Steve Johnson - April 28, 2019

Simply Sharing the Gospel

The story itself was still pretty raw. It was a certainly a touchy subject. Jesus and the cross didn’t have tradition yet. It wasn’t in the fabric of any culture yet. In fact, the message of Jesus was still shocking to most who would hear it. Imagine telling someone an improbable story using unfamiliar words about an event that happened a few years back where the leader died; at the same time, you have to communicate that it is the secret to everything. You would have to be pretty adept at presenting this one – especially given the competition in Corinth. Speaking and telling stories publicly was a big deal in Corinth. It was a pre-social media, pre-mass media, pre-printing press world. Public speakers were a major source of entertainment. The elite speakers were called Sophists – and they were wise. They would make a living by going around and speaking and debating at public gatherings, banquets, and parties. They would come with a bit of “truth” wrapped with fancy logic and clever presentation. When they debated, it wasn’t always about who was right, it was about who made the greatest presentation. And these speakers knew how to work a crowd with their stories. Paul finds himself right in the middle of this scene in Corinth. And the reality is that he could have gone toe-to-toe with the Sophists in public with the message of the gospel. He was an educated man with great reputation. He was an expert on the law. His writings show he was an expert in persuasion. He could have easily wowed the crowd with his skill. And yet, he chose, on the basis of all he says in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, to present the gospel in a much different way – in a way to which you and I can easily relate 2000 years later. Sharing the gospel today in north Scottsdale poses many of the same challenges for us as it did for Paul among the Corinthians. This Sunday, you’ll discover how simple it can really be.

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