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Knowing Nothing But Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified (1 Corinthians Sermon 7)

Knowing Nothing But Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified (1 Corinthians Sermon 7)

October 28, 2018 | Andy Davis
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Evangelism, Preaching

The Tendency Toward Hero Worship

Turning your Bibles the 1 Corinthians, Chapter 2, we'll be looking this morning at Verses 1-5. Now, all of us I think has a tendency toward hero worship, it's in all of our hearts, we tend to idolize great men and women and build monuments and museums to them, to honor them. And it occurs to me that I indulge in this myself. This past summer, Christy and I went on a 30th anniversary trip, to England, and we went to a Jane Austen Museum and they had all kinds of artifacts from her life and I think a life size cut-out of her, and all kinds of things, and I enjoyed that, the great author of Pride and Prejudice. Then when we went to Oxford we went to the pub where C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and other great authors (they are Christian authors) used to meet. And we went to the very booth where they sat where there was a plaque and I just felt something special about that. And then after that I went to meet up with some missionaries in the Balkans and I went to a museum for Nicholas Tesla in Belgrade, the great Serbian physicist, and they had artifacts from his life and probably a cardboard cut-out of him too and I just enjoyed that.

And then I went to Prilep, Macedonia and there it was just amazing, it was over the top. In downtown, Prilep in 2006, they've renovated the whole area and they have no joke, 250-300 statues of great men and women from Macedonian history, culminating in this great warrior on a rearing horse waving a sword, who they say is the Macedonian warrior. But they wouldn't tell us who it was, because Macedonia is in somewhat of a conflict with Greece over where Alexander the Great really came from. So there he was a great Macedonian warrior wink, wink, but we're not saying who he is.

And so there's all of this kind of greatness in this hero worship, and there's, to some degree, nothing wrong with that, but as you study the Bible and you begin to realize what the Bible says about every man and woman boy and girl in the world, and you understand the wickedness in our own hearts you start to realize that hero worship is completely inappropriate. For Romans 3-23, says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." There's only one perfect man there only has ever been one perfect man and that is Jesus Christ, and the Bible exposes the moral weakness, the failures of every individual.

Even more dangerous than kind of general nationalistic, or literary hero worship is that that zeros in on religious movements. A hero worship centered on religious movements are especially dangerous, where the founder of that religious movement makes him or herself the focus of everything. That's the essence of a cult. Everything's about that leader, it's all about Muhammad as he starts Islam, it's all about Joseph Smith as he starts The Mormons or Charles Taze Russell as he starts the Jehovah's Witness movement or Sun Myung Moon as he starts The Moonies or Jim Jones as he leads the people to drink the purple Kool-Aid, David Koresh with the Branch Davidians or L Ron Hubbard with Scientology.

I was reading a website that talked about the mentality of these kinds of cult leaders who make themselves the focus of everything religiously. And it went on with 50 traits of these kind of cult leaders. But the first eight, I thought were interesting. These kinds of coercive cult leaders have a grandiose idea of who he is, what he can achieve. He is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success power of brilliance, he demands blind unquestioning obedience from his followers. He requires excessive admiration from his followers and from outsiders. He has a sense of entitlement expecting to be treated special at all times. He's exploitative of people, of others, especially concerning their money, demanding their money and absolute loyalty. He is arrogant and haughty and interpersonal relating and he has an exaggerated sense of power that enables him to skirt the law or even break it. That was just eight of 50 traits of these kinds of individuals.

Now, hero worships is always going to let us down, but especially that kind of religious cult-like hero worship. But God through the Gospel, wills to expose human sinfulness and to level human pride. He wants to humble the human race while he saves a multitude from all over the world from their sins. And in the second section of 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks of his own experience in preaching the Gospel in Corinth. He shows them that God was humiliating him and indeed all humans by the simple act of preaching the Gospel of Christ crucified. Paul was not preaching himself, he was not a cult leader. He was not starting a cult, centered around himself by the act of preaching Jesus Christ in him crucified all human wisdom and power is leveled, is humbled. God's wisdom and power and grace are exalted, and sinners are saved by that grace. So today we're going to talk about the center of evangelism. Jesus Christ and him crucified. We're going to talk about the humbling of the Evangelist in weakness and fear and much trembling, and we're going to talk about the power of evangelism, the Holy Spirit of God and we're going to talk about the product, the ultimate product of Evangelism and that is faith in the power of God, not in human power.

