The Message, Not the Messenger

by Terry Lanford on April 15th, 2019

I admit that I can be thoroughly captivated by the eloquence, charisma and wisdom of certain preachers and Bible teachers.  Even to the point of identifying so strongly with a speaker that I have sometimes made much of the messenger and not the message. Sometimes we church members can spend more time talking about how much we love a particular leader rather than how much we love Jesus.

The Apostle Paul, was greatly burdened by believers in Corinth who had the same problem. Listen for Paul’s intensity over the disunity among the church in Corinth. “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

The first division Paul addressed was their fractioning into groups by identification with prominent Christian leaders. Paul said in verse 12, “What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

Paul’s response was to remind the Corinthian believers of their identity in Christ. “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul (1 Cor. 1:13).”

He also pointed to the power of the gospel. “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor.17-18).

The messenger is simply a vessel for communicating God’s Word regardless of his seeming eloquence and wisdom. Believers must make much of Christ through our identification with Him and our praise of Him. 

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