Summary: God's wisdom is far superior to the wisdom of this world.
The Wisdom Of The Cross
Text: 1 Cor. 1:18-25
1. Illustration: Jesus Christ is the only who lived who claimed to be God and proved to be God. When I compare this to all other claimants of all other religions, it is like the poet who said, 'The night has a thousand eyes and the day has but one, The light of the whole world dies with the setting of the sun.' At the midnight of human ignorance, there are a lot of lights in the sky. But at noon time there is only one, and that is Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. So I cast my lot with Him, not with Confucius who claimed wisdom, or the one who claimed enlightenment like Buddha, or the one who claimed to be a prophet like Mohammed, but the One who claimed to be God in the flesh…and proved it" (Norman Geisler).
2. There are so many similarities between the world we live in and the one that Paul lived in.
A. Immorality was rampant.
B. Pluralism was the religion of the day.
C. Being a Christian was life threatening.
3. Yet he stood with the wisdom of the cross.
4. According to Paul...
A. The Cross Is The Power Of God
B. The Cross Is Offensive
C. The Cross Is The Plan Of God
5. Let's stand together as we read 1 Cor. 1:18-25.
Proposition: God's wisdom is far superior to the wisdom of this world.
Transition: First, Paul says...
I. The Cross Is The Power Of God (18-20).
A. The Message Of The Cross
1. If you confess to be a Christian in our society you are looked upon as intellectually inferior.
A. Our educational system is increasingly hostile towards Christians.
B. Recently, I read a story where a young man was dismissed from school because he dared to challenge his Muslim professor who insisted that Jesus didn't die on the cross and that his followers never claimed his divinity.
2. Look at what Paul tells the church in Corinth, "The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God."
A. He says that the message of the cross is foolish.
B. The word foolish means, Foolishness, silliness, absurdity. Moria is rare in the New Testament, where it occurs only five times, all in 1 Corinthians (1:18,21,23; 2:14; 3:19).
C. It is set in striking contrast to sophia (4531)—the world’s “wisdom.” To those who are perishing (the unsaved) the message of the Cross is “absurd” (moria).
D. However, God chose this means to confound the “wisdom” of the world, because God detests the arrogant know-it-all attitude of men that prevents them from knowing God.
E. It is utterly foolish from man’s perspective that the death of a state-executed criminal was really the death of a powerful Messiah (to the Jews), or in fact the plan of the supremely wise God (to the Greeks).
F. To those who are perishing—on their way to hell, spiritually dead and thus controlled by the sinful nature (Rom. 8:8), blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4)—the message of the cross (and therefore, the whole doctrine of the atonement) is absurd.
G. They think it foolish to believe that the Roman execution of one declared to be a guilty criminal and enemy of the state could be used by God to bring salvation.
H. But to those who are being saved—who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord, who have a present relationship with God, who are living for Him, and who are on their way to heaven—the message of the Cross, the message that has at its center the death of Jesus on the cross and the shedding of His blood, is the power of God.
I. They know it is, because they have experienced its power to save them.
J. God's power is still necessary not only for salvation, but for sanctification, peace, spiritual blessing, and hope (cf. Rom. 15:13).
K. His power is available also for healing and casting out demons.
L. The cross of Christ is full of God's power, for it was the means by which Jesus accomplished our salvation when He shed His blood and died for us.
M. To try to explain the Cross or deduce its importance in terms of human wisdom and philosophy would rob it of its power, that is, of its ability to transform sinners into saints.
N. That is exactly what liberal theologians are doing today. But Paul proclaimed its power to save, to deliver from sin and Satan, to heal, to restore fellowship with God—and so must we.
O. The Holy Spirit will make the Cross and its power real to hungry hearts (cf. Rom. 1:16) (Horton, I & II Corinthians: A Logion Press Commentary, 2nd ed., 27).