I. The Center of Evangelism: Jesus Christ and Him Crucified

So let's look at the first of those, and that is the center of evangelism. Jesus Christ and him crucified. Look at Verse 2 of Paul's resolution, he says there, "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." Paul goes back to his mindset when he first came to Corinth. Remember the context, he had been rejected by the philosophers, the geniuses on Mars Hill and Athens. They had mocked him, and scorned him and said, "What is this babbler trying to say?" They especially mock the idea that a dead Jewish man on a Roman cross was a savior of the world, and that he having died would take on a physical body, again in resurrection that was utter foolishness to them. Paul then left Athens and made the 50-mile trip along the Greek coast line to Corinth pondering the experience that he's had of humiliation and scorn at their hands, and he said, I resolved that I was going to approach the ministry, this certain way. Look at Verse 1-2, "When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed you the testimony about God, for I resolve to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." So here we have the center of the Gospel, Jesus Christ and him crucified Paul calls it "the testimony of God," as though Paul were a witness at a court trial, and God is on trial.

In the hearts of sinners, the whole thing is reversed, like Jesus standing before Pilate. God is being evaluated and judged by us and Paul's a witness to that. Someday, though, that's going to be reversed we're going to stand before God, and give him an account. But right now, the witnesses are making a case for God to unbelievers and so as I proclaim to you the testimony about God. Paul said he rejected eloquence and superior wisdom for these things could never humble and subdue a proud rebellious heart make it submissive to a king, to King Jesus.

Chapter 1, he's already told us that there's a limitation to all human philosophy, and wisdom. "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" So Paul resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Listen, he's not being anti-intellectual here, as though he hated deep thinking. Some of our critics say that about Christianity. They want to make it like, we're stupid people or anti-intellectual. That's not at all. Paul had one of the most brilliant minds in history, Paul wrote the Book of Romans.

On one of his trials, someone said, "Your great learning is driving you insane." Paul, was not anti-intellectual. That's not what's going on here. But he had seen through all human wisdom and brilliance and saw the limitation and how it was essentially in opposition to the grace of God. He wanted to focus his mind on nothing except Jesus Christ. The infinite mystery of who Christ is, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, for by him, all things were created, things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones or powers, or rulers or authorities. All things were created by him for him, he is before all things, and in him all things hold together…" The greatness of Christ. I resolve to focus on Jesus.

From the moment that the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus filled with murderous threats against the Lord's disciple, on the road to Damascus the resurrected Christ showed him some of his glory on that road. And from that moment, he could never get enough. Philippians 3, said, "I just want to know Christ." I want to know Christ. I want to know Christ every day. I consider all of the things I used to live for rubbish that I might gain Christ, and be found in him. All I want to know is Christ. So when Paul came to Corinth, his mind was focused entirely on Jesus Christ.

But not primarily Christ as the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of the Lords. Yes, all of that. But primarily Jesus Christ in him crucified. God in the flesh, whose flesh was nailed to the cross. A God who had blood, whose blood was poured out at the cross. That's what he wants to zero in. So is embracing the shock and horror, of the cross. Foolishness to the Greeks, a stumbling block to the Jews, but salvation to the called. That's what he resolved.

Application: Focus your mind on Christ and him crucified

So I'm going to just stop through this sermon. I'm just going to make applications as we go. And so what's the application for us? Well, Paul's determination needs to be ours as well. We've got to focus our minds this week on Christ and him crucified, as we seek to win lost people around us. And if you're a Christian, that's your mission, this week. Not just mine as a Pastor, we have lost people who are around us who don't know that they're lost. They're without hope and without God in the world, and it's our task to tell them about Christ and you need to do the same resolution. I'm resolving to focus on Jesus and him crucified. We must teach clearly in this church, the doctrine of the incarnation, that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, did all these incredible miracles, walked on water fed the 5000, healed every disease and sickness among the people. Raised the dead. This is Jesus, this is our savior.

We also need to teach the doctrine of the Substitutionary atonement that this Jesus took on a human body so that He might die in our place. And take in himself the just wrath of God we deserve for breaking God's laws. We have violated God's laws and we need to teach Christ and him crucified.

