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1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Paul was a preacher with one subject — Jesus Christ and him crucified. He was determined always, in every place, to preach the glorious Person and the accomplished redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ. Substitutionary redemption by the Son of God was the one theme this faithful servant of God was determined to proclaim. He said I will boast of him whom others despise.
Christ crucified is God’s message. Christ crucified is the message of Holy Scripture. Christ crucified is the sum of the gospel, and all the riches of it. Paul was so taken up with Christ that nothing sweeter could drop from his lips or pen. Christ crucified seems to have utterly consumed his mind. He used the name “Jesus" 235 times in his epistles.
May God give me grace to follow Paul’s example, the example God holds before us in his Word for preachers to follow. Christ crucified is the one thing you need and the one thing I am determined to preach. I know nothing of religious traditions or philosophical wisdom. Whether among the rich and well educated, or the poor and illiterate, I am determined to know nothing but Christ crucified.
This man so greatly used of God in his day had another determination, a determination of equal importance. He was determined to preach Christ crucified with the utmost simplicity. Paul was determined not to preach the gospel using “excellency of speech or of wisdom…with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
The apostle Paul was perfectly capable of adorning his discourses with pompous language, flowers of rhetoric, eloquence of oratory, and impressive words of human wisdom. He was a man of remarkable learning and ability. But he made it his determination to preach Christ with simplicity. Christ crucified does not need to be dressed up in impressive words.
The use of impressive speech has only one real purpose. Men use impressive speech to impress other men. Our preaching may be precisely orthodox, but if our language and manner of speech is designed to impress and win applause, we nullify our message. We do not want our hearers to remember the way we preach, but what we preach. We do not want people to remember our words, but our message. We do not want those who hear us to remember our names, but the Savior’s name. If that is our desire, let every man who speaks in the name of God preach the gospel of God with utter simplicity.
We must preach Christ crucified, or we do not preach the Word of God. We must preach Christ with bold, unadorned simplicity, lest our hearers follows us instead of following Christ. This is and must be the preacher’s determination, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”