I Know Something (1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:1-5)

February 5 2023

Series: 1 Corinthians

It is good to serve a holy Lord and be together today. It’s it’s great to be together the first of the month. It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole month since New Year’s Day we were out here. Seems like a holy trinity has happened since then.

But we’re back together and God has provided. It’s good to be outside, right? I think God has taken care of us to offer some perspective for us Floridians, in Scotland, this would have been a beach day. So if that helps you at all, just consider that this isn’t even a good day for golf. It’s too nice in Scotland. You need some wind, you need some more rain. But it’s good to be together. Good to have everyone together. And thankful for our friends, our brothers and sisters from Ovido that come with us the first Sunday of the month.

We love having you here. We’re grateful for your partnership in the gospel and all the work you’re doing in your community. It’s just good to be together today. We’re thankful that we can share this time together today. The title of the sermon today is I know something and I’m speaking for you and you can say this I know something, so you can turn your Bibles to 1 Corinthians, chapter two.

That’s our text for today. I think Eddie started us on this train earlier. I just come to you this morning grateful. I hope you have some gratitude running through the blood in your veins today. And sometimes it’s very hard to do that.

But there’s so many things I can be grateful for. And I just look around even today. And I’m particularly grateful this morning as I watched Max and Kayla welcome us to our service. I’m grateful for our hardworking, inspiring singles in the church. Thankful for them.

Thankful for Dante and Michelle. Just those hardworking singles ministry leaders, of course. I’m thankful for our single moms. You are heroes in our church. We had dinner with Audrey Jones a few weeks ago, and not only was the food really good, the conversation was inspiring and her faith inspires me.

So thankful that she’s my sister in Christ. I’m grateful today I’m wearing the hat. I’m thankful for our UCF ministry. Thankful for Keith and Cassandra Thornton, who have braved the weather conditions today since they’re from Miami to be here. There are UCF ministry leaders.

Last year at this time, they left everything behind as newlyweds did not know many people at all here. They left their friends, their families, their jobs to come and serve with us here in Orlando. We’re so glad the Thorntons are here. I’m thankful for my family. I’m grateful for 20 years of marriage this year with my wife Amy.

Every year it’s been an adventure. It’s been one adventure after another. I’m grateful for the best children God could ever give me. Nate, Ella and Charlotte. Really grateful that God created you exactly the way you are. And I really wish my dad were alive just to see you and hug you.

I know, just like me, he would be incredibly proud just to call you family. So thank you. I’m grateful today. I’m grateful for this church in Orlando, grateful you brought us here from the cold and windy plains and hills of Scotland. I’m grateful for this church in Orlando.

I’m grateful from Waterford Lakes to Avalon Park to Oviedo to Lake Nona to downtown, everything and everyone in between, I’m grateful that we share this bond in Christ. It is special. And I’ve learned very quickly that this is a church that wants to serve God and wants to serve one another. This is a church that wants to see people in your community become Christians. Am I right?

You have something that you want to share, that, you know, we have something special that we can give away. You open up your homes, you share both your life and the gospel and your food, which is really, really good, especially if it’s Jamaican.

Week after week, our UCF students boldly share their faith on campus, no matter the results, because they love Jesus. This is a church that loves its children. It’s good to have our children with us today. We will do whatever it takes to pass on our faith to our kids. Am I right?

So with all that being said, how do you and I keep on pursuing the desires of our heart? I think we all want the same thing. You know, we have these noble desires that God has formed in us to make a difference through Jesus. How do we do that? And I know for me, maybe you feel the same way.

It’s really easy to doubt ourselves. I could start to think, well, who am I? And when’s the last time I help someone become a Christian? You see how our world is today. How am I equipped to be able to do that?

It can be daunting, it can be overwhelming. And the Apostle Paul faced a very similar battle of insecurity. And believe it or not, Paul lacked confidence when he first arrived in Corinth to share his faith. Let’s take a look at that. Now let’s read chapter two, verse one in Corinthians and see what we can learn from Paul today.

1 Corinthians two. Verse one. And I, when I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling. And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in a demonstration of the spirit and of power. So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men and women, but in the power of God. So remember when Paul landed in Corinth at this time this city was the center of the universe.

It was the crossroads of all international trade. Big business was happening there. It was the land of opportunity. They hosted the Espion Games every two years, which, next to the Olympics, it was the biggest thing going in the Roman world at that time. And for our context here today, remember also that Corinth had professional orators, all right?

