1026. The Power of the Gospel

The preaching of the gospel in  its simplicity has more power than you may imagine.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

 When it comes to walking the talk, Paul’s willingness to go to Rome sets the standard for the rest of us. Rome was the center of the Gentile world. It was filled with men of wisdom and culture. Its armies conquered the world and triumphantly paraded through its streets. Its emperors were soon to demand to be worshiped. Yet Paul, weak in himself and bearing his physical thorn was eager to go there to preach a Christ the Jewish nation had officially rejected, a Christ who had been despised and crucified at their cries by a Roman governor! He eagerly went to preach a way that the Jews in Rome would tell Paul was “everywhere spoken against” (Acts 28:22).

Alexander, Caesar and Napoleon marched with the protection of their armies to enforce their will upon men. Paul eagerly marched with Christ alone to the center of the world’s power with “the Word of the cross” which he himself had said is “to Jews an offence, and to gentiles, foolishness.” When he finally gets there, it is as a shipwrecked prisoner. For two years in his own hired dwelling he receives “all that come to him” (for he can’t go to them) and he proclaims his message which spreads throughout the whole Roman Empire and even into Caesar’s household!

What was his secret? He saw himself as a debtor to all of mankind (Rom. 1:14). The treasure committed to him (the gospel) was not for his own enjoyment. He was compelled to make it known, especially in Rome. The inherent glory of the gospel, God’s life-giving message to a dying world, so filled Paul’s soul that, like his Master, he “despised the shame” he would experience along the way. To Paul, the gospel was a wonderful, inspired, heavenly means of bringing redemption to fallen humanity, and divinely revealed truth that transcended all of earth’s philosophies.

AS I SEE IT

We’re eager to tell our friends about a movie we just saw or a new restaurant we recently discovered. If the movie had a lasting impact on us, we can hardly keep quiet. We want others to share in the experience. Even if they’re not into movies, we do our best to convince them to check it out.

When it comes to sharing the gospel, most Christians are not so eager. Why do we fall so short of Paul’s example? He wasn’t ashamed of the gospel because it was the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). Even though his speech, appearance, and his delivery left a lot to be desired, his message had such power that his shortcomings were inconsequential.

He explains that the simple message of Christ crucified, dead, buried, and risen, when believed, is empowered by God to change lives. According to Paul, there is power in the gospel message when it is proclaimed. It needs no elaboration or skillful explanation. The Word is living and active, and when the Word of the gospel is preached it brings a power of its own.

Billy Graham’s messages were simple and to the point. He proclaimed the gospel simply and millions responded. His effectiveness seems to have been due to his simple proclamations. Perhaps the best rendering of 1 Cor. 1:21 reads “God was pleased through the foolishness of the proclaiming to save them that believe.”  The Greek word for proclaiming is kerusso, and its usage here tells us that the gospel, simply presented needs no human commentary.

 This is great news for us. All we have to do is proclaim the gospel, the simpler the better. Its power lies in itself and is released as it is proclaimed. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the (spoken) word of Christ (the gospel) (Rom. 10:17). Paul would stop at nothing to proclaim the message and power of the gospel. This is the standard that he set for us, and now we know that it’s not as difficult as we imagined.

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