May I read for your instruction this morning, I Corinthians 2:1-5:

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

    "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

    I could stop this morning and talk all the morning on that one word "determined." It means that he had concentrated all of his mind and soul and all that he was, as he said in Romans 1:15, "As much as in me is," I have concentrated everything on one object, I have eliminated everything, I have shut out everything, I am shut up to one thing
"And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

    "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

    "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

    I have been some very earnest thinking of late on the question, What is our one supreme need above everything else? And we are so busy, crowded and rushed, driven with ten thousand calls that amount to nothing, until we never do like the Apostle Paul in this text. The Greeks were noted for their wisdom, their eloquence, and their enticing words. No classics of all time, before or since, have equaled the classics of the ancient Greeks, and they would judge a man according to his philosophy or worldly wisdom. Now, Paul knew all of their philosophies and was at home with all the scholars of the world. He was a scholar of the last degree, and yet, in writing to the church at Corinth he says, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

    "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but" - but in contrast with the wisdom of the world - "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." The purpose is "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

What Demonstration Means

    That word "demonstration" is a very beautiful word, full of meaning, volumes of meaning.

    "My speech and my preaching was not with enticing," seductive words, tricks of an orator, of man's wisdom, "but in demonstration," - demonstration is something you can see, you saw it, you heard it, you felt it, you knew it, that demonstration so real that you could understand, was in the Spirit of God and in the power of God. Notice here, just two or three things.

    First, the testimony of God. Second, Jesus Christ and Him crucified as that testimony.

    Third, the manifestation, the reality of the Spirit and of power. Here he says my one purpose is to declare unto you the testimony of God. As Paul says, "He has not left himself without witness" - we see God everywhere, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." In every storm that sweeps o'er the land or the sea, we see God.

    With every rising sun, we see God. With every setting sun, as it casts its tint on the clouds above, we see God. In every star, we see His handiwork. In all the movements of history, we see God as He raises up kings and puts down kings; as He brings nations to judgment, to their final Armageddon, we see God.

    But, the one manifestation of God above all things in the universe, where He is manifested, where He is seen, where He is known, where He is revealed, where all the attributes of God are made manifest is in Christ. He, therefore, determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That's why the Apostle, writing to the same church, said, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption." Not the life of Jesus, sinless and matchless as that was; not the words of Jesus, though He spake as never man spake; not the miracles of Jesus, and no man could perform the miracles He did; but the crucifixion, that's the heart of the gospel.

    Therefore, Paul writing to the church at Corinth, said: "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Therefore, the greatest manifestation of God's power on the cross. The greatest of His love was on the cross. The greatest  manifestation of Divine justice was on the cross

    The greatest manifestation of His mercy was on the cross, for on the cross God and man met; it was God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. All there was of hell was on the cross, all there was of heaven was on the cross, all there was of man was on the cross.

    All there was of God was on the cross.

    He was offered by the eternal Spirit of God. God the Father gave Him and Jesus said, "I lay down my life and no man taketh it from me." Therefore angels in heaven and angels below, man and God, Satan and Christ, sin and righteousness, all met on the cross. Therefore, Paul says, "He is our wisdom of God, He is the righteousness of God, He is the redemption," we have no other. We are purchased not with gold and silver, corruptible things, but with His own precious blood.

"O, could we speak the matchless worth,
O, could we sound the glories forth,
Which in our Saviour shine,

We'd soar and touch the heavenly strings
And vie with Gabriel, while he sings,
In notes almost divine.

"We'd sing the precious blood He spilt
Our ransom from the dreadful guilt
Of sin and wrath divine;

We'd sing His glorious righteousness,
In which all-perfect heavenly dress
We shall forever shine."

    I have sought today and all the years for an adequate illustration of what the death of Christ, of what the ransom means for us, where it said, "He comes to give his life a ransom for many." I have searched in vain. I have never yet found an adequate illustration and never will. Why? Because poor finite man cannot and illustrate an infinite God. He in his poor way, illustrate it.

