“I have no desire to rob the cross of its power. The preaching of the cross is, I know, nonsense to those who are involved in this dying world, but to us who are being saved from that death it is nothing less that the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 (Phillips)
It is hard to explain the temptation that haunts this pastor to rob the cross of its power.
Here’s what I mean by that.
First, it is clear throughout Scripture that the primary, and really only, work of the pastor (and church he pastors) is the preaching of the cross. Yet the old nature is constantly at war with the message of the cross. The cross is a never ending message that the old nature must be crucified, his desires and passions are null and void or power. The cross is a message of foolishness and nonsense if the old nature has any hope of surviving.
If this pastor has any duty that has any real power, it is the cross of Christ.
This is why the apostle Paul argues this message to be a stumbling block to the Jews. Until the message of the cross is preached (by the broken messenger) and supernaturally heard (by the spiritually dead soul) then this cross is always in the way of the self-righteous attempting to please God without the cross.
This is why Paul states that this cross message is foolishness or nonsense to the Greeks. Unless the philosopher of this day, the debaters of reason and logic, the intellectual who claims to walk by sight and not by faith then the language of lawbreaking offender of God is simply foolish talk to him. In Athens, Paul (Acts 17) was mocked as being a cock sparrow for preaching the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
When I step into a ‘Christian’ bookstore or attend a conference I must do so with discipline. There are many clever ideas to duplicated only to prove powerless as a cheap imitation. I must plead with God to destroy any desire of my old nature that wants to rob the cross of its power.
I’ll have to always preach to myself that the preaching of the cross will always be a stumbling block and heard as nonsense and foolish talk to those who are perishing. But I am never given permission to abandon the preaching of the cross. I can’t love the unconverted more than God does and I don’t have a better message to give this soul than the one ordained by God (the cross) that can actually rescue the perishing.
If the church has any power at all, and she does, it is in the preaching of the cross. Why rob the cross of its ordained power to remove stumbling blocks or illuminate the path of sinners of their certain demise.
“The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord”. If there is any hope for the perishing it is the preaching of this one foundation. If there is anything this spiritually anemic culture of ours needs it is an invasion of cross preaching churches lead by cross preaching pastors.
Oh that these dry eyes of mine would refuse to be wooed by the wisdom of men and become a fountain of tears asking God for strength to not rob the cross of its power. May the glory of His name be the passion of the church.