“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
I Corinthians 2:1-5 NKJV
Only Christ crucified
Our world is full of ideas, notions of how life should be conducted. There are a multitude of people running to and fro looking for answers, looking for that idea that can fill in some the voids. Most of the contemporary ideas offered are worldly wisdom, given by worldly, flawed people. Because the givers of the wisdom are flawed, so is the idea, and those who adhere to it are worse off than they were before.
Those who bring ideas, come with grand speech, great words, and delivery developed carefully to tickle the ears and draw people near. As I read I Corinthians chapter two this morning, I was reminded that the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not require great words, but it has a power unto itself. Paul came with one message: Christ crucified.
Into this environment, pregnant with ideas, comes the true word of God, and the ultimate idea, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike all the other ideas, this one comes with the power of the Holy Spirit, convicting hearts and persuading sinners.
It is delivered with certainty in a time when certainty is being challenged.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
I Corinthians 15:1-8 NKJV
That message had the power to convert a sinner named Saul, who later became Paul, and enabled him to take the message of salvation to the world. That message saved a sinner named Bernie who was delivered from eternity in hell.
One would think that this simple message, of a loving God who took on human flesh, to come and die for the sins of the world, buried and raised from the dead, would be well received. In this message we have salvation and a newness of life. But the world more often than not refuses the message, deeming it foolishness, for those of the world cannot discern the things of God.
Through the Christian Era, man has sought to dumb down and humanize the message of the Gospel, to make it more understandable by those who have not the Holy Spirit. I suspect the thinking was focused on getting more people into the church, with little regard for people actually getting saved.
As a result, we have many people who fill the churches who do not know God, but who are filled instead with the ideas of the world. In these perilous times, I have been horrified daily with story after story of false professors’ hearts being finally revealed, as they have fallen away.
They seldom go quietly, often opting to publicly condemn the church, the personhood of Christ, who they never actually knew. They missed all the spiritual wisdom, barely skimming the surface of this thing called the Christian faith. They were never really believers, having never been born again by the Spirit of God.
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.””
I Corinthians 2:6-9 NKJV
The missed the true meaning of the cross, of what it means to be saved. Most sad, is that they have missed the unseen glory of God, and the things the Lord has prepared for those who love Him.
Brothers and sisters, we have a mission before us. We have to take the message of the Gospel to a sick and dying world, not by persuasive speech or alluring style, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must be aware of what things we have added to our own delivery of the message of Jesus, and avoid the addition of things that are not of God.
We must preach only Christ crucified.
You have a political agenda? Toss it aside, preach only the cross. You have concerns about social justice? Toss that aside, preach only the cross. Culture war? Preach only the cross. Jesus is coming to establish His kingdom, and He will being the remedy for all things, and His reign will not look like anything we can imagine.
Our goal is to lead people to the Lord, to tell them of the Good News in the hope that some come to faith. It is only by faith that they can truly discern the will and know the heart of God. The Holy Spirit only comes to those who are born of the Spirit and believe.
“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
I Corinthians 2:10-12 NKJV
Let us not be distracted by all the things happening in this world, for all of these earthbound concerns will be swept away in the coming of the Lord.
My people, we are on the eve of many things coming to pass. We are witnessing a relentless progression to the end time, and we know that nothing will stop it. Now is the time to consider the eternal things, and prepare ourselves to meet our God.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!