5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
The “for” here explains where the blindness of lost does not originate–it did not come from the preaching of Paul’s team. Their message was the declaration of the glory of Christ (2 Co 4:4).
we do not preach ourselves,
The gospel is not about those who preach it (2 Co 4:7-12). It does not relate to superior qualifications, abilities, or eloquence of the messenger. It does not regard how many followers a person may have. Drawing attention to clever presentations is not what wins the lost to Christ.
The awesome gospel message kept Paul from self-promotion. His interests were not his achievements, but what Christ attained on his behalf. He never exploited people for his own ends. He did not try to build a “fan club” on his behalf.
but Christ Jesus the Lord,
The central issue in every ministry is Christ Jesus. The message is not about us but occupation with Him. He is “the Lord.” The Christian message is not vapid moralism. The purpose of ministry is not to gain followers to oneself but to help people see Jesus as Lord. “Jesus” is the human title, and “Lord” is His divine title. The substance of our message is Christ Jesus, the Lord. He is the Light of the world. Without Him, Christianity is mere religion.
and ourselves your bondservants
Those who minister are “bondservants” or slaves for Jesus’ sake. A bondservant gives all his possessions, aspirations, service, and time to Jesus. A minister does this because He is “Lord.” This idea is strange to a culture given over to the self. Although Paul’s team is the Corinthian church ministers, they are not masters of the church. They are the servants to the church. They are ministers of Christ but servants to the church.
for Jesus’ sake.
Ministry is for Jesus’ sake, and not for personal interests. Jesus Himself did not come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45). Verses 7-12 is an expansion on this idea. Paul’s motive for preaching was “Christ Jesus the Lord.”
All ministry should be Christ-centered.
Many areas of evangelicalism are about the personality cult of certain preachers (1 Co 1:12). Most of these ministers have a message of vapid moralism. This is an attempt to produce fruit without a tree. Morality without the crucified Christ is unsullied emptiness (1 Co 2:8).
The fundamental issue in ministry is not the promotion of a preacher or the exaltation of a church. The heart of the message is Jesus Christ. Who and what He is, is central to the gospel. The great end of preaching is to help people see who the central theme of Christianity—Jesus Christ the Lord.