A Sobering Thought

In 1977 U.S. scientists launched a spacecraft, Voyager, into space to take images of our solar system, including the planets within. It was a one-way mission; the spacecraft would never return to earth.

In 1990, the scientists commanded Voyager to turn around and take snapshots, in a panoramic view, of everything that it had covered on its way so far. By that time, the spacecraft was over 3 and a half billion miles away from the earth!

We could hardly claim to have gone that far with 1 Corinthians 2, so we will turn back and take one last look at this scripture.

Let us look up close, in particular, verse 3:

“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.”

These are words that we should take very seriously. Not unless, of course, we choose to underestimate Paul. (We haven’t even touched on God here yet!)

Y’know, in several places Paul asks the church to consider him a fool. But Paul is trapping us!

Paul was no fool. He had more physical, mental and spiritual clout than any man that we know of. Indeed, Paul is the father of the modern church.

It is therefore wise and safe for us to heed every word that Paul says.

Now here Paul says that he preached the gospel to the Corinthians “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.”

Why would Paul do so? It was because he feared to bring in something different from that which he had been commissioned to bring. You see, Paul was a bond slave of Jesus Christ, and in his desire to please his Master, he feared lest he deviate from the message that he had been sent to deliver – the singular message of the cross.

This, of course, was tied in with the fact that Paul loved the church with the love of Christ and he knew that the only thing that would bring it to the perfection that Christ purposed for it to arrive at was the gospel of the cross.

He writes to the Colossians: “1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:1-3).

That was Christ’s love at work in Paul’s heart.

I believe that if we are serious with God, we too should fear and tremble. We should fear and tremble lest we are carrying and working on and glorifying something other than the singular message that the Apostle Paul carried – the message of the cross.

Not that we are not going to pray for the sick or that we are not going to desire miracles and other manifestations of God’s power in our midst. We definitely will. But we must first be settled on the right foundation – the foundation of the cross.

Notice what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11: “10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

There can be no other foundation for the church apart from that which has been laid by the true apostles of Jesus Christ, which is none other than Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

We cannot make the physical manifestations of God’s power to be the foundation upon which a mature and perfect church is going to be built. Jesus told the Canaanite woman that the manifestations of God’s power are “children’s bread”! (Matt. 15:26)

But the Apostle Paul talks of something else. He says that there is strong meat which “belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:14)

Notice the words “full age” in this scripture. Paul is here talking about the gospel that he carried, the gospel of the cross, which alone had the ability to bring God’s children into maturity.

We should fear and tremble lest we build on a gospel that will never bring God’s people to spiritual maturity, which is any other gospel apart from that singular gospel that Paul carried, the gospel of the cross.

[Below: Passengers board the bus that is to take us from Mwanza to Musoma…

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A bus conductor checks tickets on the bus…

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And we are finally on our way]

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2 thoughts on “A Sobering Thought

  1. With respect, I think Paul was the father of the early Church, not the modern church. The modern church builds, organizes, publishes doctrine, puts up signs advertising its divisions. The early Church took the message of Jesus across the Roman world (and beyond, according to some legends) in a single generation. We have technology and can’t do a fraction of that kind of thing. If only Paul and his teaching to know nothing but the cross was the practice of the modern church. Making and training disciples is our task. O that we could return to that single focus!
    Peace

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