With a Demonstration

With a Demonstration

We continue our series titled Somos del Señor following the Revised Common Lectionary and sourced from Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Sermons in this series can be found at this link.

Over these last several weeks, we have explored Paul’s reminder that—even in our differences—God continues to call and empower us all. This can be a powerful reminder: that we are worthy, that we are not lacking, that we are empowered, that we are called. A difficulty arrives when we are asked what outward difference this makes. How do we as spiritual people show that we are worthy, that we are not lacking, that we are empowered, that we are called?

Paul’s words in this text challenge us in the same way. Paul says that his message isn’t about rhetoric and preaching, but about the Spirit of God evident within him. He continues with the hope that his audience also displays this same power of God.

Most of us have heard the quote falsely attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.” The sentiment certainly sounds like St. Francis, so the question we might ask ourselves is this: Are we doing it? Are we living the gospel with our whole selves at all times?

1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (CEB)
1When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I didn’t come preaching God’s secrets to you like I was an expert in speech or wisdom. 2I had made up my mind not to think about anything while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and to preach him as crucified. 3I stood in front of you with weakness, fear, and a lot of shaking. 4My message and my preaching weren’t presented with convincing wise words but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. 5I did this so that your faith might not depend on the wisdom of people but on the power of God.

Definition of wisdom
6What we say is wisdom to people who are mature. It isn’t a wisdom that comes from the present day or from today’s leaders who are being reduced to nothing. 7We talk about God’s wisdom, which has been hidden as a secret. God determined this wisdom in advance, before time began, for our glory. 8It is a wisdom that none of the present-day rulers have understood, because if they did understand it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory! 9But this is precisely what is written: God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being. 10God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, including the depths of God. 11Who knows a person’s depths except their own spirit that lives in them? In the same way, no one has known the depths of God except God’s Spirit. 12We haven’t received the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit so that we can know the things given to us by God.

Consider these questions:

  1. What might it look like for someone to outwardly show that God’s Spirit is present and active in their lives?
  2. What might it look like for you to outwardly show that God’s Spirit is present and active in your life?
  3. Is something holding you back from this? If so, what?

Post-Worship Update on 2/11

Audio from the sermon can be found below.

Sunday’s worship asked whether or not we are choosing to live our lives as though our faith has made a difference within us. Paul’s text asks this of the church in Corinth, and we must consider the question ourselves. Has our faith changed us in some way? If so, do we live out that change in real and tangible ways?

We revisited the quote often mis-attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” While there is no evidence of St. Francis saying or writing these words, the idea is very similar to these that are appropriately attributed: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

As people of faith, are we actually walking the walk? Or are we just talking the talk?

The idea of evangelism can be scary. We generally feel pretty anxious about vocally proclaiming our faith outwardly and publicly. But perhaps outwardly and publicly walking the walk is (pun intended) a step in the right direction. Perhaps doing so is the essence of living a “questionable life” (if you haven’t already check out the audio above, particularly at the 13:43-16:17 mark).

Consider these questions:

  1. How has the Spirit of God made a difference in your life? How do you experience Spirit inviting you deeper into transformation now?
  2. Do you fear being a witness or giving a testimony about your relationship with God? Why or why not? Do you fear living an outwardly “questionable life?” Why or why not?
  3. What might evangelism look like that is focused on sharing the relationship with God that we already have, rather than on sharing specific information? What might evangelism look like that seeks to discern where God is already at work in the lives of the community we encounter (as opposed to “taking Christ to the world”)?

2 Comments

  1. Mark Berry

    The idea of “living a questionable life” reminded me of Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” A sprinkling of “salt” in a conversation, mentioning faith or church involvement in passing (as naturally as one mentions other aspects of one’s life), can invite further inquiry.

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