One of the only things that I learned in 9th grade history was found in the preface of the textbook. There was a quote that said in essence that the only thing that we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. In other words, we fail to learn from our mistakes and blindly keep repeating them and reap the same results.
Evidently, the apostle Paul was familiar with this thought. First Corinthians 2:1-4 is his answer to learning from his mistake and his resolve to never repeat it again. This letter to the Corinthian church was written after his disappointing time of ministry in Athens. (Acts 17). In Athens, Paul preached one of his finest sermons. Everything was perfect from a cultural standpoint. (Acts 17:23, 28). His sermon was one that every Bible school homiletics and hermeneutics professor would use as the perfect example of how a sermon should be researched, composed, and delivered. And yet, after the masterpiece was delivered, Paul anguished over its dismal results. (Acts 17:32, 34).
What was Paul’s resolve? While he didn’t discount his preparation and excellent delivery, he came to the conclusion that these alone won’t bring about the desired results. Enticing (Greek peitho …craftily chosen, persuasive) words of man’s wisdom (Greek sophos … wisdom that is naturally obtained) didn’t bring salvation to those in Athens. His resolve was that from this time forward he would validate his message with the display or evidence of supernatural ministry.
Together, let’s learn from history. Let’s not make the same mistake. From this day forward, together let us resolve that in every ministry opportunity, we will share the good news in an intellectual format that everyone can understand (just as Paul did in Athens) and confirm the message with demonstrations of the Spirit and of power. We aren’t abandoning preparation and connecting with people through culture. We aren’t leaving our brains at the front door. But, we are resolving that preparation and delivery alone aren’t sufficient. From this day forward, we are resolving to demonstrate that God is behind our message!!!!