And I, 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.
(1Co 2:1-5 ESV)
These recent posts reflect the prayers that I have shared with the Lord as I have been reading 1 Corinthians. The study has been rich with new understanding and hope.
I pray for the ministers of the gospel. They have been called and purposed by God to do as the apostle Paul. Lord, please lift up these men and women that they be of a singular heart; that the center and focus of their work and ministry be on Jesus Christ and him crucified. The faith of the Christian is founded in Christ and the apostle always recognized the cross. The Lord Jesus and the cross go hand-in-hand. May they faithfully witness and proclaim the majesty of a saviour who did in fact die on the behalf of our sins to make atonement. Help the leaders of your church to not be afraid to proclaim the gospel in all of its splendor. In this gospel message God by his spirit saves the lost. May they not rely on their gifts and education and popularity and esteem but humbly proclaim simply Jesus and him crucified for the power of God becomes evident not in the eloquent delivery or the perfect blend of music and atmosphere but in the work of the spirit as the word goes out. Let us focus on our saviour and His work and let that be our message. Subdue our pride and our desire to rely on our wisdom and gifts. Help us to be like Paul to speak the words you called us to proclaim. Get rid of all the stuff we try to add to it.
Lord when we are faithful to your calling as the apostle Paul grant that your spirit would go forth and open the ears, eyes and hearts of those who so deperately need a saviour. As we are faithful to this message of Jesus Christ and him crucified you will act 'in demonstration of the Spirit and of power' to the conversion of sinners from among all classes, ages, and conditions when by all human estimate nothing could be done; that your saints will find peace, joy and happiness as their lives are transformed; that will we see the changes as they become different people - in making the drunkard sober, the thief honest, the pervert pure, the profane reverent, the lazy industrious, the harsh kind, the anxious peaceful. All this is the effect of the Gospel message; the work of Christ; the cross. When we rely on God and his power and not in our efforts then God is glorified and his power demonstrated. The gospel has thus evidenced from age to age that it is from God. Every converted sinner furnishes such a demonstration; and every instance where it produces peace, hope, joy, shows that it is from heaven.