Fixing my car…..
We’ve seen, in the last few weeks
The terrible reputation Corinth had
for being the “Sin City” of the ancient world
You know, there’s always one
There’s always one city
That becomes known for
What you can get away with there...
One place you can go,
Where anything goes
In the first century…
Corinth was that city
One redeeming feature that Corinth had
Was it’s church…
We’ve just start taking a peak
At what things were like in that church
At some of the things that were going on there
Paul has already told the Corinthians
That they are saved
And he has also mentioned the great gifts
The Corinthian church has been given
We got to hear just a little about those gifts
But Paul makes it clear
That all those gifts…
Indeed, everything the church had
Came from God
And was to be used for His glory
Now the problem we are beginning to see
In the Corinthian church
Was that they were allowing some of the
Predominant thinking in the city
To permeate the church…
We’re looking, right now, at how partisanship
And a feeling of spiritual superiority
Were impacting the relationships in the church…
They were comparing teachers
And debating baptisms
And, generally, trying to one up
Each other in spiritual matters
And while we’re not quite done with this point yet
We’ve already seen that
We can’t measure our spiritual maturity
Nor our spiritual worth
By who we associate with
We found out that it’s not who you know
It’s who knows you…
And that’s our Father in Heaven
And, bearing in mind,
That He’s given us all we need
To do what He’s called us to do…
we should also realize
that what He’s called us to do
is very simple…
He’s called us to be witnesses
To a lost and dying world
And give them a simple message…
“His Son died so that we could live…
All we have to do is repent from our old ways
And believe in Him
And we’ll be saved.”
It’s a very simple message
One we can all remember
And share whenever the opportunity arises
And none of us has to be
Or brilliantly articulate
To share it
Remember what we learned?
“God has given us all we need…
But that’s all we need.”
we don’t have to go out
and try to improve out “technique”
all we have to do
is trust that God will move
when we are faithful to His calling
and then let Him do the work
now it’s important for all of us to realize something else as well
none of this means we get to sit around
doing nothing for the rest of our stay here
we should remember to continue on
in our study of scripture
in learning our theology
on our understanding of doctrine
and our spiritual growth
why would we want to do this?
If God has given us all we need
Why should we have to learn more?
Why don’t we just go sit on a corner
And start telling everyone who walks by,
“Jesus died for your sins!”
I’ll tell you why…
It’s so that you can grow
It’s so that you can reap greater blessings
It’s so that you can be a more accurate
Representation of the one who sent you…
The more accurate a reflection you are…
the easier your calling becomes
The more accurate a reflection you are…
The closer you are to Him
The more accurate a reflection you are…
The easier your testimony becomes
The more accurate a reflection you are
The more accurately those around you
Can see your Father in Heaven
None of this negates
The simplicity of the message
God has sent us to deliver
But as human beings,
We have a tendency to overcomplicate things…
The Corinthians had this same tendency
And Paul knew all about it
He addresses it in our text today
Along with our tendency to brag
About just about everything
We can brag about
Let’s take a look at the verses….
Our title for this message is…
1 Cor 1:18-31
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
When Paul says “word” here
He means the message of the cross
He’s talking about the message of the gospel
Paula says this message is foolishness
Foolishness to those who are perishing
And we see the contrast here
Because it is, literally,
The power of God
To those of us who are being saved
Now we see two types of people here
People who are dying
And people who are being saved
The Bible tells us there are two kinds of people
There are two ways to react to the gospel
There are two responses to the truth;
Either you believe
Or you don’t believe
There are no fence sitters
No in betweeners
No folks that will wait it out
Either you believe
Or you don’t
If you don’t believe, this all sounds ridiculous
And that refusal to believe in the truth of God
Will result in death
If you do believe, all this sounds great!
It sounds wonderful
It sounds profound
It sounds powerful
It sounds like the power of God!
And it brings life…
How powerful is the power of God?
