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 any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 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: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (I Corinthians 2:1-5)
But like all preachers, Paul had some things to learn.
Paul came to Corinth in Acts chapter eighteen fresh off an intellectual appeal for Christ on the top of Mars’ Hill (Acts 17). As you read his appeal (17:22-34), he shows great familiarity with their philosophies and idolatries in the city. He acknowledges acquaintance with their deities and humanistic philosophies. It is not that Paul said anything wrong; all that he said was right, but the Word of God says, And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter (32).
As Paul walked out of Athens, having started no church and seeing few converts, he had some time to think about the battle of worldly wits he had just engaged in at Mars’ Hill. No doubt when he came into this town he said to himself, “I will preach NOTHING but Christ and the CROSS. I will defy worldly wisdom and preach Calvary. I will preach the old-rugged Cross. I will hold up to the Corinthians a man, dying on a Roman cross, suffering for the sin of the world under the curse of God.”
For Paul says, For I determined not to know anything among you, save JESUS CHRIST and Him CRUCIFIED. In other words, “I resolved not to give my time and attention while among you to the laws and traditions of the Jews; to your orators, philosophers, and poets; to the beauty of your architecture or statuary; to a contemplation of your customs and laws; but to attend to this only-making known the cross of Christ.”
And when Paul surrendered to unflinchingly preach this message, he cast all the results on his God. It now depended entirely upon God!
As the Holy Spirit works in our hearts through Paul’s example, what adjustments do we need to make in our lives to bring more glory to God by the winning of more souls for Him? For Paul, it was refusing to get into an intellectual or eloquent presentation of the gospel, to preach only Christ and Him crucified.
Whether you are a pastor that wants more decisions for Christ, a soulwinner desiring God to use you in bringing men to the Saviour, a bus worker frustrated with a lack of conversions, or one that is just stepping into the faith world of evangelism, cast your anchor on the Rock of Ages and declare His Cross! It is then that we see a demonstration of the Spirit and of power (I Cor. 2:4).