• Matt Beaney

#466 (25/10/21) KEEP RIDING THE DONKEY




This week’s devotionals are from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

‘And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.’ (1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:1‬)

We live in a world that is often more impressed with charisma and look rather than the content of a message or the character of the messenger. We honour actors, artists, comedians, YouTubers…because they look or sound attractive to us. Messages are accepted if they contain the hackneyed politically correct phraseology that constitutes orthodoxy - or as long at they don’t! Christians can fall into the temptation of looking like the world and sounding like the world but adding Jesus in ambiguous and inoffensive ways.


Paul is setting us all an example of how to effectively share the gospel message. Firstly, he tells us what he is careful to avoid. He does not use ‘eloquence or human wisdom’ (‘Lofty speech or wisdom’ ESV). This is presenting the gospel message in ways the rely more on how it’s presented than on the content. We are all tempted to impress our listeners. This can lead to us avoiding speaking about Jesus, course joking, seeking to impress by how we speak etc. Our speech is to be guided by love for God and the person rather than by pride and the avoidance of discomfort. People should not put their faith in our inspirational speaking, singing etc; it’s a communicator’s role to use their words so as to skilfully present the gospel as clearly as possible to the kind of people that they are trying to communicate with. Listeners should be in no doubt about sin, repentance, faith and complete submission to Jesus’ Lordship.


Paul’s message was not impressive by the values of this world. However, it was God’s testimony’ and therefore it was Spirit-empowered, life changing speech.


I love the image of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. It’s amazing that such a humble entrance should have been met with such praise from so many people. The gospel is like a donkey - it really shouldn’t win any races! But it does attract and save many. It persists no matter what arguments are thrown at it. Let’s keep riding the donkey of the gospel rather than be tempted to exchange it for a more impressive but powerless means of communication!


OVER TO YOU - PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE


I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text.

‘And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.’ (1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:1‬)

Use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).


1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?



3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

Running up to our carol service on the 5th December we would like you to spend more time on the SIV (Serving, Invest and Invite) aspect of our time together. Therefore, there will only be fewer questions each week on the Sunday message so as to give plenty of time for praying and sharing about our mission.


On Sunday, we continued with our series in 1 Corinthians looking at 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

‘And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.’ (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

NO ELOQUENCE OR HUMAN WISDOM

Paul is continuing to combat the temptation among the Corinthian church of changing the message and presenting it in ways that make it more attractive to the world. We can be ashamed of the gospel message and think that we need to dress it up in order to help God out! Of course it’s not wrong - in fact it’s very important - to think carefully about how best to communicate with the people in our lives, but we do this in order to make the gospel message as clear as possible to our listeners.


I RESOLVE TO KNOW NOTHING

Paul ‘resolved to know nothing…except Jesus Christ and Him crucified’. We must not misunderstand this to mean that Paul was not interested in speaking about anything but the gospel - that would be weird! He is simply making the point that the simple gospel, simply presented should be our emphasis in personal counselling and witnessing as well as being the emphasis of the church’s teaching.


DEMONSTRATION OF POWER

In this context, this is about the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. The transformed lives of the Corinthians was a demonstration that the gospel, through weak people, aided by the Spirit’s work, has power. This God-given message will attract the aid of the Spirit to transform people.


In response, we all need to put our faith in God and the work of the Spirit who can change lives through the simple gospel.


Discussion questions

1. What keeps you from sharing the gospel message?

2. How has the message of 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 changed your approach to personal evangelism?

3. How has God spoken to you from this text or Sunday’s message?

4. SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard?

5. SIV - Who are you planning to invite to the carol service on 5th December?

6. Prayer - Let's spend some time in prayer regarding this week's message and anything else that you would like to pray about.







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