• Matt Beaney

#468 (27/10/21) WEAKNESS, FEAR AND TREMBLING




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

‘I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.’ (1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:3)‬ ‭

Paul is speaking with great humility and honesty about his fear and weakness. This is most probably a reference to his first visit to them that we read about in Acts 18. He was coming to a place of great spiritual diversity and hostility and this tested his courage and faith. It’s when we are in a culture that does not honour the gospel and that is against much of Christian teaching that one is tempted to change or remain quiet about the gospel. God will give us what we need if we are honest about our struggles and will approach Him in prayer and ask others to support us. I love the way that God strengthened Paul in Acts 18,

‘One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.’ (Acts 18:9-11)

Fear and trembling is not sin. Everyone feels uneasy about sharing the gospel and Christian teaching to people who may reject it and them. In fact, weakness, fear and trembling are God’s gift that we must not ignore. It arises so that we can be prayerful and wise about how to navigate the situation. Inner discomfort should be considered as should the discomfort of the people that we are speaking with. We are to be brave in our speach whilst being careful to obey God, who tells us,

‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ (Romans 12:18)
‘…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’ (1 Peter 3:15)

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.

‘‘I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.’ (1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:3)‬ ‭

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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