Summary: LENT 1 - We preach Christ crucified. This gospel message is both the wisdom of God and also the power of God.
“WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED” (Outline)
March 13, 2011 - Lent 1 - 1 CORINTHIANS 1:21-25
INTRO: The cross of Christ is central to Christianity. Sadly, today some arrogantly declare the cross of Christ to be “too controversial”. No cross means no sacrifice. No sacrifice for sins means no forgiveness. Without forgiveness there is no eternal life. How very, very sad this is in the religious freedom in our country. To take the cross out of the church is to take Christ out of Christianity. Once again we gather around the very rock of our faith – Jesus and his cross. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (HEBREWS 12:2). The words of Paul in our text serve as our theme:
“WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED”:
I. The wisdom of God. II. The power of God.
I. “WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED” = THE WISDOM OF GOD
A. Verse 21. There is to be no mistake about the wisdom or intelligence of mankind.
1. Man’s wisdom does not save. Man’s wisdom cannot save. Man’s wisdom often changes.
a. Earth as center of universe changed. b. Sun as center changed. c. Man is now the “center”.
2. The mind of mortal man cannot fully comprehend divine immortality without God’s Spirit.
B. Verses 22b, 23. “Christ crucified” is the simple, profound truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. “Christ crucified” is the wisdom of God that the unbelieving world needs to hear.
2. Verse 23. God’s message of wisdom seems to be foolishness to unbelievers (Greeks, Gentiles).
C. Verse 24. “Christ crucified” is the wisdom of God for everyone called out of darkness into light.
1. Again, there is to be no mistake. Where the wisdom of man fails, God’s wisdom endures.
2. Verse 25. God’s “foolishness” is wiser than all the wisdom of mankind. God’s wisdom saves.
D. What foolishness we endure when we place too much confidence in our own wisdom. Contrary to the popular teaching of today man does not have all the answers. The more we examine the intricate details of the wonders of life the more we realize how little we understand. Then there is faith. Who can completely explain God’s gift of faith? When does faith begin? "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (JOHN 3:8). Like the wind where does faith begin? The Scriptures declared that faith is firmly planted in hearts at baptism. By the washing of water with God’s word the unbeliever is snatched from Satan’s grasp by the grace of God. What a wondrous miracle to be blessed with faith.
E. An age-old question to consider is why some and not others? Many wonder why all of mankind is not saved? God does want all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Eternal salvation is so very important that God places all the responsibility of saving souls squarely on his shoulders. Eternal damnation is the only thing that is man’s responsibility. From the beginning man makes the wrong choice. Adam and Eve chose to eat and sin. They disobeyed God’s desire. From that time forward mankind makes the wrong choices. "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts" (EPHESIANS 4:18).
F. It is only by God’s free gift of grace that we are saved. In his wisdom God did not destroy the perfect world after Adam and Eve contaminated it with sin. The world might think this is foolishness. Even at the flood God spared eight believers from destruction. Mankind would have destroyed everything and everyone out of vengeance. God’s wisdom provided a new beginning. The world was once again populated only by believers. "Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them" (HOSEA 14:9). This verse sums up God’s love for the penitent. Believers value God’s forgiveness. The world sees repentance as foolish. It means admitting wrongdoing. Believers see sin, repent, are forgiven.
“WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED”.
The cross of Christ is the very wisdom of God for our world.
II. “WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED” = THE POWER OF GOD
A. The apostle Paul first made his appeal to the wisdom of the people in Corinth.
1. Corinth was filled with those who valued wisdom and considered themselves to be wise.