1 Corinthians 4:19-20. I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
The Kingdom of God is not talk, it’s power.
“To live is Christ” is not just a catchy slogan or blog title. It is power. The transforming power of the Spirit. The power of the cross.
There were those in Corinth trying to convince the church that there is a higher wisdom or a higher power beyond the cross, and our union with the crucified Christ. But they were all talk and no true power. They could talk about the gospel and the things of “wisdom”, but they also got drunk at communion, allowed a member to commit incest with his mother, were suing each other, and every worship service was out of control.
That’s all talk, but not the power of the gospel. They were missing the real power of the cross. The power of the crucified, humble life. The power to truly love each other sacrificially. The power to live holy lives that glorify God. This is the power that Paul is looking for in the Corinthians. And it is the power that we should be looking for in our own lives too.
There is an application here for our personal salvation. You are not a Christian simply because you say you are a Christian. There has to be a new birth, a new power source for your life. A power source beyond your own strength, wisdom, and righteousness. This new power is gifted to you by the Spirit. It is the power of Christ’s life in you, which gives you a new desire, dependency, and destination. A new trust alone in the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Savior.
The church will never find it’s power in songs, speeches, books, movies, surveys, discussions, or even preaching. Yes there is no shortage of words in the church today. But the Kingdom does not rest in talk. It rests in power. And this power is Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:23-24. we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The gospel is the power of God. And this power WILL change your life. “To live is Christ” is a power that will make you different than you were before. You will see your sinfulness deeply, and the pointlessness of your own righteousness. You will see grace as your greatest need, and the shared sufferings of Christ as your greatest good. You will trust in Christ alone each and every day to be your Savior. And you will find a deep seeded joy in your soul that comes from the power of peace which Christ provides.
Are you all talk when it comes to the gospel? Or is it a real life changing power in your soul? Can you see the power of Christ at work in your life? In the work of other believers? Have you relied on power from songs and sermons over the power of your union with Christ? How does union with Christ empower us?