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837 1 Cor.3.18-23 No Christian Is Shortchanged

1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:27
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When Ros & I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii in 1984, we were in a market place in Honolulu. There was a booth with a pearl & jewellery display & Ros & I were just doing the touristy thing of browsing. The guy there said to pick out a pearl. But we said no, we were not buying. He made it clear that there was no obligation. So we picked out a pearl & then he said to pick out a nice ring that we thought would go with the pearl. We again reiterated that we were not buying. We said it several times & he acknowledged that & said there was no obligation. He then proceeded to drill a hole in the pearl & mounted it on the ring. He asked Ros to try it on – we are still thinking we are not buying - & then he proceeded to tell us how much it would now cost us. We said no, thank you & he flipped and said that since he mounted it on the ring, we were obligated to buy it. He pointed to a sign on the top of his display that says as much Well, we were not going to let this guy exploit us like that & it was a very tense & disturbing moment for a young, newly wed couple & we walked off coping a lashing of abuse & cursing.

No Christian Is Shortchanged

Date: 07-07-19 837 Echuca
When Ros & I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii in 1984, we were in a market place in Honolulu. There was a booth with a pearl & jewellery display & Ros & I were just doing the touristy thing of browsing. The guy there said to pick out a pearl. But we said no, we were not buying. He made it clear that there was no obligation. So we picked out a pearl & then he said to pick out a nice ring that we thought would go with the pearl. We again reiterated that we were not buying. We said it several times & he acknowledged that & said there was no obligation. He then proceeded to drill a hole in the pearl & mounted it on the ring. He asked Ros to try it on – we are still thinking we are not buying - & then he proceeded to tell us how much it would now cost us. We said no, thank you & he flipped and said that since he mounted it on the ring, we were obligated to buy it. He pointed to a sign on the top of his display that says as much Well, we were not going to let this guy exploit us like that & it was a very tense & disturbing moment for a young, newly wed couple & we walked off coping a lashing of abuse & cursing.
- The guy was not upfront, nor honest with us, even though he knew that we had no intention to buy
- He was trying to exploit the fact that we were young & naive
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- No doubt, most of you have experienced a situation where you believe you were short-changed & exploited either accidentally or deliberately
- That can happen merely on the level of a person giving you change that didn’t add up to what you purchased
- But it may be that you think that you haven’t been treated fairly in life – either by people or by God
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- Of course, it is very important to maintain perspective when we think we’ve been short-changed
- Just because we think we have been short-changed, it doesn’t follow that we actually have been short-changed
- I can think of our modern culture of entitlement that goes to this topic
- Some people obsess over being short-changed because they have been given an entitlement mentality & it has caused them to think that some things are theirs by default – when equity would reveal otherwise
- However, all of us can claim to have been short-changed sometime during our lifetime
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Q. How does this relate to this passage today?
- We see in this passage talk of the Corinthians boasting in men
- We know that they have a mentality of pitting one apostle or minister over against another
- It’s not that they liked one more than the other, or that there was a teacher who they resonated with
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- It had to do with competition & pride – which teacher was the most worldly wise; spoke the best wisdom; had the most impressive oratory & the like
- This was their cultural fade & they were immersed in it
- They didn’t merely debate these things, but took sides & were condemning one another over their choice of the various ministers
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- Paul finishes this word by reminding them about what they actually possess
- The church is a unit & we all belong to each other – we are not islands & Jesus never created a church that was meant to compete with one another
- All things are yours says Paul, yet you belong to Christ & Christ belongs to God
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- Chak thought up an illustration at our home group - of the various Bunnings Stores around the country that are all selling their products
- Another Bunnings store may only be a suburb away, but whatever each store sells benefits the owner because the owner owns all Bunnings Stores - It would be a win-win situation for them
- The Wesfarmer group owns Bunnings Stores so it would be ridiculous for the owners of the stores to favour or reject one store over another
- They own the lot, so why would you shoot yourself in the foot like that
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- The deal here is that by knowing that believers possess all things, makes it fruitless & pointless to argue over various apostles or ministers
- The bottom line is that a win from either minister is a win for the team – the church
- This goes to the heart of what Christ has done in creating the church
- So let us begin

