We're going to be looking tonight. We'll take some time at the end of the service to break up in groups and pray. And so just really want to again elevate the importance of prayer. Church is much more than just coming and learning the Bible. Amen. We need to know what the truth is but truth without application is really meaningless. Right? Because you can be a practical atheist.
Does that make sense? So we don't want to just be theologians. We want to, we must know the truth but we must live it out and we must care for one another. Minister to one another. That's why these prayer times are so important. And so at the end of service, make sure that you take some time to pray for one another.
If you know somebody that's going through surgery, hurting, reach out to them. That's the importance of our D groups in the church. These dear folks that are inside of these small group ministries. Every time I get a chance to even find out about something and reach out to the person, they already have all their small group ministers, people in that group reaching out to them, caring for them, loving on them. And if you're not part of a D group, a small group, you're missing out on that. You're missing out on both being able to minister at that level by knowing the people but also to receive that if you're in those situations.
And so it's important to interact in those small group levels and build that intimacy, the accountability, the care that's provided there. And so what a blessing that ministry is. In your Bibles, if you would turn with me to the book of First Corinthians chapter number one, First Corinthians one. And I want to preach tonight on the power of the gospel, the power of the gospel as we enter into this year. I think sometimes we can lose sight of the responsibility that God's given us to evangelize as well as the power that God's place in our hands in that endeavor.
So First Corinthians chapter number one, we're going to read verse twenty six through chapter two, verse five, just a few verses. Paul writes to this church and he says in verse twenty six, for you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God had chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty and base things of the world and the things which are despised. The wise have God chosen, yea, and things which are not to bring to not things that are that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that according as it is written, he that glory let him glory in the Lord. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God, for I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.
I love that verse three. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power.
If you'd read verse five with me that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. And Father, as we come to you tonight in prayer, that is our desire. We desire that the power of God would be put on display in our lives through the simple preaching of the gospel. Lord, it truly this treasure we have in earthen vessels that the excellency, the power may be of God and not of us. We are weak. We are frail. We have nothing on our own that would make us qualified to be not only the recipients, but the ones who would transmit the gospel.
But yet you have chosen to use the foolish to confound the wise. And we pray, God, that you would help us with that boldness that we need. Fill us with your spirit. Give us courage and help us not to make complex what is simple and powerful. And you we pray that your gospel would go forth from lighthouse in a dynamic way this year.
We ask it for your glory alone in Christ's name. And God's people said, man, you may be seated tonight. I think one of the things that really has a gripping power on the lives of people is fear. Fear is a controlling mechanism that our world has learned they can use to manipulate in a lot of ways.
And that can come out in many different ways. I think during the pandemic, there was a lot of push, a fear. There were people I remember one guy in our church who even said, I think they should arrest people if they don't get the vaccine. That guy didn't last at our church. I guess not that we didn't want him to be here, but the preaching was not his flavor anyway. But I thought, well, that's pretty strong.
That's pretty strong. You have such a zeal for the worry of that. Do you have the same level of zeal for the sharing of the gospel? Are you more afraid of the flesh or of the eternal damnation of these lost souls around you that you've not yet shared the gospel with being your neighbors? It's in so fear can can be a controlling mechanism. The fear of God actually sets men free. It is the one fear that produces peace. The only thing that produces peace when you fear is God. When you fear him most, you fear nothing else.
With the controlling mechanism, the fear of the world doesn't control you anymore. You may may have things that can bring great concern to your heart, but when you understand how much God is sovereign and providential, he gives you such peace. Second Timothy one seven says, For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Tonight, I want to look at the power of the gospel and see how we as Christians don't need to have a fear of sharing our faith. And if there is one thing that I've learned in my own life and in the lives of others that keep us and hinder us from being more faithful to spread the gospel, it's simply fear.
Fear of not knowing how somebody might respond if I talk to them about Christ, fear of not knowing what to say if they question me, fear of the unknown, fear of how to bring up the subject. You know, when we when we all came to Christ, we came with the word can't and rightfully so. We all came and said, Lord, I cannot save myself. Lord, I cannot be qualified for your salvation. I am unworthy, unrighteous, lost. I cannot be righteous.
