Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wisdom of men or power of God? - September 28th, 2011

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
History and Context:
1 Corinthians was written by Paul while he was in Ephesus around 54 AD. In Acts 18 we see the founding of the church in Corinth. Paul spent 18 months there as he established the church. This letter is mainly a response to a letter which Paul received from the Corinthians. He says that some of what he heard about the church made him feel 'uneasy' (1 Corinthians 1:11; 5:1) and so he wanted to address these issues. He also answered questions which were presented in the letter. Corinth was a trade city that was known for being very corrupt. As people converted to following Jesus, they often did not realize that they had to leave their corrupt ways behind. Paul is mainly addressing a group of high status men who have become Christians but left their lives unchanged.

The Text:
Paul is discussing the difference between 'wisdom of men' and 'the power of God'. If anyone had the ability and qualifications to preach the Word in intellectual prowess and with persuasive wisdom, it was Paul. He was a pharisee of the pharisees and could probably quote the majority of the scriptures of that day. But that was not what Paul wanted to do. He said that if he had done that, than the people would've began to trust in the wisdom of men rather than in God. So instead Paul came in the power of God. He said that all he wanted to know as he was preaching to the people was 'Jesus Christ and Him crucified'.  He was determined to come in his own weakness so that the strength of God would shine through.

The Challenge:
Today there is becoming more and more emphasis on seminary and education. Many churches won't hire anybody on staff who does not have a theological degree no matter how much ministry experience they have. It is important to have education and seek knowledge and wisdom, but in this focus on degrees and theology we seem to have lost the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who do not have the degree feel unqualified and often do not even step into ministry and those who do have the degree feel strong and feel they can fulfill their ministry in their own strength and wisdom. The result has been a church led by human wisdom and devoid of the power of God. My challenge to you is to continue to seek knowledge, but always do so with a realization of God's power in you. Your knowledge will never change lives, only God's power can do that. Your knowledge will not get people saved, only God's power can do that. Knowledge is good, seek knowledge, but above all seek God!

The Prayer:
Lord, I'm tired of having knowledge without power. I'm tired of relying on my own strength and forgetting about you. Lord, help me to rely on you completely. Help me to live for you and to follow you. I love you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!

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