Dave Williams continuing through 1st Corinthians. He spoke on 1st Corinthians 2:1-5, reminding us that the Gospel should be at the center of our conversations. He encouraged us to preach the Gospel to ourselves and in turn share it with others because God chose us and we get to spend eternity wit Him.
- Two things I want to make sure that we remember from last week: You have been set apart by God and he wants you to love Him in return. Second, is that we are called to the places in our lives and that word means a privileged invite. We need to walk like that.
1st Corinthians 2:1-5
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men3 but din the power of God.
- It is interesting that Paul chose to use the word testimony here. The word testimony means to bear witness.
- I was driving home a month or so ago and saw a RV crash into another car. I was right behind the car that was smashed. I saw it. I experienced it so I can speak to it. You have heard me talk about it but since you didn’t see it you really can’t be a reliable source of information.
- This is the concept that Paul was getting across to the church of Corinth.
- He has met Christ, He has experienced the salvation that is found in Christ. Paul has a relationship with Christ. So therefore he can give a testimony about Christ.
- Now here is the other thing. The term used here was only used in situations like a courtroom appearance. In those settings you can only share what you personally know, you can only present the facts. You cannot speculate or guess.
- If you were asked to appear and testify on the behalf of Christ what could you say? Would it be a first-hand account or a third-party report? Showing up to church or hearing a sermon on a Wednesday night is not a first hand account but a third party account.
- So what is the extent of your personal relationship with God? How often are you sitting at his feet reminding yourself of what he has done for you?
- Guys, that is what Paul is saying here. He is saying I came to tell you, about my personal experience with Christ. I am coming to not add or take anything away from the Gospel. God’s revelation was everything and human wisdom was nothing.
- This is why I love the story of the Woman at the well found in John 4. She met Jesus at the well then ran and told others about her first hand account so that they too could go and experience a first had account with Jesus.
- We get to have this on going, first hand relationship with Jesus. We get to have an on going conversation with God through prayer. The Gospel has to be alive in your life if your testimony is going to make an impact on others.
To nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him Crucified
- This is what Paul preached. He preached the good news that Christ came down and died on the cross for our sins. He didn’t preach about Jesus as the perfect teacher or the perfect man —although he was that. The foundation of all of his preaching was Jesus as our Savior.
- This is why our conversation about Christ to ourselves and others should be saturated with words of the Gospel.
- If the only time you speak or hear the Gospel is on a Wednesday night or a Sunday morning you are missing out on the only thing that matters. We have to be regularly reminding ourselves of the Gospel otherwise we will forget it.
- Remember why. 1 Cor. 1:23 says that the Cross was a stumbling block for both Jews and Gentiles.
- If you know me well you know that I demand conflict. Not because I necessarily enjoy it but because I know that it leads to closeness. When we have conflict we need to share the Gospel. If the Gospel is the center of our conflict we are forced to see our sin and share it with others.
- The reason why all of the Scriptures work is because of what He did for you and I. Had he not of died we would still be condemned to die. Had he not of rose again we would not have the privilege of rising with Him.
- He is the reason the Scriptures work so we must continue to preach the Gospel to ourselves. Think about it. You will love people better if you know the cost he paid to love you. You will forgive people easier when you think of how quickly he was to forgive you.
Gospel changes you then changes others
- Now I don’t think Paul used those words the way we might assume. I don’t think he was literally trembling with fear. He preached boldly, lived boldly, and asked other believers to do the same.
- Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim 1:7 that God didn’t give him a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.
- We see Paul use the phrase 4 other times in scripture to refer to being deeply concerned. For example, Phil. 2:12 He tells them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Which would mean to approach it with great concern. Don’t mess around with it.
- Paul came to Corinth that same way. He understood the position Corinth was in. It was a mess. It was the epitome of paganism and immorality. He was deeply concerned that the Gospel would somehow lay hold in this dark place.
- This reveals his heart for these people. He was deeply concerned that they would know the good news that he knew. His heart was connected to theirs.
- See this is what happens the more you proclaim the Gospel to yourself. You start desiring it to impact others as well.
- “He didn’t use persuasive words of wisdom.” He wasn’t looking for people to be impressed with his ability to convince them but he wanted them to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
- See a few weeks ago I was talking with Hannah Beth who now lives in Iowa. I got a chance to ask her, “If you could see UFC grow in one area, where would it be?” Her response was across the street at Jimmy Johns. See we have a partnership with them. They get to park in our parking lot and we get 6 free sandwiches a week. Hannah Beth saw that these people at Jimmy Johns were and still are longing for more, for Jesus.
- See I was quickly convicted because I have been telling myself that I don’t have time to share the gospel with them. I just go there to get a sandwich and not share the gospel with them and that is wrong.
- I have had people tell me that they just aren’t skilled enough to share the Gospel and Paul would say you don’t need to be. Just share it. Just be willing to step out there and let God take it from there.
- Image if we took all took 5 people in our lives who didn’t know Jesus and intentionally shared the gospel with them. It’d be amazing.
- In the 1700s Jonathan Edwards, a preacher, wrote and read his sermons so he wouldn’t be guilty of using human persuasion to gain a response. He only wanted the message of the Gospel to bring Salvation.
- Charles Spurgeon said:
- The power that is in the Gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher, otherwise men would be the converters of souls, nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning, otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of men. We might preach until our tongues rotted, till we would exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless the Holy Spirit be with the Word of God to give it the power to convert the soul.
- Jonah gave the weakest call to repentance in history to the Ninehvites yet they still responded. Why? Because of the power of God’s spirit moving on them.
- We are without excuse. We need to preach the gospel to ourselves and others.
Gospel changes you then changes others
- That your faith should not rest on wisdom of men. Guys we did nothing to save ourselves. We weren’t smart enough to choose God so God chose us. It was by his power and love for us that we get to spend eternity with Him.
- Paul is wanting them to know that even though he was God’s mouthpiece he wasn’t the means of their salvation. It only came through God.
- This “power of God” is that He can take a rebellious heart and in one moment change it into one that is crying out for Salvation. God did that for you. Just like a newborn baby who takes their first breath and cries so we who receive Christ do as well.
- We are truly born again. Praise God!! That is the story of Salvation. It is God’s gift—as Ephesians 2:8-9 says. It is a gift from God so that no man can boast. He took our heart, stopped in it its track and saved it. He brought us to life in a moment. He chose us and continually chooses us.