This was consumer driven. This was also very big business. The goal of these speeches, of these pros, was to win admiration, to win applause, to get wealthy patrons to support them and their work. The truth, in a sense, though, was lost in all of that. The goal was not truth.

The goal was winning favor with people. So what happened was truth was compromised in order to appeal to the masses. What it became was a competition or a big show, professional speeches for ratings, for followers, for money. So that’s what Paul entered into. And so here comes Paul into Corinth on his mission, and here’s what he decides to do.

He decides, I’m not going to compete with all of that in Corinth. Instead, what he does, he decides not to do. He actually does not take a salary from the church in Corinth for his preaching or his speaking, as he did in other cities, but he actually worked the streets of Corinth as a lower class tent maker. And you know what? It worked.

That’s what’s crazy about it. It worked. People responded to the good news of Jesus. Men and women became Christians in droves, and the church in Corinth grew in number. And I think there’s some lessons for all of us here.

In verse one, Paul tells us he didn’t share his faith with fancy arguments or the wisdom of the culture. Now, if you know of Paul’s education, if you know of Paul’s pedigree, if you know of Paul’s intelligence, if you know of Paul’s immense talent as a speaker and a writer, he could have taken this approach. But instead, here’s what Paul says he did to Evangelize in Corinth. Verse two for I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

In other words, when Paul went to Corinth, he was resolved. He was resolved to know and share one fact above everything else Jesus Christ crucified. And this was, you can see it made up his entire being. Paul’s words, his actions, his lifestyle, all of it is driven by knowing Jesus and how this Messiah king gave up his life for his own people.

And I remember the men that studied the Bible with me more than 20 years ago. God bless those men for coming into my life. It was a series of studies to help me figure out if I was saved, how to get saved by the blood of Jesus, and how to live a life and community to stay saved. And it was great. It was great.

And it was far from perfect. I didn’t really care at the time because I was pretty desperate and it wasn’t perfect. But as I look back but God used men to deliver his message, and that’s always been God’s plan. He uses regular people like us to help other people know Jesus and to make it to heaven to save us.

Speaking at one time, I showed up for a Bible study with the guys. I knocked on the door and one of the men that was studying with me opened the door and he’s like, Hi. Like, not expecting me to be there. And I said, yeah. And he didn’t immediately let me in. He’s like, Why are you here?

I said, It’s time for the Bible study, right? He’s like, oh. And you know, like, he was kind of like, thinking through what had just happened and the other guys he had been talking to or not talking to, turns out the Bible study was canceled. And everyone knew except me, the lost guy.

I could only imagine the conversations that were happening without me during that time. But again, it’s not about the messenger or all of his or her flaws. The power is in the message. The power is in the cross. And what God does, he does all the work.

God is working all the time to draw men and women to Him. Then the Spirit at some opportune time invites us in to help finish the job. We have to catch up to what God is already doing. We’re late to the party. What an honor it is that God invites us in to be able to share this powerful message.

And I think about of all the guys that study the Bible with me, and maybe some of you guys have a similar story as the years go on and on. All the guys that study with me, some of them are still really good friends. Others I haven’t seen or talked to in years. I don’t even know where they are. I know some have walked away from Jesus, but I love all those guys.

I love them all. And no matter what’s happened with them, I believe the reason I’m still here today is the power did not come from the men who studied the Bible with me or any of their techniques or how they went about it. That’s not where the power was or is. The power came from their knowledge that they shared of Jesus Christ crucified. And brothers and sisters, this is the power of knowing of what’s most important, right? This is the power of knowing something. Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

And I want to encourage you today we can be on all kinds of places with this. And I say, so what if you feel unknown or unpopular at your middle school or high school? So what if you’re not the captain of your football team? So what if you’re not an eloquent speaker or debater. So what if you’re socially awkward?

So what if you’re not in great health, mentally or physically? So what if you’re too young, too old, too shy? You don’t need to know everything to help someone become a Christian. You just need to know something.

You do need to know something and that something will give you everything you need when you open your mouth. We can have confidence in that. And you know what that something is? Paul tells us. It’s knowing Jesus and him crucified. That is powerful, that is timeless.

Culture and its ways and its wisdoms will come and go. The message of the cross is always powerful and it’s always God’s wisdom and it always works. You and I have everything we need in the message of the cross to change the lives around us. Do you believe this? Do you still believe this?

Give me that old time religion, right? If it was good for Paul and Silas, it’s good enough for me. Thank you. Some of you know the song, so if it’s good for Paul, it’s good enough for me.

