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The Foolishness Of God

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A. The ancient Greeks were in love with philosophy; they believed that it was all important.

1. They had perhaps as many as 50 identifiable philosophical parties or movements which vied for acceptance and influence

a. Each had it views of man origin, significance, destiny, and relationship to the gods--of which they had many.

b. Some of the philosophies had detailed schemes for the religious, political, social, economic, and educational ordering of society.

2. There were as many philosophers as there were philosophies, and people tended to line up behind their favorite.

a. They widely disagreed as to which philosophy was the truest and most reliable.

b. Inevitably, many factions developed, each with its own leaders and adherents.

B. Philosophy, based on human wisdom, provided a view, invented by man, of the meaning of life, values, relationships, purpose, and destiny.

1. Human wisdom appeals to man's ego; it elevates man and lowers God for it caters to man's self-will, pride, fleshly inclina­tions and independence

2. Man has made remarkable discoveries and accomplishments, especially in the last 50 years, in science, technology, and medicine, however, if man is to get answers to what life is about--were he came from, were he is going, why he is here, and what is right and wrong--then human wisdom, not matter how sincere and scholarly it seems, cannot help him.

C. Unfortunately, many believers carry the spirit of human wisdom into the church.

1. Human wisdom causes division not only in regard to Christian leaders but also in regard as to how the church should be run

2. Many attempt to run the church on human wisdom, which is by nature speculation and misleading because it is based on man's limited and fallible insights and understanding, and thus is always unreliable and divisive.

3. If we want to know the true purpose of the church, if we want to know peace in the church, if we want to know what the church is suppose to be doing, we have to look beyond human wisdom.


A. PROPOSITION: Human wisdom in the church fosters division of the church (human wisdom hinders the ministry of the church)


C. TRANSITION: From 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 we can gleem two reasons



A. Human wisdom is foolish because it cannot recognize the truth of the gospel message. 1:18

1. The lost (i.e., those who are perishing) view the preach­ing of the cross as foolish (i.e., it doesn't make logical sense)

2. The saved (i.e., those who are being saved; n. salvation present is not complete until the redemption of the body) the preaching of the cross is the power of God (i.e., it works in that it changes lives).

B. Human wisdom is foolish because it is unreliable 1:19

1. Fact: Based on Isa.29:l4, God will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

2. Context: Sennacherib, king of Assyria was planning to conquer Judah.

a. The Lord promised that the king's plan would fail.

b. This would not be because of the strength of Judah's army or the strategy of King Hezekiah and his advisors

c. Judah would be saved solely by God's power, with no human help.

d. This came true when 185,000 men of Assyia were killed with just one angel

3. Problem: Man is inclined to try to solve his problems and fight his battles by his own ingenuity and power

a. Men have always tried to "save" himself by devising they own program of personal, political, economic, and social redemption.

b. Man's problem is that he trust in himself and not God

C. Human wisdom is foolish because it is transitory 1:20

1. Rhetorical questions: Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?

2. Problem: If man is so smart how come we are no closer to eliminating war, poverty, hunger, ignorance, crime, injustice, oppression, and immorality than we were centuries ago?!!

a. Our advances in knowledge, technology, medicine, and communication have not reall advanced us at all!!

b. In fact, it from the intelligent and clever that the worst exploiters, deceivers, and oppressors come!!!

c. Today, we have more means of helping each other, but we are not less selfish; we have more means of communica­tion but we do not understand each other any better; we have more psychology and education, but we are not more moral!

d. What have the great thinkers--the philosophers, the sociologists, the psychologists, the economists, the scientists, and the statesmen, brought us?

3. Point: Human wisdom, throughout history, has never really solved the basic problems of man.

D. Application: Unity in the church will not be achieved by human wisdom because human wisdom is the cause of the problem


A. Human wisdom is powerless because it is unable to lead men to a person relationship with God. 1:21

1. God, in His wisdom, sovereignly planned that human wisdom would not be the instrument for knowing God

2. God, in His wisdom, sovereignly choose to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.

a. God choose to use what the world's wisdom counts as foolish--preaching.

b. God choose to accept what the world's wisdom counts as foolish--faith.

B. Human wisdom is powerless because it is unable to satisfy man concerning the truth of God. 1:22-23

1. The Jews requested a sign before they would believe

a. They wanted supernatural proof--they did not want to exercise faith.

b. The message of the cross was a stumbling block to them because they could not see its power

2. The Greeks searched for wisdom

a. They wanted rational proof--they did not want to exer­cise faith.

b. The message of the cross was foolishness to them because they could not see its wisdom.

C. Human wisdom is powerless because it is unable to empower man to serve the living God. 1:24-25

1. To those who are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God

a. He is the power of God because He gives power over sin a changed position before God, and the power to live a life pleasing to God.

b. He is the wisdom of God because He reveals who God is what God has done.

2. What God for believers is better than anything the world has to offer.

a. The foolishness of God is wiser than men, i.e., what unsaved men view as foolish is really wise.

b. The weakness of God is stronger than men, i.e., what unsaved men view as weak is really strong.

D. Application: Unity in the church will not be achieved by human wisdom because human wisdom is weak and ineffective.


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