And I just want to stop right now and apply it to any of you that are here today that just you know you've come in here as non-Christians. You've been invited by a friend to be here today and you're here today as a favor to a friend or maybe you're just interested or somehow you found yourself at church today. And I just want to plead with you, I want to reach out to you now, and plead with you to be reconciled to God, through faith in Christ. All you need to do is trust this Jesus Christ, this son of God who died on the cross, who shed his blood and your sins will be forgiven. You'll be set free from these invisible chains that have been on your soul or around your heart, you'll be set free. And you'll be forgiven of all your sins, past, present or future not by works, but by faith and by grace.

So we've got to do this and we've got to embrace the fact that without the shedding of blood, there's no forgiveness of sins and not shrink back from that. This bloody cross. The church is always under pressure to conform to societal norms on this. And give up this awkward, embarrassing offensive message of a bloody cross.

I heard a story some time ago of a seeker sensitive church. Seeker sensitive churches of those that are trying to be evangelistic at every moment. In the Sunday morning service, their whole service is set up for seekers, for people who are interested in the Gospel and there's nothing wrong with having a yearning to have people come in. We want to have lost people coming to our services and we want to welcome them in, but seeker sensitive churches go beyond that to try to remove offensive things from the service and from the preaching that would cause people to stumble. And sometimes they go too far. And I heard this story about a new worship leader at one of these churches, and he did a series of blood hymns like "Nothing but the Blood" and "The Old Rugged Cross" and all that and afterwards he didn't know the mentality of the strategy of the church and so the pastor got up and apologized to the assembly there for all the blood language and said it would never happen again.

Now, that's the very thing that this church must never do, there's no getting away from "without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins." John McArthur also gives an illustration of this from this very passage. You heard the story of a church and it had on the side of the church, we preach Christ and him crucified. This came right from the text I'm preaching on today. But there was a leafy vine or something growing up on the side of the building and little by little, it started to cover over the sign. And it preached over the last part, and so all you could read was "We preach Christ." The crucified part was blocked by the vine and then the vine kept growing and all you could see was, "We preach." And then it covered over the word preach and just said, "we." And then the whole thing was covered over.

A church that turns away from preaching Christ and him crucified, signs its own death warrant it's only a matter of time before Christ will sovereignly remove that church. That local church is done. So we have to make this commitment, we have to resolve to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Now, what does that mean? It means to prioritize the cross over every other issue in life. It shouldn't be taken literally that Paul knew nothing about marriage, and parenting, and money. And politics and properly relating to the Roman Empire or the topic of slavery, or issues of justice in his... He knew all of these things, his Epistles are filled with these topics. But within the context, he's saying, "When I want to see sinners made right with God, I want to know that they are going to be forgiven of their sins. I am focused on this one thing." Jesus Christ and him crucified.

And secondly, I'm going to see all of those topics: Marriage, parenting, money relating to the Roman Empire. Issues of social... I'm going to see all of that through the cross. We're going to see this in... In Corinthians again, and again, he addresses very practical issues in that dysfunctional church, through Christ and him crucified. So, that's what he means by that. So first and foremost, we see the center of evangelism is preaching Christ and him crucified.

II. The Humbling of the Evangelist: Weakness, Not Eloquence or Brilliance

Secondly, we see the humbling of the evangelist. Weakness not eloquence, or brilliance? Now this is the third in a series of surprising humblings that Paul illuminates what God is doing to the human race through Jesus Christ and through the church. And the first, of Christ is just a message itself. Christ crucified is foolishness to the Greeks and it's a stumbling block to the Jews and so just by saving the world that way, that's a humbling of the world.

Secondly, as you remember, God is humbling the world by the church, by who he chooses because the Corinthians weren't that awesome. "Not many… [of them] were wise, not many… influential, not many… of noble birth, but God choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise," he says. This is the third in a series of how God works to humble human pride and he does that by choosing Paul as a messenger preaching that particular message in that particular way. Very humbling to the human pride. Now Paul was not a polished speaker anyway. He wasn't really good at public speaking. Some of his opponents said in 2 Corinthians 10:10, "For his letters, they say are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech is contemptible."

