The Friendship Bridge standing high above the Parana River connects Paraguay and Brazil. Paraguay’s border town is famous for selling a variety of pirated products to eager and enterprising Brazilians. However, cheap imitations cannot deliver the functional promises of their genuine counterparts.
Like unsuspecting consumers who later discover they possess worthless products, Paul insured the early Corinthian church would awaken to the realization that they had begun to buy into a counterfeit source of security and guidance. Within his first letter to them he immediately exposed their inept foundation of focusing upon dominant personalities and exalting human profundity, while simultaneously unveiling for them the real McCoy.
Since human sophistication and eloquence can never provide our souls with what we need, he employed a counter-point style of unmasking the futility of humanity while providing us with five good reasons to exalt God in our hearts.
- The power of God is unleashed through preaching about Christ crucified.
- God is the source of true wisdom and he has revealed it through his apostles and prophets.
- Our focus should be on God, not outstanding individuals, since it is the Lord who gave them their ministries.
- When we witness lives being transformed through preaching and conversions, we are in the presence of God working in human hearts.
- God will judge whether a message or ministry is actually valuable, benign or outright destructive.
Throughout human history, the temptation beckons us to latch onto that tangible, eloquent, sophisticated speaker or author who stirs our heart and produces impressive results. While God might even be using that individual’s ministry in wonderful ways, Paul desires to galvanize our gaze, confidence and devotion toward the genuine Source, God.