The True Emphasis of the Gospel Ministry Part One

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” I Corinthians 1:17-19

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I Corinthians 2:1-5

I. Things Mistakenly Emphasized in Christianity

A. Education – Great emphasis is often put on education. Paul said he was sent to preach the gospel “not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” {Acts 4:13}

Anything that draws attention away from the cross of Christ is a hindrance, not a help. Leonard Ravenhill said of modern-day preaching “we have men with degrees but no heat”

B. Ritualism – Today many put the emphasis on ritualism, things or rites that men perform. Some think Christianity is made up of ornate, beautiful services with candles and incense and priestly garb. Some put the emphasis on baptism but the Apostle said, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” {some were evidently bragging over who baptized them} Baptism does not save. Rituals do not save. Rituals are only a substitute for the simplicity of the preaching of the cross of Christ.

Ritualism allows unbroken, proud sinners to be religious…to put on fair show of the flesh. I think it would be fair to say that in Fundamental Baptist circles our ritual has developed into coming to an alter or repeating a prayer.

C. Wealth – Many today put the emphasis on wealth. The health and wealth gospel is very popular today. Many think that that gain is godliness. The gospel is not about being rich…not in material things. Many think a ministry must be of God or is successful because it has wealth. The greatest gospel preacher that ever lived, the Apostle Paul, said he didn’t have enough clothes to keep him warm and often didn’t have anything to eat or drink.

The other Paul {sic} Paul Crouch, the founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, isn’t doing so badly. Jan and Paul took in 93 million in donations in 2010. It is reported they spend $300,000 a year on meals. They have his and her mansions in Newport Beach California one of them worth 5.6 million dollars, but Mrs. Crouch mainly stays in her mansion near Orlando Florida….not too shabby for a couple of religious hucksters. {source- article New York Times by Erik Eckholm May 4th, 2012}

The Bible says; “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” {II Peter 2:1-3}  These are Things Mistakenly Emphasized in Christianity”

D. Crowds- Just because you have a large crowd does not mean that God is blessing. There are many ways to draw a crowd. “What a perversion of the one true gospel is this modern “gimmick gospel.” Give-aways, gadgets, and games are weekly emphasized to keep the crowds coming. It’s “Balloon Sunday” one week, “Ice cream Sunday” another week, and “Bo-Zo-the-Clown Sunday” the next week. On and on the “gimmick gospel” goes, going so far as to have “karate preachers” performing their stunts, and “cut-off-your-tie” days. Some churches have such a carnival-like atmosphere about them, that now their members no longer talk about going to “church,” but to the “circus.” from The Gimmick Gospel by W. F. Bell

E. Emotion – A lot of emphasis is put on emotion these days. High powered music is used to stir up the crowd. Often cheerleader like “worship leaders” are used to “get things going” I am not against emotion. I am an emotional person…but a lost person can be emotional in a high powered church service. I heard a young Christian say not long ago “if that singing group doesn’t ‘crank me up’ tonight I’ll be getting up and leaving”

A lot of churches today are built on entertainment. The problem is…next week has to be more exciting than last week. Racket doesn’t mean revival.

Education, Ritualism, Wealth, Crowds, Emotion, Things Mistakenly Emphasized in Christianity

Shawn

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