TRANSCRIPT | Wed, Sept 30, 2020 | Not With Enticing Words

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Amen, and amen, and amen. Man, what a privilege it is to get to hang out with you on a Wednesday evening. For all these folks that are here with me, I'm going allow them to be seated. Tonight I have with me my wife and my son, and we were talking beforehand and he decided that the best approach for tonight was that we would do a Q&A with me and him .joking. I'm going to share the word with you in just a minute.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

We're actually in a study in First Corinthians. Last week, we looked at chapter one. This week we're going to look at chapter two, and I am glad to be able to say tonight that I have with me some of those that have come through our apprenticeship program at Three Trees, and their girlfriends and some fiance's in the room with us. And so love these guys and gals very much. They have been a major part of a lot of things that have happened behind the scenes at Three Trees, and things that maybe you've never even known was having to take place in order for us to be the church that God's allowing us to be.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so I'd just like to publicly say that I love all you guys very, very much, and I'm grateful for you, and I'm proud of you. And I believe that greater things are yet to come in all of your lives. And so now that I have all of you here tonight, I'm going to preach on relationships. No, I'm joking. We're going to First Corinthians, chapter two.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The letter to the church at Corinth, there's a first letter and there's a second letter, First Corinthians and Second Corinthians. And this first letter is Paul is really dealing with the fact that there's good news of the gospel, but there are some bad Christians.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And the church at Corinth is struggling, seemed to be doing well while he was with them for about 18 months. But following that period of time, he starts to get some pretty troubling reports about disunity, there's issues with drunkenness, there's issue with sexual immorality. The list goes on and Paul's writing this letter and he's trying to lead them. He's trying to counsel them. He's trying to teach them, but he's also in many ways, both correcting and rebuking them.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so I want to pick it up in First Corinthians chapter two, we're going to read about five verses and then we'll dive into this. It says, verse number one, "And I, when I came to you," Paul speaking, "Brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you, the testimony of God with lofty speech or with wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

"And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my speech and my message were not implausible words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the spirit and of power so that your faith might not rest in wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. As we get ready to kind of break this down verse by verse, which is exactly what we're going to do in just a moment, I thought it might be beneficial to paint a little bit of a background. Now I know that we did that somewhat last week, but what I'd like to do is actually even take a further look into the life of Paul and to talk about Paul, just a little bit, because there's something he says here about the fact that he's not coming with the enticing words of man's wisdom that I think you have to have some context to really understand.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Here's the thing about Paul. Paul, we know that he came from Tarsus and there are some that believe that Tarsus would have been an epic center of intellectual development in that day. In fact, there are some commentators that put Tarsus on par with perhaps even Alexandria or Athens in that day, epic centers of places where intellectual things and philosophy was being discussed. And we know that Paul has a background in a place where that this kind of thing is being cultivated. And so what we come to know is that Paul was schooled in Grecian ways of thought. He was schooled in Grecian ways of thought.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But here's the other thing. When you think about even some of the things that we know about him, there's a verse, it sticks out. It's Acts chapter 17, verse 28. It says, "For in him, we live and we move and we have our being as even some of your poets have said, for we are indeed his offspring."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

That is actually Paul quoting a poet of that day that was renowned, a man by the name of Aratis. In Titus chapter one, verse 12, it says, "One of the cretins, a prophet of their own said cretins are always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons." It's believed that in that moment, he's quoting a guy by the name of Epimenides.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Some of you guys who are in seminary, can you work on that one for me? So here's the other one. First Corinthians chapter 15, verse 33 says, "Do not be deceived. Bad company ruins good morals." They think in that moment, he's quoting another intellect of that day, a man by the name of [Maninder 00:05:13].

