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June 9, 2013
"What a Pastor Should Know"
I Corinthians 2:1-5
: Don't know some of your names, where you live, work, who's related,
how to get from here to there, whether to cheer for Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Many
things I don't know as your pastor, but already know most important thing: My basic
job description as a minister of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul reveals his primary
goal for ministry; a pastor's mini-job description in I Corinthians 2:1-5
. What should a pastor know?
(Read I Corinthians 2:5
.) "So that!" In Paul's letters, "so that"
points you to the purpose, goal, result Paul is aiming for. Everything Paul is doing
is "so that" his hearers' "faith will rest on God's power." Paul wanted his audience
to trust in God's power. Should be the goal of every pastor ! My primary job is
to help you trust in God's power.
Why is it important for us to trust in God's power? Why was Paul so concerned about
this? Paul knew that if his hearers placed their trust in anything other than God's
power, that trust would fail them. Only God's power is capable of saving us
from eternal destruction. Everything in this world will be destroyed. (Read I John 2:17
.) Peter echoes this truth in his second letter.
(Read 2 Peter 3:10-13
.) God's judgment upon sin! Dissolution of
the created order! This is why Paul wants his church, this is why I want you, to
trust in God's power. Your eternal destiny depends upon it! The power of God is
the only thing that can save us, and God will only save us when we place our trust
in His power alone for salvation! Only God's power saves people!
Paul's goal is that people rest their faith on the power of God. But how did he
achieve that goal? Answer in v. 1-4. Vs. 1-2 explain his message, vs. 3-4 his method.
Let's look at Paul's message first. (Read I Corinthians 2:1-2
.) People of Corinth loved a good speech,
had high standards for speakers. Paul knew this, but he wasn't trying to impress
them with his speaking ability. Told them: "God's kingdom is not a matter of talk
but of power." Paul knew fancy words couldn't save people
. Rather, Paul
resolved to proclaim the testimony about God. How would he do this? "Know" (v. 2)
is more than just preach. Also live out the testimony about God. Know nothing except
Paul's message, his very life, was...Jesus. (His humanity, life, emotions.)
Paul's message, his very life, was...Jesus Christ. (Promised to Eve, Abraham, Judah,
Moses, David: The Savior-King of God's people.)
Paul's message, his very life, was...Jesus Christ, and Him crucified . Why
did Paul stress this; why do I? If Jesus were only a good moral teacher, He has
done nothing to help us. Praise God that Jesus didn't arrive on earth, give us a
little moral teaching, tell us to love each other and then leave! No, Jesus was
moved by pity over our desperate spiritual condition, so He died on that cross,
taking upon Himself God's holy judgment for our sins. If not for the cross of Jesus,
we would be lost sinners, standing condemned, guilty before God. Rebels deserving
God's holy judgment. W/o hope, blind to truth, ignorant, apathetic, unable to obey
God. But Jesus, our substitute, died for us.
Why Paul was determined to know nothing among them but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!
Why I'm here in Sharon. The Christ I preach is a crucified Christ. He spilled His
precious blood to save me from my sins. W/o His death for my sake, I deserve an
eternity in hell. Have you placed your trust in Jesus Christ, the Crucified Savior?
Have you come to believe that He shed His blood to cleanse you from your sins? Paul's
message is my message, his goal is my goal: The message is Jesus Christ and Him
crucified, and the goal of preaching and living out that message is so that your
faith might rest in God's power. But Paul didn't just detail his message, vs. 3-4
describe his method: how Paul intended to help the Corinthians' trust in God's power.
(Read I Corinthians 2:3-4
.) What was Paul so scared about? After
all, great Apostle Paul, wrote half of NT! One of the greatest thinkers in history!
1) Scared of misrepresenting God. Gripped by holy fear, awesome responsibility to
speak God truth. No casual matter. Terrified he might get in the way of God working
in the lives of people in Corinth. 2) Scared of the challenge. Corinth was no easy
city to impact. Plenty of religions, philosophies, polished speakers, entertaining
events. Paul could not carry out this task. (I'm scared for the same reasons. Desire
to represent God correctly. Desire to impact Sharon with the Gospel. Please pray
with me and for me, that God's Spirit will move powerfully as I preach and live
Paul knew he couldn't change the Corinthian's hearts. He prayed that
the Holy Spirit would move in the hearts of his hearers, working conviction of sin
and conversion to Christ. Paul's method was simply to trust God's power to work
through the preaching of the Gospel. B/c only the Holy Spirit of power can bring
to life a spiritually dead sinner, can convict a person of their sins, can birth
faith and repentance. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can transform the heart
of a rebellious sinner, causing them to kneel with love at the feet of Jesus, their
crucified Lord. Paul knew that fancy words can't save people; only God's power saves
people . Paul's method modeled the very goal he had. He wanted the people
to trust in God's power; Paul was doing that very thing as he preached Jesus Christ
and Him crucified. Paul method is to humbly trust in God's power to save sinners.
Close: English Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, 150 years ago. Guest speaking
at the Agricultural Hall; before service, testing acoustics. Called out, "Behold
the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." Man working up in the rafters
of the auditorium heard that declaration, and God used that simple statement to
begin work on the man's heart. The man was ultimately converted to Christ. Dramatic
example of what Paul is describing. Fancy words can't save people. Only God's power
saves people . The simple message of the Gospel proclaimed in the power
of the Holy Spirit. Paul's method is my method. I'm not trying to win anyone over
to my point of view with clever arguments or fancy words. I'm preaching the good
news of Jesus Christ, and I'm praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to change
the hearts and lives of those who hear me. Because I know what every pastor should
know: Only the gospel of Jesus Christ, proclaimed and lived out in the power of
the Holy Spirit will cause people to place their faith in the God's saving power.
Do you trust in God's power to save through Christ's death?
Next Week: Does the Christian church have a relevant message for the modern