Summary: Wahring the Gospel is not something you have to do on your own. You have been given power.
July 17, 2005
Text: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Subject: Perseverance Part 4
Title: Perseverance, Preaching and Power
Have you noticed what the recurring theme is for the past few weeks? I think that it is important for us to be serious about persevering. Now when I talk about perseverance, I’m not speaking of just hanging on till Jesus comes. His intention for the church is to continue to move forward in building His church till He comes. The idea of perseverance, to me, carries the concept of maintaining a bulldog attitude towards the promises of God, the will of God, and the word of God. Perseverance is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Perseverance is for the strong and strong willed.
Today I want to emphasize perseverance in the preaching of the word. I’m not strictly speaking of my ministry (though that is part of it) but I want to speak to you about your role in the church as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. WE have had the opportunity to talk about witnessing often and often I hear the same objections; I’m not adequate, people don’t listen, people don’t want to hear, people get angry and the list goes on and on. Does anyone ever feel like sharing Christ is the one thing that they just have to do before the sun goes down? I doubt it.
The one thing that seems to fuel our fear of witnessing is the probability of rejection. It is almost a certainty that if you share the gospel you are going to get shot down. So we try it once or twice then give up. I’m not faulting anyone. I’m making an observation. But the one thing we need to get a grasp of is that the gospel is the power of God for salvation for all who believe. And we need to persevere in our witnessing.
From the diary of John Wesley. . .
Sunday, A.M., May 5 Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5 Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said, "Get out and stay out."
Sunday, A.M., May 12 Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19 Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19 Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26 Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow, as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2 Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2 Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
Today I am going to look at three foundational concepts that the apostle Paul wrote of to the Corinthian church. 1) It’s God’s word. 2) You are God’s vessel. 3) You operate in God’s power. As we study the word today pray that God will bless you richly with all that He wants you to receive.
I. REMEMBER THAT IT IS GOD’S WORD. Verse 1, “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.” Paul could have taken the opportunity to remind the church in Corinth that he was well educated. He could have been a name - dropper and told them that he sat at the feet of Gamaliel. He could have shown them his expansive knowledge of Greek history and poetry. But instead he simply tells them about the testimony of God. As a Christian, one of the things that always burned in my heart was how to share the gospel in some inoffensive way. I never wanted to make anyone feel bad or get in an argument with them. I just wanted them to hear the truth about Jesus and then make a decision for themselves. I have seen some who would try to make a great theological presentation about the truth of heaven and hell but it would become more than anyone could understand. Paul could have gone to Corinth with excellence of speech and wisdom. But he understood something that most Christians don’t understand. The cross of Calvary is enough. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That simple message is enough. Remember the two elements of witnessing that I told you to would be effective? 1) Who Jesus is and 2) What He did. Many in the church at Corinth, because of their Greek background, placed a premium on knowledge. They wanted to hear a convincing argument for Christianity. But Paul wrote in 1:22-23, “For the Jews request a sign and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified…” Do you see how simple the message is? 1) Heaven is a free gift. 2) Man is a sinner and cannot save himself. 3) God is love but is also just. 4) Jesus came into the world to save us from sin. It’s a gift. 5) We receive that gift by faith. It is so simple that even I can understand it.