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Preaching Only The Light Of Christ

2 Corinthians 4:5-6
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ. (NIVUK)

Paul's preaching was greatly used by God to start a cascade of church planting which has spread all over the world, and continues to this day. But Paul was not a celebrity preacher. He did not advertise himself or seek a personal following: his only interest was to announce Jesus Christ to a sin-stricken world through an undiluted gospel message. Unlike the proud priests who rose through the religious hierarchies of his day, and ours, Paul's ministry was personally sacrificial (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).

Paul described himself as a servant of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1), a servant of the gospel (Ephesians 3:7) and therefore a servant of all who will hear and respond to the gospel – like a waiter who serves his master's food to others at a banquet. The message was not about the greatness of the apostle (the Corinthians had been duped by 'super-apostles' who thought a lot of themselves – 2 Corinthians 11:5), but about the supreme greatness of Jesus who is the Lord and Master of everything and everybody.

Paul's preaching was not just a recitation of academic theology; it was full of personal conviction. The only message he proclaimed was the one which had first transformed his own life (Acts 26:12-18). The physically bright light on the Damascus road preceded Jesus entering Paul's proud and dangerously dark heart, as he submitted to serve the Light of the world. Although Paul previously claimed to know about God, he only really knew God when he came to know Jesus, who is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3).

We cannot take people further spiritually than we have been ourselves. A knowledge of theology is no substitute for knowing Jesus and being known by Him. But it is only when He lightens our hearts with His truth and grace, that we have a transforming message to share. Do not worry if nobody celebrates you (Matthew 6:1-4): what matters is that you serve the food of truth so that other people see Jesus as the Lord and Light of the world, and submit to Him.

God of light and love. Thank You for Jesus, the greatest light in this dark world. Thank You that He has exposed the dark places of my heart and shown me how to live in the light of His truth. Forgive me for the times when I have resisted Your work of grace in my heart, so that I have little to give to others. Please help me to welcome Your work in my heart so that I may have the ability to share Jesus with others. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams