Summary: This sermon is about man's foolishness versus God's wisdom and the cross. Later into the sermon this question "Whose fool are you?' is asked several times.
WISDOM VERSUS FOOLISHNESS
Text: I Corinthians 1:18 – 25
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." (20) Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (21) For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. (22) For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, (23) but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, (24) but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (25) For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength. (NRSV).
The late Billy Graham once said, “The cross has become a symbol in much of the Western world, misused by rock stars and others who do not comprehend its significance”. (Billy Graham. The Secret Of Happiness. New York: Double Day, 1955, p. 22). To wear a cross is to wear a symbol of death. The cross is often misused as some kind of ornament or accent to the attire and style and style of some people. We all know from biblical history that the cross was an instrument of execution where Rome’s worst enemies of the state were put to death by being nailed to a cross where execution would be public, painful, and prolonged.
Imagine how you would be received if you could travel back in time with a bus tour group to first century Rome wearing a cross. How do you think people would respond to you? First, they would be very curious and amazed to see you stepping off a bus with your tour group. Secondly, once they saw you all wearing crosses they would be horrified. The cross was designed to let everyone know that crucifixion is the way that enemies of the Roman state were dealt with in the worst case scenarios. Christians today view the cross as a place where the Son of God died for our sins to set us free from the power and guilt of sin.
What does the cross mean to you? Is the meaning of the cross foolish to those who do not understand? Today we want to talk about wisdom and foolishness.
How does the world see wisdom? Do they see wisdom as something that they gained from academics? Or do they see wisdom as something gained by experience?
1) A Genius looks at wisdom: Albert Einstein had a close friend named Max Born who died in January in 1970. They had colleagues named Max Planck and Otto Hahn [who was credited with the discovery of nuclear fission]. These men were some of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century. Max Born commented on German television just before he died, saying, “ I’d be happier if we had scientists with less brains and more wisdom”. (Paul Lee Tan. Encycloedia Of 7700 Illustrations. Hong Kong: Nordica International, LTD. 1996, p. 1612).
2) Godly Wisdom: Proverbs 1: 7 tells us about the perspective of godly wisdom: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (ESV). Proverbs 2:6 tells us the origin of godly wisdom: For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (ESV).
What about the celebrity version gospel? Is there such a thing as a celebrity gospel---a secular gospel?
1) A Worldly gospel : A secular gospel is endorsed by all who refuse the gospel and write their own exam questions so that they are never wrong!
2) Oprah Winfrey: If you listen to comments Oprah Winfrey once made on one of her shows, you can get into heaven without Jesus. Is that what Jesus said?
3) Joy Behar: Remember when Joy Behar, she poked fun at the Vice President because of his faith: On February 13, 2018 on her talk show “The View” Joy Behar … said: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you.” Behar said hearing voices is a “mental illness” before Sherri Shepard offered a limited defense of Pence”. (https://ijr.com/the-declaration/2018/02/1066024-joy-behar-attacks-mike-pences-faith-with-such-flawed-logic-even-her-own-co-host-calls-her-out/).
4) The true gospel: Galatians 1:8, 9, 11 say it clearly: 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. … 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel (ESV).