Saturday, February 24, 2007

1 Corinthians 1:17

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

This passage really stuck in my mind this morning. In 1 Corinthians, Paul very clearly lays out the case that it is not his smooth talking and eloquent preaching that changes lives or even our minds. Rather, he is clearly and humbly pointing to gospel of Jesus Christ and its transforming power - alone. Many churches today are trying so hard to make their messages relevant and meaningful. However, in their good intentions they sometimes miss the ultimate reality that only the clear and unadulterated message of the gospel of Jesus Christ will change lives. When this message of the gospel is tweaked and the focus is turned to the method, style and/or charisma of the delivery, the power is lost. It essentially becomes good intentioned entertainment and humanistic self-help. Good entertainment can keep people's attention for a period of time and even keep them coming back for more, but it won’t change lives – the cross has been emptied of its power. It is not up to us to “sell” the world on Christ. In fact, the world thinks it is foolishness. It is our job to be faithful and present the pure gospel and allow God to draw people to him and change lives. I pray that we all would take Paul’s lead and “preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power”.

Lord, may I not rely on my own gifts and my own persuasiveness. It is not about me or up to me. I do not need to manipulate or add anything to your gospel. Continue to fill me with the knowledge of your Word so that I may be able to clearly and properly present your truth. Give me the opportunity to share your gospel with others. May all I say be for your glory; may I stay out of the way; may I decrease and may you increase as I teach and share your Word. All of this for your glory.

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