I can't overcome sin. But when Jesus brought salvation, he gave us victory. And the Lord turns us from literally from sinners into saints, from unrighteous unto righteous, from unholy to holy. And and I've seen God do some amazing things with people who never thought God could use their life. They never thought they would, first of all, be saved. But then to be used by God to reach people is a tremendous thing. But sadly, many miss out because they're still holding on to their can't cards.
They just, Lord, I want to do things for you, but I just don't feel I don't I just can't. And when you come to Christ, he just removes our right to say can't anymore. We we we we can do all things because Christ can now strengthen us.
We who were weak can now be made strong. Now, leading up to this passage in First Corinthians one, Paul is confronting division and fighting in the church at Corinth. They were blinded by their own pride and friendly fire was going on in the church.
And that's really one of the most painful things is people who turn on each other. And, you know, when when the church starts fighting within, they totally miss the reality of their purpose, don't they? I mean, there's a world dying and going to hell and you're squabbling. Is it really that necessary? It's kind of like if you're you're in the middle of a battle on a battlefield with the German army approaching and you're fighting over the other guy using your toothbrush that morning.
Who cares? I mean, there's just some things that don't matter anymore. One of the things I enjoy about this reengage ministry of our marriage ministry on Thursday nights with 40 couples involved in that is, is it should be transitioning and it is for couples what really matters and what doesn't matter. What I can control and what I can't control. What I need to surrender to God and what I need to make a priority in my own life to take a hold of. But leading into this again, there's fighting going on in the church at Corinth.
It's embarrassing. I think about Philippians 4. You get to chapter 4 and Paul brings up two women who are fighting and he names them. I beseech Eutychus and Cyndache that they be of the same mind. There be no divisions among you.
He starts talking about that in Philippians chapter 4. You imagine in heaven. You ladies want to come over here and explain this? I can tell you right now in heaven, they're like, that was the dumbest argument we have ever been in. Why did we ever? How many of those in our lives would say, you know, it just really isn't that big of a deal? But I tell you, what is a big deal? The gospel is a big deal. Souls are a big deal. Evangelism is a big deal. Prayer, care, ministry for one for another.
Friendly fire is a sad thing. Paul turns their attention, as he seems to always do, to the primacy of the gospel. And he tells them in verse 17 because they're squabbling over who baptized who, and they would be superior to the other people in the church based on who dunked them in the water. And he says in verse 17, Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. He tells them in verse 18, for the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved.
It is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. And he begins to go into the gospel and share with them the importance of that.
Paul's focus always seemed to be the gospel, the higher shelf issues, and there are two types of responses to the gospel. He says in verse number 18, he says, the preaching of the cross is to them that perish. And it's a Greek word moros, it's foolishness, it's moronic. The world hears the preaching of the cross, and it is a moronic message is how you could literally translate that as moronic or foolishness.
It's the exact same idea. And the other is, but unto us which are saved, it's the power of God. It is everything to us. Like we grip the gospel and we love the preaching of the cross, the world says it's just so foolish. There are two destinations that people will end at one day, Matthew 25, 46 says, these shall go away into everlasting punishment with the righteous into life eternal. When you come to the cross, you either love it or you hate it. You either let the cross slay you or you seek to slay it. Paul then speaks of the method of the gospel in verse 21 through 24. He says that the world by wisdom could not come to the knowledge of God, the world doesn't produce the truths of the triune God. One God in three persons, co-equal, co-eternal, three persons, not one person, three persons in one Godhead. Pastor Josh, I don't understand that. Of course you don't. Of course we can't get our minds around all that is God.
We have our little eight ounce cup holding it before the ocean, right? The glory of God is so magnificent. And so the world doesn't produce the truth of salvation, the glory of God. And he says here, it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching. And he says, we can just read maybe a few verses. Verse 19 is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise. I will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise?
Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Have not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? I mean, don't you look around the world and say, boy, they are so foolish. They don't even get it.
Anybody feel that way? When you look across the world, it's just like how on earth? Verse 21, for after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God.
They just can't get it. But it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching or the foolishness of the message that is preached to save them that belief. You know when the Bible says in Matthew 16, on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it? He's actually not talking about Peter. And he's actually not even talking specifically about Jesus Christ. He's talking about the gospel. What did Paul Peter say? Upon this, he says, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God, he's declaring that statement. He says, upon that confession, I will build my church. Christ is Lord. That confession, that declaration that Jesus is Messiah is Christ. That is the rock that the church is built on. Boy, the Catholics missed that, didn't they? You think Peter's holding it up? Peter couldn't even get through the book of Galatians without getting rebuked. Anybody want to build on that church?
