Summary: The cross is a powerful symbol of God’s power.
The Symbolism of the Cross
Show a set of symbols and have people tell me what they represent.
III. Text—1 Corinthians 1:17-18
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.
V. The Power of God
A. Biblical observations
1. God’s power can be known
Matthew 22:29—Jesus replied, You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.
a. The word translated “know” does not mean to simply be aware of something. It means ”to have experience with, to learn to know”.
b. In this verse, Jesus is telling the Sadducees, “Even though you have studied and memorized the Scriptures, you still do not know them or the power of God.”
c. As important as it is to know Scripture, it is even more important to have an experience with the God of Scripture. That is exactly what the Sadducees were lacking.
2. God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses
2 Corinthians 12:9—But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
a. The phrase made perfect could be said a different way. It means that God’s grace is truly effective in our weaknesses.
b. Why is this the case?
(1) When we come to the point of our weaknesses, we have nothing and no one else to try to rely on.
(2) It’s almost like reaching the end of the rope and finding a knot that allows you to relax and receive the help you need.
3. God’s power is at work with in us
Eph. 3:20—Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
a. God’s power is at work in us (or inside of us)
i. In Romans 8:29, Paul tells us that we are destined to become like Jesus
ii. Galatians5, lists the fruit of the Spirit that is to be produced in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
iii. Matthew 7:12, tells that we are to treat others the way we wish to be treated ourselves.
iv. Phil. 1:6, says God will finish the work he has started in our lives.
(2) Corporately—for us to be a people who are continually about the business of fulfilling his purposes inside the church
b. God’s power is at work through us
i. For us to be salt and light in the world
ii. For us to be witnesses of what God has done
(2) Corporately—for us to be a people who are continually about the business of fulfilling his purposes outside of the church
1. Is God’s power still available today?
a. Malachi 3:6—I the Lord, do not change
b. Hebrews 13:8—Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever
2. If God’s power is still available, where is it?
a. In my life?
b. In my church?
c. The answer to these questions all lie in the same place—our individual lives.
3. If God’s power is still available, how do I/we experience it?
Paul answer the question
a. Philippians 3:10—I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him is his death
(1) I want to know Christ
(2) I want the fellowship…of sharing in his sufferings
(3) I want to become like him…in his death
b. How do I/we experience the power of God?
(1) I get connected to the source
(2) I stay connected to the source
(3) ILLUSTRATION—Have two lamps. One will turn on, the other won’t. The problem is that one is connected to the source and the other one isn’t.
i. In the same way, for us to know and experience the power of God, we must be connected to the source.
ii. There are those who will say that this illustration is too simplistic. To that my response is “Really?” Paul wrote to the Corinthians that he feared they had strayed from the simplicity of following Christ.
iii. The power of God is not tied up in complex formulas of behavior and reward that can only be deciphered and attained by a chosen few. It is wrapped up in the simple act of being close to God every single day!
(4) ILLUSTRATION-- In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push.