Proclaiming the Gospel
Evangelism and missions propels the wisdom and power of God. Christians, when we proclaim the message of Christ crucified, in absolute reliance upon the Holy Spirit of God, to our neighbors and to the nations God will be magnified. And it is our great privilege and responsibility to bring this message to those individuals who are not worshiping Christ as Savior and Lord.
When the apostle Paul first entered Corinth, he committed his full attention to proclaiming Christ crucified to the citizens; and God graciously saved those who believed his message (1 Cor. 1:21). Paul described his initial efforts in a letter he sent to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 2:1-5). His description has left a pattern for us to follow as we endeavor to proclaim Jesus to others.
Paul was plain spoken when he declared the gospel: "And when I came to you, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God" (1 Cor. 2:1).He didn't use big words. He didn't use manipulative tactics. He spoke plainly and pointedly. We would do well to remember his approach when sharing the gospel. We don't need large vocabularies or slick presentations. We need to speak plainly about who Jesus is and why He came.
The manner in which he spoke is not the only thing that Paul described about the message he gave; he also described the content: "For I determined to know nothing among you except Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). He could have taught them many things from the Scriptures, but he focused on the most important subject. He told them, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the thrid day according ot the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3-4). This was Paul's message. This is our message. Until non-believers come to faith in Christ we have nothing else to tell them.
Paul's message was accompanied by a particular mindset. He did not rely on his own abilities to convert the Corinthians to faith in Christ. Instead he trusted in the Holy Spirit: "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 power" (1 Cor. 2:3-4). We do not convert our neighbors to faith in Christ; the Holy Spirit does. Jesus told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit comes, "He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment" (John 16:8).
Do you consider yourself weak? God can use you. Are you fearful when speaking to others? God can use you. Do you tremble at the thought of proclaiming the gospel, or do you tremble when you are proclaiming the gospel? God can use you. He uses "the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong" (1 Cor. 1:27). Brothers and sisters, we do not save sinners. Put your confidence in the Holy Spirit.
Why did Paul speak plainly and rely upon the Holy Spirit to convert the Corinthians? He wanted the Corinthians to trust in God alone for salvation: "so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God" (1 Cor. 2:5). Paul was not trying to gain worshipers. He wanted the Corinthians to worship God. We should talk to our neighbors about Jesus because we want them to worship God. We should give to missions or go as missionaries so that new people in new places will worship God. Everything we do should be for the glory of God in Christ Jesus.
HOW CAN I USE THIS SERMON THIS WEEK?
1. Make plans to go, this week, to talk to one neighbor about Jesus. Pray that God will help you to speak clearly, and pray that He would save your neighbor.
2. Give thanks to God for the people who spoke the gospel to you.
3. Set aside time to tell your children the gospel message. Speak in a simple, plain, pointed way.