April, 2011 The Evangelist
by Jimmy Swaggart
“Paul’s Message basically consisted of the fact of the reality of God. In that Message he mentioned the Resurrection of Christ.”
Paul in his first Epistle to the Church at Corinth said to them:
Now, we must note carefully what the great Apostle said to us.
The word “determine” in the Greek is “krino,” and means, “to distinguish, to decide mentally or judicially.” The word is so powerful that it also means that one would sue at the law in order to maintain one’s position. In other words, the position is no longer in question. Why was Paul so certain, so sure at this stage, of the Message of the Cross?
THE MESSAGE AT MARS’ HILL
When Paul first came to Corinth, he came from the great city of Athens. He had remained there for a period of time, actually preaching the Gospel in the marketplace of that great city. Even though his Message was, by and large, rejected, still, it carried enough weight that he was called upon to minister to the Supreme Court of Athens, which constituted some of the wisest men of that city.
While Athens had long since lost the glory of previous years, still, even though living off of past reputation, it still carried weight. The Seventeenth Chapter of Acts carries the account of this meeting.
Those to whom Paul preached that day had no knowledge of the Lord whatsoever. They lived in heathenistic darkness despite their professed wisdom. Paul’s Message basically consisted of the fact of the reality of God. In that Message he mentioned the Resurrection of Christ.
The Scripture says concerning this:
The Scripture says:
Obviously, the Lord called Paul from Athens to the city of Corinth. The city was, in fact, one of the most jaded in the world. It had scores of temples dedicated to heathen gods, occupied by hundreds of temple prostitutes, both men and women. In fact, Corinth was so jaded that if individuals gave in to the excesses of Corinth, they were said to be “Corinthianized.” This means that they had thrown aside all convention, giving themselves wholly to their evil passions. It was one of the most wicked cities in the world of its day.
Coupled with “vice” was the twin evil of heathenistic philosophy. In fact, Corinth had produced some of the most noted philosophers in the world of that day. So, Satan had employed in that city his two most powerful attractions, “vice and philosophy.”
Paul probably went to Corinth by boat, which would have docked at Cenchrea, which was the port for Corinth. It was several miles from the heart of the great city.
After leaving the ship at Cenchrea, the great Apostle, more than likely, would have walked the distance of several miles to the heart of the city.
There is some indication that Paul at that time was a troubled man. He had not met with the success for which he had hoped at Athens. In fact, when he mentioned the Resurrection as he ministered on Mars’ Hill, the crowd, which assembled there to hear him, actually booed him down. In other words, he didn’t really finish the Message. While a few accepted Christ, still, I think the great Apostle was troubled at the turn of events.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Knowing that the Lord had sent him to Corinth, and possibly disillusioned somewhat with the results at Athens, he must have wondered as to how he could break through the twin vices of the city of Corinth. He was possibly chagrined about Athens, and this certainly did not help his feelings as he came into the most wicked city of the Roman Empire. How could he penetrate these two vices of immorality and heathenistic philosophy?
How do we know that these thoughts could have plagued the great Apostle?
We know it from his statement, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified” (I Cor. 2:2).
The word “determined” speaks of a great struggle that had gone on in his heart, and that he had made a conscious decision to go in a certain direction. That direction would be the Cross of Christ. As he came from Cenchrea to Corinth, walking the several miles, he had plenty of time to think. No doubt, he was praying all the while. Considering Athens and what must have looked like failure to him, I’m sure he reasoned as to how in the world he could penetrate the powers of darkness in Corinth. At a given point in time, the Holy Spirit may have whispered to him, “Preach the Cross!”
And, the Holy Spirit might have continued, “If the Cross works at Corinth, it will work anywhere!”
So, Paul would tell the Corinthians, incidentally, where a great Church would be built, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified.”
It worked in Corinth, and to be sure, it has worked in untold other places as well. In fact, there is no power of darkness that can stand against the Message of the Cross.
PAUL AND PHILOSOPHY
Paul was one of the most educated men to be used by the Lord to pen the Holy Scriptures. In fact, he wrote almost half of the New Testament. He had studied for years under the great Law scholar Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).
Before Paul was converted on the Road to Damascus, he was being groomed to take the place of Gamaliel as the leading voice of the Pharisees. So, as it regarded the Law of Moses, there was no scholar in Israel more knowledgeable concerning this subject than Paul.
As well, it is believed by some modern scholars that Paul, due to some of the things he said, attended the great university in his home town of Tarsus. If so, he would have been highly educated not only in Mosaic Law but, as well, in the philosophy of the Greeks, which was the noted rage of that time. So, he had the capacity to stand toe-to-toe, so to speak, with the most educated of his day.
No doubt, the temptation was great to deal with these subjects in his preaching; however, he fought down that temptation, knowing that, while it may sound clever, it would not set anyone free. He found that the Message of the Cross alone would set the captive free, and we are speaking of Salvation for the sinner and Sanctification for the Saint. So, he determined in his mind and spirit not to go in these other directions but to preach the Cross.
He found that it worked exactly as the Holy Spirit said that it would work.
