Where is the Power?
18 For the message of 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; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher 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 know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
Last week we talked about the power of God. It was verse 18 right?
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
And we said, it is either foolishness or it is the power of God, and we left it there. That was it…
Now, it you are NOT on the side of foolishness, but instead if you are looking for Jesus and you are the one being saved and you hear me tell you that the message of the cross is the power of God you might be motivated and fired up right. That is great news you think. So you go from here and you have the power of God, right? And you are hopeful, and you head out and pray but it doesn’t take long and you realize something.
The bills are still unpaid. The health crisis, or the pain is still there. The relationships are still broken and your co-workers and your job is still awful. You desperately seek something better, however,The world is still not getting any better. The school year is still up in the air. You don;t feel much like you have the power of God, in fact you feel just the opposite-Power-less
We try and pray. But the power of God doesn’t seem to come down and change things much. SO, in your mind, you place the power of God into this category out there in the spiritual world. Nothing changes, in the here and now.
Well I want to give you the point of my message directly and up front. Here it is. The power of God, that is found in the message of the cross, does change things for you in eternity, but that change does not end there. God continues to change you in the here and now to prepare you for eternity. This power transforms you, in the middle of the problems.
The Corinthian Church is in the middle of a lot of problems right? We said this last week. They are divided. There is sexual immorality there are lawsuits between church members. It would be naive for us to think they weren’t praying about it. They might have been praying more than we pray about our stuff.
Maybe they were praying for a miracle. Do you suppose? I don’t know but it is realistic to think that there may have been some people praying for a miracle- God I need a miracle my husband is sleeping around I can’t leave him—I need a miracle.
Or, maybe there were people praying that the division in the Church would end, or all the strife, or the lawsuits. That wasn’t working, so they looked and said what we need is a plan to fix things. Some good wisdom. There are some pretty smart people that can come with ways to solve these problems.
Do you think they were feeling power-less? Like they had no control over these problems. Like everything they tried was not working. I think we do the same. We hear the gospel, and then we gut it out till the end. Meanwhile we have problems. You name it. So, we pray for a miracle, or look for wisdom to solve them. Maybe in God’s word. Now those are good things do that continue to do that, but in the process allow God to transform you by the power of the gospel. Let me show you.
The Corinthian Church is in the middle of all these problems right and they get a letter from Paul, the guy who helped start this church. Now perhaps they are hoping that he would provide a key to solving their problems how to get a miracle or some great wisdom but instead and just 18 verses into the letter Paul starts talking about the cross, and he equates the cross with power. Look at this for a minute.
Let’s take verse 18 again and this time forget about the people who he is addressing for a minute. Let’s just assume for a minute we are on the side of those who DO NOT THINK THE MESSAGE of the cross IS FOOLISHNESS. Let’s read verse 18 as if we are the ones being saved. lets leave the part out where he is addressing people. Now don’t worry I’m not changing the meaning or changing scripture I just want it to be clear for a moment.
The message of the Cross is the power of God.
Now that is strange isn’t it. The message of the cross IS the power of God. I wonder if they thought, ughh.. Here he goes with the cross again, how is there any practical power in that. We believed the message of the cross. That is what we are all about. We are a church. We have been baptized we know about the cross Paul....what we need is some way to solve our problems.
Have you ever been there? Having a situation where you don;t know what to do. Trying to find wisdom. We pray, we cross or fingers, nothing happens so we turn to look for wisdom. I have to figure out what to do?
19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
See God did something really remarkable at the cross. In the gospel and now this can be really perplexing is He made a way for the seeming impossible to happen. Did you know that? Romans says For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, or Isaiah for all like sheep have gone astray- ALL that is everybody on the whole planet-Now
if the wages of sin of death. and If all people have sinned then logic says all die. This true we all die.
But the message of the cross is that when we by repentence and faith trust in Christ our sins are put on Jesus
Then Jesus receives the wrath of God the Father against sinners.
Now if Jesus were just a man, how could he stand as innocent, how could he bear the weight of the sins? It doesn’t make sense Unless...
Unless Jesus is God, and man. Jesus must be both man and God. to bear the weight of the wrath of God, and to bear the sins of man. SO in the cross God devises a way, and loves us enough to do it for us, because we can’t.
SO when we look at the foolishness of an innocent man dying a death he didn’t deserve on a cross of shame and pain, this apparent foolishness is the greatest wisdom ever.
Men couldn’t come up with that plan it is too beautiful too wonderful. It is so amazing. So far beyond anything we could ever dream up it confounds wisdom.
Lets go on
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
God though was pleased. through this foolishness of preaching the cross to save those who believe.