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So here's the, We know that Paul was schooled in Grecian thought. That is important. Here's why. God prepares you before you realize he is preparing you. I'm going to say that again. God prepares you before that you realize he is preparing you. And so here's what we see. He's working in just trying to live his life. And at this point he's not even acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, but Jesus is exposing him to the greatest intellectual minds of his day. On top of that, we know that he was born into the family of Roman citizens. That Paul is a Roman citizen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

That's a big deal in that day because the Roman empire was controlling almost everything in that part of the earth, the place that Paul is trying to not only live his life, but where he's trying to do business, and later on where he's going to try to preach the gospel. And the fact that he is a Roman citizen, actually you'll see it show up in the book of Acts and other places detailing Paul's life, it saved him from some trouble or at least delayed the trouble, and at times maybe even it was responsible for keeping him alive when someone who had not been a Roman citizen would have died.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Another thing that you see about Paul's life is that he was taught by a man by the name of Gamaliel, and Gamaliel was one of the most astute Jewish scholars of the day. In other words, Paul sat at the feet of one of the greatest teachers of the law of Moses that would have been available on the planet at that time.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so I want to say it again. What we learned from this is that God prepares you before you realize he's preparing you. So Paul has been exposed to these great minds of the Greek teaching, and the way that Greek philosophers are able to argue and to present their ideas. What that's doing is it's preparing Paul for a moment where he's going to be used by God to go into the Gentile nations and stand in places like Mars Hill and not be intimidated, but be able to stand there with an ideology of how to communicate in a persuasive and in an effective way.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

On top of that, he's got this Roman citizenship that works for him when he is trying to present the gospel and travel and set up churches and do things. Yes, he wound up in prison. Yes, he wound up beaten. Yes, he wound up with things going wrong. But that. Roman citizenship helped him. It was a thing that God was putting in his life that maybe he didn't even know he was going to need.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And now he gets to sit at the feet of Gamaliel. He gets to be trained by one of the greatest scholars of his day. The deal is when he finally gets the revelation of Jesus Christ, he's got this whole package already in his heart that's going to be unlocked once he sees Jesus. And so three things that you would have needed to become the apostle Paul and do the things that the apostle Paul did is to have an understanding of how the Greeks would debate, to have that Roman citizenship, and to have the understanding of the law of Moses that he had.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And he had all three, and I think that that's why God chose Paul, as he realizes a threefold cord is not easily broken and I've been preparing him before I even knew he was being prepared, at a time when he was even persecuting Christians, at a time when he was causing Christians problems. Like I was getting him ready for something that I was going to do in his life. Because even the fact that he persecuted Christians undoubtedly made him more compassionate once he became one, with a greater passion to pursue the things that God put in his life.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so I just want to say it again because some of us got to get this, that God prepares you before you realize he is preparing you. I've lived it, I've been through it. I've I've wrassled with even my natural father when I was still living in that household, because there were certain things that maybe my friends were doing, that he wouldn't let me do and I would get so upset with him, and so aggravated with him. And years later, he would finally explain to me that he knew who I was before I knew who I was.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I grew up in a home where my dad didn't preach. My dad didn't teach Sunday school. My dad, even to my knowledge did not, unfortunately even lead a small group on a regular basis. But every morning I woke up to a guy who had his Bible open, many times was on his knees, and he was praying and he was seeking God. I watched a guy that when hell would break loose in our family, the first thing he would do is he would push back the plate and he would begin to spend time seeking God in prayer and in fasting. I watched him my whole life. To this day, I have never once seen my father watch a rated R movie, to my knowledge. I've never seen him watch even a PG-13 movie. I have never heard my father- I mean, that dude set the standards. This is like next thing to Jesus. He ought to be the Pope. I've never heard him cuss. Like, never, and I watched this man just exemplify purity and concentration to God.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so when I first got into ministry, I thought everybody lived like that. I thought everybody got up at five o'clock in the morning and prayed. I thought everybody started fasting when hell was breaking loose. I thought everybody had a home, if they called Jesus Lord, where there was no nudity and profanity on television. Man, I got a surprise.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But I'm glad that I was able to see it modeled. I was able to see it modeled in a way that it made me believe it was possible that you could consecrate to the Lord in that kind of a way. Sometimes God is preparing you before you realize that he is preparing you. Can I get an amen from somebody somewhere?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Second thing that I want you to see is that when you're reading through this, and let's look at First Corinthians two, one again, "And when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or with wisdom." So second thing I want you to see is God's objective is not to make you impressive. God's objective is not to make you impressive.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So why is that important? Because we just talked about, for an extended period of time, the fact that God prepares you before you realize that he's preparing you. But I want you to know when he's preparing you, he's not doing so just so that you can become impressive.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So Paul is being set up by God, being exposed to great Greek teachers, learning how to be impressive, how to be persuasive, how to be influential. He's sitting at the feet of Gamaliel, the leader of the Sanhedrin. He's learning how to get the point across with the law. He's a Roman citizen. That's a coveted thing. And none of that was for the sole purpose that he himself would be impressive. And Paul knows this because in First Corinthians two, one, he tells them, "When I came to you at Corinth, I didn't come to you with lofty speech. I didn't come to you with man's wisdom." You know what he's implying, and I believe is implied throughout the writings of Paul, throughout the entirety of the two thirds of the New Testament that he put his pen too. It's not that I couldn't. It's just that I didn't.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I feel like he saying, "I know Corinth is a hip place. I know Corinth is a place where y'all are on the circuit, and all the really good communicators are dropping by and putting on their little display. And so when I was with you, I was intentional to not make it about the lofty speech, because it was not my job to be impressive."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It was not my job to be impressive. So here's what I want. Here's the follow-up point to that. God's objective is to make Christ impressive. And if God's going to let you do something impressive, it will be for the purpose of impressing others with what Christ is doing in you and what Christ is doing through you. Because here's the deal. We learn in verse two, that Christ's crucifixion is enough. That in and of itself is impressive.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

