Sunday, August 29, 2010

Faith does not rest on the wisdom of humanity, but on the power of God.

1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

The words of any minister have authority only insofar as they are the repetition, unfolding and proper application of the words of God in Scripture. A minister's words have authority only when they stand under authority. The corporate symbol of that truth is the sound of your Bibles opening to the text. My deep conviction about ministry is that a minister must show the people that what he/she is saying was already said or implied in the Scriptures. If it cannot be shown it has no special authority.
My heart aches for the minister who increases his or her own burden by trying to come up with ideas to preach to his or her people. As for me I have nothing of importance to say. But God does. Of God's word, I hope and pray that I never tire of speaking.
When a person goes to church he or she often hears a minister in the pulpit rehash everything that he or she has read in the editorials, the newspapers, and the magazines.
However when a person comes to church, actually what he or she is saying to the minister, I know what the TV commentator has to say; I hear him every day. I know what the editorial writer has to say; I read it every day. I know what the magazines have to say; I read them every week. Minister, what I want to know is, does God have anything to say? If God has anything to say, tell us what it is.
Why is it so crucial that our faith not rest in the wisdom of humanity but in the power of God? Does it really matter what your faith is based on as long as Christ is the object of your faith? For Paul it made a great difference what a minister offers as the basis of faith.
This is why: if you try to base saving faith on the "wisdom of men" it ceases to be saving faith because the content of that faith is regarded as foolishness by the world's wisdom. The genuineness of faith, and with it eternal life, is at stake in the basis we offer for faith. It is possible to offer a basis for faith which ruins faith. There is a kind of foundation which will destroy the superstructure of faith. That is why it is so crucial for our faith not to rest in the wisdom of humanity but in the power of God, because if it rests in the wisdom of humanity it is a mirage, a bogus faith, it is a hollow faith.
Now I hope you will understand when I say: I come to you today as a person with many weaknesses (which you probably already know if you read my blog on a regular basis). It is not that I distrust the power and promise of God to speak through me, but that I distrust myself. It is not so much that I will fail, as the world counts failure, but that I might belive that I succeed on my own strength and wisdom, and so fail as God counts failure.
There is a kind of paradox here. We are told: Be anxious for nothing. "Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) Yet Paul does have fear as he undertakes to preach the gospel, I have fear at the awesome responsibility of ministering the word on this blog. Is it because Paul and I lack faith? Partly, yes.
But there is another reason why we fear. During this age in which the sinfulness of the human heart remains even among God's people, and in which the temptation to self-exaltation and self-sufficiency is relentless, God has appointed that his servants fear with a profound sense of insufficiency so that we will never forget that it is God's power and not the wisdom of humanity which creates and sustains saving faith.
Therefore, do not put your faith in the minister of the word of God. If you do that, in the long run, you will only be disappointed. The minister of the word is only as good as his or her faithful understanding of the word of God as God reveals it them.

Peace and love,

"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

No comments:

Post a Comment