1 Cor 1:18-21
INTRO: The cross was - to the ancient world - an instrument of the most cruel torture and execution. So extreme was this means of execution that Roman citizens who were executed were spared from crucifixion. In the ancient world only rebels, slaves and the most vile criminal were crucified. And for Jews, to be crucified symbolized ones being accursed of God! And Jesus, the only begotten Son of God was crucified. This was a violent contradiction with the wisdom of that day.
I. JEWS AND GREEKS: A WISDOM OF THEIR OWN!
A. The Jews require a sign
1. note Mt 12:38-40 ...we would see a sign...
2. the miracles which He did among them were not enough to satisfy them He was Messiah
3. the implication here is they wanted a sign of their choosing which would satisfy their minds - if He would not comply, theyd not believe
4. and Jesus told them of the singular sign - v.40
B. The Greeks seek wisdom
1. the cross did not make sense to them
2. only logic, reason, philosophy could impress them
3. note Acts 17:21 ... then v.32
4. (perhaps in many ways they were not unlike people these days)
II. BUT THE CROSS IS GODS WISDOM
A. 1 Cor 1:23,24 Christ crucified ... the wisdom of God
1. so, the cross was no accident, no interruption
2. Jno 12:32,33 with Jno 3:14 Jesus knew
3. add Acts 2:23 the cross was the plan of God and was necessary because it meant Jesus, dying on the cross, would be known to be accursed - the sin offering (so, Heb 13:11,12)
B. So that no flesh should glory
1. mans wisdom would be a system from which he could then boast, Look what Ive done
2. Gods wisdom calls for us to say, Look what God has done
3. the cross is the work of redemption done by God - so, 1 Cor 1:30 ... Jesus ... is made ... wisdom
C. Human wisdom is not generally impressed
1. 1 Cor 1:26
2. the cross does not fit mans ideas - it does not give man the glory, the choice
3. people talk about the cross - but most do nothing significant about it
III. CONSIDER PHIL 2:5-8
A. The key here: He humbled himself
1. I can only imagine the loss Jesus experienced
2. but two things were essential for Gods purpose to be accomplished
3. he emptied himself - he humbled himself
4. then he could go to the cross
B. And you must humble yourself
1. if you are ever to receive the atonement the cross offers
2. mans wisdom may wait as it ponders, wonders
3. only humility can say nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling
4. and baptism is the place the sacrifice of the cross becomes yours ... Rom 6:3
C. Will you be among those of 1 Cor 1:26?
1. Gods wisdom has beautifully, sufficiently provided
2. will you empty yourself of pride and vain speculations in order to be buried into Jesus death?
CLOSE: I may not always understand Gods wisdom. But I do not have to understand. I just need to avail myself - in faith - of His wisdoms offer!
Cecil A. Hutson
12 December 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)