First Corinthians two, two. "For I decided to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified." He's like, "He's already proven." Were y'all hanging with me, Caleb, when we were talking about Acts 17 and Titus one and 12 and First Corinthians 15? The dude knows some stuff, okay? He can quote some stuff. He can pull some stuff. In fact, if he was a real student of Gamaliel, probably even to even gotten accepted in that program, he had to have quoted by memory the entire Old Testament.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The dude has got some knowledge. He can lay it down, but in the process of this, he said, "Man, when I was with you, the only thing I wanted you to get is Christ died for you. That's all I need you to get is that Christ died for you." My Lord, that we would get back to preaching the cross of Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I don't mean to sound like overly old fashioned, but everybody's trying to figure out how to get their marriage to work. And everybody wants to know how to parent their kids. And everybody wants to know how to put money in the bank. And I'm telling you, if you'll get Jesus-centered, your marriage will work. You get Jesus-centered, the money issue'll take care of itself, because a lot of this stuff you think that you want, you realize you don't need and you'll put... Okay, okay.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

James, you're making me sassy. Making me sassy. All right, here it is. God's objective is to make Christ impressive. Fourth thing though is God will choose to use the weakest parts of you. The weakest parts of you. First Corinthians two verse three. "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in trembling, and my speech and my message were not implausible words of wisdom."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You get to this little section here, these two verses and there's commentaries that you can go to. And there, well, I guess there's like sections, entire sections written on those two verses, of scholars and theologians and commentators trying to figure out what was he talking about? Was he saying that he was weak in the flesh, like physically weak? What was he saying that he was making his speech week? I think he's already referenced that, but is this a second reference to that? What's he really getting at? And I'm not even going to try to solve that answer, to solve that problem for you or to try to figure it out for you. I just want you to recognize that he clearly points out, my weakness was exposed. There's a part of even fear that was exposed. And when I was with you, I was trembling and some would even say, maybe that's even a reverence for the Lord.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I can't fill in all those blanks. And I don't claim to be able to, I just want you to know this. God will choose to use the weakest parts of.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Max Lucado, he wrote a book called He Chose The Nails, and in it he talks about a list of weaknesses. And this is what it says. It says, "The list of our weaknesses. Would anyone like to see yours? Would you like to make them public? How would you feel if they were posted high so that everyone including Christ himself could see? Yes, there is a list of your failures. Christ has chronicled your shortcomings. And yes, that list has been made public, but you've never seen it. Neither have I. Come with me to the heel of Calvary and I'll tell you why. The mistakes are covered. The sins are hidden. Those at the top are hidden by his hand, and those down the list are covered by his blood. Your sins are blotted out by Christ."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

