The Power of Foolishness
I Corinthians 1:18-2:16
The cross divides men--The saved from the lost. But it unites those of us who have been born again. Jesus called Himself a divider of men, and the dividing line is the cross.
The cross is wisdom and power to us who believe. But it is foolishness to the world. The world thinks it is wise, but worldly wisdom is a far cry from Godly wisdom. Everyone has a philosophy of what they believe and what ‘seems’ right to them. But worldly philosophy is foolishness. “Philosophy is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there.” No wonder the Bible describes them as ‘lost!’
v. 25 Modern man is so impressed by his own achievements that he has no use for God. We are so proud of ourselves that we come to worship at our own altars, and bow to the mirror.
Ill.—we call men in space astronauts, which is a misnomer...for they are a few dozen miles up and away from us, that’s all. They would need to travel among the stars to make that name truthful. And the stars are light years away.
How do people react to the cross?
Many don’t understand it. Some don’t know the story. But most do and yet don’t grasp the real meaning of it all. Many wear it as jewelry, and nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that many don’t live by it whatsoever, it’s just a fashion statement, or maybe they think it will protect them.
1 Corinthians 1:23 “But we preach Christ crucified: unto the Jews a stumbling block…”
All throughout Jewish tradition, you find a nation waiting for a Messiah to come, rule with an iron fist, and solve all of their problems; but Jesus did not come this way.
Jesus was a poor son of a carpenter who was crucified on a cross like a criminal. Understand that only the worst criminals were crucified. It was the worst possible way to be executed because you did not quickly die, but died slowly from suffocation.
The Jews were looking for power and great glory. They stumbled at the weakness of the cross. The cross is not a pleasant thought, yet the power of the cross is our way to salvation. Do you stumble at the cross?
1 Corinthians 1:23 “...unto the Greeks foolishness”.
The Greeks were always emphasizing wisdom. To them the cross was foolishness. They looked at the cross from a human point of view.
How in the world could an old, nasty, bloody, wooden cross be the source of salvation? Does that really sound like something God would do?
1 Corinthians 1:19
You may think you are pretty smart, that all you have and all of your successes are because of you; but I will assure you that the wisest of all people in the world are absolutely stupid in comparison to God. Some may laugh at the cross today and call God’s plan foolish, but in the end they will not be laughing.
1 Corinthians 1:24
There will always be some that stumble at the cross. There will always be some that laugh at the cross. But, there will also always be some that believe. Now just simply believing that there was a man named Jesus that died on a cross is not enough. Even the demons of Hell believe in Jesus and Him crucified.
The power and wisdom of God are shown to us in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever thought about how God does things? So often the way God does things does not make sense to me. I sure wouldn’t do it the way He does, but I am not God.
I have also noticed that God uses people that I would not use. For example, I would never use me to preach. I would have never used some fishermen and a tax collector to be a part of the 12 Apostles. I would have never used John the Baptist to lead the way for the Son of God. But, God did! Have you ever just asked God the question, “God, are you sure?”
Let’s look at two types of choices God makes:
1 Corinthians 1:26-29
The first choice we will look at is God’s choice of…
Our text says that most of them were not wise, influential, or of noble birth. God chose the foolish, weak, and lowly.
In Jesus’ family line you will find prostitutes, foreigners, liars, adulterers, murderers, etc… You will also find people who were poor and not influential. In
fact, Jesus’ mother was poor.
The second choice we will look at is God’s choice of…
God chose to send His only begotten Son to earth as a baby. The King of kings and Lord of lords was born in a cattle stall. Some tried to kill Him. He was not
treated as a king.
Why would God choose to save sinful lost people this way? Surely He could have done it differently?
Not only did God choose to use His Son as the plan, but after Jesus paid our price on the cross, as Christians we stand righteous before God. We stand holy before
God. We are redeemed. We have been paid for by Jesus Christ.
“Has God chosen you to do a specific thing but you are saying, ‘God, are you sure?’” You just don’t feel qualified enough, rich enough, smart enough, etc… Remember
God’s standards are different than ours.
v. 29, 31 God did it this way so He will get the glory...and He deserves it!
God knows what He is doing. Trust Him!
v. 1, 4-5 The best preaching is Bible based, expository, I believe, letting the Word of God do the work of God. Therefore the outline, poems, illustrations, all the parts I put in extra, are just my efforts to try to understand God’s wisdom, but they don’t enhance or improve what is already written at all. Those things just take the weak link, me, and help me to grasp the grandeur of God’s wisdom already written there.
v. 9 is a very misunderstood and misused verse. Though it applies to the truth about heaven, it is more about earth. The mystery God prepared for man was the cross and His Son on it, and we cannot in man’s wisdom even make sense of that, much less all the other questions we encounter in this life.
v. 12-14 This is a great closing summary of what these first chapters are all about. We are trying to get people to understand and they cannot without help. So we try to help them. But we can’t! Only the Spirit can thru the Word. So what do we do? We keep preaching and praying! And it doesn’t hurt if we live it. Don’t just wear the cross, but carry it, walk in the steps which led to and from it.
1 Corinthians 4:10
We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ;
1 Corinthians 3:18-19
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
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