Right? And so verse 22, the world will tell God what it wants, but God gives us what we need. And so verse 22 says, the Jews require a sign. How many times did they tell Jesus, show us a sign? Jesus is like the wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.
Ooh, that would have fluffed their feathers, wouldn't it? Well, we want a sign. Gideon got a sign. Give us a sign.
It's like, really? I mean, how many blind people have you seen healed? How many lepers? How many dead have I raised? How many signs do you need?
You'll need a sign. Verse 22, and the Greeks seek after wisdom. The Greeks had orators. I mean, even in the city of Corinth, they would go down to the shores and put smooth stones under their tongue and practice their oratory skills. To be a great orator was to them the evidence that the divine is with you and they elevated such things. So the Jews want a sign. Greeks seek after wisdom, but what does God give them? Verse 23, but we preach Christ crucified under the Jews' stumbling block and under the Greeks' foolishness.
We give them what they didn't want. How do you do that in a church world that seeks to build churches through pragmatism? Is Paul pragmatic here? In other words, what I mean by that is there is a philosophy in churches that they've hired businessmen with business models to do whatever they can to grow the church.
Let's find out what works and then do that. Paul says God did exactly the opposite. He did the opposite of what men wanted and then he built his church on that.
So the church's success and what the church does, the methodology, the philosophy of the church cannot be governed by man, by a lost world. When people say, if you did this, I think more lost people would come. Or if you did this, I think the unsaved wouldn't be offended. If you changed the word of sin and made it false or mistakes and if you got rid of hell and said just punishment, if you just modified some stuff, really, is that what we need to do?
Do we need to throw some water on the fire? Is that the method that God's called us to? Well, it's not found here. And really, no greater power has been displayed in the power to forgive sins. No greater wisdom than the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, as Romans 11, 33 says at that climactic passage that Paul is so elevated that he just, oh, the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable, how unscrewdable is his wisdom and his gnosis? His knowledge are just beyond reach.
His ways are past finding out. Tonight, I want to look at the power of the gospel. Maybe you've been hesitant to share the gospel thinking you are incapable.
But tonight, I want you to realize that is actually a good thing, your weakness. And so let us as weak vessels gather around the power tonight and just find a rejuvenated spirit to lean upon God's omnipotent power through the gospel. And we see, first of all, the power of the gospel works through the weak. Look at verse 26.
I love, this is so fascinating. As he writes to a prideful church, I mean, these guys are elevated about themselves. They're literally fighting over which of them the greatest, and then he's like this in verse 26, for you see your calling, brethren, just look around your church. I mean, just look at each other. They're kind of glancing around. How that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called are they? In other words, you're not the cream of the crop in society.
What are you fighting over the bottom of the barrel? You could just see them all kind of looking around at each other. Well, you know, yeah. God has, you know, and isn't it wonderful that God just calls regular people? The gospel didn't come to the mightiest, the wealthiest, the most noble. Paul says not many.
He doesn't say not any, but not many. There are some who are popular or powerful in the world's eyes that can get saved, but not many. And so he's saying the gospel isn't just for the rich, the noble, the mighty.
God saves whoever comes. Even worldly success, prestige and honor will hinder the gospel. Riches are one of the greatest thieves for people.
It can distort so much. And if people get saved who are rich and who are popular and who are of high significance in the world, it's not because of those things. It's in spite of those things often. John twelve forty two says, nevertheless, among the chief rulers, also many believed on him. He shares these, they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.
Why? For they love the praise of men more than the praise of God. When you never get the praise of men, you don't seek it right.
With that kind of a desire. So often in our world, those things that put people ahead in the world's eyes really can put them behind with God. It is often the feeling of inadequacy that makes people aware that they need the gospel.
In Mark ten twenty three, Jesus says he looked around about and safe unto his disciples. How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God exclamation point. I mean, this is in a day when prosperity preaching was was high. It was so shocking when he says these kind of things that they said, then who can be saved? Because they thought financial blessing was the evidence of God's hand upon you and physical ailments or difficulty in life was a sign of God's judgment upon you.
