Summary: The message of the cross is the manifestation of God’s wise plan to save all mankind from sin and death.
Easter - THE WISDOM OF THE CROSS
This morning’s message
as we draw close to resurrection Sunday
is entitled “The Wisdom of the Cross”
1 Cor. 1:23-25
but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,  but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
A. The ancient Gentiles saw the cross as foolishness
In Acts 17 The apostle Paul went to Athens and started telling them about a God who was unknown to them. This God came to earth, walked among men, died on the cross, and rose again.
But it was all foolishness to them
Reason tells you that babies aren’t born to virgin girls.
Reason tells you that God doesn’t become flesh.
Reason tells you that almighty God will not allow puny men to nail Him to a cross.
Reason tells you that when a man dies he cannot be resurrected back to life again.
None of that makes any sense.
So the Gentiles looked at the cross as foolishness.
B. The ancient Jews saw its message as a stumbling block to their way of faith
The Jews stumbled over it because Jesus wasn’t the kind of Messiah they wanted.
If He had marshaled an army,
and led them into battle, and defeated the Romans –
if He would have shown them that He was successful and victorious –
they would have marched behind Him.
But the cross got in the way.
You see, dying on the cross doesn’t look like success or power.
It doesn’t look like victory.
It looks like weakness.
It looks like failure.
It looks like defeat.
So they kept stumbling over it.
It kept getting in the way.
C. But for we who have been saved and transformed by the power of the cross
The CROSS is the Wisdom of God
The good news we have to share to everyone
That being said………….
As we grow farther and farther in time from the event of the cross
We no longer encounter Jews and Greeks with the message of the cross like they did in the first century
But we still encounter two kinds of people
D In a way our neighbors in OUR TOWN or wherever we live are like the ancient Gentiles
For them the cross has become irrelevant and foolish
they don’t understand its purpose or meaning
for them the cross is just some jewelry
Everything we stand for appears upside down to them
We see America winning a war against Iraq
They feel sorry for poor Saddam Hussein
We see that abortion as being murder
They see it as liberating unwanted tissue form the body
We see a lack of prayer and the ten commandments in our society as its down fall
They see prayer and the ten commandments in our society as its down fall
We see Christ crucified as the hope for mankind
They see the message of the cross and go HUH!
E. Then there are the Jews in our life
The message of the cross is a stumbling block for the religious people of this world
Whether their religion be
You get around these religious people with the message of the cross
And they will stumble over it every time
It is a bold faced “God Faced”: Obstacle in the broad road to their destruction
They trip over it every time
Though the audience has changed a little the message has not..
E. The message of the cross is the manifestation of God’s wise plan to save all mankind from sin and death
And the messenger has not changed either.
If we ever hope to reach the world around us we are going to need two things
1. To understand the wisdom of God in the cross
2. To realize that we ourselves are a result of that wisdom and that we are the ones who must LIVE and proclaim Gods wisdom,
I. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS?
Many people do not
We live in a time where
The Christian message is being slanted by some in the direction of the current fashion in order to make it acceptable to the public.
The new message of the gospel promises the same thing the world does, only a higher level.
Whatever the world happens to be clamoring after at the moment
is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers,
ONLY THE RELIGIOUS PRODUCT IS BETTER.
Michael Bird, a minister in Australia, tells about a well-known American preacher who gave some advice to an Australian congregation.