Today, we are going to focus on proclaiming the good news.
NOTE: The metanarrative is the framework of the good news of the kingdom. Creation/Fall/Redemption/Restoration. Inside of that metanarrative is where we talk about the core of the good news, and that is the person and work of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Paul leads into 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 with 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 as to why he will approach his evangelistic ministry at Corinth the way he does…which is super focused on one primary truth.
1 Corinthians 1:21 (ESV) For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
NOTE: Paul is not demeaning depth of thinking or God’s wisdom (See 2:6-16). We, in Christ, have been given God’s wisdom through the Spirit in having the very mind of Christ.
Mankind, from sin’s entrance and wrecking of the world, has believed their way is better.
- So, God chose to save by faith in Jesus not by intellect, wisdom, or flashy signs.
God has determined to save by faith given from a preached message of Jesus’ death on a Roman cross in the place of sinners to pay the cost of sin.
Therefore, Paul tells us his message and reasoning in 2:1-5.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV) And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
What do we learn about evangelism from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5?
- Paul is bearing witness to God’s story. V. 1 “testimony of God”
- Paul is intentionally placing the work of Jesus in the metanarrative of the God of the bible.
- The Good News is not an isolated story. It is the news that is intimately connected to the worldview of the God of the bible.
- Paul made up his mind to know nothing but Jesus and his crucifixion. V. 2
In Paul’s day…”Orators followed certain well-established conventions when they entered a city. They were expected to give flowery speeches in praise of the city and their own personal achievements. They did this in order to establish their reputation and reap financial rewards as political orators and teachers of the rich.” (Bruce Winter, “1 Corinthians,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1165.)
- Paul had to intentionally fight off the option to dress up his message.
- The message is Jesus and his sacrifice.
- Who is Jesus?
- What is Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross? 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 (See Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 53:10)
- Jesus – God/Man; Son of God…the faithful and obedient Israel; The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; The promised one like Moses who would speak the word of God faithfully; The promised seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent and destroy the curse of sin; The suffering Servant of Isaian 52-53; The Ram caught in the bushes that substitutes for Isaac; The Passover Lamb who purchases the people of God from the slavery of sin.
- Jesus’ Crucified – God the Father put Jesus to death as the payment for sin; Jesus substituted in our place for our sin; Sin payed for past, present, future through the sacrifice of himself;
- Go read Hebrews 7-10.
Jesus identity and work is our evangelistic strategy.
- Paul’s circumstances either chosen or inflicted, are weakness, fear, and trembling and no superior speaking skills to cover up his circumstances. The only star was Jesus! V. 3
- Our evangelism does not have to possess anything mankdind believes superior to lend credence to Jesus.
- Paul was empowered by the Creator Spirit of God not a plausible apologetic. V. 1, 4
- Lofty – superior
- Speech – words
- Wisdom – cleverness – skill
- Plausible words of wisdom – empirical proof that one’s words are true
- “Spirit’s power” a literal rendering.
- The effect of the preaching came from God for God’s purposes by the Spirit.
- It was not generated by man’s wisdom for an elicited response.
- Why not use tried and true communication skills that move people? Why be transparent about oneself and not cover up weaknesses and fears so as to appear talented? So that those who believe might have their faith rest on Jesus alone. V. 5
Why have I shared painfully embarrassing truths about myself with you and not pretend to be something I’m not? So that your faith may rest in Jesus alone not any perceived skill in me.
- The danger of using too much pop preaching and music is:
- Attracting fans who elevate the preacher and the worship leader rather than Jesus. This results in misplaced faith.
- I fear we have generations of who have planced their faith in the good preaching skills of good looking preachers and teachers and emotional responses to awesome music to the point that when the high wears off there is nothing left but a faux faith that diminishes as the emotive high wears off.
- If our faith can’t survive some old uneducated country or city preacher and old school music that is overlooked because it can’t keep up with the Christian’s economicly induced market for consumption, then it is misplaced, and will not stand when we stand before Jesus to give account.
- My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteosness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
How do we obey?
- We have to live on mission.
- Paul “came to them”. V. 1.
- There was intentionality in engaging folks since Jesus sent us to disciple folks.
- We have to be sold out to bearing witness to God’s story.
- Know and operate from the metanarrative of the good news of the kingdom.
- Be schooled in the metanarrative of the good news of the kingdom.
- We have to determine we won’t use anything to convince anyone except the good news.
- We have to be able to proclaim the good news.
- The “Life on Mission” app will be a helpful resource for you.
- Get the main points of the central message of the cross and be able to share that message.
- Know your audience and speak to where they are, find common ground, and get to Jesus.
- See Acts 17.
- Believe that evangelism is worship through obedience.