Summary: Exposition of 1 Cor 1:26-31 regarding the foolishness of the choice of the Corinthians to carry out the gospel in the eyes of the world, and how God promises to use them to bring to nothing all the things that the world values
Text: 1 Cor 1:26-31, Title: Choosing Nobodies, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/18/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: How many of you were the last to be picked dividing up teams in school. Could you imagine someone who deliberately chose all the worst players on the team? What if this team captain had the ability to ensure victory, even with the worst of talent, so that the team captain would be glorified?
B. Background to passage: It has been reported that there is division in the church over which teachers and their wisdom that factions of the church are following. So Paul spends the first part of this letter giving them the solutions to the division. And the first part of his answer is that the wisdom of the world is not worth pursuing, in fact diametrically opposed to the wisdom of God (so let’s not import the world’s ways and values into the church because of “wisdom”). He gives them three reasons that they should not pursue and subscribe to worldly wisdom: 1) the gospel is foolishness to the world, 2) the choice of the Corinthian believers is foolishness to the world, 3) and Paul’s proclamation of this gospel is also foolishness to the world. Therefore, do not become attached to wisdom so that you can impress the society in which you live. You have an audience of One to please.
C. Main thought: why the choice of the Corinthians would not make sense to the world, so don’t try to please it
A. God’s Choice (v. 26-28)
1. Paul asks these believers to think with him a minute, and consider their calling in Christ. To consider their lives before, and the stations in life they were in, especially in the world’s eyes. Paul makes blanket statements about the Corinthians before Christ: 1) Not many of them were wise. This word means intelligent and educated, but it also means skilled in a trade or practice, all of this above average. 2) Not many of them were mighty. This word means capable, powerful, and strong; again, above average. 3) not many of the Corinthians were of noble birth, or high rank or status. Not many in the church would fall into these categories. “Thanks, Paul!” So their selection by God is nonsensical. But with them God will put to shame their counterparts: the wise, the mighty, the affluent and nobility.
2. Ps 8:2, Matt 4:19, 9:9, 11:25, 1 Sam 16:11,
3. Illustration: Read a good book (good books don’t necessarily contain 100% good truth) back in February that I got at the marriage conference called The Way of the Shepherd. Nothing to do with marriage, but more on shepherding people. It had a chapter on selecting the right sheep. It goes through the whole gamut of how to select good individuals for your team and what to look for. It gave the wisdom of the world, rather than the practice of God. How many men have left lucrative careers to pursue ministry? How many retirees have left the country, not for the white sands of the Bahamas, but to finish out their days in a remote region of and unreached people? How many martyrs have chosen death rather than life on a matter of theology and principle?