Summary: The Cross, Salvation, God's Plan, Resurrection
PAUL: A FOOL FOR CHRIST - The Message of the Cross
Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018
1 Corinthians 1:18 (p. 793)
In 1978 I walked back into Lafayette High School as a junior…I’d been a dropout for a year…but even before I dropped out I hardly went…I only went to get together with friends to get high. Those 2 years before I left were lost in a hazy joy of smoke and rebellion. The friends I hung around did the same things I did, got in the same trouble I got in, and had the same rebellious nature I had…we knew each other well.
But something really weird happened to me in my 17th year….While washing dishes as a High School dropout…and pursuing a life as a drug dealer…God began to pursue me…Cause I certainly wasn’t looking for Him. After totaling my car in front of Lafayette by hitting a mail truck while drunk, and then fighting with the police who were arresting me, I spent a night in jail…and the next morning after getting home, I saw my car. I don’t have any pictures…but it was bent in a V shape, totally destroyed. No one should have lived through it. As I got in the shower I had a thought…a thought I believe came from God’s Holy Spirit… “Rick, if you’d died in that wreck you would have gone to Hell.” It stopped me in my tracks. I’d joked about Hell…and going there…almost proud of how bad I was…But this was no joke…I felt an overwhelming sense of lostness…I felt it to my very core…God’s Spirit was calling to my soul…and that call always begins with my sin and my separation from Him.
This calling didn’t stop…it kept reoccurring, even as I tried to run from it…And God kept pursuing me. He sent people into my life that did more than share the gospel, they lived it. They invited me into a study group, long hair, army jacket and all…I was caught between my old life and the hope of something new…but I had trouble believing God could forgive me…my past was so horrible, so dark…how could He forgive it…Why would he even want to? I knew everything would have to change…but how?
For months I fought the Holy Spirit…and for months He kept calling…And I knew the call was “Come and die to your old self…and be reborn.” And on January 17, 1978 I did…I walked down the aisle at Southland Christian Church and Brewster Mcleod baptized me into Christ…My life has never been the same.
I ended up being the lifeguard at Blue Grass Christian Camp that summer, protected and encouraged by other believers…And in August of 1978 I walked back into Lafayette High School. My old friends had no idea what had happened. And when they invited me to go get high, my response was “I can’t, I’m a Christian now.” Most of them looked at me like I was a space alien. They slashed my tires…put a hammer through my windshield…As I accepted Christ they hated that I’d rejected their lifestyle.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “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.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
For me to make it through the newt two years and walk across the stage to receive my diploma, it took the power of God, two godly teachers, a couple of Christian friends and a youth minister and youth group that supported me…And a mom and dad that were there every step of the way.
Today is April 1st…April Fool’s Day. It’s also, more importantly Easter - Resurrection Sunday…The Apostle Paul was called a fool for following Christ…His friends thought…look at all you’ve given up to follow a man who died on the cross…my friends thought…you’ve stopped having fun to be a Christian…that’s stupid! I would have thought the same thing just months before.
Why is the message of the cross foolishness to those who are perishing…because of what we really believe and think!
I. THE CROSS SEEMS FOOLISH IF YOU THINK TEMPORARILY OVER ETERNALLY
What are some of those thoughts?
1. “I’m going to live for my pleasure now. I’ll worry about the future later.”
Like David with Bathsheba…sin presents itself…she’s beautiful…I want this intensly…I’ll worry about the consequences later.
Like the Foolish Rich Man in Jesus’ parable who fills his barns with all his stuff and thinks, “I’ll eat and drink and be merry…it’s party time…I’ll worry about tomorrow some other day.”
Satan knows that his time here on earth is short…and he knows ours is as well so he schemes to convince us to believe life is all about self gratitude…Grab all the gusto you can…Now. Find the meaning of your life in the pursuit of pleasure…and when that quick fix or numbness wears off…hurry up and feed it again or find another.