Friday, July 17, 2009

The Miracle of Belief

July 17th.

"My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Paul was a scholar and an orator of the first rank; he is not speaking out of abject humility; but saying that he would veil the power of God if, when he preached the gospel, he impressed people with his "excellency of speech." Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the efficacy of Redemption, not by impressiveness of speech, not by wooing and winning, but by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of the Redemption comes through the preaching of the Gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher. The real fasting of the preacher is not from food, but rather from eloquence, from impressiveness and exquisite diction, from everything that might hinder the gospel of God being presented. The preacher is there as the representative of God - "as though God did beseech you by us." He is there to present the Gospel of God. If it is only because of my preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get anywhere near Jesus Christ. Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the Gospel will end in making me a traitor to Jesus; I prevent the creative power of His Redemption from doing its work.

"I, if I be lifted up . . . , will draw all men unto Me."

I wonder what His church would LOOK like to the world if we truly grasped this reality. It seems to me that everyone wants to be heard ad nauseum, that everywhere WE look including internet-land, the 'excellency of speech' is well & thriving. Imagine how Oswald describes this attitude: as a traitor to Jesus Christ!!

The Kingdom of God ... is not a phsyical kingdom, it's not a church building, it's not a ministry, not a preacher, in fact it's nothing we are looking at - instead the Kingdom of God is within. (Luke 17:20.21)

"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. "

1 comment:

Ike said...

"Paul ran from Christ; Christ pursued and overtook him. Paul resisted Christ; Christ disarmed him. Paul persecuted Christ; Christ converted him. Paul was an alien; Christ made him a member of the family. Paul was an enemy; Christ made him a friend. Paul was 'in the flesh'; Christ set him 'in the Spirit.' Paul was under the law; Christ set him in grace. Paul was dead; Christ made him alive to God. How does one give reasons for this? He does not give reasons; he sings, 'Blessed be God who blessed us . . . even as he chose us in him.'"

Lewis B. Smedes, Union With Christ, pages 86-87.