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Biblical Illustrator i Cor 2

Biblical Illustrator i Cor 2

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 26, 2011
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THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR I COR 2CHAPTER II.Vet^s. 1-5. And I, brethren, . . . came . . . not with excellency of speech or of wisdom. — The spirit or tone in wliich St. Paul preached : — It was in — I. AdecisiveTOE OF PERSOAL COVICTIO. It was "the testimony of God," not anopinion.He does not say, " I think so," but " God says so." So in Gal. i. 11, 12. St. Paulwas no hired, official expounder of a system. He felt that his words were eternaltruth : hence their power. Hence, too, arises the possibility of discarding rules of oratory. For it is half-way towards making us believe when a man believes him-self. Faith produces faith. II. A spirit of self-abnec;ation (ver. 2). Therewere no side glances at his own prospects, reputation, success. And this sincerityand self-forgetfulness was a source of power. It was so with the Baptist, whodeclared of Christ : " He must increase, but I must decrease." In any work whichis to live, or be really beautiful, there must be the spirit of the Cross. That whichis to be a temple to God must never have the marble polluted with the name of the architect or builder. III. A spirit of personal lowliness (ver. 3). Partlythis refers to his infirmities and disadvantages ; but partly, too, it means deephumility. ow, remember who it was who said this — the daring St. Paul, whosesoul was all of flame, whose every word was a half-battle, who stood alone on Mars'Hill, and preached to the scoffing Athenians " Jesus and the Piesurrection." Howlittle they who heard his pomlerous sentences could have conceived that "weak-ness, and fear, and much trembling " of the invisible spirit ! But again : see howthis tells on the tone of his ministry. St. Paul did not begin with asserting hisprelatical dignity and apostolic authority. He began with declaring truth, andthat in "trembling." Then, when men dis23uted his right to teach, he vindicatedhis authority, but not till then. And this is a lesson for modern times. Eachminister must prove his apostolical succession by apostolic truthfulness, sincerity,and courage — as St. Paul proved his — and by his charity, and by his Christ-likemeekness. [F. W. Rohertson, M.A.) Paul a model jireacher : — Look at — I.His matter. — 1. He excludes all that is foreign to his purpose. 2. Knows nothingbut Christ. II. His manner. 1. He is modest in the consciousness of his ownweakness. 2. Plain in the conviction of the presence and power of the Spirit.IH. The effect. 1. Faith not in the man. 2. But in the power of God. (-7.Lyth, D.D.) A faithful p)icture of a true gospel preacher : — The grand subjectof his ministry — I. Is the crucified Christ, because — 1. He is the highest
revelation of God's love for men. 2. He is the most thrilling demonstration of thewickedness of humanity. 3. He is the grandest display of loyalty to moral recti-tude. II. SoDL-ABSORBiG (ver. 3). The man who has some paramount sentimentlooks at the universe, through it, and values it so far as it reflects and honoursthat sentiment. Hence to Paul Christ was " all in all." All other subjects — political and philosophical — dwindled into insigniflcance in its presence ; itswallowed up his great soul. III. Makes him indifferent to all rhetoricalconsiderations (ver. 1). The theme was infinitely too great for it. Does thesplendid apple-tree in full blossom require to be decorated with gaudy ribbons ?Christ crucified is mighty eloquence. IV. Subdues in him all self-conscious-ness (ver. 3). V. Invests him with Divine power over man (vers. 4, 5). (D.Thomas, D.D.) The Cliristian j^reacher :—I. His message. 1. The testimonyof God. 2. Concerning Christ. 3. Divine, therefore true. II. His method of delivering it, 1. ot artificial in style, matter, or manner. 2. But plain,simple, pointed. {J. Lytlt, D.D.) Gospel preaching: — ote — 1. That the13roper method to convert men in any community, Christian or Pagan, is to preachor set forth the truth concerning the person and work of Christ. 2. The properstate of mind in which to preach the gospel is the opposite of self-confidence orCHAP. II.] I. CORITHIAS. 119carelessness. The gospel should be preached with a sense of weakness and withgreat anxiety and solicitude. 3. The success of the gosj'el does not depend on theskill of the preacher, but on the demonstration of the Spirit. 