Friday, June 11, 2010

God's wisdom revealed

Last week's Q&A and the previous week's message on Baptism are now available on our podcast site.

After this short detour from our regular exposition, we're heading back to 1 Corinthians next Sunday. We're getting ready to launch into chapter three, and I think it would be helpful to give a quick summary and review of the previous chapter:

"Preaching With Power" (1 Cor. 2:1-5). God not only chose the "foolish" message of the cross to save us (1 Cor. 1:18), but He also chose a "foolish" method of delivering that message. Rather than using the clever rhetoric and slick packaging available in Paul's day, God deliberately chose preaching -- a completely counter-cultural method -- to communicate gospel truth. We saw that just as in Paul's day, our biblical preaching must be plain, Christ-centered, humble, and yet powerful. You can listen to this sermon here.

"God's Wisdom Revealed" (1 Cor. 2:6-13). If God's message and method are so absurd, then who would choose to believe? Humanly speaking, no one. It's completely an act of the Holy Spirit, who reveals the "depths of God" to us. God's wisdom is infinite, and yet He has pulled back the curtain and allowed us to gaze into things once imperceptible. We should humbly praise God for what He has done in saving us through His Spirit. You can listen to this sermon here.

"Why Do So Many Reject Jesus?" (1 Cor. 2:14-16). Tragically, the natural man continues to reject the wisdom of the gospel and to live for himself. But the spiritual man, i.e. the man who has the Spirit of God living within him, now appraises the true value of the cross and actually shares the mind of Christ. You can listen to this sermon here.

We concluded our study of chapter two with several important applications:
  • Don't boast. This is the whole point of Paul's argument in these early chapters. The gospel should deeply humble us. We've got no reason to boast and quarrel. We are all brought to an equal level at the foot of the cross. Where am I manifesting pride in my life? How does the gospel confront this?
  • Don't budge. Our styles and preferences will vary according to culture, but no amount of style will ever make the gospel message more palatable to the unbeliever. We must staunchly defend the gospel and avoid anything that would water down the offense of the cross. Where have I been tempted to compromise in order to be accepted by others?
  • Do pray. If God alone can change the heart through His Spirit, we'd better get on our knees and pray brokenhearted over the lost. Oh that God would open their eyes before it is too late! How can I improve the frequency and fervency of my prayers for the lost?
  • Do prepare. The offense of the cross is not an excuse for unpreparedness. We must diligently learn the Scriptures, learn people, and learn common questions and biblical responses. We must be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. Where do I feel uncomfortable or under-equipped in sharing my faith? What can I do to change?
  • Do persevere. Don't grow discouraged because a person does not accept the gospel at first. Because the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16), we can expect that through repetition, perseverance, patience, and prolonged exposure to the gospel, that people will respond. With whom have I grown discouraged and wrongly given up hope?
Photo credit: Ted Winder

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