For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. ~1 Corinthians 1:18
God has ordained that the ministry of preaching is the means by which His Word is to be communicated to the masses. The Corinthian believers fell into the error of “hero worship” and became divisive as to who they followed and listened to. They made the mistake of being attracted to “preaching styles” instead of being “preaching-submissive.” It is because of this that Paul made it clear that God sent him to preach the gospel.
We see the duty.
Paul specifically refers to the preaching of the cross. The preaching of the cross is making the gospel message the emphasis in our preaching. It is not avoiding the preaching of the other doctrines of the Bible, but it is making the preaching of the cross the emphasis. It is the duty of preachers to cry aloud and blow the trumpet of preaching. The preaching of the cross tells men that they are sinners, sin has a consequence, Jesus shed His blood and died on the cross to pay for our sins, and salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. Our witnessing as well is about the preaching of the cross.
We see the dilution.
“Not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Paul made it very clear that the preaching of the cross is not with logic, not with winsome words, and not with intellectualism or watered down to be culturally adaptable. The gospel must be declared with boldness and with fact. Christians sometimes think that they need to try to bring in supporting information to back up the gospel when the gospel by itself speaks unapologetically for itself. Paul faced the intellectuals in Athens on Mars Hill and preached the gospel with power, fervor, and judgment to come. Don’t fall into the trap of teaching or debating when it is preaching that the sinner needs.
We see the despising.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness.” The unsaved man despises preaching. To them, preaching is too loud, too dogmatic, too conservative, too blunt, too convicting (they will say that they feel guilty), too gory, too strong, or too “in their face.” They laugh at gospel preaching. They hate to hear of the shed blood, vicarious death, and bodily resurrection being preached on. They dread the close of the sermon and when the invitation is given. They want the liberal, contemporary music and worship service to be the emphasis, and not a thundering message that invites them to be saved today. The unsaved man thinks that he has a lot of time to think about getting saved and laughs at the preaching of the cross as being dramatic and forceful.
We see the dynamic.
“But unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The preaching of the cross is God’s power at work in sinners. It is the Holy Spirit Who convicts men of the terribleness of their sin, of the impending judgment to come, that hell is hot and heaven the home of the saved, and that now it is the day of salvation. Where there is preaching of the cross, God’s power is on display. Individual lives, churches, neighborhoods, cities, and continents are moved by God’s power where the cross is being preached. Every young preacher-in-training must first be trained to preach the cross. Then, and only then, will he learn to get God’s power for his message and the people he is preaching to. Don’t abandon the preaching of the cross! Let’s keep preaching the cross and see God’s power at work!
Have a gospel-centric God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Chronicles 18-21