And he stripped that away. Notice the words of Christ in Matthew eleven twenty five. At that time, Jesus and this is this is when people were rejecting him.
I just want you to get the setting. This is when the cities had rejected Christ. Verse twenty five. At that time, Jesus answered and said, Now, what do you do when you've gone through rejection?
Anybody here faced rejection before raise your hand? Anybody feel good with that? Right.
We don't feel good with that. Now, what does he say? And he said, I thank thee. Is that great?
You ever notice that? You know what the first thing he said when he came to the tomb of Lazarus? Friend been dead four days. He just wept. He says, I thank you, Father. When he came to his own crucifixion, John seventeen. Thank you, Father. Jesus was thankful at the lowest settings of his life. At the time, he said, I think the father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast what's the word? You see that three letter words? You think that's a big deal to know? Has God already judged them unworthy of the gospel?
He has hit them, hit it from the. What kind of people? The wise and the prudent. You think those guys were high on the totem pole in society that day? You think they thought they were the real winners in society? You think they look down their nose at everybody else? All of those look at those moronic Christians. Look at those morass. Look at those fools. Not everybody that's rich has that mindset, obviously.
But in this setting, it was the federal sake, wise and prudent, the Sadducees who were the financial people. They used religion to gain power and has revealed them unto what kind of people? Babes. Unless you're willing to become a babe, you will become nothing for God. You won't even be saved. You won't be saved.
You won't be used. It is a fight for the bottom, not a fight for the top. And Jesus praises out loud so everybody can hear it. He wanted them to understand it isn't your abilities. It is your humility. It isn't the realm of man's power and strength that God has put on display, but rather in the climate of weakness and insufficiency that God's power is put on display. Again, that's why it says in 2 Corinthians 4.7, we have this treasure in oistrokinos.
It's a Greek word that means a mollusk. And the glory is not in that shell. It's when you crack it open and you see that pearl. We have this treasure in earthen vessel that the excellency, the power may be of God and not of us. So the power of the gospel is revealed through the weak. Secondly, the power of the gospel humbles the mighty. Look what he says in verse 27. But God had chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world and things which are despised have God chosen ye and things which are not to bring to not things that are... Do you remember what they said when they arrested Peter and John? How do these men know these things having never learned? And they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.
They just were shocked. They were shocked at Christ. And worldly success and prestige and all those things will hinder the gospel, but also they will be humbled because of how God uses such means of those that are weak. I think of John the Baptist. You know, John, it never said had any formal education, no training or trade of profession that the Bible mentions, no great financial setup. He didn't have military rank, high political positions, no social pedigree or prestige. There was nothing in his appearance that was attractive. Nobody was like, man, I like John the Baptist's skinny jeans and large watch and his kind of setup up there looks really nice.
I mean, even I would have said, John, can you kind of clean it up a little bit? Matthew 11, 11, I love it, verily I say unto you among them that are born of women, there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist, notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. He came looking like Elijah. God has a long history of constantly using weak people and weak methods to confound the wise. I mean, Joseph was an inmate hated by his brother and brothers and he became the right hand man of Pharaoh. David, a little poor shepherd boy, killed Goliath, became the great king of Israel. Abraham and Sarah were past childbearing age. They had the promised child in their old age, Zachariah and Elizabeth in the New Testament. Luke chapter one gave birth to John the Baptist when they were past age. God used a little virgin girl named Mary to bring his son into the world. He used a manger scene in little town of Bethlehem, lowly shepherds to spread the message. He used 12 disciples who were just common blue collared fishermen, tax collectors to be the apostles. God used a Jewish Pharisee to be the great herald of the gospel to the Roman world named the Apostle Paul. Paul puts it this way in Ephesians 3.8, unto me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given that I should preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. God used young Timothy who had an unsaved Gentile father, grew up under the teaching of his mother and grandmother in the ways of the Lord and he became a great pastor, the woman at the well, the demon possessed man of Gadara.