In other words, he doesn't have his gestures down, he doesn't look like much. And he's just not good at speaking. Apollos on the other hand was a much more polished speaker than Paul was. We learned of him in Acts 18-24, he was an eloquent man who was powerful in the Scriptures. So, Apollos was trained in the skills of public speaking, the Greeks made much of eloquence of excellent language techniques, there are whole schools that taught rhetoric. The science of moving people with speech with sequencing your arguments and with skillful transitions and rhetorical techniques there were just a whole ways to go about it.

Now look, Paul knew about these things and he could have made a go of it. You could say, "Paul, you got to brush it up a little bit here. Tell you what I'm going to give you 10 weeks at our rhetorical school and we're going to brush you up a little bit and just make you a better public speaker. What do you say Paul, we'll pay for it." And Paul, would have rejected this. Like, I could do that. I could get better in rhetorical skills. But look what he says in Verse 1. "When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaim to you the testament about God" and then Verse 4, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power"

So anyway, Paul normally was not a great speaker. But he was at his worst I think there in Corinth it seems. Now, look what says in Verse 3. "I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling." Paul was struggling, I think, with a high level of human anxiety as he began his ministry in Corinth. Some commentators try to say it's a fear of the Lord, and it's trembling in the presence of God, don't do that. Paul was weak and trembling and afraid as he got up to speak. Unusually difficult. He's wrestling with something we all struggle with in evangelism don't we, fear of man.

Let's be honest, the number one reason the spirit-filled Christian people, do not witness is they're afraid what the people will say, or do when they witness. If you could have your fear of man completely removed, you would be a river of evangelism this week. And so he struggled, like we all do with fear of man, he was afraid of their reactions. What would they do? Would they turn away in indifference and just walk away? Would they stay there and mock him, like they did in Athens, even worse would they attack him physically, as it happened more times than he could count. Would he actually be in prison or maybe even killed? These are reasonable fears and the proof of what I'm saying is in Acts 18 when the Lord Jesus appears to Paul, in a vision and say to him...

This is Acts 18:9-10, "Do not be afraid. Keep on speaking, and do not be silent for I am with you. And no one is going to attack you and harm you for I have many people in this city." Doesn't that prove what I'm saying? Paul was afraid of these things. Paul's not some preaching machine. Just push the "on" button, and he's like a man of steel, just going through situations... He's flesh and blood just like any of us. He would wince if you raised a fist toward him. He would flinch. He's just a normal person. So when he came there in Corinth his presentation of the Gospel was weak and fearful and trembling. He was afraid.

But here's the key, he preached Christ anyway. He was afraid, but he preached Christ anyway. Can you do that by the power of the Spirit this week? Can you feel afraid and proclaim Christ and him crucified, anyway. That's the challenge for all of us. He put his hope in the message and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, if you'd been there at that moment in Corinth and you heard him preach. You might have been tempted to mock his stammering voice, his trembling voice. Maybe his hand was shaking a little bit, he's nervous. It's even worse if you have a paper in your hand, it makes it obvious that you're shaking. Maybe his eyes are darting and maybe he had beads of perspiration on his forehead, he was afraid.

But there was a hidden power, in this man and his message. There was something powerful about the Jesus, he was proclaiming and the story of who he was and what he did on the cross and how he was raised from the dead and how he came to save sinners like you and me. There is a hidden power, that changed their worlds. Those that believed. And so God is in the business of humbling the evangelist. If you want to be humbled get involved in evangelism. It's like, "Oh Pastor, why would I want to be humbled?" Well, because God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. You want a journey of grace, then get humbled go see what God can do through people like you and me. We are in way over our heads. You have a sense of that? We're in way over our heads, the forces that raid against us are almost undefeated, the world, the flesh, and the devil, they just win day after day all over the world, in every language and culture they just win. The message itself of a Jewish man, dead on a cross, a bloody cross is the salvation of the world. If you just believe that's offensive to people.

We're calling on people to repent, from a whole lifetime of sins to turn their backs on habits that they have in-grade since childhood, and not only that but to turn their backs on all of their religious schemes that they were holding on to, that their parents and grandparents and ancestors believed. Or their own world view, that they've come up with, it's working just fine for them. They're own moral-ism, we're calling on people to turn their backs on all of that and trust in none of it. But to turn to Christ and Christ alone the impulse as people hear that is to mock or turn away in indifference or even more to lash out in anger sometimes. As we go out with this message, we're going to be, if we proclaim it clearly we're going to be a smell. We're going to be an aroma of life to some. But we're going to be a stench of death to most. It's just the truth. And so Paul says when he's describing all this who is equal to such a task.

