Summary: Sermon 3 in I Corth.
THE POWER OF THE CROSS
A. God has given us a message of salvation through the cross (v. 18).
B. God’s Word instructs us to receive this message by faith (Romans 3:21-26).
C. The cross is the central fact of the Gospel. Paul wants the Corinthians to focus on the cross. We should do the same.
I. The Jew and the Cross.
A. Jews looked for signs (v. 22).
1. It was a time of false messiahs.
2. Jewish leaders asked Jesus to show them signs (Matthew 12:38).
3. Signs and miracles confirmed the message of God but did not save people from their sins.
4. Jesus performed many signs and miracles to prove he was the Messiah.
B. The cross was a stumbling block to the Jews (v. 23).
1. “Stumbling block”—from the Greek word “skandalon.” We get our word “scandal” from this.
2. The Jew considered the cross a “scandal” because of Deuteronomy 21:23 (a curse).
II. The Gentile and the Cross.
A. Gentiles (Greeks) looked for wisdom (v. 22).
1. They loved oratory and they loved to argue. The dogmatic message of salvation through the death of a Savior seemed too simple.
2. Verse 20 seems to indicate that they did not come to know God by studies in man’s wisdom. Verse 21 shows us that worldly wisdom can keep people from knowing God through the message of the cross.
B. The cross was “foolishness” to the Gentiles (v. 23).
1. God wouldn’t act that way, in their opinion.
2. They tried to make God fit into their framework of logic. The cross wouldn’t fit, so it was viewed as foolishness. However, many of the mighty acts of God are not logical.
III. The Christian and the Cross (vv. 25-29).
A. God often does things that seem foolish. He often uses things that seem weak.
1. David and his sling.
2. Naaman and the Jordan River.
3. Jesus healing the blind man with mud and spittle.
B. The cross is the “power of God” to the Christian (v. 18).
1. It is God’s way of salvation and life.
2. Human nature often tries to devise its own ways of salvation (Romans 10:1-4).
A. Our attitude is all-important. Attitudes cause churches to grow or stay small. Attitudes lead people to accept the Savior or reject Him.
B. The attitudes of the Jew, the Gentile, and the Christian are prominent in our society today.
Study 1 Chronicles 13:1-14 and 1 Chronicles 15:1-28. Tell the entire story of David’s failed attempt to bring the ark of God into Jerusalem. Point out the fact that David admitted the reason for the failure in 1 Chronicles 15:11-15. When they acted in the “prescribed way,” they were successful.
Our logical plans for God and salvation fail. God has a “prescribed way” in the cross and the plan of salvation.