I mean, the list just goes on and on. God just keeps using the weak methods. Just the insignificant, the people that others would say, I never would have saw that coming. Thirdly, the power of the gospel silences man's boasting in verse 29, that no flesh should glory in its presence. Pride focuses on lifting up self, the opportunity to take any situation and see how you can inflate yourself where humility does the opposite. It looks to humble yourself, 1 Corinthians 3 verse 4, Paul told them in a couple of chapters later he says, for while one saith I am of Paul, another I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul and who is Apollos? But ministers who parates, could even be daikonos I think is the Greek, but just servants by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man, I planted Apollos water, God gave the increase.
It says in verse 7, so then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God giveth the increase. You're looking at us as being something, we're nothing. You know, every man at his best state is altogether what? Vanity.
They have nothing to offer on their own. 1 Corinthians 4, 6, these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself unto Apollos for your sakes, that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against the other. Can we do that sometimes in our lives? Oh, I, you know, I'm this or I'm that or I, especially around New Year's resolutions. You know, I haven't eaten any sugar in the last two weeks.
We get real self-righteous, don't we? Oh, you're going to eat ice cream tonight? Oh, you don't want me to? Oh, I didn't say anything.
Eat all you want. You know what they mean by that? You know, I haven't, I haven't gone a day without reading my Bible this year.
How's your reading going? Notice you haven't read this morning. You know, you know, whenever we get really disciplined about something, we have to be very guarded that we don't get a critical eye.
Anybody know what I'm talking about? Yeah. Yeah. We've all done that. We've become a little bit critical. We're like, well, I just really want to encourage them.
Well, make sure that you have a, have a loving motive instead of a critical judgmental motive, right? How many, according to Paul, would have room to glory and boast? He says, no flesh of glory in his presence. We, if God uses us, it's, it's always in spite of us.
It's not because of us. The gospels exclusive in its ability to save the gospel saves alone. Romans 12 three says, for I say through the grace, give it unto me to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God has dealt to every man, the measure of faith I've had people say, so you're telling me nobody could ever get saved if God didn't draw them? Yes.
Correct. Oh, you think the goodness started with you? You think you, you were running like you caught up to God and finally like tackled him? His Holy Spirit said, Hey, Holy Spirit, save me now I gotcha.
You think that's how it worked? Jesus says, no man can come to me except the father draw him. Anybody glad God draws you to salvation?
Amen. I wasn't running to God when I, when, when I got saved. It was his grace that awakened me, but, but even faith, Romans 12 three says has been given to us. Faith is to the soul what the eyeballs are to your body. You cannot physically see without God granting you sight and you can't spiritually see without God giving you faith. That's why Ephesians two eight nine says for by grace are you saved through faith that not of yourself. It's a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works were his workmanship. Verse 10 the next verse says, he's, he's the one who creates in us.
He's the one who works in us. And so fourthly, the power of the gospel transforms the believer. Look at verse 30, but of him are ye in Christ Jesus who is, who of God has made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. God is our wisdom. I mean, I, I pray regularly that God would grant me wisdom, that the word is my wisdom. If I have any wisdom, it's only because God's word has been in me.
Let me say this. If you read a lot of books, make sure you read a lot of the Bible first, you hear that you will get more out of your Bible reading that you will get out of your book reading. It's good to read books. Don't, don't, not, not, not against, but sometimes guys can read a bunch of books in the year and it's like they barely read the Bible.
You think you're going to, and I've known guys that are extremely educated in certain areas and it's like, you don't even know that from the, I'm thinking like, I mean, you're reading and studying all the time you, are you missing this? I read this tenfold over other books. I read this, read it, study it, memorize it.
This is your wisdom. You think there's something better written? I read this or read books about that. Now it's okay to have, you know, if you have some novel you want to read, I know some of you mushy hearted people out there that you like these, I don't even know the authors who they are, you know, my daughters will go on like a vacation and they'll bring like four books and they'll read like a 400, 500 page book in a day.
I'm like, oh, you know, some of these books, I'm like, I could not do that, you know, give me the cliff notes. I'll watch a little movie on it, you know, not going, but you give me something like that I find valuable. Like I will, I will soak that in and read it and study it. But Proverbs one, seven says the fear of the Lord's a big getting him knowledge and Proverbs two, six says for the Lord gives wisdom out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. So, so the Lord grants us wisdom. He is our wisdom. He transforms us and, and, and in verse number 30 it tells us some things that he gives us.
