Summary: In today's politically correct world it seems more and more Christians are swallowing some pretty bad stuff in order to 'get along.' The culture pushes back to get us to conform to the values of our culture. Paul comes against that and says you should thi
In lesson three Paul takes aim, not at superstar pastors, but the philosophies and values of the world around us. The Corinthians were very much in the middle of a culture that valued philosophy and discussion as a way to arrive at truth. Paul's time before the Areopagus in Acts 17 was like that, where people got together to find out the latest-"Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but telling or hearing something new" (Acts 17:21 ).
In some ways we as a Christian culture are moving in that direction. I was frankly shocked as I read the Sunday (September 19, 2010) Oregonian article entitled: "My House (of Worship) is Your House."
In it, Pastor Tim Winslea said: The congregation is "very post-modern" in its theology, says Winslea, who co-pastors with his wife, the Rev. Elizabeth Winslea. "Christianity is our story," he says, "but we don't think it's the only valid story." In sermons, the Winsleas quote not just from the Bible but from the Quran or Buddhist texts. "This church is clearly designed for spiritual seekers," Tim Winslea says.
Post-Modern is really post-Christian. The Emergent Church is really the Divergent Church when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the name of inclusiveness we have excluded the only truth that really matters: the truth about the condition of man and the truth about man's only Savior: Jesus.
Now don't get me wrong, I think we can present the gospel using different methods, different media-but the message of the gospel should never change. In verse 17, Paul he did not bring "clever words, so that the cross of Christ would be emptied of its effect." The divergent gospel is no gospel. It has no effect of salvation-and that's what it should be all about. Otherwise it's a nice way to make ourselves feel better as we head for hell.
In verses 18 through 31, Paul takes to task those that began relying on the philosophies taken from culture rather than Christ.
Paul's just gotten done saying he didn't come with "clever words." We don't win people to Christ by our rhetoric or lofty arguments or public speaking skills.
In fact, Paul says, the actual message of the gospel seems pretty foolish. The only way to heaven is through a man who lived in Palestine 2,000 years ago and died by Roman execution? Are you kidding me?
What makes sense to us is doing something, anything, to get, find, or earn our way.
It doesn't make sense but it works. It isn't words that matter, but power. As I mentioned last time, Paul himself said the gospel is the "power of God to salvation." There is something about realizing who we are and what God has done that cuts through the noise. And there certainly is a lot of noise around us.
19 - 21
Paul paraphrases Isaiah 29:14 . He's basically saying that all the philosophies and "expert" thinkers got it wrong. In the battle between every other religious or philosophical construct they lose and Jesus wins. Human thought will never lead to the gospel so we need godly thought to get us there.
Whether or not you have taken philosophy or think of yourself as a philosopher, there are three basic questions that every human wrestles with:
1. Origins (where did I come from?)
2. Destiny (where am I going?)
3. Purpose (what am I doing here?)
You don't find the answers to those questions through high human thought but through the lowly humility of bowing to God's thought.
What is that message? God is good, we are not, we are doomed to be separate from all that goodness. God, in His goodness, chose to do what we could not, pay for our evil, give us new life, and make us good like Him through the cross of Jesus Christ. If we put our weight down on Him, He will lift us up to be with Him forever.
God's answer to those questions we all ask are 1. God created the heavens and earth. 2. Those that trust in Jesus will go a place Jesus prepared for us and 3. While we are here we are to become like Him and share that good news with everyone we can.
22 - 25
The values of this world can be summed up in a few clichés:
* Money really does buy happiness
* You only go around once in life so you gotta grab for all the gusto you can
* If it feels good, do it
* Man is basically good
* All roads lead to God
* Might makes right
* The one who dies with the most toys wins
Believe it or not, you probably subscribe to one or more of those values. They basically come down to: Being admired by others, avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. God is in the process of re-programming our minds into a different value system. But convincing us can be difficult.