And so, we are humbled. Look again at verse 3, "I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling." Paul's converts were one despite his performance, not because of it. Not by superior logic or dazzling technique, but by the true power of evangelism, the Holy Spirit of God. So here's the thing, feel your own weakness, as evangelists. Feel that reaching the hundreds and hundreds of people that are pouring into the Triangle Region most of whom are unchurched, probably lost, is so far beyond what we could do. Feel that your own efforts to convert worldly Americans at the workplace tomorrow or on the college campus tomorrow is just beyond you. Feel your own weakness and fear. Feel the fear you have. And by the power of the Spirit, act boldly anyway and share the Gospel. The fear that you have before you do it, is your gift to God, that's your sacrifice to God, if you act faithfully. If you overcome your weakness.

I will never forget. Told a story a number of years ago. A workplace evangelism situation. I was a engineer, just out of MIT, I was working and trying to be a faithful witness and sharing the Gospel. And there were different people, different reactions up their Massachusetts in Beverly, Massachusetts. And there was this one guy I used to interact with from time to time. He was the foreman of the assembly workers there. A tough man he was in his mid-50s, silver grey hair. Never saw him smile once. People were afraid of him. I was afraid of him. His name was Ron. I won't say his last name. I still remember, but I won't say it. But the Lord laid Ron on my heart. It's like, "Oh God, why him. Not him." "I want you to share the Gospel with him." "When Lord?" "At lunch today." Ron usually didn't take lunch, he didn't have time for lunch, lunch is for weaklings, but occasionally he would sit at his work bench and eat a sandwich then get back to work. "Alright, Lord, I'm going to put a fleece in front of you. If he's sitting there eating a sandwich I'll go share with him. But if he's not there, I'm not going to track him down. I'm not." It's like that's what I'm going to do. So, I prayed. Peeked around the corner and there he was eating his sandwich. I'm like, "Oh God, no."

No. And I have never preached the Gospel with so much weakness and fear and much trembling, in my life. I said, "Ron." "Yeah." I said…I don't know what I said.  My mind was a blank. I was like, "Do you know about Jesus?" "Yeah, I know about Jesus." Then I said "I just think you need him" and I gave him a tract and walked away. That was it. Look, don't enroll in my evangelism school. It's not how to do it. I have no indication that Ron came to Christ. I wish I could tell you that He came to me at the end of the work day and said, "Andy, I have needed to hear that message for decades. No one ever had the courage to tell me, but I prayed to receive Christ, at 2:30 this afternoon. And I want to know, is there a church that you guys are starting? Is there some this... " That did not happen!

III. The Power of Evangelism: The Holy Spirit

Thirdly, the of power evangelism, is the Holy Spirit. Look at Verse 4-5. "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 man's wisdom but on God's power," as Jesus said plainly, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you'll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, to the ends of the earth." The power does not come from human resources, but from the Holy Spirit of God, that overwhelming sense of humbling that you feel as an evangelist that should not be the end of the line. It should drive you to prayer and a seeking of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit of God. It is true that Paul said when I'm weak, then I'm strong, but that's only true if you turn your weakness, up to God and prayer by faith and rely on the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit delights to show his power on weak frail, men and women, boys and girls. I think about David Brainard who was a missionary to the Native Americans in the colonial era, in America, and he was continually sick with many illnesses but especially tuberculosis, which eventually took his life at age 29. He was beset with cyclical patterns of depression, he was terribly lonely and he was incredibly effective. Or I think about Lottie Moon, who was a missionary to China, stood all of 4ft three inches tall, was 50 pounds when she died, because of starvation as a result of the famine, there in China, but was incredibly powerfully used to mobilize Baptist missions. And God can use weak people, frail people. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.

And he sovereignly is sent out by God the Father and God the Son, he is sent out to apply the blood shed on the cross. You remember the story of the exodus, the night of the Passover when all of the Jewish families had to slaughter the Passover lamb, and produced a bowl of blood, but that wasn't enough. They had to take hyssop and paint it on the door post and on the lintels and when the angel of death saw the applied blood he passed over. The second person of the Trinity, Jesus, it was his job to provide the blood of redemption, but it's the third person of the Trinity's job to apply it all over the world in every generation. And he is as effective at what he does as Jesus was at what he did.

