We Preach Jesus Christ, Not Ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:5 “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.”
We live in a time where preachers have decided that God’s word is of none effect on the lost sinner. Preachers have belittled God, Jesus Christ, The work of the Holy Spirit, and God’s word as non-effect. The reason church signs have deceitfulness, craftiness, and contain man’s philosophy is because mankind believes they are more powerful than God. They believe that God is not sovereign and cannot save sinners. While they may occasionally say it, they believe it not. They do not believe that the blood of Jesus Christ is enough to cleanse you from every sin you will ever commit. They give only partial salvation to Jesus, while the rest is up to us. Deceitfulness is taking salvation from God our Saviour and preaching ourselves saviour.
I. What does it mean when Paul says “For we preach not ourselves…”?
1. I believe this is widely defined. There are many ways one can preach themselves. But I believe in context Paul define what he is talking about here.
2. Paul starts in verse 1 with these words, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry…” What Ministry?
a. The ministry of the gospel message. We must as Christians understand that no message, no sermon is as important as the gospel about Jesus Christ.
b. Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 3:6-8 “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (7.) Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. (8.) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” This was his calling, to preach the gospel.
3. As ministers, and as churches, we must understand that this life as Christians and churches is not about ourselves, but preaching God’s gift of Christ and salvation to this lost and dying generation.
4. It is because we “…have received mercy, we faint not;” V. 1
a. Meaning since we ourselves were saved by grace, we will never grow weak in our work of extending the work of Jesus, Paul and the great saints throughout history before us.
b. No matter what, the gospel message must be ours. Growing weak is not an option.
II. Paul went on to describe Preaching oneself in verse 2 “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty…”
1. What is dishonesty? Dishonesty is defined as “concealed”. Preaching dishonesty is preaching anything except God saves sinners and Jesus Christ is Saviour.
2. Paul said to the church at Rome, Romans 1:15-16 “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (16.) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
3. If we preach anything else about salvation we are “preaching ourselves” and not Christ.
4. Paul said in verse 2 “…walking in craftiness” This word means – trickery – it is described as - in disguise, acting with art and cunning, but in great simplicity.
a. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:12 “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”
b. 2 Corinthians 2:17 “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
5. Paul accuses them of “…handling the word of God deceitfully…” V. 2
a. That is in a shameful of disgraceful way. 2 Corinthians 2:17 “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
b. There are so many today that “handling the word of God deceitfully” it is a disgrace to God, Christ, and His word.
c. Paul warned young Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2-5 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (3.) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4.) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (5.) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Full proof means - to carry out fully – the charge to preach the word in truth. We cannot deceitfully handle God’s word.
6. Understanding that Satan has them blinded, and they will never believe unless God makes them see. There blindness does not just leave them, God has to command the light to shine unto them.
7. Nothing we can say, nothing we can do, will ever cause that light to shine.
III. Therefore “… we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…”
1. We do not preach philosophy, with wisdom, we do nay have to be deceitful, We do not have to craft trickery, all we need to do is to preach the truth of the word. Colossians 1:27-29 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (28.) Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: (29.) Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”
2. Preachers are charged of God to preach the word; the word is all we need. God does the rest. 2 Timothy 2:14-16 “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. (15.) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (16.) But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
3. Folks, if God does not command the light of the gospel to shine, nothing we do will cause it to shine.