Summary: We can only be saved through God’s wisdom and power.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

“The Wisdom and Power of God”

By: Reverend Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport

News, VA

To start things off, let’s take a peak back at verse it Paul says that Christ has sent

him “to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross be emptied of its


Throughout his ministry Paul resolved to do nothing except to preach Jesus Christ and

Him crucified.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 9 Paul declares: “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”

And this is because the message of the gospel is the cross of Christ.

It’s not about flowery language, it’s not about education, it’s not about charisma, it’s not

about making people feel good--telling them what their itching ears want to hear--it’s not

about watering down the’s not about any of’s about the cross.

The cross is what saves us, the cross is what changes our lives, and therefore the cross

must be the main focal point of anyone who claims to be a Christian.

For those who are being saved it is the wisdom and power of God. It is everything we


For those who are perishing, it is a stumbling block...because without the cross of Christ

there is no salvation.

And if we really believe this, then we must take this very seriously.

Because there is nothing that any of us can do or say on our own in order to be saved.

Paul was quite frank about his preaching skills.

He has told us that he was no eloquent speaker.

He has admitted that when he would get up to preach...he would literally be trembling

with fear.

But through Paul’s preaching God saved countless people....and began the spread of His

Church which now covers much of the planet.

If we ever needed any proof of the power of the cross....this is it!

It is the message of the cross of Christ that we need in order to be saved.

The cross demonstrates the love of God.

The cross demonstrates that God accepts us and allows us to walk with him day by day.

The glorious love of God revealed in the cross is the dominant theme of Christianity.

When I was an associate pastor in Macon, Georgia I was told of a local preacher who

truly beleived that “We need to get rid of that bloody cross.”

And he is not the only one who thinks this way.

Several people who left his church, joined ours by transfer of membership.

And why is this?

It’s because without the message of the cross...Christianity has no power.

No power to convert.

No power to save.

And this is what Christianity is all about.

It’s about Jesus Christ, who came to earth...took our sins upon Himself...and died the

death that we deserve so that through faith in Him we might become new people and inherit

eternal life.

Christ sacrificed His life on the cross, so that we might be able to live because God so

loved the world!

But it is so easy for us to become centered on other solutions to life’s problems.

Some people base their lives on ethical behavior.

Most of us know people like that, and many of us are tempted to make ethics our


It certainly makes sense in human terms, but to God it is foolishness.

Sure, God wants us to be ethical, but none of us can achieve the perfect ethical life on

our own.

We are all sinners...we all have weaknesses, and flaws...we all fall short of the glory

of God.

And all of us have things for which we need to be forgiven.

All of us need the cross of Christ.

Many people think that the salvation of the world--although they wouldn’t say it that

way--is in education.

They have a point.

Education is on the top of our national agenda today for very good reasons.

It’s definitely worth caring about, but should it be the most important thing?

Is it enough?

Can it save us?

Who do you think has more wisdom in how to deal with life, other people, and the

problems of life?

An uneducated person who is a completely committed Christian and knows the Bible like

the back of their hand....and lives accordingly...

Or the most educated person who knows just about everything about everything...but

dismisses the Bible as foolishness, and has never bothered to open it or live by it?

I pick the uneducated Christian.

“Where is the wise man?”

“Where is the scholar”

“Where is the philospher of this age?”

The supposed wisdom of the world leads people away from God, and to be led away

from God is to embark on the road to death.

Let’s look again at what Paul says in verse 18: “The message of the cross is foolishness to

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