So if you're a Christian today, you owe your salvation, as much to the Spirit as you do to Jesus. The Spirit sovereignly overcame all of your obstacles and won you to Christ. And he's the only one that can do that. The Holy Spirit's work, in evangelism is awesome and powerful, and as you, a Christian, just application point just begin by thanking God for sending the Spirit if you're a Christian. And then pray for the spirit to be out-poured on us here at FBC to reach as many people as we can in Durham with the Gospel. And especially this flows right from the text. Let's turn away from pragmatic man-centered approaches to evangelism.

The Folly of Pragmatic Man-Centered Techniques

American evangelicalism is rife with these pragmatic man-centered evangelism techniques. Charles Finney with his new measures, reduced revival and conversion to a science where if you can get the recipe right, you're going to get revival and you're going to get conversions, every time. He called it the new measures. And there are a lot of preachers like him out on the American frontier. There was a man, a Methodist preacher named Lorenzo Dow, this guy was straight weird. What an incredible, interesting man. He was turned out of every church, no church would... But it was okay. He did camp meetings, tent revivals, he would show up at a locality crowded like a theater or something like that, and he would call out in a loud voice, "One year from today, Lorenzo Dow will preach at this place" and then walk away and he kept all those appointments. Interesting advance notice. He was his own PR firm. He then would orchestrate techniques like he had this one young man climb a pine tree with a trumpet and at the right point, talking about the second coming of Christ, He did a gesture and the guy blew a trumpet. And people are like, "What was that?" And people were techniqued into an emotional reaction.

In 1959, a man named C. S. Lovett, wrote a book entitled Soul Winning Made Easy. What? Didn't seem like the spirit of 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, but that's... It was all about techniques and he took the techniques of the sales, sales approach, the sales force in 1950s American business world and applied them to evangelism with really Hokie photos of him there and he said that all you need to do at this key point having shared the Gospel you then want to lead them in the Sinners prayer. Prayer does not matter what they're thinking, it matters what they do. You put your hand on their shoulders, and you say, in a semi-commanding voice, pray with me. And then you push down on the shoulder and the psychological pressure of seeing you begin to pray, he will buckle. Friends, that's garbage. That man-centered technique is garbage. We need to realize that the power of evangelism and have conversions, and the Holy Spirit of God, there's no technique. Just like Elijah on Mount Horeb. He's not in the wind and he's not in the earthquake and he's not in the fire, he's not in the technique.

IV. The Product of Evangelism: Faith in the Power of God

Finally, the product of evangelism is faith in the power of God. This is the ultimate end of all this. "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with the demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on man's wisdom but on God's power."

In Corinth, God used an unimpressive Jewish messenger displaying weakness fear and trembling, preaching a foolish and offensive message to change their world. Only God could do that. And so for the rest of your lives, we need to live out the truths of this message. Our entire lives and our witness in this community must follow the same pattern, the centrality of proclaiming Jesus Christ and him crucified. The humbling of all human evangelists who are going to go out throughout the Triangle Region this week in weakness and fear much trembling. You can do that part. The question is, can you, by the power of the Spirit over comment and share the Gospel of Christ and him crucified? Can you do that? Because by the power of the Spirit of God alone is this message advance.

And then the final result is people who are converted to that power and rely on God. Not on you, as some cult leader, or some significant person who found the technique but on somebody who relied on the spirit and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ and him crucified. Close with me in prayer.

Father, we thank you for the time that we've had to study your word. God, I pray that you would work deeply in our hearts. This message, help us O Lord, to know that we were saved by Christ and by him crucified. And the techniques and the approach that the messengers, used to it with us is not important. Help us ourselves to get over our fear, our fear of man. Help us, O Lord, to be willing to suffer rejection and scorn and reverses at work and not getting a raise. And people who used to be our friends, they're not friends anymore. Help us to be willing to pay the price so that we actually share this message this week, and that we can see people saved. Lord, that we can even hear their testimonies in the baptistery behind me, O God, of people who turned from darkness to life, we pray in Jesus's name, Amen.

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