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Reminiscing at 30,000 Feet - Pastor Stacey Shiflett


Reminiscing at 30,000 Feet

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

 

Intro: I was on a plane flying to Chicago to catch a connector to Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday morning. Zane and I were flying to a camp meeting that I haven’t been to in fourteen years. I was meditating on the scriptures when God gave me this message. While I was meditating on these verses, I was looking out the window of the airplane.

 

I was looking at the farms between here and Chicago. Chicago is located on the northeast corner of Illinois on the edge of Lake Michigan. From here, the flight path to Chicago was over the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, the entire length of Ohio and the northern part of Indiana. We were flying over rural countryside. I could see houses, barns, silos and plowed fields. I marveled at how small they looked from so far away. Patches of woods between the houses looked so tiny. I looked at the layout of the roads and the long winding driveways to those farmhouses. You could see ponds, rivers, bridges, highways. They were all so tiny and I had a view of entire counties and cities at one time. Cars were too little to see from that height.

 

I was reminded of how complicated and confusing things can be up close, but when you step back it all makes more sense and you get the “big picture.” Sometimes in the ministry, it pays to take a step back and see the big picture.

 

It is a simple message. One that anybody could preach without even taking time to study it. It’s an easy outline from verses that have been preached thousands of times.

But as I was reminiscing, I realized that in those verses, Paul was also reminiscing.

Paul had already started the church of Corinth and moved on to the next city.

He got to thinking about when he first came to Corinth.

Before the church at Corinth was ever started. Before the first convert got saved, Paul was thinking about what his plan and strategy involved.

 

Paul was reminiscing about…

  I. The Blessing of his Declaration – vs. 1

·        1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

 

There are numerous examples of those in scripture that declared a testimony.

Never underestimate the power of a testimony!

The rich man in hell was begging for Abraham to send Lazarus to testify.

·        Luke 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

 

The Tribulation saints will overcome the antichrist by the blood of the lamb and their testimony.

·        Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

 

BUT!!! There is no greater blessing than to be given the opportunity to declare the testimony of God!

What a joy to be able to declare unto others THE TESTIMONY OF GOD!!

Testimony is a legal term. It literally means a witness

 

The First Mention of the word Testimony refers to the 10 commandments.

·        Exodus 16:34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.

The Ark of the Covenant was also called the Ark of the Testimony in Genesis 25:16.

Most of the times that the word Testimony is used in the Bible, it is referring to God’s Commandments, His statutes, His precepts, His Word.

·        Acts 14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace,

 

David couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful the testimonies of God are in Psalm 119.

He referred to the testimony or the testimonies of God no less than 25 times in one chapter.

·        Psalms 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

·        Psalms 119:24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

·        Psalms 119:31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD,

 

Imagine how much better off we’d all be if we STUCK TO THE TESTIMONIES OF GOD!!!

 

Paul wrote to Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony of God.

·        2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,

 

John the Revelator wrote the testimony…

Revelation 1

·        1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

·        2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

 

Paul was reminiscing about…

 II. The Battle of his Determination

 

Do you realize how hard it is to stay focused in the ministry?

Just to wake up every day and determine not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ…

What a challenge! What a battle!

 

·        Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

 

Paul didn’t want to be distracted with all the things around him.

Many times, preachers feel like they have to address every fad, every issue, every thing that floats by.

Preaching needs to be proactive – not reactive.

Bible preaching will be relevant; regardless of the culture or the century in which it is preached.

The truths of God’s Word are timeless.

They are eternal.

They span all time.

·        Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

 

The latest controversy, the latest debate, the latest misinterpretation of Scripture cannot be addressed.

 

Paul struggled to simply preach Jesus Christ and him crucified.

On the ship to Corinth after preaching on Mars Hill, Paul made his mind up not to get off track.

 

Paul was reminiscing about…

III. The Burden of his Demonstration

 

Paul was absolutely consumed with the desire for people to see God – not him.

Paul addressed the importance of this in 1 Corinthians 1.

·        26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

·        27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

·        28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

·        29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

 

Paul knew his own limitations.

He listed them in verse 3 and 4.

·        He was Feeble – “I was with you in weakness…”

·        He was Fearful – “…and in fear…”

·        He was Floundering – “…and in much trembling…”

·        He was Fumbling – “…my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom…”

Paul was concerned with only one thing – and that God would take a feeble, fearful, floundering, fumbling preacher and be completely obscured by the demonstration of the power of God!!

 

Paul was absolutely adamant that their faith stood not in him or in his ability to communicate.

He wanted their faith to be in the power of God – not in the wisdom of men.

The only way that was going to happen was for the messenger – the one declaring the testimony of God to be FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST and to preach in the unction and anointing of the Power of God.

 

Oh how we need for the power of God to drown out all our abilities and disabilities!!

Oh how we need for the power of God to be preeminent over our talents or lack of them!

People do not need to see us; but rather, they desperately need to see God in us!

 

Conclusion: It might be good for you to reexamine your ministry from 30,000 feet. Get above the fray and look at the big picture. Let’s get back to the basics, and make sure we finish the same way we started.

·        Get excited about the DECLARATION!

·        Stay focused in your DETERMINATION!

·        Make sure God is the center of your DEMONSTRATION!

I believe the Lord will be pleased if we do that.

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