Sermon for 1/27/2008
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.” Holmes asked, “What does that tell you?” Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is omnipotent and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.” “What does it tell you?” Watson asked. Holmes was silent for a minute, and then spoke. “Oh Watson, you fool, someone has stolen our tent.”
A. Song- When we in our foolishness thought we were wise, he played the fool and He opened our eyes. When we in our weakness believed we were strong, He became helpless to show we were wrong. And so we follow God’s own fool for only the foolish can tell- Believe the unbelievable and come be a fool as well.
B. Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5
Thesis: This morning we are going to talk about foolishness: the foolishness of the cross, the foolishness of preachers, the foolishness of the church, and the foolishness of the world.
I. The foolishness of the cross
A. Vs. 18- Why is it foolishness?
B. A man who died thousands of years ago has an eternal impact upon my life now?
C. God came down to earth as a baby and then lived a perfect life as a man and then died on a cross and then rose again. This is unbelievable- Believe the unbelievable.
C. Jesus Christ was not a great man. He was just a carpenter’s son. Even his family said He was mad, and the priests said a demon’s to blame. But God in the form of this angry young man, could not have seemed perfectly sane. Especially when we consider this, (Gal 3:13 NIV) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
C. Now Paul is referring to more than just the cross. He knows that this same man rose from the dead and he talks about this later. Why emphasize the cross here?
D. What put Jesus Christ, the Son of God, upon that cross? It was the sin of mankind. More personally, it was your sin and my sin that put him on the cross. (2 Cor 5:21 NIV) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
E. When we talk about the cross we have to talk about sin. That is not a popular topic with the world. (Rom 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
F. This is a blow to their egos and pride. (James 4:6) But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
G. That someone would have to die and shed his blood for my sins is contrary to the world’s thinking. It is gross! Even some in churches try to remove the idea of the blood of Christ! We want the cross to be nice and pretty like it is in the church building. It is not nice and pretty and it definitely wasn’t in Jesus day. It was an instrument of execution. Like glorifying an electric chair or a needle full of poison!
H. (Col 1:19 NIV) For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
(Col 1:20 NIV) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
H. The cross is a symbol of what a disciple of Jesus is to do. We are to die to ourselves and live for Jesus Christ. (Mark 8:34) If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.(Mark 8:35) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
II. The Foolishness of Preachers
B. When an emergency medical technician arrives at the scene of an accident, he knows he may have only a few minutes to save a victim’s life. He will waste none of those minutes in combing the patient’s hair, brushing his clothes, or checking for marks of identification. He will move as swiftly as he can to the most critical wound and treat it with all of his skill. Something similar is demanded of the minister in the pulpit. I have 30 minutes to bring life to someone within my hearing, or let them remain spiritual dead maybe forever.
D. vs. 3- I feel the same way. That is why I have a prayer blog. Need prayer. Talking with my friend Luanne in Indiana. He asked how I became a preacher. When I accepted the position, I told the leadership that I would need support and I would need prayer. I cannot do this.
C. Who is equal to such a task? I heard Rush Limbaugh one afternoon talk about how a listener had written an e-mail that was so encouraging to him. He said that many times he wanders if anyone really cares what he has to say, who cares what his opinions are? Many times I stand up here with the same thoughts.
E. Dr. Adrian Rogers summed up his many years of preaching at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN. “If you had Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, anybody else out there speak to the same people three times a week for 27 years, the people would be climbing the walls to get out. Why? Because they’re drawing from their own limited wells, no matter how good they are. The reason I preach the Bible is: first, I’m not smart enough to preach anything else. The Bible is a bottomless well. So I’m not smart enough to preach anything else. The other reason is I am smart enough not to preach anything else, because I know that that has the staying power. This place is packed; we have run out of room. It is not a testimony to a man but to the Bible. If I stop preaching the Bible, these folks would leave. They come for the Word of God. They want it to be warm, they want it to be understandable and applicable. But I have learned that there is power in the preaching of the Word of God.”
F. Vs. 1 and Vs. 4- Dwight Moody was a great evangelist. However, his grammar was very poor. Moody had planned to speak at Cambridge University in England. Most in this University were outraged that a backwoods American preacher would dare to appear and speak in the center of the culture of the English world. When Moody got up to speak there, he stepped to the edge of the platform and, looking directly at the students who were gathered there, he said these words, “Young gentlemen, don’t ever think God don’t love you, for he do!” Everyone was astonished. Moody went on and in a few minutes he said, “Don’t ever think God don’t love you, for he do!” Something about the very ungrammatical structure of these words captured them. The earnestness of this man spoke right to their hearts, beyond all the superficial, external things. A great awakening came to Cambridge University at the hands of D. L. Moody even though he “murdered” the King’s English.
G. Effective preaching comes through vs. 2. In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross In every victory, let it be said of me
My source of strength My source of hope Is Christ alone
H. This is where the power comes from. God’s power in vs. 5 comes from vs. 18.
III. The foolishness of the church
A. Vs. 26, 28-29.
B. You are a preacher. What a blessing! You must have been the first in your class! No, I was just average. You were blessed with great talent! No, I was just average! C. When I came to Jesus Christ at the age of 13 I was barely getting by: C and D’s. I was socially inept. I had few friends. But the Lord took someone like me, someone below average and made something out of him.
D. My first few years of being a Christian I felt like all I had going for me was the Lord. That was really the best thing for me. He’s all I need when I just need someone to talk to, He’s always there to hear my prayer each time I call him; All my needs He supplies, my thirsty soul He satisfies, He’s the Lord of Lords, He’s all I need.
E. Vs. 26- Not many. The church is made up of misfits, rejects, the forgotten ones!
F. When I look at my journey since I came to Christ, I cannot boast. The Lord has used me and made me who I am. Vs. 31. The Lord takes ordinary people and makes them extraordinary!
Conclusion and invitation:
IV. The foolishness of the world.
A. The world does not believe.
B. We cannot out smart God. Cannot outwork, outmuscle God.
C. Vs. 25
D. God’s foolishness is the cross. God’s weakness is to send his Son to do that.
E. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
F. The world calls us fools. God calls the world foolishness. Who are we going to believe? Who really is the fool and who really is wise?
G. Believe the unbelievable and come be a fool as well.