One Messed Up Church
The Church of Corinth was one messed up church— they struggled with sexual immorality; and, they fought over the Lord’s Supper; and, their doctrine on the resurrection of the dead was problematic! So, when the Holy Spirit provoked the Apostle Paul to write a letter & call them out, he reminds them of the 1st time they met when he had introduced them to the Gospel: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified…. my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
Embarrassed Over The Gospel
I’m not intending to read into the text; but, it seems like maybe some in the Church of Corinth had become embarrassed over the Gospel. Perhaps they felt pressured to make the Gospel more appealing to their cosmopolitan neighbors by downplaying the cross, the shed blood & the atonement. If so, there’s probably an application here for the western Church— have we digressed so far from our calling that we feel compelled to sanitize the offensiveness of the cross? Have we become so “seeker friendly” that we’ve become “Gospel unfriendly”? Do we crave the world’s approval so badly that we feel compelled to “market” the Gospel by packaging it in a more user-friendly format?
A Doctrinal Reminder
It seems, in the reading of this letter, that Paul is intent on changing some faulty thinking! They needed a doctrinal reminder about HOW God gets His work done. To put it succinctly; and to the point, God doesn’t need our help! He doesn’t want us to figure out how to do church in our wisdom or strength! He will only bless the church whose strategy it is to follow His Sovereign plan! Paul seems to clearly emphasize interactive & relationships building discipleship over any kind of “church program.” Making disciples is all about life-on-life interaction! “…I came to you…I was with you” he said in vs. 1,2. Paul also emphasizes the power of God over human performance. Human methods will come & go; so, focus on the one constant in the entire disciple-making process— the power of God to minister through us!
Do Your Ministry By God’s Grace
If our ministry focus is on us— how much effort WE need to put into it; or what methods WE create, our results will be sketchy at best! We’ll become neurotic & self-absorbed over whatever ministry we’re involved in because our efforts will center on us & our abilities rather than God & His power to do the spiritual work. Only He can do the necessary spiritual work in someone’s life! Only He can raise the spiritually dead to life, and make the spiritually blind to see again! When we attempt to do the work God’s work in the flesh, we can become very legalistic about it! When you compare doing ministry by “legalism” vs ministry by “Grace”, GRACE wins every time! When we perform ministry in the strength of the flesh it puffs us up; and, gives us the allusion that we’re helping God out; and He doesn’t need our help!