If people could have heard Paul debate philosophical issues, they would have come away feeling they had encountered a brilliant mind. Such praise, however, meant nothing to Paul, whose life had been transformed by Christ. His mission was to proclaim Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification. Now his purpose was to call everyone to repent and to receive the gospel by faith.
Paul trembled as he proclaimed the message. It was not that he was afraid of consequences to himself; rather, he realized that he had been entrusted with a message from God that could change the eternal destinies of men and women. Paul knew that his presentation of the gospel had to be straightforward and simple. Enticing words and smooth speech might win applause, but without the power of the Holy Spirit, his presentations would have been forgotten as easily as we forgot last week’s television programs. Paul depended on the Spirit of god to open people’s mind’s The Spirit helps people understand their spiritual condition and their need for Christ. Without God’s Spirit, they would never suspect that the solution to the human condition is found in the death of Jesus Christ. That was an answer that the smartest men of that time and ours would never have invented. As we preach and teach the Christian message, our attention should also be centered on “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2). There is much great teaching in the Bible, but it all should be related to God’s great plan for redemption prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Missionaries know that when they take Christ to unreached peoples, they must not take their cultural baggage as well. Western musical instruments and American church programs, for example, may be irrelevant for churches in Third World countries. The mission is to take the message of Christ and His atoning work. Missionaries Must also resist the temptation to combine the gospel with non-Christian ideas in order to make the message more palatable. Our call is to proclaim the simple gospel as Paul proclaimed it.
The Holy Spirit will show men and women their need for Christ, and He will guide in making the gospel relevant to the people. He will enable them to understand how customs and practices should be changed. As one missionary put it, “God speaks a spiritual language that crosses all language and cultural barriers. Let us put first things first. Let us proclaim the gospel and ask the Spirit of God to empower our witness.