God is pleased when a preacher stands up and gives a gospel message and invites people to turn to Jesus for forgiveness, and to repent of their sins. Imagine....
I LOVE that we have caution tape up to block off pews, because this a dangerous place to be. Everyone of us, just by being born-)(for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) stand on the brink of destruction.Everyone one of us are just one single heartbeat away from spending eternity in hell. Then at some point- some people hear a preacher, of all things. A preacher stands up and gives the gospel message, which seems like foolishness and in that message....
God calls sinners to repentence. A preacher may preach it-But God calls the sinners.
Imagine, for a minute there could be some sitting here right now, or next week or next year, who are one single heartbeat away from eternity, and they hear the Gospel message, and in that God calls them. God may be calling someone right now. God may be saying now come alive. Awake oh sleeper. Believe, repent, turn from you sins turn to Jesus
I am not a very smart person, you may say I am not there yet, I need to see something I need something tangible to hang my hat on, just show me something God I need to see a miracle., Paul addresses that
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
When Jesus walked the earth, he did a great many miracles. He made the blind see. He made the lame walk and the deaf hear. And people wanted more and more signs. They kept wanting more and more proof. They argued is he really from God or not? Is this Jesus the way or not, I just need to see for myself.
Jesus at one point says this.
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
No sign! No sign except the sign of Jonah. The sign of Jonah what is that?
40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
For those waiting for a sign here is the sign-Jesus Christ rose from the dead. That is the sign. The tomb is empty. There is the proof Jesus was a man and walked the earth there are written accounts. Anyone can claim to be be God there are crazy people who claim to be God all the time, but those people will all die, and we can go to their tombs. But The tomb of Jesus is empty. There is no body. That is the sign.
If you are looking for a sign to believe the gospel that is it. FOR 2,0000 years people have tried to discredit the resurrection, to discredit Jesus to say that he was a teacher or a good man, but the sign is this the tomb is empty. Jesus is alive. This is Not a metaphor, He is Really alive.
ANd when that message is being preached, sometimes people Hear God’s call, and they come alive, and are born again. They wake up oh sleeper, and in that God is pleased, the God who has everything is pleased and he smiles and he rejoices, and sings over them as they step over from hell into an eternity with Christ.
That is good news. That is the message of the cross and IN THAT MESSAGE is power. But that power just doesn't end with the moment you believe.
You see that moment you believe is really just the beginning of that power working throughout your life, through all those things that you are facing and the things that you will face. See lets read 1 cor 1.18
again closely paying attention to the tense of the words.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
to us who ARE BEING SAVED, it is the power of God. We sometimes look at the cross and have this idea that is a one and done, thing like this.
I am a sinner, I am aware of that, I go on my knees to Jesus and say Im sorry, and I;; try and do better. Then I am saved, and off I go to eternity. I just have to gut it out till then. But the power of the cross is still happening in your life no matter what you are going through.
You are still being saved. In the middle of the financial crisis, you are STILL being saved-good news. In the middle of the pain you are being saved. What that means is that IN that horrible awful thing—even if God Chooses NOT to remove it God is STILL doing something- he is STILL SAVING THOSE WHO HE CALLED. Let me say that again.
He is still saving those he called. He is still transforming you—You are not the same person you once were. ANd you will become a different person. This power of God is an active thing that continues through your life, in all that you will face.
When you look at the message of the cross, God is revealing himself to you.
The cross is the work God has done so it tells us about HIM. It reveals His character to us. We see Him in the cross, We see His incredible LOVE FOR US whO Believe. When we see Him in the cross we see that he moved heaven and earth, and fought Satan for you who will believe. ANd when we can see Him like that we can know that whatever we have to face everyday, we are being saved through it and from it.
Do you wake up in a health crisis? Are you in pain. Look to the cross. For God has not forgotten you. He loved you with a love so deep that He himself endured the pain for your sin, and He conquered death to bering you eternity with Him He has not forgotten you. He has not abandoned you. He loves you with an unending live and He will see it through to completion.
DO you waker up poor in spirit, and weak in will. Jesus is your strength. He took your infirmities upon himself, he walked the hill to calvary for you knowing the pain he would endure, and the wrath of God he would face. God the Father turned away from the God the son for you ---oh weak one. Jesus is your strength.
Are you tempted beyond that which you can endure. Do you fall over and over again Look to Jesus who was tempted in everyway yet did not sin so that he could bear your failures at the cross, and pay the price of the sins that you committed. Look to Jesus and hear his voice as calls you to come oh sinner come.
For to all who come to him he will save.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For the message of the cross is the power of God unto salvation for all who will believe.