Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ. Leanna and I are on a little get-away on the coast of Maine. I've had some discussion with a few whether or not I should hold this service this week. Though it would have been nice to hear someone else teach today, I would have to search for a church here where we're spending the week that hopefully was teaching a biblically sound doctrine. Besides, we've had those who faithfully join us every Sunday and that means a lot to me. Glory to God! We want to thank those, and you know who you are.
We also want to thank those who have joined us on Paltalk to listen live. We thank those who read, listen and watch the videos posted on both of the Cross Roads Fellowship sites, Mylook Online, Lokey Sisters, Google+ and other sites that others have been sharing these messages. Glory to God!
If you would please turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 2. Last week, Resurrection Sunday, we concluded chapter 1 of this series we have been reading titled "Who Are We In Christ?" from the book of 1 Corinthians. We will begin today with chapter 2 of our 5th study on this epistle.
Friends, as I sat down to prepare this message and knowing that Leanna and I would be away from home and that how we would not be set up the way we normally are, I thought about all the what ifs that could happen in this Paltalk room. There are those who do come to learn. There are those who come to support Leanna and me. There are those who periodically come to stir up strife, and either Leanna or Tim have been able to defuse those situations quickly.
Leanna has been right on top of posting the scriptures that I read from and I think about that, because I don't want anyone just taking what I say as the gospel. I want all to read for themselves and get that word in their hearts. Praise the Holy Spirit.
I think about how world-wide there all sorts of people going to church this morning. Some of them are church shopping. They're walking into churches they've never attended and finding out what worship is like. They’re coming with expectations. They’re coming to see if this church will meet their needs. Do they have children’s programs, a preschool, or a grade school? Do they have support groups, social activities, and people like me? Many people may be checking out a church this morning to see what it has to offer, but many are also checking out a church to see what the pastor has to say. What is his message all about? Is he eloquent, or does he trip over his words? Is he persuasive, or will he be unable to convince me to listen? Is he liberal or conservative? Is he calm and quiet, or fiery and energized? Amen someone? Been there? I have, and I admit it. Is he real and relevant, or is he boring and stuffy?
I hear from many, and it seems that most are looking for a church that is Dynamic! Because I build websites for churches and other ministries I hear, "If your church wants to attract people today, you need dynamic members carrying out a dynamic ministry and you most certainly better have a dynamic preacher."
I ask you my friends and we'll see this in what Paul writes in this epistle. What should I expect when I go to church and hear the pastor speak to me? What should I take home from the message? Is the best spiritual message for my soul always dynamic, or should I be looking for something else?
Let's see what Paul says in this 2nd chapter.
1 Corinthians 2:1 KJV And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
Church, I've been blessed to listen to some of the great preachers. Charles Surgeon, Paul Washer, David Wilkerson, Carter Colon and Billy Graham to mention a few. But friends, other than Jesus Himself, if there was anyone who could tell us about preaching, I think the apostle Paul would be near the top of my list. Of course he was led by the Holy Spirit to write these letters to the churches. I find through reading Paul's letters to the churches, he was always teaching, whether it was in the Jewish synagogue or out in public. He’s the author of 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament. Anything that the apostle Paul had to say about preaching should bear lots of weight with us today. Amen?
So I ask you friends, to you was Paul that dynamic speaker and personality? Surely he would advocate the popular, exciting preaching trends in the Christian church today. Right?
What did we just read about what Paul had to say about his own preaching and witnessing? “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.”
Years ago, I found this verse and the next ones kind of odd to speak of himself. Can anyone relate? I found it the exact opposite of what you would expect the leader of the church to say. Now before someone blasts me for saying that, I know Christ is the Head of the church. I fully understand that, but through Christ, Paul was planting and discipling the church at that time.
Please turn to Matthew 18:3. To me what Paul was saying in this verse is that he kept it simple. He was saying he didn't go to school to learn fancy words. He didn't teach using clever words. Paul believed that preaching wasn’t about dynamic speech. Yet we see people make the Gospel so complicated.
Matthew 18:3-6 KJV And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (5) And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. (6) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
What Jesus was saying is when someone puts their faith in Christ, whether it be in Him for their salvation, healing or answered prayer, and we all have seen it happen. In fact/ someone hearing my words, or reading them at another time may have been one of them to sow doubt into another's life and try to tear down their faith. Jesus is saying to them, "Better for you would be that a big old rock be tied around your neck and you be thrown in the water. Better for you to 'bloop' be thrown in to the Pacific Ocean , than trying to talk someone out of having faith. Someone hearing me? Amen all.
Then Paul said in 1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Friends, I consider myself to be humble and I believe a good preacher should be humble, and some would consider Paul to be humble. We can see that Paul wrote another letter, 2 Corinthians; where Paul talked about people who had complained about him because he was a mild-mannered speaker. In 2 Corinthians 10:10, Paul describes his critics’ complaints when he wrote this: “Some say, ‘His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.'” Pretty harsh criticism?
