January 24

1 Corinthians 1:14-18

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.” vs. 17

The essence of the gospel is not related to personality or powerful preaching. In fact one of the greatest threats to the good news has been the tendency of gifted speakers to claim it as their own. We have ample evidence of this in the cult-like followings that spring up around charismatic pastors and leaders. Their charm and good looks gather followers by the thousands, and their message, which can sound like the gospel, focuses on wealth and prosperity, rather than sacrifice and service. Paul was familiar with such types, they hadn’t developed television evangelism yet, but they waltzed through the Corinthian congregation, sowing division and dissension with their message and presence. Paul couldn’t match their eloquence but he did know that the cross of Christ had to be at the center of the gospel. He regularly pointed to the suffering and the death of Jesus in his preaching, knowing that this is where the love of God is seen and experienced most clearly. That message may not always appeal to us and some are still tempted to neglect it, but its power is unmistakable, and will continue to be the strength of our life together. When the cross is hidden, the heart of the good news is obscured.  

Thought for the Day: How can pastors be effective if they’re not good preachers?

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