Chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians reveals the one message that binds followers of Christ together.
“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, NASB
The young inexperienced, untrained, preacher wanted to run and hide. His calling was from God. He hadn’t sought this task. To speak in front of others gave him lock jaw. What would he say to the familiar faces staring back at him expecting some profound word from the Lord? How or where would he begin? He ran to the senior pastor before services began.
“I don’t know what to say. God’s not given me a message.”
The wizened older man laid his hand on the young preacher’s bible. “You have a whole Bible.” The older minister patted the bible. “Preach it.”
There was no place to run.
The young preacher stood in good company. The second chapter of Corinthians opens telling us Paul experienced trembling fear when he went to the Corinthian church. He didn’t consider himself an eloquent speaker. He feared, though he knew the power of God went before him. The bottom line – he still went and God used him in his weakness so the Corinthians’ “faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
Not all of us are called to be preachers, evangelists, or pastors. But all of us are called to be witnesses of the gospel of Christ, beginning with what we know.
“For I determined to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ,
and Him crucified.” 2:2
Later in the fifteenth chapter Paul gives us a crash course on the gospel of Christ.
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you,
- which also you received,
- in which also you stand,
- by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,
- that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
- and that He was buried,
- and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1-4)
Some find sharing Christ with others the same terrifying experience the young preacher felt. Some will wait until the opportunity arises and walk timidly. Others’ first words begin with, “Do you know Jesus loves you?” Sharing the gospel isn’t about our different personalities. It is about the wisdom and power of God in us to enable us to complete the task He has called us to. In the book of Acts, Luke shares Jesus’ words to his followers –
“but you shall receive power
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you shall be My witnesses …” 1:8
The young preacher did what the older minister advised. If I remember correctly, he began at the beginning – Genesis 1:1, proceeded to John 1:1, and ended with a verse in Revelation. I’m guessing it was 22:20 in hope it would be fulfilled before he had to stand before the congregation. It says –
“He who testifies to these things says,
‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
It took the young man about seven minutes to complete. Over the forty-five years he has been preaching, you would never guess he stood trembling in fear that day. He has learned God is faithful, and it’s only by His power and wisdom the word accomplishes what He sends it to do. His messages have more content, but the theme remains the same. He, like Paul, determined a long time ago,
“to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
For Thought: Someone told you about Jesus. Who will you tell?
Today’s Reading: 1Corinthians 2:9-16, with attention given to 9,10,16. The gospel of Christ laid veiled in the Old Testament until revealed by his first coming. What do 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 and 15:1-4 reveal about the gospel? How might this knowledge encourage you as you witness to others?
A Prayer for You: Father, You have revealed your plan for all in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Give us understanding, wisdom, and knowledge to share it in your power and wisdom, that others will see truth and be saved. As come together with one message, may we go out in your power to share it in word and deed.