    On the slave market in New Orleans, before the Civil War, Negroes would be put upon the block and sold one after the other to the highest bidder. Among those who were put up and sold was a great big strong, 200 pound, 20 year old Negro, and a man from a distant Northern state outbid everybody and as fast as somebody would raise the bid, he would raise it again. This Negro turned and said to this man who lived far away, he said, "You can buy me, but I'll not go home with you, I'll run away, I'll not leave my native Southland." On the bids went still higher, two thousand and more, and on and on. After while this man that had the highest, he was knocked off to him, and the Negro said, "I won't go, I'll run away." But his new master took him to one side. "You are mine.

    "You'll do what I say do, you are mine, but I bought you for a different purpose than what you thought. I bought you to set you free.

    "Here's your freedom." When the 20 year old Negro heard that he fell down at his feet and said, "Oh, master, forgive me, forgive me."

    As the big tears coursed down his black face he said, "Let me go with you, let me go with you, let me be your servant as long as I live." What was the difference? He caught the vision of a new master of a new price, not to keep him in slavery but to set him free!

    Oh, I come, and no wonder Paul says, "When I see the cross I'm in weakness, I'm in tears, I'm in much trembling; I see my guilt, I see His holiness; I see my weakness, I see His power; I see my lost condition, I see my salvation through Him." Oh, then, let me be your servant forever, forever, forever!

    Now, I have just really come to the text and I'll only state it and leave it with you.

    I said I want to preach that gospel, that crucified Christ, in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. I say to you beloved without any apology in the world, because of heavy, crowded duties coming upon me, and I have, kept thinking every year that I would unload some but instead of unloading the load gets heavier until I cry out many times, "Oh, Lord, what shall I do? what shall I do?" And I have been doing a lot of thinking on this line, that how much of our words, how much of our works are just nothing but sounding brass, clanging cymbals, orthodox in letter but heterodox in spirit, having the form and no power, no heart, no tears, just energy of the flesh. When I see this fine group of young preachers who come and go, brilliant young fellows, my heart goes out - Oh, God, give every one of them to know what it is to preach in demonstration of the Spirit and of Power! My dear wife, sitting over there, remembers so well there was a great meeting once in Baylor University - Dr. A.W. McGaha, one of the former pastors of this church, was holding the meeting. It went on for some two weeks and not a soul was saved, and the great preacher stood the last day and said, before them all, with a broken heart, "I'm to blame, I don't blame you, my preaching has been in vain, it has been without power, it's just been empty words." Oh, some of us were so smitten until we rose and asked for him to give us her chance and that night there. were 77 young men that tarried all the night long until the sun came in through the eastern windows. After that all night of prayer meeting we went and called up the president and told him and he said, "Oh, that explains it, I couldn't sleep and I called Dr. McGaha myself. Oh," he said, "that explains it." He said, "I went to bed, but I had to get up, I walked and walked and walked out of the city and I have been so restless and unhappy, but that explains it." When the chapel hour came the student body was assembled and there was a hush, there was none of the usual announcements, everything was subdued, and the president, who has long since gone home to his reward, arose and said, "I don't but something happened in this chapel last night" and he called on three of us to come and tell, and not a one of those three could tell what happened. Every one broke down. One of them was W.B. Glass, now retired missionary from China, living out here on the hill; another was Carey Daniel who was drowned in China, and the other, myself. We tried in vain to tell but we couldn't do it. The whole student body and faculty were subdued and everybody was in tears, and a mighty sweeping revival came and souls by the score were saved. What was the difference? There had been two weeks of great preaching but not in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. It was just a form. I have thought often of that old song:

"Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With all Thy quick'ning pow'rs;
Kindle a flame of sacred love
In these cold hearts of ours.

"Look how we grovel here below,
Fond of these earthly toys;
Our souls, how heavily they go,
To reach eternal joys.

"In vain we tune our formal song,
In vain we strive to rise;
Hosannas languish on our tongues,
And our devotion dies.

"And shall we then forever live
At this poor dying rate?
Our love so faint, so cold to Thee,
And Thine to us so great!

"Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,
With all Thy quick'ning pow'rs:
Come, shed abroad a Saviour's love,
And that shall kindle ours."

    May I say this brief word in conclusion: We are almost, we are almost, we are almost, but not altogether. A preacher has a church, almost succeeds. A preacher will hold a meeting, almost succeeds. Almost, in my class, but altogether. A superintendent, almost, but altogether. Oh, God, help us then to say with an utter abandonment, with all that I am I'll say altogether and not almost. We go through life and we'll say I'm willing, we'll bring a little money and give it out of covetous hands, but let us do it altogether! We'll do a little visiting and then we'll complain about it.

    Oh, let us go, not almost but altogether in this hour. If ever there was an hour in the world when we should give ourselves wholly with utter, absolute abandon, that hour is now.

    Yesterday as I sat in my office, there was a man, who used to drink, the first thing in the morning, a quart of liquor, I suppose he drank more liquor than any man in his day, and he had delirium tremens, and he came to see me quite often. Now for a whole year he has not touched a drop, and as he talked to me about it he said, "All that man can do, God must have a part in it." I looked at him and I said, "Now, Bill, you are certain of that?" And he said, "I am absolutely certain, and I tell all the habitual drunkards that with all you can do, God has a part in it." Oh, then, in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Brother Bill Beall and I called at a home - he wanted me to go by told me something of it. The man had never been in any church, was not a church man at all we went in, and a big, strong man up in his 60's cold, hard, but it wasn't five minutes until that room was charged - and freighted with the power and demonstration of the Spirit of God.

    As I held him by the hand, with his frame shaken and with tears he told me that he would trust in Christ. Oh, in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. How many of you this glad morning will say, like that some dozens awhile ago that stood here before I gave the message, without a song, walked out and gave their testimony, and you saw them as they went down into the baptismal waters - how many of you, like that fine soldier from Tarrant Air Field, Fred Simpson, from far off New Hampshire - oh, when he left home he didn't know he was going to find a place like this, and I want to say it should humble us, no room for boasting, and we should pray - my prayer is that every dear boy that shall come as strangers, as large numbers of you here this morning, that whatever you find here, you'll not think much of the message, for it is very poor, but you will go out of this place, and say, "God was there." As a woman that came one morning to Temple - it was very cold, -- I was standing at the door shaking hands with people and she didn't know who I was and she walked up to me and said, "My dear sir, can I find God here today?" I said, "Yes."

    I told one of the ushers to give her a seat down near the front. When I walked to the platform - we didn't have any choir that day, we had nothing but the Lord, as I said awhile ago - and then she recognized me, she didn't know who I was - I said, "A lady who is here came and told me she hadn't been in a church for years, and she said I want to find God, and," I said, "let's pray. I'll not call on anybody to pray but you who feel the burden of praying will you pray?" One of God's great women was sitting right by her and this woman didn't know who she was, neither one knew the other. And while she was praying, this stranger rose and came to the front and said: "I've found Him, I've found Him." I said, "Well, are you ready to obey Him now?" And she said, "What shall I do?" "Well," I said, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized?" Then she said, "Am I ready to be baptized?" I said, "You are if you trust in Him." And she said, "Well, I do, and when can I be baptized?" I said, "Right now." We kept the baptistry ready and I called on some of the women and I said, "Go and get ready," and I baptized her. She went back down there to the president of Hudson's Company, the biggest store in that city, or in the world, and she said, "I haven't long to live; the white plague has laid its hand on me and I haven't long. I want to resign, but I would like to ask you for a favor." He said, "What is it?" She said, "You know I have been here for years, I have tried to be a faithful employee." He said, "You have been." She said, "Will you just let me stay here and just move in and out among these employees and tell them how to get ready to meet God?" He said, "The store is yours." He told me this himself.

    He was a great Christian. And she moved in and out for several weeks and then she went to her last illness, and she brought scores and scores of people from that great store out to the church and they found God too. Oh, can I find God? Yes, through Jesus Christ who was crucified for us. Trust Him today. Let us stand.

    Invitation. (Many came).

Dr J Frank Norris
July 7, 1946