Summary: Comparing God’s power with man’s weakness
SERIES: “OVERCOMING OBSTACLES THAT OBSTRUCT OBEDIENCE”
TEXT: 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-16
TITLE: “NOT MAN BUT GOD”
INTRODUCTION: A. Several years back, Paul Harvey told about Duane Cowgill, a barber in Marshall,
Michigan. Duane had an overabundance of produce from his garden one year. He
gave away as much as possible to friends, neighbors, and family but the produce was
coming faster than he could eat it or get rid of it. He couldn’t figure out what to do
with it all.
Finally, he came up with a solution. He piled a small mountain of leftover produce
on the bench that sat on the sidewalk out in front of his barbershop with a sign that
read: “Free – Help Yourself.” By the end of the day, all of the produce was gone.
The only thing was Duane forgot to remove the sign from the bench. When he
arrived at work the next morning, the bench was gone.
1. Sometimes we put too much stock in our own solutions to problems
2. We usually find out that we lack the wisdom, the strength or the force of will to
adequately solve the problem
B. Why do we insist on working out, thinking out, or determining out a way for
1. Prov. 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to
2. A young couple with a two-year-old child went to visit some wealthy relatives.
While the adults talked, the two-year-old got board and wandered away. The
adults heard the child yelling and discovered him in the room across the hall with
his hand stuck in a very expensive vase.
The adults worked feverishly to get the young child’s hand out of the vase.
They tried to twist and turn it. They tried pouring oil around the little boy’s hand
and the rim. Nothing they tried worked.
The man of the house said, “Obviously, we’ll have to break the vase. I’ll be
right back.” He left the room and came back with a hammer.
Very carefully, he broke the vase and the child was free. They all knew then
why the boy’s hand was stuck in the vase. He had reached in to grab a penny that
was in the bottom of the vase and in his childish ignorance, refused to let go.
3. Prov. 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths
4. Let’s hear what the apostle Paul says about trusting in our own efforts
I. NOT BY HUMAN STRENGTH BUT BY GOD’S POWER
--1 Cor. 2:1-5 – “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I
proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except
Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My
message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the
Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
A. Human strength
1. Have you ever seen TV show World’s Strongest Man?
--As impressive as those feats of strength are, they’re nothing compared to God
2. Our brains can devise machines that can apply thousand of times more strength to a project than we
could ever hope to do on our own
--Think about a simple machine like a lever – our bodies can’t stand the stress that simple machine
B. God’s power
1. Ps. 62:11 – “…you O, God are strong.”
2. He has power over the natural elements
a. Calmed storms
b. Walked on water
c. Turned water into wine
d. Separated the sea for the Israelites to escape from Egypt
e. Stopped the sun in its orbit
C. Paul’s comments
1. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling
2. Id didn’t rely on my own strength but on the demonstration of God’s power
D. Why our efforts fail
--We need to stop depending on ourselves and depend on the One who can overcome all things!
1. Mt. 19:26 – When the disciples asked Jesus about something they thought was impossible, Jesus said,
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
2. Eph. 3:20 – says that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to
his power that is at work within us.”
II. NOT BY HUMAN REASON BUT BY GOD’S WISDOM
--1 Cor. 2:6-8 – “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of
this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a