Summary: The Corinthian church was deeply divided. Two of the issues dividing it were a dispute over what kind of preacher should fill their pulpit, and which former minister had contributed the most to their church. This same problem exists today.
To recap, a letter was written from the Corinthians to Paul and telling him about how divided their church was becoming. Paul answers that letter and we have it recorded as the book of 1 Corinthians. Paul offers them 11 answers to their division problem. The first answer was the cross. If the church would refocus on their purpose based upon the cross, the church would begin to come back together. The second answer was remembering that those God chose were, at one time, simple and humble people. The Corinthians needed to remember who they were. Tonight we see the 3rd answer Paul gives them it has to do with sound preaching.
The Corinthian church was deeply divided. Two of the issues dividing it were a dispute over what kind of preacher should fill their pulpit, and which former minister had contributed the most to their church. This same problem exists today. I don’t know of hardly any church that agrees 100% what type of preaching people want coming out of the pulpit.
- Some want well studied messages. Some want topical sermons. Some want entertaining messages.
- Some want a preacher who preaches from the pulpit. Some want one that runs all over the sanctuary while he preachers.
- Some want only men preachers. Some don’t mind a woman preacher.
- Some want a preacher who preaches from a controlled stance. Others want one who bangs the pulpit and screams from the top of his voice.
- Some will never be satisfied because this preacher will never be what our former preacher was.
Let’s get into the passage and see what Paul suggests.
READ v. 1. Sound preaching is not eloquence or human wisdom or philosophy. This is Paul’s testimony. He uses the words “I” and “my” eight times in the first 5 verses. He stressed that the concern of preaching is not to be eloquence or human wisdom or philosophy.
First, eloquence: Remember, Paul is speaking about words, not so much about himself. He didn’t try to sound superior when he preached. He wasn’t trying to out-do any other preacher that they may have heard. It wasn’t a competition. I can’t count the times subtle hints have been dropped of how someone loves so much the preaching of Billy Graham, the style of Joel Osteen, etc. I am not them.
Paul also stresses that sound preaching is not human wisdom or philosophy. The world is constantly seeking more and more wisdom, education, science, technology, and new and novel ideas. The problem is that man seeks these things from the framework of the world. He forgets God entirely. Everything within the world is unfulfilling within itself; it passes away, and ceases to exist.
This is why Paul didn’t preach human philosophy, or worldly wisdom. When Paul preached, he wasn’t concerned with sounding like a philosopher or some deep thinker or some preacher with a new and novel idea or position.
Sound preaching is simply declaring the testimony about God. That testimony is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Preaching should not be considered an eloquent speech. God’s preachers are to preach salvation to a lost world. The genuine preacher of God is to preach the testimony about God.
READ v. 2. The message of Paul was Jesus Christ. He saw the resurrected Jesus first hand. He had a great testimony. He concentrated on the death of Jesus Christ. The reason is seen when we look at what Scripture says about the subject of Jesus’ death.
- It is by the death of Jesus that we are accepted and reconciled to God and have peace with God. (Eph. 1:6-7; Col. 1:20)
- It is by the death of Jesus that we are justified. (Rom 5:9)
- It is by the death of Jesus Christ that we are eternally redeemed. (Rom. 3:24-25; Col. 1:14; 1 Tim 2:5-6)
- It is by the death of Jesus that we are delivered from death. (2Tim. 1: 9-10)
- It is by the death of Jesus that we are delivered from condemnation. (Rom. 8:34)
- It is by the death of Jesus that we are delivered from the curse of the law, that is, from death and separation from God. (Gal. 3:13; Col 2: 14-15)
- It is by Jesus’ death that we are delivered from the judgment and the coming wrath. (1 Thes. 1:10, 5:9-10)
- It is by the death of Jesus that we are delivered from this present evil age. (Gal. 1:4)
- It is by the death of Jesus that Satan’s power over death and the world is broken and destroyed. (Heb. 2: 14-15; Rev. 12:11)