But it’s hard. Paul gets vulnerable in verse three and I feel this and I bet you do as well at times. Paul says to the church in Corinth, I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling. This is Paul. He says, I am weak. I was weak with you. I was fearful. He was physically trembling.

You ever felt like this? The greatest missionary in the history of the world did.

In fact, Paul felt so scared and Corinth that God appeared to him in a vision and he told him Acts 18, verse nine. God says, do not be afraid, Paul. Do not fear. But go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you and no one will attack you to harm you. For I have many in this city who are my people.

And that inspired Paul to stay another 18 months in Corinth, even though he was shaking in his boots. I want you to hear that message as well today. God has many people for us in this city. Many. So go on speaking.

But again, the reality is we can feel weak, we can have fear, we can tremble. Have you ever felt like that at school? If you’re a student, you feel alone or if you’re at work, man, I’m all alone here with this message and with the life and carrying the cross. Do you ever feel this with your neighbors or when you want to share your faith with the server at the restaurant?

I know for me it’s very easy to freeze up and I have frozen up. Even more difficult at times, one of the scariest things for me to do is ask the next question of the person that I’m building a relationship with, right? Like someone I’m reaching out to, someone I’m trying to help and bring into a relationship with Jesus? It’s hard for me to ask that next question. Here’s what I mean.

You have a neighbor or friend or maybe even a family member sometimes. That’s the scariest. And you’ve built this relationship with them. Maybe they’ve even come out to a church event or their regular attendees of some of the things we do. But it’s so hard for me to bring the cross of Christ into the conversation, specifically in their life.

It’s hard for me to be intentional. Why? Because I don’t know how they’re going to respond. It’s me taking that conversation to the next level. That’s the exact moment I fear they could walk away or they could be uncomfortabIe could lose a friend. A family member may ghost me. But what if? What if they do respond to the message of the cross?

Many of us did. We know it works. It always has, it always will. We’ll never know unless we preach the cross. And it’s so much easier to talk about our church and how that’s going.

It’s so much easier to preach about, hey, we have this great teen ministry for our kids and these events. Or it’s so much easier to talk up a fun church event to our neighbors. It’s more comfortable to preach prosperity and success, or the promise of new friends, a soulmate, or a better marriage as a selling point for the church.

But we must be cautious here, because that’s when we begin to empty the cross of its power. That must be our message. Everything else flows from calvary. And Paul tells us in verse four, my speech and my message were not implausible words of wisdom, or I might add, promises of worldly success, but in the demonstration of the spirit and of power. So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men and women, but in the power of God.

Where does your faith rest today?

Our faith can rest in good things. But do they ultimately do we have our faith resting in the power of the cross? If you’re like me, it’s very tempting to rest our faith in good but lesser things. I could place too much faith in my experience and my resume.

I could place too much faith in my knowledge and my learning. I can place too much faith in a mountain of self help resources that are out there today, counseling or my leaders. But when I do this, I empty the cross of its power.

So that’s what Paul is doing here. He’s getting to the guts of the gospel. He’s reminding us, he’s reminding the church in Corinth. He appeals to us that our faith not rests on wisdom or anything that humans can offer ultimately. But our faith must rest in the power of God.

As I said before, you don’t need to know everything to become a Christian. Far from it. If that’s you today, if you feel like you’ve had some backsliding and you just haven’t been here for a while. Or maybe you grew up religious and you’re getting back into it. I want to encourage you today that you don’t need to know everything to be a follower of Jesus. Uou just need to know something.

And for those of us who have been around for a while and maybe we start doubting ourselves or wondering if we’re still effective in sharing the gospel, I want to tell you today you don’t need to know everything to help someone become a Christian. Far from it.

But you do need to know something. And that something will give you everything you need as soon as you open your mouth. And that something is what? Jesus Christ and him crucified. If we get that right, we’ll get everything right.

If we get that wrong, we’re heading in a bad direction. Let’s get that right. And I want you to hear this again. I’ve said it before. It’s normal to doubt ourselves.

It happens. If you’re doubting your ability to fulfill the deepest desires that God has formed in you to go about his mission, remember this you and I have everything that we need and the message of the cross to change the lives around us, including our own. That’s because the power and wisdom rests with God and not ourselves.

So as we now share communion together, we’ll go back to the thesis here of the section of this letter. Let’s reflect on 1 Corinthians chapter one, verse 18.

The Holy Spirit tells us 1 Corinthians one verse 18. For the word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved. The message of the cross is the power of God.

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