Look at John 16
7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
God’s power is so powerful
It will convict the world of all the things it does wrong
As a matter of fact
It’s so powerful that the ruler of this world…Satan
Has already been judged
What does that mean to us?
Look at Acts 1
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
It means that we have the power of God
To tell people about Him
The power of God to share the good news!
The power of God
To open our mouths and speak
And the great news is this…
We don’t have to worry about
How well we do!
All we have to do is start showing people
And God and His power do the rest
Remember, the power is in the message
Not the messenger!
Now here’s the problem we face…
None of this makes any sense
To most folks
It sounds too easy…
It’s religious fanaticism….
It’s a crutch for weak people…
(tell about my Mom
And me getting fanatical)
Most folks are much too deep
In their thinking
And much too sophisticated
In their life style
To indulge in such
And intolerant thinking!
They all know life is far more complicated
And complex than we think it is….
This whole notion of God
Is for simple people
With simple minds
But look what our passage says
About those folks
19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
This is from Isaiah 29
14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men will perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.”
15 Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord,
And whose deeds are done in a dark place,
And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”
Think how this must have sounded to the Corinthians
Especially the ones who bothered
to check the scripture reference
Corinth was a town of sensuality and sin
It was a city that had a lot of pride in itself
Pride in how intellectual it was
Pride in how much fun it was
Pride in how base it was
You could have it all in Corinth!
And the best thing
Was whatever happened there
How do we know this?...
Think about it…
You could indulge in any sin Corinth offered
And couch it in something like this….
“I go for the intellectual stimulation!”
It’s kinda like…
“I look at these magazines for the articles!”
You could do all this stuff
And no one is going to rat you out!
Because they are doing it too!
You know it’s been the same
For every city in history
That built its’ reputation on aberrant behavior
And sensual pleasures…
Soddom and Gomorrah
Paris in the late 1800’s
Amsterdam in the 40’s and 50’s
And Las Vegas right now
As a matter of fact, Las Vegas is blatant about it
After trying out family attraction for 15 years
And attracting a lot of people
But watching revenues in the casinos steadily fall
They’ve changed their emphasis
Done a 180 degree about face
Brought back the risqué shows
And nudity and worse…
They have adopted an official slogan for the city…
You know what it is?...
“What happens in Vegas….stays in Vegas.”
God says differently
He says “those things done in darkness
Will be brought to light!
Those things you thought were so smart
And so clever…
are going to rise up and be known!
Oh my gosh!
What are we going to do?
All the things we’ve ever done…
All the things we’re doing…
Is going to be brought to light!
How am I going to get out of this!
You’re not going to get out of it!
God’s already told you you won’t!
Well, if you’re like most folks…
You would probably like to wait as long as possible
Until you have to deal with this.
Have you ever done that?…
In trying to avoid doing something you know
You have to do…
You wait until the last possible moment
Until you do it…
Just hoping and praying that
Something might change
And you won’t have
To go through
Well, God has provided a simple way
And easy way to get it over with
Without going through all the agonizing and waiting.
A way to deal with it
And have it erased from our lives
As if it never happened
His Word says, in Acts 3
19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
God says repent!
It so simple, there are a lot of people
Who will try to overcomplicate it…
It’s so simple, we’re almost afraid to try it….
It so simple, the world can’t believe it’s true
It’s so simple, it seems foolish to anyone
Who doesn’t know God
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
The Jews have been looking for a sign
Throughout their history
It’s as if they wanted proof
Of God’s existence…
Proof of His presence…
Proof of His promises…
Before they would believe
That would be nice
But it would not require any faith
If God were in the habit of providing proof
All our work here would be done…
He could just take everyone home
But Gods plan is simple…
He wants us to receive Him
And the truth of the matter is
That signs and wonders don’t seem to have any impact on our faith
We think they will,
If we can just witness them..
