There are many great public speakers in our world; politicians, lawyers, powerful businessmen, world leaders, and even preachers.
A skilled speaker can captivate their audience with oratory skills that draw you in, causing amazement at how they can use words to convince you that what they’re saying is true. And many times what they say is true, but not always.
I was reading through the book of 1 Corinthians the other day, and I prayed the Holy Spirit would impress upon me something He wanted to show me. It didn’t take long.
I came to 1 Cor 1:17….Paul is writing.
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.”
Whoa! Stop right there.
I was struck by what was said. Paul preached the gospel in a way that would NOT make the cross of Christ void! How could Paul’s preaching of the Gospel make the cross void? BY PREACHING WITH CLEVER SPEECH!
It doesn’t end there. He elaborates more in the next chapter.
“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. 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, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
In chapter 2, Paul again mentions how he intentionally, with much fear, trembling and weakness, proclaimed the testimony of God. Paul determined NOT to polish his speeches, or try to persuade anyone with what he said which may show his (Paul’s) wisdom so that the power of the Spirit would be manifested! WOW!
Paul just wanted everything he said to point to Christ alone and not one iota toward himself or how well he spoke!
THE SIMPLICITY OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
I heard a friend say recently and I agree with him. He said “I would rather hear a plain, straightforward message on Christ and what He has accomplished, than hear a message by a fancy, polished speaker that preaches a mixed gospel of Christ plus works, what man needs to do to gain favor with God.”
That really struck me in my reading. Paul, with much care, wanted to make sure that the message of the cross was NOT made void by drawing attention to himself by his great speaking skills. Many preachers do just that today.
Simply preaching Christ and Him crucified in the power of the Spirit to reveal all that Christ has done will keep the attention on Him and not on the speaker.
May Jesus Christ be praised forevermore for what the great things HE has done for us, to us, and in us as believers.
~ David Moss
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