The Gospel Message is Empowered
“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”
(1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
When you begin playing basketball, you don’t start with mastering the behind-the-back pass. But if you play long enough, you become more comfortable and you can start doing more complicated moves. And even if you get really good, odds are there’s someone else out there who plays better than you do.
Funnily enough, the same can be said of preachers. When I started preaching back in the 90’s, I’m pretty sure Billy Graham was a better preacher than I was (along with many, many other pastors)! But when it comes to the gospel, it’s different. I remember shortly after I became a Christian reading this impactful quote from George Whitefield: “Other men may preach the gospel better than I, but no man can preach a better gospel.”
Almost 2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul said something similar, “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” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). What Paul means here is that it’s not about the messenger it’s about the message. The gospel message is empowered.
Paul didn’t go around trying to sway people with his eloquence, or his intelligence. It wasn’t about his brain power or the way he crafted his sermons and included great illustrations. No! Paul recognized that there is power in the gospel message itself, and that’s all you need to rely on.
He makes this clear by saying later, “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” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4, emphasis added).
At this point you may be wondering, “If the gospel message is relevant, inclusive, simple, and empowered, why do I have so much trouble sharing my faith?” That’s a great question, and one we’ll unpack in greater depth next week. But I encourage you to find comfort in the biblical truth that it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus. And it’s not your message, it’s His. And because of that truth, the gospel itself has power in it. You don’t need to be an expert preacher to share the gospel. You just need to be faithful to Him, and He will do the work in and through you.