“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom… For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1a-2)
When fancy philosophies and zealous passions – albeit good things – get in the way of the core message of the Bible, and the central mission of the church, our words become merely a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt… for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Colossians 4:6a: Romans 8:1)
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt… for if I have not love, [my pursuits] profit nothing” (Colossians 4:6a: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Christ. And Him crucified.
That should be our ocean of words. And that should be our central focus in training, equipping, rebuking, and encouraging. Anything else is built on a foundation of sand.
The foundation of true, life changing, spiritual power comes in the form of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead, for “what is of first importance is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and then rose again on the third day;” and this – this gospel – is the power of God to all who believe. (1 Corinthians 15; Romans 1:16)
There are far more injustices – far more unrepentant sin – in the world than individuals can remedy on their own. And that is why we, as God’s masterpieces, were created by Him “for good works prepared before the foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 2:10) Our passions and philosophies to do good were put in us by the very hand of God Himself. And He wants us to preach these good things to fellow members in the body of Christ that they might join us and grow. But He also wants us to make sure that our priorities are straight in what we decide to preach of first importance.
And Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
If we want to see real change in people, real acceptance of the good things we want them to join us in doing, and if we truly want to love and honor God, we must love and honor our friends, our neighbors, our enemies. And the only way to ensure that we do that is by preaching
And Him crucified.
A prayer: “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be acquitted of great transgression. (Psalm 19:12-13)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:12-14)