The Simple Gospel
Nothing Except Jesus

Stan Cox

 


1 Corinthians 2:1, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

The apostle Paul supplies us with a very important fact in the above passage of scripture. Simply put, the message is what is important. With all of the glitz and glamour which surrounds our so called "information age", this is a lesson that is often forgotten.

The television news program that gets the best ratings is not the one which supplies the best information, but rather that which packages itself best. Best looking anchorpersons, best graphics, most sensational promos. The politician who gets elected is not the candidate with the best policies and most integrity, but rather the most telegenic, who can speak in sound bytes, and who often is willing to lie in order to tell the people what they want to hear. Products are not purchased because of their quality, but rather because of the brand name, or the flashy commercials, or the celebrity endorsments.

Finally, the religious message that is most attractive today is not Christ and Him crucified, but rather the glitz, glamour and appeal of a socialized gospel. Even brethren who are ostensibly conservative and faithful can be caught in this trap. How many times have you heard the call for a local preacher, or meeting preacher who has a "big name" in the brotherhood, or has a pleasing pulpit manner, or was educated at a particular college. Christian families often place membership in a congregation not because of the potential good they can do in that fellowship, but rather based upon how many "young couples" there are, or how socially minded they might be, or what the group has "to offer" them. It seems that we too have been taken in by glamour and glitz, and are more concerned with how attractive and pleasant is the package surrounding the message, than we are in the message itself.

Perhaps we need to be reminded of the plain apostle Paul. His appeal was not in his appearance, for he was despised when seen. 2 Corinthians 10:10, "'For his letters,' they say, 'are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.'" As he affirmed in our beginning text, the power of his arguement was not in human sophistry. What was important was his message. Christ and Him Crucified ... The Gospel. And that is what ought to be important to us as well.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only effectual message for the saving of man's soul. It is a simple, but powerful message, and it is the only one we need to arm ourselves with as we strike out into the world. We ought to bear it proudly. We should not apologize for it, or for our limited talents as we seek to spread it. The message is unique in that as it falls upon good and honest hearts it germinates, regardless of and often in spite of our halting delivery of it. Let us not get caught up in ourselves or others, thinking the power is in the sower. Brethren, the power is in the seed!

Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek."

To God be the Glory!


e-mail this author at stancox@watchmanmag.com

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