Have you ever been around someone who opposed your political views, and when you pipe up to them to say that they are wrong, they eat your lunch by throwing around phrases which include, but are not limited to, “…well the Speaker of the House…”, “…but the Senate Majority Leader…”, “…how about what the Minority Whip did last week?”, and “What do you have to say about House Bill 1133?”? If you are not well-versed in politics, your natural reaction is to feel embarrassment, ashamedness, and to shy away from the situation because it was obvious your political opponent was more educated and knowledgeable in this topic than were you.
How many times have you “shied away” from an opportunity to share Jesus with someone because you felt like you were not properly equipped to do so, or were afraid of embarrassment if they happen to know more than you, “I’m just a growing Christian” you may say. Or, “I’m still learning the ins and outs of the Bible.” If you have felt or thought these things, congratulations, you’re considered normal in the statistical bell curve of Christianity. You listen to the fancy-pants preachers on the radio, TV, or in your church, and realize just how little you know about Christianity and the Bible. When you hear an evangelist read a word or phrase in the Greek it frustrates you that not only do you have to learn this stuff in English, but in Hebrew and Greek (side note: Isn’t it funny how some of these folks “roll their r’s” when speaking Koine (biblical) Greek, when we have absolutely no idea how these words [save for the occasional onomatopoeia] were pronounced in this ancient language!!)!
So what is the answer to this all-too-common problem?
Paul, unequivocally the most effective evangelist of Jesus Christ of all time, put it plainly in I Corinthians 2. Paul clearly states to the folks at Corinth that he did not come with fancy or “…enticing words of man’s wisdom…” when he declared the “testimony of God.” He also stated that he “…determined not to know anything…” about the Corinthians when he spoke to them, “…save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Paul was a very intelligent man, and well educated, but he didn’t spend his time trying to write a fancy evangelistic sermon when he brought Jesus to these people. Nor did he research the Corinthians to see how their culture dealt with certain situations in order to “appeal” to them. He simply preached to them Jesus Christ, and how he was crucified for the sins of the entire world. Paul stated that he did so because he believed that their “…faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” If your faith in God is based on the wisdom of men, it is improperly rooted. Our faith needs to be in God, and in Him alone. Men can and will fail. Men can also appear to have wisdom, but, as Paul says earlier in chapter 1, “…the foolishness of God is wiser than men…” Paul says this not to state that God has foolishness, but as an allegory to help us understand just how foolish the “wisest” man is when compared to God.
Paul goes on to state that a true relationship with God through Jesus is only attainable if the Spirit of God first calls him. He clarifies this by stating:
“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
Paul is stating here that when a man stands up and clouds “God’s Testimony” with obfuscated verbiage and confusing concepts, he is (knowingly or unknowingly) communicating to the spirit of the man, not the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of God which draws a man to salvation, *not* the spirit of the man, and if people are to be saved, one needs to be communicating on the spiritual level, not the intellectual level. This presents a dangerous situation, as you reap intellectual, emotional, or logical decisions to follow Christ. “It all makes sense!” or “It just felt right” are the improper reasons to trust Christ. The bible says if you do so for any other reason than the Spirit of God himself calling you, it is of naught, and is not a genuine relationship with Christ. A good friend and spiritual mentor of mine once said, “We don’t need better Christians in the world today, we need *real* Christians.” Recall the chilling words of Jesus in Matthew 7:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Am I saying not to “study to show yourself approved?” No. We are instructed to, and I strenuously urge you to do so, but don’t wait until you feel “ready” to share the gospel of Jesus before you decide to.
Am I saying that people who speak in the Greek (or even roll their r’s) are wasting their time? No. It is one thing to assist in the biblical education of other believers, it is another to attempt to use worldly knowledge to attempt to win souls for Jesus.
Am I saying that we shouldn’t learn about other cultures so we can tweak the message to “appeal” to those in a manner in which they will respond? Well….yes! This is Paul’s whole basis here—Don’t mess with the Gospel. When it comes to reaching people for Christ, it is the wisdom of God that saves people, and not the wisdom of man…let the Testimony of God speak for itself.
It is the only thing that truly matters, and you will NEVER be ready if you are waiting for the moment in which you feel prepared—remember it’s not your job to save people, it’s your job to tell people about Christ Jesus, and how he died in our place—God will do the rest.