I Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Here Paul states his true ministry. He had been through a lot on his missionary journeys; he was willing to go through it all so that he might carry the message of the cross. The preaching of the cross is my primary duty. The cross is a symbol of self-denial. It is the only means of our salvation. I want to talk about these three things.
Paul said he was not called to baptize. He wasn’t disputing the importance of baptism. After a person gets saved he/she ought to be baptized. Paul said his goal was to preach the cross. As a pastor I have a lot of responsibilities. I wear many hats from counselor, to performing marriages and funerals, to being an administrator. However, above all my responsibility is to preach the Word of God. I have to be involved in the Word on my own so that I can ask God to minister through me. Preaching is the means to bring salvation. I must do my best.
The cross is about self-denial. Scriptures like Luke 14:27 and 9:23 tell us to carry the cross on a daily basis. The cross represented total commitment. Someone going for execution on the cross had no plans beyond that. There was no coming back. He couldn’t back out or change his mind. As such, we need to be committed to it and deny self. I’ll carry HIS cross until I see HIM. As the song says “the world behind me; the cross before me; no turning back.” The world despises Christianity. There are many examples of this in the Bible including how our Lord Jesus Christ was treated. We’ve lost what the Bible tells us that true Christianity is. People want to see the good in following Christ but many don’t want to suffer the consequences of it. We are to love Christ supremely and that means to deny ourselves and take up his cross.
The cross is the only means of salvation. What we need now is Jesus. Things are bad. They’re broken. I know what will help: Jesus Christ. Our hope is not in D.C. but in Jesus. Some think that if the good they’ve done outweighs the bad they will make it into heaven. It’s not so. Remember the Bible says there is a way that seems right to man but the end is death. God will say depart from me; I never knew you. The only good that any of us can claim is through the blood of Jesus. Our salvation is not based on works. Ephesians 2 tells us that we’re saved by grace through faith, a gift of God. This is what the cross does for us.
It’s important for us all to carry the message of the cross to a lost and dying world.