Summary: The Cross, God's Plan, Wisdom, Faith

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4 Views from the Cross – The World Views a Failure

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (p. 793) March 6, 2016


Suppose I showed up one day from a foreign country and said I’ve got an amazing story I want to share with you...

A Peruvian peasant by the name of Carlos was put to death in the electric chair in order to pay for your sins.

I’ve even written a song:

[“Carlos was there on that horrible chair.

They tied him down with bolts

and zapped him with 40,000 volts.

It was for you Carlos fried and died.

The wisdom of the world has been rejected

because Carols electrocuted.

He is my Savior and my lamp

because he absorbed every deadly amp.

Now I know that God does care

because He sent Carlos to the electric chair.]

You would say, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”

That’s the most foolish religion anyone has ever invented – you have to be absolutely crazy if you expect me to believe something like that...what kind of fool do you think I am?

In fact it’s more than’s downright offensive.

“You expect me to believe that some itinerate preacher peasant named Carlos was sentenced to death in the electric chair as my Savior? Good and righteous people do not die in electric chairs!”

Now imagine I’ve shared this “good news” with you and you don’t have 2,000 years of Christian history to hear it through...all you’ve got is how you’ve always thought about electric chairs and who dies in electric chairs.

That’s how people viewed the message of Jesus dying on a cross.

In the 1st century crucifixion was a thing of shame....reserved for only the worst of society...when Jewish people heard about the cross they remembered Deuteronomy 21:23 which says “Anyone who hung on a tree is under God’s curse.”

The Romans viewed the cross as a punishment for the most lowly crimes and the most violent criminals...or for those who continually had a life of crime.

The image of the cross evoked the most horrible and embarrassing death possible.

So when the Apostle Paul comes to Corinth with his story he understands how both Jews and Gentiles see the cross...the world saw Jesus as a failure, and even worse, a fool for dying on a cross.


“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it the power of God.” (v. 18)

The message of the cross creates a division within humanity: Those who are perishing...those who are being saved.

It doesn’t matter who you are...the color of your skin or your economic status, or the language you fall into one of those two groups.

There is no halfway house, demilitarized zone or neutrality...every single person will be condemned or saved by what they do at the foot of the cross.

And the stumbling block for every one of us who stand there involves a little three letter word called “sin.”

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