For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.1 Corinthians 1:17(NASB)
Baptism was not the focus of Paul's apostolic ministry. His primary objective was to preach the saving truth of Christ crucified and the immense power of His glorious Resurrection. He told us that all who were once were far away from God, could be brought near by faith in the blood of Christ - a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
Though baptism is a beautiful outward sign of a miraculous inner change effected by the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the man or woman who trusts in Christ by grace through faith, baptism was not Paul's primary mission. Paul's main calling was to preach the gospel of grace to a lost and dying world, in season and out of season, to all who had ears to hear.
Paul was called to preach the glorious gospel of the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - that He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried and raised again on the third day, according to the Scriptures.
Paul was chosen to teach the Word of truth to sinners who were dead in their trespasses and sins - men and women who were without hope in the world. He was to teach and preach. He was to rebuke, encourage, warn, and exhort with great patience. Paul was appointed to teach and to share the glorious gospel of Christ with a lost and dying world.
But Paul was not to share the gospel with worldly wisdom and eloquence of speech. He was not to proclaim the good news of Christ with fine sounding words, intellectual arguments, philosophical banter, or witty conversation. Paul was not to preach Christ in his own human strength, for to do so would have rendered his witness to the gospel of none effect. Paul was to share the gospel by grace through faith - as led by the Holy Spirit.
Like Paul, we are not to share the good news of the gospel in the strength of our fleshly self, or by implementing a man-made programme or some promotion strategies. Like Paul, we are not called to witness to the good news of Christ in the power of our own fleshly self, for to do so would cause Christ's sacrifice to be rendered null and void, losing its meaning and depriving it of is supernatural power.
May we seek to be spirit-filled witnesses who die daily to self and walk godly in Christ Jesus, as led by the Holy Spirit of power and to the glory of God. May we be ready to tell of the good news of the gospel of grace in spirit and truth, but not in cleverness of speech so that the Cross of Christ will not be made void.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may be used by You to teach the truth of Jesus Christ, my crucified and resurrected Saviour, to all that You put in my pathway. Keep me from promoting myself in a prideful manner, but I pray that I may be used as an instrument to shed abroad the glorious news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To His praise and glory, AMEN.
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