Let's look at Acts 20:7-12. Here we see Paul preaching to a group assembled on the third story of a building. Paul went on so long and he was so “boring” that someone sitting in an open window actually fell asleep and fell out of the window.
Acts 20:7-12 KJV And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (8) And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. (9) And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. (10) And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. (11) When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. (12) And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
I think God used Paul's simple message and his humble style to bring the gospel to more people than any one person has ever done in the history of the Christian church.
I have shared before that during this time, most of the followers of Jesus were meeting in homes, or in the courts outside of the temple in Jerusalem. I think you will see more and more house churches happening right here in the US, like it is in China, South Korea, and other places of the world. I believe that many of the ones leading these churches won't be theologians, but I do pray that they are hungry for more of God and that they don't get puffed up and try to teach to bring glory to themselves, but willing to be led by the Holy Spirit and to bring glory to God. Praise Jesus! I also hope that they will take James 3:1 very seriously.
James 3:1 KJV My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
Anyone want to preach the rest of this message now?
Church, I find more and more that want eloquent preachers dressed to the hilt, for entertaining worship with all the lights and glitter, for slick presentations, for moving music and messages, but is that the number one thing we need in our churches?
Now, hopefully those who may be hearing this or reading, don't turn me off before reading that I believe that God calls people into ministry of all races, education, personality, financial status. Wow, typing this paragraph, I could do a whole sermon on these topics.
What I want to say is that God has given us each gifts. There have been dirt-poor preachers that God can use to preach a message and see souls won. Same as the more prosperous. Some who use higher than average words can reach a group, as someone like me that uses simple words can reach who God calls to listen. Praise God.
I ask you this my friends. When Jesus returns at the end of time, if He were to ask you why He should let you into heaven, will an answer about dynamic sermons get you there? “Well, Jesus, I really felt pumped up when I came to church. That pastor’s sermons really set me on fire! I learned all sorts of neat, practical advice to live a happy and successful life.” And Jesus will say, “Wrong answer!” Then hell is in your future.
1 Corinthians 2:2-3 KJV (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
This is the message that Paul preached and should be the message of preachers world-wide. This was what Paul based his messages around. The Cross. The blood and Jesus resurrected. We praise You Jesus.
1 Corinthians 2:4 KJV And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
To me this verse speaks volumes. I don't think Paul was all about those listening, though he was the best preacher, teacher, or what have you that ever was. I think Paul was very clear that the message was about our Lord and Savior. He preached the cross, the blood, salvation and His resurrection.
Church, I don't want to be part of any church that's about men's pride. All about the music and all about smoke and lights. Leanna and I are filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, yet I don't want to be part of a church where people run around yelling out gibberish causing confusion and without any interpretation. And we'll look into that when we get further on in this study.
I pray that J and L Ministries is about Jesus Christ, His finished work at the cross, His resurrection and the power in His blood. I will preach that Jesus came to die to save people of the sins of the world and brought forgiveness to all who turn to Christ in faith. Seeing lives saved and discipling them for God's glory. This is what I see reading through Paul's epistles. Amen someone? It was all about a dying Savior whose death brings you and me peace with God and eternal life in Heaven. Someone shout halleluiah!
1 Corinthians 2:5 KJV That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Oh boy, do we get this verse, friends? Brother Jeff would say, "Boom boom." Leanna and I have been to a few churches where there were those in the congregation that put the pastor, assistant pastor, worship leaders, and even those who led small groups so high on a pedestal that to hear some of them, it was like they found a new god.
We had a man who stayed with us for a few weeks back a while ago that was so knowledgeable of God's word. He didn't just know the word, but he lived it. He was such a mentor to me during a crucial part of J and L Ministry. Anyways, Leanna would say it was just like having Jesus living with us. I had to tell Leanna to stop saying that. I knew what she meant. Peter knew the scripture and he lived it, but he was far from Jesus. I love this man and yes, I see Jesus living in him more than most professing believers, but he is a man and has his faults.
Friends, the point I want to get across in this verse is that we should not put our faith in the speaker, church, music, lights, man-made atmosphere that many places create, but that our faith is God Himself. Amen?
Church, not I, or any other preacher that you will ever hear was ever crucified for you. Amen someone? Jesus was. For those who hear a message preached by me, or anyone else, just because the sermon is based on the Bible doesn’t mean that the preacher has pointed you to Jesus. The Bible-based sermon needs to point us to the cross of Jesus. “Christ crucified” is the sole, simple message that we need to hear week in and week out.
Jesus Christ was born into this world only to die for you and me, who were born with a sinful condition. Jesus lived a sinless and Holy life only to die for all the sinners on earth, and among those sinners are you and me. Jesus became a human being like you only to die as if He was a sinful human being, yet He was innocent. Jesus Christ is the One who died on the cross but who was raised to life on the third day to prove that his death really did pay for all your guilt and sin. Praise His Holy name.
