On most Sunday afternoons, I’m thinking about the message I preached that morning. Almost every Monday morning, I’m still processing what I could have said differently, explained more clearly, or, perhaps, illustrated better the day before. I wish I had sermon do-overs. I imagine most everyone who communicates on a regular basis (teachers, professors, salespeople, lawyers, etc.) does the same.
Yesterday, there was something in particular that I just didn’t communicate clearly enough from what the Bible says. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, explains that the wisdom of God is found in the cross of His Son and power of His Spirit, not in the wisdom of the world or the wisdom of people.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2,
“4My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power… 13We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.”
Here’s what I think I missed, or, at least, didn’t articulate clearly enough in the sermon yesterday. The Spirit’s power at work in the life of the believer in Christ is more significant than anything else or anyone else. In other words, the most powerful sermon by the greatest preacher doesn’t compare to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The most insightful lesson taught by the greatest teacher doesn’t equal the impact of the Holy Spirit in transforming our minds. The most popular book by the bestselling human author doesn’t even come close to the influence of God’s Spirit in our hearts.
This does not mean, however, that God doesn’t use preachers, teachers, authors, or others to impact, transform, and influence our lives. Nor is this an excuse for poor preparation, lack of training or skill development, laziness, “winging it,” or not investing significant time studying the Scriptures. Rather, Paul says that it’s God who ultimately communicates by His Spirit to explain His Word and teach His Wisdom to mature, spiritual followers of Jesus Christ.
Even when I don’t say something well enough, clearly enough, motivating enough, insightfully enough about Christ crucified on the cross, the Bible says it’s enough because it’s not based on me, my wisdom, or my communication abilities – it’s centered on God’s power by His Spirit. God uses different sizes and kinds of people to till the soil, plant the seeds, water, and prune our lives to maturity – but the growth is always by the wisdom and power of His Spirit. And that’s always enough.
Follow me… as I follow Jesus Christ.