THE FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING: 9-13-08
Today we’re going to talk for a little while to do with the "foolishness of preaching".
Let me say we’re not talking about foolish preaching, and there is quit a lot of that that goes on, but that is not what Paul is talking about here.
In a lot of cases man seems to think that he has become so intelligent that the very idea of some one dying on a cross 2000 years ago could have any relevance to some how save some one from their sins, is just don’t make good sense to them, it all seems foolish to him.
Listen as I read today’s text found in; 1 Corinthians 1:17-25
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. [Cautious and careful]
20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Some stumble at the cross. This was the attitude of the Jews, because their emphasis is on miraculous signs and the cross appears to be weakness.
When Jesus was ministering on earth, the Jewish leaders repeatedly asked Him to perform a sign from heaven; but He refused.
The Jewish nation didn’t understand their own sacred Scriptures. They looked for a Messiah who would come like a mighty conqueror and defeat all their enemies. He would then set up His kingdom and return the glory to Israel.
Passages like Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 pointed toward a different kind of Messiah. They didn’t understand that their Messiah had to suffer and die before He could enter into His glory.
Because the Jews were looking for power and great glory they stumbled at the weakness of the cross.
But rather than a testimony of weakness, the cross is a tremendous instrument of power, the ’weakness of God [in the cross] is stronger than men"
To the Greeks the cross was foolishness. The Greeks emphasized wisdom; they
saw no wisdom in the cross, they looked at the cross from a human point of view. Had they seen it from God s viewpoint, they would have realized the wisdom of God’s great plan of salvation.
Again in verse;
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Notice Paul didn’t emphasize or place confidence in the method of his preaching but the message of the Cross. He didn’t want to draw attention away from the gospel message to his style of delivering that message.
Galatians 6: 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
These Corinthians and even people in our day fail to see the important issues in ministry but instead pay too much attention to external and superficial matters.
Paul points out that the gospel is not a form of human wisdom, the message of a crucified Messiah just don’t make sense to the natural man, that is, the man that has never been supernaturally born again of the Holy Spirit of God.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
The cross divides men. The cross divides the saved from the unsaved, but it doe not divide the saved people. The Lord Jesus called Himself a divider of men, and the dividing line much of the time is His cross.
There were many people back in those days that were put to death on a cross, and most likely in most cases were put to death because of some wrong they had done, but Jesus never did any thing wrong at all, yet He died in every sinners place, the sins of the whole world were place on Him as He died the sinners death.
1 Peter 2: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness,--
1 Peter 3: 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened** by the Spirit:
When people hear the message of the Cross-it brings about opposite effects, some will reject it as foolishness, and others will gladly receive it and believe it. Paul contrasted foolishness and weakness with wisdom and power in,
Rom.1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.**
Just exactly what is the gospel message? --It’s the, death, burial & resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; --***
4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:-- the death, burial & resurrection.
A person must believe the gospel message in order to be saved; he cannot be save any other way.
Mans wisdom many times says that there must be a more logical way to be saved than accepting the free gift Jesus offers on the cross. The most dangerous thing to a lot of people’s spiritual well-being is their self proclaimed wisdom.
It really boils down to believing Gods Word, if a person hears the message of the Cross and don’t believe it, he’ll never be saved.
The truth of the Cross-seems foolish to the vast majority of mankind.
Osama bin laden said, "Jesus didn’t die for any one; he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time." We’d be surprised at the people that think like he does, but even Osama bin laden will one day believe but it will be to late.
Philippians 2: 5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There are not any unbelievers in hell; at one time they were all unbelievers but not now. The split second they arrive they become hard-core believers.
These suicide bombers, that thought they’d be rewarded with a bunch of virgins for the evil deed of killing innocent people, realize they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, there’s fire in hell, and then one day at the White Throne Judgment are cast into the lake of fire.
There are even unbelievers that often wear a cross of some kind around their neck, many of these so called rock stars wear them, they are really not aware of what the message of the Cross is.
-- ILL. There is a story about a little girl who proudly wore a shiny cross on a chain around her neck. One day a man said to her, “Little girl, don’t you know that the cross Jesus died on wasn’t beautiful like the one you’re wearing? It was an ugly, wooden thing.” And the little girl replied, “Yes, I know. But they told me in Sunday school that whatever Jesus touches, He changes.”--
Well it’s certainly true that when Jesus comes into a person heart He changes that person. But His Cross was not a beautiful site to see at all, but you and I that are saved are sure glad that He went to that old rugged Cross, and let me say, it wasn’t the Cross its self but rather what He accomplished on the Old Rugged Cross.
Jesus said in John 12: 32-33 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
The devil tried several different ways to kill Jesus; he didn’t want Jesus to make it to the Cross.
Matthew 2: 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under,
Luke 2: 1-5 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.[ enrolled-census] 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.--
--4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
This was a long journey, about 65 miles, and Mary was great with Child, she road upon a donkey for this long journey, this could have possibly cause a would be mother to have miscarried any many cases, but God was in this situation.
The Jews tried to stone Jesus to death but His time was not yet.
John 10: 31 + 39 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.-- 39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand
The Cross is where He must die, the devil knew what PS.22:-ISA.53: had to say about His crucifixion, the devil knows what this Bible says, the1st mention of the Promised Seed that was to crush Satan’s head is found in Gen.3:15, and he believes it all, and yet he still wants to damn as many souls to hell that he possible can, he hates all man kind, he hates the things of God. These poor deceived Satan worshippers don’t realize that when its all said and done their wind up in hell. What fools they are.
Psalm 14: 1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God--
The cross is opposed to the wisdom of this world. It comes from a different source. It follows a different course, and it arrives at a different conclusion. It reveals
the wisdom of God.
The cross is the central message of the Christian faith, BECAUSE IT UNVEILS THE PLAN OF GOD.
This is the only means that God has ordained to forever settle man’s sin problem, defeat Satan, destroy human pride and human wisdom, glorify His Son, and provide salvation for fallen man.
Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was no afterthought with God. It was a deliberate, pre-destined plan.
His Son would come into the world, and die for the sins of mankind by offering Himself in the sinner’s stead on the cross.
The Old Testament Mosaic Law was good, and righteous, and holy, but it only condemned sinful man. The message of the cross is redemptive. It reaches down to fallen man and lifts him up from despair and hopelessness.
Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ and His cross.
God thought so much of us, and loved us so, that He spared not His own Son.
JOHN 3: 14 And, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on Him, might have eternal life.
It may seem foolish to many, but it is God’s wisdom and power.