If you've ever been to an iPhone launch, you've likely seen what I've seen. Most of the people who wait in line at the Apple Store, do not do so because they have inadequate phones that are limited in their features. In fact, most people who wait in line at the launch of an iPhone do so because they have the best iPhone that is only hours away from becoming the second best iPhone. We live in a world that wants bigger, better, faster, and newer.
When you go to the grocery store and walk down the checkout aisle, what do you see? What images do you see on magazines? What do the articles say about what you should pursue sexually? What do they say about the way a man should look or what a man should look for in a woman? We live in a world that uses sex to sell. It uses sex to sell magazines, clothes, and even chicken wings.
When you have spiritual conversations with your friends. Do you find that everybody is on the same page or do you find yourself coming across a wide variety of opinions? Our world is one that has a plethora of religious and philosophical views; you are likely to encounter hundreds of different opinions about religion, afterlife, the scriptures, and more depending on who you talk to.
In the book of Corinthians, Paul addresses a similar crowd as the one in our world. He addresses a world that exists at the trade center of the world, meaning that products, ideas, and people are all colliding in the city of Corinth. Because of the flow of products and people, they are known for being a culture that does things big. They are a culture that has a reputation for being highly sexually immoral. And they are a world that has a different religion's place of worship on every corner. But, hey, the Bible isn't really relevant for our culture today.
"And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power."
While knowing nothing but Jesus is the goal for us as Jesus followers, most of the time we cannot claim that about ourselves. For most of us, we either resolve to know something other than Jesus. Or we resolve to know Jesus… just not "nothing but Jesus."
__________ - Jesus
The temptation here, which is especially common for those who might not be Christians, is that something other than Jesus is enough. The temptation says something, fill in the blank, will satisfy, will bring me joy, or will make me happy. The problem is that enough is never really enough, and we will never be truly satisfied apart from Jesus. We learn more about this type of pursuit in the book of Ecclesiastes when Solomon pursues pleasure apart from Jesus and ends up saying, "Meaningless, meaningless."
Apart from Jesus, any good thing that you might pursue is meaningless. It's a chasing after the wind. You might feel like you are about to get what you are looking for, but you will soon find that it is not quite enough.
Jesus + _____________
For others of us, we aren't tempted to look for our satisfaction apart from Jesus, but instead we are tempted to believe that Jesus alone is not enough. This gets tricky because most of us wouldn't dare say that we are saved by anything apart from Jesus, but once we know we are saved by grace through faith, we often start to believe that we need something else to maintain our favor with God.
"A Christian may not struggle with believing that our good behavior is required to initially earn God's favor; but I haven't met one Christian who doesn't struggle daily with believing - somehow, someway - that our good behavior is required to keep God's favor." - Tjullian Tchidvillian
For Paul, knowing nothing but Jesus is everything that he needs to know. Hope is not found in anything apart from Jesus. And hope cannot be found in addition to the cross. When Jesus is subtracted from the good things that you want to pursue, the good things are meaningless. When good things are added to the cross, the hope that is offered by the cross is robbed by the good that is added.
"The great mistake made by people is hoping to discover in themselves that which is to be found in Christ alone." - A.W. Pink
If you want to watch the sermon I preached on this same topic, check it out.