I Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
It is important to note that testifying unto the Lord Jesus Christ is not like anything else in this world. I have had some training in sales. In sales there are people who have a real knack for it. They know what words to use and how to say them. They use subtle hints that can work on the emotions and mindset of the customer. They have learned how to have the pen ready and it is very difficult to convince them that no is no.
Jack Hyles was one religious deceiver that studied the game of salesmanship well. He had some very well trained men who knew how to set the “hook” and bring in the fish. Thousands of people have been and still are being influenced by his methods.
Personally, I prefer to use God’s Word as my authority in all things. That includes the testifying unto Jesus’ name. I believe there is nothing of greater importance than to see a person saved. The Bible teaches us that this must be the primary goal of every born again Christian.
In the Old Testament, the prophets often began their words with “Thus saith the Lord.” People must understand that when a person is witnessing to them, the words given are God’s Words. Any expounding upon God’s Words must be in honour of God’s Words.
Yesterday, I gave a very brief rundown of the last days of my brother-in-law, Jack. I spoke of the opportunity the Lord gave me to read Scripture with him several times. I also stated that I do not know if Jack responded in obedience to God’s Word. He did not in my presence, but he may have later on. There is a danger in being trained for a number of years with false doctrine. God’s Word is quick and powerful and He can bring clarity of mind and spirit to anyone who is open to the truth. The clutter of false teaching can also have a bearing on the heart of the hearer. It is important to spend the time needed to help the hearer to be clear on what they are doing.
I was hopeful of having another opportunity with Jack the day he died, but God knew the timeline, I did not.
As we notice from our text, Paul made it very clear that he did not try to seduce or deceive his hearers. He was led by God. He came to the Corinthians with the love of God in his heart. He came to them with the truth.
Paul admitted that he was not the greatest orator on earth. Testifying unto Jesus Christ is not about the speaker. It is about the truthfulness of the message. God wants us to speak the truth in love. He does not need someone who has polished their presentation in front of a mirror. He uses those who are filled with the Spirit. His Word is powerful. It is His Word that brings conviction. It is His Holy Spirit that moves in the heart of the recipient to help them to see the importance of acting upon the truth received.
In verse 2 Paul stated that he “determined” not to mix up God’s truth with humanism of any sort. He wanted to give out a pure message. He wanted the hearers to hear about Jesus Christ crucified. That is critical. The lost person must understand Who can save. He or she must understand the significance of God’s salvation. He must understand and accept that God’s salvation is the only salvation.
God gave us a good illustration of this with the record of the repentant thief on the cross. We read in Luke 23 that one of the thieves that was crucified beside Jesus, railed on Him. He was a fool. The other thief fastened to a cross on the other side of Jesus rebuked the other thief. He understood it was justifiable that he was on a cross. He also came to understand that Jesus Christ did not belong on the cross. In his mind, the cross was the place for the deadly punishment of certain crimes. He knew Jesus was not a criminal. He spoke to Jesus with the understanding that even though He was on the cross at that time, He had the power to save him. Jesus Christ took the sins of the world upon Him on His cross. The Bible declares:
II Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Jesus did not become a sinner by His actions. The sin of the world was put upon Him and He bore that on the cross. His shed blood alone, provides forgiveness for those who are sinners (mankind).
My hope and prayer is that Jack did turn to God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation. I will not lie and make a claim I cannot support. God knows what happened in Jack’s life. He does not make any mistakes. My hope of salvation is not tied to Jack or any other person. My hope of salvation is directly founded in the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood. I do not need bragging rights in order to serve the Lord. I need to be faithful to Him and that is what counts. That is what the apostle Paul stressed.
In verse 3 he stated his weakness in their presence. In verse 4 he acknowledged that he did not try to use words to impress the hearers. His speech was in the power of the Holy Spirit. In verse 5 he gave the reason for his actions.
No born again Christian should be boasting in any other person. We do not need a list of “great soul winners.” We need to be saved and be obedient to the Lord and let Him direct us to the Words to speak and the places to go where we can speak the Words He wants us to use. That is the key that those who are saved should never lose sight of.
I do not want to be guilty of deceiving someone into assuming they are saved when they are not. I want to be faithful and be careful to let God give the hearer His assurance of salvation. If the person has that assurance, then they can look up and know all is well with their soul. They can then be a blessing to the lost around them.