Monday, August 31, 2009

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (Substance Over Delivery)

Paul himself, one of the greatest evangelists/ missionaries in Christian history, and his ministry to the Corinthian church are evidence of what he has been teaching in this letter. He came to them with no great eloquence nor might. We do not see the master strategist that many (even me) have at times made him out to be. He is not the philosophical genius that showed the world how to make the Gospel “relevant” to another culture in Athens. He had a simple message that was successful because God’s Spirit used it to open hearts and people were saved.

No one could point to any clever arguments or slick advertising. God alone gets the glory for what was accomplished in Corinth. The reason the Corinthian Christians responded to Paul’s self-described weak attempts to reach them is because God was reaching out to them through Paul. The reason Paul knows that their salvation is true and will endure all the problems he is hearing about and addressing is because God is the author and perfector of their faith. This is why Paul was able to thank and praise God in chapter one. He is the one who convinced them. He is the one who will sanctify them.

Lesson to those who come after him? Don’t get too caught up in strategy and methods and reading the latest account of a new, better way to reach people with the Gospel. The same old simple and un-frilly way that has been around for nearly 2000 years is the best one to use. Simply open your mouth and do the best you can. It’s OK if it seems like it isn’t good enough. Apparently Paul’s delivery was pretty lame too.

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