1. Identifying Deception

1. Identifying Deception

Q. Who here, thinks, they are a deceived person? Raise your hand if you believe that!
Q. Who anywhere in the world, thinks, they are a deceived person?
- In truth, no one thinks they are a deceived person
- If they did think they were deceived, they would change position
- The reason there is deception is because deception is deceiving
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- The first deception in the Bible occurred in the Garden of Eden
Genesis 3:4–6 NASB95
4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
—4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
- God says that if they eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, they will surely die – the serpent contradicted by saying that they would surely not die
- But then came the deceptionGod knows that your eyes will be open & you will be like God
- He imputes God with selfish & evil motives
- God is jealous of His position & that He wants no rivals, only servants
- He’s holding you back from your divine potential
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- They take the bait & disobey God
- They disobeyed Him via a greater concern for their own desires than their relationship with God
- Interestingly, you can identify these traits in what the apostle John says here...
—16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:16 NASB95
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
- Here is what got to Eve – when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the eye), that she could be like God (lust of the flesh) & desirable to make one wise (boastful pride of life)
- She gave way to the deception & in the process, distrusted God’s goodness & disbelieved God’s word
- Eve was struck with ambition, pride, and the quest for self-exaltation apart from God
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- The apostle Paul zeros in on what is fundamentally wrong with the church’s approach here in Corinth
- The Corinthians were being tempted & allured away from the Cross-life by the cultural trends & cultural elites of their day
- That trend was the high place & regard they had for wisdom & oratory
- The phrase “Corinthian words” was proverbial for speech that was eloquent, polished & rich – with rhetoric that was nothing short of brilliant
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- These rhetoricians were masters of “crowd psychology,” as we would call it today
- In stadiums & auditoriums, hours & even days were spent listening to speeches & orations
- Yet the wisdom that was elevated was a godless wisdom
- A wisdom that Satan gives – a corrupted wisdom that rejects the notion that God sent His Son to die on a cross
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- This wisdom has caused this church to be judge & jury over the ministers who minister to them, but even worse, judge & jury over the apostles who actually started those churches
- Paul says of his own speech
—1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1–5 NASB95
1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
- The fact that this church exists is testimony to the overarching power of the Spirit of God who moved in them & opened up the truth of God to them, in spite of their reasonings to the contrary
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- Don’t think that we are miles away from the situation of the Corinthians
- What was kryptonite for them is still kryptonite for us, but in another form
- Political correctness is the new form of kryptonite in the 21st century
- Political correctness is the overarching obsession of the cultural elites of our day & it is luring God’s people away from the truth in ways that also allured the Corinthians away from the truth
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- But what these two cultural trends have in common is that they are both sourced by the wisdom of this age

2. Looking Foolish To Become Truly Wise

- Many of you have heard of Jordan Peterson, the Canadian professor of psychology from the university of Toronto
- He has become rather famous over his clashes with the politically correct elites of the day
- He has boldly defended free speech, the uniqueness of male & female, the responsibilities of each person to clean up their own lives & to stop playing the victim card
- He is a decent, law abiding, moral man – that much is clear
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- He doesn’t necessarily claim to be a Christian, although, the Bible is somewhat a textbook for his ideas
- He would say that he lives as a Christian, but the jury is out for him on the resurrection of Jesus
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- Now I’m going to play a clip that will run for 5 mins & he’s going to mention the term “logos
- In Greek culture, the logos is, loosely put, the FORCE in Star Wars
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- Logos is the Greek word behind In the beginning was the word & the word was with God & the word was God
- John is using the popular Greek word logos to grab people’s attention but instead of using the pagan concept, he proceeds to point to Genesis where it says that God spoke the WORD & the world came to be
- Jesus is the living, personal word & agent in the creation of the world - He is not the impersonal force of Star Wars
- However, it appears that Jordan Peterson is using Logos in closer ways to George Lucas’ Force in the Star Wars movies
PLAY JORDAN PETERSON CLIP
- The meaning of the resurrection accounts is clear – people have known that & even objected to what they say, for 2000 yrs
- Instead of interpreting the Bible in it’s context, he opts to find archetypes there in the narratives
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- Archetype is for Peterson = “a collectively-inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., that is universally present, in individual psyches” (comes out of Jungian Psychology theory of which Peterson is somewhat a fan)
- Let me give you my simple explanation
- An archetype is “the reason you act the way you do & because sub-consciously, you’ve been somewhat pre-programmed to respond the way you do
- To a fair degree, Peterson rests on evolutionary theory for the traits of humanity – of patriarchy, tradition & behaviour
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- One of the notable traits of Jordan Peterson is his stunning intellect
- He’s a hard person to pin down on crucial issues regarding Jesus because he is aware that people will take what he says & either claim him as a Christian or castigate him as an atheist
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- Greg Boyd writes on the ReKnew website about Peterson’s thoughts on Christ as Divine
Peterson doesn’t like the question, “Do you believe in the divinity of Jesus?” for the same reasons he doesn’t like the question, “Do you believe in God?” It all depends on what you mean by “believe” and “divinity.” So far as I can tell, Peterson thinks of the Logos as the proper relationship between order and chaos, which includes the proper relationship between life, death and rebirth. Hence, he says, “the Logos is what tells us that something needs to die to be reborn”. And in his view, the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is an archetypal expression of this Logos.
- Now Peterson’s view is missing the truth of Jesus by a long shot
- What I find Peterson doing is trying to avoid the look of foolishness
- I get the sense that he wouldn’t fit comfortably with the folly of the cross – that is, in accepting Jesus as the personal divine son of God sent from heaven to be our sin-bearer
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- I have hopes for him that one day, he will submit to the revelation of Jesus as presented in the New Testament, but that will only happen when he is willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world
—18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.
1 Corinthians 3:18–19 NASB95
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”;
- It is the wisdom of the world & the unchecked exalted belief in it, that is leading the Corinthians away from the cross-life of Jesus
- It is not wise, nor cool, to speak of a crucified Saviour
- However, if one wants to truly seek wisdom, then the cross is the wisdom of God
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- I asked the question at Home group on Thursday night
How can a person become truly wise, by becoming a fool”?
- It’s a crazy question isn’t it – it sounds self-contradictory
- That is the point, actually
- The wisdom of this age contradicts God’s wisdom in the cross
—20 Where is the wise man? 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 through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:20–21 NASB95
20 Where is the wise man? 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 through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
- The world thinks it knows what is truly valuable & worthy
- The world thinks it can find ultimate meaning & purpose in it’s wisdom
- Because of this self-sufficient posturing & denial of God, it pleased God to go in the opposite direction
- To be truly wise, one must immerse oneself, in the folly of the cross
- That is where true wisdom is found &, for us, that is the Person of Christ & Him crucified