But seeing them usually leads
To a demand to see more
Not to a deeper walk
And an increase in our faith
Yet the Jews always demanded a sign…
Even the disciples struggled with this issue
Before they had encountered a resurrected Lord
Late in His ministry,
This exchange took place between Jesus
And the disciples
It’s in John 14:
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Even the disciples…
After walking with Him for 3 years
After seeing all the miracles
After acknowledging that HE was the Christ
After all that….
“Well just show us God…
And then we’ll know for sure!”
So Paul tell us
That even though the Jews are still clamoring for a sign
And the Greeks, who were noted for the philosophy
Ask for wisdom…
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
A stumbling block to the Jews
Because it wasn’t what they were looking for
They were looking for a conquering king…
A political champion…
A smiter of their enemies…
A lot of things…
The gentiles, the Greeks,
Wanted to reason it out…
To analyze it…
To ponder and pontificate
And to debate and evaluate
To think it through
Consider all their options
And all their alternatives
And then, maybe
Arrive at a conclusion…
But God had a simpler plan
All God wanted
Was to take care of their sin…
To remove any impediments
To having a relationship with Him
And here was a big surprise
For our Jewish friends….
He didn’t care whether the people who got it
Were Jewish or Gentile…
They were all His…
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
God does this all the time
he uses the simplest stuff
To confound us and put to shame
Our greatest plans and devices
And the principle He wants to show us here
The more primitive the material
The greater the glory to the Master
The simpler the plan
The less likely someone will try to take
Credit for it
As a matter of fact…
This simpler the plan,
The more likely most people will
We do it all the time…
God says, “Do this!”
And we say, “That’ll never work!”
Look at some of the things He’s done…
He used trumpets to bring down the walls of Jericho
1 Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.
2 The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.
3 “You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days.
4 “Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
5 “It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.”
So, Joshua did exactly as he was told
Got all his army together
Put the trumpets out in front
Marched around the city
Then he blew the horns….
And the walls fell down!
There are others….
He used Shamgar to kill 100 Philistine soldiers with an oxgoad
And saved Israel (Judges 3)
He gave Samson the jawbone of a donkey
And used it to defeat a whole army
God did this in
33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel.
Slide of Valley
34 So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.
35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken,
37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.”
38 And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.”
40 God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.
1 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.
Slide of Spring – long shot
Slide of Spring – cave where it comes from
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’
3 “Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’ ” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.
Slide they gathered of Spring Area where
4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.”
6 Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water.
7 The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.”
8 So the 300 men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
Slide of “soldier” drinking
Slide of valley
9 Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands.
10 “But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp,
11 and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp.
12 Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.
13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.”
14 His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.”
15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands.”
16 He divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers.
17 He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do.
18 “When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ ”
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands.
20 When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
21 Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled.
22 When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.
God is in the habit
Of using small tings
To do really big stuff!
A trumpet to bring down city walls
An oxgoad to deliver His people
A jawbone to defeat an army
A few fish and some bread
To feed 5,000 people
28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
Why does He do this?...
29 so that no man may boast before God.
He does it so that none of us
Can take credit for it…
So that He gets the glory
This is a quote from Jeremiah
Let’s take a look for greater clarity….
Jer 9: 23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;
24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
HE warns us not to get too uppity
About the stuff we have
Or the things we can do
Or how intelligent we are…
(expand on intelligence as opposed to
Being “street smart”…street wisdom!”
HE warns us not to depend on those things
In our lives
Because they are things we have done
And, while some of them are really good,
None of them can save us
That’s God’s work
And He tells us so next….
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”.
You see, God makes it simple
So that HE can get the glory
HE makes it easy
If we trust in Him
You know, we’ve heard about God using simple stuff
To do magnificent things…
Trumpets to bring down walls
An oxgoad to defeat 100 highly trained soldiers
The jawbone of a donkey
To defeat and entire army
And 300 men
To overwhelm thousands and thousands
But how does all this work out today?
Does God still use simple things
To confound the wise?
Does He still operate in the same way?
I think He does…..
My privilege to preach
You see after all this…
The message is still the same….
And the message is simple…..
Gr Paracletos, one called alongside to help; or Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor