“When I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3.4)
Why are many referring to the United States as “post Christian”? Why are few Christian groups experiencing growth with respect to new believers? Why are young people staying away from their parents churches in droves?
Could it be that we have not believed and practiced these two passages of Scripture? I believe so. In view of this glaring truth we should ask ourselves some tough questions about our churches, our ministries, and ourselves.
Some churches have a mission statement. Wouldn’t 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 be a good one? …Would it be true?
The good news about Jesus is of “first importance”. Everything, every person, every plan, every program, every ministry, is less important than the good news about Jesus. …Is it this way at your church? Your ministry? Your life?
A few observations about Paul’s declaration.
- He preached what he had received, the good news about Jesus.
- His only plan was to share that message with everyone possible.
- His only resource was God’s power and provision.
If we are to follow Paul’s example we must
Make a decision to focus on the gospel only.
“For I decided to know nothing among you but Christ and him crucified.”
Rely only on God’s power and not our own.
“…and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”
Make seeing men and women trust Christ alone our primary goal.
“that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God”
There is no alternative plan for reaching the lost. Methodology, the shape and scope of ministries, and church models must be build around these basic gospel centered principles or they will not make ungodly people fit for heaven.
Great point, Royce. I’ve written something similar here. Peace
By that way, until reading your post I’d never seen quite so clearly that term “of first importance.” One of the issues I sometimes come up against is the tendency to equate all teaching with the gospel (and I’m sure you know what kinds of issues I’m talking about). Here’s a clear example for which the necessary inference is that some doctrines are more important than others. And right at the heart of them all is this one: Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected, in accordance with the Scriptures.