Friday, January 3, 2014
The Amazing Power of God
1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (ESV)
As I prepared my sermon for Sunday I realized something. (I like to realize things before I preach the message.) Paul preached with a special weakness. He had a thorn in the flesh which must have hindered his ability and that everyone recognized or he would wouldn't have mentioned it and would have named what it was.
No one knows what Paul's thorn was. Some say it was epilepsy. Others say it was bad eyesight. I have even heard someone say that he had a contentious wife. (The latter explains why he went on so many missionary journeys and called the thorn a "messenger of Satan" but since Paul says he wasn't married in ! Corinthians 7 I believe that isn't the thorn.)
It doesn't matter what the thorn was. Can you imagine preaching Jesus who makes the blind see while you have poor eyesight? Or, can you imagine preaching Jesus who casts out demons while having epilepsy? (I am not saying that epilepsy is caused by demons. I am says that this is how it would be interpreted by many in the world he was preaching in.) Wouldn't this be like an extremely overweight person telling you how to be skinny?
Then, I thought, "Don't I have a similar problem?" You see, I preach Jesus who changes lives while knowing that I still have a problem with sin. I have been changed but not so much that I have eliminated the sin. I still confess my sins and repent. I haven't licked the problem. Why should anyone believe what I have to say?
But God saves people in spite of me. I will always give my heart to Him and will always depend upon His righteousness. I will always see myself as a saint who still has some problem with sin. Yet, God saves people by getting their attention off of me and onto Jesus. Anyone who takes his focus off of the world and the things of the world will soon find himself staring into the Master's eyes. The Holy Spirit convicts and the power of God is truly revealed.
I should have known this for a long time. The preacher who told me the gospel story said it in a way that made me believe that he was just trying to tally us decisions for Christ so that he could preach to bigger and bigger audiences. He didn't appear to have any real contact with the Lord. He simply knew the message. I went home and honestly knew that I hated the way he said the gospel but I loved the Jesus that the gospel is all about. I became a believer by the power of God rather than the power of the preacher.
I must always remember that the power of God is just amazing.