Summary: Some stumble over the abundant life Jesus offer, other simply think it is foolishness
Sermon on Corinthians 1:10-25
January 27th 2008
I have no clue where this message came from. But I do want you lock in your minds this particular verse of the Bible—John 10:10 because you are going to hear me refer back to this short passage quite often. Why? Because this is Gloria Dei’s mission. I pray that we may all know it like our name. “To live life abundantly through the worship of God and service to others.
You see, in the text Jesus has just opened the eyes of a blind man. He is speaking to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the time, and they want to know what this man who heals the sick and speaks all those strange words of wisdom is all about. So in John 10:10, Jesus gives to them/gives to us his purpose—He says, “I came so that you may have life and have it abundantly.”
Therefore if the purpose of Christ is to bring abundant life, don’t you feel that our mission/our goal is to “Live Life Abundantly?” At first this mission may sound like a type of feel good philosophy or even a gospel of prosperity, but it is not.
Because if you pay close attention the words of the Bible and to the second half of our mission statement one will find that this Abundant Life comes through the Cross—worship and praise of a God will to die for you, and service and sacrifice to others—a cause outside ourselves—and this my friends is a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks.
Why in the world would God Almighty die and how in the world can I have abundant life by giving myself to others? Like I said, a stumbling block to some, and foolishness to others.
Speaking of stumbling and foolishness, about two years to the date my lovely wife Sandy had an extension ladder out and was going up in a tree to save a cat. I didn’t not want her to get hurt, so even though I’ve never seen a skeleton of a cat in a tree I proceeded to climb up the ladder for this stupid cat. Well the little critter took a swipe at my face and I stumbled some 25’ to the ground and broke both of my legs. Talk about feeling foolish.
Anyway I was laid up for a few days with this ice machine on my legs with nothing to do but read or watch TV. I don’t normally watch Oprah but like I said I was feeling a little foolish. This particular show was titled “Having Affairs With Married Men,” and Oprah had brought several people who were having these affairs.
One lady who was very positive talked about her longstanding affair with a married man and she was very happy in it. She even claimed she would have it no other way. One of the people in the audience raised the question or morality, and instantly the woman took offense. “Wait a minute,” she said. “I am a Christian, but I want everyone to know that my personal life and my religion have nothing to do with each other.” Odd uh?
She went on to say, “I believe in a God who wants me to be happy, and if this man makes me happy, then God must approve of the relationship.”
Wow! Talk about stumbling foolishness! That is an amazing approach to life, but you know what? That kind of thinking is not new at all. It has been around for a long long time. People who serious believe God desires abundant life, however, it comes with no effort on our part. We’ve even come up with all kinds of excuses to make it sound right. What used be called murder is now called “pro choice.”
Jesus encountered the same attitude in his day, and I love the approach Jesus took. He called the Pharisees and Sadducees hypocrites and whitewashed tombs—on the outside they appeared to obedient, but on the inside they were rotten.
So like the Pharisees, the Greeks, and woman on Oprah sooner or later, we bump into an old rugged cross. There we meet a God who says, “I don’t like your Sin—yes Sin—no matter what you call it. It is so horrible that it requires me to go to the cross and suffer and die to free you from the punishment you deserve.”
And the Jews stumble over the cross. The Greeks think the cross is foolishness. Where to you stand? How in the world can abundant life come through the Cross? Put another way, “Does the Cross get in the way of our abundant life?” Lot’s to think about uh?
When I read the Bible many times I try to place myself in the story. In this story I am very conflicted. Which character am I most like, or can relate? Am I/are you more like the Jews, or am I/are you more like the Greeks, or can I/can you be more like a disciple—a true Christian where my personal life and my religion have everything to do with each other?