He continued and he says, "God says, you wonder how long will my love will last? Find your answer on a splintered crossed on a craggy hill. That's me you see up there, your maker, your God, nail-stabbed and bleeding, covered in spit and sin-soaked. That's your sin I'm feeling, that's your death I'm dying. That's your resurrection I'm living. That's how much I love you."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I'm telling you the cross is enough. The cross is enough. It's enough. That's why Paul could say, "God will use the foolish things to confound the wise. He'll use the weak things to confound the mighty," because Paul understood, man, we're all sinners saved by grace.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Like you follow the progression of Paul's ministry, he starts out one of his letters at the beginning at his writing of letters, and he talks about the fact that he's an apostle. And then he kind of moved forward. By the time you get to the end of it, he's writing letters, he says, "I'm the chief of all sinners."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It was like the more saved Paul got the more he realized how much he needed God. And that his weakness was covered by the blood of Jesus. I'm going to give you a fifth and a final thing.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

God will release his strength through you. God will release his strength through you. So you don't have to be intimidated by the weakness. You don't have to worry so much about that list of weaknesses. And it sounds so simple, and it is practical, but isn't it easy to forget that God will release his strength through you? That that place where you're like, "Man, I keep messing up," the place where that you feel like I keep failing that place that you feel like, "Man, I'm just never-" that God desires to take that place, that place, because it's the place that he can most prove his strength.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I noticed in Paul that he's got the knowledge, and I don't doubt that Paul could have delivered an incredible sermon. But even in places where he was strong, he realized, "I will even choose to be fleshly weak so that I can make sure I totally and completely depend upon the Holy spirit so that I never get the credit, and it's not me that's impressive. But it's Jesus that is impressive."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I feel God on that. First Corinthians chapter two, verse three, "I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my message, they were not plausible words of man's wisdom, but they were in and I was with you in the demonstration and the power of the Holy spirit."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I got these young bucks here with me and they've said in private settings with me several times, and we've had a chance over the course of a couple of years, maybe eight or 10 times to sit at a table and talk about things that we felt like God was trying to share with us and show us. And you guys have repetitively, I think, heard me make attempts to settle for us once and for all, in these last days God has got to have something more than a concert venue with a motivational speech that just happens to have a God slant. Can I get a witness? Amen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I'll tell you this. As people find the courage to come back to in-person gatherings, or as people choose to lean in to a gathering from their home or their place, the only thing that's going to put them back in the seat, or the only thing it's going to bring them to that screen to lean in, is something more than a concert venue and a motivational speech that happens to have a God slant, because they can go to Ted talk for that.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

We need the demonstration and the power of the Holy Spirit. And if we are going to be disciples of Jesus Christ, then we got to stop trying to be impressive. Listen, there's some of you right now, you will not share your faith because you don't think you're impressive. You're scared to death to even start to try to witness for Jesus because you don't think you can do it impressively, and you're going to get tied up and you're not going to know what to say.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Listen, you need to study the word. You need to get some things down and make sure that you study to show yourself approved. But the Bible says, "Take no thought of what you'll say when you stand before him, because the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say." So stop being a coward and give the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

He says, "I will bring the power of the Holy Spirit to make you a witness for Jesus Christ." You want to be impressive? Give yourself to the Holy Spirit, and he'll anoint you to do stuff you couldn't do, and cause you to say stuff you didn't even know you knew. All you need is the anointing of the Holy spirit. It will make the difference. It takes you beyond the high notes and the low notes and moves the room. It takes you beyond the string together sentence of homiletically bestowing upon somebody a hermeneutical exegesis for end-time eschatology and drops heaven down into somebody's room, and drug addiction breaks and marriages come back together and people get saved and their lives are changed.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

A demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. Come on somebody, hallelujah. Please play music and demonstrate the power- No. Please, if these guys would just begin to play music, here's what I want you to do right there, where you're at. I want you to lean in. I want you just to say, "God, I repent of every time I've tried to be impressive."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It's not about striving for excellence. Listen, don't you let the enemy... We need to be excellent. We need to operate in a spirit of excellence. But at some point you got to stop trying to protect your image long enough and make it all cute and make it all pretty to the point. You just get raw and you get real and you let the Holy Spirit demonstrate, demonstrate through you. Demonstrate through you.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

My Lord, there's a lot I could say on the subject, but I don't think that the Lord needs me to say anything else, because I just sense right now that the Holy Spirit is willing to baptize you with fire if you'll let him. He's willing to come over you from the top of your head to the soles of your feet and give you a time of refreshing and stir everything that is inside of you and just demonstrate. Because he wants to demonstrate some stuff on the inside, your heart, your mind, the way you think, the purity that you approach life with.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But he also wants to demonstrate some stuff on the outside. He wants you to lay hands on the sick and the sick shall recover. The Bible says, "These signs shall follow all that believe." Pretty simple. He wants to give you gifts and to see those gifts function and flow through your life. He wants to put the fruit of the Holy Spirit and let it produce in your life that others would be benefited from it. He wants to put his power in you and demonstrate some stuff and he wants to put his power on you and demonstrate some stuff.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Father, I just ask you that you would bring the power of the Holy spirit, and Lord we see now places in our lives where you were preparing us and we didn't even know you were preparing us. My Lord God, we were so blind to it. We had no clue what you were up to.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Sometimes even times where we weren't serving you yet, times when you hadn't knocked us off our horse yet, and you were preparing us, putting us in relationships and exposing us to ways of thought. And God we realize now your sovereignty was at work in every bit of that. You were preparing us. Thank you Father, for the preparation. God, thank you for also teaching us through a guy like Paul, that it was never so that we could be impressive. It's not your agenda. It's not your objective. We repent for every time that we've made it about something of that nature.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Lord, we pray that the cross of Jesus would come to the central place in our life and we would realize that that's enough. And that Lord, we would show Jesus impressive, make him impressive to all those that need a personal relationship with him and to make him the Lord of their life. So God, demonstrate your power through us in our spheres of influences, in our educational arenas, in our family interactions. God, Demonstrate your power.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Lord, I ask you to demonstrate your power through somebody's life right now that's sick and needs to be healed. They need you to move, God. They need you to do it. Somebody Lord, that's believing for a miracle and they've even went as far as to say, "If God don't show up, I don't know what I'm going to do," God, right now, as they yield to you and bow at your cross and see their weaknesses covered by your blood. Let faith arise God, and the demonstration of the power of the spirit take place.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You know, I hope that you were able to grab the bread and the cup earlier. And I just want to lead you in a time of communion. The bread represents his body. The cup represents his blood, represents his cross, his sacrifice. It represents the most impressive thing that God's ever done for us. And there is absolutely nothing we could do, not even a sacrifice we could make, that could start to measure up to how impressive, what this represents. So Father, we thank you that you have broken your body so that we can be made whole. I'm going to ask you to take and eat of the bread.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I'm going to ask you to, as you think about how impressive it is that God would love the world enough to take away our sins, going to ask you to take and drink of this cup. We do it in remembrance of you Lord. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So privileged to have with us, our Columbia worship team tonight, the Lindsay's and some folks from the band. And I'm going to ask you right there where you're at, join with them. Also, why don't you move this pulpit back that way a little bit and come on, lean in for a minute. Just lean in, let the Lord seal his word in your heart.

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