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The Community of the Cross

Notes & Transcripts

The Community of the Cross

January 26, 2003

 

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:5

Introduction:

The fragmentation of the world.

The fragmented community of our culture (gangs, families).

There is even fragmentation (tribalism) in the church.

The Corinthian church and Paul had become crossed up.

He had planted this church on his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 18).

He stayed there for 1 ½ years after some initial trouble because he had a vision from God that "I have many people in this city".

Paul wrote 4 letters (2 are lost) and made 3 visits to Corinth.

1Cor. was written from Ephesus 4 to 5 years after his first visit.

It was written after a previous letter that was misunderstood.

In 1Cor. he addresses the problems there he became aware of by personal report and by a letter written to him by the church.

The message of 1Cor. is the doctrine of the cross in its social application.

Given the history and setting of Corinth, Paul's letter can be seen as a model on how to do urban ministry in the modern world, since Corinth could be likened to the New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and even the Chicago of the modern world.

The first problem he addresses is to give unifying wisdom to the problem of divisions that were leading to fragmentation.

They had a misguided view of their own spiritual maturity (arrogance).

But he follows with his response to many other "hot potato" issues that are still issues today – most notably sexual immorality, lawsuits, leadership, freedom, marriage and divorce, love, women in ministry, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection body.

Big Question:

How can the church find a real sense of community?

We can find a real sense of community when we make the cross our hope.

We can find a real sense of community when we make the cross our confidence.

We can find a real sense of community when we take up the challenge of the cross.

We can find a real sense of community when we take up the power and wisdom of the cross –

          That called the Messiah against all human reason

          That called the Corinthians against all human reason

          That called Paul against all human reason

          And - that even called us against all human reason

         

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1:1-3)

          B.      Implication

We can find a real sense of community when we make the cross our hope.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1:4-9)

          B.      Implication

We can find a real sense of community when we make the cross our confidence.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1:10-17)

          B.      Implication

We can find a real sense of community when we take up the challenge of the cross.

          C.      Illustration

Dyson Hague said, "No one has the right to smooth off the corners of the cross."

There are 8 corners of the cross that we dare not smooth off.

          Sin

          Repentance

          Confession

          Self-denial

          Discipline

          Holiness

          Stewardship

          Humility

         

The cross was designed to cause Jesus pain. We might afford to have padded pews in the church, but we cannot afford to have a padded cross.

          D.      Application

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1:18-2:5)

          B.      Implication

We can find a real sense of community when we take up the power and wisdom of the cross –

          That called the Messiah against all human reason (vv. 1:18-25)

          That called the Corinthians against all human reason (vv. 1:26-31)

          That called Paul against all human reason (vv. 2:1-5)

          And - that even called us against all human reason

          C.      Illustration

[vv. 18-19]

Khmer Rouge General Now Preaches Gospel of Christ

Former Peddler of Porn Paraphernalia Now Sells Bibles as New Christian

A Critique of Evolutionary Random Development of Living Systems (by David R. Boylan, Faith Pulpit, Jan. 2003)

[v. 26]

THE EIGHT COW WOMAN STORY

Perhaps you've heard the story of Johnny Lingo, a man who lived in the South Pacific. The islanders all spoke highly of him. He was strong, good-looking, and very intelligent. But when it came time for him to find a wife, people shook their heads in disbelief. The woman Johnny chose was plain, skinny, and walked with her shoulders hunched and her head down. She was very hesitant and shy. She was also a bit older than the other married women in the village, which did nothing for her value.

But this man loved her. What surprised everyone most was Johnny's offer. In order to obtain a wife, you paid for her by giving her father cows. Four to six cows was considered a high price. The other villagers thought he might pay two or even three cows at the most. But he gave eight cows for her!!

Everyone chuckled about it, since they believed his father-in-law put one over on him. Some thought it was a mistake.

Several months after the wedding, a visitor from the United States came to the Islands to trade and heard the story of Johnny Lingo and his eight-cow wife. Upon meeting Johnny and his wife the visitor was totally taken aback, since this wasn't a shy, plain, and hesitant woman, but one who was beautiful, poised, and confident.

The visitor asked about this transformation, and Johnny Lingo's response was very simple. "I wanted an eight-cow woman, and when I paid that for her and treated her in that fashion, she began to believe that she was an eight-cow woman. She discovered she was worth more than any other woman in the islands.
"And what matters most is what a woman thinks of herself."

When you value others around you, something amazing happens. You increase their value and they value themselves more.

We, as Christians, have value. God puts a value on us that doesn't make any human sense at all. God chose us, the weak and foolish things of this world, the impossible community of the cross, to shame the wise and influential. This is all to the glory of the cross of Christ, which is for us the wisdom of God.

[v. 1]

A church personnel committee asked their pastor to evaluate his ministry
"in comparison" to the ministry of Jesus. Here is his humble response:

**JESUS................................... **PASTOR


Walks on water..........................          Slips on ice

Changes water into wine.............       Changes water into coffee

Welcomes children....................          Has children's sermon

Curses fig tree...........................            Kills houseplants

Stills the storm..........................            Puts storm windows on sills

Feeds 5,000..............................            Buys snacks for youth program

Heals centurion's servant at
a distance.................................             Uses remote control for the TV

Heals paralyzed man.................        Gets children to do chores

Overturns money-changer tables.    Puts away folding tables

Raises the dead........................            Wakes teenagers

Casts out demons.....................           Turns on night-light

Cleanses lepers........................             Changes dirty diapers

Light of the World......................         Turns light switches on and off

Stands at door and knocks.........       Has church key

Calls disciples...........................            E-mails prayer chain

(All credit to: "Holy Hilarity" compiled by Cal and Rose Samra)

          D.      Application

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

How can the church find a real sense of community?

We can find a real sense of community when we make the cross our hope.

          The hope of the cross is community.

We can find a real sense of community when we make the cross our confidence.

          The confidence of the cross is community.

We can find a real sense of community when we take up the challenge of the cross.

          The challenge of the cross is community.

We can find a real sense of community when we take up the power and wisdom of the cross –

          That called the Messiah against all human reason

          That called the Corinthians against all human reason

          That called Paul against all human reason

          And - that even called us against all human reason

                   The power and wisdom of the cross is community.

Timeless Truth:

Disunity is dissolved by becoming cross-connected.

A cross-connected church is a unified church.

A church that is not cross-connected is crossed up.

A church that is crossed up will eventually be crossed out.

The church must cross over to Christ as the community of the cross.

The community of the cross is the wisdom and power of God at work to do what man cannot do without him. It is the wisdom and power of God on display.

The community of the cross is all-in-Christ.

The community of the cross in Christ-in-all.

Community is the message of the cross.

ILLUS.: VOM, Special Issue 2003, photo on p. 2 from one of the 19 churches burned in Poso, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, during a Laskar Jihad (Muslim) attack. Everything inside the church turned to ashes except for this metal tray and the communion glasses that were fused together forming one block of glass.

A recent Christian News Service release said that a number of Muslims in Indonesia are beginning to cross over to the Christians because they see the faith of the Christians and cannot abide by the senseless violence of the Muslims to persecute them.

We must continually ask ourselves whether or not we are the "community of the cross" lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power among us.

In a verse that Paul had written earlier to the Galatians (2:20) he affirms that we must be crucified with Christ.

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