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Heshimu Colar | Lagos, Nigeria
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OUR CALLING & OUR PREACHING [1 Cor 1:26-2:16]
FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2019
Posted by: The Gospel Fellowship Africa | more..
200+ views | 20+ clicks

“Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from the human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong [1 Cor 1:26-27].”

“On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.” [1 Cor 2:7]

God is not calling strong people. He’s calling poor and defenseless sinners, people who are the worst and most despised in the world - people who have nothing. He’s not calling a mighty army of athletes, bankers, or the well-educated. He’s not rounding up impressive people. He’s saving sinners - poor in the flesh - so that the cross (not human contributions) would be praised. Do not think IMPRESSIVENESS is what saves sinners.

He wants no boasting in the flesh. “God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world--what is viewed as nothing--to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no flesh can boast in His presence [vs28-29].” He doesn’t want any man boasting in man - how strong he is, how great he is, how wise, or even what he can do. He wants man boasting in God alone, which is why salvation’s by grace.

God is the ONLY REASON that you and I are in Christ. “But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus [vs30].” Left to ourselves, we would not be there: We’d be lost, under wrath, and dying under the curse. We’d be stuck in our sins, forced to pay forever, and we’d have no knowledge of salvation. God put us in Christ (and He did not put everyone) before the world began. Christ has become all that we need. “Who became God-given wisdom for us -- our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption [vs30].”

Boasting must be in the Lord; it will never be in man’s ability, his contribution, or what he does; it will always and only be in God’s grace, the Spirit’s power, and Christ’s redemption. “In order that, as it is written: ‘The one who boasts must boast in the Lord [vs31].” Our boasting will be in God alone, and any gospel that doesn’t boast in God is not God’s gospel. “Any gospel,” as Rolfe Barnard said, “that leaves man one thing that he can brag about is not the gospel of God.” We must boast in Him alone - election, calling, redemption, justification, sanctification, and the whole plan of wisdom! We cannot boast in ourselves, not even a little.

PREACHING

Secondly, Jesus Christ crucified is the sum total of the gospel; it is what He died to give, who He is, and all His will for us. Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified [1 Cor 2:2].” It is Christ because all of God’s blessings are in Christ, even sanctification, redemption, and wisdom… even justification, predestination, and election… even the gospel call and final glorification. Everything is because of Christ and comes to us in Him - as He is clearly seen in the gospel. We have no privilege apart from Christ, so get to know Him, His character, and be like Him. Bring Him honor and glory. Believe on Christ.

Paul didn’t come as somebody great. He says, “I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling [vs3].” He didn’t come as a big shot. He came as a poor and helpless saint. He came with no power of his own. He didn’t come as an orator, but as one who feared God. He didn’t come as a miracle worker, but as one who could do nothing. He did not lean on himself at all. “My speech and my proclamation,’ he says, ‘were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit [vs4].”

He’s saying, “The Spirit showed the doctrine that I preach. He showed it in me and through me to you. It was not the flesh, oratory, or emotion; it was not a show or pretense; it was Christ revealed in the gospel, and Christ ministered exactly as is. It was Christ that you saw by the Spirit’s power. “So that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power [vs5].”

We need faith based upon men seeing God, not seeing the preacher! The gospel is revealed by the Spirit, not the eloquence and techniques of man. You’ve got to see Jesus Christ supernaturally; it cannot be human.

Thirdly, if we’re not predestined, then we can never know this wisdom. He says, “We speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory [vs7].” God must work in you, because He loves you in a special way! If you are Esau, then you perish. You count God’s wisdom foolishness. If you are Jacob, then He predestined you to understand. Which are you? Do you believe, or are you outside of the feast? Is Christ sufficient, or do you seek something else? How you respond to the gospel reveals what kind of vessel you are, whether for glory or destruction, whether for life or death. Do not refuse the gospel, but believe it’s the wisdom of God.

Do you know how privileged you are? “None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory [vs8].” If you had not been taught by God, then you’d crucify the Lord Jesus, no matter how rich and powerful you were, you could not see. All that men want to be, which is a big shot, in no way helps you to see God. This wisdom comes NOT BECAUSE you are special, but because He is gracious. “God be merciful to sinners,” must be our cry.

No human brain is smart enough. No one just understand the Bible or hears glory in preaching. The Spirit has to reveal it to our spirit. He says, “But as it is written: What eye did not see and ear did not hear, and what never entered the human mind--God prepared this for those who love Him. God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit… No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God [vs9-11].” Only the Spirit can reveal Christ and sovereign grace. Only the Spirit gives us the gospel. Look nowhere else. Trust nothing else; it is the Spirit or nothing. “Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God [vs12].”

Paul says, “We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people [vs13].” We have no tricks. They must be born again and taught by God. We can’t get it to them with cleverness, so we preach what we’ve seen and heard; it is that simple: He reveals it to us, and then we show it to them. We are speaking the Spirit’s words. We are scribes, like those who took down the words of Paul, and we add nothing. We just say what He says.

Finally, this is one of the most heartbreaking things of all! “But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is spiritually discerned [vs14].” The unbeliever DOES NOT receive the things of the Spirit. He cannot see them. He is blind. He must be born again. He is dead and lost. He doesn’t have the faculty - a new and regenerate heart - to believe God, so you are highly favored, if you do. You are blessed, if you believe.

We have to have the mind of Christ. “For ‘who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [vs16].’” We cannot perceive with the carnal mind. We must be of the Spirit to receive free grace, spiritual things, and the Lord Jesus Christ crucified.

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