He gives us wisdom. He also secondly gives us righteousness that speaks about being made right with God, living right before God. The Bible says Christ is our righteousness. You are made righteous because Christ has come in your life and second Corinthians five 21 he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. I think it's like 60 sometimes in Ephesians it tells us that we're in Christ in Christ in Christ.
It's just constantly repeated in that book. Romans four five says, but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justify a thing godly his faith is counted for righteousness. Thirdly, we receive God's sanctification where righteousness has to do with our judicial standing. Sanctification has to do with our being set apart for God. This is, this is practically living out what we are positionally that the gospel creates this in us because the gospel not only brings salvation but also transformation and sanctification is progressive. You're not completed in sanctification.
You are continually being sanctified. That's why Philippians one six as being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. God is still working on us. Is that hopeful for us? That's encouraging, isn't it?
Anybody ever feel like you've taken steps back and then you look into your past and you're like, well, I've actually moved forward, but, but it seems the closer I get to the sun, the more the darkness seems to be revealed, right? You're moving in the right direction, but it's like, wow, I mean, who would not come closer to Christ and see themselves as more sinful? It's a difficult process, isn't it? And then so you have a lot of, you have a lot of in Christianity that tries to tell you how wonderful you are. I want to be told how, cause they want to sedate that, that slaying of ourself, that, that dying of self poll poll in many ways loathed himself, a wretched man that I am.
When he, the closer you get to Christ, you become like Peter who, when he recognized who Jesus was, he fell at Jesus's feet saying, depart from me for I am a sinful man of Lord. I mean that, that is the response of seeing God. Like you, you don't think more of yourself. You think that, how am I still living? How has he not slain me? That's healthy though. It's, it's, there should always be a sense, do you think you should ever on this side of heaven say, you know, I feel like I've arrived, I feel really good about where I am spiritually.
I have really, I'm doing great. I think God would just say, you know what, you're excellent. When we think about it like that, it's laughable, isn't it? We all laugh because we're like, well, that's ridiculous. That's ridiculous, but we want to feel that way. We want to feel like, Hey, I'm doing really great, but to be honest, to do really great, you almost have to feel pretty bad sometimes and people don't want the weight of conviction.
They don't want the weight of just seeing the glory of Christ and what, what I know I should be, but what I'm so far from being, but isn't that going to make heaven all the sweeter? I mean, I mean, don't we feel that way when we look at that little punk 20 year old, all healthy running around, falling on their knees, jumping up and you're like, you jerk, feel nothing. We go out and jog. We're at the chiropractor two days later, two hours later, I threw my hip out, I tore my back muscle.
I somehow I ripped the bicep jogging. I have no even know how that works. You know, it's ridiculous, isn't it? I mean, we get, we get down about thinking about the physical process and yet we're supposed to feel great when we see Christ in his glory and say, you know, I'm doing pretty good.
I mean, the comparison should be so far like a golf that we would just say, God be merciful to me. We should just daily rejoice in grace. Thank you.
Philippians one six is in the Bible. Thank you that you who have begun a good work. Thank you that you will present me faultless before your throne of grace.
Thank you. You have put me in your hand and no one can snatch me out of your hand. Thank you that I'm saved by the power of God and I'm kept by him. And so he is our sanctification and the gospel sanctifies us. I think even sharing the gospel has a sanctifying process, doesn't it?
Who is I? I was talking to somebody the other day that was keeping some folks accountable with their nutrition in a very healthy and good way. Very, very beneficial.
I said, how are you personally doing? And they said, I'm doing really good with it because I have to do good with it because I'm keeping them accountable. And you know that if you keep somebody accountable, don't doesn't it have to make you accountable? You have like you're a d group leader or if you're doing a family d group and you're like, hey, we all got to do a hero journal this week as a parent or as a d group leader or as a Sunday school teacher, whatever, you're like, I have to have this done because I can't show up without it done because if I don't have it done, I don't care if I'm the only one in the room that has it done, but I must have it done because I told them they have it done. So whenever you place, you put yourself in that situation, it raises that accountability. And so when you share the gospel, so oftentimes it brings a sanctifying process, doesn't it? How can I share the gospel with my coworker, with my family member, with my loved one if I'm living unbecoming of the gospel, right? Doesn't it sanctify? I mean, it may sanctify just by me going to work with you this week.
