Faithlife Sermons

Paul vs. The World

1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Scripture

1 Corinthians 2:1–5 KJV 1900
1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:

Background

Paul was writing this letter to a church in an area of the world that prized what it thought was wisdom.
They thought of themselves as being cultured, sophisticated, and enlightened.
Much like our own times, the peoples of the nations of Greece and Rome thought very highly of their knowledge and understanding.
Among the Greeks, in particular, everyone was convinced that his / her version of truth was real truth.
They had clever politicians who were very gifted statesmen.
The Greeks had the philosophers, who would regularly present themselves for public speaking.
These philosophers had studied carefully the art of public address.
They knew how to make a persuasive argument in favor of their point of view.
Though highly educated and well trained, Paul did not use their style of delivery.
They relied on intellect and oratorical skill, where as Paul relied upon God to make his presentations effective.
2 Timothy 4:2-
2 Timothy 4:2–4 KJV 1900
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
People are not victims of false teachers.
They listen to the false teachers because the false teachers are telling them what they want to hear.
The fact the people don’t want to hear strong, simple, plain truth is nothing new.
It should surprise us that they don’t want to listen, God has told us that a time like the one that we live in would come.
People won’t endure sound doctrine.
Most would rather gather in a setting where there’s little emphasis on the attributes of God outside of love and grace.
They want concert style worship that demands nothing of their intellect.
Give me a fog machine, some colored lights, and dim the house lights to set the mood.
Give me preaching that doesn’t offend me or challenge me to change my life in the face of what God requires of me in the Scriptures.
Preacher, just stand up there, smile, and tell me that I can have my best life now.

Paul vs. The World

The people didn’t think Paul was a very exciting preacher.
He didn’t use the professional style of public address used by the philosophers, so many didn’t pay much attention to him.
He didn’t gear his teaching or the way that he presented them to appeal to large numbers of people.
Paul didn’t stand confident in his own intellectual abilities to determine truth and then proclaim it to the people.
He was with them in fear, trembling, and much weakness.

Weakness

Paul knew that he couldn’t change a man’s heart.
He knew that his best efforts would produce absolutely nothing for the kingdom of God.

Fear

Paul had been stoned and left for dead; and people had sought to kill him on a number of occasions.
Paul had been stoned and left for dead; and people had sought to kill him on a number of occasions.
Paul, however, feared God and what it would mean for him long term more than he feared what any man might do to him.

Trembling

Paul had to make a decision.
Do you preach in fear of God or do you change or water down the requirements of God in fear of man.

Application

When we proclaim the gospel message to a perverse, self centered world, we sound like kooks to them.
We are insisting that words written in a dusty, old book written thousands of years ago are not only relevant to our lives today, but that they are the way that the individual should live their lives in a society that thinks it has advanced beyond anything that the world has ever seen.
I wonder, though, if we can make the same claim that Paul did in these verses:
I wonder if the modern church could say that even though we didn’t use the pleasing forms of address common in our world or proclaim the message that everyone wants to hear, the power of God’s truth is evident not only in our words, but also in the way that God works through us to accomplish His will.
Has the gospel message been displayed in more than our words?
Has the power of God been put on display in us and through us for all to see?
After all, I’m not asking the world to believe in me or in my intellect and ability to reason and discover the truth, I’m asking them to believe in the God of the Scriptures who is and who causes all things to be.
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