Friday, May 27, 2011

Recovery Devotional 357 Supernatural Tools

JMD Devotional 357 1 Corinthians 1:17-24 Supernatural Tools

For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect). For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God. For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing.
Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world's wisdom? For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching [salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him], to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him).
For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.

There is a natural tendency to recast the Gospel in a way that will make sense to the secular mind, to not offend 20th Century sensibilities, to be more palatable for our culture: but this will deprive the Message of its power. The Gospel is not a logic puzzle: it is a moral revelation (God is not recruiting for MENSA). The methodology of Jesus Christ’s propitiation can be made perfectly clear in a flow chart; but the power to convict a person of their own sin is supernatural, and of God. Most people are outright offended by the mention of blood sacrifice, universal depravity, the coming judgment and Israel as God’s chosen people: but if we want God’s power and blessing in our evangelism we need to learn His way of doing it, to present the whole truth.

Dear God,
Are we so prideful to think that we can ‘spin’ Your story, improve Your PR, or change Your methodology through market research? I know what it is like to try to witness in my own ‘wisdom’ and with no power: I have fallen flat many times. Should I not yearn for better results, at least to have a sense of delivering the Message well? Yoke me with Christ Jesus, get me in step, teach me Your way of sharing the Gospel with Your power driving it home, to the heart and soul of lost people. I understand Your withholding Your blessing when it is my way rather than You way: teach me Your Way, and bless me indeed. I know that Jesus echoes this prayer.

All (but*) quotes are from The Amplified Bible, published by
the Lockman Foundation. (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
*New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
**Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. (Eugene Peterson's easy-to-read, contemporary Scripture translation)

I originally produced these blogs between 2006 and 2007, which were then published in my book, JMD Recovery Devotionals. In 2010, I am sending these out to a few people as I review them and see if my point of view has changed.

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