4. The foundationof saving faith is not reason, i.e., not arguments addressed to the understanding,but the power of God as exerted with and by the truth upon the heart. (C.Hodge.)Preaching — fruit and flowers : — At Hampton Court Palace every one regardswithwonder the enormous vine loaded with so vast a multitude of luge clusters : justoutside the vine-house is as fine a specimen of the wistaria, and when it is in fullbloom, the cluster-like masses of bloom cause you to think it a flower-bearingvine, as the other is a fruit-bearing vine. Fit emblems these two famous trees of two ministries, both admired, but not equally to be prized— the ministry of oratory, luxuriant in metaphor and poetry, and the ministry of grace, aboundingin sound teaching and soul- saving energy. Gay as are the flower-clusters of thewistaria, no one mistakes them for the luscious bunches of the grape ; yet thereare many simpletons in spiritual things who mistake sound for sense, and seem tosatisfy their hunger not on solid meat, but on the jingle of a musical dinner-bell.[C.H. Spurgeon.) Conditions of mccei-gful preacJiing : — If a preacher wishes to
be successful he must — 1. Deny himself (ver. 1) and exalt Christ (ver. 2). 2. Feelhimself weak (ver. 3), yet strong (ver. 4). 3. Ignore the human and magnify theDivine (ver. 5). [J. Lylh.) Brilliant, hut not saving, sermons : — Sir Astley Cooper,on visiting Paris, was asked by the surgeon en chef of the empire how many timeshe had performed a certain wonderful feat of surgery. He replied that he had per-formed the operation thirteen times. " Ah, but, monsieur, I have done him onehundred and sixty times. How many times did you save his life?" continuedthe curious Frenchmen, after he had looked into the blank amazement of SirAstley's face. " I," said the Englishman, " saved eleven out of the thirteen, howmany did you save out of one hundred and sixty ? " " Ah, monsieur, I lose demall ; but de operation was very brilliant.'" Of how many popular ministries mightthe same verdict be given ! Souls are not saved, but the preaching is verybrilliant. Thousands are attracted and operated on by the rhetorician's art, butwhat if he should have to say of his admirers, " I lose them all, but the sermonswere very brilliant! " (C H. Spurgeon.) The messenger like the message:—!. Asthe gospel is the foolish thing of God, so the apostle had no wisdom or utteranceof his own (vers. 1, 2). 2. As the gospel is the weak thing of God, so the apostlecame to Corinth in weakness, fear, and trembling (ver. 3). But as Christ is thepower and wisdom of the gospel, so the Spirit is the power and wisdom of theministry (ver. 4). 3. As the gospel is the mystery of God, and therefore a Divinepower, so the ministry is a Divine power, and therefore the manifestation of Divinewisdom. (Principal Edwards.) The Dirine testimony, and the apostle's responsi-hilitii in relation to it : — Consider — I. The theme. " The testimony of God,"which has to do with " Jesus Christ and Him crucified " (ver. 2). The " declara-tion " of this theme, in all its manifold relations and aspects, is the preaching of the gospel. The gospel is characterised by — 1. Wisdom (ver. 6). Perfection of moral character is seen only in the character of Jesus Christ. 2. " Hiddenwisdom." 3. Ancient wisdom. " Ordained before the world." 4. Glorifyingwisdom. "Ordained unto our glory." II. The declaration (ver*. 1) was — 1.Simple in its chnracter. "ot with excellency of speech" — "not with enticingwords of man's wisdom." 2. Convincing in its arguments. It was "in demon-stration of the Spirit." 3. Powerful in its effects (ver. 5). 4. Of exclusiveimportance (ver. 2). [The Study.) Faith, not intellect: — A friend said toArchbishop "Whately on his death-bed : '• The Lord has heard your prayers andpreserved your intellect unimpaired." He replied : "It is not intellect which canavail me now, but faith in Christ Jesus." Rhetorical pireaching : — In ascendingthe lofty peaks of the Jungfrau and Monte Eosa, the guides, I have read, notunfrequently resort to the innocent artifice of endeavouring to interest the travellerin the beauty of the flowers in onier to distract his attention from the fearfulabysses which the giddy path overhangs. What the Alpine guides thus innocentlydo, we preachers are often tempted to do not so innocently. We are prone so tooccupy our hearers with the graces of composition and the flowers of rhetoric that

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