1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…
There are many things that are true but they are not of first importance. When face to face with a grizzly bear, it is true that they like to eat fresh fish. But it is not of first importance. When you come home empty-handed on your anniversary and your wife hands you a gift, it is true that many husbands have forgotten their anniversaries. But it is not of first importance.
At First Church in Corinth, they had elevated a number of concerns to first importance. The church debated who was the best pastor, who was the wisest church member, and who had the most important spiritual gift. The took liberties with morality, took offense with each other, and took first place at the table of fellowship. The items that consumed their time and energy were not big, just swollen, infected with spiritual pride.
Paul prescribed a two-fold therapy. First, they needed an injection of the supreme virtue, love. Then they needed to be re-infected with that which is truly of first importance, the magnificent story of Jesus.
I recall a pastor lamenting that so much of what they were doing at church had nothing to do with church at all. Sometimes even matters that are related to church become swollen with a significance out of proportion to their real importance. We have all heard of the “tail that wagged the dog.” Paul wanted the Corinthians to quit gloating over the tail and start tending the dog.
The supreme virtue is love and the supreme teaching is Christ. He died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day. Motivated by love, tell his story.
What a wonderful Savior he is!