1 Corinthians 2:6 KJV Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
As we saw earlier in this series, part of the many problems that existed in the Corinthian church was the failure of the Christians to break with human philosophy. They were a very immoral and humanly intellectual people. It seems they based everything upon the reason and the lusts of men, and when they became Christians they dragged this kind of immorality and this kind of rationalism into the church. And this is why Paul wrote this letter, to try to get them to escape from their former worldly life. Sound familiar today, church?
1 Corinthians 2:7 KJV But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Church, think about when you were first saved. Did you understand fully what you read? Even now, are there times that scripture doesn't really bring a revelation to you? The Holy Spirit offers God's wisdom to all people, starting with the revelation of their need for Christ as their Savior. If they receive that truth by putting their faith in Jesus, professing Him as Lord and Savior, then they receive the mind of Christ in their hearts. Amen all?
1 Corinthians 2:8-9 KJV (8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
The wisdom of God is supernatural. Glory to God! Friends, The Pharisees and all the religious leaders and the Roman rulers responsible for the death of Jesus didn't understand the purpose and significance of the cross. They had no clue what would happen even though the religious leaders had OT scrolls to read showing that there would be a Messiah coming.
The Roman's were threatened that there might be a king who would go against their beliefs. So they crucified Jesus. In a made-up trial, and done very quickly and with much secrecy, they flogged and crucified the Lord of glory.
The phrase “Lord of glory” implies the divine fullness. It also ties in with the saints’ glory (2:7). It is through union with Him that we will experience glory. Paul explains that the reason these authorities crucified Christ was because they lacked the supernatural wisdom of the Spirit.
Then, and I found this so awesome, Paul adds Isaiah 64:4.
Isaiah 64:4 KJV For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Church, God has so much that He wants to reveal to you and me. He has done so out of love. Trusting Him for understanding and cultivating this love relationship with Him means that we'll grow in greater and greater understanding of wisdom. Yet, and listen up friends. Without the light of God’s Spirit, we’ll be in the dark.
I'm going to end here, but I want to encourage you all to dig deep into the Word of God. There's so much that God wants you and me to get for our lives and what He has called each of you to do for His Kingdom.
You see my friends, there's a very important passage that I take very seriously. It is found in the book of Matthew.
Matthew 28:18-20 KJV And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
That, my friends, is the whole purpose of me sharing these truths with you. I've heard and seen so much on winning souls for Jesus. Yes, that's important. That's a big part of what I feel you and I are called for, but if they don't have the tools to do the same, what good is that? Let's read from the Amplified version.
Matthew 28: (AMP) Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them a]">[a]into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Church, The main reason Jesus came to earth was to die as the Lamb of God to restore the broken relationship with God and to rise from the dead to bring eternal life to you and me. Glory to the Lamb of God. But I want you to think about this my dear friends. What good would His sinless life, His brutal death and His miraculous resurrection be if no one knew about it? Do we get this church? To me, the best friends He had on earth and His true followers who trusted Him and witnessed all He did. All the miracles. His teachings. What and how He would die on a cross. That He would be risen from the dead in three days. That the temple would fall. If no one saw these things, if no one heard His teachings and heard about how He would die and be risen, who would carry on this ministry He started? I believe it would have been in vain. God chose these men that would be His followers. The same as I believe Judas was chosen to follow to allow the enemy inside him and that he was chosen to turn Jesus over to the Pharisees. God's perfect plan.
If we were to look at Matthew 10: 1-42, we would see that Jesus sent His disciples, His apprentices to go share the very, very, very good news. Amen everyone? Unlike us today with high speed internet to share the Word, unlike, oh what was it in the 1960's about the fastest way to get a message out that I used to hear my grandfathers say? Telegraph, telephone, tell a woman. No, it was all done by word of mouth or a messenger who traveled by foot, camel, or donkey.
Then if we research the Bible there were 70 who shared Jesus' message that He (Jesus) was the Messiah and they performed miracles. Jesus gave them all the tools they needed to start to become the founders of the earliest church. After this, as He promised, the Holy Spirit entered them. We see this in John 14.
John 14:12-21 KJV Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (13) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (15) If ye love me, keep my commandments. (16) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (17) Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (18) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (19) Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (20) At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (21) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14:25-31 KJV These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. (26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (28) Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (29) And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. (30) Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (31) But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
So my friends, if you are saved you have that Holy Spirit in you. You are called to proclaim the name of Jesus to the world. It is what my whole goal through these messages is to do. Share my faith with the world to win new souls for Christ and to equip you with the world. Glory to God.
To all of you listening here on Paltalk, reading this message on either of Leanna's and my Cross Roads Fellowships, on Mylook Online, Lokey Sisters, Leanna's and my ministry site, J and L Ministries, Far From Normal Faith Ministry, or any of the other social networks, google + u-tube, facebook and twitter and any other sites that friends have been sharing these messages. Please share these messages and and do let us know how they have blessed you.
We love you and from our home away from home here in Ellsworth, we say God bless you and have an awesome week in the Lord.