Summary: The reason why church people must get along is so that when we proclaim the gospel to the lost, they will see sincerity and love and will hear the message, and new believers will hear the teaching of the Scripture and will be strengthened in their faith.
Series: Questions about the Church
Part 3 of 5: How Can I Get Along with People at Church?
1 Corinthians 2: 1-5
We’re still in our series of “Questions About the Church.” We started with the question, “What Exactly Is the Church?,” then, last week we asked “Why Do People in the Church Think Differently from Me?” I mentioned how those differences had led to quarrels in the church at Corinth. And because Paul loved these people, he spent some time in his letter dealing with some of the how’s and why’s of getting along with people in the church.
Now, I’m using the phrase, “getting along with people in the church,” and when I say that, I’m including several things. I’m talking about unity in the church, fellowship in the church, and loving one another as Jesus told us to do.
The question about the church I want to deal with today is “How Can I Get along Better with People in the Church?” but I’m going to spend most of my time this morning dealing with the reasons WHY it’s important that we get along better with people in the church. And once we understand the WHY, I think the HOW becomes easier.
I. So, Why Is it important that church people “get along?” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
The reason it is important that church people get along is this: the message we have is extremely important for both the lost and the saved.
Verse 1, When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
The word ‘resolve’ is used of a judge who listens to the evidence in a case and ‘makes a decision’ about how things are going to be. Paul says, “I made a decision when I came to you to focus on the message that Jesus is the Messiah, who died on a cross to pay the price for sin.” That is the most important message of all. Paul goes to say, “Because I wanted you to hear that message...
Verse 3, I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
Paul’s not saying that he was spiritually weak or afraid of what they might do to him. Remember, he faced an awful lot of persecution. He was beaten, nearly stoned to death.
When I started this series about the church, I said that Corinth was a cosmopolitan kind of city. Because of its importance on that isthmus, many nationalities of people came and went, and lived there. It was a large city. I’m sure at any given time, you could probably hear a person trying to get a crowd together to talk about their religion or some other kind of cause. I’m sure that many of these kinds of people were aggressive in trying to get support.
We see this kind of behavior in Philippi, when Paul cast a demon out of a slave girl. The owners got the crowd riled up against Paul and Silas, and they were thrown in jail.
I think Paul is saying that he came more in humility, opening himself up to them, and maybe with some fear that they still might not listen to the truth.
Verse 4, My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (NIV)
Paul was an intelligent man. If you read some of his writings, you will see that he could get kind of confusing. He could use words and concepts that common people would not understand. Even if what’s being said is true and important, If people don’t understand it, it can’t change their lives.
It would probably be like me going to a financial advisor. If he began talking about why stocks go up or down, and he used economic concepts that I don’t understand, if I chose to invest my money with him, I would be doing so because he sounded like he knew what he was talking about, but I wouldn’t have a clue what he meant.
Paul did not want to be this way. If he were preaching to the lost, he didn’t want them to be dazzled by his philosophical arguments, and agree to believe in Jesus because of his words. If he were teaching new Christians about the basic truths of the faith, he didn’t want to present himself as being “the one who knows more than you do” kind of person. Instead, he tried to get along with these people. He wanted to be in fellowship with them; to show them he really loved them. Now, we will talk about how he did this in a moment, but the reason why he wanted to get along with them was so that when he preached his message to them, they would not see him, or his intellect, or his fancy sounding words. He wanted them to see Jesus, He wanted them to know Jesus died for them, and he wanted them to know that the only thing that could strengthen their faith is the power of God.