1 Corinthians 2 v 1 - 5

It was a bold move for church-planting Paul to come to a new place and stick to the plain message of the Gospel. It would have been simpler for this erudite, intellectual to have used flowery rhetoric to embellish and to attract the listeners. It wasn't due to inability that Paul chose this approach, it was recognition that other ways of preaching aroused interest in the speaker rather than in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. In Callington, where I was previous to Bradford, we had an active Churches Together and we would meet a couple of times a year as Christians. On one occasion the local Bishop was invited and everyone was impressed with the way he spoke and his anecdotes and humour, but when reflecting on his words later, many said that there was little substance to what he said. Beware being attracted to the speaker over the words he or she says! It is useful to note also that in the book of Acts it is recorded that Paul arrived in Corinth from Athens and in that great city Paul had attempted possibly for the first time to reduce Christianity to philosophical terms. In 17 v 22-31 he has one of his few failures in that his sermon had very little effect. In Corinth, his simple approach, relying on the power of the cross, the Truth and the Holy Spirit is remarkably successful. All around him, lives were changed and even in that most morally compromised of cities a church was formed and flourished: there is no sign in the writings of Paul to the church at Corinth that the fellowship was anything but lively and full of bustle and desire to grasp hold of the Truth. Yes, sometimes they went astray, but I would say better that with life and purpose than coldly orthodox and austere! Are you, when you attend church, seeking entertainment or desiring seriously to press on in the Lord? At Bible College we were required as part of our training to watch on video some very well-known preachers give sermons. We listened to those like Billy Graham, but what stuck in my mind was the man who repeatedly went back to his theme encouraging his listeners to ''Press on''!

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