, I have emphasized three key passages. Each passage claims and stresses that it is central to our faith. Much of the rest of our Christian doctrine and teaching hangs on the structure of those CORE truths:
- The things of "first importance" we must believe about Jesus (what I call "The Great Faith") (1 Corinthians 15:1-7).
- The two "The Great Commands" that Jesus said were the most important commandments in the Scriptures (Matthew 22:34-40).
- Jesus' last commandment about making disciples of all nations, what we call "The Great Commission" (Matthew 28:18-20).
I remain convicted that these passages give us the CORE of what we must believe and practice as Jesus' disciples. I don't believe these truths are CORE because I am a great theologian or discovered something novel or new. I believe they are CORE because they claim to be essential. I also believe they are CORE because much of what the Bible teaches elsewhere orbits around these key ideas.
As we conclude this series, let's finish using a principle important for us in a world with so much noise and so many distractions. We need to live faithfully and teach the truth of the Bible using the KISS principle — Keep It Short and Simple. So, here is a KISS statement to help us remember "What is CORE":
To put it another way in bullet format:
- Jesus is our Lord and Savior because of death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-7 — The Great Faith).
- We will love God and love people like Jesus did and commanded us to do (Matthew 22:34-40 — The Great Commands).
- We will make a difference in the world by reaching out to all people and inviting them to become disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20 — The Great Commission).
I hope these short summaries help you grab hold of the truths of this series for yourself. We do need to explore the deeper truths about "What is CORE." Those deeper teachings matter. However, we must not cloud our understanding of the clear and simple CORE principles of our faith. If we live these principles, we are disciples of Jesus. Our goal as Jesus' disciple is to honor him by becoming like him in what we do and say (Luke 6:40; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:28-29; Galatians 4:19). So, let's get busy doing "What is CORE"!
- "What Is Core: Believing"
- "What Is Core: Loving"
- "What is Core: Communing"
- "What is CORE: Reviewing"
- "What is CORE: Disciple-making"
- "What is CORE: Going"
- "What is CORE: Baptizing"
- "What is CORE: Training"
- What is CORE: Finishing