Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 2
In preparation for today’s post I read several commentaries from sources that usually help me to distill the scripture into a clear message. I spent a good amount of time studying the Holy Spirit and how we as Christians should rely on it when sharing our testimony of faith. Paul wrote his letter to the church in Corinth around 55 A.D. near the end of his three year ministry in Ephesus and during his third missionary journey. In chapter one we hear him address problems of division within the church. We know Paul is a brilliant scholar, but we see him here choose to write to the Corinthians with a simple message. In my mind this means so much. In fact, when I think of the spiritual experiences that have drawn me closest to Jesus are the sermons or small group meetings that connected our modern life directly to the scripture. Paul does this by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide his message. My favorite commentary on today’s reading is from Blue Letter Bible. The author, Paul Guzik says this:
“Paul didn’t come as a philosopher or a salesman; he came as a witness declaring the testimony of God. Paul was certainly a man who could reason and debate persuasively, but he didn’t use that approach in preaching of the gospel. He made a conscious decision to put the emphasis on Jesus Christ and his crucifixion. Paul was an ambassador, not a salesman.”
If that didn’t just change your life, please read it again. An ambassador, not a salesman. Paul draws his strength and confidence as a preacher not on his intellect but on the knowledge that the Holy Spirit will guide him. He tells us in verse four:
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4 (NIV)
I love the NIV here because it says “my message and my preaching…” Paul is encouraging the members of the church to become ambassadors. If we are truly led by the Holy Spirit and if we simply live Christianity then we don’t have to sell it. For me, selling it is hard. I really struggle to invite people that don’t know Jesus to church. I feel like I have to somehow sell the idea of church and a life with Christ. But Jesus is not a product. There is no next thing after Him. There is no salvation 2.0. This is it. Paul reminds us later in the chapter that God’s hidden wisdom was revealed when Jesus rose from the dead:
“No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began….What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2: 7 and 9 (NIV)
There is no way for us to imagine what God has planned for us. There will come a time when we live in him forever. Until then, this Holy Spirit comforts and guides us. Knowing that there is more for us, encourages us to keep going. To endure the challenges and hardships here on earth. We know that we can battle against temptation and greed because the best is yet to come. God asks us to be an ambassador for Him. There’s nothing to sell, there is no upgrade, He is not a product. He is the product. We don’t have to sell him or a life with Christ. He only asks that we live it and through the living we’ll bring others to Him. Have a great Monday.