3. You Cannot Obtain What You Have Already Got

- When a person’s aspirations are so strong in something, everything else seems to take second place
- If you aspire to higher & higher heights of wisdom, then that will be your primary end & everything else will have to submit to that over- arching desire
- Those in Corinth were aspiring to this & the apostle Paul with his less than eloquent speech or wisdom was of little consequence to most
1 Corinthians 1:11–12 NASB95
11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”
For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
- The church’s aspirations for eloquent, polished & rich wisdom-filled speech overshadowed what the cross meant for the church
- The cross spoke of submission to God’s will; putting others first & suffering for them; the cross took away, rather than added to, man’s pride
- This last point is significant – you can only come to God through Jesus & His cross
- A person has to surrender their will & their pride & accept the way of the cross
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- It looks foolish to the world, but if you want God, then He is found at the cross, in the sacrifice & suffering of Jesus
- That is not cool in a culture that honoured the idea that “might is right” - whoever speaks the best; whoever makes the most worldly sense is right
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- Yet, the church was divided & they were siding with the ones they thought had the best rhetoric, speech & wisdom
- The wisdom of the world created in them a proud heart that thought that God was associated with the best speaker with the best wisdom
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Q. How then, does Paul bring correction to these knuckleheads?
- Mind you, we are knuckleheads too, when we let the aspirations for worldly ways become our aspirations
- Paul uses the facts of belonging to shut this nonsense down
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- The church has been given an exceptional place in God’s plan
- We will judge angels, says Paul, in chp.6
- We are headed for glory, he says, in the book of
- Here, Paul says that “all things belong to you
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- To counter their boasting, or what I label a brag-fest, he says that all things belong to you
- They have inverted the truth
- Instead of seeing themselves belonging to either Paul or Cephas or Apollos etc. they are to see these ministers as belonging to them
- “All things belong to you” is stated twice for emphasis
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- It’s like Chak’s illustration of the Wesfarmers group who own Bunnings
- All those stores belong to them – how can they care only about one & ditch the others? That is financial suicide
- Likewise, for the church to ditch it’s ministers is like shooting yourself in the foot
- Now, at this point, the apostle is not interested in talking about those ministers who are preaching heresies like those who were influencing the Galatians
- He said of anyone, even an angel, who gave another Gospel that they will be accursed - condemned
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- He is only interested, here in 1 Cor., in loosing the self-centred spirit in this church
- The boast of the Christian is not in men, but in God – let him who boasts, boast in the Lord
Galatians 6:14 NASB95
14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
—14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
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- However, he adds, “yet you belong to Christ & Christ belongs to God
- Our relationship with God is only enjoyed by us because of Christ
- In surrendering our life to Christ, we relinquish ownership of ourselves to Him – we then belong to Him & become part of His body the church
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- And Christ is from &, belongs to, God
- This places the church squarely in God’s court
- In it’s right perspective, the church owns it all – life, death, the cosmos – this is all because of the renewal purposes of God, not only our personal renewal, but the renewal of entire creation (the cosmos)
- God made man sovereign over His creation but man, in Adam, forfeited that privilege
- However, in Christ, that privilege is given to the church & it is set in concrete because we belong to Christ & Christ belongs to God
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- That is the perspective that should remove the silly & destructive competitive spirit among those in this church
- But may we too learn that God does not want us to have a divisive spirit, but that we keep our boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
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