I could show up and say, hey, I'm their pastor. He talked about me. I know he has no, but, um, letter D or that's on my paper, fourthly. So not only is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, but redemption, redemption speaks of the believer being set free. It's, it's the word that means to buy back. We were under, we were under bondage, literally sold as a slave to sin and God through the gospel has purchased us.
First Peter, uh, one 18 and 19, right? He has purchased us not with corruptible things with, and he uses the word redeemed, not with corruptible things, but with incorruptible, uh, received from your vein conversation from your fathers. It says, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without lemish and without spot. All these great riches come from the gospel of Christ. And verse 31 tells us the reason why it says that according as it is written, he that glory is let him glory in the Lord. I can tell you, you know, if somebody is growing in Christ by this, if they boast in God all the time, because you, you can't get past those four areas of your life on a daily basis, your wisdom, your salvation, your sanctification, and the price of your redemption, you're being purchased out of the slavery of sin and the freedom of God there, there, there will be a glory in the Lord.
Get around that person. Praise God. God is so good. They just, they just seem to boast in God a lot with the people around you say that you boast in the Lord. Would they say that you are a Christ celebrator? The power of the gospel is seen in how it saves the weakest, the humblest and brings the mightiest and humbles the mighty and brings wisdom, righteous sanctification, redemption to the believer so that all glory goes to God. The believers in Corinth had gotten sidetracked instead of glorying in Christ alone, they elevated men and themselves. Paul then dismantles their false view as we continue in verse one through five of chapter two. I think the power of the gospel is all you need to evangelize with as Paul had pointed out earlier.
Think about this. If, if wisdom, if man's wisdom cannot be, cannot obtain the gospel, if wisdom cannot obtain the gospel, then why present the gospel with man's wisdom? If it's not sufficient to get the gospel, why would you think it's sufficient to give the gospel? Paul didn't come with verbal enticements. Paul verse one, and I brethren, when I came to you came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom declaring unto you the testimony of God.
I can't even tell you the joy that my soul has in, in, in, in first Corinthians two. This is, this is just because in my life, the, the, the big church meetings that I've gone through throughout the last 20 years, the different things that they, you know, how can we launch more churches? How can we grow the church? What are some methods and all these things, books that get written?
They just never seem to highlight and elevate what Paul elevates here. The glorious gospel, elevate holiness, elevate the fear of God, elevate the word of God, expositional preaching, elevate what God elevates. Instead it's like, what are some methodologies, methods that we can use that would, you know, let's go out and ask the lost world, like what kind of church would you go to?
That's, that's literally the method that is going on right now. Whenever they go start churches, the advice that would be given to me when I came to lighthouse or came to Zinnia, not from my church, but from, from churches that were being launched all over the country was you need to go into an area, go around, do a survey, go all these door to door, not to share the gospel, but to ask them what kind of church you would come to. Then find out what kind of church they would come to find out the median age. So if your median age, then you have a target audience and you want to reach people between the 20 and 40 year olds. You know, you're a younger pastor, you started the church when you're around 28 years old at lighthouse, then, then target that, that middle age area. So you're going to have some big fun stuff for the kids. You're going to have a big, big, big sound show. You really, they really liked that and then try to try to dumb down the message to about 15 to 20 minutes and you know, just, just soup that thing up.
We have maybe one service a week and then do some small group stuff, but then just, and then that would go that way. I can tell you, I, I came from a business world with some things and I, I understand a little bit of how to like try to sell something, but then I, I know the Bible too much to know that God uses the foolish things to confound the wise. Paul comes to Corinth where they elevated above everything excellent speech and he says, one thing I purpose not to do was come to you with enticing words of man's wisdom. The guy who said at the feet of Gamaliel who could have out of debated anybody came speaking simple. They would have been like, this is almost vulgar to come speaking to us in such simplicity. He said, I did it on purpose. Verse four and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power.
Love it. He didn't come with external enticements. He says in chapter two verse three, I was with you and weakness and in fear and much trembling. Paul didn't come with verbal and external enticements, but Paul did come with a clear message of the gospel. He did come with demonstration of the spirit and power and why did he do that?
Why did he do all of that? Verse five, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. If I can lead somebody to Christ, then they're my convert and they're not gods, they're not saved.
