1 Corinthians 1:18 – 31
“The Foolishness of God”
I. The “perishing” do not believe God. [v 21]
A. The “religious” want miraculous signs. [v 22]
1. The trouble with a sign is that it can be interpreted (just about any way).
2. “They will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” [Luke 16: 31b] (Jesus is telling what would happen when He rose from the dead.)
B. The “secular” want wisdom. [v 22]
1. The secular mind wants something that “makes sense,” something they can discover through their own initiative.
2. That’s the point of grace. We can not so God reveals salvation to us through Jesus Christ.
C. The “educated” want intelligent. [v 19]
1. Scholarship is the process of building on known knowledge. If the process in intellectually honest, then it means observation and testing.
2. God tests us, not the other way around. The ability to test assumes a position of authority. The problem with testing God is that He is “Almighty.” In other words, God can do anything He wants, any time He wants, any way He wants.
II. The message of the cross:
A Is not liked by these types of people.
1. The “religious” have a hard time submitting to Christ. [v 23]
2. The “secular” can not understand the death on the cross. [v 23]
3. The “educated” struggles to believe a message outside their authority. [vv 24, 25]
B. The message of the cross is about God’s power to chose.
1. Not many were wise, influential, or noble. [v 26]
a. The message of the cross is for everyone.
b. There message of the cross is the ONLY thing in this world that is truly barrier free. Economics, intelligence, race, social standing, location, political system, etc... are all moot. The message of the cross is available to all.
2. God chose the lowly things. [vv 28]
a. The virgin birth had the appearance of being to an unwed mother, born in a stable, and into absolute poverty.
b. Does this sound like a “god.” No but it sounds like God!
3. God chose the despised things. [vv 28]
a. Death on the cross had the appearance of a convicted criminal making the ultimate sacrifice for humanity.
b. We are asked to believe that Jesus being nailed to a cross would save us.
ISA 52:13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
ISA 52:14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him--
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness--
ISA 52:15 so will he sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
ISA 53:1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
ISA 53:2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
ISA 53:3 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.
ISA 53:4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
ISA 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
ISA 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
3. Think about it:
a. It does not make sense that God Almighty would become the most vulnerable of us.
b. It is hard to understand why Jesus would suffer such a miserable death.
III. What does all this do?
A. Following Jesus is a LIFESTYLE, not a philosophical belief.
1. In Jesus there is all the wisdom we need. Actions + Beliefs = Consequences.
2. In Jesus we are “being saved” (as opposed to “perishing”)
B. Following Jesus SILENCES THE SELFISHNESS.
1. All sin is selfish.
2. Pride (be honest) blinds us to the truth.
C. Following Jesus puts us into RELATIONSHIP with God the Father.
1. It is hard to believe that God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, would even know our names... let alone WANT to be our Heavenly Father.
2. [v 21] “God was pleased.”
a. “Grace” means God wants to...
b. God is not forced out of remorse of guilt. God wants to because He loves us.
IV. Jesus has become:
A. Our wisdom.
1. God and His wisdom does not make sense to people who do NOT know God or God’s power.
2. Jesus sacrificed Himself because there was no other way.
B. Our righteousness.
1. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [2 Corinthians 5:21]
a. In other words, God exchanged our sin for Jesus righteousness in what is the worst trade in history.
b. We not only have the righteousness but we BECOME the righteousness of God.
2. God the Father, in one act of His will, exchanged Jesus’ righteousness for our sin.
C. Our holiness.
1. The core quality, or the starting point of understanding God (or anything else) is the holiness of God.
2. In Jesus, we become holy.
a. We are declared holy (legally).
b. We become holy (experience).
D. Our redemption.
1. “Redemption” means “to buy back” or “pay off a debt.”
2. As slaves, bound to sin, we were held captive.
3. When Jesus paid the price, He purchased the keys to the prison door and chains that hold you.
If the message of the cross does not make sense to you, its time for you to get to know God.
If righteousness and relationship with God is a struggle, its time for you to ask Jesus to open your prison door so you can be free.
v 27, “But God chose...”