What is the Simple Message of the Cross?
1 Corinthians 2
Do you ever feel that sometimes we overcomplicate things?
That when we try and explain things, we use words and construct sentences that leave us none the wiser?
Meteorological conditions are broiling for this period of the year (It is hot for this time of year)
Now some of these words we would have known what they meant but broiling!
Simple is good, I would argue that the more important something is, the more critical it is to my future the simpler I want the message to be delivered.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 felt the same way:
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human 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. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 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 human wisdom, but on God’s power.
From these five verses we can glean the following:
1. The Apostle Paul wanted to keep the message simple: Jesus Christ and him crucified
1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)
2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified
1 Corinthians 2:2 (Message)
I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.
This is the message we need to be sharing with people, it is the starting point for people’s spiritual journey.
If we need to talk about Jesus Christ which means Jesus the Messiah, the saviour, son of God.
Jesus is the message we share, not John Piper, Steven Furtick, Danielle Strickland.
How Jesus the son of God was crucified for our sins on the cross, to pay the price for our sins, Jesus the innocent, the blameless, paid the price for all who believe in Him.
That is the message, no-one can receive forgiveness from God without believing in Jesus and what He did on the cross.
We can behave in certain ways, we can live what society would class as a good life, but ultimately with accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we are destined to hell.
2. He did not use eloquent words to talk people into the Kingdom, He kept it simple.
1 Corinthians 2:1 (NIV)
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
1 Corinthians 2:1 (Message)
You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s sheer genius, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple:
A lesson for so many of us. We complicate things, we think we need to sound a certain way, express things in a certain style rather than relying on the key message Jesus Christ crucified.
I think there is a danger that we can produce the Gospel out of the church, we can look to become so slick, so flashy, so eloquent that the true message gets lost, that people fall in love with a spectacle with an experience rather than Jesus.
So, if Paul wasn’t going to be flashy and persuasive how would he be successful in spreading the Good News:
1 Corinthians 2:4 (NIV)
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,
1 Corinthians 2:4 (The Message)
But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it,
It would by the Holy Spirit, by God’s power that people would come to a realisation of who Jesus was and is.
That power would be shown in miracles, in lives transformed.
And this is leads us to the all-important WHY
Why is this important:
1 Corinthians 2:5 (NIV)
so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:5 (The Message)
which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.
You see if your faith is dependant on a person, be that a preacher or a fellow Christian it is shallow, if that person does not meet your expectations, if they let you down you may well find yourself rejecting Jesus, falling away.
The danger becomes that our security is in that person rather than in Jesus.
For Paul, it is all about God, not his own personality, not his eloquent words but the power of God.
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