One of the things that impress me when I read about the preaching of Paul is the simplicity with which he preaches. While we know Paul was a highly educated man (Acts 22:3), he preached with a laser-like focus on Christ and Him crucified. He was not interested in making creative arguments or “owning” his opponents with clever retorts, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom…” (v 4). Paul was satisfied to be nothing more than a gospel preacher.
Additionally, Paul was a great evangelist, even though he apparently had very little charisma or “stage presence.” By his own admission, his preaching among the Corinthians was “in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling” (v 3). In his second epistle, he quoted his critics, without correction, “’For his letters,’ they say, ‘are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible’” (2 Cor 10:10).
There is here a tremendous lesson for preachers and anyone interested in soul winning… Excellency of speech is not required to be an effective soul winner! Prepare yourself and let God’s word persuade!
Our second emphasis in today’s blog is a text commonly heard at funerals, particularly for those who believe in heaven. In verses 9-10 we read, “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
The difficulty with using this text as a “preview of heaven” is two-fold. First, the context has nothing to do with heaven. The subject under consideration is the mystery of the wisdom of God, ordained before the ages for our glory (v 7). This is a discussion of THE GOSPEL. Heaven wasn’t ordained before the ages for our glory, but the gospel was (cf Eph 3:9-11).
Understanding the subject under consideration allows us to answer the second difficulty, namely, that whatever is under consideration in verse 9 has been revealed to us through God’s Spirit (v 10).
Heaven is indeed glorious beyond imagination, but this text doesn’t teach it.