Ever notice that although the rose is a magnificent flower, it has thorns. Do not just stop loving someone because of first appearances or impressions, because often times the lowly people and poor of this world are great people. God loved us enough to see past our thorns as well. Our thorns of sin, baggage and rebellion. You know what, Jesus still died for all of us despite our thorns, he wore the crown of thorns as he was nailed to a cross for every sin you and I committed. Why? because he saw our worth and didn’t treat us the way our sins deserved. Now let us extend grace to others.
Lest The Cross Of Christ Be Emptied Of Power.
(1 Corinthians 1:17) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Beautifully stated, the Apostle Paul pens those powerful words. How often is it the temptation for a Christian to rely on air tight theological arguments to persuade the lost soul to trust Christ, however, the gospel in itself is “The power of God” to transform lives. Although there is a time and place for deep theological discourse, we must though not trust our words or human ingenuity to persuade any one.
When David faced Goliath, Saul tried to equip David with his sword and armor. David refused, it only got in the way of David being able to move well. All he needed to defeat the giant was his sling, a stone, and his faith in Almighty God and Goliath went down.
All we need really is to present the simple message: “God loves you so he came as Christ to die for all the sins you have committed against him and others. He paid it all so you can be made brand new and live a life pleasing to him in His mighty power and strength. If you believe this and genuinely want this, you will be saved. Doesn’t matter what you have done, nor your history or background is because God will save all who put their trust in His only Son Jesus Christ.”
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,-Romans 10:12
God we ask not for more spiritual gifts as much as more faithfulness to serve you better with our gifts! Jesus told a parable of the talents, and the key phrase in the parable was “He entrusted each of them according to their ability”— Wow, boom! God is not looking for factory mass production. He is looking for faithful men and women to take the gifts, talents, and time he has given then and faithfully multiply a harvest of fruit. “fruit that will last”
Jesus is willing to heal our hearts
Jesus is the only solution to the wounded heart, the deepest injuries inside of us. He is willing to heal all those who ask him as we see in
Matthew 8:1-3 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
God desires to heal his chosen people and all who come to him in faith. No God will not always perform a physical healing but He has an even greater miracle for every believer who will reach out to Him and kneel before him and acknowledge all their wounds and baggage, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt God wants us to be Whole in our emotional and spiritual life. True healing is indeed inside out, true healing is inside of the man or woman. Indeed if we all were truly aware of how much God loves us and desires the best for us regardless of our past sins, present feelings of inadequacy, current trials and disappointments then we would not be bothered nearly as much by the physical handicaps and rejection or the poor circumstances we ought endure.
The earliest martyrs who died for Christ endured well because the were consumed by Christ. They experienced the love of Christ that “is better than life” (Psalm 63:3) Peter was crucified for his faith in Christ and refused even the dignity of being crucified upright like Jesus was so instead he requested to be hung upside down because He was even unworthy to die upright as His Lord did.
The Apostle John was exiled to the Island of Patmos after his execution was unsuccessful and it was there he wrote Revelations.
In their early years with Jesus these were just ordinary men whom Jesus called. They had problems just like everybody else but the Lord used them to do the unimaginable and incredible. Throughout their lives the Lord changed impulsive, unstable, self righteous, and just an all around around wild bunch of men into Servants of the Living God and Ambassadors of the Gospel!
This did not happen over night, and we don’t always receive instantaneous healing in our hearts or minds either but if we by faith keep pursuing God through Christ we will “Be transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12)
Motives for preaching the gospel
Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter and in spite of his grim looking situation he praised God that the good news about Jesus Christ was spreading through the Roman world. In the midst of being confined in a dungeon without knowing whether his release was coming or his execution, he also had to deal with people who were spreading the gospel but only for the motives to make Paul’s confinement all the more unpleasant.
Philippians 1:15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
The Apostle Paul knew something a lot of us don’t consider today when we share Christ with non believers, in spite of ill motives of some people who may give Christ a bad name with their behavior the truth is that no human being can thwart God’s plan. He realized that the Gospel was the power of God to convert the souls of those who heard it. The people who share Christ out of “envy and rivalry” will receive no reward from the Lord even if it saves thousands. At the end of the day the Lord will look at the size of the heart rather than the size of success. Winning one soul for Christ out of love is better than winning a thousand souls for the sake of selfish prestige.
The second truth Paul was aware of was that even if The gospel was preached out of insincerity by some it would still save some. The power is in the Word of Truth and not the mouth piece
Worry or Pride
There are two equal but opposite contrasting verses in the Bible. One deals with the overly confident and the other the excessively fearful.
Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow,for you do not know what a day may bring.
The book of James suggests the same concept when it says:
James 4:13-16 Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
Its not sin to make plans but it is sin to be arrogant and assume our plans will succeed while giving no thought to what God might have in mind for our lives.
The opposite of being unduly self confident is the other extreme of being anxious and fearful of future events and fail to trust God as well. In either situation our trust is misplaced.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The first situation implies we ought not to be arrogant and assume our plans will happen and the second suggests we shouldnt fear what hasn’t even happened yet. Jesus said “each day has enough trouble of its own.” And there is an old saying “dont borrow trouble!” Which means why even create problems from the future by bringing them into today? God gives us his children grace for each day. Not for problems that haven’t even or might not even take place.
We also must not try to think ahead by getting all proud of the great accomplishments or success that haven’t even happened nor should we fear uncertainty or things that haven’t come about either.
No one knows the future or what tomorrows going to pan out like except God, and God is good.