THE MODERN CHURCH
The church of this present day should take a lesson from Paul. While the expanse of time noted is nearly two thousand years, still, the problem is the same, and it is sin. As well, the solution is the same, and it is the Cross of Christ. It doesn’t matter what the nationality of the people might be; it doesn’t matter their culture; it doesn’t matter their educational background; and, it doesn’t matter about their state, their place, or their position.
The problem is sin, and the solution is the Cross of Christ. Paul found that out, and the modern church needs to find this same truth as well!
MODERN RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY
One particular psychologist in a major Pentecostal Denomination made the foolish statement that modern man was facing problems not addressed in the Bible. Accordingly, or so he gathered, both the Bible and psychology are needed to address these particular problems. How foolish can we get! Is what he said correct? Is modern man facing problems not addressed in the Word of God?
Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had something to say about that.
Attend carefully to his words.
ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS
THE DIVINE NATURE
“As it regards life and living, the Holy Spirit lists eight attributes given to us by the Lord or, at least, made available. They, to be sure, will answer all situations.”
THE PROVISIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Now, the Holy Spirit through Peter will give us that which is provided to the Believer, and which addresses every phase of life and living.
THE ATTRIBUTES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE
EIGHT ATTRIBUTES FOR LIFE AND LIVING
As it regards life and living, the Holy Spirit lists eight attributes given to us by the Lord or, at least, made available. They, to be sure, will answer all situations.
1. FAITH: This always pertains to Faith in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross. In other words, the Cross of Christ must ever be the Object of our Faith (Rom. 6:3-5; I Cor. 1:17-18, 23). This is the Faith, and this alone is the Faith, that God will recognize.
2. VIRTUE: The Greek word for “Virtue” is “arête,” and means, “manliness,” or, as stated, “energy and power.” Upon the individual being Saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit, power becomes a part of their persona (Acts 1:8).
3. KNOWLEDGE: The Greek word for “knowledge” is “gnosis,” and means, “to be aware of, to know, to perceive, to be sure, to understand.” All true knowledge comes from the Word of God and the Word of God alone!
4. TEMPERANCE: The Greek word for “temperance” is “egkrateia,” and means, “self-control.” This can be done only by the Believer placing his Faith exclusively in Christ and the Cross, which then gives the Holy Spirit latitude to work within his life, which gives him Victory over the passions of the flesh (Rom. 8:1-2).
5. PATIENCE: The Greek word for “patience” is “hupo-mone,” and means, “to stay under, to endure, to cheerfully wait” (James 5:11).
6. GODLINESS: The Greek word for “godliness” is “eusebeia,” and means, “Holiness.” As Believers, we have no personal holiness; however, a perfect, pure, spotless Holiness is supplied to every Child of INSERT 6 God, all made possible by the Cross (Heb. 12:10).
7. BROTHERLY KINDNESS: The Greek word for brotherly kindness is “philadelphia,” and means, “love of the Brethren” (I Jn. 3:11).
8. CHARITY: The Greek word for “charity” is “agape,” and means, “the God kind of love” (Jn. 3:16). If all of these attributes are properly understood, we should know and realize that everything we need to live this life, and to live it abundantly so, even in this modern age, is found in these attributes. So, for someone to say that modern man is facing problems not addressed in the Bible is, in effect, saying that God, the Holy Spirit, is lacking in knowledge. Such a statement is stupid, even if I have to be blunt!
THE SOURCE AND THE MEANS
Please allow me to repeat myself:
• Jesus Christ is the Source of all things that we receive from God (Jn. 14:6).
• The Cross of Christ is the Means by which these things come to us (Rom. 6:3-5; I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:2).
• The Cross of Christ must at all times be the Object of our Faith (Gal. 6:14).
• With our Faith properly placed, the Holy Spirit, Who works exclusively within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, will then grandly help us to be what we ought to be (Rom. 8:1-2, 11).
“One with You, Thou Son eternal,
“Joined by Faith in spirit one,
“Share we in Your Death inclusive,
“And Your Life, O God the Son.”
“One with You, Thou Son Beloved,
“Part of You become through Grace,
“Heirs with You of our one Father,
“We’re Your Spirit’s dwelling place.”
“One with You, Thou Son incarnate,
“Born with You, the Man of worth,
“We, the members of Your Body,
“Sojourn with You here on Earth.”
“One with You, Thou Son anointed,
“Sharing too the Spirit’s Power,
“We in full cooperation,
“Labor with You hour by hour.”
“One with You, Thou Son forsaken,
“Judgment and the curse we’ve passed;
“We to sin are dead forever,
“Hell beneath our feet is cast.”
“One with You in Resurrection,
“Death can never us oppress,
“Live we in Your New Creation,
“Bearing Fruits of Righteousness.”
“One with You, Thou Son ascended,
“Seated with You on the Throne,
“Your Authority we share and,
“Rule with You, Your Rank we own.”
“One with You, Thou Son returning,
“Glorified with You we’ll be,
“E’er to manifest Your Beauty,
“One with You eternally.”
(The material on the subject of The Cross was taken from the book, “BROTHER SWAGGART, HOW DO I LIVE A VICTORIOUS LIFE”. It is a hard cover, over 250 pages.)