Summary: Lent 4(C) - We preach Christ crucified. This message is not foolishness nor weakness. This message is God’s divine wisdom and strength!
“WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED” (Outline)
March 22, 2009 -- LENT 4 --
INTRO: Being smart does not necessarily make one wise. Wisdom and being intelligent (smart) are very often quite different. Even more different is being wise in this world compared to being wise in God’s Word. The wisdom of this world runs contrary to the wisdom of God’s Word. Thus the importance of the words that serve as our theme: “WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED”. "Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (PROVERBS 9:9,10). Today these words are addressed to you who are wise and righteous: to those who have an understanding of the Holy One. This is the beginning of wisdom. May the Holy Spirit add to our wisdom today.
“WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED”.
I. This cross / message is neither foolishness nor weakness.
II. This cross / message is God’s divine wisdom and power.
I. THIS CROSS / MESSAGE IS NOT FOOLISHINESS NOR WEAKNESS
A. Remember that Corinth was one of the wickedest cities of its age. It was also the second largest city.
1. More slave lived in the city than free people. People worshiped by having sexual relations.
2. Aphrodite (Venus) had a temple with 1,000 prostitutes. People ate, drank, and were merry.
B. Verse 18a. The message of the cross would only seem foolishness to all those perishing.
1. Verse 19. Paul quotes Isaiah. Paul’s was not a new message. God’s wisdom was far greater.
2. Verse 20. Paul extends the challenge to all those considered wise in the world.
C. Verses 22. No matter how many miracles Jesus did the Jews still demanded more.
1. The Greeks = Gentiles = unbelievers trusted and sought salvation by being wise in the world.
2. Verse 23. Jews stumbled at the cross. Gentiles thought the cross message was foolish.
D. Certainly we live in a more enlightened society today. Our intelligence has progressed light years compared to Biblical times. But the more our scientists examine life and nature the less they can really explain. No one has counted the stars. No one can create life. No one can really explain the mysteries of the building blocks of life. God’s divine mysteries are greater than nature’s mysteries. To truly, com-pletely comprehend salvation is a mystery. "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory"(1 TIMOTHY 3:16). Why would God sacrifice his Son for us, others, and even enemies. The world thinks God is foolish and weak. A mystery.
E. What is faith? Defined simply, faith is trust. Our Christian faith is our trust and confidence in the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. Do we always fear, love, and trust in God above all things? Sadly we do not. Our sins reveal our evil hearts. "This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD’" (JEREMIAH 17:5). This is one definition for sin. Whenever we trust ourselves more than God we sin. Whenever we sin are all those times that our hearts turn away from God. Our sins make the message of the cross seem foolish and weak. This is the testimony of our lives whenever we sin against God.
F. The people at Corinth rejected the Savior because the message of the cross appeared to be foolish and weak. Who would want to follow a man that was put to death as a criminal? It is no different today. The world rejects that cross and its message. Worse, some churches also reject the very saving message that is found in the cross of Christ. The largest evangelical church in our country does not have a cross. The leader of that church says that a cross is too controversial. Reject the cross and one rejects the power of the Savior himself. Once, again this is nothing new. "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (ISAIAH 53:3). Our sins also reject the Savior and value him as nothing.
“WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED”. God’s message of Christ’s cross is NOT foolishness!
II. THIS CROSS / MESSAGE IS GOD’S DIVINE WISDOM AND POWER
A. Paul returns to the basics of Christianity, verse 23a. Christ nailed to the cross is what saves!