Did you hear that? The problem with so many that are in the Arminius camp, those who believe that they have so much more on their shoulders to do with salvation than what God says, they feel like it's them. It comes out in our own words sometimes and we'll say, oh, I just, you know, I just, somebody else could have talked to them because I just, I don't know much past John three 16 and some of these other passages in the gospel and they, well, I think it's important to be able to shine the light as bright as you possibly can. And I think it's important to have a, have a prayer life that is sincere with God and God's hands on your life as you surrendered him daily and you can be a vessel that he flows through. But never forget if somebody gets saved, God did all the saving. It was, it was, it was simplicity.
It was clarity. The thing that hinders the gospel is our silence. I mean, if you share the gospel, you've won and if they get saved, then you win. If they don't get saved, you still win because you planted the seed. Sharing the gospel is a win, win and another win.
There is no loss. Well, they, they, they, they got upset. Well, so did most people who have rejected it at some level. I mean, who wants to hear that they're so sinful they would be separated from God for eternity and they must be saved through the exclusive claims of Christ confess he is Lord and repent.
I mean, who, who's, who's like, yeah, that sounds great. I'm just not ready for it yet though. Really enjoyed hearing that though.
So you're telling me I'd end up in the lake of fire. Thank you for that. So Paul's faith was, was so wrapped up in the gospel. He was so wrapped up in this that he just, he never sought to use his own abilities. And from this, friends, if God uses Lighthouse Baptist Church to be a light to Xenia, Greene County, our state and surrounding areas, it will come when a bunch of weak vessels get on their face before God and say, God, use me to allow the power of the gospel to just go out. Forgive my silence. Forgive my lack of prayer. Forgive my, my trusting in my own ability.
Let me just speak it friends. The thing that will restrain the gospel is our silence and you just need to know Paul was not a, not somebody you would have looked at and said, wow, that's the apostle Paul, man. Historians, Lucian, Christestom, and Niciphorus who all wrote in the first century described Paul as being short of stature, crooked and bald. Lucian writes of how he met Paul and scoffingly says of him, quote, when the baldheaded Galilean met me with his hook nose who went through the air to the third heaven and there learned most wonderful things. Niciphorus says of Paul, he had a small and contracted body, somewhat crooked and bowed, a pale face, looked old, had a little head, he had a sharp eye, his eyebrows hung downward, his nose was beautifully bent, somewhat long, his beard thick and a pretty, and pretty long and as the hair of his head and a sprinkling of gray hairs. This is what people who lived around Paul said about him. Paul probably looks back and says, thanks guys, doesn't the Bible say the Lord doesn't look as a man seeeth, but he looks on the heart. Warren Wiersbe tells the story of a certain church as I close, that had a beautiful stained glass window just behind the pulpit it depicted Jesus Christ on the cross. One Sunday there was a guest minister who was much smaller than the regular pastor.
A little girl listening to the guest for a time then turned to her mother and asked, where is the man who usually stands there so that we cannot see Jesus? And simply if we elevate ourselves, we will only veil and diminish the glory of Christ. He works through our weakness. Paul gloried in the cross, he made it the center of his message, Paul became nothing so that Christ would become everything. And I close with the words of verse four and five, and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. In our life, the gospel has got to be primary, lift up Jesus Christ.
The world will only respond in two ways, either they accept it or they reject it. They'll look at it as foolish or they'll come and be saved. We spread the seed, right?
Some plant, some water, but God brings the increase. Do not let fear of man keep you from sharing the gospel, and tonight maybe you need to turn your can't card in and say, God, I can share the gospel, I must share the gospel. And it's only through the gospel that people will be saved. Let's all stand this evening. Father, we do thank you for your word tonight, it is our joy. We are so thankful for mercy and grace and salvation. We are literally standing here tonight, seated here tonight because of your grace. I pray that you would give us boldness, help us to be unashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God and the salvation to everyone that believes. Help us to be faithful with our family, our friends, our loved ones. If any wants a night, Lord, that it may be with us, that as a loved one that they need to share the gospel with, that you would give them that opportunity even this week. Lord, I pray for anyone tonight that may not know Jesus Christ as their savior, that tonight would be the night that they might come and be saved. We ask all this in the name of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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