As a pastor, do you experience the secularization impact and pressure? Due to the voices and reflections of believers, many pastors are increasingly avoiding preaching the message of the cross of Jesus and the attributes of God's justice and judgment. They are more willing to please the congregation, just preaching the resurrection of Jesus and the message of God's love and blessing. This is unbalanced preaching that does not please God.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2) In this letter, Paul discussed problems of sin, life, church, and human relation. However, Paul stated from the beginning that he would only talk about Jesus! Why? The heart and solutions of problems in the world were in the gospel of Christ. Therefore, we must, like Paul, find the secrets to winning the battles of our thoughts, life, faith, and spiritual struggles in the gospel.
In this passage, Paul shared with us the three following ways in which he consciously sought to establish a solid foundation of gospel ministry.
First, a pastor should uphold a complete testimony of God’s attributes and a clear and precise explanation of God’s creation and salvation, whether he gave a sermon on the altar or carried out one-to-one Bible studies. This could help the seekers truly know God so that they could experience transformations or life changes.
Second, Paul emphasized knowing nothing except Christ and his crucifixion. What Paul said above told us the heart of the Christian faith was that Jesus is the Christ, who was the core of God’s redemptive work for humanity and the universe. The center of salvation was the cross of Christ, and His death on the cross was the peak of love and an overwhelming victory in human history. All Satan’s ridicule, doubt, pride, and rebellion were finally judged in Jesus on the cross. The blood of Jesus could cleanse us from all kinds of impurities. As the cross was the root core of the gospel, we couldn’t abandon it while preaching the gospel.
Third, Paul showed and witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit. After Jesus was taken up into heaven, He sent to those who believed in Him the Counselor, who could help them better understand that Jesus is the Christ, obey the truth effectively, as well as sustain the weak of them on the path to heaven. Therefore, the Spirit of God always came upon them and prayed for them, within them. When listening to the sermons, reading the scriptures, and praying, Christians were urged, exhorted, trained, and guided by the Holy Spirit, with their lives renewed and changed. The more they bore witness to the power of the Holy Spirit, the deeper and more completely they understood and experienced the three persons of God and His work. This was also a key factor in the revival of the church.
- Translated by Abigail Wu