The Offense of the Cross
1st Corinthians 1:18—2:5
A preacher friend once told me that he refused to teach or preach about a cruel cross and a bloody Savior. He was convinced that we should speak of the love of God, the glory of heaven, and the beauty of the Scriptures. He was afraid that people would be turned off by something as crude and offensive as crucifixion.
Paul confronted the same issue in his day. He tells us that the doctrine of the cross was
1. A stumbling block to the Jews. It was an obstacle in their path they could not avoid as they pretended that Jesus did not matter.
2. Foolishness to the Greeks. They refused to believe in anything that could not be proven using logic. Their problem – God is not subject to man’s approval!
3. The result is that not many wise, powerful, or famous people were saved – pride is our first and greatest sin!
There is no reason to believe that the cross has become any more palatable today. One has only to look at some of what was written by movie and media critics after the release of the Passion of the Christ. In 2,000 years, the world and the Gospel are both unchanged!
I. Why Is the Cross Offensive?
A. It’s doctrine of atonement offends man’s pride
1. Humanistic view versus the Gospel – man is good and does not need atonement
2. If men need gods they can create them
B. Its simplicity offends human wisdom
1. What the ignorant call sin the wise call choice
2. It doesn’t make any sense – If we admit the existence of sin, how then can the death of one man resolve the debt of all persons?
3. Jesus’ humility is offensive to proud humans
II. How the Offense Is Demonstrated
A. By belittling or persecuting believers
1. Moslems hate the Gospel
2. Intellectuals belittle and criticize believers – banning the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains a reference to God, removing all reference to God from the public square
B. Eliminating the doctrine of the cross from the doctrinal teachings of the Church
1. Mainline denominations have sanitized the Gospel
2. Many preachers present a bloodless Savior
III. The Ultimate Result
A. Some will continue to reject their only hope because it offends their sensibilities
B. Some few will overcome their offense and believe
C. Some will take up the cross and follow*