It Is Either Instructive Or It Is Seductive

Paul refused to preach with the enticing words of man's wisdom. He knew that method was largely seductive but not instructive. It created a momentary emotional experience in the soul but had no transformative experience in one's life.

The Greeks at the time of Paul's preaching had three words that were used to describe wisdom. They described the three qualities that the mind of any man who possessed wisdom had. In fact when Paul said to Timothy, God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind, he was referring to those attributes of the mind in the use of the phrase 'sound mind'. It was a mind that was equipped.

The first was a word that could be translated as the knowledge that pertains to the eternal. A knowledge of things divine. It was a knowledge that had to do with thoughts of things eternal. The second attribute is where we derive the word prudence from, and it a quality of mind that has to do with the arrangement of a man's life, conduct, and action. It was regarded as the form of wisdom through which men prospered on the earth. The third quality of the mind was a wisdom that dealt with critical thinking and making choices. It was the power to distinguish between different courses of action, different values of things and different relationships between people.

You will find Paul praying in the epistles for the different kinds of wisdom in the knowledge of Christ and His will. In Colossians, he asked for wisdom and spiritual understanding. Solomon also asked for a wise and understanding heart. They knew the different qualities and the combination required.

Now when a person has regard for just the first form of wisdom which is the knowledge of things eternal and divine without paying attention to using that knowledge for the proper arrangement of human life, action, and conduct, he opens his soul to corruption. He will minister his knowledge of eternal things, but not in the demonstration of the Spirit and power and without the intent of transforming life, action, and conduct but with what Paul termed enticing words. He will only be concerned with an academic knowledge of the spiritual, void of its transforming power.

When Paul condemned the idea of him preaching with enticing words, that is seductive words, he was speaking about a situation in his world that day. The Greeks had always loved words and they had a well known orator in their day who was very famous. This man had two faults. He was more concerned about the words he used, how he said a thing, than what was said. His first aim was to provoke applause.

It was said of the group of men who followed his pattern "they are all agape for the murmur of the crowd. Like men walking in the dark, they move always in the direction of clapping and shouting".

One of them said to another "I want your praise". "What do you mean by my praise" he asked, his reply "I want you to say Bravo! and Wonderful!". It was depicted back then as the Professor who went round after his lecture was done asking "what did you think of me today?" what did you think of my best passage?" “What was that?” will be the reply, then he will speak about the new phrases and new words he used.

The whole idea behind the use of enticing words was to seduce the people to gain a response of clapping and shouts leaving them with no instructions on how they could re-arrange their lives, actions and conduct through the knowledge given. Those who listened had great emotional experiences while it lasted but got home with no basic instructions on what to do.

If you read Paul's letters you will find the three types of wisdom in them. The knowledge of things eternal and then how the human life will be re-arranged transforming action and conduct. You will see this pattern in his writings. He switches from the deep mysteries to how husbands should now treat their wives and vice versa, how servants should relate with masters etc. A message of grace that speaks "eternal" things but refuses to give instructions on how that grace will transform life, conduct and action is seductive.

The proof of genuine ministries are not the letters of commendation you receive from men about words used but whether those whom you minister too are becoming living epistles of Christ to be read and known by all men. It is about a demonstration of the Spirit, where as you minister the people with an open face are beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord being transformed into the image of Christ.

The Pentecostal movement I belong to seems to be today the easiest place for seduction because there seems to be more of a desire for an emotional reaction rather than practical thought when listening to a preacher. The question you must ask is how is this going to transform my life, conduct and actions? Payless emphasis to the visuals, the screams and the shouts. Listen for practical thoughts and transformative insights derived from eternal truths.

It is not so much how the preacher made me feel or how many new words I learnt but whether his words are dissolving doubts, answering questions in my practical life and changing things about how I do things.

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Pastor Poju Oyemade

Poju Oyemade is the Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos. The church office is located at 400 Herbert Macaulay Way – Yaba, Lagos. This fa...

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